Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Establishes Connolly Endowment for Shepherd Poverty Program

Washington and Lee University has established the J. Lawrence Connolly Endowment for the University’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, thanks to a gift of $1 million from Leigh and Larry Connolly, of Atlanta. The endowment will support curricular and co-curricular programming.

“It’s a good investment. The program has come so far in such a relatively short period of time.  Tom Shepherd’s vision is becoming a reality,” said Larry Connolly, a member of the University’s Class of 1979.

He is the former CEO of Connolly L.L.C., a recovery audit accounting and consulting firm. Through a gift from Connolly earlier this fall, W&L named its entrepreneurship program the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship.

Tom Shepherd is the 1952 graduate of W&L who, along with his wife, Nancy, started the innovative program in poverty studies at the University.

“Larry has been incredibly generous to the Shepherd Program over the past few years, through his tireless work as a member of our alumni advisory board, through his active involvement in our internship program, and now through this remarkable gift,” said Howard Pickett, director of the program since July of this year. “We in the Shepherd Program can’t thank him enough.”

Connolly traces his interest in the Shepherd Program to the 20th-reunion gift that his class designated for the program in 1999. His classmate Robert Balentine, a W&L trustee, organized the gift. “I found it of interest,” he said of the Shepherd Program. “And then when we came back for the 25th reunion, we got an update. They showcased one of the students, which was a smart marketing move. And in five years, you could see how much had evolved. And then I started getting more involved.”

Since then, he’s forged a friendship with Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion at W&L, who stepped down as founding director of the Shepherd Program this past June. “He’s terrific about always reaching out,” he said of Beckley. “And I’ve gotten to know Howard Pickett and feel very good about him succeeding Harlan.”

Connolly has also set up the Connolly Family Foundation, which has childhood poverty as its focus. His gift to W&L, he said, “is consistent with the philosophical direction of the foundation.”

In 2010, Connolly, who also serves on W&L’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, and his wife, Leigh, established an endowment to support W&L interns working in Atlanta through the Shepherd Alliance, a summer internship program administered by the Shepherd Poverty Program.

At the end of each summer, Connolly treats the interns to dinner, where they tell him about their experiences. “I see the quality of the students,” he said. “The internship is having its desired effect. They are young and passionate and ready to conquer the world and solve its problems.”

Occasionally he has pegged a student as pursuing the internship more for how it would look on a résumé,  and less because of a genuine passion for the subject. He’s happy to be proven wrong, as when he recently learned that an intern whom he’d put in that former category had worked on poverty-related issues after graduation and before entering the business world. “It’s just a matter of time before she circles back,” he said, “and re-engages in some kind of philanthropic endeavor, for which she is now extremely well equipped.”

Along the same lines, Connolly sees an overlap between the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship and the Shepherd Program. After all, Shepherd students who gain experience working for nonprofits may one day run such organizations. Pickett concurred: “I am especially excited about the ways Larry’s gift might deepen the growing partnership between our poverty studies program and the social entrepreneurship offerings here at W&L.”

Connolly draws another parallel between the two programs when he talks about the high quality of their students. “It always generates a strong feeling of hope given the kinds of graduates we’re producing,” he said. “We’re turning the future over to good hands.”


English Prof Takes on Zombies

Here’s a W&L Halloween tale for you: “Zombies stumble into my class all the time.” So writes Chris Gavaler, visiting assistant professor of English, in an essay published on Oct. 29 in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Well, it’s not really a horror story. Chris is both writing about his creative-writing students, and responding to another Chronicle essay, “No More Zombies!” In that piece, an English professor at Truman State University tells why he has, in his words, “banned alt-worlding from my advanced creative-writing workshop. Told my students that their fiction had to take place in real environments with real people.”

Chris, on the other hand, holds that “all fiction writing is alt-worlding. There is no such thing as a work of fiction that takes place in the real world. Stories exist solely in words.” He just wants his students to write.

Read Chris’ entire essay at the link above; and check out his blog, “The Patron Saint of Superheroes,” where the self-described “mild-mannered professor” assumes “the powers of a novelist, teacher, playwright, and scholar.”

Related //,
Tagged //

Brian Eckert Named W&L's Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Washington and Lee University has named Brian H. Eckert as the executive director of communications and public affairs, effective Nov. 11. He comes to W&L after 14 years as director of media and public relations at the University of Richmond.

“We are pleased to welcome Brian Eckert to the University,” said Dennis Cross, vice president for advancement at W&L. “His varied expertise and sterling reputation make him a fine choice. We all look forward to working with him.”

“Everyone with a stake in Washington and Lee needs timely, accurate information about the University’s successes and challenges,” said Eckert. “I’m honored and excited to serve that need for the many people who care about W&L.”

Eckert brings extensive experience in public affairs, media relations and journalism to his new post. Prior to the University of Richmond, he served as executive consumer affairs representative for US Airways; director of public relations for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (N.C.) schools; assistant vice president for public affairs and director of media relations for Wake Forest University; graduate intern and freelance reporter and technician, Voice of America, London; news and program director, production manager and anchor-producer at WHSP-TV/Silver King Broadcasting, Vineland, N.J.; anchor-producer for New Jersey Public Television; and news director at WJJZ radio, Mount Holly, N.J.

His editorial and reporting experience includes stints at Official Airline Guides Travel Magazines, TravelScene Magazine and the Burlington (N.J.) County Herald.

Eckert has received many honors for his work, including three awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and three from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Involved in several professional organizations, he recently completed four years on SPJ’s national board of directors and is a past president of the College Communicators Association of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He often gives presentations at CASE conferences.

Eckert has a B.A. in English from Wake Forest University and was a Reuters Fellow in international relations at the University of Oxford, attending on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.

As executive director of communications and public affairs at W&L, Eckert will oversee an office that comprises web communications, news and media relations, publications and graphic design, alumni magazines, photography, videography, sports information and WLUR radio station.

Eckert succeeds Jeffery G. Hanna, who is retiring from the position and has been named to a new position as special assistant for strategic initiatives in the Office of University Advancement.


New Book by W&L's Kolman Explores History of American Wind Music

Barry Kolman’s new book, “The Origins and Early History of American Wind Music: Instrument Makers, Composers, Instructional Methods and Ensemble Performance,” (Edwin Mellen Press, Sept. 2013) is the first volume to examine the earliest musical beginnings of the tradition of community bands in America during the half century following the American Revolution.

Kolman has already been awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for his book’s distinguished contribution to scholarship in the field of American Music History. He is professor of music at Washington and Lee University, conducts the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (USSO) and is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the world.

Kolman noted that orchestra conductors study the history of music, such as from the baroque and romantic eras, when they prepare a piece to conduct and that he hopes that band conductors will now use his book to understand the origins of the music they are conducting. “As a clarinet player I’m very interested in wind music — for clarinet, flute and wind ensemble — and since band music is an important part of American culture, I wanted to find out how it took off and evolved into what it is now,” he said. “Some of this music is still performed now and then, and I would like readers to appreciate where this music came from and not take it for granted.”

According to Kolman, most existing studies of the history of music start around the 19th century and the Civil War but nobody has researched what happened to the music and the instruments after the Revolution, when the English musical influence was still dominant.

Music was a very popular form of entertainment before the Revolution and relatives, friends and neighbors gathered in homes to play musical instruments at evening musical soirées.  After the Revolution, interest in these soirées grew as a group of musicians, mostly from New England, began to provide instruction and music in the form of tutors — method books that gave diagrams, fingering charts, scales and exercises, as well as musical compositions in the back of the books.

Cheap and plentiful, the tutors were sold in many places, including tobacco stores and on newspaper stands. People knew all the popular marches by ear already and now, for the first time, they learned to play them in small instrumental ensembles that marked the beginning of a long tradition of community bands in America.

These tutors were published by composers whom Kolman described as “the first generation of American composers who wanted to write for a new America, defining an American style, sound and cultural identity.”

There were many authors of these tutors and in his book Kolman focuses on seven of the more prolific and influential composers: Oliver Shaw, Joseph Herrick, Ezekiel Goodale, William Whiteley, Henry Moore and Samuel Holyoke, who was probably the most important of these pioneers. The book includes a history of each composer.

These composers published both original marches and arrangements of marches for various combinations of instruments and for duets, trios and octets. Because they composed for whatever instruments they knew people in the community possessed, including woodwinds, brasses, strings, percussion and piano, Kolman said this resulted in some unusual combinations, including one piece for clarinet, flute, trumpet and a snare drum.

Kolman said that it took him 35 years to write the book, which began as his doctoral thesis, and he encountered many difficulties in tracking down primary source material. “I wanted to find the major composers of this type of music and hold what they wrote in my hands,” he said. “But it was a really tough challenge to find music that was written 200 years ago. I thought it had been destroyed, but I actually found the original copies signed by the composers through a lot of legwork going to libraries and was able to include copies of those scores in the book.”

Kolman also looked for the instruments of the period or at least pictures or descriptions of them. The book describes each instrument in detail, including original fingering charts and insight into the instructional methods at the time.

“I looked for anything I could get my hands on to figure out what instruments they were playing. For example, what did a bassoon look like? And one instrument, the serpent — a bass instrument with a strange configuration — is rarely played today,” he added.

Kolman also found the original tutors. “They were written in old fashioned English and the advice that some of these composers gave was a little humorous by today’s standards. A lot of things have changed in 200 years, probably because the instruments became better built, and we don’t have to do some of the funky things that the early teachers made their students do,” he said.

Kolman received his B.Mus. in music education from the Crane School of Music, his M.Mus. in clarinet performance from Illinois State University and his Doctor of Arts degree in conducting from the University of Northern Colorado where he was awarded the Dean’s Citation for Excellence for his graduate research.

“The Origins and Early History of American Wind Music: Instrument Makers, Composers, Instructional Methods and Ensemble Performance,” is available at the University Store and through its website at http://bookstore.wlu.edu.

Related //,
Tagged //

W&L's Kolman Publishes Spanish Edition on How to Read, Write Music

Barry Kolman, professor of music at Washington and Lee University, has published a Spanish language version of his acclaimed book “The Language of Music Revealed” (Universal Publishers, 2012).

According to Kolman, “El Languaje de la Música, al Descubierto”(Editorial Seleer, Spain, 2013) is the first book published in Spanish on the fundamentals of how to read and write music.

Critics have praised “The Language of Music Revealed” for “moving musical theory and practical application into a new and engaging realm,” and hundreds of teachers have adopted the book as their standard student text.

“Unlike most music theory books, Kolman has worked hard to ensure that the book is fun, engaging and develops a deeper understanding and appreciation of the subject,” wrote one critic.

Kolman hopes the success of the English version will be repeated in the Hispanic community with the Spanish language edition.

“This was a labor love,” said Kolman. “I was appalled that there were no books written in Spanish on music fundamentals for the average person. Spanish universities told me that they translated whatever books they found into Spanish and also used a lot of British books. But there were no books written in Spanish.”

Like the English version, the book includes graphics, a cartoon character and jokes to guide the reader through music theory. “The jokes didn’t quite translate into Spanish,” said Kolman, “so the translator and I made up jokes that would work in Spanish.”

He credited Washington and Lee University for providing the funds to hire the translator, who needed to know about music since musical terms don’t translate verbatim.

Kolman introduced the book and played clarinet to a Hispanic audience at the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 10th Annual Hispanic Gala in October. He has also been invited to work with various schools in Chicago, Ill., talking about the book and giving mini lessons on how to read music.

Kolman conducts the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (USSO), along with teaching music fundamentals, introduction to music, applied clarinet, and conducting. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the world.

He received his B.Mus. in music education from the Crane School of Music, his M. Mus. in clarinet performance from Illinois State University and his Doctor of Arts degree in conducting from the University of Northern Colorado.

“El Languaje de la Música, al Descubierto” is available at bookstores and online.

Related //,
Tagged //

W&L Law's Russ Miller Discusses German Reaction to NSA Spying (Audio)

The recent revelations by Edward Snowden of the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program in Europe has created a furor overseas, especially in Germany, where it is alleged that the NSA went so far as to listen in on the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In this audio, Washington and Lee law professor Russell Miller, an expert in German Constitutional Law who has researched both U.S. and European national security issues, explains the different reactions to this news in the U.S. and Germany and why Americans seem less alarmed by the NSA program.

Miller recently gave an interview on this topic to the Germany’s “Verfassungsblog,” which covers constitutional law issues in Germany. In the interview he observed that a “common explanation is that American comfort with these and other recent security measures reflects the still-open wound and insecurity left by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which can be compared with Germany’s recent very negative experiences with state security institutions during the National Socialist period and in the GDR. I’m interested in another possible explanation, which involves a more nuanced understanding of Americans’ traditional suspicion of government and of the state.

“I think there might be evidence that Americans have traditionally embraced state power in a realm I might refer to as the core role of government. In that realm there is a deeply accepted, but very narrow, range of purposes for which Americans think government is essential. It is only outside of that narrow, core range that the American suspicion of the state surfaces. Security would have to be one of these core state functions with which Americans are much less troubled.”

The full interview is available online.

Related //
Tagged //

Michael Ignatieff Presents Inaugural Lecture for W&L's Mudd Center for Ethics

What role should democratic deliberation play in decisions about whether or not to engage in human-rights interventions?

In the inaugural lecture of Washington and Lee University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics on Thursday, Oct. 31, Michael Ignatieff, a renowned author, academic and former Canadian politician, posed that question with respect to the reluctance of the United States to use force in Syria’s civil war.

“We all know that interventions can turn out very badly,” Ignatieff said. “But after Syria, we know that doing nothing turns out badly, too. There is an important difference. When we intervene, at least some of the consequences are borne by us, whereas when we don’t, the consequences are borne exclusively by those we failed to assist.”

Ignatieff’s lecture was the first event sponsored by the new center, established through a gift to Washington and Lee by its alumnus Roger Mudd, the award-winning journalist and a member of the Class of 1950. Mudd attended the opening event; introduced by Angela Smith, the center’s director and the Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics, he received warm, sustained applause from the Lee Chapel audience.

Named in 2005 by Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine as one of the world’s 100 leading public intellectuals, Ignatieff was among a group that prepared the report “The Responsibility to Protect” for the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. The report examined the role of international involvement in Kosovo and Rwanda.

In discussing the recent controversy raised by the debate over United States involvement in Syria, Ignatieff said that he and others like him who believe in “the responsibility of states to protect citizens in other nations when their own state is unwilling or unable to do so” have arrived at a moment of truth. They must determine how far to push “the priority of responsibility over the requirement of democratic consent,” he said.

“I don’t think we have honestly addressed the fact that the practical exercise of responsibility in the international order has depended on discretionary exercises of authority by the president of the United States,” Ignatieff said. “Without those exercises of authority, no alliance of democratic states to protect victims has ever been credible. The entire future of intervention depends on the will of the American people, in my judgment.”

Ignatieff said that citizens may simply disagree about the use of force in cases where the justice of a cause may seem obvious to some but not to all. “In a democracy, the justice of the cause has to be sufficiently self-evident to a majority for it to become the kind of cause that young men and women can be asked to die for,” he said.

The moral heart of a democracy, he added, is the process of “adversarial justification,” in which competing principles are addressed in an effort to “show the people the cause is just.”

The Mudd Center for Ethics at W&L is committed to fostering serious inquiry into, and thoughtful conversation about, important ethical issues in public and professional life. It seeks to advance dialogue, teaching and research about these issues across the University. The Mudd Center also aims to encourage a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice.


W&L Law Symposium on Roe v Wade Strives for Balance

On Nov. 7-8, Washington and Lee University School of Law will host a symposium exploring Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Forty years have passed since the Court decided the case, yet the issue of abortion continues to split society along seemingly intractable lines.

One of the goals of the W&L symposium , says faculty organizer Assoc. Dean Sam Calhoun, is to address this divide by creating a balanced forum that provides varying perspectives on abortion.

“Encouraging a civil and comprehensive discussion of abortion has long been an interest of mine,” says Calhoun. “I’ve tried to accomplish this in my Abortion Controversy Seminar, and I have written about the challenges involved in pulling this off.”

Indeed, the W&L event is not the first to explore the Roe decision during this anniversary year, but Calhoun observes that most of these other events have been one-sided, typically dominated by the pro-choice perspective. Calhoun and his student partners from the W&L Law Review, Thomas Short and Lara Gass, worked hard to bring a balance of perspectives to the event.

“This is reflected in both the presentations and in our event sponsors,” says Calhoun. “Also, we will have two keynote speakers, one by a pro-choice advocate and the other by a pro-life advocate.”

One of the keynotes will be delivered by Caitlin Borgmann, Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on the respective roles and authority of the courts and the legislatures in protecting constitutional rights, and on the role and judicial treatment of fact-finding in constitutional rights cases. She has also written extensively about reproductive rights.

The other keynote will be delivered by Michael Paulsen, Distinguished University Chair and Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Paulsen is among the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional interpretation.

Sponsors for the event include the ACLU of Virginia, the Frances Lewis Law Center of Washington and Lee University, the Provost’s Office of Washington and Lee University, University Faculty for Life, Virginia NOW, and the Washington and Lee Law Review. A full list of participants and presentation schedule can be seen online at law.wlu.edu/roeat40.

By focusing on balanced perspectives, symposium organizers do not mean to suggest that advocates should give up their principled stances or that abortion is an issue for which compromise can be readily accomplished. Rather, Calhoun says the motivating concept is that an academic conference should encourage a free and full exchange of views and that this goal is possible even for an issue as contentious as abortion.

“I don’t expect any of the participants to change their views,” says Calhoun. “But hopefully they will at least better understand the opposing side, laying the groundwork for continued productive dialogue in the future.”

Annual W&L Law and Literature Seminar to Explore Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars

On Nov.1-2, Washington and Lee University will host the 21st annual Law and Literature Seminar. Sponsored with the W&L Alumni College program, the Law and Literature Seminar is the longest running program of its kind in the country.

The seminar will be held in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. The program will again be led by Villanova Law professor Dave Caudill and W&L English professor Marc Conner. W&L Law faculty members Brian Murchison and Margaret Hu will also participate in the discussion. CLE credit is available.

This year’s seminar will focus on the prize-winning contemporary American novel, Snow Falling on Cedars. Within the framework of a courtroom drama, David Guterson’s novel explores a variety of themes: memory and guilt, racism, justice and betrayal, and small-town relationships. Set in the Puget Sound area of Washington during the 1950s, Snow Falling on Cedars follows the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese-American, accused of the murder of a neighbor in a small, close-knit fishing community.

Complicating the case is the deep antipathy toward the Japanese that followed World War II—Miyamoto’s family, along with all citizens of Japanese extraction in the region, had been incarcerated in California internment camps during the war. The trial is narrated by the editor of the local newspaper, himself a wounded veteran of the Pacific War.

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the novel is praised by the New York Times Book Review as “finely wrought, flawlessly written.”

Clearing a Path for Ethics in the 21st Century

The following opinion piece by Roger Mudd ’50 appeared in the Oct. 30, 2013, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

Clearing a Path for Ethics in the 21st Century

by
Roger Mudd ’50

What is it about the word “ethics” that is so difficult for many Americans to understand?

Pick up the paper on any morning of the week and read the headlines: Virginia governor accepts $150,000 in gifts and money; Detroit mayor sentenced to 28 years for bribery and extortion; race-fixing scandal hangs over NASCAR; U.S. Navy rocked by bribery scandal; JP Morgan Chase fined $13 billion for mortgage practices; and two former governors, Don Siegelman, of Alabama, and Rod Blagojevich, of Illinois, are currently serving prison sentences for corruption.

What motivates such transgressions? Is it pure greed? The ease of becoming corrupt? The pleasure of not being caught? The very laxness of the laws? Or a combination of all four?

Even though corrupt politicians have been with us from the beginning, most citizens observe unspoken ethical standards and do so without shaming their name and or their profession.

But given the recent and dramatic shifts in our society, perhaps we have ceased to hold a place in the 21st century for a code of conduct acceptable to all levels of the population.

In a provocative column entitled “Reinventing Ethics,” Professor Howard Gardner, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes in The New York Times that “citizens in complex, modern democratic societies regularly confront situations in which traditional morality provides little if any guidance.”

“The professional,” he writes, “deals every day with issues that cannot possibly be decided by simply consulting the Bible or some other traditional moral code.”

Our culture has become “infinitely malleable,” writes the British journalist Jeremy Campbell, and our society too complex “for it to survive by always telling the truth.”

What better role for the newly christened Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University than to assemble leaders of the professions to update or recast their ethical standards so that they are relevant to our changed society?

Take, for instance, my former profession — journalism.

It may come as a surprise to many that the press does have a code of ethics. But the codes are obscure, voluntary and almost toothless.

A reporter in the Richmond, Va., bureau of the Associated Press was recently fired, along with his two editors, for an innocent but sloppy, and briefly damaging mistake involving the Democratic candidate for governor. AP quickly corrected the mistake, but most journalists found the firing excessively harsh.

The press does have a generally agreed-upon set of standards: we do not make up stories; we do not fabricate quotations; we attribute information that is not self-evident; we do not publish or broadcast offensive pictures; we do not use obscene words, unless we write for The New Yorker or talk on cable television; and we acknowledge that every individual has a right to privacy.

But reporters and editors remain divided on how large the zone of privacy should be and to whom it should apply. And they are unsettled on whether material on the Internet is in the public domain.

Do we photograph without permission? It depends. Do we go through the garbage of public figures? It depends. Do we entrap? It depends. Do we lie about our identity in order to penetrate someone’s privacy? It depends.

And what it depends on, of course, is whether the story is worth the ethical compromise it requires and whether the competition is on to the story.

Washington and Lee has long prided itself on producing graduates with a fine sense of honor, the willingness to ask the tough questions, and the ability to see clearly and quickly what is fair, decent and generous.

The university and its new Center for Ethics have a matchless opportunity to offer a current generation of our students, and others, the tools and resources necessary to think critically and humanely about the complex ethical issues they will confront in the world today.

Award-winning journalist Roger Mudd is a 1950 graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington where the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics will be inaugurated on Thursday, Oct. 31.


Jack-o'-Lanterns, W&L-style

It’s not too late to get our your carving tools, use our stencils and create your very own Washington and Lee Jack-O’-Lantern.

You’ll find the stencils for the images below:

Email a photo of your Jack-O’-Lantern to wlunews@wlu.edu or tweet us your photo at @wlunews. Here are several we’ve received so far.


W&L Dedicates Belfield as Guest House, Special Events Center

Belfield, once the home of Washington and Lee University’s legendary dean, Frank J. Gilliam, was formally dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 26, as a new guest house and special-events venue for the University.

Through an anonymous gift from an alumnus, W&L purchased the property in 2010 and has completed a careful restoration of both the home and the extensive gardens.

See a video of the Belfield dedication below.

“This was a labor of love that began almost with a casual phone call from a person who made it possible for us to bring this wonderful place back into the University’s fold,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “It was a labor of love but, as Carole Bailey, the project manager, will attest, it was definitely labor. It was a hard project with a lot of very, very careful attention to detail, and we are very proud of it.”

Washington and Lee’s stories, Ruscio said, are of people and places, and Belfield cannot be seen apart from Gilliam, a 1917 graduate of the University who had a powerful influence on generations of Washington and Lee students during his three decades as dean of students.

“Washington and Lee has a tremendous impact on those of us who have gone through its doors,” said Ruscio, a 1976 graduate of W&L. “It shapes us in ways that we never really realize until we reflect on it. But there are a few individuals who have gone through this institution where the balance of trade goes in the other direction, where they shape the institution even more than the institution shapes them.

“And surely, Dean Gilliam was one of those individuals.”

Two other W&L alumni shared Ruscio’s sentiments in brief remarks to the gathering, which included several members of the Gilliam family, including his daughter, Louise Gilliam Hopkins, who joined Ruscio in cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

Garland Tucker, a 1969 graduate of W&L, from Raleigh, N.C., recalled walks through the gardens during his student days, with the woman who would become his wife and Frank and Louise Gilliam.

“It’s our hope that now Belfield will take its place among the historic buildings at W&L, and that when future students come through this place, they’ll have the same opportunity that we alums had,” he said. “They’ll have the opportunity to walk through Washington Hall, Lee Chapel and now Belfield and, in the process, come into contact with those great values and principles that have undergirded our university years and certainly undergirded Dean and Mrs. Gilliam.”

Billy Webster, a 1979 graduate of W&L and current member of the Board of Trustees, from Spartanburg, S.C., spoke of the personal relationship that he developed with Dean Gilliam from his first days on campus.

Said Webster: “When I think of honor, tradition, civility, gentlemanliness and character, it’s Dean Gilliam’s face that I see and his voice that I hear.”

Located on Liberty Hall Road just west of Wilson Field, Belfield was designed by Walter Rogers Crowe and completed in 1929. The home features exquisitely detailed, hand-carved woodwork.

“We were very conscious of the historic-preservation issues with this project,” said Bailey, senior project manager at W&L. “We have done very little structurally to the residence, and we have benefited from the expertise of interior designers with considerable historic-design experience.”

Because of the age and significance of Belfield, the University engaged Arcadia Preservation, of Keswick, Va., to produce a historic-structures report. The University detailed all architectural features, both interior and exterior, and inventoried design elements and materials used to build the house.

Assessments determined that the house was in good condition overall, with the original details largely untouched. The bathrooms and kitchen needed updating, and the house had to be made ADA accessible.

The special touches that will add to the visitor experience in Belfield include the display throughout the house of reproductions of a set of 1857 lithographs titled “Album of Virginia,” by Edward Beyer. The Gilliams had originally hung wallpaper depicting the Beyer works on the dining room walls

“While the lithographs are on walls throughout the house, we’ve kept several of those featuring nearby locations like Natural Bridge in the dining room,” Bailey noted.

Belfield features four guest rooms, all with similar finishes, on the second floor, with a variety of spaces on the first floor for social gatherings. A warming kitchen will be available for use by the University’s catering operation.

The gardens are a major feature of Belfield. Originally designed by renowned landscape architect Charles Gillette, the gardens were known throughout Virginia for their splendor. The Gilliams were avid gardeners, honored in 1960 with the Massie Medal for horticultural achievement from the Garden Club of Virginia, of which Louise Gilliam had been president in 1948–50.

To restore the gardens, the University turned to Higgins and Gerstenmaier Landscape Architects, of Richmond. The firm has experience working with other Gillette gardens; as Bailey explained, “their expertise has given W&L insight in preserving and reviving the gardens in a manner consistent with Gillette’s style.”

The initial efforts have targeted the rehabilitation of existing garden plantings and the elements that create the “rooms” of the garden. Original plantings, and those added through the years consistent with Gillette’s style, have been preserved and progressively worked to bring them back from an overgrown state.

“This has been an extremely demanding project,” said Bailey. “The grounds had been neglected for years. We have reset the walkways but have taken care to maintain them in their original style. For instance, in several areas, we photographed and numbered the pavers, set them aside and then reset them. A lot of care has been taken to try to match mortar colors in the walkways and wall elements. We have tried to save all the patina that built up on the bricks. We preserved the lichens or moss, wherever possible, to maintain that feeling of age.”

Preserving the many English boxwoods has been one of the major challenges, Bailey noted.

“The boxwoods are all very old,” Bailey said. “They’ve been cared for in such a way that if we had killed any of them, we could not have replaced them. We were very careful to take good care of them. There were a couple of close calls, but we were able to preserve them.

“That said, the rejuvenation of the boxwoods will take multiple growing seasons before they return to their stately condition of the past,” she added.

Through its use as a guest house, Belfield will complement the Morris House, which located on W&L’s front campus and both hosts visitors and serves as a seminar and meeting space.

Watch video below.


Kuettner to Lead Virginia Language Association

Dick Kuettner, professor in the Romance Languages and Teacher Education departments and director of the Tucker Multimedia Center at Washington and Lee, has been named president-elect of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA). It is the oldest state body of professional language educators in the nation and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011.

FLAVA is composed of professionals in education and business, as well as students, who have a common interest in promoting and utilizing world languages to accomplish their various goals. As president-elect, Kuettner will complete two years of training before assuming the position of president.

“It’s an honor to have been elected to the position,” said Kuettner. “The state of Virginia has a rich history of language teaching and learning and is filled with truly creative individuals in the world languages educator field. I look forward to working with them all.”

Kuettner is coordinator of W&L’s Foreign Language Teacher Workshop Series, which broadcasts live workshops four or five times each academic year to universities and school division host sites across the state. The program is a significant component of the Foreign Language Professional Development Framework, developed jointly by FLAVA and the Virginia Department of Education.


W&L Community Grant Proposals Due Nov. 8

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Fall 2013 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2013 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2013-14 cycle.

During the second round of the 2012-13 evaluations held in June, 2013, 16 organizations submitted proposals for a total of more than $80,500 in requests. The University made $23,330 in grants to 8 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center
  • Lexington City Schools
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center
  • Rockbridge Area Hospice
  • Rockbridge Christmas Basket, Inc.
  • Rockbridge County Public Schools Foundation
  • Rockbridge Regional Library
  • Valley Program for Aging Services

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Program website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address:

http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Please call 540-458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to 540-458-8745 or mailed to:

Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450


Washington and Lee Honors Two Distinguished Young Alumni

Washington and Lee University honored two graduates with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award during Young Alumni Weekend, Oct. 25–26: Jane Ledlie Batcheller, of Atlanta, a graduate of the Class of 2003 and the Law Class of 2008, and Paul S. Trible III, of Richmond, of the Class of 2003.

Jane Ledlie Batcheller is an associate with the Atlanta law firm Arnall Golden Gregory, in its corporate and securities practice. She is also a member of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice as well as the strategic-alliances and joint-ventures practice. She represents public and private companies in corporate transactional matters, as well as clients in the transportation, food-service-distribution and health-care industries.

At W&L, she played varsity soccer; served as secretary of the Executive Committee of the Student Body; belonged to Kathekon, the student alumni organization; and served as an honor advocate, among many activities. While enrolled in the School of Law, Batcheller served as a volunteer assistant coach with the women’s soccer team, assistant head of the Honor Advocate Program and on the Moot Court Board. She was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership society.

As an alumnus, she has been a chapter volunteer, a member of her reunion class committee, a career mentor, and local chair of the Alumni Admissions Program.

W&L recognized Batcheller for “her many accomplishments in law, her steadfast support of Washington and Lee, and a life that brings credit to her alma mater.”

Paul S. Trible III is the co-founder and CEO of Ledbury, a menswear company specializing in men’s fine dress shirts and based in Richmond. Trible launched Ledbury in 2009 after he had spent a year as an apprentice in London under Robert Emmert, a premier shirt maker.

Following his graduation from W&L, where he majored in history, Trible joined the international non-profit Operation Smile, a worldwide charitable organization that treats facial deformities. He ran medical missions in Africa, Asia and Latin America and led Operation Smile U.K. from its London headquarters for four years. He earned an M.B.A. from Oxford University.

Trible has supported his alma mater as a chapter volunteer and campus speaker.

W&L recognized him for “his contributions to children’s health, his entrepreneurial spirit, his success in turning a passion into a career, and his support of Washington and Lee.”

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio presented the awards to Batcheller and Trible in a ceremony in Washington Hall on Friday, Oct. 25.


W&L's Strong on Kennedy and Frost in Irish Times

The following op-ed appeared in The Irish Times on Saturday Oct. 26, 2013, and is reprinted here with permission.

John F. Kennedy applauded poetry
as a potent antidote to power

by
Robert Strong
William Lynne Wilson Professor of Politics

Americans will soon experience a painful set of national memories. In less than a month our calendars will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. Unlike other deaths of prominent people, this one came too suddenly, too soon and too senselessly to be anything other than a shock. Most Americans who were alive at the time remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. They can easily bring back to mind the black-and
-white television images that were seen and shared by millions over an anxious and agonising November weekend.

America and the world will, of necessity, revisit those memories on the forthcoming assassination anniversary. But perhaps it is also worthwhile to celebrate another anniversary, one that marks an earlier, more hopeful and more reflective moment in the Kennedy presidency.

Fifty years ago today, John F Kennedy visited Amherst, a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts, and delivered a convocation address. The college was celebrating the ground-breaking for a new library to be named for Robert Frost, a former teacher of English at the college and Kennedy’s invited poet at the 1961 inaugural ceremonies. In 1961, the then 86-year-old Frost wrote a new poem for the occasion, but when a bright sun and blustery January winds made it impossible for him to read from the papers on the podium, the poet improvised and recited The Gift Outright from memory. The inaugural crowd applauded wildly.

In October of 1963, the tables were turned, and the president was the guest speaker invited to say something in honour of the poet who had helped the nation celebrate the first day of his presidency. Kennedy and his speechwriters chose to frame the Amherst remarks in a broad fashion. The president could easily have just talked about Frost, a poet who had many connections to his New England home. Frost had died earlier in the year and Kennedy could have delivered a simple eulogy. He did that, but he also aimed for something higher. In his remarks, the president talked about poetry and power and about the role of the artist in the life of the nation.

The human condition

Kennedy quoted the last line of one of Frost’s poems (and the epitaph on his gravestone) – “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world” – and reminded his listeners that Frost sometimes delivered dark observations about the human condition and could be a critic of the world around him. The president understood that artists can be quarrelsome, sometimes unpopular and often isolated, but he welcomed the messages of those who “sail against the currents of their time.”

He described poetry as an antidote to power: “When power leads man to arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of this existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”

Genuine art, Kennedy said, “does not belong to the spheres of polemics and ideology”. It is “not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” And truth often reminds us “that our nation falls short of its highest potential.”

Kennedy warned that a country that “disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having ‘nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.'” And then the president looked forward to his own hopes: “a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.”

A leader lost

Part of the regret that will accompany the remembrances of Kennedy’s death next month will be the thought that we lost a leader who was, at least on some occasions, elegant and eloquent. We once had a president who could applaud the artists who were his critics and encourage them to pursue their truth even if it came at the expense of those in his profession.

American presidents don’t give speeches like the one Kennedy delivered at Amherst College all that often, but when they do, they demonstrate the best that can be done with the bully pulpit they temporarily possess.

For Americans, today’s 50th anniversary is one they can recall with some pride as a rare example of presidential speech at its best.

Here in Ireland, people might choose to remember something else. When Robert Frost gave John F Kennedy a copy of the new poem he had been unable to read at the inauguration ceremonies, he also gave the new president some famous advice: “Be more Irish than Harvard.” It is not fully known what Kennedy thought of that advice, but he often quoted and always admired the poet who gave it.

Robert A Strong is the William Lyne Wilson professor of politics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and this year serves as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar in the department of history and archives at University College Dublin. The full text of Kennedy’s remarks at Amherst on October 26th, 1963, can be found at jfklibrary.org on the link to his historic speeches

Another W&L Hall of Famer

Another day, another Washington and Lee alum in a hall of fame.

In Thursday’s blog, we wrote about the induction of John Bassett III, of the Class of 1959, into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.

Today it’s Richard Duchossois’ turn.

Junior Achievement has just named Dick, a member of the Class of 1944, to the Chicago Business Hall of Fame.

He was one of three honorees. One of the others was Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox.

Dick is chairman of the Duchossois Group, a privately held, family-owned company with holdings in the consumer products, technology and service sectors.

The Chicago Business Hall of Fame was created “to honor the champions of free enterprise and present role models in business for area youth.” Laureates are featured in a permanent exhibition at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.


New York Times’ Dean Baquet to Address W&L Journalism Ethics Institute

Dean Baquet, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and managing editor for news at The New York Times, will present the keynote address of the 56th Institute on Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University on Friday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

The title of Baquet’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Why the Big News Organizations and Their Anonymous Sources Matter.”

Baquet was Washington bureau chief for The Times from March 2007 to September 2011 after serving as deputy Metro editor and then editor of the Los Angeles Times from 2000 to 2007.

Previously, Baquet had been national editor of The New York Times since July 1995, after having served as deputy Metro editor since May 1995. He joined The Times in April 1990 as a Metro reporter. In May 1992, he became special projects editor for the business desk.

Before joining The Times, Baquet was an associate Metro editor for investigations and was chief investigative reporter covering corruption in politics for the Chicago Tribune from December 1984 to March 1990 and prior to that he reported for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans for nearly seven years.

While at the Chicago Tribune, Baquet was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting when he led a team of three in documenting corruption in the Chicago City Council. He wasa finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in the investigative reporting category and has received numerous local and regional awards.

Baquet holds a degree in English from Columbia University.

The Journalism Ethics Institute is a two-day event that brings together eminent professionals from throughout the country and students in the journalism ethics class to explore ethical cases that the journalists present.

The institutes are funded by the Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and are co-sponsored by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Bassett Honored by Furniture Hall of Fame

Washington and Lee alumnus John Bassett III, of the Class of 1959, has been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.

John received this latest honor on Oct. 20 at the High Point Market, the largest home-furnishings industry trade show in the world.

According to the story on the award on the Roanoke Times, John became “the sixth member of his extended furniture-making family” to win the award.

John is chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. headquartered in Galax, Va. As the Times notes, John is known for his leadership in “antidumping” campaigns in which domestic furniture makers have fought against Chinese furniture makers who were trying to destroy American factories by selling their goods for less than the cost of materials.

Among those John recognized during his acceptance speech was his son Wyatt, a 1988 W&L graduate and No. 2 at Vaughan-Bassett.

As part of a major feature story that the Roanoke Times did on the Bassetts in February 2012, the newspaper produced a short video about him. You can watch it below:


Adweek Features W&L Alum Andrew Keller

That’s Washington and Lee alumnus Andrew Keller staring out from this week’s cover of Adweek magazine, and the tagline for the story is “CP+B (And K).”

Our blog reported in October 2010 on Andrew’s appointment as CEO of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, one of the nation’s premier ad agencies.

Three years later, Adweek evaluates Andrew’s performance as the person who replaced Alex Bogusky as head of the agency. As the headline puts it, “This Man Is Not Alex Bogusky. And That’s OK. How Andrew Keller is reshaping CP+B.”

Andrew, a 1992 graduate of W&L, where he majored in English, had previously been head of creative at the agency and led accounts like Volkswagen and Burger King. Known in the past for edgy campaigns, Andrew tells Adweek that the current strategy is “to demonstrate that what’s at the core of what we do as a company is relevant for all sorts of brands.”

Andrew is set to be the keynote speaker for W&L’s annual Adlib Conference on March 6 and 7, 2014. In the meantime, you can watch an Adweek video (below) in which Andrew describes the CP+B method:

Dickinson's Maher to Present Morton Endowment Lecture at W&L

Washington and Lee University’s Department of Philosophy will present a lecture by Chauncey Maher, assistant professor of philosophy at Dickinson College, entitled “Varieties of Minds,” at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, in Huntley Hall 327.

Sponsored by the William W. Morton Endowment for Philosophy and Religion, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Maher researches animal cognition, citing such examples as the ability of New Caledonian crows to fashion tools to retrieve food and honeybees’ ability to communicate about the location of nectar. He is working on an introductory book on intentionality “to clarify the different things one might mean in claiming that some animal or other thinks about the world.”

A member of the Dickinson faculty since 2008, he holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland, an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

He is the author of “The Pittsburgh School of Philosophy,” part of the Rutledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy series, and is author or co-author of several articles in professional journals.

The William W. Morton Endowment for Philosophy and Religion was created as a joint departmental support fund in 1994 through the gift of W. Preston Greene Jr., a 1960 Washington and Lee alumnus from Napa, Calif., in memory of this dedicated teacher and his wife, Frances Campbell Morton. William Morton served on the W&L faculty from 1925 to 1956.

Related //,
Tagged //

Frank Jackson Exhibit Opens in W&L’s Staniar Gallery

“Echo and Silt,” recent paintings, prints and drawings by New England artist Frank Jackson, will be on view in Staniar Gallery from Nov. 5 through Dec. 10. Jackson will give a public lecture at the exhibit opening on November 5. The artist’s talk, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall, will be followed by a reception in Lykes Atrium, adjacent to Staniar Gallery.

Jackson’s recent work includes raw, heavily pigmented paintings that revolve around the materiality of his materials, to delicate works on paper that suggest maps of imagined terrains. In this exhibition, Jackson addresses the question of what constitutes a landscape by describing certain sites as an emotional and intellectual state created by memory as much as a physical place to be experienced.

Jackson holds an MFA from the University of California at Davis and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has taught at Williams College and Rhode Island School of Design. Recent exhibition venues include The Williams College Museum of Art (Williamstown, Mass.), The Albany, N.Y., International Airport and The Tang Museum (Skidmore, N.Y.). Jackson lives and works in Williamstown, Mass.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.

W&L's Conner Discusses Ellison's Unpublished Writings, Letters (Audio)

At one point in his inaugural lecture on Oct. 21 as the new holder of Washington and Lee University’s Ballengee Professorship, Marc Conner brought his two primary areas of scholarship together in discussing the unfinished second novel of Ralph Ellison.

Conner, the Jo M. and James M. Ballengee 250th Anniversary Professor of English and associate provost at W&L, has been exploring the unpublished writings and letters of Ellison. At the same time, he writes and teaches about the great Irish novelist and poet James Joyce.

In describing Ellison’s unfinished novel, “Three Days Before the Shooting. . .,” which was published in 2010 as an edited manuscript, Conner drew a comparison between Ellison and Joyce. Ellison had spent 42 years after the publication of his award-winning “Invisible Man” writing the second book, but he never finished it.

” ‘Three Days Before the Shooting. . .’ is a space-clearing revisionist reading of both ‘Ulysses’ and ‘Finegan’s Wake,’ ” said Conner, referring to two of Joyce’s primary works. “We can understand this as Ellison’s supreme literary effort following the success of ‘Invisible Man’ to mirror, rival and perhaps surpass Joyce’s great modern epics.

“This is what he aims for in ‘Three Days,’ and it partly explains why the book remains unfinished, because his ambition was so high, which means his 40-year struggle is also a struggle with James Joyce, the strongest figure in the tradition of modernist narrative.”

Conner also discussed his current work compiling and co-editing, with Ellison’s literary executor John Callahan, Ellison’s “Selected Letters,” which will form a chronicle and autobiographical account of the writer’s major ideas, struggles and triumphs.

Conner joined the W&L faculty in 1996. He received bachelor’s degrees in English and philosophy at the University of Washington and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in English literature at Princeton University.

The Jo M. and James M. Ballengee 250th Anniversary Professorship was created in 1999 in honor of Washington and Lee’s 250th anniversary. Ballengee was a member of the Law Class of 1948 and served as the rector of W&L’s Board of Trustees.

AUDIO ONLY:

Fall JECE Panel to Examine Uranium Mining in Virginia

On Friday, Nov. 1, the Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment will host a panel discussion on Uranium Mining in Virginia.

The panel will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. This event is free and open to the public.

Currently, there is a state-imposed moratorium on Uranium mining in Virginia, and the idea of lifting this moratorium has become a hot issue during the current governor’s race in the state. Both the Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli and Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe support the end of the moratorium if the mining can be done safely.

Uranium mining could bring thousands of new jobs to Virginia, but residents of affected areas have raised concerns about the environmental impacts of the mining operations, including the contamination of ground water.

The JECE panel will feature Robert Bodnar, Professor at Virginia Tech, Cale Jaffe of the Southern Environmental Law Institute, Suzanne Phelps of the Nuclear Energy Institute, Chris Pugsley of Thompson & Pugsley, PLLC, Frank Settle, Professor of Chemistry at Washington and Lee University, and Kristin Szakos, Vice Mayor of Charlottesville.

The Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment is a student-edited periodical whose mission is to engage and educate the legal community, policy-makers, and the general public through publications and symposia on climate change, energy, and environmental issues affecting local, national, and global communities. Learn more about the Journal at http://law.wlu.edu/jece.

For more information about JECE or the upcoming panel, please contact Casey Coleman at coleman.k@law.wlu.edu.

More Honors for Reggie Aggarwal '94L

The honors and awards just keep coming for Reggie Aggarwal, a 1994 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law and the founder and CEO of Cvent, a cloud-based event-management platform headquartered in McLean, Va.

Reggie was honored as CEO of the Year by the Washington Business Journal, which selected him from a list of the 50 Most Admired CEOs.

In a news release from Cvent, Reggie said: “I’m extremely honored and humbled to have been chosen for this prestigious recognition from a group of notable CEOs from such prominent companies. This award is a huge milestone for the entire company, and it really is a testament to all of our employees’ hard work and dedication since the company started 14 years ago.”

This is WBJ’s first annual Most Admired CEO program, which honors executives in the greater Washington area for innovation in their field, outstanding financial performance, commitment to quality and diversity in the workplace, and contributions to the local community. Reggie will receive his CEO of the Year award in December.

Meantime, Cvent was honored with a silver Golden Bridge award in the Company Growth of the Year category. The Golden Bridge awards are an annual worldwide industry and peers recognition program that honors companies for growth, innovation, expansion and social responsibility.

Reggie also received the bronze award in the highly competitive Executive of the Year category of the Golden Bridge Awards.


A Gathering of Entrepreneurs at Washington and Lee

For the more than 200 Washington and Lee University students who attended the University’s second annual Entrepreneurship Summit last weekend, the war stories of alumni who have been in the trenches may have included some surprises.

Matt Langan, a 2010 graduate and co-founder of DigiDoctor, a patient-relationship management and marketing automation software for health-care professionals, was a case in point

Addressing a session titled “Bootstrapping,” Langan said that his ideas for new businesses invariably wound up taking a different direction than he had originally expected.

“With every single venture I started,” Langan said, “I ended up with an idea that was very different from the idea I first thought was going to be a home run.”

An entrepreneur is “bootstrapping” when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company.

“Bootstrapping,” said Langan, “is perfect for allowing you to pivot quickly and iterate your idea until you’re able to validate it and get traction. You also have creative control and don’t have to answer to investors. And when you’ve validated your idea, you have so much more power at the negotiating table when you do need to bring in cash in order to grow your business.”

Langan, a business administration major, was one of 64 alumni who participated in the event, sponsored by the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. According to Jeff Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship at W&L, the returning alumni represented 23 different majors, while the 202 student participants were spread out across 29 different majors. That breadth of interest across disciplines is what Shay believes sets W&L’s young entrepreneurship program apart.

• See a Storify from the Entrepreneurship Summit

A history major at W&L, Tom Pearce Jr., of the Class of 1985, founded Mortgage Asset Exchange, an electronic mortgage exchange that facilitates the trading of residential mortgage loans between mortgage originators and buyers of whole loans.

Pearce advised the audience that one path to entrepreneurship is to learn on someone else’s dime by getting a job in the industry and looking for opportunities where a need could be met, noting that this is the path that he took.

Andrew Ruppar, a 1998 graduate in public policy, is principal and chief operating officer of Inventory Source Technologies, an e-commerce company that handles supply-chain logistics and business-to-business application development. Describing the early struggles on his journey to successful entrepreneurship, he offered advice on eking out resources and spending dollars on things that lead to revenue in the early years.

Ruppar pointed out that when he started his entrepreneurial ventures, he had no idea whether it would be a good option for him. If he had attended an entrepreneurial summit such as the one now being offered at his alma mater, “if nothing else, it would have motivated me a little quicker.” He added, “I didn’t know anyone who was necessarily at the same stage of starting a business. You hear from everyone else that it’s all risk, and your parents are questioning if it’s really the best way to go — what about that really nice job that has health insurance and a 401K? So I think it’s encouraging for students to hear that it’s a viable option.”

Todd Smith-Schoenwalder, a W&L senior majoring in political philosophy, was among those who found the perspectives valuable. “I’ve recently been studying social media and why people are so attracted to it, specifically my generation, and I’ve come up with the idea for a social media application for academia,” Smith-Schoenwalder said. “I’m trying to work out how to make that idea manifest, and so I think this weekend is pretty valuable for me.”

W&L alumni attending the summit also benefited from networking with current students and fellow alumni. “It’s an opportunity to meet with people who have been through the same things you’ve been through, had the same growing pains and learned from them,” said Ruppar. “And there may be chances for people to work together on some new ventures. So I think it’s good for the folks who have been doing this for a while to rejuvenate, be with people who are at those early stages, then get back out there and start the next one.”

In addition to educational sessions and networking events, mentoring sessions enabled both alumni and student entrepreneurs to receive valuable feedback from experienced alumni entrepreneurs. Students were also able to pitch their new business ideas at the Student Pitch Competition as well interview with alumni for internships and permanent jobs.

First place in the Student Pitch Competition went to Brennon Williams, a first-year student from Hillsborough, Calif. His winning pitch was for a product called “Calicloth,” a material that treats acne. AnnMarie Wakely, a junior from Savannah, Ga., was second with her pitch for “JourneySafe,” which overlays crime data on top of mobile maps to offer safe travel, and Matthew Kordonowy, a sophomore from Fort Myers, Fla., took third with his clothing company called “Vern Clothing.”

W&L Board Selects Site for New Natatorium

Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed a recommendation to locate the University’s new natatorium on a site just northwest of Lewis Hall, the School of Law building. The board’s capital projects committee made the recommendation.

The board chose the “Plateau East” site over two others that a task force exploring W&L’s indoor athletic and recreation facilities had considered.

According to the recommendation, the site will effectively mask the size of the structure and “allows it to fit within the campus context better.”

A new 25-meter stretch pool with a diving well would be built on the site as part of plans to overhaul W&L’s indoor athletic and recreation facilities. The pool permits multiple user areas through the use of movable bulkheads. The configuration provides flexibility to accommodate varsity athletic competition, physical education classes and recreational swimming.

Those overall plans also call for a renovation of historic Doremus Gymnasium and the construction of a new facility on the site of Warner Center, the building that opened in 1972 and now houses the University’s swimming pool.

Fund-raising is underway for the indoor athletic complex; the campaign goal is $50 million for the natatorium, renovation of Doremus and construction of a facility on the Warner Center site. The project is part of Washington and Lee’s current campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future, which has raised $430 million toward its goal of $500 million. The campaign ends on June 30, 2015.

In addition to the natatorium site, the board also authorized planning to begin on the facility itself. W&L expects the building to contain between 46,000 and 48,000 square feet under one roof. Besides the pool and necessary mechanical support, the facility will include locker rooms, coaches’ offices and a “wet” classroom that allows swimmers to come directly from the pool for evaluation and teaching.

The natatorium will cost approximately $20 million of the $50 million total for the indoor athletic and recreation facilities. Construction will not begin until after the University has raised necessary funds for the facilities.


Washington and Lee Adds Two Members to Board of Trustees

Washington and Lee University swore in two new members of its Board of Trustees on Friday, Oct. 18, at the board’s fall meeting, in Lexington.

The new trustees, both alumni, are Michael McAlevey, vice president of legal operations and business development for GE Aviation, and B. Craig Owens, senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of the Campbell Soup Company.

With their addition, Washington and Lee’s board now has 33 members of its board.

Michael R. McAlevey graduated from W&L in 1986 with a B.A. in English. He belonged to Phi Beta Kappa academic honorary society and to Kappa Alpha fraternity. He competed in track and field for three years. He earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 1989.

McAlevey clerked for Judge Emmett R. Cox on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th  Judicial Circuit in Mobile, Ala., for one year. In 1990, he moved to Atlanta, Ga., and worked with the law firm of Alston & Bird, where he was elected a partner in 1996. In 1998, he moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as the deputy director of the division of corporation finance at the United States Securities & Exchange Commission.

He joined General Electric Co., in Fairfield, Conn., in 2003 as the company’s lead securities and finance lawyer. He was elected a company officer in 2007. In 2011, McAlevey moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he serves as the general counsel and business development leader for GE’s $21-billion aviation business. He has twice received the GE chairman’s award for leadership. He serves as a trustee of the Securities & Exchange Commission Historical Society and Artswave Cincinnati (formerly the Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund).

He and his wife, Lynne Taylor Harwich (Hollins College, Class of 1985), have two children: Isabelle Taylor, a member of W&L’s Class of 2017, and James Easton, a sophomore at Cincinnati Country Day School.

B. Craig Owens, the senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of the Campbell Soup Co., graduated from W&L in 1976 with a B.A. in politics. He also earned an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University.

From 1981 to 2001, Owens held general management and senior financial positions with the Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola bottlers in the U.S. and Europe. He then worked as executive vice president, CFO and head of strategy of Delhaize Group, a Belgian food retailer with more than $28 billion in annual revenues in 11 countries. The company’s U.S. division includes the well-known supermarket chains Food Lion and Hannaford.

Owens joined Campbell Soup Co. in 2008. In addition to his duties as CFO, he is responsible for the company’s global supply chain and information technology and is chairman of Campbell-Swire, a joint venture in China.

Owens is a board member and chair of the audit committee of Pall Corp. Previous non-profit board memberships include the Franco-American Fulbright Commission, St. John’s International School (Waterloo), the Waynflete School (Portland, Maine) and the Fletcher School board of overseers. He and his wife, Libby, have three children.


Meagan Miller '96 in Metropolitan Opera Debut

Meagan Miller, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1996, will make her Metropolitan Opera debut on Nov. 16 in the role of The Empress in Richard Strauss’ “Die Frau ohne Schatten.”

The New York Times billed Meagan’s pending performance as an “under the radar treat” and noted that “the rising American soprano” takes over for Anne Schwanewilms for the single performance.

We blogged about Meagan when she starred during the summer of 2011 at the Bard Summerscape Festival at Bard College. Meagan left W&L after her sophomore year to attend Julliard. Her first operatic role, as the Countess in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” came at the University, where she also gave her first solo performance.

Meagan is featured in the Euronews television spot (below) about her performance in the lead role of Puccini’s “La Fanciulla Del West” at the Monte Carlo Opera House last year.


Times-Dispatch Reports on the W&L Promise

The Richmond Times-Dispatch writes about the new Washington and Lee financial aid initiative, the W&L Promise, in its Oct. 16 editions.

The story is available at http://myw.lu/H35CVo.


Stalking Study by W&L Team Featured in Roanoke Times

A study on the psychological impact of stalking on its victims that was undertaken by a team of faculty and students at Washington and Lee was the basis for a major feature story in the Roanoke Times on Oct. 16, 2013.

To read the story, go to http://myw.lu/19IcnUB


WDBJ-TV Focuses on W&L's IQ Center

Washington and Lee’s new IQ Center was the focus of a feature story on Roanoke’s WDBJ-7 on Oct. 16, 2013.

To watch the story, go to http://myw.lu/174wWOG


Unexpected Gift for Bruce Rider '66

We have blogged before about Bruce Rider, champion writer of letters to the editor. The member of the Washington and Lee Class of 1966, who lives in Grapevine, Texas, is a frequent and eloquent contributor to everything from the New York Times to this magazine. He is such a regular at the Times, in fact, that he occasionally corresponds with the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., as he did last month.

In that private missive, he mentioned his father, Cowl Rider, of W&L’s Class of 1937, telling Sulzberger how the senior Rider wrote “Topics of the Times” from the 1940s to the 1960s. He closed by writing, “It is certainly a privilege to be able to share my opinions and ideas with your readers. I feel like I am, in some way, a small part of the New York Times journalistic family. Thank you for providing this splendid opportunity.”

A couple of weeks later, he received a package from the New York Times. To his surprise and delight, nestled inside was a plaque (see accompanying photo), which featured his latest letter.


Former Powell Clerk and Appellate Advocate Paul Smith to Speak at W&L Law

Paul M. Smith, former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell ’27, ’31L, will speak at Washington and Lee School of Law on Monday, Oct. 21. His talk will begin at noon in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.

Smith, who has presented oral arguments in 14 cases before the High Court, will present a lecture titled “Lawrence, Windsor, and Beyond.” He will discuss his role in arguing the landmark Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas. The lecture, which is sponsored by OUTLaw, will also address issues of civil rights and equality.

Smith is currently the Chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice and Co-Chair of the Media and First Amendment, and Election Law and Redistricting Practices at Jenner & Block. In addition to Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case, Smith argued Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, which established the First Amendment rights of those who produce and sell video games.

Smith has long been lauded by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in appellate litigation, media, and entertainment law, and First Amendment litigation. He has been recognized as a top lawyer by Washingtonian magazine, Washington DC Super Lawyer, and The National Law Journal, among others. He was also awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities for his efforts promoting civil rights and liberties.

An Award for Washington Hall

One of the key elements of the revitalization of Washington Hall, the signature building on Washington and Lee’s historic Colonnade, takes advantage of the building’s foyer to tell the story of George Washington’s transformative gift to struggling Liberty Hall Academy, while also honoring the University’s benefactors.

Through an exhibition, the Washington gift of canal stock comes to life on one side of the lobby area. The Benefactors’ Wall, honoring those who have given $1 million or more to W&L, has been reconfigured on the other side.

Earlier this month, that new space received national recognition for both the University and Richmond-based Glavé & Holmes Architects when it won first place in the Historic Preservation category of the 2013 Interior Design Excellence Awards. The award was presented jointly by the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Interior Design Association.

If you haven’t seen the award-winning space in person, have a look at the images below.


Michael Ignatieff Presents Inaugural Mudd Center for Ethics Lecture at W&L

Renowned author, academic and former politician Michael Ignatieff will present the inaugural lecture for Washington and Lee University’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics on Thursday, Oct. 31.

The lecture, titled “American Democracy, Human Rights, and the Use of Force,” will be in Lee Chapel at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited, and the event is free.

• Watch the lecture live.

Established through a gift to his alma mater from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, of the Class of 1950, the Mudd Center for Ethics is committed to fostering serious inquiry into, and thoughtful conversation about, important ethical issues in public and professional life.  It seeks to advance dialogue, teaching, and research about these issues across the University. The Mudd Center aims to encourage a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice.

Mudd, who will attend the inaugural events, has said that he decided to endow a center for the study of ethics at W&L based on his belief that the state of ethics in our current society demands such study, and that his alma mater is the appropriate place to carry out that study.

Angela Smith, director of the center and the first Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics, said that Ignatieff is an ideal speaker to begin the center’s important work.

“It is difficult to think of a more appropriate individual to give the inaugural lecture for the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics than Prof. Michael Ignatieff,” Smith said. “He is a well-respected academic, who has published on important topics of public and professional ethics ranging from the philosophy of punishment, to political economy in the enlightenment, to issues of nationalism, to human rights and the war on terror.

“But he has also spent time as a practicing professional, both as an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker in Britain, and as the national leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2008 to 2011,” she said. “Thus he has a wealth of experience, both theoretical and practical, to draw upon in inaugurating a center devoted to the study of public and professional ethics.”

Named in 2005 by Foreign Policy and Prospect Magazine as one of the world’s 100 leading public intellectuals, Ignatieff is a Canadian writer, teacher and former politician. He holds a joint professorial appointment at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has also taught at the University of British Columbia, Cambridge University and the London School of Economics.

In 2006, Ignatieff became a member of the Canadian House of Commons and went on to become deputy leader and, from 2008 through 2011, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The most recent of his 18 books, “Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics,” (2013) recounts his experiences in electoral office.

Among his previous volumes are “The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror” (2004) and “Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry” (2001). In Great Britain, where he lived for many years, Ignatieff hosted the television programs, “Voices on Channel Four” and “The Late Show” (a BBC arts program).

Ignatieff is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New York Review of Books. In September, he addressed President Barack Obama’s efforts to convince Congress to support air strikes in Syria in a New York Times piece titled “The Duty to Protect, Still Urgent.” He published “How to Save the Syrians” for The New York Review of Books, adapting the article from the Gareth Evans Lecture at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

Educated at the University of Toronto, Harvard and Cambridge, Ignatieff holds 11 honorary degrees and has won such major awards as the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012 and a MacArthur Foundation Grant in 2000, and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms in France in 2003.

For additional information on the Mudd Center for Ethics, see go.wlu.edu/mudd-center. The inaugural lecture will be streamed live at http://new.livestream.com/wlu/mudd-inaugural-lecture.

Recent op-eds by Michael Ignatieff:

For Michael Ignatieff on Twitter at @M_Ignatieff


Perfect Pitch: The Poem

This past summer, we wrote a blog about Patsy Cline’s residence in Lexington; she lived here between 1937 and 1942 when her father worked as a boilerman at Washington and Lee.

Our statistics showed that the blog entry had plenty of visitors, and one of them was W&L’s R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah, writer-in-residence at W&L and award-winning poet.

Rod was captivated with the thought that Patsy Cline had lived on Woods Creek. “I walked over to that much-altered residential area and tried to imagine her there,” he says. “Ginny was from Winchester, a foothill Virginian who walked, and probably ran and skipped, many of the same streets that I travel. And because I’ve loved her perfect-pitched voice since I was a boy in Georgia with access to radio ‘Hayride’ shows, she quickly became a ghostly presence. She’d always been, with her hurt-heart songs, a kind of siren, and when I was young, I loved her fringed cowgirl outfits as much as her yodel.”

So Rod began to study up on Patsy. He read Ellis Nasour’s “Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline” and Douglas Gomery’s “Patsy Cline: The Making of an Icon,” and he soon realized that “even the people who knew a lot about the woman didn’t agree.”

He remained fascinated by the picture of young Ginny, and says it “left me scribbling notes, wondering how I might make a poem for her, or really for me, but about her. But I didn’t know where it might go until I began to see her girlhood aspirations in contrast to the romanticized pictures of love’s sorrow which constitute the stories of her best work — ‘Walkin After Midnight,’ ‘Crazy,’ ‘She’s Got You,’ ‘I Fall to Pieces,’ ‘Sweet Dreams.’ These songs are about disappointment in love and the grief that follows, and her history, once she became Patsy Cline, is fraught with damaging marriages and reactive misconduct.”

After spending the summer listening to Patsy on his car stereo and watching YouTube videos of her performances, he began writing, “and unwriting,” the poem.

“Watching the successive drafts of the nascent poem alternately contract and expand, I started learning to live with the regret of everything that had to be omitted for space and pace,” he says. “I researched Big Band music and the Grand Ole Opry, read everything I could about the circumstances that led to the fatal plane crash that killed her, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and their pilot on that drizzly night.

“No matter how much I studied and experimented,” continues Rod, “what I kept returning to was how this icon of country western music didn’t really sing conventional country songs but cultivated the blue tones she’d learned from those early crooners in Lexington before the war took her family to different, and sometimes worse, living situations to follow the jobs.  I picture her in her nightdress or PJs, no slippers, rapt by the Gatsby-like dance music of WLU, then moving from cowgirl gal to pearled sophisticate in Las Vegas and Carnegie Hall, all ending in the tragic plunge of that Comanche into the woods of Tennessee, the spirit of Ginny Hensley always in the shadows since, her cut-crystal voice matching the divas note for note — a  little Piaf, a little Holiday, some Anita O’Day, but smoother, less glamorous — somewhere inside that intriguing woman so many revere as Patsy Cline.”

When he finished, Rod had “Perfect Pitch” printed in a brochure that is now available to Patsy’s countless fans — and to you. You can download a copy of the poem by clicking on the image above. Read for yourself how Rod has captured Ginny/Patsy and her connection to Lexington and W&L in verse.

Related //,
Tagged //

W&L Hosts Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit

Washington and Lee University’s second annual Entrepreneurship Summit will bring together alumni, students and faculty from all corners of the University to exchange ideas, share knowledge and establish valuable connections for present and future entrepreneurial endeavors during the two-day event on Oct. 18-19.

More than 50 W&L alumni representing 22 majors and 120 W&L students representing 32 majors are registered for the event, sponsored by the J. Lawrence Connolly Entrepreneurship Center.

“This event illustrates the pervasive nature of entrepreneurship across the W&L community and creates a natural bridge between students and faculty in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and the College,” said Jeffrey Shay, Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at W&L and summit organizer.

One reason for the summit’s popularity is that faculty across campus have been encouraging students to attend, even if they have not yet had coursework in entrepreneurship.

For instance, Joshua Stough, assistant professor of computer science, says that students majoring in his department can benefit from seeing the applicability of computer science outside the classroom.

“Most of the ventures to be presented are critically dependent on computer technology and therefore on the people who understand that technology,” said Stough. “In encouraging my Introduction to Computer Science students to attend the summit I hope more of them decide to be those people who understand the technology.”

Alexander Baca, a senior majoring in computer science and chemical engineering, will be attending as an aspiring technical entrepreneur. “I want to help create, nurture and inspire companies and communities of engineers to discover and develop new products,” Baca said. “There are many marvelous things that can be realized by applying the combination of computer science and chemical engineering. For example, using chemical engineering, I could bridge the gap between data analytics and medicine to foster discoveries in biotech.”

Azmain Amin, a first-year planning to major in biochemistry, has attended a national business competition in his native Bangladesh as well as a competition with participants from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Turkey. He would like to pursue entrepreneurship in biology, focusing on the need in Bangladesh for a portable method of checking the quality of food. “Almost everything we eat back home is contaminated with something harmful,” he said. “I want to figure out a way for people to check for themselves whether the food they eat is safe or not.”

Andrew Hess, adjunct associate professor of business administration, teaches a class on social entrepreneurship that examines how organizations and individuals have used a market-based approach to solving social issues. He explained that a critical component of this approach is to understand the strategy, finance, marketing and leadership of new ventures and entrepreneurs. “The summit will comprise a number of speakers and panels that will help my students understand the entrepreneurial process, including how to find funding, analyze a business plan and network with like-minded individuals,” he said.

First-year student Kyle Turpin will bring his interest in medical innovation, specifically preventative medicine, to the summit. “Eastern medicine very much focuses on this aspect of health,” he said, “whereas Western medicine is more reactive in the way it deals with medical problems. I’m hoping to be able to talk to members of both the medical community and the international business community to see the different paths I might tread to realize my end goal of combining medicine and culture.”

Sarah Helms, a sophomore French major, said she doesn’t have a specific goal for the summit but hopes to gain a foundational knowledge and thoughts about entrepreneurship. “It will open up interesting conversations with peers who have studied business and entrepreneurship,” she said. “I am pretty certain there is an overlap between entrepreneurship and my interests. In brief, the benefit of attending is learning.”

Friday’s program includes alumni presentations and interactive panel sessions for students and alumni launching new ventures on important topics such as bootstrapping, launching technology ventures, venture capital and angel funding, leveraging social media, protecting intellectual property and strategic models to enhance success.

Saturday morning begins with alumni and student entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to experienced alumni entrepreneurs. Saturday afternoon includes discussions on angel networks and building the W&L entrepreneur network and concludes with the opportunity for alumni to engage with students currently writing business plans.

The summit is open to W&L alumni, students, faculty and parents. Details can be found at http://entrepreneurship.wlu.edu/entrepreneurship-summit/

Former Philadelphia Inquirer Editor to Serve as Reynolds Professor at W&L

Gene Foreman, former managing editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will join Washington and Lee University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications in April as its ninth Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Foreman will teach a course in the four-week Spring Term entitled “Journalism that Changes the World.” He will also serve as an informal editor-in-residence for the department’s capstone course for journalism majors, “In-depth Reporting.”

Foreman’s professorship is made possible by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

“I’m delighted that Gene will be with us for spring term,” said Journalism Department Head and Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism Pam Luecke.  “Gene is one of the most admired journalists in the industry and was instrumental in much of the groundbreaking journalism done by the Inquirer’s newsroom.”  During Foreman’s 25-year tenure at the Inquirer, the newspaper received 18 Pulitzer Prizes.

Foreman’s spring-term course will draw on his experiences and contacts at the Inquirer as well those at other newspapers and broadcast media.  Students will read and watch exemplary journalism and have a chance to talk to top journalists in class, either in person or via Skype, and during an overnight field trip to Washington, D.C.

In his 41-year newspaper career, Foreman was a managing editor 33 years. Before the Inquirer, he directed the newsrooms of the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial for five years and the Arkansas Democrat in Little Rock for three years.  He also served as senior editor in charge of the news and copy desks at Newsday, the Long Island daily.

After retiring from the Inquirer in 1998, Foreman taught for 17 semesters at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Communications, serving as the College’s inaugural Larry and Ellen Foster Professor.  He received the Deans’ Award and the Alumni Society Award for teaching excellence. He continues to manage a writers’ conference at Penn State, bringing distinguished writers to campus twice a year, and he also returns to campus as editor-in-residence for in-depth reporting students. In November the Alumni Society will honor him with the Douglas A. Anderson Contributor Award, named for the College’s dean who was the winner in 2012, the first year the award was given.

Foreman published a textbook in 2009 entitled “The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News” (Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell). The book is used at dozens of universities across the United States, including Washington and Lee.

Foreman earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from the Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University), and in 1990 was recognized as a distinguished alumnus.  This fall, he is spending time back in Arkansas — but on the opposite side of the state — as the University of Arkansas’ inaugural Visiting Distinguished Professor of Ethics in Journalism, making presentations to classes across the journalism curriculum and advising the journalism department in its effort to create a center for journalism ethics.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States and has made grants of more than $100 million through its National Journalism Initiative.

W&L Alumna on Year-Long Mission in South Africa

As a student at Washington and Lee, Keri Klein Geiger participated in a service trip to Nicaragua with Bridges to Communities. It had a lasting impact and is, in part, why the 2008 W&L alumna is spending a year in South Africa.

After she graduated from W&L with a degree in biology, Keri earned her R.N. from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing and went to work as a labor and delivery nurse in Richmond.

That Nicaragua trip, as well as service trips she had taken with her church in high school, were never far from her mind, though.

On her fascinating blog, Unto the Ends of the Earth, Keri describes what she found especially frustrating about the Nicaragua trip she made during her W&L years.

“There I was trying to build a latrine,” she writes, “and I couldn’t even hold the hammer right! I decided then and there that I would do another service trip, and this time I would use the skills I had been given in a place where they were needed.”

And so she is.

In August, Keri left her Richmond home and her husband, Richmond Times-Dispatch writer Jacob Geiger, of the W&L Class of 2009, and headed to Hawston, South Africa, a small fishing village along the southern coast. She is participating in a missionary trip with Young Adult Service Corps of the Episcopal Church. Her assignment was facilitated by HOPE Africa, which is based in Cape Town and runs hospitals, clinics and programs for children across southern Africa.

Instead of hammers this time, Keri is making full use her nursing skills in Hawston Hospice, formally the Overstrand Care Center.

As Keri describes Hawston Hospice in one of her posts, “It is really more of a rehabilitation facility that a hospice. Some patients are terminal, but many are not. Patients are admitted for a variety of reasons. Some are coming from the hospital, and are not quite ready for care at home, so we take care of them until they are stable enough to be cared for by their family members. Others are usually cared for at home, but come to the center if a certain issue flares up, or if the family needs a respite from care.  There are usually 8 patients in the clinic.”

One of only two nurses at the facility, Keri will assist the supervising nurse but will also be joining the home-based “carers,” comparable to certified nursing assistants in the United States, on visits to patients’ homes.

To get a clearer picture of what Keri is doing, you need to check her blog, which features lots of photos of the scenery as well as her clinic and her travels in South Africa: http://untotheendsoftheearth.blogspot.com/


Washington and Lee Unveils New Financial Aid Initiative

As part of its continuing strategic initiative to make a Washington and Lee University education affordable to all qualified students, the University is introducing the W&L Promise. It guarantees free tuition to any admitted undergraduate student who has a family income below $75,000. In addition, those students may be eligible for loan-free assistance to cover room, board and other educational expenses, based on demonstrated need.

At the same time, the University will continue to meet the demonstrated financial need for admitted students in other income brackets entirely through grants and work-study jobs, without asking students to take out loans.

In addition, W&L is now in the sixth year of its Johnson Scholarship, which provides full-tuition, room-and-board scholarships for up to 44 of the most exceptionally qualified students regardless of their family’s financial situation. That signature program has recently been expanded, with each Johnson Scholar now receiving financial support for summer opportunities such as internships, research or independent projects.

“Making the University more affordable has been a key element of our strategic plan for the past six years. To the extent that we have been successful in achieving elements of this plan, we are determined to do even more, and the W&L Promise addresses this important initiative,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio

Ruscio said the W&L Promise should encourage undergraduates for whom Washington and Lee would be a good fit to consider the University regardless of their finances.

“Not only has this effort to diversify our student body in socio-economic terms been a key tenet of our strategic plan, but we have also made need-based financial aid the largest goal of our current capital campaign,” said Ruscio, noting that the University set a target of $160 million for need-based financial aid in its $500 million campaign and has currently raised $132 million in gifts and commitments toward the financial aid goal. “The campaign explicitly cites our commitment to recruit and support students with exceptional personal and intellectual characteristics regardless of financial circumstances. We are expanding financial aid through a strategy of endowment rather than increased tuition for full-pay students.”

Another element in the University’s continuing efforts in this regard has been its successful partnership with QuestBridge, a non-profit organization that connects bright, motivated low-income students with educational and scholarship opportunities at some of the nation’s best colleges and universities. Since partnering with QuestBridge in 2010, Washington and Lee has enrolled 105 students through the program.

In determining demonstrated need, Washington and Lee will continue its practice of undertaking a careful, personal assessment of each family’s income and assets with the assistance of the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE from the College Board.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, the W&L Promise will be available for both currently enrolled students and for members of the Class of 2018, who will enter then.

Washington and Lee Financial Aid Program

  • Any admitted student from a family with income below $75,000 will receive full tuition without loans. He or she may also be eligible for additional assistance without loans for room and board, depending on demonstrated need.
  • W&L will continue to meet the through grants and work-study jobs and without loans for admitted students from families in other income brackets.
  • W&L’s will continue to provide full-tuition, room-and-board scholarships without loans each year to up to 44 of the most exceptionally qualified students regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. At least half of those students will have demonstrated need, and each Johnson Scholar also receives financial support for summer opportunities such as internships, research or independent projects.
  • W&L will continue to build on the success of its efforts to raise $160 million for need-based financial aid through its capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee, in order to meet the financial aid expansion by building endowment rather than by aggressive increases in tuition.

Poet George Ellenbogen to Read from Memoir at Writers at Studio Eleven

Writers at Studio Eleven reading series will feature author and poet George Ellenbogen on Monday, Oct. 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Studio Eleven Gallery in Lexington.

The event is free and open to the public and books will be available for sale. Refreshments also will be served. Writers at Studio Eleven is co-sponsored by Washington and Lee’s Glasgow Endowment and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.

Ellenbogen will read from a new memoir “A Stone in my Shoe: In Search of Neighborhood.” This book charts the journey of his family’s journey from Franz Joseph’s Austro-Hungarian empire to an immigrant Jewish neighborhood in Montreal.

“Writers do not always write the book they intend to,” said Ellenbogen. “What I planned when I rummaged through early memories was a book about my Montreal past, a collection of old neighborhood anecdotes and descriptions. What I ended with was a discovery of neighborhood rituals that sustained me, that sustain millions.”

He will also be reading from his wife’s memoir “Teaching Arabs, Writing Self,” by Evelyn Shakir which is about to be released. She was a fiction writer, essayist and scholar of Arab American literature who died in 2010.

In addition to his memoir, Ellenbogen is the author of many poetry collections, including “Morning Gothic: New and Selected Poems” (2007), “Winterfischer” (2002) and “Portes aux rhinos et autres poems” (1997). He is the author of translations and magazine entries (poems), and his poems have appeared in many anthologies and magazines, including “The Literary Review,” “Partisan Review,” “Boulevard,” “Revue Europe” and “Queen’s Quarterly.”

Ellenbogen’s work has been supported by the Whiting Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Canadian Department of External Affairs and Gesellschaft fur Kanada Studien, to name a few.

He has read his poems on both sides of the Atlantic and was featured in a documentary, “George Ellenbogen: Canadian Poet in America.” He is also one of several poets featured in Jean Tobin’s “Creativity and the Poetic Mind” (2004). He is professor emeritus of English at Bentley University.

Student readers are Sarah Williams from W&L, Nathan Fowler and Phillip Jones from VMI and Nicole Southers from DSLCC. Sub Terra members Janice Bell, Ted Duke and Peggy McCaulley will also read.

Studio Eleven is located at 11 S. Jefferson St. in downtown Lexington. The artist exhibiting during Writers at Studio Eleven’s event is Barbara Crawford of Rockbridge County. Her show, Sanctuary, runs until Oct. 26.

Ellenbogen will offer a workshop on memoir-writing on Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 9-10 a.m. Space is limited – any interested community member please contact Lesley Wheeler at wheelerlm@wlu.edu.

The Writers at Studio Eleven event is coordinated by Mattie Quesenberry Smith of DSLCC and Lesley Wheeler of W&L.

Related //,
Tagged //

New Book by W&L Alum Explores Impact of Whitey Bulger on One Family

Bob Halloran’s latest book tells the story of Debbie Davis, one of the victims of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, from the point of view of Davis’ family.

Bob, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1985, is the weekend sports anchor on Boston’s ABC affiliate, WCVB. He’s previously written books about boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward (see our previous blog), the Boston Red Sox, and the intersection of high school football and gangs in Chelsea, Mass.

The complete title of his new book is “Impact Statement: A Family’s Fight for Justice against Whitey Bulger, Stephen Flemmi and the FBI.”

Bob tells the story of Bulger’s relationship with Steve Davis, whose own criminal activity put him and his family in the line of fire and led eventually to the death of Davis’ sister, Debbie.

Hailed as a “tough-as-nails portrait of the close-knit connection among organized crime, the FBI and the deaths of innocent people,” the book explores the impact that Bulger and Flemmi had on the Davis family. In 2003, Flemmi, now serving a life sentence, testified how he had lured Debbie to a house, where Bulger strangled her. Through his trial, which ended in August, Bulger insisted he would never have killed a woman.

In his book, Bob included up-to-the-minute coverage of the Bulger trial. He watched the proceedings alongside Steve Davis and live tweeted from the courtroom on Aug. 12, when the jury found Bulger guilty of 11 murders but had no finding on the murder of Debbie Davis.

Watch a demo reel about the book on IMBD. The book is published by Skyhorse Publishing.


W&L Alumna Shines in Bucks County

Carolyn Maro Angelaccio, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2000, has been selected as one of “Forty Under 40” in Bucks County, Pa., an honor bestowed by the Bucks County Courier Times and the Intelligencer through a public nomination process on “young professionals who shine in the community.”

A lifelong resident of Bucks County, Carolyn is a partner with Curtin & Heefner L.L.P., a Pennsylvania Top 100 Law Firm with three regional offices.

After graduating from W&L, Carolyn earned a J.D. at Catholic University. She began as a summer associate at Curtin & Heener and was named partner in January 2012. Her practice focuses on insurance defense, where she litigates in both state and federal courts.

She has been named a Pennsylvania Rising Star Lawyer in a peer-review process published by Philadelphia Magazine and was selected a Pennsylvania Lawyer on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer.

Congratulations to Carolyn on this latest honor.


W&L Law Alum Named Utah's Lieutenant Governor

Spencer Cox, a 2001 alumnus of the Washington and Lee School of Law, has been selected by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to serve as the state’s new lieutenant governor.

A Utah native who came to W&L after graduating from Utah State University, Spencer was elected last year to the Utah House of Representatives. Prior to being elected to the legislature, he’d served as mayor of Fairview, the rural Utah town where he was born and raised. He had also been a member of the Sanpete County Commission and is co-chair, with the current lieutenant governor Greg Bell, on the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board. (Bell announced last month that he was stepping down.)

After graduating from W&L, Spencer clerked for U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart and then joined the Salt Lake City law firm of Fabian and Clendenin. He eventually returned to Fairview and is vice president of CentraCom, rural telecommunications company.

According to various media reports, Spencer’s selection came as a surprise to many. But Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart called the choice a pleasant surprise, telling the Salt Lake City Tribune: “He’s only been in the House for a little while, but he’s very well respected and he has a great mind when it comes to policy and issues.”

At a press conference to announce the nomination, Spencer said: “My goal is to just serve to the best of my capacity. My sincere hope is you won’t notice a difference.”

Spencer will now await confirmation by the Utah state senate, which may hold a confirmation hearing on Oct. 16.

Related //
Tagged //

W&L Study Quantifies Psychological Damage of Stalking

A new study led by a team of researchers at Washington and Lee University has concluded that women who are the victims of stalking are two to three times more likely to suffer from psychological distress than those with similar characteristics who have never been stalked.

The study was conducted by Timothy Diette, associate professor of economics at Washington and Lee, Arthur Goldsmith, the Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics at W&L, Darrick Hamilton of New School University, William Darity Jr. of Duke University and Katherine McFarland, a recent W&L graduate. An early view of the paper has been published online by “Social Science Quarterly.”

The researchers used data on women drawn from three major surveys that used face-to-face interviews to collect information on potential determinants of mental disorders in the United States. Those surveys were “harmonized” so that they could be merged, resulting in a sample of 8,109 women. The surveys gathered information on the women’s experiences throughout their life, which the researchers divided into four different stages of the life-cycle— adolescence (ages 12-17), early emerging adulthood (ages 18-22), late emerging adulthood (ages 23-29) and early middle age (ages 30-45). Analysis for each stage was confined to women with good mental health prior to potentially being stalked.

According to the study’s data, 7.7 percent of women report being stalked by the age of 45. For women between 18 and 22 years age, those who have experienced stalking but not sexual assault, during this period in their lives have an estimated 113 percent greater odds of suffering their first bout of psychological distress than women of the same age who were not stalked.

But the study finds that the adverse impact of stalking on mental health is even more pronounced for women who are older when they are first stalked. For instance, women who are between 23 and 29 and who are stalked are 265 percent more likely to have mental health issues while those who are between 30 and 45 have 138 percent greater odds compared to women who never faced this source of trauma.

In compiling this data, the researchers distinguished between women who had been only stalked and those who had been both stalked and sexually assaulted.

“I think the major implication of our findings is that while not everyone takes stalking seriously because in most cases nothing physical happened, the detrimental impact is clear,” said Diette. “This study helps raise awareness that in many cases it’s a really scarring event that causes real-life psychological outcomes for victims’ mental health and their ability to function in society.

“The large negative effect on the mental health of victims was actually surprising to me,” he added. “In many cases where you have a gut reaction that of course there should be an effect, you may find that, after controlling for various elements, those effects are actually smaller than you had expected. That is not the case in this study.

“In the age range 23-29, for example, the effects of stalking starts to approach the same level of negative psychological impact on the victim as sexual trauma. My understanding is that stalking is not viewed nearly as seriously by the general public as sexual assault. This research suggests that we should re-examine that attitude.”

Willful, malicious stalking—a criminal offense—can take different forms, including frequent unwelcome telephone calls, e-mails, letters, loitering nearby and following. Over the past two decades stalking has emerged as a disturbing public issue, with 1 in 20 Americans (12 percent of women and four percent of men) reporting being stalked at some point in their lives.

Previous research has shown that episodes of stalking vary from a few weeks to several years with an average length of just under two years. Approximately one-third of stalkers become violent, and there is a strong link between stalking and domestic violence. Only one-third to one-half of all cases are ever reported to the police, either because the victims are afraid reporting will anger their stalker and make the situation worse, or because they do not believe the police will help them. Only 12 percent of stalking cases result in criminal prosecution and 40 percent of all restraining orders are violated.

However, little is known about the psychological consequences of being stalked, and previous studies were typically based on data drawn from small, non-random samples of clinical populations that were not nationally representative. They also failed to control for other types of trauma that might have an impact on mental health.

One of the interesting findings of the study had to do with the differences in the age of the victims. As the researchers report, the kind of stalking that occurs in adolescence, which may include experiences such as unwanted attention in the school cafeteria or on the school bus, may not generate a great amount of fear in the victim and, therefore, does not show up as a change in emotional health.

This changes, the researchers write, when youths begin the transition to adulthood since the level of anxiety stalking victims experience increases, in part, due to the greater physical strength and sexual urges of males, the typical stalkers as they advance beyond their adolescent years. In addition, there may be less immediate support provided by parents since young adults may live on their own.

Once individuals enter the labor force or have family responsibilities, the study indicates, stalking is likely to take new forms, including intimidating experiences in the workplace and community, and the protective buffer of living with family is likely to be largely removed. Thus, the vulnerability is expected to be greater for women subjected to stalking in this phase of their lives and the adverse psychological consequences may be more substantial, and the study offers evidence that supports this view.

The study points to the need for the attention of policymakers to the issue of stalking. Not only should policy attempt to reduce its prevalence, the researchers contend, but “victims of stalking need access to support services to prevent or manage psychological distress.”

Diette credited the assistance of Washington and Lee’s Summer Research Scholars program for enabling the research. The program encourages well-qualified and strongly motivated students to become familiar with research tools, techniques and methodology through collaborative research with faculty members during the summer.

He said that it is unusual to include a student as co-author of a paper, but in the case of Katherine McFarland, who was a summer research scholar in 2011, it reflects her involvement as a full member of the team, including writing the initial draft of the paper’s introduction. “We’ve had a great many summer research scholars who have been important contributors to helping get the research done,” said Diette, “but Katherine was particularly special. It was also personally rewarding to see what undergraduate students are capable of.”

The full study can be read here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ssqu.12058/full

U.S. Government Shutdown Impacts W&L Law DC Externs

When Washington and Lee School of Law created a Washington, D.C.-based semester option for its innovative third-year curriculum, one of the goals was to allow students to get a taste of what working as a government lawyer is like.

Now, thanks to the government shutdown, some of those Washington-based W&L law students are getting some hard lessons about what it means to work for a government seemingly paralyzed by a partisan budget fight.

So far, three of the Law School’s 12 government externs in Washington have been told not to report to work. That number could grow the longer the shutdown lasts according to externship program director Tammi Hellwig. However, as long as the shutdown is short-lived, the academic credits students are receiving should not be affected.

“Our DC students have enough site hours to sustain some time away from work,” says Hellwig. “But starting this week, we may have to give them alternate assignments and credit them accordingly so that the shutdown doesn’t impact the credits they need to graduate.”

Kyle Hoffmann is one of the affected students. He is working at a government agency in the district this semester. He says he and others in his office were made aware by supervisors that the budget negotiations could send him home for a time.

“It is a shame it happened while I was supposed to be working in a job that is perfect for what I want to do, but there’s some novelty to being affected by a government shutdown, as infrequent as it is,” says Hoffmann.

Related: “Government Shutdown Puts Law Student Externs on the Street” (National Law Journal)

Students are externing at agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, U.S. Department of Transportation General Counsel’s Office, Department of Defense Office of the General Counsel and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Most of the W&L students externing in DC report that they are not affected in the short-term, but are unclear about the impact on them if the shutdown becomes protracted.

The Washington, D.C., option, launched this year as a pilot program, exports a full complement of W&L’s practice-based, third-year curriculum to the nation’s capital. In addition to their externships, students take practice-based simulations know as practicum courses, participate in a legal profession course, and complete law-related service, just like the students back in Lexington. The law firms DLA Piper and BakerHostetler offered space in their D.C. offices for classes.

W&L created the program to facilitate the objectives of students who wish to pursue a career in government. While students have held externships in the district in past years, the School decided that a residence program would give students a complete and consistent experience working in government. Charles Martel, a 1985 graduate of the W&L School of Law who worked in employment law and litigation before turning to a career in public service in and around the district, oversees the externs in Washington.

“By being based in Washington, the students are able to put in more hours at work and build their network of connections with other lawyers,” says Martel. “They are able to appreciate fully what it means to be a lawyer working in the district.”

As for the shutdown, Martel thinks it, too, is serving an educational purpose. “All the students are learning an important professional lesson. You have to be adaptable to changing conditions.”

Tiffany Eisenbise, another W&L 3L furloughed because of the shutdown, is eager to see the shutdown end, but she is learning to live with it for the time being.

“Most of the people I have spoken too are taking the shutdown in stride,” she says. “While it is not ideal for anyone, most people realize that there is not much they can do about it except try and have a positive attitude.”

Conner to Give His Inaugural Ballengee Professorship Lecture

Marc C. Conner, associate provost and professor of English at Washington and Lee University, will give his inaugural lecture marking his appointment as the Jo M. and James M. Ballengee 250th Anniversary Professor, on Monday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium.

The title of his lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “The Identities of Ralph Ellison.”

“In this lecture, I will investigate the unpublished and posthumously published writings of Ralph Ellison, the great African-American novelist and essayist of the mid-20th century,” said Conner. “For several years my research has focused on Ellison’s unpublished memoir, ‘Leaving the Territory,’ which chronicles his departure from the hometown of his youth and his setting forth on his journey of self-discovery by train as a young man.

“In addition, I have been compiling and editing together Ellison’s Selected Letters, also unpublished, which will form a chronicle and autobiographical account of Ellison’s major ideas, struggles and triumphs as a writer and intellectual in America from the 1930s until his death in 1994.  And finally, I have been writing about Ellison’s long-unfinished, posthumously-published epic that he worked on for over 40 years, which finally appeared in 2010 as ‘Three Days Before the Shooting.’

Conner also said that he would “briefly present my thoughts on each of these self-writings of Ellison’s and talk about what Ellison can teach us of the identity of the modern American novelist and the identity of America itself.”

Conner joined the W&L faculty in 1996. He received bachelor’s degrees in English and philosophy at the University of Washington and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in English literature at Princeton University.

His primary area of scholarship and teaching is literary modernism, both narrative and poetry, including Irish modernism, the modern American novel and African-American literature. He has written extensively about the work of Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson and James Joyce. He created the Spring Term program in Ireland and has accompanied W&L students to Ireland on six occasions to experience the literature and culture there.

In addition, he teaches Shakespeare, the Bible as literature and related courses in literature and religion and literature and philosophy. He recently completed “How to Read and Understand Shakespeare,” a collection of 24 audio and video lectures, as part of The Great Courses series.

As director of Spring Term, he was responsible for curriculum planning and assessment of the University’s innovative four-week term, which resulted in the creation of almost 300 new courses.

The Jo M. and James M. Ballengee 250th Anniversary Professorship was created in 1999 in honor of Washington and Lee’s 250th celebration. Ballengee was a member of the Law Class of 1948 and was rector of W&L’s Board of Trustees.

Related //,
Tagged //

W&L Alumna Named CNN Correspondent in New Delhi

Washington and Lee alumna Sumnima Udas, of the Class of 2001, has just been promoted to a correspondent for CNN. She is based in India, in New Delhi.

Sumnima started with CNN in the U.K. as a news assistant in the York bureau, in 2001. She received a master’s degree from Oxford and then moved to Hong Kong in 2006 as a show producer. In 2010, she worked as a producer for CNN correspondent Sara Sidner in New Delhi; after Sidner left for the Jerusalem bureau, she has been filling in as a reporter.

In announcing Sumnima’s appointment, Ellana Lee, CNN International Asia Pacific VP and managing editor, said: “The eyes of the world will be trained on India as the world’s largest democracy and emerging economic powerhouse goes to the polls in 2014. With her new appointment as Delhi correspondent we look forward to strengthening our presence in this diverse and dynamic region.

While she’s been in New Delhi, Sumnima has covered several major stories, including the gang rape case in New Delhi, the Bangladesh building collapse, poisoned school lunches in northeast India, and, most recently, a building collapse that killed 50 in Mumbai last month.

Sumnima won an Asian Television Award as show producer for “CNN Talk Asia,” a weekly show that explores personalities of newsmakers.

You can watch Sumnima’s reports on the CNN website.

W&L Law Professor Chris Seaman on the Supreme Court's Campaign Finance Case (Audio)

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday (Oct. 8, 2013) in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The issue in the case are the aggregate contributions limits that restrict how much money an individual can donate to a candidate and committees during a two-year election cycle.

In this audio, Christopher Seaman, assistant professor of law at Washington and Lee University, provides background and context to the case.

Seaman predicts that, ultimately, the Court will strike down the aggregate contribution limit.

“There are three pretty clear votes to overturn the aggregate contribution limit,” he said. “The big question is what Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito will find. Based on their votes in the case, which was a 5-4 split, I will go out on a limb and predict they will strike down the aggregate contribution limit.”

Seaman joined the Washington and Lee law faculty in 2012. His research and teaching interests include intellectual property (IP) law and civil procedure, with a particular focus on IP litigation and remedies for the violation of IP rights. He received his B.A. in 2000 from Swarthmore College and his J.D. in 2004 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an Executive Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and received the Edwin R. Keedy Law Review Award.

Related //
Tagged //

W&L Students Partner on Jordan’s Point Project

Today, Lexington’s Jordan’s Point, a city park located on an island and peninsula formed by Woods Creek, the Maury River and an old mill race, is known as a good place to start a leisurely kayak ride down the Maury. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, however, Jordan’s Point was a hub of industrial and transportation activity.

Now Washington and Lee’s Archaeology Program is joining forces with the Historic Lexington Foundation (HLF) to conduct research on the area as part of HLF’s effort to get Jordan’s Point designated as a state and national historic district.

Approximately 40 students from Washington and Lee spent a Sunday afternoon last month digging test pits at the site under the direction of Alison Bell ’91, associate professor of archaeology, and Don Gaylord, staff archaeologist.

The work uncovered brick and limestone rubble associated with at least one 19th-century structure, according to a new release from HLF. Some of the artifacts (buttons, pieces of ceramic cups, etc.) pointed to household activity, while others (railroad spikes and part of a shoe from a draft animal) were related to transportation and industrial uses.

Alison noted that the archaeological record can fill out the history of Jordan’s Point: “The area is remembered as the location of Union troops crossing into Lexington in June of 1864, but less is known, by the public or researchers, about the many people who lived and worked, year after year, on the point in various capacities. We’re hoping archaeology will provide insights into their daily lives.”

Don Hasfurther, executive director of HLF, said the partnership with W&L’s Archaeology Program is essential, since archaeology will be an important element of the historic district nomination.

The Jordan’s Point work is part of the W&L’s ongoing outreach to the community, which has included recent work at the McDowell Cemetery, south of Fairfield, and the development of the Historical Archaeology Collective (HAC).

W&L's Warren Receives Grant for Research on Alaskan Author

James Warren, the S. Blount Mason, Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has received a $5,000 grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum to research and write about the poetry and prose of John Haines, the first great literary writer to emerge from Alaska after World War II.

Warren will spend five months at the Alaska and Polar Regions Archive in the University of Alaska’s Fairbanks Rasmuson Library researching the contents of “The Haines Papers.” According to Warren, the library’s materials are the most significant collection by and about Haines, and include essays, poems and photos from Haines’ career, as well as his correspondence with important writers and editors.

“These materials illuminate the shape of Haines’ career and how a writer changes through a lifetime of writing,” said Warren, who specializes in bringing out the literary significance of manuscript materials. “Haines died in in 2011, and this would seem like a great moment to pursue this research and write the first book dedicated to his life and career,” he said.

“I was first drawn to John Haines’s work about 15 years ago and read some of his poems and a bit of his memoir, ‘The Sky, the Stars, the Fire,’ about 25 years of homesteading in Alaska,” said Warren, who is himself an outdoorsman, amateur botanist and hunter. “I thought that Haines wrote particularly well about wild animals in the Far North.”

Warren read Haines’ work more regularly and studied his work more deeply during the past few years.  “He writes with great passion about finding his way to the woods 68 miles southeast of Fairbanks in 1947 and making a homestead there,” said Warren. “He built a cabin and outbuildings, grew vegetables in a greenhouse and learned to be an accomplished salmon fisher, hunter and trapper.  He learned to live and work through the long, sub-zero darkness of subarctic winters. While doing all that, he became an accomplished poet and essayist. His work celebrates the earth and our vital connection to it, but it is never sentimental about how we belong to the natural world.”

Warren noted that the country Haines lived in from 1947 to the early 1970s has changed due to modern developments such as paved roads, the petroleum industry and the Alaska pipeline, the trucking industry, industrial logging and cheap electricity. “Haines was critical of most of these developments, but he also had a strong faith in the resilience of the earth,” he said.

“It occurs to me that Haines resembles Thoreau in his independence of mind and in his willingness to follow his own dreams. Like Thoreau, Haines did not dwell apart from other people; both writers are able to find a connecting link to others. In Haines’ work, you learn a lot about the older hunters and trappers who were his neighbors. You learn how stories can deepen your appreciation for a place and how a long-term knowledge of a place can deepen your appreciation for stories. Haines is best at showing how he journeys into the landscape of the wooded hills above the Tanana River in order to find a way of seeing the world and listening to his own voice.”

In addition to researching the book, Warren plans to present his research in public lectures to academic and general audiences in Alaska.

Warren is the author of numerous critical articles and books, including “John Burroughs and the Place of Nature” (University of Georgia Press, 2006), “The Culture of Eloquence” (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999) and “Walt Whitman’s Language Experiment” (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990). He received his B.A. from Auburn University and his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Related //,
Tagged //

Calling In the Marines

The Washington and Lee men’s and women’s lacrosse teams got a taste of how the Marine Corps trains its members for combat in a special session on Wilson Field this past Monday, Sept. 30.

Marines from the Officer Selection Station in Roanoke came to campus to run several of the exercises from the Marine Corps’ CFT, or combat fitness test — the 880 sprint, ammo-can lifts and the maneuver-under-fire course.

“We figured it would be a fun change of pace for our student-athletes, not only to do a fitness session in a different way than normal but also to have our teams working together and competing throughout the events,” said W&L women’s coach Brooke Diamond O’Brien.

The idea to bring the Marines to campus was floated by Connor Smithson, a member of the Class of 2013 and a former lacrosse player and wrestler who was commissioned in the Marine Corps in May.

“Connor approached Gene and me with the idea this summer,” Brooke said. “He was one of the Marines who came on Monday to run the event with us. The team definitely got a full-body workout from the event.”

Added Gene, the W&L men’s lacrosse coach: “Our guys found it tough but a lot of fun. We were very appreciative of the energy and enthusiasm put forth by Capt. Nicholas Harwood and his group of Marines.”

Before they sent the players through their paces, the Marines showed them how to do the CFT, plus the proper techniques for the fireman’s carry, buddy draft and low crawl.

“Our team learned to push themselves individually and to work together with their partner, particularly during the fireman’s-carry portion of the course,” said Brooke. “It was also important for our women to push themselves to be their best and not to hesitate to compete with the men. As I told them before we took part in the event, they will be working with and competing with men for jobs and promotions the remainder of their lives. They need to be comfortable doing so.”

In a story about the event posted on the Marine Corps website, Becca Dean, a sophomore from Ellicott City, Md., said that the event brought the team together. “It showed me that I can do things I didn’t think I could do, like beat the boys,” Becca told the writer.

Aside from the physical fitness aspect, the players and coaches cited benefits of having the two teams work together.

“I think there is a mutual respect amongst our men’s and women’s teams,” Gene said. “And the opportunity for us to collaborate on an opportunity like this was not only beneficial for our student athletes but representative of our values here at W&L.”


W&L Law Student Newspaper Wins Top ABA Award

The Law News, the student newspaper at Washington and Lee University School of Law, was honored at the ABA annual meeting in August with the Law School Newspaper Award. The Law News, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, was one of ten student-run law school newspapers that competed for the award.

While The Law News has received awards from the ABA in the past, this is only the second time The Law News was awarded the honor of finest overall newspaper in the nation. The paper received top honors as well as several individual awards in 1985. (See correction note below)

The ABA’s award stated that it was given to The Law News “for its long term commitment to providing law students well-written and engaging content relevant to their studies, their future careers, and the legal profession in a thoughtfully designed newspaper.”

According to editor in chief Howard Wellons, The Law News editorial board began the 2012–2013 year with two primary goals: expanding readership and enhancing prestige. The staff found a new publisher, rewrote the organization’s Constitution, and successfully executed a plan to advertise each release among the student body in order to maximize distribution.

“We have a really dedicated board,” said Wellons. “We have a strong student base at Washington and Lee Law and there is lot to write about.”

The staff enhanced the paper’s content with new recurring columns, including “10 Things you Didn’t Know About W&L Professors,” which highlighted the law school’s professors; “Alumni Spotlight,” which included interviews of W&L Alumni; “Community Features”, which featured community events relevant to law students; and “News at Other Law Schools.” In addition, The Law News successfully produced a special 40th anniversary “Legacy Edition,” featuring submissions from prior editors in chief of the paper.

For the current school year, Wellons said The Law News plans to expand its reach to capture both alumni and current student readership. This will include enhancing the paper’s web presence and implementing a new guest speaker program focusing on the intersection of law and journalism.

Correction Note: This article originally stated that this was the first time The Law News received the top award from the ABA. This has been corrected to note that the paper previously won the award in 1985. Thanks to Paul Fletcher ’85L, former editor in chief of The Law News, for correcting the error.


Charming Lex Vegas

The October edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine highlights four “charming college towns” offering “great food and fun for all ages.” Naturally, Lexington is one of the four (along with San Marcos, Texas; Davis, Calif.; and Northfield, Minn.)

Citing the “scenic vistas and dozens of hiking and biking trails,” the article singles out the University Store, which “feels more Nordstrom than college spot,” and the Lenfest Center, which “hosts theater, music, dance and art exhibits.”

Other Lexington spots that get a shout-out are Macado’s, the Red Hen and the Sheridan Livery Inn.

See the article here.


W&L Alum Pursues Family's Special-Education Mission

In 1893, Dr. John Q.A. Stewart established Stewart Home School, in Frankfort, Ky., for intellectually challenged youth and adults from around the world.

Today, 120 years later, Stewart Home School continues to meet its original mission, and Washington and Lee alumnus Dr. John P. Stewart, the great-grandson of the founder, serves as chairman of the board and resident physician. John, of the Class of 1948, is the latest generation of Stewart physicians who have kept the school thriving.

A recent feature story in the Lexington Herald-Leader described the school and its unusual work. When John’s great-grandfather opened the private, non-profit school, it welcomed 13 students on the 850 acres of the former Kentucky Military Institute. Today, it houses 355 students ranging from age 12 to adults.

One of the more poignant notes in the story was about a student named Tom Ayers, who came to the school when he was 8 and died earlier this month, at 91.

“I grew up playing with him,” John told the Herald-Leader. “He is buried in our old family plot because he was family.”

John has led the school since 1956. His son, Dr. John D. Stewart, of Lexington, spends one day a week there with patients and will be the fifth generation of the family to continue the school’s mission.

As the Herald-Leader story reports, students have “various learning styles and diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and Williams syndrome.”

John said that his great-grandfather was ahead of his time, and his philosophy remains central to the school. “We believe they all are capable of learning,” John said of their students, “and should be treated with dignity and respect.”


Civil War Historian to Address Lee’s Victory at Chancellorsville

Lee Chapel and Museum presents Remembering Robert E. Lee with a speech by noted author and Civil War historian Frank A. O’Reilly on Monday, Oct. 14, at 12:15 p.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium. The public is invited at no charge.

Watch the video>

The title of O’Reilly’s talk is “Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome: Robert E. Lee’’s Greatest Victory at Chancellorsville.” O’Reilly will talk about the battle of Chancellorsville from Lee’s point of view as it is usually presented from Stonewall Jackson’s point of view.

There will be a book signing of his latest book, “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock,” at 10:30 a.m. in the Lee Chapel Museum Shop. This book will be available for purchase.

“The Fredericksburg Campaign” (2002), received a 2003 nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters and the James I Robertson Jr. Book Award. His first book, “Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg,” was released in 1993. He also wrote a two-issue special edition history of the Chancellorsville Campaign.

O’Reilly has written numerous articles on the Civil War and Mexican War for national and international journals, as well as numerous book introductions. He has appeared in documentaries and has lectured extensively on military history around the world.

He received his B.A. in American history with a concentration in early American military history and Civil War studies from W&L, Class of 1987. He then joined the National Park Service at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

He worked briefly at Independence Hall in Philadelphia and then returned to Fredericksburg as an historian in 1990. He has also served as an historical consultant for the City of Fredericksburg.