Feature Stories Campus Events

Putney '50, '57L Retires from Virginia General Assembly

Delegate Lacey Putney was the subject of a front-page profile in the Roanoke Times on Sunday, Dec. 15. The occasion was the conclusion of his distinguished 53-year career in the Virginia General Assembly, a post he has held longer than anyone.

Lacey, from Bedford County, Va., holds two degrees from Washington and Lee, a 1950 B.A. and a 1957 L.L.B. His first election to the House of Delegates came in 1962, and he served as the interim speaker of the House in 2002. He started out as a Democrat and became an independent in 1967.

He’s been the guest of honor at several celebrations lately, including one in Bedford County on Dec. 4, which the Roanoke Times covered in this story. His last visit to campus came just this past October, when he joined classmate Roger Mudd at the dedication of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.

And the Winter 2014 issue of the alumni magazine will include our own profile of Lacey Putney, with plenty of anecdotes about his years at the University. The writer interviewed him at his home—in his blue-and-white W&L room.


Alumni Offer Expertise in December Southern Living

Readers of the December issue of Southern Living magazine are enjoying the expertise of two W&L alumni: event designer Calder Britt Clark and cookbook author Alex Hitz.

Calder, a member of the Class of 1999, operates Calder Clark, a consulting and design firm that handles weddings and other events. It’s based in Charleston, S.C., which is where Calder and her family have recently settled into a renovated house, the subject of the Southern Living profile. Given Calder’s profession, it’s no surprise that she told the magazine, “We wanted to create a home that everyone feels free to descend on.”

We blogged about her a couple of years ago when her work on a celebrity wedding made the pages of another magazine, People. You can learn about her company at the Calder Clark website.

We’ve blogged about Alex Hitz, too, on the 2011 publication of his latest cookbook.

The member of the Class of 1991 offers Southern Living readers advice on “An Easy & Elegant Christmas Eve,” one of a trio of menus from other well-known hosts. Alex writes in the piece, “Here’s hoping one of your rambunctious cousins doesn’t knock over your spectacular wreaths, garlands, or table settings, but, let’s face it, it could happen.” The article is not online but Alex’s recipes are; here’s his take on Blue Cheese Straws.


W&L Magazine, Fall 2013: Vol. 88 | No. 3

In This Issue:

  • Building a Community: Welcoming First-Year Students to W&L
  • Nick Tatar ’96, Bricklayer

General Stats

  • The W&L Promise, Online Course Registration, Teach for America, Disposable Cups

Speak

  • Hurrah for the Honor System
  • Omicron Delta Kappa

Along the Colonnade

  • New IQ Center Dazzles Users
  • Larry Connolly ’79 Transforms Entrepreneurship and Shepherd Programs
  • Alumna Headlines Convocation
  • The Class of 2017 Hits the Ground Running
  • Alvin Dennis Celebrates 50 Years of Sartorial Success
  • W&L Names Two Trustees
  • Speaker’s Corner
  • Keen Named Dean of The College
  • Adventures in Art for Three Students and a Professor
  • Books & CDs
  • Meet the W&L Promise

Generals Report

  • Hall of Fame Welcomes Newest Class

Lewis Hall Notes

  • Top Honors for The Law News
  • From Representative to Lieutenant Governor

Reunions

  • Alumni Weekend 2013

Milestones

  • Alumni President’s Message
  • Beau Knows — The More Things Change …
  • W&L Traveller — The Galapagos Islands: A Family Adventure
  • President Ruscio’s Message: Three Dimensions — and More — of W&L
  • Art of Giving: Joe Burkart ’64

Last Look

  • Roger Mudd Center for Ethics

Two Grants Support Jewish Life at W&L

Brett Schwartz, director of Hillel at Washington and Lee University, has received a grant from the Richmond Jewish Foundation to support W&L’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Week, taking place this year from April 26-May 4, 2014, on campus.

Hillel is the foundation for Jewish campus life with local chapters at more than 550 colleges and universities across the country.

Hillel’s 2014 Holocaust Remembrance Week/Yom HaShoah will include a visit by a Holocaust survivor; a visit from Joe Fab, the producer, writer and director of Paper Clips, a documentary about a project to gauge the magnitude of the Holocaust; and a screening of Paper Clips. There also will be a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Va.

“Our Holocaust Remembrance Week provides opportunities for the University and Lexington-Rockbridge communities to learn about the Holocaust, and turn their attention to other genocides happening around the world today,” Schwartz said.

The Richmond Jewish Foundation, established in 1979, provides funds to central Virginia charitable, educational and religious causes, as well as services to the community and its donors. It also makes grants and undertakes community leadership and partnership activities to address a wide variety of needs in its service area.

In addition to the Remembrance Week grant, Hillel received a $5,000 grant from the Sam and Marion Golden Helping Hands Foundation to expand the number of Shabbat dinners (Friday dinners) currently offered. At the moment, Hillel provides a First Fridays at 5 once a month, but this grant allows Hillel to offer Shabbat every Friday.

“This grant will also allow non-Jewish students to attend and to learn more about their Jewish friends’ religion and culture,” said Schwartz.


New Exhibit in Williams Gallery at W&L Runs from Jan. 15-May 15

A new exhibit of paintings, “All My Friends and Enemies,” by Elise Schweitzer, is on display at the Williams Gallery in Huntley Hall at Washington and Lee University from Jan. 15-May 15, 2014.

The exhibit is sponsored by W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and is free and open to the public.

Schweitzer makes exuberantly large oil paintings of people dancing, playing music, fighting and fleeing from metaphorical and actual upheaval. The settings are stages for peak experiences, and her facility with paint combines expressiveness with specificity in color and form. Her paintings embrace a grand figurative tradition while exploring themes of anxiety and autobiography.

In 2013, Schweitzer joined the faculty of Hollins University as an assistant professor of art, where she teaches painting and drawing. She has shown her paintings in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Roanoke, Philadelphia and Umbria, Italy, among other places.

She has won numerous awards and grants to support her oversized paintings including the Vermont Studio Center Residency and Arts Grant, the Prizm Award from the Harrison Center for the Arts (Indianapolis, Ind.) and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (Montreal).

Schweitzer has taught landscape painting classes in Italy and participated in an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Her paintings are included in Manifest Gallery’s Painting Annual 1, 3 and 4.

She received her M.F.A. from Indiana University in 2009, and a Certificate in Painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.

The Williams Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

A Pledge Fulfilled

Mike Hughes, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1970, died in Richmond recently at the end of a 16-year battle with lung cancer. He was 65.

Mike was president of The Martin Agency, named the top ad agency in the country by AdWeek in 2010, and we blogged about him in January 2011 after he had been inducted into the One Club’s Creative Hall of Fame and had a building named for him at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was later named to the Advertising Hall of Fame.

There have been numerous tributes to Mike’s amazing work over the years and to his spirit in the face of his cancer. The Martin Agency posted a wonderful video interview with him on its home page (video link is at the bottom of that page) and the Times Dispatch had a front page obituary.

But Mike also wrote his own “autobiographical obituary” on Unfinished Thinking, his personal blog, where, starting in earnest last December, he shared his thoughts on everything from his bad handwriting to advice on creativity. If you start from his initial post on Dec. 12, 2012 and work forward, you will be captivated by the stories Mike tells.

Back in January, Mike’s oncologist told him he had maybe two weeks to live. In a Jan. 24, 2013, entry, Mike wrote, “It’s amazing how freeing being given a limited time frame can be. . . I completely stopped worrying about the items in my written lists and the lists that exist in the cracks in the back of my mind.”

And yet, there was one list that he still felt guilty about failing to tackle, and it involved Washington and Lee:

When I was a senior English major in 1970, the world was going a little crazy. Protests, students taking over University, riots, Kent State, etc. Of course (of course!) we couldn’t take tests in that environment. So a skeptical but graceful professor in my “Modern British Novel” course, made us pledge that we read five specific novels. I took the pledge and immediately lost the reading list. I’ve been meaning for the past 43 years to see if I could find it to finish my assignment. I’m not sure, but I’m betting that’s not going to happen now.

Having read that entry, some of Mike’s colleagues at The Martin Agency called Washington and Lee to see if someone could resurrect that list. It took some doing, but eventually they wound up in contact with Rhea Huntley Kosovic, whose father is Bob Huntley (English Bob, as he was known, to distinguish him from President Bob Huntley). Bob, who taught at W&L from 1962 until his retirement in 1994, was indeed the author that list.

With some help from others, some conversations with her father and some searching in his old class files (but mostly because she knew her father’s preferences so well), Rhea was able to recreate the list and make it available to the folks at The Martin Agency.

So on Feb. 13 this year, Mike received an email from the ITS department at The Martin Agency, telling him that the books were going to be added to his iPad. Now we don’t know with any certainty that Mike was able to fulfill that pledge to Bob Huntley, but we do think it’s pretty much a classic W&L story of students and faculty and community.

And the list? You might want to add these to your iPads as well:

  • The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion by Ford Madox Ford
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
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John Dean's Documentary Now Showing on CNN

Reading our blog last May about John Dean and “An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story” may have whetted your appetite to see the documentary, which tells the story of an innocent man convicted of the murder of his wife. Now’s your chance: “An Unreal Dream” premiered on CNN Films this past Sunday; an encore showing is scheduled for this weekend, on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 9 p.m.

John, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1976, is one of the documentary’s co-producers and co-writers. He occasionally teaches a course at W&L on screenwriting.

“In 1986 Michael Morton’s wife Christine is brutally murdered in front of their only child, and Michael is convicted of the crime,” reads the film’s synopsis. “Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, he has years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he is virtually invisible to society, a team of dedicated attorneys spends years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene. Their discoveries ultimately reveal that the price of a wrongful conviction goes well beyond one man’s loss of freedom.”

See anunrealdream.com for more info. Come January, February and March 2014, a short version will air on the Discovery Channel.


W&L's Strong on the Tea Party Spirit in Irish Times

The following op-ed appeared in The Irish Times on Dec. 16, 2013, and is reprinted here with permission.

Tea Party spirit still stirs but not in Republicans

by
Robert Strong
William Lynne Wilson Professor of Politics

Two hundred and 40 years ago today citizens in the city of Boston, wearing Mohawk Indian costumes to disguise their identity, boarded a ship docked in the harbour and threw its cargo into the bay. They destroyed private property and brewed the largest cup of tea in history to draw attention to an unjust law. They succeeded.

Today, a conservative faction in the Republican Party has appropriated the name. But those Republicans may not be the true, or only, descendants of the Boston Tea Party.

In 1773, the property at issue belonged to the East India Tea Company, a corporation that held a British monopoly. The Tea Act, passed by the government of Lord North for the benefit of the company, was intended to undercut tea smugglers, unload surplus product on colonial customers and enhance corporate profits.

In addition, Lord North wanted to challenge quarrelsome colonials, who had protested taxes imposed by parliament, with the collection of a modest tax on tea. The revenue was supposed to pay the governor of Massachusetts and other officials, keeping them under London’s control.

The tax was not a burden. In fact, the Tea Act of 1773 reduced the price of tea in the colonies as part of the effort to undercut smugglers. But principles were involved. There was the matter of being at the mercy of a monopoly corporation, something particularly important to colonial merchants who made an honest living in the dishonest business of smuggling. Then there was being taxed by a distant and unrepresentative legislative body.

Popular opposition
All across the colonies there were protests against the tax. Shiploads of tea bound for other harbours were turned back when the local merchants felt the pressure of popular opposition and withdrew their purchase agreements for the tea. In Boston, the governor refused to send the shipment back to England and kept it at the dock until the deadline for payment of the tax arrived. Then the boys in Boston took matters into their own hands.

What happened in 1773 was a classic act of civil disobedience. It provided a model for Martin Luther King jnr and the civil rights movement. Ghandi invoked it in his struggles against British rule.

If you want to find the contemporary equivalent of the Boston Tea Party, forget Michele Bachmann, think Greenpeace. People who get arrested on an oil platform or in front of a whaling ship fighting corporate power and policy are doing what 18th-century Bostonians did. The Occupy Wall Street movement also resembles the original Tea Party. Protesters who took up illegal residence in New York parks were trying to draw attention to unequal political power and the suffering of recession victims who did not get a banker’s bailout.

Of course, you can violate laws for conservative causes too. But the current Tea Party is content to contest elections and manipulate congressional rules without actually violating laws or accepting the consequences. Moreover, they don’t have the same commitment to democracy as their forebears.

Contemporary Tea Party Republicans would certainly oppose taxation without representation. Unfortunately, they are also against taxation with representation. And when you get down to it, they don’t really like representation.

Suppressing voters
Today’s Tea Party opposes the will of the majority expressed in national elections and vilifies the president who won those elections. They mostly win office in gerrymandered districts and threaten mainstream Republicans with primary election challenges. Worst of all, they favour laws aimed at suppressing voter participation. They may like their liberty, but they are no friends of democracy.

Since 1773 many groups have claimed the legacy of the Boston Tea Party. The events in Boston have a broad appeal. Imagine what it must have meant to stand up to the most powerful empire in the world and risk near-certain retribution for a principled position.

In Ireland that act of imagination is not difficult. All across the world, the courage of revolutionary Bostonians can easily be admired.

Robert A Strong is the William Lyne Wilson professor of politics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. This year he serves as a Fulbright visiting scholar in the department of history and archives at UCD

W&L Law Launches Pilot Externship Program in Washington

This fall, a dozen Washington and Lee law students got the chance to see what it’s like to work and live full time as a lawyer in the nation’s capital.

The third-year students are participating in W&L’s pilot DC Externship program, a semester-long residency program. Students have placements at a variety of federal agencies and courts, as well as in general counsel’s offices at major corporations.

W&L Law Dean Nora Demleitner says the School created the program primarily to facilitate the objectives of students who wish to pursue a career in government.

“Our DC program allows us to leverage our innovative, bridge-to-the-profession, third-year program with federal government agencies, enabling our students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in new settings and gain valuable government experience,” says Demleitner.

The extern placements this semester include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the U.S. Department of Transportation General Counsel’s Office, the Department of Defense Office of the General Counsel, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In addition, one student is working for language learning software giant Rosetta Stone and another for the sports marketing agency Octagon.

While students have held externships in Washington 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 interns 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.”

Kristin Slawter, a 3L from Wayne, PA, is a judicial extern for Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Slawter works four full days each week at her clerkship and is in charge of several of her own cases, including monitoring the docket, communicating with counsel, and drafting all opinions for the cases.

“I learned early on that Judge Lamberth was not going to review my opinion drafts by re-researching the legal arguments,” says Slawter. “He trusts my legal analysis and my judgment. Having this responsibility was invigorating and motivating in a way I had not yet experienced in my early legal career.”

In addition to their externships, where students are onsite anywhere from 20-40 hours per week, the students in the DC program must also complete the required coursework for W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum. This includes taking a practice-based simulation class, known as a practicum, held in the DC offices of the law firms DLA Piper and BakerHostetler.

With an externship in the Division of Investment Management at the Securities and Exchange Commission and a practicum course on International Business Negotiations taught by attorneys from DLA Piper, 3L Chrishon McManus is using his time in DC to build on the knowledge he gained in his second year classes on corporate law and securities regulation.

“I hope to work as a transactional or regulatory lawyer in Washington or in my home state of North Carolina,” says McManus. “I chose to attend W&L Law in part because of the third-year program. The expansion of the program to DC has given me even more opportunities and experience than I anticipated.”

Fourteen students participated in the program this fall and another 24 will be selected for the program next year. At the end of the two-year pilot phase the faculty will assess the success of the DC program and consider potential expansion to other metro locations, such as New York or Charlotte.

“Taking our program and our students out of our campus setting provides the perfect transition from academia into high-level supervised practice,” says Demleitner.

Washington and Lee Announces November Community Grants

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 11 grants totaling $25,055 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first part of its two rounds of grants for 2013-14.

The committee chose the grants from 17 proposals requesting more than $88,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • American Red Cross, Central Virginia Chapter – Funding two generators: one for the American Red Cross trailer in Lexington and one for the Glasgow Community Center
  • Boxerwood Education Association – Funds to assist with the integration of Project Generation NEST within the local school divisions
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry – Funding to assist with food purchases
  • Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity – Funds to go towards the Almost Home financial education program
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center – Dental care program for underserved children in the Rockbridge area
  • Rockbridge Area Housing Corporation – Funding for water conservation project
  • Rockbridge Area Occupational Center, Inc. – Purchase of a new safety-protected office shredder
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association – Funds to help with client utility and heat subsidization
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA – Purchase of an exercise machine for seniors
  • Rockbridge Regional Library, Youth Literacy – Funds to assist with the purchase of gift books and magazine subscriptions
  • Virginia Horse Center Foundation – Funds towards the general operating cost of the 2014 Rockbridge Regional Fair

Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.

During its 2012-13 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually. The submission deadline for the second round of evaluations for 2013-14 will be: by the end of the work day (4:30 p.m.) on Friday, May 30, 2014. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. 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 St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450-2116.


Rise and Shine: W&L Students Help Classmates Set Their Biological Clocks

Students at Washington and Lee University who have difficulty performing well in early-morning classes may take some comfort in knowing that their chronotypes are governing their performance. In other words, they are naturally night owls.

W&L students in Fundamentals of Biology: Biological Clock and Rhythms, a fall-term class, analyzed the scientific literature in the relatively new area of chronobiology in order to make specific recommendations on how administrators, faculty and students themselves can help such students perform better in early classes. Chronobiology studies biological clocks and circadian rhythms—the 24-hour cycle that controls sleep-wake patterns and monitors biological processes such as eating schedules, blood pressure, heart beat and body temperature.

“We consider students to be lazy, but they are not lazy,” said Natalia Toporikova, assistant professor of biology, who taught the course. “I think they are actually quite brave little souls who wake up early in spite of their biological clocks, and I think we have to acknowledge that. The students did a lot of work on this study, and I think it was in part because they honestly cared about it. I think the results could be potentially useful for the W&L community.”

Chronotypes reflect an individual’s sleeping habits and govern the optimal times for eating, physical activity and cognitive ability. They fall into three distinct categories—morning, evening and intermediate. An individual’s chronotype can change throughout the course of one’s life, with many older people being morning chronotypes—early birds.

Studies show, however, that most college students are evening chronotypes, or night owls, operating on a schedule better suited to early birds. This can lead to negative effects such as poor academic performance, irregular sleep patterns and disruptions in circadian rhythms. For example, one study showed a dramatic decrease in total minutes of sleep per night and a dramatic delay in bedtime among students that coincides with the start of the academic year. And by the time students graduate, they average only six hours of sleep per school night.

A further study demonstrated a distinct relationship between a student’s chronotype, class times and grades. It showed that night owls received lower grades in difficult morning classes, but they achieved higher grades when they took those difficult classes in the afternoon. It also showed that students who take classes that coincide with their chronotypes recall information from those classes better than students who take classes that conflict with their chronotypes.

“One of the most interesting recommendations for me is the relationship between types of intelligence and how they relate to your chronotype,” said Elliot Emadian, a first-year student in the class. “Crystallized intelligence is recalling or using previously learned information, and fluid intelligence is finding novel ways to solve problems. Fluid intelligence is severely diminished if you operate outside your chronotype range, so a lot of college students will have less-than-stellar performances in morning classes that require processing or synthesizing new information, such as a foreign language or lecture.”

The biology students also studied other factors that affect circadian rhythms, such as light, diet, human contact, exercise and noise. While it may be difficult for individuals to change their chronotype, the students’ research suggests that using external cues from the environment (called zeitgebers) can reduce the negative effects of operating outside one’s chronotype.

For example, while a person’s eating pattern makes no difference, a consistent eating schedule is important in helping the body to expect food at certain times. It also helps to keep the brain functioning and alert as well as providing a signal to the body that energy for a certain activity will soon be needed.

Light also plays a major role in shifting circadian rhythms, since the body is naturally attuned to sunrise and sunset. For example, electric light changes the onset and offset of melatonin—a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle—forcing sleep about two hours later, and producing wakefulness about an hour later, than they would in an environment with natural light.

One experiment demonstrated that removal of all light and other environmental cues completely threw off the subject’s sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythms, shifting slightly later each day. Once the environmental cues were reintroduced, the subject returned to a normal 24-hour cycle.

The class’ research showed that students should try to sleep in accordance with their cycle, regardless of their chronotype. They should aim, however, to maintain a consistent sleep schedule by trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. They should also schedule classes at a regular time throughout the week to get into a routine, and limit naps to less than an hour and not after 3 p.m.

The biology class also had recommendations for administrators and faculty at W&L. For one, faculty should expose students to natural light early in the day so that they will be more alert as the day progresses and perform better. Holding class outdoors in abundant natural light would also be a boon. “If you have an 8 a.m. class in a basement, that is really bad,” said Toporikova, “but if you open the windows, you can actually change the biological clock.”

The students also recommended that faculty allow students to take a five-minute break to eat a healthy snack in order to keep their circadian rhythms going. Laboratory classes, in particular, can last for more than four hours. Allowing for one or two breaks during the class would help the students fight fatigue.

The biology students put one of their recommendations into practice early in the term. “We played a biological tag game to engage students and raise their body temperatures so they didn’t sit down and go right back to sleep,” explained Reel Rainsford, a first-year student.

They also recommended that faculty provide a wide range of times for students to take tests and exams. At Washington and Lee, classes end around 5:30 p.m; the students recommended that a few classes beginning later in the evening could be more effective.

The students would also like administrators to hold training sessions for faculty—who tend to be morning chronotypes—to educate them about the different chronotypes, explain how and why students struggle in early classes, and help them create the optimal environment. They’d also like to see all new students fill out a questionnaire to determine their chronotypes, thus helping them to schedule their class times accordingly.

“I liked this project because it helped me re-evaluate my own sleeping patterns and helped me develop strategies on searching through scientific literature,” said Kelly Swanson, a sophomore. “I’m a night owl, so the biology class was difficult for me because it’s early. So I’ll hopefully schedule my classes later in the day and try to go to sleep earlier.”

Recommendations for Night Owls:

  • Avoid early classes, if possible, and schedule classes that require the most attention in the afternoon, when you are at peak performance.
  • Consider using an alarm clock with a gradually brightening light to stimulate a more natural method of waking.
  • Eat when you’re up early, since the body can learn to expect food at certain hours and will increase alertness at those times.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep, consider taking over-the-counter melatonin in the hours leading up to sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption, since it can impair your circadian rhythms for more than 24 hours after drinking. Chronic drinking can influence activity levels, making drinkers lethargic during the day and increasing their activity at night, which makes focusing in class even more difficult.
  • Exposure to artificial light at night delays melatonin onset, making it harder to fall asleep.
  • Take an early-morning physical education or music class.

The biology students studied in four teams; each team produced a website that identified the problem, examined the scientific literature and produced recommendations:


John Jensen Named Director of Career Development at Washington and Lee

John Jensen has been named director of Career Development and associate dean of students at Washington and Lee University. Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, announced the appointment, which begins on Jan. 1, 2014. He has worked at W&L since 2011 as assistant dean in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

“John has done such fine and innovative work with all of our students in his time at the Williams School,” said Evans. “Combining that experience with his background in the business world, he brings fresh energy and vision to his new position. All of us in Student Affairs are pleased to welcome him as a colleague.”

In his post at the Williams School, Jensen worked with faculty and deans to coordinate student-centered initiatives encompassing co-curricular programs, such as the AdLib Conference on advertising and liberal arts, and the Venture Club for students interested in entrepreneurship. He has also worked on professional development, internships, alumni outreach and international opportunities.

“I am very excited about this incredible opportunity and would like to thank Sidney Evans for her confidence in me,” said Jensen, a 2001 graduate of W&L. “In addition, I cannot thank enough Larry Peppers, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School, for bringing me and my family back to Lexington two years ago. I have enjoyed working with students and faculty in the Williams School, as well as our amazing alumni, parents and friends of the University. I am excited to continue improving those relationships while expanding my outreach to every student on campus. I am thrilled to be able to do full time what I’m passionate about: helping our students connect with the best possible post-graduate options available to them.”

“In his two years in the Williams School, John Jensen has done an outstanding job in supporting co-curricular initiatives that have provided exciting opportunities for students across the campus,” said Larry Peppers. “He has also been particularly creative in building bridges to alumni and parents in order to generate internship opportunities for students. He will do a great job.”

“John Jensen brings a deep appreciation of the value of the liberal arts to his new role,” said Suzanne Keen, dean of the College and Thomas Broadus Professor of English. “From the moment he began in the Williams School, he strove to include College students and to reach out to College faculty, because he understands the skills and abilities that liberal arts students bring to the workplace. He has a gift for communicating with employers about the unique capacities of W&L students.”

Before coming to W&L in 2011, Jensen served as a director of global equities for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. During his 10 years with that firm, he lived in London and New York, working as a sales trader covering European and Canadian institutions. He also recruited interns for Bank of America from W&L and many other top colleges.

A European history major at W&L, Jensen has been an active alumnus. He served as vice president of the New York City alumni chapter, chaired the New York City Fancy Dress committee, and belonged to the Alumni Admissions Program. He has been a class agent and co-chaired his 10th reunion committee.

Jensen and his wife, Lauren Stearns Jensen, a 2002 W&L graduate, have two children: Jack, 7, and Grace, 2.

W&L Professor Reflects on Mandela's Legacy (Audio)

As soon as he heard about Nelson Mandela’s Dec. 5 death, Washington and Lee University politics professor Tyler Dickovick thought back to the moment in 2002 when he had a chance to introduce himself to the revered South African leader — and couldn’t.

Dickovick, associate professor of politics at W&L, was in Cape Town conducting research on his dissertation when he wandered into a bookstore.

“I noticed about 30 or 40 South Africans looking into the bookstore window, apparently at me,” recalled Dickovick, who has written extensively on issues of decentralization and democracy in Africa. “My wife glanced over my shoulder and saw Mandela there. She said, ‘Go up and talk to him.’ The social scientist in me thought it would be the greatest informal interview ever, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t just walk up and say something to him.”

During the past several days, as he listened to coverage of the South African leader’s life and remembered his own close encounter, Dickovick said he realized what a meaningful moment it had been for him to stand there and to realize that he really had a hero, “that there are people who do something above and beyond what we expect human beings to do.”

In the years since that day in Cape Town, Dickovick has often taught about Mandela in his comparative politics classes at W&L. He admits that those lessons are challenging for him still.

“My predilection is to think that there are lots of social forces that are beyond any one person’s control that really shape events,” said Dickovick. “Mandela challenges many of my assumptions. He has made me question what an individual means, what a single person can mean in something as large, as huge, as world-historical as a nation becoming a democracy, a continent changing.

“I’m most often inclined not to believe that one person can do that much. Those exceptions are so compelling — whether it’s Martin Luther King or Gandhi — and Mandela was the one in my lifetime. He was the one in my lifetime who not only changed his country but, as I think about it, arguably brought about the final end of colonialism. To have someone of that kind of significance, I think, for me, it’s important to think about and, when possible, to teach about those people.”

W&L Professor Receives Grant to Conduct Classes on the Art of Sushi

Ken Ujie, associate professor of Japanese language at Washington and Lee University, has received a Sakura Grant from the JCAW (Japan Commerce Association) Foundation to conduct classes on understanding and making nigiri-zushi, a hand-pressed style of sushi.

Ujie will present the classes at George Mason University and the Governor’s School at Randolph-Macon College. He previously has held several similar demonstrations at Virginia Tech. The grant will allow him to give additional demonstrations at schools and colleges around the region on making authentic sushi.

While teaching history and culture through hands-on sushi preparation, Ujie hopes also to promote Washington and Lee’s Japanese language program to potential students. While the project is focused on high school students, his efforts will go hand-in-hand with the University’s emphasis on expanding global learning.

Ujie learned to make sushi while he was a student living in Japan. During a New Year’s break, he delivered sushi for a restaurant where the chef taught him the art of making nigiri-zushi. In the 30 years since, he has practiced and enhanced his skills. Since moving to the United States in 1978, he has prepared nigiri-zushi at his home every Friday night for Japanese people seeking authentic food from Japan, as well as Americans wanting to learn about sushi and practice conversational Japanese.

The JCAW Foundation was created by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C., to promote charitable work and education. It seeks to deepen economic and cultural communication between Japan and America through activities that promote increased mutual understanding. The Sakura Grant Program supports Japanese language and cultural education in K-12 schools in the greater Washington, D.C., and New York areas.

W&L Professors Win Grant to Study European National Identity

Two Washington and Lee professors—Jonathan Eastwood, associate professor of sociology, and Peter Grajzl, associate professor of economics—have received a grant from the American Sociological Association’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline to support the pilot project, “Tracing the Global Spread of National Identity.”

Eastwood, Grajzl and co-investigators Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl, assistant professor of economics and business at Virginia Military Institute, and Nicolas Prevelakis, lecturer on social studies at Harvard University, will use the grant for an expert survey on the development of all national identities in Europe from the 16th century to the present day.

Grajzl, Eastwood and their co-investigators will query experts on each country, as well as on those European nations that do not have nation-states, on national identity, economic development and the creation of nation-states in Europe. Surveying a large body of experts will avoid the limitations of current comparative-historical texts, and provide a clearer view of how and when identities of language, ethnicity and religion became complemented or supplanted by European peoples’ identification as members of nations. At the same time, it will show how those changes did or did not align with economic shifts and the rise of centralized governments.

Eastwood, the project’s principal investigator, said the project aims to produce “a truly systematic test of major theories of the relationship between national identity and other basic modernization processes that comparative social scientists have speculated about since the founding of the field.”

It is a pilot project, with Europe selected as a test case due to the continent’s density of researchers. The research team hopes to trace the development of national identities of every region across the globe, and in doing so create a massive and important resource that may alter our perceptions of the world.

The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. With over 14,000 members, ASA encompasses sociologists who are faculty members at colleges and universities, researchers, practitioners and students. About 20 percent of the members work in government, business or non-profit organizations.

Washington and Lee Launches Green Office Initiative

Washington and Lee University is kicking off the Green Office Initiative to encourage staff, faculty and students to practice sound environmental practices in their offices, classrooms and residence halls. Organizers hope a friendly competition across the campus community will make sustainability an even more integral part of the participants’ daily routine.

The initiative is a logical next step in the University’s commitment to environmental awareness. “Washington and Lee has made great strides toward the goal of sustainability in the past few years,” said Morris Trimmer, one of W&L’s two energy educators. “We have installed a solar photovoltaic array, reduced our energy consumption by more than 20 percent, and diverted thousands of tons of waste from the landfill.”

The goals of the initiative:

  • Engage the campus community in activities that will advance the University’s progress toward sustainability
  • Recognize and reward leadership in sustainability
  • Educate participants about how and why to take action
  • Support the University’s 2010 Climate Action Plan
  • Further integrate sustainability into campus culture
  • Conserve water, save energy, minimize waste and save money
  • Promote campus policies that support sustainability

This year, the competition will be arranged by offices, a category that may comprise anything from a group of people who share a common area, to all the faculty and staff on one floor of a building, such as an academic department. Next year, the competition will expand to include student residence halls and green houses.

Offices will choose a person to serve as their Green Office Representatives (GO Rep). After orientation and training, the GO Reps will encourage their officemates and track their progress in saving energy. Winners of the Green Office designation will receive plaques, acknowledgement on the Green Office website, a digital logo for their website and other items.

The Green Offices Initiative is a program of the University Sustainability Committee, which includes members of the staff, faculty and student body. The departments of University Facilities, Information Technology Services, Auxiliary Services and Energy Education also play an important role in the initiative. Cort Hammond, a junior from Seattle, Wash., did key work on the project during the past summer.


W&L’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter Awarded State Farm Matching Grant

The Washington and Lee University Habitat for Humanity Chapter has received one of four nationwide $10,000 State Farm Insurance Company matching grants for 2013–2014. This is the seventh year that Habitat for Humanity and State Farm have partnered to offer the Campus Chapter State Farm Matching Grant, and the second time that W&L’s chapter has received one.

State Farm requires the recipients to raise an amount equal to the grant and to donate it to their affiliate chapter. For the W&L chapter, that is the Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity.

The W&L Habitat for Humanity Chapter is led by co-chairs Chris Ives and Laura Beth Ellis, both seniors. “They have had a very successful fund-raising campaign this year,” said Adam Schwartz, the Lawrence Term Professor of Business Administration/Finance and the group’s faculty advisor, “and they did it out of the force of their own efforts.”

Under the leadership of Ives and Ellis, the chapter’s fund-raising board has already raised $14,750 through its popular Habitat Hotel, which took place during W&L’s Parents and Family Weekend in October. Members of the W&L community and local residents host parents of W&L students in their homes during the weekend. Parents pay $150 per night, and all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.

For this year’s Habitat Hotel, 40 hosts provided accommodation for 41 W&L families, and the proceeds exceeded the goal by $2,000.

“I get all these great e-mails from parents saying how they had a wonderful experience with their hosts, and how they want to do it again next year, and tell other people what a great idea it is, and that it supports a great cause,” said Ellis, who organized the event.

“Adding a $10,000 matching grant to the $14,750 raised with Habitat Hotel will allow us to purchase the materials required to build the shell of a home,” said Lynn Leech, executive director of Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity. “The chapter should be very proud of their efforts. I know we are.”

“Chris, Laura Beth and all the chapter members have done an outstanding job of fund-raising, and the families in Rockbridge County who need decent and affordable housing will benefit from their efforts,” she continued.

Ellis is particularly grateful to the volunteers at Habitat for Humanity, including Jane Dunlap, Emily King, Linda Wilder and Peggy Riethmiller. She also noted the hard work of W&L juniors Charlotte Sisk and Ellen Gleason, who will become co-chairs of the W&L Habitat for Humanity Chapter next year.


W&L Law Professor Margaret Howard to Lead Major ABI Research Project

Margaret Howard, Law Alumni Association Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been tapped to lead a major empirical study for the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). The project will focus on individual filers for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The ABI is the country’s largest multi-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. Howard was the ABI Scholar-in-Residence in 2002 and was named to the ABI’s board of directors in 2006. In 2009 she began a three-year term as vice president, executive committee member and chair of the Research Grants Committee.

Part of the ABI’s mission is to explore how the bankruptcy system works. The Research Grants Committee serves that mission by funding projects that will explain the operation of the system and how it affects people. Howard’s new project is an empirical study examining, among other issues, how and why individuals decide between Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 when filing for bankruptcy.

“One of the things we want to explore is why an individual would file for Chapter 11 in the first place,” says Howard, noting that filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 is more expensive and more complicated that a filing under Chapter 13.

As Reporter for the project, Howard will have overall responsibility for the general research, including examining the jurisdictional and legal differences at play in these bankruptcy cases. She will also be the chief author of the report. Ted Eisenberg of Cornell Law School, one of the foremost authorities on the use of empirical analysis in legal scholarship, will lead data collection and analysis for the study.

The project will also rely on an advisory group of practitioners, judges and professors to help frame the questions and other research parameters of the project. Howard says the ultimate goal is to make the Chapter 11 filing process better for both debtors and creditors.

“One key issue we will explore is how we can make a statute written for corporations work better for the increasing number of individuals choosing to file bankruptcy under Chapter 11,” says Howard.

Founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues, the ABI has over 11,000 members, including attorneys, bankers, judges, professors, turnaround specialists, accountants and other bankruptcy professionals. Since the ABI Endowment Fund was created in 1989 to provide resources for research and education, over $650,000 has been transferred to the Research Grants Committee to fund research relating to bankruptcy and insolvency issues, the scholar-in-residence program, and student prizes for bankruptcy moot court competitions.

Margaret Howard received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her J.D. from Washington University. She also received an LL.M degree from Yale University. From 1981 to 2001, Howard was a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Law.

Annual Candlelight Service Available Online

Washington and Lee University’s annual Candlelight Service featuring the W&L University Singers took place Thursday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

The service was broadcast live online.

The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” broadcast each year from King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, and widely used in England, the United States and around the world, is an ancient form for corporate worship at the Christmas season. The prayers, lessons and music tell the story of sacred history from the Creation to the Incarnation.

In 1880, E.W. Benson, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up a service of lessons and carols for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918 this service was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. In the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programming, and it is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide.

The service has been held for many years in Lexington and was held at Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church during the earlier years. The W&L Men’s Glee Club participated in the service held at the church, but when the Candlelight Service was moved to Lee Chapel in the early 1990s, the newly founded W&L Chamber Singers became the featured choir.

Music for the traditional service was provided by the University Singers, the evolution of the Chamber Singers, and conducted by Shane M. Lynch, director of choral activities at W&L. The Singer’s anthems featured a wide variety of music, from Robert Shaw’s wonderful version of the Spanish carol Hacia Belén and Tomás Luis de Victoria’s classic O Magnum Mysterium to modern and beautiful masterpieces like Dan Forrest’s Entreat Me Not to Leave You and the Kyrie from Frank Martin’s Messe für zwei vierstimmige Chöre.

Timothy Gaylard, professor of music, was the organist for the service, leading the familiar hymns and carols and rounding out the evening’s experience with an organ prelude and postlude.

Nine members of the Washington and Lee University community were chosen to read the lessons.  William C. Datz, Catholic Campus Minister at St. Patrick’s and former coordinator of Religious Life at W&L, presided over the service.


W&L's Gavaler on Superheroes and Terrorism in Roanoke Times

Chris Gavaler, visiting assistant professor of English, writes about superheroes as role models for terrorists in an op-ed titled “Paul Revere: superhero or terrorist?” in the Roanoke Times on Nov. 30, 2013.

Gavaler teaches a Spring Term course on the literature of superheroes and writes a blog, “The Patron Saint of Superheroes.”

Read his Roanoke Times piece at http://myw.lu/1chrGH3.

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WVTF Reports on the Real Thanksgiving Feast

The authentic Thanksgiving feast held on the Washington and Lee campus was the subject of a feature story on WVTF, the public radio station based in Roanoke, Va.

Sandy Hausman of Virginia Public Radio interviewed Associate Professor of Archaeology Alison Bell, along with several of her students, for the report, which also aired on WAMU in Washington, D.C.

Read the story and listen to the report: