Feature Stories Campus Events

Tom Wolfe Cleans House

Writer Tom Wolfe will have a lot more room in his home library, now that 1951 graduate of Washington and Lee is moving 190 boxes of his papers to the New York Public Library.

The library’s acquisition of “drafts, outlines and research materials for his four novels and 12 other books as well as his uncollected journalism” will enrich the work of scholars when the collection is ready for their explorations next year.

As one of the library officials told the New York Times in the article about the acquisition, the collection “will allow research not just into Wolfe as an innovator in style and methodology, but also into the things he did research into. He had access that people will never have again.”

The boxes making their way from home to library contain over 10,000 letters to correspondents such as William F. Buckley and Hunter S. Thompson.

“The archive also contains something that future writers will be producing less of,” says the article, “book drafts composed on a typewriter or by hand.”

Tailgates? There’s an App for That

Sharp-eyed readers of the New York Times may have recognized some familiar W&L names in a Nov. 8 story about websites and apps that help people plan tailgate parties. Caroline Hundley, mother of Hal Hundley, a football player and a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2014, is a satisfied customer of one of the websites—ourtailgate.com—which is the brainchild of Harry St. John, a member of the W&L Class of 2009.

It’s all in the name of efficiency, Harry told the paper and explains on the site (along with his brother, Kevin): “As former college athletes who participated in pre and post game tailgates, we watched parents agonize over these events week after week. We created a platform to allow organizers to easily set up events, invite participants and let them enter what and how much they are bringing. Everyone has exposure to what is needed and what is already accounted for by others.”

Caroline, who rounded up the whole W&L team for Harry’s website, is relieved that the handy tool slashed the number of e-mails she formerly received while organizing tailgates for the families of the team members. The Times reports that 100,000 users had signed up for the site; no doubt Harry, who is a business development manager at Dstillery, an advertising and marketing firm in New York City, has been busy adding more since the story ran.

Alumni Juggle Tech Companies

Two W&L alumni and their burgeoning business are the subject of a nice profile in the Nov. 25 edition of the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat. Stephanie Leffler and husband Ryan Noble, both of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2000, co-founded Juggle.com, which serves as an umbrella for companies CrowdSource, RIOmedia and ClickableNames.com.

The piece describes how the couple first joined forces while they were students at W&L, forming an Internet services provider. They started Monster Commerce in 2002, sold it three years later, and founded Juggle.com in 2009. Ryan is the president of Juggle.com, while Stephanie is the CEO of CrowdSource.

And they are not the only W&L alumni on board: their classmate Dave Levinson is the CFO of Juggle.com.

Their headquarters in Swansea, Ill., must be a fun place to work. The reporter describes how visitors “walk past models of characters from Star Wars and into an office where the Simpsons sit and Spiderman hangs from the wall. Parked inside CrowdSource’s office is a bright purple and yellow race car with Juggle.com’s logo on it that the company sponsored in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race in 2009.” The company also provides snacks, an exercise room, a pool table and a flat-screen TV for its employees’ enjoyment.

As Stephanie explained in the article, “If you build a space like this, it will just inspire people to come in and be more productive. . . . You could have the greatest software in the world, but if you don’t have a team of people who are not committed to helping you win, it’s very difficult to get what you need to be done.”

Internationally-Known Scholar James Moore to Speak on Darwin at W&L

Internationally noted scholar James Moore, professor of the History of Science at The Open University, will give a lecture on “Darwin’s ‘Sacred Cause’ ” at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

In a radical reassessment of Darwin’s achievement, Moore argues that “underpinning the Darwinian theory of human evolution was a belief in radial brotherhood rooted in the greatest moral movement of Darwin’s age, the abolition of slavery.”

Moore goes on to say that “for abolitionists, the human races were members of one family, with a common ancestry. Darwin extended the common descent image to the rest of life, making not just the races, but all races kin.”

Moore is the co-author of the best-selling biography “Darwin” (1991), and “Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins” (2009), hailed by the London Review of Books as the 2009 Darwin anniversary year’s “most substantial historical contribution.” Moore’s other books include “The Darwin Legend” (1994) and “The Post-Darwinian Controversies” (1979).

With degrees in science, divinity and history, and a Ph.D. from Manchester University, Moore has taught history of science at Cambridge University and the Open University in England. He has held visiting professorships at Harvard, Notre Dame and McMaster University in Canada and visiting fellowships at England’s Durham University and the Australian National University in Canberra.

Moore is a frequent contributor to the mass media, with numerous BBC television and radio documentaries and many interviews to his credit.

He has appeared in specials for The Learning Channel, the Arts and Entertainment Network, the All Japan Network, the U.S. Public Broadcasting System and Home Box Office.

In 2009, Moore participated in several international television documentaries about Darwin, including China Central Television’s seven-part series “Charles Darwin, Nature’s Son,” the first full-scale documentary treatment of a Western scientist by state television in the People’s Republic of China.

Moore is currently researching Darwin’s colleague, Alfred Russel Wallace.

W&L’s Sprenkle Selected to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Washington and Lee’s Sara Sprenkle, associate professor of computer science, is one of 60 people profiled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Directorates from across the National Science Foundation were asked to nominate former GRFP recipients who best reflect the diversity and rich history of the program. Nominations ranged from junior high school teachers to Nobel laureates. The final 60 profiles were selected based on a range of criteria, including gender, race/ethnicity, field of study, geographic location of graduate institutions and current place of employment.

Sprenkle focuses her research on improving automated techniques to verify the correctness of Web applications. “While I enjoy my research and advancements I have made in the field,” said Sprenkle, “the most important broader impact is how undergraduate students can be involved in my research.”

Read Sprenkle’s profile on the the GRFP website.

W&L Anthropology Students Explore Thanksgiving Myths

One week before Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving dinner, anthropology and history students at Washington and Lee University tasted recipes from the original Thanksgiving dinner—well, except for the eels and hard cider.

The class had learned from Alison Bell, associate professor of archaeology at W&L, about how the myths of the first Thanksgiving evolved and how the 1621 celebration involved neither pumpkin pie nor stuffing nor perhaps even turkey. So this was their opportunity to literally taste what the Pilgrims ate, or at least the best approximation that J. Young, executive chef at W&L, could create.

Young made the dishes as historically accurate as possible. The final menu consisted of duck, game hen, venison, mussels, beans, peas, and parsnips.

“I chose the items I knew I could get easily,” said Young. “Also, I thought some people might cringe at the thought of eating eels or oysters, whereas it’s much easier to switch from turkey to duck. The meal presented no challenge from a culinary standpoint, because in those days they simply roasted or boiled their food. So I prepared it in a traditional manner, exactly as the Pilgrims would have done.”

When Bell first approached Young to collaborate on re-creating the original Thanksgiving dinner, Young was surprised and assumed that the menu would be more like today’s meal. “As we began talking, I became more interested as she told me why she wanted to do this and enlightened me on the myths surrounding the Pilgrims and that first celebration,” he said.

“I think it’s terrific that W&L’s executive chef was so willing and able to participate in this educational venture,” said Bell.

Bell designed the class, The Anthropology of American History, to use alternative and creative ways of hands-on learning about the past. Her goal was for students to gain a different perspective on history, and she saw Thanksgiving as the perfect opportunity to question what they thought they knew, to see the primary documents and then to taste the recipes.

Studying the records and letters from the time of the original Thanksgiving, the students learned that there was little correlation between what Americans ate in the 20th and 21st centuries and what the Plymouth settlers ate in 1621 with the local Wampanoag Indians.

For example, Pilgrim Edward Winslow’s letter about the Thanksgiving celebration mentions Governor William Bradford’s sending men “fowling,” which could have meant turkey, but was more likely to have been duck or goose because of their migration patterns and the Pilgrims’ location along the coast. “In the late 19th century, wild duck and geese were harder to come by than in the early 17th century, so domesticated turkey became the standard fare,” Bell explained. Other foods common in the Plymouth colony included eels, lobsters and oysters, as well as beer and cider.

According to Bell, the Victorians in the late 19th century romanticized the original Thanksgiving and created the myths surrounding it, even inventing decorative items for the Pilgrims’ headgear. “There’s no evidence in the 25 or 30 years of copious research that they had buckles on their hats, although some probably did have buckles on their shoes,” said Bell.

Another aspect of the myth was the Pilgrims’ supposedly drab, brown and white clothing; in truth, they often wore bright colors. Bell explained that the “grim pills,” as some in the 20th century called them, were pious, but they were not buttoned up, and a lot of their rule breaking and gaiety hasn’t made their way into our consciousness.

The stereotypes are persistent, including the log cabins and the tablecloth and chairs laid out for the feast. “Log cabins came much later,” said Bell. “Plymouth colonists would have lived in wooden houses made with vertical posts and wattle and daub rather than horizontal logs. They had few chairs, meaning that most people stood or sat on logs, chests or other make-shift seats. Also, because forks had not come into general use, they used spoons, knives and probably hands at the meal.

Another persistent image in popular pictures of the first Thanksgiving is that of just a few token Native Americans at the feast, whereas they outnumbered the Pilgrims by a ratio of approximately two to one.

Law Student Wins Writing Award for Paper on Wellness Programs and Healthcare Reform

Washington and Lee third-year law student David Knoespel placed second in the 2012-13 writing competition for law students sponsored by the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law.

His paper is titled “Biometric Testing in Employer Wellness Programs and the Unanticipated Consequences of Healthcare Reform: Why Challenges Under the ADA Medical Examination Provision Reach the Merits After Seff v. Broward County.” Knoespel’s paper was one of 33 submissions evaluated by a distinguished panel of attorneys.

In the paper, Knoespel examines the rise of employer wellness initiatives, programs that seek to encourage healthy habits and identify chronic illness in order to help the employer control health care costs. Employees are often offered incentives to participate in these programs, and those programs and incentives are now regulated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The programs are also bound by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), especially its medical examination provision.

Knoespel argues that is likely such incentive programs, regardless of whether they are voluntary or include a financial reward, are in violation of the ADA. But thus far the courts have extended to wellness programs the same kind of “safe harbor” protections that allows insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

The ACA includes several provisions that make the “health status underwriting” of this kind unlawful. Knoespel says this regulatory conflict will inevitably lead to discrimination claims by employees against employers who operate wellness programs, especially those that include biometric testing.

Knoespel’s paper is available online at the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers website. At W&L Law, Knoespel serves as the editor in chief of the Journal of Civil Rights & Social Justice and works as a student attorney in the Black Lung Legal Clinic.

Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy, we thought we would rerun a blog from three years ago. It concerned James S. Legg Jr., of W&L’s Class of 1965, who wrote a letter to Jacqueline Kennedy three days after her husband’s death. In 2010, Jim’s letter was published in a book, “Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation.”

Read that blog for more about the book and about Jim’s heartfelt impulse to pen the letter.

And for current reflections on the event from two W&L historians, see our home page feature, “50 Years Later: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination.”

W&L Politics Professor on Change to Senate Filibuster Rule (video)

Professor Mark Rush comments on the change to the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate, why it was considered necessary and the political ramifications for the Senate. Rush is the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

50 Years Later: Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, two W&L historians talk about the event from their very different perspectives. Ted DeLaney, associate professor of history, recalls his personal memories and feelings about the event. Andrew McGee, historian of the 20th century and a visiting instructor of history at W&L, talks about Kennedy’s legacy for subsequent generations.

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W&L Law Prof. Jill Fraley on 'Acts of God' in NYT Room For Debate

Last week’s devastating typhoon in the Philippines prompted much speculation about disaster preparedness and ignited a debate over whether so-called “acts of God” absolve humans of liability. Typhoon Haiyan didn’t surprise anyone, so should government officials in the Philippines be held responsible for not doing more to prepare the country for the storm’s onslaught?

Washington and Lee law professor . In her commentary, Fraley traces the origin and uses of the “act of God” defense, which once encompassed both natural events and those caused by humans.

“Many older references pair the phrase with ‘acts of strangers,’ meaning acts caused by persons not before the court. A common element existed between the natural and human events: the defendant was ‘without the possibility of preventing the harm’, ” Fraley writes.

But eventually, Fraley argues, the concept narrowed to apply only to sudden and unavoidable natural events like floods or storms. Nevertheless, the fact that a defendant had no ability to prevent harm from a natural disaster remained central to the act of God defense.

However, Fraley questions whether the historical purpose of the act of God defense is still relevant given our ability to forecast many potential disasters well in advance.

“When we are increasingly able to model climate change and anticipate the frequency and severity of storms, and even to model methods of storm protection such as wetlands preservation and restoration, should we so easily find that parties are beyond blame?”

You can read Fraley’s entire commentary and those of the other contributors at the New York Times website.

W&L University Singers to Perform at VMEA Conference

The Washington and Lee University Singers, an a cappella choir, is the featured collegiate performing choir at the 2013 Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) Conference, at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, on Friday, Nov. 22.

“This is a really big deal in the music world, and it’s the first time W&L has had a music ensemble selected for this type of professional-level conference performance,” said Shane Lynch, director of choral activities and conductor of the Washington and Lee University Singers. “VMEA selects only one college choir to perform at the conference each year and, needless to say, it’s quite an honor to be the one selected.”

The choir will perform a varied selection of music for about 25 minutes, including “Mother and Child,” composed by Lynch, a noted conductor, composer and music educator. “For me, professionally, it’s the equivalent of having a peer-reviewed book or journal article published,” he said.

The W&L University Singers tours nationally or internationally every year. The group consists of 48 students, of which only one third are music majors. The others are interested non-majors representing more than 30 of the 37 undergraduate majors at Washington and Lee.

“This is something W&L as a whole should take a lot of pride in,” Lynch continued. “Groups like this are the epitome of the liberal arts, with people from a lot of different disciplines coming together to perform at a high level.”

Choirs have to submit several years’ worth of recordings for conferences because the selectors want to see consistency. “They don’t want a choir with a really great group of seniors, and then the next year they are not up to snuff,” he said.

At W&L, last year’s group consisted of older students; 25 of the 48 members of the group have since graduated. So this year’s choir has a lot of new faces. “It’s a fun group, and they all want to be part of the choir,” said Lynch. “As one student commented to me, ‘we work hard because we’re sounding really good, and people like being good.’

“When I assumed the position of director of choral activities in 2009, I was charged with building a nationally recognized choral program. But, in all honesty, I thought it would take twice as long to get to this point.”

One of Lynch’s initiatives is the innovative Choral Conducting Mentorship Program for talented young musicians pursuing a career in that field. Senior Morgan Luttig, from Lake Forest, Ill., a music major with a minor in education policy, is in the program and will conduct “Long Road,” by Ēricks Ešenvalds, at the VMEA conference.

“It’s absolutely thrilling,” said Luttig, “and I’m really excited to be able to conduct in front of music educators around the state. I can get feedback from them on how I’m doing and how I can continue my music career and become a better educator.”

Happy to cede some of his spotlight to a star pupil, Lynch said that this is the first time he has invited an undergraduate student to conduct a top choir at such a venue. “It’s not something that is typically done, but Morgan is someone truly special, and she has really great gifts as a conductor. I think her ceiling is limitless.”

Lynch also acknowledged the Office of the Dean for funding the group’s appearance at the event.

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W&L Students Promote Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

This week, students at Washington and Lee University will be sleeping outside in near-freezing temperatures, trying to buy groceries for $1.40 per meal, and distributing Thanksgiving dinners to local families in need.

These and other activities are all part of National Hunger and Homelessness Week, which takes place Nov. 16 to 24. The event is organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless and sponsored by W&L’s Nabors Service League, a student-run community service organization. This year, the league has also partnered with Students Against Rockbridge Area Hunger (SARAH) and the Campus Kitchen at W&L (CKWL) to organize some of the week’s events.

“We’ve been advertising on campus, and professors have also sent out information or are giving extra credit to students who attend some of these events,” said Jenny Davidson, co-curricular service coordinator at W&L.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge asks students to buy their groceries for four days on the equivalent of SNAP funding—$1.40 per meal. “With this sort of challenge, they’re not going to actually know what it’s like to experience food insecurity, because this is something they are doing voluntarily. But it will give them some of the experience,” said Davidson.

Howard Pickett, director of W&L’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, noted the growth of need in the Rockbridge area in recent years and that cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would have a further effect. “Many people don’t realize how much need there is just within the Rockbridge area itself,” he said.

Those who are unable to participate in the four-day SNAP challenge can attend a one-night event called Dinner on a Budget, on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 5 p.m. at CKWL’s base in the Global Service House. Students divided into family groups will pool their small SNAP budgets to cook their evening meal.

In keeping with the food theme, the student group Feel Good will sell their signature grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch on Tuesday outside W&L’s Leyburn Library. The group donates its profits to non-governmental organizations that take a holistic approach to ending world hunger.

Tuesday night, several students have committed to sleep on the lawn between W&L’s Graham-Lees residence hall and Elrod Commons, and will provide statistics and information about homelessness in America.

Last week, students collected frozen turkeys donated by the W&L community. This week, volunteers will make mashed potatoes and other staples of Thanksgiving and begin delivering the meals on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Recipients include the Lexington Office on Youth, the Rockbridge Area Occupational Center, the Magnolia Center and the Manor at Natural Bridge.

“I think the students-dressing-up-as-turkeys campaign went really well, because we received far more turkeys this year than last year,” said Davidson. “Our goal is to have 43 turkeys, and we’re very close.

“It’s really impressive and exciting to see these student leaders wanting to educate campus on the issues that are so close to their hearts,” Davidson continued. “They spend a lot of time working on issues of hunger and housing, so to see them trying to share the information around campus is really great.”

In addition to the 14-person leadership team at CKWL, Davidson was particularly grateful to the following students for their efforts in organizing Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week:

Lacy McAlister ’14 of Charlotte, N.C., president of the Nabors Service League; Adrian Xu ’15 of Claremont, Calif., the food and shelter chair of the Nabors Service League; Caroline Gill ’14 of Charlotte, N.C., who volunteers with CKWL and has also worked with the Nabors Service League on food and shelter issues; and Chris Ives ’14 of Fairhope, Ala., and Brett Bauer ’15 of Franklin, Tenn., who are both leaders in SARAH.

Related Video:

Shepherd Program Director Howard Pickett on the growth in need in the Rockbridge area:

Confrontational Education vs. Content Delivery

The following opinion piece by Associate Provost Marc Conner appeared in the Nov. 18, 2013, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

Confrontational Education vs. Content Delivery

Marc Conner
Associate Provost and James M. and Jo Ballengee Professor of English

The great buzz in higher education these days is online learning. On a daily basis, the popular press features stories about how MOOCs (massive open online courses) and similar online education tools will soon revolutionize the American college experience, magically making a college education affordable, efficient and simple–or, cheap, quick and easy.

While there are certainly exciting developments in teaching technology, nearly all these stories make the same error: They reduce learning to mere content delivery, as if a college education is simply a matter of dumping material into receptive brains by the cheapest means necessary.

It’s no accident that the online courses championed at Coursera and Udacity, the largest online vendors of college courses, are overwhelmingly basic accounting and finance courses or introductory science courses–the closest thing in college learning to basic quantified fact delivery, hence the most amenable to computer-graded, impersonal upload (though my colleagues teaching accounting and computer science would surely argue, and rightly so, that there’s a lot more to these fields than that). Neither company features in its catalogs many courses in fields defined by ambiguity–literature, economics, philosophy, sociology, history. Such fields seem to offer little purchase for the content delivery concept of learning.

The champions of this sort of “teaching” seem to assume that online learning can at least provide the “basic competencies” of a college education, and then the “higher order” learning can occur in more traditional classrooms, to quote a recent New York Times article championing online education.

But often a college student’s most transformative learning experience occurs in that first-year history or philosophy or anthropology or biology course. College students won’t be ready for the “higher order” learning that comes after, if they haven’t previously learned how to put their ideas into confrontation with a live professor and live students, in a seminar, a lab, a study-abroad program, or a group project. Precisely this kind of confrontational education leads to true critical thinking, the real payoff of a college education and the skill most sought by employers.

Every time a bank or corporation or law firm visits our campus and we ask, “What are you looking for in a new employee?” the answer is invariably, “Someone who can write, who can communicate, who can think for herself, who can solve problems independently, who can take on a project and complete it, a self-starter.” The fact is, a student in the 21st century who thinks she can learn everything by interacting with a computer is going to offer a poor employment prospect to any organization seeking a dynamic, bold, entrepreneurial, self-guided individual. Moreover, this naïve championing of online learning utterly disvalues the plenitude of other learning that occurs on a college campus beyond the traditional classroom, where the real goal is to educate the whole self, beyond mere technical skills.

The American university system at its best develops a fiercely independent thinker who can excel in any situation; the online learning concepts currently touted offer rote and passive learning that is more comparable to 19th-century models of industrial education, hardly suited to the demands of the 21st century. Ironically, digital and technological learning is filled with exciting possibilities, and it is precisely at the great universities that we see the most exciting innovations in teaching and learning going on, including complex interweavings of campus-based and Web-based teaching tools.

The media image is that technology is way out in front, and the antiquated university is stubbornly looking back to an era of dusty chalkboards. The reality is virtually the opposite. And while the discussion of online learning focuses overwhelmingly on cost savings, the universities are focused on how technology can enhance teaching and learning. The American university will continue to integrate technology into its teaching and research methods, as it always has, and will continue to place a premium on a highly skilled professoriate that challenges its students to think, to critique, to transform and to lead. The fact is, great education is not cheap, nor can it occur in a factory. We are educating the leaders of the future, not the assembly-line workers of the past.

Marc Conner is associate provost and James M. and Jo Ballengee Professor of English at Washington and Lee University.

Sarah Beth Hampton Elected New Executive Director of W&L’s Williams Investment Society

Sarah Beth Hampton, a junior from Chapel Hill, N.C., has been elected executive director of the Williams Investment Society (WIS) at Washington and Lee University. Based in W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, WIS is a student-run organization that manages about $1.9 million of Washington and Lee’s endowment in equity securities.

Hampton will succeed the current executive director of WIS, senior David Fishman, at the end of the calendar year. Fishman is a double major in accounting and business administration and economics from Westfield, N.J., and will work in equity research at Goldman Sachs after graduating from W&L.

Hampton, a business administration and economics double major, and will be an intern at J.P. Morgan in sales and trading this summer. She is the society’s first female executive and has been a member since her first year. “That’s longer than a lot of people,” said Hampton, “and WIS has become very much a part of my experience at Washington and Lee. It’s always in my class schedule, and I always go to meetings twice a week. For me to now lead WIS is exciting.

“I knew I was interested in finance during my senior year in high school. You obviously need to have a good grasp of math and numbers, but finance is also about communicating with people, working with a group, and being able to come up with an original idea and follow through on it.”

When she first joined WIS, Hampton found it daunting and had a hard time understanding the financial jargon. So she plans to train new members at the beginning of the semester as a group, so they can ask questions separately from regular WIS meetings to bring them up to speed.

“Several outstanding candidates were considered to replace David, and I’m thrilled the outgoing directors selected Sarah Beth,” said Adam Schwartz, the Lawrence Term Professor of Business Administration. “From the very beginning, she has always been one of our stars. I know she will do a great job sharing her knowledge and experience with the new members.” Schwartz advises WIS along with Robert Culpepper, a 1966 graduate of W&L and a 1969 graduate of the W&L Law School, who is a visiting professor of business administration, and John Jensen III, a 2001 graduate of W&L who is assistant dean of the Williams School.

“Like all WIS members, both David and Sarah Beth initially benefited from the knowledge of the older members as well as from our network of alumni mentors,” Schwartz continued. “David has done a great job leading the group this year. More importantly than the outstanding returns, he has helped the new members learn how we manage the part of the endowment trusted to the group.”

WIS has three directors—the executive director and two associate directors. Members are divided into nine industry groups designed to mirror the S&P 500: consumer staples; basic materials; consumer discretionary; energy; financials; health care; industrials; technology; and utilities/telecom.

The groups range from three to five students apiece. Once a semester, each industry head defends their research on an equity that the group thinks is worth buying or selling. The 10 voting members of WIS then decide which shares to hold, buy or sell.

“The executive director does not belong to an industry group,” explained Fishman, “But he or she needs to be able to do a lot of valuation and understand the modeling. When the heads of the industry groups give their presentations, it’s important to make sure they have made a good choice and that the valuations are properly modeled.”

For the past 12 months, from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013, WIS returned approximately 23.85 percent compared to the S&P 500’s 19.79 percent, continuing its history of realizing returns in excess of the S&P 500 since its inception in 1998.

“That’s pretty phenomenal for a group of students with limited resources, time and experience,” said Fishman.

Other duties of the executive director include scheduling, inviting speakers, and generally making sure that everything runs smoothly. He or she also schedules interviews with students who apply to join the society, which is open to any W&L undergraduate.

“It all takes time,” said Fishman, “and for me the most difficult part was finding out how hard it is to stick to a concrete schedule. But WIS is a great learning experience for a lot of students and a great complement to a liberal arts education.”

W&L Alum Champions Fix for Healthcare.gov

From his desk in Hong Kong, Sam Reed, a JavaScript developer, is pounding away at his keyboard as part of the open-source community trying to help federal contractors fix the healthcare.gov website.

A member of Washington and Lee’s class of 2010, Sam is putting his B.S. in computer science to good use. He got to work after the troubled Oct. 1 launch of the health-care website: downloading parts of the code, sharing it on GitHub, and buckling down to analyze the problems.

Sam thinks it can be repaired and that “it’s not the worst code I’ve ever seen,” as he told “NBC News” in a story about the efforts that he and other programmers are undertaking.

“If we can get the open-source community involved in the issue, people in the trenches (working for the government) can see the fixes,” he told the reporter.

Eric Shuman Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology

Eric Shuman, a Washington and Lee University senior, from Black Mountain, N.C., has received the 2013 David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology. It recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

“Eric has definitely shown potential for making a significant contribution to the application of science, and that is part and parcel of the criteria for the Elmes Pathfinder Prize,” said Bob Stewart, associate professor of psychology. “He’s a dual-degree candidate and will receive two separate degrees, in psychology and global politics. He’s also captain of the W&L men’s swim team, which makes him the quintessential scholar-athlete.”

Among the research projects that Shuman participated in was a summer project with Dan Johnson, assistant professor of psychology. The research looked at the effectiveness of using a nano-narrative—a two- or three-sentence story—to improve students’ ability to clarify concepts they are being taught by creating an anchor in the memory, thus providing better learning in the long term.

During the summer, Shuman learned three different software programs, not only the basic function of collecting data online, but he and his fellow research students also tapped into the most advanced functionality of these programs.

“The amount of perseverance and outside-the-box thinking that it took to do this was really quite extraordinary, ” noted Johnson. “Taking on what appears to be a very difficult problem is exactly what Eric goes after and exceeds any expectations that anyone has for solving that problem. That certainly speaks to his scholarship and research potential, and he is clearly very passionate about psychology.”

Shuman’s future career plans include working on conflict and conflict resolution, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He wrote a paper on the topic during his first year and started learning Arabic. He then spent the summer after his sophomore year living with a Palestinian family in the West Bank, studying Arabic and volunteering with a non-governmental organization providing mental health services to Palestinians with psychological trauma from the conflict.

Shuman also conducted research in the class of Julie Woodzicka, professor of psychology, into the role of cognitive function of stereotypes about Arab Muslims. He and fellow students used articles and a video of the aftermath of missile strikes in the Middle East to show that when people felt responsible for the violence against that group, they activated stereotypes of Arab Muslims to detach themselves and lessen their feelings of responsibility.

The research included assessing how detached the subjects were by measuring their physiological arousal—collecting their galvanic skin responses, such as how much electricity their skin conducted or how sweaty their palms were.

Shuman learned how to collect galvanic responses from Stewart. Tyler Lorig, the Ruth Parmly Professor of Psychology, showed Shuman the best way to analyze the data. “They were really interested in the research and were always willing for me to come to their offices and talk about it,” said Shuman.

“One of the reasons I was attracted to Washington and Lee was that I wanted a small school where I could get to know my professors and work closely with them. Professor Johnson has been one of my most supportive mentors during my time here, but the entire Psychology Department is passionate about helping students do research and has provided me with tremendous support and guidance,” he added.

The Elmes Pathfinder Prize was established in 2007. It derives from the Elmes Fund, a permanently endowed fund that honors David G. Elmes, emeritus professor of psychology at W&L. The many alumni, colleagues and friends who benefited from Elmes’ commitment to learning during his 40-year career as a scientist, teacher and mentor at W&L created the endowment.

Theology Professor Thomas Carlson to Give Public Talk at W&L

Thomas Carlson, religion professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will give a public lecture on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium.

Carlson’s talk is free and open to the public. The title is “Love as Fundamental Mood of Philosophy: On Heidegger’s Inheritance of Saint Augustine.” The lecture is sponsored by the Howerton Fund.

“My talk explores both the understanding of human love and temporal experience that Saint Augustine develops in his ‘Confessions’ (especially Book XI) and the role that this Augustinian approach to love’s temporality may have played in shaping Martin Heidegger’s influential philosophical project in the 20th century,” said Carlson.

“Also, thanks to the 2012 publication of notes and transcripts from Heidegger’s 1930-31 seminar on the question of time in Augustine, we can now see more fully–and contrary to common criticisms of Heidegger–that love was for Heidegger a ‘fundamental mood’ of philosophical questioning. This point where Heidegger inherits Augustine most deeply, the talk argues, is also a point at which Heidegger departs from Augustine most sharply–by demanding we accept, as Augustine could not, the mortal condition of love’s temporality.”

Carlson is the author of “Indiscretion: Finitude and the Naming of God,” with another forthcoming. He has authored or edited over 20 articles and contributions to books. He also has written 10 reviews and review essays and has translated seven articles or books.

His areas of research and teaching include modern and postmodern philosophy; the history of Christian thought; religion and theory; and religion and contemporary culture.

Carlson belongs to the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and the Society for Theology and Continental Philosophy.

He received his B.A. in religion from Williams College and his A.M. in religion and Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago.

W&L Law Alum Honored by Judicial Peers

Judge Jack L. Lintner, a 1969 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, received the 2013 Trial Attorneys of New Jersey Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, in October.

The award honors attorneys whose “character, competence, and commitment to the highest professional standards mark them as outstanding members of the bar.”

The New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law is a cooperative venture of the New Jersey State Bar Association, the state and federal judiciary, and New Jersey’s three law schools.

Jack began his judicial career as a trial judge in the superior court in Middlesex County in 1988, where he spent nine years in the civil court, attaining the position of presiding judge of the civil and chancery divisions. He was appointed to the appellate division in 1999 and was a presiding judge there from 2006 through his retirement in 2008. During his judicial career, Jack published more than 100 opinions.

Prior to his appointment to the bench in 1988, Jack concentrated his practice on civil litigation in both the state and federal courts. He received the 2008 James J. McLaughlin Award from the Civil Trial Bar Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the 2001 Distinguished Service Award from the Institute for Continuing Legal Education.  He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Association.

He belongs to the Bridgewater, N.J., firm of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus P.A, focusing his practice on alternative dispute resolution, insurance coverage and appellate advocacy consultation.

New IQ Center at W&L Spawns Creative Ideas for Use of Technology in Arts and Humanities

When Washington and Lee University chemistry professor Erich Uffelman gave Andrea Lepage, assistant professor of art history, a tour of the University’s new Integrative Quantitative (IQ) Center, she was immediately intrigued by the potential that the 3D High-Performance Visualization Lab might have for using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) to enhance teaching in the arts and humanities.

“I thought that the IQ Center would provide excellent ground for further collaboration,” said Uffelman, who has successfully collaborated with Lepage in the past, “especially in the area of visualization of cultural heritage. Andrea was immediately appreciative of the new options we had available to us and took the lead on an internal proposal.”

Lepage instigated the formation of a cohort of faculty from art, art history, theater, chemistry, biology, archaeology, anthropology and computer science to explore ideas and secured funding from the Office of the Dean of the College for an ongoing project. As an initial step, the group will bring in two specialists in RTI to demonstrate the equipment and explain its classroom implementation.

“We’re always thinking of ways to make learning less static and we think this will make the classroom more dynamic and add a whole new dimension to learning,” said Lepage.

Helen I’Anson, professor of biology and neuroscience at W&L, is a member of the cohort. She is also program director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant (HHMI) program which provided funds to create the IQ Center. She hopes that the project will encourage arts and humanities to take advantage of the space and equipment in the IQ Center.

“Any project that involves the IQ Center is exciting to me,” she said. “And in particular I’m anxious to encourage cross-campus collaborations between STEM and non-STEM areas.  This is a good way for our non-science students to understand the importance of science and technology in their lives.”

According to Lepage, the new technology will make it possible to examine more closely topics in art history such as spatial relationships, paint density, texture and scale, which are currently limited by standard two-dimensional projection technology. RTI records on many different planes to give a more comprehensive and detailed image, enabling a viewer to isolate a brushstroke, for instance, and to see the exact trajectory of how the artist painted a canvas or created a sculpture.

Museums are currently making the raw data for artworks available to anyone with an internet connection, enabling students to examine and analyze details of the most famous paintings in the world. For example, a 3-D scan of the entire dimensions of Michelangelo’s “David” allows the viewer to examine minute details and circulate around the artwork.

“You can see what the toe of David looks like and the connection between the sculpture and the marble support,” said Lepage. “You can zero in on precise details on David’s back—it’s a participatory interaction that students couldn’t have otherwise. It’s even possible for us to take the raw data and make a 3-D print model of the sculpture.”

Lepage also noted that the technology permits students to reinsert artworks into their original locations. “The sculpture of David was originally intended to be displayed very high up on a tower, not in a museum, which accounts for why the hands are large and the head even larger. This technology allows you to place the sculpture on the tower where it belongs and view it from the ground to see if it changes your perception of it.”

Clover Archer Lyle, artist and director of the Staniar Gallery in Wilson Hall at W&L, said that the technology allows art students to create in new ways and dimensions. “This technology is analogous to how the internet changed the art field when it was first introduced. It’s going to become more prevalent in all areas of art-making as well as intellectual and conceptual conversations about art,” she said. “I think it’s important for students to be knowledgeable and aware of how it is changing the field and for faculty to be able to answer their questions and lead the discussions.”

According to Lepage and Archer Lyle, RTI is also contributing to a dramatic shift with regard to issues of originality, reproducibility, intellectual property and conservation. “These issues have been central to the works of many artists, with Andy Warhol’s screen printings being the most obvious example,” said Lepage. “Now they’re being discussed in a new way with 3-D technology.”

Lepage hopes that as faculty at W&L become more aware of the potential of the new technology and how they can apply it to their curricula, it will generate even more interest and curiosity among students.

W&L Issues Scholarships as a CFA-Recognized University

Students in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics at Washington and Lee University can now receive scholarships from the University to study for the exam to become a chartered financial analyst (CFA). Washington and Lee recently received official recognition from the CFA Institute, thereby making it eligible to offer scholarships to prepare for level one of the exam, a graduate-level self-study program for students interested in financial analysis as a career.

Adam Schwartz, the Lawrence Term Professor of Business Administration at the Williams School, and a CFA himself, said that CFA is a “very sought-after designation and helpful for promotion in some financial analyst positions. It certainly gives students an advantage in the job market, and I have heard practitioners describe it as the union card to work as a portfolio manager.”

The scholarships reduce the price of the exam for students from $1,400 to $350. Previously, W&L offered scholarships to prepare for the exam under a different program. Every year, many students are interested in learning more about the topic outside their classes at the Williams School.

Senior David Fishman, a double major in business accounting and economics, one of the five recipients of the scholarship, has intended to sit for the CFA exam since high school. “It’s an integral component of the equity research occupation, so this scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for me to realize my goals,” he said. “Professor Schwartz went out of his way to provide another opportunity for current and future W&L students interested in finance to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment.”

Students receive books from the CFA Institute on six different topics, including finance, accounting and ethics. In June, after graduating from W&L, they are eligible to sit for the level-one exam.

Annually, approximately 150,000 people worldwide sit for the CFA exams, which comprise three levels. The pass rate for level one is 40 percent. The pass rate for level two, contingent on passing level one, is also 40 percent, and the pass rate for level three, contingent on passing level two, is 50 percent. Students may retake a failed exam, but must pass all three levels and meet other criteria to complete the program.  Approximately one in eight people who start the CFA program receive the CFA charter.

“We have several W&L alumni who have taken and passed all three levels and are now in the process of becoming CFAs,” said Schwartz, ” and we have a lot of W&L students who are interested  in doing the same.”

In addition to Fishman, W&L seniors who received the scholarships this year are Lijaing Liu, a double major in business administration and mathematics; accounting major Kathleen Yakulis; Christy Cui, a double major in economics and music; and Stanislav Buncak, a double major in business administration and Russian area studies. Although membership is not a requirement to be considered for the scholarship, all the scholarship recipients belong to the Williams Investment Society, the student organization that manages more than $1.9 million of W&L’s endowment in equity securities.

Institutional recognition by the CFA Institute demonstrates that an institution’s degree program provides students with a solid grounding in the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge, including the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct in their curriculum.

W&L's Lind Discusses Public Speaking on WMRA's “Virginia Insight” Show

Stephen Lind, visiting assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Thursday, Nov. 14, to discuss the art of public speaking.

Lind is a specialist in oral communication and a former corporate communication consultant.

He was joined on the program by Craig Shealy, professor of graduate psychology at James Madison University, and Brett O’Donnell, debate coach to President George W. Bush during the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign and director of strategic messaging for the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. He is president of O’Donnell & Associates Strategic Messaging.

David Getsy to Deliver Inaugural Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History

David J. Getsy, the chair of the department of art history, theory and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will deliver the inaugural Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in the Elrod Commons.

The lecture is titled, “Approximate Invisibility: Dan Flavin’s Dedications.” The event is free and open to the public.

Getsy is the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Getsy received his Ph.D. in 2002 from Northwestern University and has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 2005.

He is the author or editor of five books and numerous academic articles on subjects related to modern and contemporary art, performance art and gender and sexuality studies. His next book, “Abstract Bodies in American Sculpture of the 1960s,” will be published next year by Yale University Press.

Dan Flavin (1933—1996), the subject of Getsy’s talk, was an American minimalist artist famous for creating sculptures and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. His first mature work was “Diagonal of May 25, 1963,” a yellow fluorescent light placed on a wall at a 45-degree angle.

The Pamela H. Simpson Endowment for Art, established in 2011, is a permanently endowed fund to support distinguished academics and professional visitors to W&L to work directly with students and faculty in Washington and Lee’s Department of Art and Art History. Pamela H. Simpson served on the faculty of Washington and Lee University for 38 years. She was the first female tenure-track professor at W&L and the first female professor to receive an endowed chair.

For more information, please call 540-458-8861.

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Morris Berman to Explore Post-9/11 America

Morris Berman, cultural historian and social critic, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 5 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium. Berman is currently serving as Class of ’63 Scholar in Residence.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

A book signing will follow the talk. Berman is the author of “Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire,” “Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality” and “Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West.” Copies of those books are available in the W&L Store.

In Berman’s lecture, “9/11 and Counting: How Far Have We Come?” he will contend that in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings that took place earlier this year, Americans were suddenly made aware of the fact that the war on terror is far from over.

He will consider what we have learned since the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and whether we understand our motives and the motives of our enemies, or whether we are stuck in a kind of unconscious programming that makes these attacks inevitable. After 12 years, Berman argues, it’s time to take a closer look.

On Monday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m., Berman will be interviewed by Professor Larry Boetsch, W&L’s director of international education, on WLUR Radio (91.5 FM).

Berman has taught at a number of universities in Europe and North America and has held visiting endowed chairs at Incarnate Word College (San Antonio), the University of New Mexico and Weber State University. During 1982-88 he was the Lansdowne Professor in the History of Science at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.

He won the Governor’s Writers Award for Washington State in 1990, the Rollo May Center Grant for Humanistic Studies in 1992 and the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity from the Media Ecology Association in 2013.

Berman has written widely about the history of consciousness, civilization and contemporary American culture.  He is the author of a trilogy on the evolution of human consciousness, “The Reenchantment of the World” (1981), “Coming to Our Senses” (1989) and “Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality” (2000). In 2000, his “Twilight of American Culture” was named a Notable Book by the New York Times Book Review. Berman relocated to Mexico in 2006, and during 2008-09 was a visiting professor at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico City.

He has a B.A. in mathematics from Cornell and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Johns Hopkins.

See his blog at http://morrisberman.blogspot.com.

Berman’s visit is sponsored by the Washington and Lee Philosophy Department, the Provost’s office and the Class of ’63 Scholars in Residence Program.

W&L Alum Brands a New Book

After 20 years of building and directing some of the world’s largest brands, Washington and Lee alumnus Tim Halloran, “The Brand Guy,” is sharing some of his secrets in a new book, “Romancing the Brand,” which will be published in January by Jossey Bass/Wiley.

A member of W&L’s Class of 1991, Tim is president of Brand Illumination, in Atlanta. Before opening his own consulting firm, Tim spent 10 years at Coca-Cola, where he launched the Powerade sports drink and led the company’s sponsorship of the Olympics, among other challenges. He received the Innovator of the Year Award from Coca-Cola and was named a Max Award Finalist for Innovation by Georgia State University.

Brand Illumination offers guidance to such companies as Home Depot, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble and Delta Airlines as well as Coca-Cola.

According to Tim, “Romancing the Brand” equates the relationship between brands and consumers to personal relationships, and the ideal relationship is one that has “the love, admiration and intimacy of a ‘romance.’ “

The book, using interviews and case studies, features stories around such brands as Dos Equis, Miller Lite, Sprite, Bounty, smartwater, the Atlanta Falcons and Coke Zero, among many others.

Read more about the book at the “Romancing the Brand” website and more about Tim’s work at his website.

W&L Honors Veterans

Washington and Lee commemorated Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 11, with its traditional gathering of veterans from the ranks of the University’s staff, faculty, retirees and students.

Co-organizers and veterans Mark Fontenot and Paul Burns gave brief remarks at the ceremony in front of Lee Chapel, as did President Ken Ruscio ’76. Following the ceremony, the vets convened to the warmth of the Reeves Center for coffee and conversation.


  • Buddy Atkins ’68, Development
  • Paul Burns, Safety Office
  • Jerry Clark, Facilities Management
  • Robert Etin, Law Class of 2016
  • Mark Fontenot, Facilities Management
  • Ted Hickman, Facilities Management
  • Mark Keeley, Information Technology
  • Jeff Knudson, Information Technology
  • Laurie Lipscomb, retiree
  • Dan Newhall, retiree
  • Tony Stinnett, Public Safety
  • Larry Stuart, Public Safety
  • Michael Young, retiree (and former organizer of the event)

New York Times' Baquet Predicts Increase in Anonymous Sources

While acknowledging that the “unbridled use” of anonymous sources by the media can result in credibility issues, Dean Baquet, managing editor for news at The New York Times, said their use will continue to increase and become even more valuable.

In his address to the 56th Institute for Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University, on Friday, Nov. 8, Baquet said that the current atmosphere in which the administration of President Barack Obama is seeking to plug government leaks has made anonymous sources all the more critical.

“In this atmosphere, whether we like it or not, we will need anonymous sources as never before, and we need to assure them that the anonymity will stick,” said Baquet, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has held numerous posts at the Times and also has worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Baquet admitted that anonymous sources led the Times to one of its greatest failures — “the bad reporting in the pre-war buildup to the Iraq War. We forgot, sadly, that the best use of anonymous sources is to challenge the government, not to let the government hide behind the weaknesses of its arguments, to use anonymity to tell lies or to slander.”

Baquet said that the problem is not in the use of anonymous sources. The media fails, he said, when they stop being aggressive watchdogs, not when they begin granting anonymity.

He distinguished between what he termed “ritualized” anonymous sources, referring to legislative aides whose goal is to get the boss’s name in the newspaper, or the senior official who tries to spin a room full of journalists. Over against these “ritualized” sources are those individuals who take risks “that are crucial to a journalist’s role in a democracy, which is holding power to accountability.”

Baquet argued that the use of anonymous sources will continue because of the nature of the war on terrorism. “So much of the government’s work is done in secret, and the only way to describe it to the world is by talking to people who risk their careers, and nowadays possibly even risk imprisonment for talking.”

The burden, he added, is to grant anonymity out of necessity and not convenience.

“You will see these sources more and more,” he said. “My only plea is that you don’t cringe but rather remember what you would not know if they did not exist — the undeclared war, the government mishaps, and the increasing power of an intelligence community with almost unbelievable access to technology that can ferret out the smallest bits of information about us.”

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.

Moot Court Appellate Advocacy and Negotiations Results Announced

The 2013 Moot Court competitions at Washington and Lee University School of Law are well underway, with the two events already concluded.

The finals of the Robert J. Grey Negotiations competition were held in late September. The team of Donavan Eason ’15L and James Pickle ’15L won the competition. Marc Mignault ’15L and Jeb Byrne ’15L were the runners-up.

The Negotiation Competition, sponsored by the American Bar Association Law Student Division, helps students develop practical legal skills and emphasizes teamwork and the ability to resolve disputes in a negotiation setting. During the competition, teams of students acting as lawyers for opposing parties receive confidential information about how they can best represent their clients’ interests. The teams work together in a limited time frame to find a compromise that is acceptable to both of their clients.

The event was judged this year by the competition’s namesake and W&L Law alumnus, Robert J. Grey, Jr., Esq. of Hunton & Williams LLP. The other judges were Lisa L. Schenkel, Esq. of Schenkel & Donaldson and Joseph H. Carptenter, IV, Esq. of Norfolk Southern Corporation.

The Moot Court Board named the competition in honor of Grey, who is past president of the American Bar Association and a member of the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees, because of his extensive experience in dispute resolution. Grey’s practice has focused on administrative matters before state and federal agencies, mediation and dispute resolution, and legislative representation of clients.

The finals of the John W. Davis Appellate Adovcacy Competition were held on Oct. 25. Krystal Swendsboe ’15L was named best oralist and Paul Wiley ’15L was the runner-up. Best brief went to Elliott Harding ’15L and Haley White ’15L, with second place going to Krista Consiglio ’15L and Paul Wiley ’15L.

During the Davis competition, students write briefs individually or in teams of two, and all participants argue alone. Competitors advance from the initial rounds based upon their performance on the brief and their oral advocacy skills, both on-brief and off-brief. Advancement in later rounds is based purely on oral advocacy.

The final round of oral arguments was judged this year by the Hon. Rhesa H. Barksdale, United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Hon. Stephanie D. Thacker, United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Hon. Mark S. Davis, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Davis Competition is named in honor of alumnus John W. Davis, who joined the law school briefly as its third faculty member in 1896. Widely regarded as one of the finest advocates of the 20th century, Davis argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 139 times before his death in 1955.

The Moot Court Executive Board, chaired this year by Benjamin Wilson ’14L, administers all competitions for the Moot Court Program, which includes the Davis Moot Court Competition, Mock Trial, and Client Counseling. For more information about the Moot Court Board and upcoming competitions, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.

Honorary Doctor of Divinity for Rev. Stephen R. Davenport III '64

The Rev. Stephen R. Davenport III, a 1964 graduate of Washington and Lee, was honored with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Berkeley Divinity School of Yale University last month.

Steve was recognized, in large part, for his extensive work in Haiti since 1970. In those early days, he was a major supporter of the music school founded by the Sisters of St. Margaret, which became the Orchestra Philharmonique St. Trinite and later Haiti’s national orchestra.

According to the honorary degree citation from Berkeley, Steve met a seven-year-old musician named David Cesar at the Holy Trinity Music School Summer Camp and began a relationship that has centered on service to Haiti. So interconnected are their lives that Steve and Daniel received the honorary doctorates together and were honored on a single degree citation.

David was ultimately ordained to the priesthood and was supervised by Steve, who formerly served St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, in Washington, D.C., in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, and at the National Cathedral.

David eventually became the head of the 4,000-student music school, which was passed to the Diocese of Haiti.

Together, Steve and David have arranged concert tours, with more than 250 concerts since 1996 in the United States and Canada for the Haitian musicians.

After the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, and the music school, the orchestra and singers performed concerts in tent cities. Their North American tours now demonstrate, as the Berkeley citation stated, “the unconquerable spirit of Haiti and the Church’s message of hope in the midst of hardship and tragedy.”

Steve and David were recognized for the “determined, generous, and utterly devoted leadership you both have shown in your inspirational partnership.”

W&L President Ruscio on the Teacher-Scholar in Peer Review

Washington and Lee University President Kenneth P. Ruscio is an article in the Summer 2013 edition of Peer Review, a publication of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The article is titled “What Does it Mean to Be a Teacher-Scholar?”

To read the article, see President Ruscio’s speeches on his website.

W&L Politics Professor Evaluates Gubernatorial Election Results (Audio)

As he examined results from Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Mark Rush, the Waxburg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University, concluded that both represented a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, “or at least very little.”

In the audio clip above, Rush discusses the elections and what the results mean for the future of the Republican and Democratic parties nationally.

“Virginia and New Jersey were two completely independent events that the pundits will do their best to connect,” said Rush. “If it’s not comparing apples and oranges, maybe it’s comparing apples and cantaloupes.”

The margin of Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s loss in Virginia, which was smaller than the polls had predicted, may lead some to make erroneous conclusions, Rush said.

“Pundits are going to say that it shows the Tea Party wasn’t beaten down to a quick death,” Rush said. “But if you look at the state, while we tend to be regarded in Virginia as conservative, we’re not really. Both of our U.S. senators are Democrats, we know have a Democratic governor, and it’s true that the state legislature is largely Republican. We’re kind of divided. It isn’t clear what Virginia’s political psyche is.”

In terms of signals that the two gubernatorial results send to the 2016 presidential campaign, Rush said that one thing it does show is that the civil war within the Republican party is not over.

“Nationally, the different regional parts of the party are so diverse and so disparate that it’s going to be very difficult, absent some Ronald Reagan figure, to pull the party back together,” he said.

Winning W&L Team Gets With the Program

Two teams of students from Washington and Lee’s Programming Club finished second and third at the annual Longwood Programming Competition, last month at Longwood University, in Farmville, Va.

Each three-member team tried to solve as many programming problems as possible in five hours. Ties were broken by the total time it took to solve all completed problems. A solution consists of code that correctly executes for all possible correctly formatted inputs. Both W&L teams solved five of the seven problems.

W&L’s Team ArrayList, composed of senior Richard Marmorstein and first-years Lauren Revere and Jamie White, finished second.  Team UnlimitedCodeWorks, composed of senior Garrett Koller and juniors Onye Ekenta and Samantha O’Dell, finished third.

The Programming Club is led by senior Alex Baca.

Repertory Dance Company Presents “W&L Dancers Create”

Presented by the Department of Theater and Dance, the award winning W&L Repertory Dance Company is performing “W&L Dancers Create” on Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m., on Keller Stage at Lenfest Center for the Arts in Lexington.

Under the artistic direction of Professor Jenefer Davies, the concert is dedicated to work performed, composed and designed by students and showcases the diversity and talent within the dance program. A suggested donation of $5 benefits W&L’s dance education programs.

The concert’s beauty is in its eclectic nature. Beautiful contemporary and classical ballet works composed by Blair Davis ’15, Madison Shinaberry ’16 and Jillian Katterhagen ’15 are performed alongside contemporary modern and innovative post-modern works by Sue Sue Drennan ’15, Alyssa Hardnett ’14 and Inga Wells ’16. A fun, dance-in-your-seat swing dance composed by Astrid Pruitt ’14 competes for our smiles with Lisa Stoiser’s ’15 laugh out loud comic work that pairs classical ballet and red solo cups. Not to be missed is Kelsey Witherspoon’s ’14 work with performers literally dancing in the aisles.

A W&L dance event would not be complete without a bit of aerial dance. Emily Danzig ’16 and Abby McLaughlin ’16 fly high with aerial ropes and harnesses secured 40 feet above the stage. Students Jay Catlett ’14, Jack Powers ’15 and Logan Nardo ’14 design the stage lighting along with lighting design Professor Shawn Paul Evans.

Stay after Friday’s performance for an intimate discussion with the choreographers and learn how they make their work and the meanings behind them.

This is a fun family adventure with something for everyone. Come and witness student dance at its best and brightest.

Reading at W&L by Poet Nathalie Anderson on Nov. 13

Award-winning poet and accomplished librettist Nathalie Anderson will give a reading at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium. She will read from her latest collection, “Quiver.”

Anderson’s reading is free and open to the public, and her books will be for sale. It is sponsored by the W&L English Department and the Glasgow Endowment.

Anderson’s first book, “Following Fred Astaire,” won the 1998 Washington Prize from The Word Words, and her second, “Crawlers,” won the 2005 McGovern Prize from Ashland Poetry Press.

She has authored libretti for two operas, “The Black Swan” and “Sukey in the Dark” and is currently at work on a third collaboration with the composer Thomas Whitman and Philadelphia’s Orchestra 2001, an operatic version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia.”

Anderson’s poems have been singled out for prizes and special recognition from the Joseph Campbell Society and reviews including “Inkwell Magazine,” “The Madison Review,” “North American Review” and “The Southern Anthology.” They have also appeared in APR’s “Philly Edition,” “Cimmaron Review,” “Denver Quarterly,” “Louisville Review,” “Paris Review,” “Prairie Schooner,” “Southern Poetry Review” and “Spazio Humano,” among others; and in the Ulster Museum’s collection of visual art and poetry titled “A Conversation Piece.”

Anderson was a fellow at Yaddo, a retreat for artists in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1986, and in 1993, she was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

She serves as poet in residence at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia and is a professor of English literature at Swarthmore College, where her courses focus on modern, contemporary and women’s poetry. She is also director of the Program in Creative Writing.

Anderson received her B.A. from Agnes Scott College, her M.A. from Georgia State University and her Ph.D. from Emory University.

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NCAA Honors Dr. Erika Proko Hamilton '03

Congratulations to Dr. Erika Proko Hamilton, a member of the Washington and Lee Class of 2003.

A star tennis player during her student years, and a new member of our Athletic Hall of Fame, Erika just received a new honor, this one from the NCAA: Recognition as a former student-athlete who exemplifies “the division’s attributes of proportion, comprehensive learning, passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship—not just during their time on campus, but also in their careers or avocations.” The recognition is part of the NCAA’s Division III 40-in-40 promotion, which is part of the 40th anniversary of Division III.

That description fits Erika to a T.  A six-time All-American for the tennis team, she received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year.

She earned her M.D. in 2007 from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2007 and did a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Duke University in 2013.  She is currently a senior investigator in the breast cancer research program at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tenn., which sponsors community-based clinical trials in oncology.

Brian Laubscher, W&L’s sports information director, nominated her for the 40-in-40 honor, and a blog post that he wrote for the 2013 Athletics Hall of Fame class helped convince the NCAA panel.

As he wrote, as a student “Erika was driven to succeed. She strived to become a doctor in order to help others. I had no doubt she would succeed.”