Feature Stories Campus Events

Maya Angelou Remembered

Marc Conner, Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English and associate provost, discusses the work of the late poet Maya Angelou, her place in American literary history, and her 1999 visit to Washington and Lee.

W&L's Massie Discusses Separation of Church and State on WMRA's “Virginia Insight” Show

Ann Massie, professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University’s School of Law, has long been fascinated by the phrase “the separation of church and state”—both by the history of the concept and its practice in American law.  Since a recent Supreme Court decision has added new urgency to the issue, she shared her scholarly findings on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Thursday, May 29.

“Virginia Insight” hosted by Tom Graham, is a live call-in show, and can be found at 89.9 in Lexington, 90.7 in Harrisonburg and 103.5 in Charlottesville. The program is archived on the WMRA website.


Wheeler Wins Switchback Editors' Prize for Poem

Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English, added another feather to her cap: the Editors’ Prize for “the most inspiring, jarring, outstanding, or just downright brilliant” submission from the journal Switchback, for her poem “Epistolary Art.”

Appropriately enough, Lesley sets the poem in a classroom: “Keats thought letters could manifest / the wilful and dramatic exercise / of our minds toward each other. / The professor delivering him to us / is inside her paper, gray-gold head / bent down. Scratch of nib on / stationery, ghost of a thin cold hand.”

Read all of “Epistolary Art,” which appears in the Spring 2014 issue, on the Switchback website.

You can find Switchback, a biannual publication of the M.F.A. in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco, online and as an e-book.

W&L to Launch Construction of $13.5 Million Center for Global Learning

Construction of a new $13.5 million Center for Global Learning at Washington and Lee University has received final approval from the university’s board of trustees and is scheduled to begin the last week of May. Completion of the final phase of the center depends on completing the remaining $1.5 million of the fundraising goal.

The facility, connecting 8,600 renovated square feet of existing duPont Hall with 17,700 square-feet in a new building, will house classrooms, seminar rooms and instructional labs. It will feature an atrium, garden, courtyard and international tea shop to encourage student and faculty interaction and provide a venue for special events and exhibits.

In addition to learning and public spaces, the center will contain several language departments, offices for visiting international scholars and the Office of International Education.

Groundbreaking technologies planned for the center will connect Washington and Lee with other students and faculty around the world and at its university partners abroad.

The center will be the physical manifestation of the university’s strategic plan for international education, which reaches beyond the traditional study-abroad, internship and faculty research opportunities that already exist. Currently, almost half of the student body studies abroad or performs an international internship, research takes professors and students overseas, and students from 18 countries attend W&L.

Faculty development resources, funded by the continuing $500 million Honor Our Past, Build Our Future capital campaign, will encourage interdisciplinary approaches to global learning, foster cross-cultural knowledge, bring international scholars to campus to teach and conduct research, and integrate global learning into the education of all students.


W&L's Abah Wins Scripps Howard Foundation/AEJMC Grant

Adedayo (Dayo) Abah is one of six recipients of the 2014/15 social media externship grants awarded by the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Abah is associate professor of journalism and mass communications at Washington and Lee University and teaches courses in media law, media and society, crisis communication and global communication. The grant will enable her to visit the advertising agency Zero Dot in Chicago for two weeks this summer to experience first-hand how media outlets are using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Spotify to deliver and enhance their communications.

The grant will also fund the visit of a representative from Zero Dot to W&L’s campus.

According to a press release from the AEJMC, the selection process was very competitive this year with a panel of judges evaluating 43 applications from AEJMC members.  The panel scored applicants based on the value and need of the program to the applicant, the impact of the visit on the applicant’s campus and the strength of the ideas behind the application.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Professor Abah to keep her skills current in the rapidly changing communication fields,” said Pamela Luecke,  the Donald W. Reynolds professor of business journalism at W&L. “We are delighted that she was selected and know the experience will help ensure that our students are prepared to use the latest technology responsibly and effectively.”

“I didn’t think I would be selected, but I applied because I was intrigued by the opportunity and how it might impact the students in our new strategic communication degree program. I am excited at the prospect of having the executive of Zero Dot on campus to work with our students next year,” said Abah.

The Scripps Howard Foundation is the corporate philanthropy arm of the E.W. Scripps Company which operates newspaper and television stations throughout the United States. AEJMC is a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals.

Two 2014 Graduates Commissioned as U.S. Army Officers

Two Washington and Lee University graduates capped their Commencement day by being commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

John Bruch of Baltimore, Md., and Christina Lowry of Lexington, Va., received their commissions and first salutes in a late afternoon ceremony at Lee Chapel on the university’s campus.

Bruch will be serve in aviation, while Lowry will be assigned to the Chemical Corps.

Tallman Claims National Title in 400m at NCAA Championship

Washington and Lee senior Zander Tallman came from behind in the final stretch to win the national title in the 400m on the final day of the NCAA Division III Track and Field National Championship hosted by Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday, May 24.

Running in lane five, Tallman trailed sophomore Joe Carr of SUNY Oneonta after making the final turn. In the last 100m, Tallman closed the gap, and overtook Carr in the final 10 meters to win the national championship with a new W&L record time of 47.19. His previous school record was 47.35 set on May 8 at the Dr. Keeler Invitational.

With the victory, Tallman secured the first individual national championship in Washington and Lee men’s track and field history, and became the first national champion in any sport for the Generals since Alex Sweet ’08 won the 50 meter title for the men’s swimming program in 2008.

Along with the individual title, Tallman received All-America honors for the second time this season. He placed third in the 400m at the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championship to earn the honor earlier this year.

Senior Kevin Sullivan (Sandwich, Mass./Tabor) also competed at the championship on Saturday in the javelin. He finished 13th overall with a toss of 57.73m (189’05.00″). First-year Mitchell Obenrader of Penn State-Behrend won the event with a mark of 67.01m (219’10.00″).

The Generals were tied for 25th place with 10 points after 19 scored events.


A Moderate's Manifesto

The following opinion piece by Bob Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the May 22, 2014, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

A Moderate’s Manifesto
by
Robert A. Strong
William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics
Washington and Lee University

I confess. I am a political moderate. There are lots of us, but you wouldn’t know it from most of the political commentary you encounter.

We moderates don’t get much media attention. Of course, we usually don’t mind; we’re moderate.

I know that I am a moderate because I can’t stand to watch Fox News or MSNBC for more than a few minutes at a time. I can say “bipartisan” without gagging. I try not to let consistency get in the way of a good idea. I am willing to pay taxes to support necessary government activities, and I neither love, nor loathe, the president. Most of the time politicians and political parties ignore me. When election season rolls around, I get robocalls and funding requests from everyone.

I came by my moderation honestly. I grew up admiring politicians and presidents from both political parties. I joined neither. I enlisted in the military thinking that I was serving my country, not a portion of it. In the voting booth, I often split my ballot and, afterward, I don’t worry if the executive branch belongs to one party and the legislature to the other.

When I briefly worked on Capitol Hill as part of a program to give college teachers a little real-world congressional experience, I had temporary duties with a distinguished Democrat in the House of Representatives and a respected Republican senator.

Neither of my bosses was the least bit suspicious of my association with the other. They used my limited knowledge of American government and foreign affairs to help them make their own decisions and craft their own rhetoric. They never objected to hearing an odd or opposing point of view. They crossed aisles because getting something done was more important than having something to say. They were honest, hard-working and admirable legislators who no longer serve in the Congress. One retired; the other got tea-partied.

As a university teacher and observer of American foreign policy, I care deeply about our nation’s security and success overseas. I actually believe the old motto that “politics stops at the water’s edge.” But Washington, D.C., was built on a swamp, and no one in that city seems to know where the edge of the water is located.

I have written a book about a moderate Democratic president and am finishing one about a moderate Republican. Both tackled hard public policy problems, made compromises and were subjected to intense criticism from members of their own party. Both faced serious primary challenges when seeking re-election and failed to win a second term.

Being a moderate is hard.

You have more potential enemies than other politicians. If you stand firm to your moderate positions, you don’t get much credit for your courage. Writing and delivering an inspirational speech about moderation is a huge challenge. No one puts bumper stickers about compromises on their cars.

So what is a committed moderate to do?

Clearly, I want more people to give moderation a chance, or half a chance, which is usually enough for moderates. We may lack memorable slogans, but we generally cause less trouble than other people in the political arena, and we like to find ways to get things done. But before we can play a bigger role in the body politic, particularly in an age that has grown accustomed to hyper levels of partisanship, we will have to admit that our current lack of influence is partly our own fault. We need some reforms.

First, we have to have a more newsworthy name. Metaphors about the middle of the road, and all the jokes that accompany them, will no longer do. For many years, I called myself a “flaming moderate” in an effort to emphasize how extreme my moderation had become. More recently, I have come to call myself a “neo-moderate.” A neo-moderate has no strong ideological views but desperately wants to be fashionable.

Others should join the name game and find some catchy phrase for political sentiments that are neither conservative nor liberal, or a bit of both.

After we get a better name, we will need some institutional support. We should get together, rent space near DuPont Circle and open a moderate think tank. Suggestions about an institutional name are welcome.

Here are some possibilities:

  • The Center for Muddling Through
  • The Foundation for Old and Reliable Ideas
  • Heck, That’s About the Best We Can Do Center for Public Policy
  • The Committee for Things That Work

I have a long list of people who say they will support the new think tank and promise to make a contribution. To date, they have not given very much. They’re moderate.

Robert Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and currently serves as a Fulbright Scholar at University College Dublin. He was an APSA Congressional Fellow in the offices of Rep. Lee Hamilton and Sen. Richard Lugar and is currently writing a book about George H.W. Bush. Contact Strong at strongr@wlu.edu.

W&L Awards Two Global Learning Leadership Prizes

Washington and Lee University has awarded Global Learning Leadership Prizes to two seniors for 2014. The recipients are Johan (Manuel) Garcia Padilla, a native of Mexico from Mount Vermont, Wash., and a Spanish major with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies, and Johnson scholar Haley Smith, a double major in biology and environmental science, from Asheville, N.C.

“Both students won for their efforts to bring internationalism to campus:  participation in SAIL, heading up this year’s P4T (Planning for Tomorrow) seminar on global health issues and integrating their experiences abroad into their overall education over the four years,” said   Laurent Boetsch, professor of romance languages and director of the Center for International Education.

The Global Learning Leadership Prize is awarded annually by the Center for International Education to a student in the undergraduate senior class who has contributed the most to the cultivation of global learning on the W&L campus and who best exemplifies the University’s commitment that “(W&L) graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.”

The awards were presented at a reception in the Reeves Center on May 20, which also honored those seniors who have earned Certificates of International Immersion.

Washington and Lee Graduates 421 Students at 227th Commencement

Graduating seniors at Washington and Lee University today were asked to remember and practice the ability college life gave them to step back and see the world from a different perspective.

“I am not talking about idle contemplation, or clearing your mind, or escaping from the world around you,” university President Kenneth P. Ruscio said in his commencement address. “I’m talking about engaging the issues even more deeply, but with the widened or adjusted angles that come from stepping away from it.”

Ruscio told 421 members of the Class of 2014 that on many occasions, a work of literature helped him see the world differently.

“I remember how a work of fiction depicting another time, another place, helped me understand the world in which I lived,” he said. He recalled how reading Stephen Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage” as a boy gave him insight into the moral debates, personal losses and divided nation of the Vietnam War era. “All the King’s Men” and “The Foreign Student” later produced similarly new perspectives.

Ruscio urged the graduates not to fall victim to the costs of “our hyper-connected, brave new Twitter-based, Instagram-fixated, cell phone-obsessed, Linked-In world.” He warned, “The ability to persuade through reason and evidence diminishes in direct proportion to the convenience of reading and seeing only what we want to.”

Read the full address >

Nathan Kelly, a politics and economics major from Edinboro, Pa., spoke on behalf of the student body as its president. He reminded fellow graduates that they have been “entrusted with tomorrow,” having learned honor, integrity and the knowledge that the generosity of others — donors, parents, family and friends — made their college educations possible.

Among Washington and Lee’s graduates were 20 who earned both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree. Altogether, the Class of 2014 earned degrees in 37 majors. A third of the class completed more than one major, and almost 30 percent of the class completed at least one minor. For the first time, two students each completed three majors and one minor. Thirty-four completed minors in poverty and human capability studies.

Jordan Taylor Kearns of Nicholasville, Ky., was named valedictorian. Kearns compiled a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning both a B.A. in politics and a B.S. in physics and engineering. He recently received a Fulbright fellowship to Estonia to pursue a research project entitled, “Improving Oil Shale Technology to Provide Energy Security to Estonia and The United States.” After a year abroad, Kearns will attend graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The university awarded honorary degrees to its retired provost, June R. Aprille, and literary scholar Christopher Pelling of University College, Oxford. In presenting the degrees, Provost Daniel Wubah cited Aprille as “one of the pivotal leaders of the university and architects of its current standing,” instrumental in moving W&L forward with its strategic plan, capital campaign, curricular reforms and faculty development. Wubah praised Pelling for opening modern minds to the glories of Greek and Roman civilizations, friendship to Washington and Lee University across the years, extraordinary scholarship, and service as a tutor and teacher at Oxford.

The late Kelsey Durkin, a senior from New Canaan, Conn., who died in an automobile accident last December, was awarded Washington and Lee’s Presidential Degree.


Call for Proposals

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Spring 2014 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Spring 2014 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 30, 2014.

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

During the first round of the 2013-14 evaluations held in November, 2013, 17 organizations submitted proposals for a total of more than $88,000 in requests. The University made $25,055 in grants to 11 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • American Red Cross, Central Virginia Chapter
  • Boxerwood Education Association
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry
  • Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center
  • Rockbridge Area Housing Corporation
  • Rockbridge Area Occupational Center, Inc.
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA
  • Rockbridge Regional Library, Youth Literacy
  • Virginia Horse Center Foundation

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address: http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

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

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


Baccalaureate Speaker: Build Community with Energy, Intelligence, Imagination and Love

Recalling the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who founded Washington and Lee, the University’s baccalaureate speaker asked the Class of 2014 to build community and provide for the common good using “energy, intelligence, imagination and love.”

The Rev. John M. Cleghorn, pastor of Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C., noted the four qualities required by his denomination’s ordination service, saying, “Washington and Lee has taught you the first three, and, I hope, along with your parents and friends, plenty of the last — which is love.”

Read the full address >

The more than 400 students, plus family and friends, gathered on the university’s Front Lawn between Washington Hall and Lee Chapel for the service, part of the 227th undergraduate Commencement.

During the service, University President Kenneth P. Ruscio presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, W&L’s highest student honor, to seniors Annelise Madison, a politics major from Roca, Neb., and Alvin Thomas, a chemistry-engineering major and poverty and human capabilities minor from Skokie, Ill. The recipients “excel in high ideals of living, in fine spiritual qualities, and in generous and disinterested service to others.”

A 1984 graduate of Washington and Lee, Cleghorn began his career as a reporter with The Charlotte Observer then rose to senior vice president in an 18-year career with Bank of America, ultimately entering the ministry.

“What path your careers and leadership may take isn’t known,” Cleghorn said. “You never know where a W&L degree will take you …. You never know how one career leads to the next.”

What remains constant, he explained, is using the knowledge and leadership gained from higher education to build community wherever one might live. Quoting Jeremiah, Cleghorn said, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you and pray to the Lord on its behalf … for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”


Annelise Madison and Alvin Thomas Awarded Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion

Annelise Madison of Roca, Neb., and Alvin Thomas of Skokie, Ill., seniors at Washington and Lee University, have been awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, the university’s highest student honor.

The award, made annually since 1927 by a vote of the faculty, recognizes a graduating woman and man who best demonstrate high ideals of living, spiritual qualities and generous service to others.

Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio presented Madison and Thomas with the medallions May 21 at the 2014 Baccalaureate Service. Founded in 1749, the university’s 227th Commencement will be held May 22.

Madison and Thomas both attended W&L as a Johnson Scholars, receiving full merit scholarships and $7,000 summer experience grants awarded to approximately 10 percent of the incoming class.

Madison, a politics major, plans to teach and coach in San Antonio, Texas, through Teach for America and is considering missionary work abroad. She is a past recipient of the university’s Pinney Prize, which goes to the undergraduate who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to personal scholarship and the nurturing of intellectual life at Washington and Lee. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Reformed University Fellowship.

The recipient of a Johnson Opportunity Grant from the university, Madison spent summer 2012 in Africa as a volunteer at the Ghana Alliance for Community Transformation, teaching math, English, science and computer skills at a primary school. In summer 2013, she worked as an intern at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, Va. She is captain of the university’s track and field and cross-country teams and three times has received an All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year award.

Thomas, a chemistry-engineering major and poverty and human capabilities minor, plans postgraduate study in public health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is president of Washington and Lee’s Omicron Delta Kappa chapter and a leader in several campus volunteer service organizations. He is a senior class representative on the Executive Committee, the chief agency of student government, which administers the Honor System, allocates the student budget, conducts student body elections, and appoints students to a number of University committees.

Thomas received a Johnson Opportunity Grant to spend summer 2013 at Engineering World Health in Rwanda. He is the founder of the campus Robotics Club and won a $2,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to introduce local middle school students robotics, electronics, computer science and engineering design.

W&L Law Professors Help Prepare New Doctors for the Witness Stand

The inaugural graduating class from the Virginia Tech Carilion Medical School received some special training recently from Washington and Lee law professors, namely, how to be an effective witness.

The presentation, led by Black Lung Clinic director Tim MacDonnell, was titled Law and Medicine: Physicians and the Courtroom and focused on the events most likely to bring a doctor into a courtroom. One of these is a malpractice suit, which most doctors are likely to face at some point in their career. But MacDonnell also addressed the role of doctors as expert witnesses in a variety of scenarios.

MacDonnell began his talk by recounting for the new physicians the important role doctors have played in his experiences as both a prosecutor before joining W&L and in his work representing coal miners and their surviving spouses as they seek to get black lung benefits.

“I have been running the clinic for more than 5 years and each case can be fairly described as a battle between doctors,” said MacDonnell. “Both as a prosecutor and a plaintiff’s attorney I have seen how important doctors are in litigation and that sometimes it does not matter who is the better doctor or which doctor knows more. A big part of a doctor’s effectiveness will turn on how well they perform as a witness.”

MacDonnell had two goals with his presentation. The first was to provide the medical students with an overview of what to expect during the trial process. The second was to instruct them on how to be an effective witness when providing testimony in a case.

For example, MacDonnell reviewed effective oral communication techniques involving eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures. He also cautioned the medical students to avoid the use of medical terminology as this often indicates that the doctor is uncomfortable. The expert witness’s primary role, MacDonnell told them, is to be a teacher.

The class was then broken up into four groups, and MacDonnell, along with W&L law professors Mary Natkin, Jon Shapiro and Dan Evans, ran them through direct and cross examination exercises based on a fact pattern that the medical students had received earlier. The scenario gave students the opportunity to practice the skills necessary to being an effective witness and then to receive feedback on how they could improve.

Natkin said that the medical students were quick learners when thinking through the issues they will face in practice when asked to provide an opinion in a case.

“I think that doctors feel challenged when lawyers ask them questions about the foundations of their opinions when it is an essential part of the litigation process,” said Natkin. “This was a start to help them consider how to present themselves in a legal setting.”

On Prayer, Court Abandons Practicality

The following opinion piece by Mark Rush, Waxburg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee, appeared in the May 13, 2014, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

On Prayer, Court Abandons Practicality
by
Mark Rush
Waxburg Professor of Politics and Law
Washington and Lee University

In Town of Greece v. Galloway, a divided Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution allows municipal governments to open their sessions with prayer. The town council of Greece, N.Y. had established a practice whereby it invited all members of the clergy in its jurisdiction to participate in this practice. In this regard, the council sought to embrace all religions and, in so doing, support no faith in particular. It was, indeed, an ecumenical attempt to accommodate the diversity of faiths in the town.

Nonetheless, several citizens challenged the practice as an unconstitutional “establishment” of religion. They argued that Supreme Court precedent forbade any such practice — however benignly conducted — that created a captive audience. Thus, it is unconstitutional to have organized prayer in our public schools, to have organized prayer at public school sporting events and so forth.

Justice David Souter eloquently stated rationale for this stand in the case of Lee v. Weisman (1993) where the court struck down the practice of inviting clergy to open high school graduations with prayer. Souter stated that there was no practical or spiritual reason to mix prayer with official proceedings:

“Religious students cannot complain that omitting prayer from their graduation ceremony would, in any realistic sense, ‘burden’ their spiritual callings….Because they accordingly have no need for the machinery of the State to affirm their beliefs, the government’s sponsorship of prayer at the graduation ceremony is most reasonably understood as an official endorsement of religion and, in this instance, of Theistic religion.”

In Town of Greece, however, the court cited another, earlier decision, Marsh v. Chambers (1983), where it upheld Nebraska’s practice of opening its legislative sessions with prayer. There, the court acknowledged that prayer has been part of legislative practice since the Founding and it distinguished between the audience in a legislative chamber and the more captive audiences of, say, public school functions.

One impressive aspect about the Town of Greece decision is that all members of the court agreed that Marsh was the controlling precedent. Yet, the justices divided 5-4 over whether the practice in Greece, N.Y. was constitutional.

In upholding the practice, the court majority opens the door now to a host of disputes. While any observer (however religious) might agree that the practice is benign, it nevertheless gets the state legislature into the business of determining what does and does not “count” as a religion for the purposes of inviting clerics to open sessions. Thus, the town of Greece went so far as to invite a Wiccan priest to open a session in order to demonstrate the ecumenical nature of the council’s practice.

Once the state is in this business, it gets entangled with establishment of religion because, at some point, it must draw a line between “religion” and “nonreligion” and, thereby, deny at least one applicant the opportunity to open the legislative session with an incantation. Once this occurs, the disappointed applicant will have constitutional grounds to challenge the prayer practice as an establishment of religion.

In this regard, the court might have taken the more practical route described by Souter. While disappointing those who would have legislatures open their session with prayer, such an opinion would simplify and clarify the law. The court has done this in other instances where, for example, it established the one person, one vote rule and when it required police to recite Miranda warnings when they interrogate an individual. The creation of such judicial “rules” resulted in consternation. But, they did clarify the law.

Clarifying the law is an important part of the Supreme Court’s role. From time to time, its precedents clash or can be interpreted in ways that muddy the law’s meaning. In Town of Greece, the court has muddied the legal waters by inviting governments at all levels to get into the business of defining religion in the absence of any constitutionally set criteria for doing so. The result now is that legislatures will be obliged to fashion their own criteria (thereby entering constitutionally forbidden grounds) or open their proceedings to any and all comers who wish to open them with an invocation to any deity or deities.

Our constitutional history is replete with controversies concerning the relationship between church and state. The court has yet to craft rules that clearly demarcate how that balance is to be measured. Its case law contradicts and meanders. Yet, the court has had success when taking practical approaches to thorny constitutional issues. In Town of Greece, it abandoned practicality. This will ensure more confusion and controversy.

Two Kemper Scholars Selected from W&L This Year

Christopher Curfman, of Altoona, Pa., and Edward Stroud of Shreveport, La., first-year students at Washington and Lee University, have been selected from a group of finalists for the incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program.

The program has been sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, since 1948. W&L is assured one position in the program each year and it is rare for participating schools to have more than one student per year selected. This, however, marks four of the last five years in which two W&L first-year students have been chosen.

The Kemper Scholars Program’s mission is preparing students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of organizational administration and business. The Foundation believes that undergraduate study of the liberal arts represents the best preparation for life and career.   The program aims to promote education in the liberal arts while providing students opportunities for career exploration and practical experience.

Curfman, an economics and mathematics double major, is co-president of the Quiz Bowl, officer of the Deutsch Club and made the Dean’s List both fall and winter terms of his freshman year. He is an ACT/SAT tutor, an after-school tutor and assistant treasurer of Sigma Nu fraternity.

Stroud, an economics and global politics double major with poverty minor, is a volunteer recruiter for Habitat for Humanity and belongs to Community Financial Freedom.  He is a member of W&L’s Engineers Without Borders, Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the Outing Club, Fly Fishing Club and the Reformed University Fellowship.

“We had a very competitive pool of applicants at W&L, which a selection committee including the current Kemper Scholars narrowed down to three finalists,” said John Jensen III, director of Career Development and associate dean of students. “All of the finalists were interviewed by Dr. LaHurd. I’m very proud of Chris and Edward; they will be wonderful Kemper Scholars.”

“Kemper Scholars represent the best undergraduates from a group of sixteen exemplary liberal arts colleges around the country,” explained Dr. Ryan LaHurd, president and executive director of the James S. Kemper Foundation. “They are selected because they are committed to their studies and service in their communities and because they have exhibited leadership and well-rounded, ethical character. Throughout the over six decades of the program, scholars have gone on to make outstanding contributions as leaders in organizations around the country.”

Curfman and Stroud will receive annual scholarships up to $10,000 based on need during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college.  They will also receive stipends to cover the costs of their work as interns in major non-profit organizations in Chicago during the summer following their sophomore year.

During the summer following their junior year, scholars are eligible for summer stipends to cover the costs of a learning opportunity in an internship in a for-profit corporation.

Lee Chapel and Museum Shop to Hold Book Signing on May 24: “What Would George Do?”

The Lee Chapel and Museum Shop at Washington and Lee University is holding a book signing on Saturday, May 24, from 2-3 p.m. for authors Helen Broder and Nan Marshall to showcase their book, “What Would George Do: Advice from our Founding Father.”

The book signing is free and open to the public in Lee Chapel’s Museum Shop.

This book takes a refreshing look at the everyday world and gives some helpful tips using George Washington’s words of wisdom. This etiquette guide can be used to avoid social blunders of today’s times. The appendix features a guide noting lesser-known precepts of refinement written by 16th Jesuits that Washington himself memorized (“The Rules of Civility”).

The authors of “What Would George Do” are a mother-daughter writing pair whose family’s roots trace back to colonial America. Marshall earned a degree in history from Vassar College and has since had a multifaceted career. A teacher for 15 years, Marshall has been a regular contributor to business and family publications in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, focusing on social change and the people who lead it.

By combining her experiences and skill sets with those of her daughter, Marshall uses her writing to show that life lessons can be learned from people across generational gaps.

Broder graduated from Georgetown University with several honors, including the prestigious Reverend Joseph S. Sebes, S.J., Award. She was also president of both the Academic Council of the McDonough School of Business and the Marketing Society at Georgetown University. She is an alumna of the Protocol School of Washington.

Marshall is the founder and president of Speaker Management, LLC, where she represents prominent professional speakers including well-known Olympians, authors and professional speakers.


Turner Meeks Honored With the G. Holbrook Barber Scholarship Award

Turner Meeks from Haymarket, Va., a member of the Class of 2015 at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded the G. Holbrook Barber Scholarship Award.

The Barber Scholarship Award honors a member of the junior class who manifests superior qualities of helpfulness and friendliness to fellow students, public spirit, scholarship and personal character.

“Turner has distinguished himself as an exemplary Peer Counselor in virtually every way this year. He has been passionately committed to the program and has gone above and beyond to provide help and support to other students,” said Kirk Luder, University counselor and psychiatrist.

Meeks is a mathematics major. He is a peer counselor and serves as a counseling resource for first-year students. He is the president of 24: Student-Athlete Support Group, is sergeant-at-arms and primary risk management officer for Kappa Alpha Order, is a disc jockey for WLUR radio and music team leader for the Reformed University Fellowship.

Meeks has been a member of the W&L’s varsity football team since his freshman year and belongs to the Literacy Campaign volunteering with classroom reading in a local elementary school. He also belongs to Think Tank on Social Issues which aims to create an ideal social climate for all students. Meeks is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“Turner personifies friendliness, warmth and kindness, and lives the philosophy that one must be a friend anywhere, anytime, to anyone,” said Luder. “I have worked with many other exceptional students, but none with a bigger heart or more passionate commitment to the helping spirit of the PC program than Turner.”

Renee Pratt Awarded Research Stipend from IBM Center for the Business of Government

Renee Pratt, assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University, is part of a three-person team recently awarded a research stipend from the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Pratt, along with Donald Wynn Jr. from the University of Dayton and Randy Bradley from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will develop a set of best practices to guide public agencies interested in sponsoring innovation projects through participation in technology ecosystems. Their guidelines will help these agencies sponsor new technology initiatives while also strengthening their existing frameworks so that current projects are better-supported.

Aiding Pratt’s work is her research on how German hospital systems integrate technology into their daily operations. In 2012, she received a Fulbright grant to learn firsthand about these practices in Potsdam, Germany.

The IBM Center for The Business of Government connects public management research with practice. Since 1998 the Center has awarded nearly 300 research stipends to public management researchers in the academic and non-profit communities that have resulted in over 200 reports. For more information on the IBM Center for The Business of Government, see http://www.businessofgovernment.org

Rachel Beanland Named Assistant Dean at Washington and Lee's Williams School

Rachel Beanland of Lexington, Va., has been appointed assistant dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics at Washington and Lee University.

Beanland was previously the principal of Kismet Communications, a Lexington-based communications consulting firm whose clients included Bryn Mawr College, ChildFund International, The Steward School in Richmond, Va. and the Virginia Community College System, among others.

She succeeds John Jensen, who was named director of career development and associate dean of students at Washington and Lee earlier this year.

Beanland holds the accreditation in public relations (APR) designation from the Public Relations Society of America and has served on the organization’s Richmond Chapter board of directors. She has won eight awards in PRSA Richmond and South Carolina chapter competitions for brochures, newsletters, annual reports, events and observances, audio programs and crisis communications.

“Rachel brings extensive experience in public relations and communications,” said Rob Straughan, associate dean and professor of business administration/marketing at the Williams School. “We are very excited about the contributions that she will make to the full range of co-curricular programs in the Williams School.”

Beanland is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina, Honors College, with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and art history, and membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.

W&L’s Religion Department Sponsors Talk on Christianity and Climate Change

Willis Jenkins, associate professor of religion, ethics and environment at the University of Virginia, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, May 14, at 5 p.m. in Hillel, rm. 101.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Future of Love: Christianity and Climate Change.” It is sponsored by the Religion Department and the Philip Howerton Fund at W&L.

Jenkins, also the Margaret Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics at Yale Divinity School, is the author of “The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice and Religious Creativity” (2013) and “Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology” (2008) and has written more than 10 articles.

Jenkins said, “I am interested in interpreting the moral problems arising from changing human-environment systems, especially how religious traditions interpret and respond to those problems.” His research interests include environmental ethics, religion and ecology, Christian social ethics and theology and economy.

He received his B.A. from Wheaton College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Photo by Claire Stevenson '14 Graces New York Times

When the New York Times knocked on W&L’s door back in January, Claire Stevenson ’14 answered their request for students to submit “creative selfies that express who they are” for possible inclusion in an online portfolio. The result just hit the virtual newsstand: “Who Am I?” contains a stunning, black-and-white self-portrait of Claire, a studio art major from Southampton, N.Y.

“I am shooting self-portraiture using a medium-format camera and then scanning the negatives to print,” Claire wrote in the caption. “. . . I hope to create images that are haunting but beautiful — two things I think are not mutually exclusive but coexist everywhere around us.”

The Times selected the work of Claire and 28 others out of hundreds of submissions.


School of Law Honors Graduates at 2014 Commencement Ceremony

The Washington and Lee University School of Law celebrated its 159th commencement on Saturday, May 10, awarding 126 juris doctor degrees.

The University also awarded one master of laws degree to Hussain Moin, a student from Afghanistan who attended W&L through a U.S. State Department initiative promoting justice reform in Afghanistan.

In addition, the University awarded an honorary degree to Lara Gass, a member of the Law Class of 2014 who died in a car accident earlier this year. The Presidential Degree, the first of its kind awarded by the University, was accepted by Lara’s brothers Chris and Jason.

Light to moderate rain fell during the commencement ceremony, which began with an official welcome from President Ken Ruscio and remarks from Dean Nora Demleitner, who recounted the many successes of the Law Class of 2014, both in the classroom and for the improvement of the law school community.

“You have left us with a thoughtful and constructive legacy on which I promise we will build in the months and years to come,” said Demleitner. The graduates were then awarded their degrees.

Related: Commencement Video | Photo Gallery

After the degrees were presented, Christopher Wolf, of the Law Class of 1980 and recipient of the law school’s 2010 Outstanding Alumnus Award, delivered this year’s commencement address. In his remarks, Wolf first urged the graduates to be ready for the professional opportunities that will present themselves as they can have a profound impact on a legal career.

“You may have some idea what your life as a lawyer will look like, but if you are lucky your career will evolve in ways you cannot imagine today at the starting line.”

A civil litigator turned internet data and privacy expert, Wolf used the path of his own career to illustrate this point. He also extolled the importance of pro bono work and applying legal skills to fight for a cause as critical to developing a rewarding career as a lawyer.

Wolf’s final comments might seem strange coming from one of the world’s top technology lawyers. He expressed concern about the overuse of technologies like email, texting and social media and how these tools may be eroding personal relationships in our society. While recognizing that technology is an imperative for today’s practicing lawyers, Wolf reminded the graduates that the legal profession is defined by personal service and social interaction.

“All of you have a head start in this. What makes W&L really special is its emphasis on personal relationships and the importance of community,” he said. “If you want to love your career as a lawyer, I urge you to take the culture of caring and of community and of personal relationships with you as leave Lexington. I hope this for you because it will make you happy personally and will help you thrive professionally.”

Afterwards, third-year class officers Doug Pittman and George Robertson presented Wolf with his very own walking stick, traditionally given to students at the awards ceremony preceding graduation. The walking stick, or cane, originated in the 1920’s as a way to distinguish third-year law students on campus. At that time, only two years of law school were required, and the walking stick served as a way to reward and honor those students who stayed for a third year.

Graduation festivities began Friday afternoon on the Lewis Hall lawn with the annual awards ceremony and presentation of walking sticks. The John W. Davis Prize for Law, awarded to the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Kyle Adam Dolinsky of Doylestown, PA.

Four students graduated summa cum laude, 17 graduated magna cum laude, and 17 graduated cum laude. 13 students were named to Order of the Coif, an honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education. A list of honors and awards appears below.

In addition to achievements in the classroom, the Class of 2014 distinguished itself with its pro bono service to the law and the community. In all, the class completed 9924 hours of service during this academic year, and 47 students were recognized during the awards ceremony for completing 100 hours or more of service.

The Student Bar Association Teacher of the Year award was also presented at the awards ceremony. This year’s recipient was Prof. Chris Seaman, who teaches Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property, and a special seminar on Election Law and Voting Rights.

Special honors at Friday’s awards ceremony went to the following students:

  • Kyle Adam Dolinsky was awarded the John W. Davis Prize for Law, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average.
  • Stephanie Leann Fox and Megan Marie Peterson shared in the Academic Progress Award for the most satisfactory scholastic progress in the final year.
  • Marcus Alexander Lasswell won the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Award for effective trial advocacy.
  • Timothy Edward Davis won the Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr. Commercial Law Award for excellence in commercial law.
  • Maisie B. Osteen won the Calhoun Bond University Service Award for significant contributions to the University community.
  • David Alexander Hurst and Rebecca Jo Forston Reed shared in the Frederic L. Kirgis, Jr., International Law Award for excellence in international law.
  • Maisie B. Osteen won the National Association of Women Lawyers Award given to an outstanding woman law student.
  • Benjamin Sanders Willson won the Charles V. Laughlin Award for outstanding contributions to the moot court program.
  • Brian G. Buckmire and Dominik Jermaine Taylor shared in the Randall P. Bezanson Award for outstanding contributions to diversity in the life of the Law School community.
  • Jan May Fox won the Virginia Bar Family Law Section Award for excellence in the area of family law.
  • Roman Brusovankin won the American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for excellence in the study of bankruptcy law.
  • Kyle Adam Dolinsky and Lucas Russell White shared in the Barry Sullivan Constitutional Law Award for excellence in constitutional law.
  • Virginia Dawson Lane won the James W. H. Stewart Tax Law Award for excellence in tax law.
  • Marcus Alexander Lasswell won the Thomas Carl Damewood Evidence Award for excellence in the area of evidence.
  • Brian G. Buckmire won the A. H. McLeod-Ross Malone Advocacy Award for distinction in oral advocacy.
  • Katherine M. Coleman won the Student Bar Association President Award for services as the President of the Student Bar Association.
  • Laura Elizabeth Erdman, Meghan Elizabeth Flinn, Jan May Fox, David James Knoespel and Thomas Launceston Short won the ALI-CLE Scholarship & Leadership Awards for the student or students who best represent the combination of scholarship and leadership.
  • Heryka Rodriguez Knoespel won the Clinical Legal Education Association Award for excellence in clinical work.

Summa Cum Laude

Kyle Adam Dolinsky
Laura Elizabeth Erdman
Cara Elizabeth Regan
Patrick Emerson Sweeney

Magna Cum Laude

Julia Blair Barber
William Martin Bush
Avery Devin Catlin
Mitchell Lee Davis
Diana Yolanda Defino
Meghan Elizabeth Flinn
Jan May Fox
Ryan Matthew Hrobak
David Alexander Hurst
Maxwell Jacob Hyman
Keith Alexander Jaworski
Virginia Dawson Lane
Marcus Alexander Lasswell
Heather Michelle Lawson
Terence Michael Schroeder
Kristin E. Slawter
Lucas Russell White

Cum Laude

Adrienne Lea Adkins
Joseph Tyler Black
Roman Brusovankin
Gregory Allen Chakmakas
Dirk William Chilcote
Gregory Albert Crapanzano II
Timothy Edward Davis
Bryce Ellsworth Fitzgerald
Lauren Alyse Gregorcyk
Michael Joseph Keller
David James Knoespel
Douglas Edward Pittman
Rebecca Jo Fortson Reed
Chelsea Elizabeth Richmond
Thomas Launceston Short
Matthew Arthur Sorenson
Tyler Mark Williamson

Order of the Coif

Julia Blair Barber
Avery Devin Catlin
Mitchell Lee Davis
Kyle Adam Dolinsky
Laura Elizabeth Erdman
Meghan Elizabeth Flinn
Jan May Fox
Ryan Matthew Hrobak
Virginia Dawson Lane
Heather Michelle Lawson
Cara Elizabeth Regan
Patrick Emerson Sweeney
Lucas Russell White

Did an Apple Inspire Newton’s Law of Gravity? Not So!

One of the biggest obstacles to improving public understanding of science in the present is ignorance of the past.

Did Isaac Newton invent the law of gravity when a falling apple hit him on the head? Were most educated people before Christopher Columbus convinced that Earth was flat? Did the Soviets launch of Sputnik lead to the revamping of American science education?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, those stories are false. And as a result, a misinformed society wastes time and energy bickering in the news media about evolution and global warming, not to mention fighting in court about The Bible versus science.

That is why two dozen historians of science from around the world will gather to debunk two dozen myths of science at Washington and Lee University May 9-10.

Although historians of science have been trying to set the record straight for more than half a century, little of what they have published has found its way into science textbooks and popular knowledge. The primary goal of the meeting is to present a new historical message to a broad audience, but especially to those who educate.

In many ways, the project is a sequel to “Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about  Science and Religion,” edited by Ronald L. Numbers and published by Harvard University Press in 2009. That well-received book, the fruit of a previous conference at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, has been translated into seven foreign languages.

Similarly, the papers of this weekend’s conference will be published in a book tentatively titled “Newton’s Apple and Other Historical Myths about Science.” It will comprise brief essays by scholars on topics ranging from the claims that there was no science done between Greek antiquity and the Scientific Revolution; that the Copernican revolution demoted the status of Earth to various misunderstandings about Galileo; to other misinformation about Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Mendel, Millikan, Michelson and Pauling. Other essays will attempt to correct widely misunderstood views about the relationship between science and religion, about the so-called “scientific method,” and the alleged boundary between science and pseudoscience.

How come so many myths have entered the bloodstream of science history and science education? The first generations of those who wrote about the development of the sciences were the scientists themselves. To them, the history of their subject was a crucial part of a strategy to get their subjects securely established or their theories accepted. For example, the historical chapters with which the great 19th century geologist Charles Lyell opened his classic “Principles of Geology” functioned as a polemic in support of his philosophy of the nature of earth history. They made Lyell’s views seem the inevitable outcome of the progress of enlightened thought and civilization. Charles Darwin did a similar thing when he added a brief history of evolutionary biology to the 4th edition of his “The Origin of Species.” That became the start of a propaganda history in support of Darwinism that continues today.

Given the tendentious purposes of those historical writings, myths were an inevitable outcome of such narrative ploys as forgetting, ignoring and misrepresenting.

Contributors to “Newton’s Apple,” also to be published by Harvard University Press, will include some of the most distinguished historians of science, as well as some up-and-coming scholars. John L. Heilbron of the University of California, Berkeley, will deliver the keynote address at the meeting, highlighting several master myths ranging from Galileo to the big bang theory. Washington and Lee University will make it available free for viewing online. If only every American could hear it.

Without accuracy, science is useless at best and harmful at worst. Mistakes in even the history of science start people down the road to false conclusions about the world around them.

If we want the public—not to mention science educators and science writers—to take a more accurate look at the place of science in society, we must first dispel the hoary myths that continue to pass as historical truths. Let us hope that in doing so, our own, new myths will prove less egregious than those of generations past.

—by Nicolaas Rupke

Nicolaas Rupke is a Dutch geologist and historian of science at Washington and Lee University. His conference co-organizers are Kostas Kampourakis, a Greek science educator at the University of Geneva, and Ronald L. Numbers, a professor of the history of science and medicine emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

W&L Repertory Dance Company Performs at Gala Concert of Route 11 Dance Festival

Members of the Washington and Lee Repertory Dance Company performed the dance “Straight Duet” as part of the Gala Concert performed by professional dancers from around the United States at the Route 11 Dance Festival on Thursday, May 8.

The dance was performed by W&L Dance Company members, Jillian Katterhagen and Chanson Hardy. It was choreographed by guest artists Nicole Wolcott and Larry Keigwin from the New York-based dance company, Keigwin + Company.

The dance was one of two chosen by guest artists from Trey McIntyre Project, the Oregon Ballet Theater and BodyVox as pieces of outstanding artistic merit from a concert the previous week that included undergraduate dance students from across Virginia. This event was a unique opportunity for university student choreographers and dancers to participate in performances together and debate and discuss methods of composition. Guest artists lead a post-show discussion to give feedback on the choreography and performance work and selected two outstanding works to be performed later in the week.

“I am so thankful for the generosity of our guest artists and their dedication to sharing their expertise with the student dancers,” said Jenefer Davies, director of dance and artistic director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company. “Performing alongside professional dancers is an amazing educational and artistic opportunity and a great honor.”

For further information on the Route 11 Dance Festival, which continues this weekend with performances by Dance Theatre of Harlem and Trey McIntyre Project, visit http://www.route11dance.org/.

Miranda's Book Wins IPPY Award

“Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir” (Heyday, 2013) by Deborah Miranda, professor of English, has won a gold medal for autobiography/memoir, in the family legacy category, in this year’s Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPYs.

In our February 2013 story about Miranda’s work, one reviewer described the book as “beautiful and devastating” and contended that it should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about California Indian history, past and present.

As Suzanne Keen, dean of the College noted, “The book has already been widely adopted by faculty for college and university courses all over the country, but this is a notable new achievement.”

Miranda’s book is both a tribal history of California Indians and a memoir of her own family’s experiences. She is a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen tribe of California Indians, also known as Mission Indians. Her book is a collage of family stories, poems, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, photographs, old government documents and personal reflections, as well as the occasional writings or testimony from Indians.

“American Indians get written out of American history a lot, but especially California Indians,” said Miranda. “Many people, even other Indians, think we’re all dead. I wanted to bring a voice to the California Indian community and provide a correction of our history that has mostly been presented to Americans in a mythological way. The book is also about me and my Dad, but in order to understand him I had to go way back to the beginning of what happened to the California Indians.”

The IPPY Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Nearly 5,000 IPPYs have been awarded to authors and publishers around the world. It is the first awards program open exclusively to independents.

Williams School Hosts First Social Entrepreneurship Summit

The Williams School’s J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its first Social Entrepreneurship Summit on May 2.

When business administration professor Drew Hess taught a winter term course on social entrepreneurship, he was overwhelmed by all the ways his students wanted to change the world.

“Across campus, there were these great student-led causes trying to initiate big, bold change, and we thought it made a lot of sense to give them some of the same tools and support we’d give to any student startups,” said Hess.

Hess and his wife, Megan Hess—also a business professor at the Williams School—decided to invite a dozen student leaders to dinner one night. They wanted to discuss ways the campus and the Williams School could support social entrepreneurship.

“We gave them dinner and got the conversation started, and then we just left the room and let them talk through all the possibilities,” said Drew Hess.

The students decided to host a summit where they could share ideas and gain support. They envisioned a keynote address and a series of pitches, with students competing for funding that would help get their socially motivated startups off the ground.

Nicholas Luther ’14, a business administration and accounting double major, led the charge, organizing the summit and serving as the event’s emcee. Generals Development, Community Financial Freedom, Nabors Service League, Engineers without Borders and Venture Club all signed on as sponsors.

Washington and Lee School of Law alumnus Douglas B. Ammar ’89L gave a speech to the attendees. He runs the Georgia Justice Project, which strives to improve racial disparities in the American prison system. He has worked there in some capacity—first as a volunteer, then a staff lawyer, and finally as the non-profit’s executive director—since its inception in 1986.

Ammar addressed what it takes to launch a successful social enterprise. He discussed challenges all social ventures face, including finding financing, defining the organization’s scope and managing day-to-day operations.

“It’s great when you can find tough issues to take on that no one can disagree with,” he said.

Following the keynote, five student teams pitched their ideas to four judges, who weighed the style and content and awarded prizes to the top three finishers:

Azmain Amin ’17: PolyGreen Bags, an eco-friendly shopping bag produced from recycled paper and jute fiber. First prize, $500.

Matt Kordonowy ’16: Vern Clothing, a company that sources sustainable and socially responsible apparel by working with women’s cooperatives in Guatemala. Second prize, $200.

Juan Mayol ’16 and Nina Preston ’16: Manual, filtered washing machines that can save women in developing countries hours of work each day and reduce health risks associated with washing clothing in contaminated water sources.

Marino Orlandi ’16: A microfinance program to help remote Kenyan villages secure funding for needed water infrastructure.

Darby Shuler ’14: 3-D printers for medical facilities in El Salvador, providing technicians with the tools and training to build prosthetic hands for amputees. Third prize, $50.

“These types of events don’t happen overnight, and Nicholas and the other student leaders deserve all the credit for making this event a success,” said Drew Hess. “Megan and I were thrilled with the turnout and support and hope that this is just the first step in developing a culture of socially motivated entrepreneurship at W&L.”

—by Rachel Beanland

Dillon Myers is Venture for America Fellow

Dillon Myers, a Washington and Lee University senior from Foxborough, Mass., has been selected as a Venture for America Fellow.

Venture for America (VFA) funnels intellectual and creative college graduates toward American start-up companies in cities with struggling economies. Its ultimate goal is to immerse talented graduates into the world of start-up companies and encourage them to become socialized and mobilized entrepreneurs, while also benefiting the start-ups in a tough economy.

This year, VFA recruited 77 fellows, including Myers and another W&L senior, Alexander Baca. This is VFA’s third class of fellows.

Myers, a business administration and East Asian languages double major, was inspired to apply to VFA by Mike Wilner, a 2013 graduate of W&L and a current VFA fellow. The two met through W&L’s Student Consulting Group and Wilner connected Myers to Dwolla, a financial technology startup company that was just named by Fast Company as a Top 10 Most Innovative Financial Companies in the world.

Myers said, “I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, everything from getting in trouble in elementary school for starting a business selling clay balls, to a social media consulting business I started a year ago to help businesses in Lexington market to W&L and VMI students.

“I highly recommend a start-up internship to any current W&L students. I was able to wear many different hats, work in a variety of business areas and have responsibilities and influence that I had never imagined an intern could have.”

After working for Dwolla, Myers applied to VFA last October. He went through a rigorous interview process that culminated in interviews with top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in New York City.

A week later Andrew Yang, the CEO of VFA, called Myers with an offer that, he said, “I accepted on the spot.”

Jeffrey Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at W&L, was not surprised at Myers’ selection for the fellowship. “Dillon is well spoken and creative, smart and personable; he’ll do a great job in VFA,” said Shay. “I had him in class last term and have no doubt that he’ll do wonderfully in an entrepreneurial environment. Whatever start-up gets him will be very lucky.”

At W&L, Myers is the executive director of Washington and Lee Student Consulting and is the head of marketing and fundraising with GenDev Microfinance, a student-run development agency. Myers placed 11th nationally in the NCAA decathlon and is a University record holder in the 4×400 meters, 400 meter hurdles, decathlon and heptathlon and is an NCAA Academic All-American.

Myers served as an account executive with AdClass and was lead presenter in the national student advertising competition and is business manager for the Ring-tum Phi student newspaper. He has been on the Dean’s List and won a Johnson Opportunity Grant.

“I was struggling with what I wanted to do after graduation, because there is no clear-cut path for entrepreneurs,” said Myers.

Myers will spend the summer in training camp at Brown University before he is placed in a start-up in August.

Anatomy of a Fraud–HealthSouth's Downfall told by Aaron Beam

Aaron Beam will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on “The Untold Story of HealthSouth,” one of America’s most successful health care companies and its downfall, on Monday, May 12, from 5-7 p.m. in the Hillel Multipurpose Room 101.

Beam’s talk is free and open to the public.

Beam was the first chief financial officer of HealthSouth Corp. and, as a co-founder, witnessed first-hand the series of accounting, stock manipulation and leadership failures that led HealthSouth to the $2.8 billion securities fraud scandal and ultimate prosecutions. It was one of the largest accounting frauds in American history.

Ethics First is the primary message Beam conveys to his audiences. His experience with HealthSouth and the research he has done about ethics in American business has shaped the message he delivers to any audience that values ethical behavior, and the process of achieving it.

He explains to his audiences the heights of success, followed by the unethical and illegal mistakes that led to his professional downfall. Serving three months in federal prison for his role in approving fraudulent quarterly numbers in 1996 and losing his C.P.A. credentials, led Beam to his current speaking career; trying to make a positive difference by educating others about the pitfalls of unethical business practices. Through his Ethics First message he identifies early warning signs, influences and the bad choices he and others made at HealthSouth.

Beam has spoken at universities, healthcare companies, auditor meetings and conventions, securities training seminars and ethics institutes across the U.S.  He has spoken to student audiences as a guest lecturer at many business schools, including the University of Chicago, Louisiana State University, Penn State, Stanford and over 50 other schools.

Beam learned a lesson the hard way. His is a cautionary tale with a moral for all: “You have to stand up for what you believe in—or you may be the guy that goes to prison and pays the price.”

W&L Announces Final Winners of 2014 Johnson Opportunity Grants

Washington and Lee University has announced the final round of students who will receive 2014 Johnson Opportunity Grants.

The grants cover living, travel and other costs associated with the students’ proposed activities, which are designed to help them with their future careers and fields of study. The grants vary in amount from $1,000 to $4,500 and are funded as part of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity.

The 19 students will conduct research, attend conferences, complete internships, volunteer and study a variety of subjects in locations around the world. Research will include psychology, volcano samples, William Wordsworth and early modern English drama. Other students will intern, volunteer or study in South Vietnam, China, Mexico, Southern California, England and Cameroon. And one student will walk 500 miles along a traditional pilgrim trail in northern Spain.

  • Michael Bronstein, a junior psychology major from Canton, Mass., will spend the summer as a research assistant helping to design and implement original research in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Specifically, he will assist Dr. Bill Gehring, a leader in the field of clinically relevant electrophysiology research and Bronstein’s first choice as a graduate school mentor. Bronstein is a Johnson Scholar, a tutor at W&L’s writing center, vice president of the W&L chapter of the Psi Chi Honor Society and a peer tutor in psychology. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Beta Beta honor societies and the Association for Psychological Science.
  • Christina Cheadle, a sophomore from Escondido, Calif., has been selected through a competitive process to be a U.S. delegate to the 66thJapanese-American Student Conference. She will join 72 other students—36 Americans and 36 Japanese—at the month-long student-led program which will discuss Japanese-American relations. The conference alternates each year between Japanese and U.S. cities. This year it will be held in Des Moines, Iowa; San Francisco, Calif.; New York, New York and Washington, D.C. Cheadle is an anthropology and art history major and her ambition is to become a curator of Japanese art. She is a member of W&L’s Japanese Tea Society and event planner for Pi Beta Phi sorority.
  • Caroline Crichlow-Ball, a junior double major in psychology and sociology from Austin, Texas, will intern with Dr. Philip Pate, a forensic psychologist in Winchester, Va., who evaluates sex offenders for trial and conducts capacity interviews of parents whose children have been removed by Social Services. As a forensic assistant, she will conduct background research, review intake forms, observe client interviews ,administer and score psychological tests, review evaluations, write reports and communicate with attorneys and Social Services. She will also accompany Dr. Pate on visits to jails and to court dates.  Crichlow-Ball is a Johnson Scholar, a member of Kappa Delta sorority and a peer counselor. She is a member of the Student Recruitment Committee and the Student-Faculty Hearing Board.
  • Stephanie Do is a junior from Hanoi, Vietnam, and a double major in accounting and business administration and East Asian language and literature. She will spend the summer as an intern at one of the world’s largest accounting firms in Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam. In addition to gaining auditing skills, Do and her fellow interns will attend a pitch competition to propose an original business idea that is useful to the Vietnamese people in their daily lives. She will also have opportunities for community service, such as teaching sex education to young students or organizing fund-raising events to help the poor and orphans. Do is a member of W&L’s Student Association for International Learning and the W&L Ladies’ Club.
  • Shelby Flores, a junior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a double major in economics and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies. She has been selected for a 10-week summer internship at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico, through the U.S. Department of State Student Internship Program. Her duties will be primarily research-based, including reviewing and analyzing the effect of Mexican tourism on the United States, compiling data on E-visas and mapping the interagency coordination procedures in Mexico City to create a summary of best practices. Flores is president of the Chi Omega fraternity and president of W&L’s Women’s Volleyball Club.
  • Liam Gaziano, a sophomore from Dedham, Mass., has been accepted as a visiting student at the Stroke Prevention Research Unit, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford, England. The unit is regarded as one of the most productive stroke research groups in the world. Gaziano is a bio-chemistry major and plans to become a doctor. He will work on a number of research projects, including a large-scale study of the feasibility, safety and effectiveness of Bluetooth home telemetric blood pressure monitoring after stroke. He will be involved in cleaning and collating study data and will help generate initial analyses and results. Gaziano is a member of W&L’s men’s soccer team and Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
  • Lindsay George, a sophomore from York, Pa., and a double major in English and art history with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies, will spend the summer in Costa Rica at the Academia de Español in Nicoya, a Spanish language immersion school. Nicoya is a small village located close to the Guatemalan border and offers minimal interaction with tourists. She will take intensive language instruction in the mornings and in the afternoon will intern at different businesses in town. She will also work as a teacher’s assistant in a local elementary school. At W&L, George is a tutor in Spanish and French for Languages for Rockbridge in local elementary schools and a peer tutor in French. She is a student-to-student mentor and a Panhellenic delegate for Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
  • Ellen Gleason, a junior from Santa Barbara, Calif., and a double major in politics and economics, will intern in the finance department of the Democratic National Committee. Day-to-day work will include organizing and planning large-scale fundraising events, maintaining the DNC’s database of donors, and promoting and staffing events. She will also attend weekly “brown bag” events with senior staff members to learn about various positions available in politics. Gleason is a Johnson Scholar and co-president of W&L’s Habitat for Humanity fundraising board. She is a member of Washington and Lee Student Consulting and chief marketing officer of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
  • Phil Kong, a junior from Downey, Calif., and a native of South Korea, is a double major in geology and biochemistry. He will explore the geochemistry of volcanic samples from the Cascade Mountain Range on the west coast of the United States. Kong will then send the samples to Washington State University’s geo-analytical laboratory for X-ray fluorescence analysis to provide accurate data to characterize the lavas in the volcanoes. Kong is a Johnson scholar, a member of the American Chemical Society and president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He is also head garden manager of W&L’s Campus Gardens and co-founder and vice president of Washington and Lee Culinary Club.
  • Kiril Krendov, a sophomore from Sofia, Bulgaria, will intern at Pearl Consulting in Zhuhai, China, through the program “InternChina.” He is a double major in business administration and East Asian languages (Chinese concentration). During his three-month stay he will learn about different aspects of finance including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, share listings of Chinese companies in the United States, foreign currency exchange rates, financial forecasting and financial modeling. In addition to one-on-one Chinese language classes, Krendov will stay with a local family and immerse himself in Chinese culture. He also plans to visit Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou. He is a member of W&L’s Williams Investment Society and is on the marketing and lending committees of W&L’s Community Financial Freedom.
  • Grace Lee, a junior from Boca Raton, Fla., will travel to Cameroon to serve as a volunteer in three different medical placements, arranged by the nonprofit organization “Love Volunteers.” Lee is a biochemistry major with a minor in poverty and human capability studies and plans to pursue a medical degree and work with non-profit organizations. In addition to taking part in hospital activities such as taking blood pressure, assisting during rounds and observing surgical procedures, she may also have the opportunity to accompany medical personnel into rural communities for outreach programs to educate local people about sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and to provide first aid for small injuries. Lee is a Johnson scholar and a member of the Shepherd Student Faculty Board. She is a head honor advocate for undergraduates, chemistry chair of W&L’s Women in Technology and Science and health and disabled chair of the Nabors Service League.
  • Brittany Lloyd, a junior from Abington, Pa., will undertake a summer internship with the Native American Land Conservancy in Southern California, which aims to protect endangered Native American sites. An English and sociology/anthropology double major, Lloyd will continue her research on place names in Native American cultures and how land and language relate to one another. She also hopes to begin original research on different linguistic aspects of local Native American sacred sites and work with the Learning and Healing Landscapes program to promote understanding about sacred Native American sites. Lloyd is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and writes for the Washington and Lee student-run blog.
  • Alejandro Paniagua is a sophomore from San José, Costa Rica. He is a double major in business administration and environmental studies and plans to spend the summer doing research in northeastern Australia and northern New Zealand. He will be comparing and contrasting the forests in these countries as they share a similar Gondwanan history but have undergone different changes due to human activity. He is a tutor with W&L’s English as a Second Language, a university peer tutor, a member of the International Education Committee, W&L’s Student Consulting, the Biological Honor Society and Sigma Nu fraternity. He is also a resident of the Global Service House, a member of the Multicultural Student Association, Student Environmental Action League, committee chair and delegate for the Model United Nations and president of the Student Association for International Learning.
  • Austin Pierce, a junior from Yorktown, Va., will attend Leiden University’s prestigious summer linguistics program. Pierce is a triple major in economics, philosophy and East Asian languages and literature and intends to pursue a degree in law and global affairs. During the program he will study Old English, the Caucasian language Avar and two Indo-Iranian languages—Ossetic and Old Persian. He is a Johnson scholar, a peer tutor in Chinese and a founding member of the Spanish literary magazine “Pluma.” He is one of the general co-chairs of the First-Year Orientation Committee and founding president of Providing Lively Amusement for Young Adults. He is also vice-president of the Shakespeare Society, a dance instructor for the African Society and a member of both W&L’s University Singers and the acapella singing group General Admission.
  • Eric Schwen, a junior from Cottage Grove, Minn., is a physics major and will attend two international physics conferences this summer. The Condensed Matter Conference in Paris is jointly organized by the French Physical Society and the European Physical Society and covers a wide range of topics in condensed matter physics. The International Conference on Mathematical Modeling in Physical Sciences will take place in Madrid and focuses specifically on scientific applications of mathematical modeling. Each conference has a wide selection of invited speakers representing some of the most respected researchers in condensed matter and statistical physics. Schwen is a Johnson scholar and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He is a teaching assistant in W&L’s physics laboratory, an academic peer tutor in introductory physics and calculus and a member of W&L’s Outing Club.
  • Scott Sugden, a junior from Circle Pines, Minn., and a double major in English and biology, will conduct independent primary research of William Wordsworth’s papers held by The Wordsworth Trust in England’s Lake District. The trust is an independent charity that houses Wordsworth’s manuscripts donated to the trust by his descendants in 1935. They include the published and unpublished versions of Wordsworth’s poetry with revisions in his own hand, which will allow Sugden to examine revisions that Wordsworth made to some of his works and analyze how they were revised. Sugden is a Johnson scholar, a tutor in French at Rockbridge County High School and a W&L peer tutor in introductory chemistry. He is a member of the University Bluegrass Ensemble, the University Jazz Ensemble and the University Wind Ensemble.  He is music editor of The Muse literary/arts magazine, a member of inGeneral student magazine and the Student Environmental Action league.
  • Anh Ta, a sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam, will spend two months in Shanghai, China, as an intern with FTI Consulting, a global business consultancy firm, through the Shanghai Summer Internship program of CIEE, a non-profit organization. Ta is a double major in accounting and economics and plans to launch her future career in Shanghai. The program also offers an advanced course in Chinese language and participants are required to speak Chinese as much as possible. Ta is co-chair of the international student alliance committee of the Student Association for International Learning and a member of the University’s women’s choir Cantrici, the Pan-Asian Association for Cultural Exchange and the Multicultural Student Association.
  • Katherine Uhlir, a sophomore from Boulder, Colo., will extend her Spring Term course, Shakespeare in Performance, with a three-week extension as research assistant to Holly Pickett, associate professor of English at W&L. Uhlir will assist with research into sensual perception of idolatry in early modern English drama, focusing on archival research and the study of relics in the context of early modern drama. They will conduct the research at The Globe Theatre, the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum in London as well as at Campion Hall in Oxford and Stonyhurst College in Lancashire. Uhlir is a resident of W&L’s Leadership House, which focuses on involvement, leadership development, school spirit and community.
  • Andrew Watson, a junior from Great Falls, Va., will undertake a 500-mile journey on foot along the traditional pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago, which winds through France and northern Spain. It was first popularized by medieval pilgrims traveling to visit the tomb of St. James in Santiago. Hiking approximately 25 to 30 kilometers a day and staying in pilgrim hostels, Watson will maintain a journal to document the influence of cultural and historic elements on the identity of Camino today. He is a Johnson scholar and a biology major with a minor in Classics. He is rider with W&L’s polo club and a member of the College Libertarians.

W&L Celebrates Distinguished Alumni and Record-Setting Reunion Gifts

Washington and Lee University bestowed its Distinguished Alumni Awards on four graduates—an endocrinologist, a lawyer, a financier and a military judge—during its annual Alumni Weekend, May 1–3. The presentations came on May 3, during the annual meeting of the Alumni Association.

At the same event, W&L celebrated the 25th reunion of the Class of 1989 (the first undergraduate coeducational class) and the 50th reunion of the Class of 1964, who presented their record-setting gifts to the University.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Dr. Arthur E. Broadus ’64, of New Haven, Conn., is the Ensign Professor of Endocrinology at the Yale School of Medicine. He holds a B.A. in pre-med from W&L and an M.D. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Following a residency at Mass General and a fellowship at the National Institute of Health, he joined the Yale faculty in 1976. In 1983, he received the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. In 1987, he and his laboratory group discovered the parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP). He served as director of Yale’s Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center. As a student at W&L, he majored in pre-med, was tapped for Omicron Delta Kappa, served as a dorm counselor and on the Interfraternity Council and Dance Board, and belonged to Kappa Alpha. As an alumnus, he has supported the James Keith Shillington Scholarship, which honors the legendary chemistry professor.

Conway H. Sheild III ’64, ’67L, of Newport News, Va., has practiced law for more than 43 years with Blechman, Woltz & Kelly P.C. He holds a B.S. and an LL.B. from W&L. In 2005, he and other business leaders established the Virginia Company Bank. Sheild served with the Army in Vietnam, 1967–1969. He sits on many civic and charitable boards and is active with the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar. He has received the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award, the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Conference for Community and Justice, and the Peninsula Boys & Girls Club Award. As a student, Sheild belonged to the football team, ROTC, 13 Club, Sigma Society, Interfraternity Council and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.  As an alumnus, he has served as a class agent, on the Alumni Board and on the committees for his 25th, 45th and 50th reunions.

Emily Bevill Lordi ’89, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., is the head of finance for Sanofi Global Oncology. She holds a B.S. in business administration and accounting from W&L and an M.B.A. from Duke University. She pursued her financial career with Deloitte & Touche and Fidelity Investments before moving in 2004 to Sanofi, the world’s fourth-largest multinational pharmaceutical company. As head of finance, she oversees key investment with external partners, infrastructures, industrial affairs and commercial operations. She belongs to the Wellesley Mothers Forum and the Junior League, for which she has served as treasurer and board member. As a student at W&L, she competed on the swimming and water polo teams and belonged to Christian Athletes. She served as a peer counselor and on the Calyx and the Media Board. As an alumna, Lordi has served as president of the New England Chapter and the Northern New Jersey Chapter, as a class agent and as a director of the Alumni Board.

Capt. Michael C. Holifield ’89, of Washington, is a judge with the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. He received a B.A. in philosophy from W&L, a J.D. from Indiana University and an L.L.M. from the University of Virginia. He served as the command judge advocate for the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla. In 2004, he reported to Carrier Strike Group 8 in Norfolk and spent two years on aircraft carriers. Holifield volunteered for service in Iraq, where he served as the chief legal counsel to the Regime Crimes Liaison’s Office at the U.S. Embassy. He worked with the judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal on the trials of Saddam Hussein and others. He returned to Norfolk as a senior prosecutor, and then served as the senior mentor to the Afghan National Army’s judge advocate general, helping to create a viable military justice system. He has also worked at the Navy’s International and Operational Law office at the Pentagon, helping to shape the Navy’s response to the growing threat of maritime piracy. In 2010, he returned to Jacksonville as the staff judge advocate for the Southeast. He has also provided training on humanitarian law to foreign military personnel in the Czech Republic, Liberia and Azerbaijan. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney Award. As a student, Holifield served on the Student Activity Board and as a dorm counselor and belonged to Phi Kappa Psi. He also spent three summers in W&L’s Summer Scholars Program. As an alumnus, he has supported Washington and Lee through his volunteer work with the Jacksonville Chapter and his 25th and 20th reunion committees.

Reunion Gifts and Awards

The Class of 1964 gave $8.56 million in honor of its 50th reunion. Part of that gift will supplement the class’ 25th-reunion gift for the arts at W&L; another portion will go to the Center for Global Learning.

The Class of 1989 celebrated its 25th reunion with a gift of $2,250,000, the largest 25th reunion gift ever at W&L. The first coeducational undergraduate class at the University designated the funds for the Center for Global Learning, the Annual Fund, scholarships and other purposes.

Other classes enjoyed reunions and made their own significant gifts to their alma mater, adding up to the largest reunion totals W&L has ever received: $1.5 million for this year’s Annual Fund and $5 million in current gifts and pledges to the Annual Fund. The Classes of 1994, 1979 and 1969 (20th, 35th, 45th reunions) also broke overall records for their classes.

The John Newton Thomas Trophy goes to the class with the largest percentage increase in annual fund commitments over the previous year. With a 123 percent increase in their one-year Annual Fund total: Class of 1999. This class also broke the 15th reunion single-year record, overall record and participation record. In recognition of that accomplishment, they also received the Clean Sweep Award.

The Trident Trophy is presented to the class with the highest percentage of members participating in the Annual Fund. With 63 percent percent of the class: Class of 1969.

The Colonnade Cup is awarded to the class with the largest reunion gift to the Annual Fund, including current gifts and future pledges.  With a reunion gift of $1,040,000 (also a 45th-reunion record): Class of 1969.

Reunion Attendance

More than 650 alumni came back to campus to celebrate the weekend. Most classes were at or near record attendance, with the 50th, 40th, and 25th classes all setting records for the largest number of returning classmates.

The Reunion Bowl goes to the class with the highest percentage of members registered for the weekend. With 37 percent percent of the class in attendance: Class of 1964.

The Reunion Trophy is awarded to the class with the greatest number of members registered for the weekend. With 133 registrants: Class of 1989.

The Reunion Traveller award for farthest distance traveled to attend the reunion: Paul Chapman ’84, who came from Japan.

Class Reunion Chairs

1999: Cory Mettee Birdsall and T. Blair
1994: Kimberly Dickinson French and Jimmy Kull
1989: Alston Parker Watt and Rowan Taylor
1984: Dwight Emanuelson and John Howard
1979: Jack Bovay
1974: Russ Chambliss and Phifer Helms
1969: Rick McMillan
1964: Barry Greene, John Michaelsen, Buck Ogilvie, Burt Staniar


Mapping Mount Doom

Geology students from Washington and Lee University in front of the volcano Mount Ngauruhoe in New Zealand, a.k.a. Mount Doom of “Lord of the Rings” fame, which they were assigned to map.

The students are taking the Spring Term course “Regional Geology” taught by Christopher Connors, the William E. Pritchard III ’80 Professor of Geology. New Zealand is a geologically diverse land and, in addition to learning fundamental geologic concepts, students explore the basics of physical and chemical volcanology by studying the eruptive deposits of active volcanoes.

W&L Law Student Returns Home to Afghanistan to Promote Human Rights

Hussain Moin says that he is in the midst of one of the most productive years of his entire life.

Moin, an LL.M. student at Washington and Lee University School of Law who will graduate May 10, says he is motivated by more than just himself and his family—he has the chance to affect a whole country’s well being.

Moin left his hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan last year when he won a scholarship through the Public Private Partnership Program for Justice Reform in Afghanistan to pursue his Masters in U.S. Law at Washington and Lee. He arrived eager to gain valuable experience in order to help the people of Afghanistan.

“My country needs a young generation of professionals to do something for them,” he says, pointing to development, peace, capacity building, and protection of human rights as areas that need improvement.

Moin is no stranger to law or to bettering his country. After graduating from law school at Kabul University in 2003, he worked as a journalist in Afghanistan, producing investigative reports. In 2007, he joined the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), where he monitored human rights in Afghanistan, supporting victims while pressuring the government to respect and protect human rights.

After this year, Moin plans to rejoin the AIHRC in Afghanistan. He believes that earning his LL.M. degree at W&L will help him “provide services for the Afghan people and protect and promote human rights in Afghanistan.”

His scholarship through the Public Private Partnership is one of many provided to promising young Afghan professionals, and he is confident that they can all make a difference.

The journey has been far from easy, as Moin has grappled with vastly different legal systems. Despite these changes and a more intensive workload, he has been comforted by the environment at Washington and Lee. His classmates and professors have been open and kind, which he believes stems from the school’s Honor System.

After less than a year at Washington and Lee, Moin is able to articulate what makes the University so unique. “Everybody trusts you and you trust everybody.” He says that this trust creates a positive and effective learning environment.

Moin believes that higher education is crucial to capacity building in Afghanistan, and that in order to be a good citizen he must work to advance his country.

“A part of our life does not belong to us,” he said. “It belongs to our community.”

This article was written by Michael Agrippina ’15.

Keen Addresses Opening Assembly at Alumni Reunions

Dr. Suzanne P. Keen, dean of the College and the Thomas Broadus Professor of English, gave the  keynote talk at the University’s annual Washington and Lee Alumni Reunion Weekend on May 1, in Lee Chapel. She spoke on “Lost in a Book: Immersion Reading and Liberal Education.”

The event featured reunions for eight classes, including those celebrating their 50th reunion (Class of 64) and 25th reunion (Class of 1989).

Keen described how new studies show that immersion reading — enjoying full concentration on the story without interruption for critical analysis — leaves the reader with increased empathy for its characters and an experience of their emotions. Thus, the reader grows in the ability to understand, and work with, other people.

Also at the opening assembly, W&L’s Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the national leadership honor society, inducted six new undergraduate members and recognized three honorary initiates–Samuel W. Calhoun, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at W&L; Kennon Savage McDonough, a 1989 W&L graduate and clinical psychologist from the San Francisco Bay area; and Philip W. Norwood, of Waxhaw, N.C., a 1969 W&L graduate and chairman of the board of Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc.

Video of the opening assembly including ODK initiation and Keen’s talk is available online. The text of her talk is also available as a pdf.

The ODK inductions were held prior to Keen’s keynote. The honorary initiates:

  • Samuel W. Calhoun has taught at W&L since 1978. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Georgia Law School, Calhoun served as a litigation associate with King & Spaulding in Atlanta and was a visiting professor at the University of Puget Sound before coming to W&L. At W&L, his major teaching areas have included abortion controversy, payment systems, sales, contracts and legal writing. He is the author of over 20 essays, articles, reviews and notes in many areas of legal scholarship and has delivered many talks and lectures particularly on abortion and on religious elements in law and society. He has served as faculty adviser to numerous organizations at W&L, including The Washington and Lee Law Review and the Moot Court teams. Calhoun is also active in the Lexington and Rockbridge communities with such groups as Habitat for Humanity, Young Life, United Way and the Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center.
  • Dr. Kennon Savage McDonough received her master’s degree in psychological counseling from Teacher’s College, Columbia University and her doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of San Francisco. McDonough completed her doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Infant-Parent Program and the UCSF AIDS Health Project and is certified by the UCSF Child Trauma Institute. McDonough was a member of the first class of coeducation at W&L, majoring in sociology and anthropology. She played tennis all four years and co-founded the Safe Rides program on campus. She continues to serve and support her alma mater in various volunteer roles, including her 25th Reunion Committee, and as chair of the Alumni Admissions Program.
  • Philip W. Norwood is chairman of the board of Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc., a family-owned company investing in real estate and energy projects, in Spartanburg, S.C. He also is principal of Haviland Capital L.L.C. in Charlotte, N.C. He served as president, chief executive officer and director of Faison Enterprises Inc., a real estate development and investment company headquartered in Charlotte, from 1994-2013, where he was responsible for all the company’s business activities involving a $2.5 billion asset portfolio. Norwood currently serves on the boards of Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc., Camp Blue Skies Foundation, Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers and a former member of the Real Estate Roundtable. Norwood holds a master’s degree from Duke University and a juris doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law. As a student, Norwood was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Calyx, Ring-tum Phi and the track and field varsity team. He served his alma mater in every major volunteer role and as a member of the Board of Trustees (1997-2008) and as Rector of the University (2003-2008).

The juniors who were tapped into membership in ODK are Ann Holly Beasley, an economics major from Virginia Beach, Va.; Caroline F. Hamp, an English and religion double major from Avon Lake, Ohio; James Charles McCullum, a geology major from Hallowell, Maine; Eileen Annette Small, a theater and studio art double major from Midland, Texas; Lisa Stoiser, a German and neuroscience double major from Simpsonville, S.C.; and Jacqueline Olivia Yarbro, a philosophy and religion double major from Suwanee, Ga.

ODK also presented the Rupert Latture Award, which recognizes the sophomore with the most leadership potential, to Caroline Birdrow, a biochemistry major from Lafayette, La. It gave the James G. Leyburn Award for community or campus leaders who provide exemplary service to The Community Table, a local group which focuses on reducing hunger in the Rockbridge area.

W&L Conference to Debunk Scientific Myths

Two dozen historians of science from around the world will debunk 26 commonly-held myths of science at a conference at Washington and Lee University May 8 – 11.

The keynote address by John L. Heilbron of the University of California-Berkeley will take place in Lee Chapel at 6 p.m. on Fri. May 9 and is open to the public.  He will discuss the master myths of science, history and science and science and religion.

His talk will also be broadcast live online.

According to Heilbron, these master myths, though almost certainly false, contain enough truth to be useful and inspirational. The argument covers a few familiar doubtful stories, such as Columbus and the flat earth, Galileo’s tower and torture, Newton’s apple, the big bang theory and ends with a surprising appeal to Greek mythology.

The complete conference is open to the Washington and Lee community and others wishing to attend should contact Professor Nicolaas Rupke at rupken@wlu.edu or (540) 458-8344.

Kester to Teach at University of Hawai'i During Sabbatical Leave

George Kester, Martel Professor of Finance at Washington and Lee, will be a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Fall 2014. While in Honolulu, he will lead a faculty seminar on the case method of teaching and teach an undergraduate case course on corporate financial management.  He is also at work on a new book, “Profit Rich and Cash: Understanding and Managing the Financial Consequences of Business Growth.”

W&L Law Honors Outstanding Alumnus and Volunteer of the Year

On April 12 during Alumni Weekend 2014, Washington and Lee School of Law announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumus/a Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award.
Reggie Aggarwal ’94L received the 2014 Outstanding Law Alumnus Award for his exceptional achievements in the legal profession.

Aggarwal is the CEO and Founder of Cvent, a publicly-traded cloud-based software company focused on event management. Aggarwal led Cvent from a two-person startup to a 1,450-person company with a $1.3 billion market capitalization. Cvent has helped more than 10,900 organizations manage hundreds of thousands of events in more than 90 countries.

This honor joins a long list of others for Aggarwal: CEO of the Year by the Washington Business Journal; Entrepreneur of the Year for the Washington, DC area by Ernst & Young; a rising star by Forbes Magazine; one of the 100 Top Tech Titans by Washingtonian Magazine for three years; and one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry by MeetingNews and Business Travel News. He has been featured in over 100 articles in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, USA Today, Forbes, and The Washington Post, and has appeared on CNBC, ABC News, CBS News, and CNN as an authority on meetings and technology.

Aggarwal is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Indian CEO High Tech Council (now the DC Chapter of TiE), which The Washington Post said was “maybe the singularly most successful association in the past decade.” Aggarwal was also appointed by the Governor of Virginia as Chairman of the Chief Information Officers Advisory Commission. He has served on the global board of trustees of TiE and Sales and Marketing Executive International, and on the board of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Inova Healthcare System, and the DC Chamber of Commerce.

Aggarwal graduated with a B.S. from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from Washington and Lee University Law School, and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law School. Aggarwal has also received an Honorary Doctorate from Southeastern University for his contributions to the community.

Peter Straub ’61, ’64L received the 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond assisting the Law School.

Straub has served W&L as a Law Class Agent for over 20 years and has served on numerous reunion committees, including as chair of his 50th reunion committee.
Prior to retirement, Straub had a career as a trial lawyer in St. Louis and with the Department of Justice, as an advisor to Attorney General Saxbe and the House Judiciary Committee, and as the General Counsel of the Selective Service System. After leaving government service, he opened his own law office focusing primarily on family law.

Straub is a long-time member of the Northern Virginia Planning council and the Alexandria Optimist Club, serves on the board of the Alexandria Salvation Army, is active with the Boy Scouts, serves on the Resident Council at his retirement community, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, serves on the board of Friends of the W&OD Trail, and as a volunteer for National Park Service. Straub also served as a commissioner in the Alexandria Economic Opportunity Commission, on the Advisory Board of the Capital Hospice, on the Advisory Board of Trinity University, on the board of the Alexandria Country Day School, and on the board of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation.

Virginia Press Women Selects Julie Campbell as 2014 Communicator of Achievement

Julie A. Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs at Washington and Lee University, has been named Communicator of Achievement for 2014 by Virginia Press Women (VPW), the statewide organization of women and men who are journalists, authors and communicators. The organization is the Virginia affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW).

Bonnie Atwood, president of VPW, said in presenting Campbell with this year’s Communicator of Achievement award, “I know no one in VPW who better represents the ideals of this award than Julie. She is committed to the ideals of journalism and public relations, is an award-winning PR pro and author, and has dedicated much time and energy to VPW and NFPW.”

Before joining W&L’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs office in 2003, Campbell served as editor of Virginia Cavalcade magazine at the Library of Virginia, 1994–2002. Prior to moving to Virginia, she served as associate editor of publications for the Arizona Historical Society, editing the Journal of Arizona History; and, in Colorado, worked at Colorado Homes & Lifestyles magazine and as editor for HBJ Plastics Publications.

After joining VPW in 1999, Campbell quickly rose as a leader to first vice president in 2002–2004 and to president in 2004–2006. She co-chaired the 2004 VPW fall conference and the 2013 spring conference, served on the host committee for the 2007 NFPW Conference in Richmond and on other VPW committees.

In addition, she served as a judge for NFPW’s Communications Contest for two years, has been a board member of NFPW’s Education Fund since 2009, was appointed NFPW student membership director in 2013, and presented at NFPW’s 2013 conference.

She has won more than a dozen awards in VPW’s Communications Contest and six first-, second- and third-place NFPW contest awards.

Campbell’s most recent book, “The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History” (University of Virginia Press, 2010) won three awards: first place in the non-fiction category of the 2011 VPW and NFPW communications contests, and the People’s Choice Award for Nonfiction in the 2011 Library of Virginia Literary Awards.

She was principal author of “Studies in Arizona History” (Arizona Historical Society, 1998), for which the Arizona Historical Society received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History in 1999.