Feature Stories Campus Events

Six W&L Students Are Recognized by CSS for Fall 2013

Six Washington and Lee University students are the fall 2013 recipients of the Celebrating Student Success (CSS) initiative sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs to inspire engaged citizenship at W&L.

Those students being recognized are Katie Florescu ’16, Will Fulwider ’14, Alex Gannon ’14, Ashley Humbert ’15, Lacy McAlister ’14 and Richmond Poindexter ’14.

CSS seeks to recognize students who are not typically or sufficiently touted for the depth and breadth they add to the W&L campus community.

Florescu, a sophomore from Merritt Island, Fla., is a Romance Languages major. She is a resident advisor for first-year students, a dispatcher and driver for Traveller Safe Ride System and memorabilia co-chair for Fancy Dress. A graduate of Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Fla., Florescu is founder of Younity, a first-year program designed to promote individuality and unity in the W&L social community; a Spanish and English tutor with English for Speakers of Other Languages; and a member of Women in Sciences and Technology and Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society.

Fulwider, a senior from Columbus, Ohio, is a Chinese major and environmental studies minor. He is the editor in chief of Muse Literary Arts Magazine; a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma; a Permaculture group leader—a member of a core leadership team attempting the implementation of an environmentally sustainable permaculture display garden on campus; and a member and officer of SEAL (Student Environmental Action League). A graduate of Upper Arlington High School, Fulwider is a blue bike program supervisor; WLUR 91.5 FM music director; and has been on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll.

Gannon, a senior from Richmond, Va., is majoring in business administration. He is the president of Campus Community Coalition, which works to improve relations between the University and the residents of Lexington; co-chair of the Voting Regulations Board; and co-chair of the Student Financial Aid Committee. A graduate of St. Christopher’s School, Gannon is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and the Sigma Society.

Humbert, a junior from Somerset, Pa., is majoring in English and minoring in women’s and gender studies and education policy. She is a resident adviser for first-year students; an Outing Club key staff member; and co-chair of the activity committee of the First-Year Orientation Committee. A graduate of Somerset Area Senior High School, Humbert tutors and reads to the students at Waddell Elementary School; is committee chair of the Sexual Health Awareness Group; and has been on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll.

McAlister, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., is majoring in sociology and minoring in poverty and human capability studies. She is the general chair for the Nabors Service League, responsible for coordinating student service across campus and community, including chairing the Nabors Service League Contact Committee; a team member for the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF); and leads a women’s Bible study for RUF. A graduate of Charlotte Latin School, McAlister is the service and philanthropy director for Kappa Alpha Theta sorority; works with the Shepherd Poverty Program as a work study; and has been on the Dean’s List.

Poindexter, a senior from Inverness, Miss., is an economics major. He is co-president of the General’s Activities Board; the entertainment committee chair of Fancy Dress; and is continuing education chair of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. A graduate of Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., he also is co-chair of the Campus Community Coalition, which works to improve relations between the University and Lexington residents.

Recipients were selected by the CSS Committee, which is composed of students, faculty and staff. Any member of the campus community can nominate a W&L student at any time by going to the Leadership Development website and clicking on the Generals of the Month banner.

WVTF Reports on Sleep Study

WVTF radio reported on Fundamentals of Biology: Biological Clock and Rhythms, a fall-term class at Washington and Lee on the relatively new field of chronobiology. Sandy Hausman of WVTF interviewed Natalia Toporikova, assistant professor of biology, along with students in the class, who analyzed the scientific literature in the field in order to make specific recommendations on how administrators, faculty and students themselves can help such students perform better in early classes.

Listen to the report online: http://myw.lu/1n1IEvt

W&L Announces Digital Humanities Partnership with UVA

Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia Scholars’ Lab have created a formal partnership that will strengthen the ties of both institutions in the area of digital humanities, thanks to a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South.

The grant fosters faculty and student relationships and provides graduate students at UVA with the opportunity to work in a liberal arts environment.

Exploring ways to introduce technology into the University’s humanities disciplines is a priority at Washington and Lee, which formed the Digital Humanities Working Group in 2012 to oversee the effort. Paul Youngman, a 1987 W&L graduate and associate professor of German at W&L, is the faculty chair of the group. “Since we’re trying to get digital humanities started at W&L, it’s really nice to be able to tap into the expertise they have at UVA,” said Youngman. “It’s so well established there.”

The partnership will provide W&L students with the opportunity to use UVA’s Scholars’ Lab facilities and learn about the cutting-edge projects UVA graduate students are undertaking. “It’s not so much the facilities of the Scholars’ Lab, since our IQ Center is second to none in that area, but more importantly the level of graduate students at UVA. They can not only demonstrate how tools are used, but also explain what’s behind the curtain,” said Youngman.

In return, UVA graduate students will be able to experience life at a small liberal arts college when they visit the W&L campus to assist with instruction in the Spring Term course “Introduction to Digital Humanities,” which will be taught by Youngman and Sara Sprenkle, associate professor of computer science at W&L. “It will give UVA’s graduate students, who presumably are going into academia, a chance to familiarize themselves with the liberal arts college atmosphere and how faculty interact with students inside and outside the classroom,” said Youngman. “Also, these graduate students have been doing really exciting new projects.”

A further project of the partnership is the development of a curriculum for a digital humanities certificate at W&L. UVA has already developed the Praxis Program, which it describes as producing “humanities scholars who are as comfortable writing code as they are managing teams and budgets.”

“It’s about developing humanities scholars who not only can use computer tools but can also write code,” said Youngman. “We’re not sure we’ll go that far, but we want to see how UVA developed the program for their graduate students and see if there’s a way we can develop the Praxis model for undergraduates here at W&L,” said Youngman. “So that’s one of the first things we’ll be doing.”

Youngman noted that employers today don’t want just an English major or just a computer scientist; they want someone with skills in both areas.

“The consensus is that employers love liberal arts graduates because they can take large amounts of data and synthesize it and be creative, but they also need liberal arts graduates who can work with WordPress and understand data mining and visualization. So we need to be able to put those pieces together at the undergraduate level so that our students can compete more effectively,” he said. “Digital humanities is about helping students be fluent in different media than just text, to be able to conduct research and present their findings in a more compelling and authentic way.”

W&L Mourns Former Law Dean Randy Bezanson

Randall P. “Randy” Bezanson, the dean of the Washington and Lee University School of Law from 1988 to 1994, died on Saturday, Jan. 25, in San Antonio, Texas, following a long illness. He was 67.

Bezanson is credited with enhancing the national reputation of the law school and laying the groundwork to secure its financial future. Among his numerous accomplishments, he rejuvenated the first-year curriculum with the introduction of small, writing-intensive classes.

“Randy’s deanship brought about monumental changes,” said Dean Nora Demleitner. “While his death is to be mourned, his legacy will live on through each of us and our law school.”

Bezanson received his B.S. and B.A. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law. After clerkships on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and U.S. Supreme Court, he returned to the University of Iowa to teach, where he established himself as one the nation’s leading experts on the First Amendment, libel law and mass communications law.

In 1979, Bezanson became the University of Iowa’s vice president for finance and university services. He served in that post until 1984, directing one of the then largest budgets in state government and overseeing three successful capital improvement projects, including the construction of Iowa’s Boyd Law Building.

He left Iowa in 1988 to become dean of W&L Law. During Bezanson’s tenure at W&L, the University planned and constructed a major addition to Lewis Hall. This addition included more space for clinical programs, the library reading room, faculty offices, and the law school’s archives, to which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. ’27, ’31L donated his personal and professional papers.

At W&L, Bezanson emphasized what he called “the role of writing as the principal medium of learning” in making curricular changes. Even in expanding clinical programs, he pointed to W&L’s “taught clinics” with their “focus on the skills of analytical writing and oral expression.”

David Millon, J.B. Stombock Professor of Law at W&L, was just beginning his teaching career when Bezanson came to Lexington.

“More than any single individual, Randy made the law school what it is today. He was a visionary leader who, together with President John Wilson, articulated and built the ‘liberal arts’ model of legal education that emphasizes small classes, close student-faculty interaction, intensive writing instruction, and interdisciplinary inquiry,” said Millon. “In the decades since Randy’s deanship, many law schools have tried to emulate our model, but it was Randy who set us on our on-going course of leadership in curricular innovation.”

Bezanson returned to the University of Iowa in 1994 after the completion of his W&L deanship. In 1998, he became the Charles E. Floete Distinguished Professor of Law, and in 2006 he became the inaugural holder of the David H. Vernon professorship. An extraordinary teacher, he was recognized in 2009 with the President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, the University of Iowa’s highest teaching honor.

Bezanson’s scholarship spanned the fields of administrative law, constitutional law, the First Amendment, defamation and privacy law, law and medicine, and the history of freedom of the press. The author of dozens of articles, Bezanson also wrote, co-wrote or edited eight books, two monographs and six book chapters. His book with co-authors Gilbert Cranberg and John Soloski, “Libel Law and the Press: Myth and Reality,” received the National Distinguished Service Award for Research in Journalism in 1988 from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Bezanson was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine Croyle Bezanson. He is survived by their two children, Melissa Bezanson Shultz and Peter Bezanson, and five grandchildren.

A celebration of Bezanson’s life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Levitt Center for University Advancement at the University of Iowa. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials be directed to the Randall Bezanson Memorial Fund at the University of Iowa Foundation, Iowa City, IA, 52242.

Brack '62 Takes Readers Behind the Cameras in New Book

While the career of Dennis Brack, a member of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 1962, shows you can make a photojournalist out of a history major, his new book, “Presidential Picture Stories: Behind the Cameras at the White House,” proves you can’t take the history major out of this photojournalist.

Brack has worked as a news photographer in Washington since the Kennedy administration and covered every presidency since. His colleagues have repeatedly elected him president of the White House Photographers’ Association and, more recently, given him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Along the way, he’s had more than 1,200 photos published in Time magazine alone, while his work has appeared even more widely in other outlets.

So Brack knows whereof he speaks, having lived and listened to the stories, lore and legends of his colleagues in the field for half a century. Out of all this he has compiled a warm, informative and lively survey. We learn that photographers weren’t given access equal to their writer colleagues until the early 1920s, when a newspaper publisher—Warren G. Harding—was elected president. He had a wooden shed built for the lensmen near the West Wing, a detached facility that came to be known as the doghouse. (Harding, you may recall, ended up in a very different doghouse, but that’s another story.)

We also learn that it was Harry Truman who finally granted the photographers their own permanent, dedicated space inside the president’s residence. Brack’s chronicle gets more up close and personal from that point on, because he worked alongside colleagues who had been in the White House since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. The warmth of his prose may stem from that camaraderie most prevalent among practitioners of a profession that routinely includes periods of waiting long enough for the delightful banter of stories to be traded as thumbs are collectively twiddled while waiting for carefully arranged events to begin.

History need not be dry, and this is not. There are plenty of wry and insightful glimpses into the carryings-on by the characters of the photographic press corps, told with an affectionate respect, which is not always reverential but is always entertaining and revealing.

The same can be said of Brack’s descriptions of presidential administrations and how each one defines and circumscribes that limited space within which the press is allowed to function. Treatment of the press in general, and of the photographers in particular, has varied widely in ways that say a lot about the personalities of the presidents as well as their handlers. Regardless of who is in power, elements of the emperor’s new clothes come repeatedly into play, and Brack’s skepticism remains healthy across party lines.

The text is amply interspersed with photographs by Brack and his colleagues that well illustrate the arc of his narrative. Some of these will look very familiar, for the work of the White House press corps has long provided us with many of the presidential images that have become the most iconic in our collective memory. A nice lagniappe is his closing chapter on the evolution of camera equipment through the years, from the slow complexities of wet plates in Lincoln’s day to the ease and instantaneousness of today’s digital gear.

Brack returned to campus in 2012 for a retrospective exhibition of his work, coinciding with his 50th reunion. He told several of the stories in this book—which was then in progress—during remarks at his opening reception, and as senior participant in a panel discussion by W&L grads who have made their living photographing for the media in our national capital’s halls of power.

What informed his storytelling on campus then, and informs his writing now, is the filter of his fine grain-of-salt sense of humor in noticing what’s going on around him and describing it to the reader in clear language. One can sense Brack’s humility within his love for a worthy tradition he feels fortunate to be working in and carrying on, via an eye twinkling behind his camera, wherever it may be.

— Pat Hinely ’73, University Photographer

W&L’s President Elected Board Chair of Association of American Colleges and Universities

Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), a leading voice of higher education at the national level.

His election took place on Jan. 25 during the association’s annual meeting, in Washington. Ruscio has served on the board since 2010.

AAC&U is concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. It comprises more than 1,300 member institutions—accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities and comprehensive universities.

Washington and Lee, along with all of the association’s members, is committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career.

At the beginning of the meeting, AAC&U released an extensive report showing that that liberal arts majors are successful in two key areas: long-term career success and earnings.

Ruscio took office as the 26th president of Washington and Lee University in 2006. A 1976 alumnus of W&L and a distinguished scholar of democratic theory and public policy, he previously served as the dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, from 2002 to 2006.

The author of the 2004 book “The Leadership Dilemma in Modern Democracy,” Ruscio has previously served as national president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership society begun at W&L in 1914.

He also serves on the board of the Council of Independent Colleges and on the executive committee of the Associated Colleges of the South.

Student Proposal for Car-Buying Site Wins W&L's Business Plan Competition

A business plan to match new-car buyers with dealers nationwide won Washington and Lee University’s fourth annual Business Plan Competition.

The competition is part of the capstone course in W&L’s Entrepreneurship Program, which began in 2009 and is taught by Jeffrey P. Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Seniors have to create a business plan from scratch, starting with the idea and then integrating everything they’ve learned from all the business courses they’ve taken. The business plans are then judged by a panel of entrepreneurs who are W&L alumni.

Stephen Lind, visiting assistant professor of business administration and leader of the oral communication initiative at W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, critiqued their presentations ahead of time.

Members of the winning team: Kathleen Yakulis, an accounting and business administration major, from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Nathaniel (Nate) Reichel, a business administration major, from Nazareth, Pa.; George Cauffman, an accounting and business administration major and philosophy minor, from Malvern, Pa.; and James Lewis, an economics and business administration double major, from Tampa, Fla.

Their business plan, which they dubbed Price Pounder, would create a platform for purchasers to buy a new vehicle at the best price through a reverse-auction website, where an exclusive dealer network would bid to sell their cars online at the lowest price.

The original idea came from Yakulis, who said she has always been entrepreneurial and thought this idea would solve the traditional car-purchasing problem of having to visit different car dealers to negotiate a good price.

“I always thought that you could come up with a business idea, and if it was a good idea, you could create a business,” said Yakulis. “It surprised me how critical it is to have a business plan. You need to put your idea on paper and think about all the different components so you can have a comprehensive plan ahead of time.”

The students spent six hours a week creating the business plan; as deadlines approached for different stages of the project, they sometimes stayed up until 2:00 a.m. to finish.

The business plan had to include the advantages being brought to the consumers—car buyers—and also to the car dealers. The students looked at outside forces and their competition in trying to figure out how to be viable. They needed details about how they would market the business and acquire funding, and had to show whether the business could expand in the future.

“We definitely had our speed bumps along the way, especially at the beginning,” said Yakulis. “We had visited car dealers, and they were really excited about it, but we had to work out what the reasoning was behind their interest. So we did further research to get concrete numbers as to what it costs them to acquire customers.”

At the competition, the W&L alumni “asked some pretty intense and very direct questions, such as how we would market it and our steps to launch the business,” said Reichel. “We had to back up our answers with data and market research. Most of it we had already done beforehand, but there were a few things we had to go and work out.”

“It gives students an opportunity to receive feedback and talk about their business plans and to change anything before the presentation the next day,” noted Shay.

“This was the first time I’ve put together a business plan and had it critiqued by professionals such as the alumni and Professor Shay,” Reichel continued. “I learned that actually making an idea become reality is a whole new ball game in the amount of time you have to put into the project and all the different perspectives you need to take in terms of figuring out the whole picture.”

Reichel added that he would love to see the entrepreneurship class offered before the senior year so that younger students might have the time to pursue making their business plan a reality.

While members of the Price Pounder team shared the first prize, second place went to Spot Vending, a proposal for vending machines that provide healthy snacks to busy New Yorkers. Advanced Facilities Technologies, a mechanism that holds toilet seats in men’s restrooms upright when not in use, was third.

Members of the Spot Vending team were Campbell Burr, a Johnson Scholar and a business administration major and a creative writing minor, from Chevy Chase Md.; Brendan McGoldrick, a business administration and accounting major, from Erdenheim, Pa.; Mark Sowinksi, a Johnson Scholar and business administration and history double major, from Greensboro, N.C.; and Dillon Myers, a business administration and Chinese double major, from Foxborough, Mass.

The Spot Vending team found their first obstacle was choosing a viable idea from the many different products they thought of. “It’s interesting that when you take an idea and tear it apart and think long term, you realize that your first thoughts aren’t necessarily accurate,” said Burr. “Background research exposes a lot, and we learned from doing that.”

The students said they learned a great deal from the experience. “It surprised me how long it can take to become an expert in a field and how much you can still not know,” said Sowinski.

“I learned how to create financial statements I hadn’t done before,” said McGoldrick, “and the market research we did for this was so much more intensive than what we did in marketing class. The entrepreneurship class is one of my favorite courses at W&L. I loved it.”

W&L Law Professors Franck, Fairfield Elected to American Law Institute

Washington and Lee School of Law professors Susan Franck and Joshua Fairfield have been elected to the American Law Institute, the most prestigious law reform body in the U.S.

The American Law Institute (ALI) is focused on producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. It has a membership of over 4o00 judges, lawyers, and teachers from all areas of the U.S. and many foreign companies. Among its projects, the ALI publishes restatements of basic legal subjects to inform the legal profession of what the law is, or should be, in a particular subject.

Susan Franck joined the W&L faculty in 2008. Her teaching and scholarship relates to international economic law and dispute resolution. She has presented her research to major government and international organizations including the U.S. Dept. of State, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the International American Development Bank (IADB), the International Centre for Settlement if Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the United Nations Commission on Trade and Investment (UNCTAD).

Most recently, she presented her work on empirical assessments of investment arbitration at the prestigious Arbitration Academy in Paris. Franck is among the youngest scholars ever to be invited to present in the history of the Academy.

Before entering the legal academy, Franck practiced in the area of international economic dispute resolution on both sides of the Atlantic. From 1999-2001, Professor Franck was an associate in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering’s International Group in Washington, D.C. where she was involved with various proceedings, including international trade disputes, commercial litigation regarding defaulted sovereign debt and one of the first investment treaty arbitrations against the Czech Republic. From 2002-2004, Professor Franck was a senior associate in the International Arbitration Group at Allen & Overy in London, England, where she represented investors and sovereign states in arbitrations involving breaches of investment treaties and underlying commercial agreements.

Franck received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Psychology and Political Science from Macalester College in 1993 and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Professor Franck received a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Grant to study international dispute resolution at the University of London where she received an LL.M. with merit.

Joshua Fairfield is a nationally recognized scholar on law, governance, economics, and intelligence issues related to technology. He has written on the law and regulation of e-commerce and online contracts and on the application of standard economic models to virtual environments. He has also written on the ethical and legal issues involved in the growth of human subject experimentation within virtual worlds.

Fairfield’s current research focuses on privacy models in social media networks. He was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study privacy law in the U.S. and European contexts at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany.

Fairfield regularly consults with the U.S. government, including the White House Office of Technology and the Homeland Security Privacy Office, on national security, privacy, and law enforcement within virtual worlds and as well as on strategies for protecting children online. His research in this latter area was cited in a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission examining risks to children who enter virtual worlds.

Before earning his JD magna cum laude from the University of Chicago in 2001, Fairfield directed the development of the award winning Rosetta Stone Language Library, a leading language teaching software program for educational institutions. After law school, Professor Fairfield clerked for Judge Danny J. Boggs at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, where he litigated cases in commercial law and software/technology law.

New ALI members are selected based on professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law. Franck and Fairfield join several other W&L Law faculty who are already members, including professors Doug Rendleman, Rick Kirgis, Margaret Howard, Tim Jost, Lyman Johnson, Brian Murchison, Erik Luna, Ben Spencer and Dean Nora Demleitner.

W&L’s Morel Reflects on Honor, Leadership and History at Founders’ Day/ODK Convocation

At the Founders’ Day/Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation at Washington and Lee University on Jan. 20, keynote speaker Lucas Morel wove together observations about Martin Luther King Jr., Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln in his speech, “Ever Mindful of the Past: Building an Honorable Community.” The Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics at W&L, Morel is a politics professor and head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee.

W&L holds Founders’ Day each year on or near the birthday of Robert E. Lee, who was president of Washington College from 1865 until his death in 1870. Yesterday, Jan. 19, was the 207th anniversary of Lee’s birth.

Morel also touched upon the theme of leadership, as the University’s chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L and celebrating its centennial, inducted 23 undergraduate students and 10 law students as well as six honorary members.

Watch the entire convocation, including Morel’s speech and the ODK initiation, here:

Honorary Initiates
Loranne E. Ausley, of counsel to the law firm Hollimon P.A., in Tallahassee, Fla., is a 1990 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law. A Florida native, she worked as an attorney in Miami, then served in the U.S. Travel and Tourism administration in the Department of Commerce. She has held several high-ranking positions in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including special advisor to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. She returned to Florida in 1997 to serve as chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay. In 2000, Ausley was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where she served until 2008. As a Democratic leader in the statehouse, she developed expertise in health care and education and became the leading advocate for children’s issues. She sponsored the bill that created the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, which coordinates state agencies and programs that deliver children’s services. Her résumé includes a most impressive list of honors, including outstanding legislator awards from, among others, the Florida Development Disabilities Council, the Florida School Board Association, the Florida Association of School Psychologists and the Florida Children’s Forum. In 2010, she was a candidate for chief financial officer of Florida. Ausley is the southern director for Project New America, a national research and strategy firm. For W&L, she is a board member of the George Washington Society, an emeritus member of the W&L Law Council and past president of the Tallahassee Alumni Chapter. She serves on several boards in Florida, including Whole Child Leon, Leadership Florida and the Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. A marathon runner and triathlete, Ausley was Gulf Winds Track Club’s Female Runner of the Year for 2007. She is the daughter of DuBose Ausley ’59, W&L trustee emeritus.

Sidney Springfield Evans is the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Washington and Lee. She practiced law with Wildman, Harrold, Allen, Dixon & McDonnell and Wolff Ardis P.C. in Memphis. In addition, she served as assistant dean for student affairs and budget and later assistant dean for admissions at the University of Memphis School of Law. She joined Washington and Lee in 2000 as director of admissions in the Law School. She was named associate dean for student services in 2002 and oversaw law student affairs, admissions and career services. Evans was named vice president for student affairs and dean of students for the University in 2011. She has served as regional coordinator of the National Association for Law Placement (1986) and on the 8th District Disciplinary Committee for the Virginia State Bar, and she chaired the task force review of the grievance process at W&L. She serves as chair of the Student Affairs Committee at W&L and on the National Alumnae Board of the Hutchison School. Numerous W&L committees to which she provides active service include the Faculty Executive Committee, University Athletics, University Board of Appeals and Automatic Rule and Reinstatement.

Al N. Hockaday and Ernestine Hockaday own the shops Shenandoah Attic and Victorian Parlor in Lexington. Sgt. Maj. Hockaday, as part of his long, distinguished career in the U.S. Marine Corps, came to the Virginia Military Institute to train cadets. Al has received more than 20 military awards, including the Purple Heart with Gold Star. He is a charter member and the paymaster of the Marine Corps League Detachment 1351—the Rockbridge Patriots—who preserve the traditions and interests of the Marine Corps by creating a bond of comradeship between those in service and those who have returned to civilian life. Over the past several years, the Hockadays have raised and donated significant funds for wounded warrior programs in Virginia and the Marine Corps. Al also serves on the board of directors of College Orientation Workshop, which mentors at-risk African-American men during their junior and senior years of high school. Ernestine’s leadership and service includes work on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Historic Lexington Foundation, Project Horizon and the Lexington Marine Corps League Auxiliary.

Eddie O. Nabors and Doris R. Nabors, of Birmingham, Ala., are dedicated leaders and volunteers in their community. Eddie teaches accounting at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he advises the UAB chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting and service organization, and has received the Loudell Ellis Robinson Award for Teaching Excellence. He is also a deacon at the Baptist church that he and Doris attend. Doris volunteers her time in Birmingham with Better Basics, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of elementary- and middle-school children. Eddie and Doris are known to generations of Washington and Lee students for their involvement with the Nabors Service League, a student-led organization that promotes civic engagement in the Rockbridge area and in alternative service breaks for volunteer work in multiple cities. The first Nabors Service Day was held in the spring of 1999; the Nabors Service League was established in the fall of 1999 by the classmates of Jonathan Nabors ’02 to honor his memory following the tragic deaths of Jonathan and his sister, Leah, in January of that year. Eddie and Doris sustain their son’s legacy at Washington and Lee by returning to Lexington for Nabors Service Day twice each year and by hosting Washington and Lee students for alternative-break trips in Birmingham. They know and offer encouragement to each of the leaders in the Nabors Service League during and after their time at Washington and Lee. Eddie and Doris have also supported the Shepherd Program and the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, and serve as a team on the Shepherd Alumni Advisory Committee.

Undergraduate Class of 2014
Mary Ashleigh Boles (Houston, Texas)
Hillary F. Cooper (Roanoke, Va.)
Melissa M. Derby (Estelline, S.D.)
Kathryn E. Driest (Davidson, N.C.)
David N. Fishman (Westfield, N.J.)
Trevor T. Hatcher (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Lauren N. Howry (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Lauren I. Kasoff (Owings Mills, Md.)
Joseph Liu (Ormond Beach, Fla.)
Isabella G. Martin (South Boston, Va.)
Bryan F. Mullady (Williamsburg, Va.)
Cindy Rivas Murcia (Naples, Fla.)
Mark A. Sowinski (Greensboro, N.C.)
Laura Lindsay Tatum (Fort Worth, Texas)
Kane Thomas (Shoreline, Wash.)
Thomas C. Wolff (Fairfield, Conn.)

Undergraduate Class of 2015
Caroline C. Crichlow-Ball (Austin, Texas)
Roger T. Day Jr. (Franklin, Tenn.)
Jane M. Fugate (Atlanta)
Jillian N. Katterhagen (The Woodlands, Texas)
Katherine H. LeMasters (Abilene, Texas)
Bayan C. Misaghi (Charleston, W.Va.)
Daniel J. Raubolt (Acworth, Ga.)

Law Class of 2014
Kyle A. Dolinsky (Doylestown, Pa.)
Laura E. Erdman (Catonsville, Md.)
Meghan E. Flinn (Oakland, Md.)
Lara D. Gass (Adams, Tenn.)
Kyle F. Hoffman (Stony Brook, N.Y.)
Ryan M. Hrobak (Spring Church, Pa.)
Cara E. Regan (Fairfax, Va.)

Law Class of 2015
George M. Mackie V (Lexington)
Krystal B. Swendsboe (Nisland, S.D.)
Paul M. Wiley (Charlottesville, Va.)

Kester Conducts Seminars in Singapore

George Kester, the Martel Professor of Finance in Washington and Lee’s Williams School, spent time in Singapore this past November, leading two executive seminars for the Singapore Institute of Management. He’s been conducting seminars there since 1996. This edition included a session on the Financial Fundamentals of Corporate Mergers:  Company Valuation and Financing and one on Business Financial Management.

It’s a far piece from Lexington to Singapore, and George reports, “I had a lot of time to kill during my long flights home.” So while he was hanging out in airports, he jotted down his thoughts about his experience with the seminars. “These teaching experiences and interactions with practitioners of finance help keep me current with practice as well as inform and enliven my teaching,” he noted. “They also add valuable international perspectives that are increasingly important as business and finance become globalized.”

George says that the seminars have been attended by managers and executives from such companies with operations in southeast Asia as AkzoNobel, Canon, Caterpillar, Hitachi, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Michelin, Nike, Panasonic, Pfizer, Rothmans International, Seagate Technology, Seimens, Sun Microsystems and Union Carbide. He also has led executive seminars and management development programs in the U.S., Africa, Australia and Europe.

W&L Law Student Wins Prestigious Skadden Public Interest Fellowship

Washington and Lee University third-year law student Jan Fox has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Skadden Foundation. These highly-coveted, post-graduate fellowships provide funds to law students who want to devote their professional life to providing legal services to the poor, the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights.

The Skadden Fellowship Program, often described as a “legal Peace Corps,” provides fellows with a salary and benefits consistent with the public interest organization sponsoring the law student’s fellowship application. In Fox’s case, this organization is the Delaware Community Legal Aid Society (CLASI). She will work with the organization to expand services to immigrant victims of domestic violence, representing them in custody matters, protection orders, and housing issues.

Fox’s interest in immigrant populations and domestic violence issues evolved over time. During college, she tutored ESL students in English, and while in law school, she has worked for Project Horizon, Lexington’s domestic violence shelter and prevention organization. She often helped staff Virginia’s statewide domestic abuse hotline, where she spoke with immigrant victims of abuse from across the Commonwealth.

“I have always admired the tenacity of immigrant populations in the face of such huge obstacles,” says Fox. “Immigrant victims of domestic violence have a special vulnerability because they don’t know who to trust. They are often afraid if they call the police that immigration authorities will be contacted or that they will lose custody of their children.”

Fox sought out a summer externship with CLASI in her home state of Delaware after her 2L year, working in the agricultural regions near Georgetown in the southern part of the state. There she saw a growing population of mostly Hispanic immigrants with very little access to legal services.

“There is a scarcity of financial support from the state to expand legal aid services to the immigrant population,” says Fox. “That is why Skadden is so essential. My project would not be possible without them.”

The Skadden Fellowship Program was started in 1988 by the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to commemorate the firm’s 40th anniversary and in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students to enter public interest law. So far, the Program has funded about 700 law school graduates and judicial clerks to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations.

Fox is only the third W&L Law student to receive a Skadden Fellowship, although this is the second year in a row that a student from W&L Law has received the honor. Last year, Sam Petsonk ’13L received a fellowship to represent coal miners who have experienced unsafe working conditions. He is working with Mountain State Justice, a non-profit, public interest law firm based in Charleston, WV.

Fox is preparing for the two-year fellowship by getting a broad range of exposure to this practice area during her third year. In addition to taking a family law practicum, she will extern in Richmond with the Virginia Poverty Law Center’s domestic violence unit and also work on a project helping immigrant victims of domestic violence obtain visas.

After the fellowship is over, Fox intends to stay with CLASI in southern Delaware and will be actively developing funding sources to continue her work.

Journalist Wilbert Rideau to Deliver Keynote for W&L Law School MLK Day Activities

Washington and Lee University School of Law will hold a number of activities on Monday, January 20 in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Events include a lecture by author and capital defense consultant Wilbert Rideau and an alumni panel discussion.

Rideau will deliver the keynote address for the School’s MLK Day remembrance. His talk is scheduled for 4:00 pm the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. All of the School’s MLK Day events are free and open to the public.

In 1961, the state of Louisiana condemned 19-year-old Wilbert Rideau to death for murder. His life was spared by a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, but he would spend a decade in solitary death row confinement, and 34 more years serving a sentence of life imprisonment without parole in Louisiana’s notorious Angola State Prison. During those years, Rideau first educated himself as a writer, and in time became the editor of The Angolite, the prisoner-produced news magazine, and first prison journalist to win the right to publish free from censorship.

Over the next quarter century, Rideau won many of the nation’s highest journalism awards, including the prestigious George Polk Award, for his contributions to public understanding of the criminal justice and prison systems. In 1979, he became the first prisoner ever to receive the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for an investigative exposé, “Conversations with the Dead,” that resulted in the release of a number of long-term inmates “lost” in the Louisiana prison system.

In 1984, he was selected to participate in an unprecedented nationally televised dialogue with Chief Justice Warren Burger of the Supreme Court on ABC-TV’s Nightline. In March 1993, Life magazine called him “The Most Rehabilitated Prisoner in America.” That same year, he ventured into broadcast journalism, producing award-winning reports for national radio and television. In 1996, he became the only prisoner ever to receive the Louisiana Bar Association’s highest journalistic honor for a documentary film he co-produced, Final Judgment: The Execution of Antonio James. In 1998, he co-directed a documentary, The Farm: Angola, USA, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Eventually Rideau won a new trial due to racial discrimination in the pre-Civil Rights era Louisiana court system that had condemned him, and in early 2005, he was retried on his original murder charge. The jury, provided with new evidence, acquitted him of murder and found him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, which was punishable by a maximum of 21 years. Since he had already served 44 years, he was freed immediately after the verdict, on Martin Luther King Day, 2005.

Immediately prior to Rideau’s talk, beginning at 3:00 pm in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, the School will also host a panel discussion composed of three W&L Law alumni and one alumnus of the college, moderated by W&L Law professor Victoria Shannon The panelists will discuss how their civic, personal, and professional efforts since graduating from law school have contributed to the broader ideals and mission associated with King, such as justice and equality for all.

About the Panelists

Steve Abraham 80, 83L, is President and founder of WILL, the Wilderness Leadership and Learning Program. In 2003, Abraham left the practice of law to bring his vision for WILL to District youth from underserved neighborhoods. WILL helps D.C. teens grow and learn in order to help them become leaders and achieve their goals. Among his many community involvements, Abraham currently serves on the Boards of the Multi-Cultural Intern Program, The Aaron Straus & Lillie Straus Foundation, and The Camp Airy and Camp Louise Foundation. He previously served on the Boards of the Washington and Lee University Alumni Association and the Decade Society. In 2008, Abraham was presented with the Amigo of the Year Award by Principal Maria Tukeva at the Bell Multicultural High School’s 23rd Annual Scholarship Benefit Gala. In May 2011, Abraham was honored by his selection as a member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2012. Abraham received his bachelor’s degree from W&L in 1980 and his law degree from W&L in 1983.

Loranne Ausley 90L is the Vice Chair of the Southern Progress Fund. Ausley is a native of the Florida Panhandle who served as an elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2000-2008. She is the Founding Chair of Whole Child Leon, a community based initiative focused on young children and their families. Ausley is an avid runner and triathlete, and an Ironman finisher (Florida 2007). Ausley is a 1990 graduate of the law school.

Dubose “Duby” Ausley 59 is a former Chairman of Ausley McMullen. Ausley worked closely with Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, who was a pioneer during the Civil Rights Movement and actually marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama. Ausley now practices in corporate law, government, litigation and wills and trusts. He is also Director of TECO Energy, Inc, and Director of Capital City Bank Group of Tallahassee, and former member of Florida Council of 100, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Board of Directors, Chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, and Chairman of the Florida Board of Regents. Ausley also previously served as a captain in the U.S. Army. Ausley received his Bachelor’s degree from W&L in 1959 and earned his law degree from the University of Florida in 1962.

Robert (Bobby) Hatten 72L is a pioneer and national leader in the field of asbestos litigation. For the past 17 years, he has been recognized by his peers to be included in “The Best Lawyers in America.” Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has also named Hatten as the “Norfolk Best Lawyers Personal Injury Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. After graduating from Washington and Lee University Law School in 1972, Hatten served as a law clerk to the Honorable John A. MacKenzie in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In 1973, he joined the law firm of Patten & Wornom and was made partner in 1976. For the past 20 years, Hatten has served as the managing partner of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C., the largest law firm in the city of Newport News.

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Donna Brazile, Political Strategist, Headlines W&L’s King Birthday Celebration

Donna Brazile, the veteran political strategist, will deliver the keynote speech of Washington and Lee University’s celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 5:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel on the W&L campus. Her talk is free and open to the public and will be streamed live online. There will be a reception and book signing in Evans Hall following the address.

Watch the live broadcast >

Other King birthday events at W&L from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23 include presentations by Washington and Lee professors, programs at the W&L Law School, a musical performance, a birthday party for local children and a supper of reflections. All events are free and open to the public, and all will take place on the W&L campus, except for the Jan. 18 concert. A complete schedule is at the end of this story.

Donna Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign. She is the former interim national chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.

She founded and is the managing director of Brazile & Associates L.L.C., a general consulting, grassroots advocacy and training firm based in Washington.

A native of New Orleans, Brazile served on the Louisiana Recovery Board in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Brazile has published a best-selling memoir, “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics.” She is a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine and O, the Oprah Magazine, and an on-air contributor to CNN and ABC, where she regularly appears on ABC’s “This Week.” She also has made cameo acting appearances on CBS’s “The Good Wife” and on Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

In August 2009, O, the Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for its first O Power List. In addition, she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine and one of the Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine. She has received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

Brazile’s talk will be followed by a reception and book signing in Evans Hall.

Washington and Lee will conduct several other events during the week, including:

On Jan. 20, at the Founders’ Day/Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation, Lucas Morel, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics at Washington and Lee, will deliver the keynote address, “Ever Mindful of the Past: Building an Honorable Community.” ODK, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L in 1914, will hold its annual inductions of law and undergraduate students as well as honorary members. Morel, the head of the W&L Politics Department, will offer thoughts about leadership, including Martin Luther King’s, and about how the past can help us work toward a better future. It takes place at 11:45 a.m. in Lee Chapel.

Also on Jan. 20, the W&L Law School will host law and undergraduate alumni discussing “In Pursuit of MLK’s Dream through Law, Philanthropy and Politics,” and hear the keynote speech by Wilbert Rideau, a convicted killer and a former death-row inmate who is now an author, lecturer and capital-defense consultant. The panel discussion takes place at 3 p.m. in the Moot Court Room of Lewis Hall at the Law School; Rideau’s speech is at 4 p.m. in the same place.

On Jan. 22, four W&L professors—Melina Bell, Ted DeLaney, Tim Diette and Howard Pickett—will lead a discussion, “Poverty, Inequality and Race: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Passion for Economic Justice.” Attendees may bring their lunch to Northen Auditorium in Leyburn Library; the event is 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.

And on Jan. 23, Margaret Hu, a W&L law professor, will conduct a discussion, “Big Data Blacklisting.” The event takes place at noon in the Moot Court Room of Lewis Hall at the Law School.

The complete schedule:

Washington and Lee University
Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration
Jan. 18–Jan. 23, 2014

All events are open to the public and free of charge. All events take place on the W&L campus except the Jan. 18 concert.

Saturday, Jan. 18

7:30 p.m.—Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” Concert First Baptist Church, 103 N. Main St., Lexington
A dramatic reading of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech interspersed with musical commentary and works performed by the W&L University Singers, Cantatrici, the Men’s Glee Club and the MLK Combo.

Monday, Jan. 20

11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.—Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Party Celebration
Elrod Commons
Games, fun and food for the children of Rockbridge County. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

11:45 a.m.— Founders’ Day/ODK Convocation
Lee Chapel
Lucas Morel, Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics at Washington and Lee, “Ever Mindful of the Past: Building an Honorable Community.” This event also features the induction of new members into ODK.

3:00 p.m.—Panel Discussion
Law School, Lewis Hall, Moot Court Room
“In Pursuit of MLK’s Dream through Law, Philanthropy and Politics” A moderated discussion, organized by Hernandez Stroud ’14L, featuring three W&L Law alumni and one undergraduate alumnus on how their civic, personal and professional efforts since graduation have contributed to the broader ideals and mission associated with King.

4:00 p.m.—Keynote Speech by Wilbert Rideau
Law School, Lewis Hall, Moot Court Room
In 1961, the state of Louisiana condemned 19-year-old Wilbert Rideau to death for murder. He survived the next 44 years in solitary confinement on death row, followed by life imprisonment in Louisiana’s notorious Angola State Prison. In the process he became America’s most celebrated and successful prison journalist, and an eloquent voice for the excluded and forgotten people who compose our country’s vast prison population. Released after a retrial in 2005, Rideau continues his work as a writer on criminal justice, punishment and prisons, and as a defense consultant in death penalty cases. His message and his very presence challenge us to remember King’s message of inclusion, equality and respect for all.

6–8:00 p.m.—Community Reflections

Evans Hall
King’s life and legacy will be commemorated with personal testimonies from members of the Washington and Lee and Lexington communities. A buffet dinner will be provided. Please RSVP online.

Wednesday, Jan. 22
12:30–1:15 p.m.—Brown Bag Lunch Panel Discussion: “Poverty, Inequality and Race: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Passion for Economic Justice”
Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library
Melina Bell, associate professor of philosophy; Ted DeLaney, associate professor of history, head of the History Department; Tim Diette, associate professor of economics; Howard Pickett, director and assistant professor of the Shepherd Poverty Program.

Thursday, Jan. 23
12:00 p.m.—Brown Bag Lunch: “Big Data Blacklisting”
Law School, Sydney Lewis Hall, Moot Court Room
Margaret Hu, assistant professor of law at W&L and a former civil rights lawyer for the Department of Justice, will facilitate a discussion on how cyber surveillance and data surveillance pose new challenges to civil rights and civil liberties. Lunch will be provided.

Sunday, Jan. 26
5:30 p.m.—Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Speaker: Donna Brazile
Lee Chapel
Donna Brazile, the veteran political strategist, will deliver the keynote speech of Washington and Lee University’s celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. A reception and book signing will follow in Evans Hall.

Two New Accolades for W&L Law

Washington and Lee School of Law has received two recent accolades recognizing its program and faculty.

W&L Law ranked second nationally in a student satisfaction survey conducted by Above the Law, the popular blog that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of law. According to the site, the ratings are a “function of how schools were rated by current students in the areas of academics, financial aid advising, career services, practical/clinical training, and social life.”

W&L trailed only the University of Virginia School of Law in the survey. Other law schools in the top-ten included Stanford, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, Michigan and Northwestern.

Also, for the second time in as many years, the faculty of W&L was included on the National Jurist’s list of the 25 most influential ‘people’ in legal education. Joining some of the most prominent voices from law schools around the country, the W&L faculty was recognized for their visionary leadership in adopting the School’s third-year curriculum reform.

The National Jurist requested nominations from every law school in the nation. Its editorial team narrowed the list down to 50 and then asked 350 people in legal education, including every law school dean, to rate each nominee based on how much they influenced them in the past 12 months.

W&L has led the way on law school curriculum reform since announcing the third-year reform in March of 2008. After several years of partial implementation, the program is now in its third year of full operation.

“We all know how fickle rankings can be,” said Dean Nora Demleitner. “But we appreciate outside validation of the quality of our institution, especially when that praise comes from our students and respected peers.”

Related Links

Above the Law’s listing of the highest-rated law schools for 2013

The National Jurist’s listing of the 25 most influential people in legal education in 2013:

W&L’s New Communication Initiative Hones Students’ Presentation Skills

Students at Washington and Lee University taking the new course Modern Professional Communication could be forgiven for being a bit nervous, since surveys routinely show that public speaking is one of the top three fears for adults (along with death and spiders). That fear is largely unfounded but also very real, said the course’s teacher, Stephen Lind, visiting professor of business administration.

The course is part of the innovative new oral communication initiative at W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. All the students taking the course are business administration majors, but many are also majors in other areas in the College.

The initiative expands on the successful written communications program in the Williams School’s CommCenter (formerly known as the Williams Communications Center), which provides four writing consultants to support students. According to Rob Straughan, associate dean of the Williams School and professor of business administration/marketing, the success of the writing program has been reflected in the improved writing assignments that faculty receive from students.

Some faculty, however, also wanted to broaden the school’s efforts to teach oral communication. “The sense was that although students were actually quite good at the cocktail-party conversation, they weren’t as comfortable giving presentations in more formal settings,” explained Straughan. “Under the old model, this was addressed during classes by faculty who were comfortable giving that sort of feedback, but the reality was that students trying to avoid making presentations could pick their classes to avoid doing so.”

Most notable in her enthusiasm for a new approach was Amanda Bower, the Charles C. Holbrook Jr. ’72 Professor of Business Administration, who developed the proposal that resulted in Lind’s hiring and made presentations to the Williams School Board of Advisors, faculty and interested alumni.

“I’ve been passionately advocating for this type of education almost since I stepped foot on W&L’s campus,” said Bower. “And I’ve worked very hard for a little over a year to get this off the ground. So I’m very excited by what’s happening and that we are now proactively teaching communications.”

Some alumni also advocated for the oral-communication initiative, including Ross Singletary and Frank Sands, both Class of 1989, who provided the seed money for Lind’s two-year position.

In 2011, Singletary said in “The Bridge,” the campaign newsletter,  that his original gift of $50,000 (it was subsequently increased to $87,500) was a tribute to former W&L professor of public speaking Halford Ross Ryan, whom he credited with helping him understand that good-oral communication skills are key to personal and professional success in any field. Prior to the addition of Lind’s class, no single class at W&L has focused on this topic since Professor Ryan’s retirement.

“My gift was specifically to support Washington and Lee’s efforts to promote verbal competency and speaking skills—whether in one-on-one interview situations or delivering a speech to hundreds of people,” said Singletary. “These skills are of vital importance for all students.”

According to Lind, the benefits to students include a definite advantage in the competitive job market. He said that 98 percent of human resources executives rate communication skills as important or very important in their hiring decisions, citing a 2012 study by Millenial Branding. “It’s not only essential to getting the job,” said Lind, “but also to being promoted within that job. So I think it’s critically important that W&L students graduate not only as super-smart students, but as super-smart students who can also communicate in efficient and effective ways.”

Lind said the W&L initiative stands apart from programs offered at most universities in that it provides context and teaches digital oratory. “These are features that my colleagues at other schools would love to have,” he said. While most universities rely on general-education public speaking classes, Lind provides context by discussing oral communication within business-related themes such as briefings, pitches, interviews and presentations.

Lind described the inclusion of digital oratory in his course as a “cutting-edge innovation” usually offered only in the context of a degree in journalism or broadcasting. “People are flocking to YouTube in droves to share their ideas with the world—digitally, but through oral communication,” said Lind.

Lind also wants students to have a better understanding of the definition of communication. “One of the neat things for me is that by teaching at a liberal arts university, we get to talk about the whats and whys of communication rather than just the dos and don’ts of communications.”

“Thinking it a weakness of mine, I have constantly looked for a class to improve my presentation and speaking skills at Washington and Lee,” said senior James Lewis, an economics and business administration double major. “I expected to become a more comfortable, confident speaker in Professor Lind’s class. But I was surprised to find it went beyond improving delivery by asking students to think critically about the audience, content, phrasing, structure and other less obvious aspects of a presentation.”

Bower added that learning the effective use of different modalities of communication, and in particular modern digital approaches, will make students more adaptable. “It also has the added effect of helping students’ critical thinking,” she said, “consistent with Einstein’s quote ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ “

This past summer, Lind trained the writing consultants in the CommCenter on coaching oral communication the same way they coach written communication. This enables students to go there before a class and give their presentation to someone trained in crafting messages.

When Bower was developing the proposal, she looked at not only the best practices of other schools but also the best practices in the world. “We needed somebody who could teach the digital technology to prepare our students for the future,” she explained. “But it also needed to be grounded in the knowledge of linguistics and an overall solid theoretical foundation.”

Lind’s educational background in classical rhetoric, as well as competing in and coaching national inter-collegiate policy debates, proved ideal. “Stephen was exactly what we needed,” said Bower. “Students in his class that I’ve talked to have been blown away and feel more empowered and better prepared. It’s not an exaggeration to say he has changed some lives.”

Lind hopes that the oral communication initiative will flourish with the necessary logistical support beyond his two-year appointment. “I would love to see potential future development of the CommCenter,” he said. “I would also love to see the development of a modern business-writing course where students get more explicit training on what writing means today in terms of the online platform—how to write for a website, a jobs blog or Twitter, and how to craft an e-mail. I think students would benefit from that.”

He can also imagine a number of Spring Term courses; for example, teaching students how to use low-resource technology to create videos for small businesses.

“This is all speculative, because we’re still in the early stages of implementation,” Lind continued. “But my desire would be to see this develop into a program where students receive a certificate in professional communication with the value of credentials. I think that would be fantastic for W&L students.”

“Stephen has helped us imagine what sorts of additional things we may want to put on our wish list,” said Straughan, “so this may be step four or five of what could be a multi-step process. This initiative is a big part of what we’re doing strategically to support student outcomes, and I am optimistic that when we look back five years from now, we’re going to do so with a pride about how this program has evolved.”

W&L Law Symposium to Explore Problem of False Confessions

Defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro remembers watching the videotape of a client confessing to the sexual abuse of three children and thinking, “We’re in real trouble.”

Shapiro, a 40-year criminal defense veteran and visiting professor at Washington and Lee School of Law, was retained to defend the client, whose first name is Russell. Thinking his client was as good as convicted, Shapiro went to the jail to meet him and was shocked when Russell said he didn’t do any of the horrible things he admitted on tape.

“I told him I saw the tape, and he said ‘I don’t know why I said those things, but I am not guilty’.”

And so began Shapiro’s interest in false confessions, a troubling phenomenon in the criminal justice system and the topic of an upcoming symposium Shapiro has organized at W&L Law. On Jan 30-31, interrogation experts, practicing attorneys and scholars will gather at W&L to explore the issue and some of the most notorious cases involving false confessions, including those of the Central Park Five and Virginia’s own Norfolk Four.

The statistics on exonerations based on DNA evidence show that this is not an isolated problem. Of the over 300 cases where convicted criminals were released from prison based on new DNA analysis after trial, 29 had confessed to the crime for which they were serving time. And without that DNA evidence, those people would still be incarcerated, or in some cases, executed.

So how does this happen? Why do people confess to horrible crimes that they did not commit? Shapiro notes that there was nothing particularly aggressive about Russell’s interrogation.

“There were no bright lights, no shouting,” says Shapiro. “It seemed very professional to me at the time.”

What Shapiro witnessed was an interrogation process known as the Reid Technique, which is taught to police officers across the country. This method has come under intense scrutiny for producing a number of false confessions. James Trainum, a former police officer and interrogation expert, and Steve Drizin, a leading researcher in the field, will be on hand at the W&L event to help explain how the Reid Technique works.

Also attending the symposium will be Raymond Santana of the Central Park Five and Eric Wilson of the Norfolk Four. They will discuss their interrogations and explain how they came to confess to such horrible crimes, including rape and murder, when they were completely innocent.

Shapiro says that after police get a confession, they almost don’t need any other evidence to secure a conviction. In Russell’s case, Shapiro and his client were so worried about the impact of the confession at trial that they initially entered an Alford Plea, where a defendant pleads guilty while maintaining his or her innocence. This was later withdrawn, and Shapiro took the case to trial. He prevailed, and Russell is now a free man.

“In addition to challenging the confession, we had some DNA evidence that didn’t fit with the detective’s theory of what happened to the children.” Shapiro says that confessions are extremely difficult to combat and that without that additional DNA evidence, Russell would probably be sitting in jail.

The symposium, titled “False Confessions: The True Story” will be held Jan. 30-31 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee. The event, which is free and open to the public, will include a screening Thursday evening of the PBS documentary “The Central Park Five” by Ken Burns, David McMahon, and Sarah Burns. More information and registration is available at law.wlu.edu/falseconfessions.

Shenandoah Announces Winner of Graybeal-Gowen Award

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Literary Review is pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Contest, the contest’s sixth year. The winning poem, “London’s Foundling Hospital,” was written by Nancy Schoenberger, of Williamsburg, Va.

The 2013 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Award, a $500 prize, is awarded to a poet born or living in Virginia. Shenandoah awards it for a single poem; this year, the journal received over 300 submissions.

The judge for this year’s contest was Thomas Reiter, whose most recent collection is “Catchment” (LSU, 2009), and whose work has appeared in Poetry, Southern Review, Sewanee Review and numerous other journals.

The first and second honorable mentions were “Continuation,” by Erika Meitner (Blacksburg) and “White Sands,” by Kelly Cherry (Halifax).

This year’s finalists were Kelly Cherry, Lesley Wheeler, Erika Meitner, Michael Chitwood, Eric Pankey, Henry Hart, Victoria Kelly, Nancy Schoenberger, Jeanne Larsen, John Leland, Amy Wright and Laura Kolbe.

Schoenberger is a professor at the College of William of Mary and the author of three books of poetry and four biographies. Her poem and the honorable mentions will appear in the winter/spring issue of Shenandoah (shenandoahliterary.org), scheduled for March 2014.

“Tom Reiter had the daunting task of choosing one winner from a bale of fine poems, but he did us proud,” said Rod Smith, editor of Shenandoah and a contest committee member. “Schoenberg’s winning entry invokes emotion, thought and that vivid sense of the visceral that sends shivers down the spine.  She also gives us a glimpse into history and the powerful language of the Victorian era.”

The Graybeal-Gowen Prize is donated by Priscilla Gowen-Graybeal and her husband, James, and dedicated to Gowen-Graybeal’s father, Howerton Gowen (W&L Class of 1930), a lifelong lover of poetry.

The submission window for next year’s prize will be Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, 2014. There is no entry fee; potential contestants should visit shenandoahliterary.org for guidelines.

Morel to Address Founders' Day/ODK Convocation at W&L

Lucas Morel, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics at Washington and Lee University, will address the University’s annual Founders’ Day/Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation on Monday, Jan. 20, at 11:45 a.m. in Lee Chapel.

Morel’s speech is titled “Ever Mindful of the Past: Building an Honorable Community.” The event is free and open to the public and will be streamed live online.

W&L holds Founders’ Day each year on or near the birthday of Robert E. Lee, who was president of Washington College from 1865 until his death in 1870. Jan. 19 will be the 207th anniversary of Lee’s birth.

As part of the annual convocation, Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L in 1914 and now headquartered in Lexington, will hold its annual inductions of law and undergraduate students as well as honorary members. ODK, which will celebrate the centennial of its founding in 2014, was the first college honor society of a national scope to recognize and honor meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities, and to encourage the development of good campus citizenship.

A member of the W&L faculty since 1999, Morel has teaching and research interests that include American government, political theory, black American politics and Abraham Lincoln. He is nationally renowned as a Lincoln scholar and is the author of “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government” (2000). He has written numerous articles and papers on Lincoln, has lectured extensively on the subject, and is working on a book titled “Lincoln, Race, and the Fragile American Republic.”

In addition, he edited “Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man” (2004) and is working on a book about Ellison, “The Political Thought of Ralph Ellison.”

He is past president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society and a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association.

As the inaugural Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics, Morel will undertake projects exploring ethics, honor, integrity and character as they relate to W&L’s Honor System and to the mission of the Institute for Honor.

Morel holds a B.A. in government from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in politics and a Ph.D. in political science from the Claremont Graduate School. Prior to W&L, he taught at Azusa Pacific University, the University of Arkansas and John Brown University.

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Photography Exhibit Opens in W&L’s Staniar Gallery

Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery will present “Small Problems in Living,” photographs by Sarah Hobbs, from January 6-31. The artist will give a public lecture on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall. The talk will be followed by a reception.

Hobbs constructs carefully staged photographs that depict an ongoing exploration of the neurotic tendencies inherent in human behavior such as procrastination and avoidance.

Simultaneously witty and eerie, the fictional domestic environments, empty of any human figures, illustrate the idea that even the most comfortable spaces can house our uneasiness.

Hobbs’s photographs can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. She lives and works in Atlanta.

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

Personal Essay by W&L’s Kolman Singled Out by CNN.com

“There was the news that made the headlines. And then there were the personal stories that made a lasting impact on only a few people, but touched the lives of millions,” said CNN.com in selecting the 13 best personal essays submitted during 2013. Among those stellar essays was one by Barry Kolman, professor of music at Washington and Lee University, and his wife, Grace: “Mano’s Story: Girl With Autism Fights Bullying with Music.”

Their daughter, Mano, is often treated as “not very cool,” as her father gently puts it. She has high-functioning autism and walks and talks a little bit differently from other kids. Tired of the teasing, her parents came up with a plan: Her father would give Mano clarinet lessons.

A year and a half later, Mano is a proud member of her middle school band. Her parents can tell from the way she brags about her membership that it’s made a world of difference in her social life, and they say the lessons also made her more focused in school. They shared their story on CNN’s “iReport” in hopes of helping other children with autism.

Barry is the author of the book “The Language of Music Revealed.” Grace is a counselor and Ph.D. candidate in counseling and supervision at James Madison University.

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Robert D. Kaplan to Lecture at W&L on What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts

Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public and will be streamed live online, is “The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate.” This is also the title of his latest book, published by Random House in 2012.

Kaplan has been a foreign correspondent for The Atlantic for over 25 years. In both 2011 and 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named him among the world’s 100 Top Global Thinkers.

Kaplan is the author of 14 books on foreign affairs and travel which have been translated into many languages. In addition to the book above, they include “Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus,” (2000), “The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War” (2000), “An Empire Wilderness: Travels Into America’s Future” (1998) and “The Ends of the Earth” (1995).

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls Kaplan among the four “most widely read” authors defining the post-Cold War. In the 1980s Kalan was the first American writer to warn about a future war in the Balkans. “Balkan Ghosts” was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of 1993.

Kaplan’s essays have appeared on the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, as well as in all the major foreign affairs journals. He has been a consultant to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Regiment, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marines.

He has lectured at military war colleges, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, major universities and global business forums.  He has also reported from over 100 countries.

Mark Rush, Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law, talks about Kaplan’s global perspective:


W&L Law Announces Fellowships for Students Interested in Intellectual Property Law

Washington and Lee University School of Law has announced the creation of a special fellowship program for prospective students interested in intellectual property (IP) and technology law.

The fellowship includes a $10,000 scholarship awarded annually. This is in addition to the normal merit scholarships a potential student may receive.

“Intellectual property law is a major growth area in the field,” says Shawn McShay, asst. dean for admissions. “This program will allow us to leverage our faculty expertise in IP and technology to create a robust career development path for students interested in this practice area.”

The fellowship program targets students with a science background. Specifically, the school is interested in recruiting students who majored in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and certain computers science fields. However, all students with a science background are encouraged to apply for the fellowship.

Students awarded these fellowships will have preference on registering for IP and related classes and will work closely with the school’s IP faculty on a custom curriculum. Students will also receive some financial support for patent bar preparation and other professional development activities, in addition to the fellowship award.

W&L IP faculty include professors Sally Wiant (copyright, trademark), Chris Seaman (copyright, patents, trademark) and Josh Fairfield (information privacy, e-commerce, virtual world economics).

“The IP Fellowship is intended to provide an enhanced student experience by combining tailored faculty support and unique professional development resources,” said Prof. Seaman. “After completing this fellowship, these students will be well prepared for legal jobs and service in an information/technology based economy.”

Students interested in the program are invited to email a 1-2 page statement of interest to the W&L Law Office of Admissions at lawadm@wlu.edu.

W&L Student in Rose Parade

Madison Shinaberry,a Washington and Lee University sophomore from Harrisonburg, Va., rode on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.

Shinaberry received a double lung transplant after she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening lung disease, which made everyday activities such as getting dressed and walking upstairs a struggle.

She was training with the American Ballet when the disease struck, but today Shinaberry is able to dance every day. In a press release from Donate Life, Shinaberry said “Given a second chance at life, I am eager to use my experiences to positively impact the lives of others. Working to educate people about organ donation and increasing the donor base has become a passion of mine. If not for the generous gift of life from my donor, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Since 2004, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float has served as a memorial to organ and tissue donors and a platform for donor families, living donors and transplant recipients to inspire the world to save and heal those in need through the gift of life. Nationally, there are more than 112,000 people waiting for donated organs and a new name is added every 10 minutes.

Each year, the Donate Life float campaign is supported by more than 140 official sponsors from coast to coast, including organ, eye and tissue recovery organizations, tissue processors, hospitals, transplant centers, state donor registries, funeral homes, donor family foundations and affiliated organizations.

Further information can be found at the Donate Life website.