Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L's Lind Discusses Holiday Television Specials on “Virginia Insight”

Stephen Lind, visiting assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight”show on Monday, Dec. 1, to discuss television’s top holiday specials and why they’re so enduring.

Listen to the archived broadcast >

Lind is a specialist in oral communication and a former corporate communication consultant. His current book project explores the religious life and work of Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, a project made possible by the support of Schulz’s family and friends.

“Shenandoah” Announces Three Awards

“Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review” has announced the winner of its three major genre prizes for Volume 63 (Volume 63.1 was fall 2013 and Volume 63.2 was spring 2014). The prizes in fiction, poetry and non-fiction are given for the best work in each of those genres for a volume year. Each prize is for $1000 dollars.

The co-winners of the Shenandoah Fiction Prize are Heather Goodman, author of “Humdinger” and Joseph Bathanti, author of “Rita’s Dream.”

Goodman was motivated to pursue fiction after attending the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and working in fiction at the Loft Literary Center.

She has been published in “Grey’s Sporting Journal,” “Printers Row,” “Hunger Mountain,” “Crab Orchard Review” and The Chicago Tribune, where her story “His Dog” won the Nelson Algren Award.

Bathanti is the author of six books of poetry, including “The Feast of All Saints” and “Restoring Sacred Art” (winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize). His novel, “East Liberty,” won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award and his latest novel, “Coventry,” won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, “The High Heart,” won the 2006 Spokane Prize.

He is the recipient of literature fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994 (poetry) and 2009 (fiction); the Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period; the Linda Flowers Prize; and many others.

The James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry winner is “The Odds” by Steven Kronen.
Kronen’s “Splendor” appeared from BOA Press in 2006. His poetry has appeared in “The New Republic,” “The American Scholar,” “Poetry” and “The Georgia Review,” among others.

He has been a fellow at Bread Loaf and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, received a literary grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Florida Arts Council grants and the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His first book, “Empirical Evidence,” published by the University of Georgia Press in 1992, won the Contemporary Poetry Series prize.

The winner of the Carter Prize for the Essay is “How to Skin a Bird” by Chelsea Biondolillo. Her prose has appeared recently or is forthcoming in “Hayden’s Ferry Review,” “Wilder Quarterly,” “Brevity,” “Flyway,” “The Fiddleback” and NPR, among others. She is currently an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Wyoming in both nonfiction and environmental studies.

Inside the 3L Year: Jonathan Caulder on Turning Scholarship into Practice

In this post, 3L Jonathan Caulder discusses how the innovative third-year curriculum at W&L gave him the unique chance to see scholarship and practice come together.

I chose W&L Law for several reasons, one of which was the unique third-year program. I could not have predicted, however, that the program would offer a comprehensive experience to engage and critique the development of federal law. Indeed, the program afforded me the opportunity to publish a Note in the Law Review and then visit the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to watch the Justices hear oral arguments on my Note topic’s legal issue.

Roughly one year ago, I began researching potential legal topics for my Note submission to the Law Review. After exploring several options, I decided to write about a circuit split—a phenomenon where federal courts of appeals disagree over a legal issue. Circuit splits serve as ideal Note topics because SCOTUS strives to resolve circuit splits to promote uniformity in the law.

I researched several circuit splits and decided to write about the Truth in Lending Act’s (TILA) right of rescission. At that time, five courts of appeals disagreed over how a consumer validly exercises her right of rescission. After months of researching, drafting, and editing, I produced a final piece of scholarship that evaluated the arguments surrounding the TILA rescission circuit split. To my delight, the Law Review’s editorial board accepted my Note for publication.

This summer, I learned that two other courts of appeals also weighed in on TILA’s rescission issue, further deepening the circuit split. I also learned that SCOTUS agreed to hear an appeal to resolve the circuit split. I was thrilled that SCOTUS would hear the issue but also concerned that my Note would not be published in time. In essence, I was fighting against the clock to get my Note published. I beat that clock by one day.

Because of W&L Law’s unique third-year program, I had the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of practical experiences, such as clinics, practicums, and externships. Because I aim to practice litigation, I chose to take Virginia Supreme Court (soon to be Chief) Justice Donald Lemon’s Appellate Advocacy Practicum. This practicum provides students with simulated experiences to appeal cases. For example, we were assigned pending cases from the Supreme Court of Virginia and argued those cases in an adversarial setting to a panel of professors, who served as justices. Furthermore, we were given trial court records and had to draft appellate briefs as if we were appellate counsel.

In addition to oral advocacy and brief writing, the Appellate Advocacy Practicum also focuses on experiencing an appellate court’s atmosphere. To achieve this purpose, Justice Lemons arranged for us to visit several appellate courts. We started by visiting the Supreme Court of Virginia, where we watched a morning of oral arguments and observed Justice Lemons serve in his judicial capacity. Justice Lemons also informed the practicum’s students that we would visit SCOTUS.

This month, a perfect storm of events unfolded: (1) the Law Review published my Note on November 3rd, (2) SCOTUS heard oral arguments for the TILA rescission circuit split on November 4th, and (3) the Appellate Advocacy Practicum students visited SCOTUS on November 4th. The result was uncanny: I would be at SCOTUS to hear oral arguments concerning my published Note topic!

The SCOTUS visit was an exciting and unforgettable experience. Hearing the Justices question the oral advocates provided insight into how they would resolve the issue. Further, Seth Waxman, the former Solicitor General, argued skillfully on behalf of the lender in the case. To make the trip truly exceptional, Justice Lemons arranged for Justice Samuel Alito to speak with us briefly after the oral arguments. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Justices entertain and evaluate the TILA rescission circuit split.

This amazing experience would not have been possible without W&L Law’s commitment to an experiential third-year curriculum. I was able to identify an inconsistency in the law, write a piece of scholarship about it, publish that scholarship, and then visit SCOTUS to hear that inconsistency debated. I cannot think of a better way to practically engage in the development of law. I look forward to reading the SCOTUS opinion to see how the circuit split is resolved.

My experiences in W&L’s third-year curriculum are not limited to publishing a Note and observing SCOTUS debate the issue. I also serve as a judicial extern for the Honorable Michael Urbanski of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. This externship provides real world insight into how a federal trial court functions on a weekly basis. Together, the externship and the Appellate Advocacy Practicum have allowed me to observe three different courts in operation within a three-month period. The insight I have gained from these opportunities is invaluable and is not something I can learn from a textbook. I am grateful for my third year experiences thus far, and I look forward to additional opportunities to engage in the practice of law before commencement in May.

W&L’s Black Lung Clinic Named one of Nation’s Most Innovative

In its 2014 Winter issue, PreLaw Magazine has recognized Washington and Lee’s Black Lung Clinic as one of the top 15 most innovative law school clinics in the country. The magazine sought nominations from law schools nationwide for clinics that were innovative in subject matter, structure or community served.

W&L’s Black Lung Clinic represents coal miners diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease, in pursuit of benefits from coal companies that once employed them. In attempting to collect benefits, miners and survivors face formidable teams of lawyers, paralegals, and doctors that the coal companies assemble to challenge these claims. The Clinic has represented hundreds of disabled coal miners and their surviving spouses since its creation in 1996, and has a success rate of approximately 80%.

Professor Tim MacDonnell, director of the clinic, explains what makes the Black Lung Clinic stand out among law schools.

“The Black Lung Clinic represents a unique opportunity for our students and our clients. The students experience the challenges and excitement of complex civil litigation. They are called upon to fight and win our clients’ claims, which invariably involve intricate questions of law and medicine.

“Under supervision, the students develop evidence, conduct discovery, depose experts, represent our clients at hearings, write appellate briefs and conduct oral argument on appeal, frequently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. It is an immersive litigation experience.

“Our clients are disabled coal miners or the surviving spouses of coal miners. The miners we represent have usually worked in our nation’s coal mines for twenty to forty years. They are totally disabled from a progressive, debilitating, and ultimately fatal lung disease. The spouses we represent have usually spent years as the caretaker of their disabled coal miner, having to watch as their spouse ultimately succumbs to black lung. Our clients, who often have difficulty finding an attorney willing to take on a black lung claim, receive zealous representation from student advocates that spend significantly more time perfecting their claim than the average attorney.”

The Black Lung Clinic is one of six legal clinics at W&L and part of the School’s innovative third-year curriculum, which combines the demanding study of legal doctrine and analysis with simulated and actual practice experience. Unique in legal education, the third-year curriculum has been hailed by many in both the legal profession and in legal education as the most significant change in law-school curriculum in more than a century.

Talking about Lincoln

Washington and Lee University’s preeminent Abraham Lincoln scholar, Lucas Morel, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics, is in demand these days during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

On Nov. 13, he appeared at the Supreme Court Historical Society (he’s a trustee there) to give a talk, “Justice and Justices in Lincoln’s Civil War Presidency,” at its Leon Silverman Lecture Series, which explored themes of the court, the origins of the war and its immediate and long-term impact. The event took place in the Supreme Court chamber, where oral arguments are presented to the justices. Associate Justice Elena Kagan introduced Lucas to the audience, and the event was covered by C-SPAN. You can read a summary of his talk here.

On Nov. 20, he will speak on Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address at John Handley High School, in Winchester, Virginia, which is hosting an exhibit on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, “Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times.” Lucas said, “The Gilder Lehrman Institute sponsors the prestigious Lincoln Book Prize each year, as well as supports many programs and workshops to encourage the study of American history. I have worked with this Institute for many years, and will be conducting a professional development workshop for high school teachers, in Wichita, Kansas, on Dec. 12, focusing on African Americans in the Civil War era.

Lucas is the past president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute and a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association. During the 2008-09 academic year, he was the Garwood Visiting Research Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He also teaches in the summer master’s program in American history and government at Ashland University, in Ashland, Ohio, where he also serves on the board of advisors. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and Richmond Times-Dispatch, and is writing a book entitled “Lincoln and the American Founding.”

W&L's Repertory Dance Company to Perform on Dec. 3, 4 and 5

Washington and Lee University’s award-winning Repertory Dance Company will be performing “W&L Dancers Create…” on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 3, 4 and 5, at 6:30 p.m. on the Keller Stage at the Lenfest Center for the Arts in Lexington.

This concert, under the artistic direction of Jenefer Davies, associate professor of dance/theater, is dedicated to work performed and composed by students and showcases the diversity and talent within the dance program. “The beauty of this concert is its eclectic nature,” said Davies.

Both contemporary and classical ballet works composed by Blair Davis ’15, Lisa Stoiser ’15 and Jillian Katterhagen ’15 will be performed alongside contemporary modern and innovative post-modern pieces by Sue Sue Drennan ’15, Inga Wells ’16 and Emily Danzig ’16.

Other works include a fun, dance-in-your-seat piece composed by seniors Kaitlin Coughlin and Stoiser and Nacho Portella’s ’14 comic work featuring the war of the puppets. Not to be missed is Elliot Emadian’s ’16 deeply personal and touching contemporary dance journey.

After Thursday’s performance, the choreographers will hold a discussion about how they develop their work and the meanings behind them.

This is a fun, family adventure with something for everyone. This is University dance at its best and brightest. The proceeds from the $5 suggested donation will benefit W&L dance’s educational programs.

“W&L Dancers Create…” is presented by the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies.

Keith Sanford '80: Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year

Congratulations to Keith Sanford, a 1980 graduate of Washington and Lee University, who was named Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year by the Southeast Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

He was feted for his contributions to the Chattanooga community on Oct. 29 as part of National Philanthropy Day, which recognizes the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to lives, communities and the world.

Keith has worked as market president of First Tennessee Bank since May 2012. In his 34-year career there, he has served as branch manager, relationship manager in correspondent banking, manager of correspondent banking, manager of private banking and trust and manager of the retail division.

His community service in Chattanooga is extensive, and he has served on the boards of many organizations (read the full list here). As a leader in fundraising, Keith has served as annual fund chair at Girls Preparatory School and has helped raise money for Caldsted Foundation, Chattanooga Symphony, Chattanooga Chamber, Arts Build, Ballet Tennessee, Fairyland School PTO, Association for Visual Arts, Creative Discovery Museum, Aim Center, Fortwood Center, Chambliss Center, Chattanooga History Center, Helen Ross McNabb and McCallie School. He will chair the United Way campaign next year.

Keith is a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, and is married to the former Julia Grosvenor of Memphis. They have four children, three dogs, three cats and a pet snake.

Making History

Bob Strong, the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and an expert on the American presidency, was in Little Rock, Arkansas, this past weekend during the 10th anniversary celebration of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

As part of the three-day celebration, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center released the first batch of oral history interviews it conducted, beginning in 2001, with former members of the Clinton administration for the Clinton Presidential History Project. Bob was one of 50-some scholars and historians who participated in that project; he interviewed, among others, Sandy Berger, former national security advisor, and Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of State.

Although the media described festivities as a combination of a pep rally for Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential run in 2016, a schmooze fest and a nostalgic look back at the 1990s, the panel discussions focused on Clinton’s foreign, economic and domestic policies.

At the Symposium on the Clinton Administration, which was covered by C-SPAN, Bob joined Berger, Gen. Wesley Clark, Nancy Soderberg and Mara Rudman, to assess Clinton’s national security policy. The wide-ranging discussion covered Haitian refugees, North Korean nuclear weapons and the Balkans.

“My role was to generally guide the discussion back to the interviews,” explained Bob. While he said the panel discussions revealed no shocking revelations, the transcripts themselves are filled with details on some of the most defining moments of Clinton’s years in office. “The media were a bit upset that these transcripts were released late on a Friday afternoon, and they were searching for the headline-grabbing stories. I kept telling them to read the interviews. In the transcripts, Leon Panetta (chief of staff) talks about being worried about Monika Lewinsky, and we ask Madeline Albright how she felt when she learned that Clinton had lied to her . Gen. Hugh Shelton (chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff) gave a really good interview, and there’s a lot of interesting content about his life as a working general, particularly his role in restoring democracy to Haiti in 1994.”

The biggest interview for the project is yet to come: Clinton. Bob will be interviewing the former president as soon as the Clinton commits to a date. “We’ve been trying to pin him down for about a year,” Bob said. “If Hillary runs, then who knows when we’ll be able to schedule him.”

In the meantime, Bob will continue to work on his book about George H.W. Bush. He has a lot of material to work with, having also interviewed several former members of the Bush administration for the Miller Center’s oral history project on the 41st president.

Q&A with the Moot Court Board

Part of our ongoing series of Q&As with student leaders, Moot Court Board chair Donavan Eason and vice-chairs Jimmy Pickle and Zach Wilkes talk about why moot court competitions are a big part of the W&L experience. Learn more about Moot Court at law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.

Q: For those of us who have not had the opportunity to compete in any of the Moot Court competitions, can you talk a little bit about how they’re structured?

Zach: The Moot Court competitions at Dubyuhnell provide a myriad of opportunities for student involvement. The five internal competitions—Negotiations, Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial, Client Counseling, and Mediation—vary greatly at face value, but all emphasize the importance of conducting yourself in a professional manner and developing a rapport with your target audience.

While each competition is judged slightly differently, the Moot Court Executive Board typically judges the preliminary rounds of each competition, a faculty panel judges the semifinal round, and a group of distinguished judges and/or practitioners presides over the final round.

Q: What competitions/events have you recently had, and what’s coming up? What have some of the highlights of this semester been?

Zach: We just had the final round of Mock Trial on November 14, and we have Client Counseling and Mediation coming up. The Client Counseling final round is on November 19th, and the Mediation Final Round is on February 11th. Those are internal (schoolwide) competitions. We are also in the process of selecting and preparing teams to represent the law school in external competitions.

The highlights of the semester to date have been interacting with, and watching students compete in front of, our extraordinary panels of judges. In addition to Justice Alito, who judged the final round of the Appellate Advocacy tournament, the Moot Court Executive Board has hosted judges from the Fourth and Ninth circuits, and practitioners from some of the most prestigious firms in the country. All of the judges took significant time out of their schedules, and offered invaluable feedback and career advice—as well as high praise for the Washington and Lee community.

Q: How has being on Moot Court shaped your law school experience (e.g. did it help with finding a job, organizing time, learning certain skills)?

Donovan: In my opinion, there’s no better way to build self-confidence and pure grit than having to stand in front of a judge or jury and argue your case with adrenaline pumping through you at full tilt. The amount of information you are expected to retain and leverage effectively is staggering. If you aren’t intimidated, you don’t have a pulse. Moot Court taught me that preparation is life’s great equalizer. If you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll be given opportunities to grow and succeed despite the overwhelming expectations placed upon you. And when you do, you will feel fulfilled beyond measure.

Q: What’s on your bucket list to see or do before you leave Lex Vegas?

Jimmy: Well, when you have been in Lexington for almost 7 years now, you have seen and done pretty much everything. But with that said, I have yet to float down Maury River with my law school friends while sipping on a drink or two, so I will be doing that in the Spring.

Q: We talk a lot about how proud we are of our community here at W&L. What is the W&L Law community all about, and has it affected your time in law school?

Jimmy: In one word, the W&L Law community is about “trust.” Students trust each other, students trust professors, and professors trust students. One example of that trust: professors let students take unproctored exams. Because that trust exists, professors not only care about a student’s legal knowledge, but also about his/her character. I am very thankful for the W&L Law community because it has positively affected me in many ways, the most important of which is that my daily interactions with students and professors have prepared me to enter the professional legal world.

A Thumbs-up From Oprah

A Washington and Lee University alumnus is thrilled to see his company’s products appear in Oprah Winfrey’s popular and influential 2014 holiday gift guide, published in O Magazine. The guide features five flavors of Blackberry Patch Premium Syrups: Pumpkin Spice, Apple Butter, Blueberry, Raspberry and Blackberry.

Founded in 1988 and based in Thomasville, Georgia, Blackberry Patch is owned and operated by Harry T. Jones III, a 1978 graduate of W&L, and his sister, Randy Harvey. Their company uses time-honored Southern techniques to make jams, jellies and syrups from local fruits and family recipes.

“This recognition is a tribute to our faithful customers, great team of people and our community. Oprah has great taste!” said Harry.

Blackberry Patch was discovered by Oprah’s team at the New York Fancy Food show. The team attributes their visibility to the award-winning booth design by Jackie Ellis Johnson Design and the product-label design by Fontaine Maury.

Recipes on the Blackberry Patch website offer intriguing combinations, such as a turkey, cheddar and apple butter grilled sandwich; strawberry jam cream cheese waffle sandwich; pumpkin marshmallow popcorn; and peach pepper jelly phyllo cups.

Harry, who holds a B.S. in commerce, has enjoyed a long career in the food business, including restaurants and distribution. He and Randy took over Blackberry Patch in 1999. It produces more than 50 items that are carried by such retailers as Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, Le Gourmet Chef, The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.

You can read more about Harry’s company on the Blackberry Patch website.

W&L, Rockbridge Ballet, Schoolchildren Collaborate on Dance Project

Washington and Lee University’s Teacher Education Program, the Rockbridge Ballet and local schoolchildren have collaborated on a project titled “Where the Page Meets the Stage: The Art of Storytelling through Words and Movement.” It will debut on Nov. 22 and 23 during the Rockbridge Ballet’s 2014 Winter Concert at W&L’s Lenfest Center for the Arts.

“Where the Page Meets the Stage” is the brainchild of co-directors Haley Sigler, assistant director of teacher education at W&L, and Jessica Pyatt Martin, artistic director of the Rockbridge Ballet.

During the summer, 22 children from the Rockbridge community created stories to be interpreted and performed by the Rockbridge Ballet. A choreographer from the ballet helped them develop each story, and Sigler advised the choreographers on writing with children. The children took home an anthology of the four stories they had created and that will be performed.

“To launch our workshop, we began with the students watching some recent performances by the Rockbridge Ballet and then we worked backwards,” said Sigler. “What decisions did the choreographer make as a storyteller? What decisions did the costume designer make? How did lighting help to tell the story—all the different pieces that work together to tell a story on stage.”

Sigler enjoyed learning about the connections between storytelling with the written word and storytelling with dance. “For example, writers repeat language for effect, and that corresponds to the term phrase in choreography where you have a signature movement,” she said. “The medium of storytelling is integral to any art form, and we wanted to give the children the opportunity to see how the choices they make as authors mirror the choices choreographers make.”

Student Anna Barrash said that working collaboratively with others was her favorite part of the experience. Her parents, Sarah and Eric Barrash, liked their daughter’s exposure to what goes into creating a story and to the dance component of the project.

Farishte Irani was equally impressed with her daughter Parizad’s experience. “It was wonderful to see a group of young children sharing thoughts and ideas to create such magical pieces of literature. Their words began by dancing in their heads to dancing on paper, and soon they will come to life and be dancing on the stage,” she said. Her daughter also enjoyed picking out the costumes.

“Kids don’t necessarily always see themselves as writers,” said Sigler. “I think a lot of the time we take the joy out of writing for children. But when they had the opportunity to see themselves not simply as writers, but storytellers with the opportunity to share their stories with others, they were motivated and excited.”

The audience at the Rockbridge Ballet performance will be able to read the stories behind the dances and see a short documentary about their creation before the dancers bring the authors’ work to life on the stage.

“Where the Page Meets the Stage” is one of W&L’s and the Rockbridge Ballet’s community engagement activities and is supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Cornerstone Bank and Shenandoah Dental Studio.

Performances take place at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 and 23. The program includes a performance of “Peter Pan.” To buy tickets, see rockbridgeballet.org.

Robert Grey ‘76L to receive ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

Washington and Lee alumnus and trustee emeritus Robert J. Grey will be honored next year with the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

The ABA panel will present the award at a Feb. 7 ceremony at the ABA midyear meeting in Houston.

The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession, according to the ABA.

“Robert Grey has not only blazed the trail for equal participation for all attorneys, but today, through his guidance of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, he remains ever diligent to establishing more paths for full inclusion of the legal profession,” said F. John Garza, chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

Grey was the first African-American to serve as chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates. He was elected president of the ABA in 2004. Grey devoted his yearlong term to creating better justice through better juries. The American Jury Project modernized and consolidated varying sets of juror standards into a single model document that reflects the demands of contemporary trials. Additionally, Grey worked to review, unify and update ABA programs to increase diversity in the legal profession, to advance the ABA’s international rule of law efforts and to safeguard the profession’s independence.

Throughout his ABA career, Grey was active in strategic planning and increasing diversity in the profession. From 1992-1995 Grey chaired the Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession. Grey serves currently on the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009.

A partner in the Richmond, Va., office of Hunton & Williams, Grey’s practice has focused on administrative matters before state and federal agencies, mediation and dispute resolution, and legislative representation of clients. He came to Hunton & Williams from the law firm LeClair Ryan, where he was a partner. Prior to that he had co-founded the firm of Grey & Wesley, and then joined Mays & Valentine. He also received several gubernatorial appointments, including chair of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, vice chair of the Virginia Public Building Authority and member of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Board of Visitors.

In addition to his volunteer leadership within the ABA, Grey has chaired the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Richmond Partnership and Youth Matters and was president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters.

Grey earned his J.D. from Washington and Lee University in 1976, and his B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1973.

New Book by W&L's Prager Examines Myths and Realities of the East in German Lit

A new book by Debra Prager, associate professor of German at Washington and Lee University, “Orienting the Self: The German Literary Encounter with the Eastern Other” (Camden House, 2014), examines novels that follow their protagonists’ education or enlightenment predicated on an encounter with the East.

Prager studies five works that contain a powerful perception of the East as the scene of desire, fantasy and personal fulfillment. “These novels give a much more open-minded view of the East, with each of these authors offering an encounter with the East as a solution, a way to get back to a more kind humanity and a more tolerant world view,” she said. Many other European and German works reinforced negative clichés about the East that prevail today.

“How we look at cultures that are not our own, especially ones that we deem exotic, are as much a construction of our fantasy as they are a reality,” Prager continued. “These stereotypes are old, but they continue to reflect our own fears and cultural issues—history, politics and social reality.”

The first chapter analyzes, “Parzival,” an Arthurian romance written in 1205, and deals with the ideologically Christian and distorted medieval view of the world outside of Europe. One character is a half-French, half-African, fabulously wealthy king of India. “This shows how confused they were in the Middle Ages about what was Africa and what was the East—it was all just one place,” commented Prager.

Prager follows with an analysis of “Fortunatus,” written in 1509, the fictitious travels of a Cypriot protagonist. Since many of the world maps of the 15th century would have shown Cyprus as a middle point between West and East, Prager suggests that the German author’s choice to make the main character a Cypriot was a decision to tell the story of someone who experienced the East and the West as equally strange. As a result, the novel explores the phenomenon of being the stranger as well as what it is like to observe other cultures that are strange to us.

Prager next examines “Heinrich von Ofterdingen,” written in 1802. “In this chapter I talk about how German historians and philosophers started to think of the world’s cultures as having originated in the East. Suddenly the Orient became not just the site of the Holy Land, but the source of poetry, philosophy, language and of humanity itself. Cultural historians, archaeologists, and poets looked to the East to discover the origins of culture and return to a purer state of being,” explained Prager.

The ports of Japan opened to the West in the 1850s for trade and military negotiations and started to export huge amounts of Orientalia to Europe, reflecting a cultural obsession with the East in the late 19th century. The novel “Effi Briest” reflects those desires among the German middle and upper classes, as represented in the wishes and fantasies of Effi Briest, a young woman trapped in an arranged marriage in a repressive Prussian society.

The final chapter examines Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain” (1924), which tells the story of a young German engineer who, while visiting his cousin in a Swiss sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, falls in love with a Russian woman. As a result of his fascination with the seductive patient, the young man extends his original two-week visit into seven years. His obsession with the Russian woman and his interaction with other patients designated as “Eastern” trigger periods of intense self-reflection and intellectual and emotional discovery.

“Western Europeans had a tendency to lump the Slavs in with the rest of the East,” noted Prager. “There was a sense that Eastern culture was more sensual and vibrant, more dangerous, and it often doesn’t really matter if the culture, object, or person in question is Russian, Japanese, Chinese or Middle Eastern. There’s a joie de vivre, an excitement, an intense sexuality, a freedom and a liberality that the East represented. On the other pole in “The Magic Mountain” is the protagonist’s Prussian discipline, and there’s a push-pull between these two sides.

“I think this work is especially important at this time,” continued Prager. “My point is that some aspects of our understanding of Asia and the Middle East, in particular, haven’t really changed very much. In “The Magic Mountain,” the author actually comments on the power of Oriental stereotypes—which society itself constructs—to enthrall us. Any reference to the ‘Orient,’ conjures up a hodgepodge of ideas—the veil, the sultan, the terrorist, the geisha girl, the topless Balinese dancer. All these crowd together under that rubric. But the same can be said of contemporary notions of the East that are dual in nature. We operate with two equally authoritative realities: the imaginary one (think of the jumble of associations we have with the East: harem girls, flying carpets, duplicitous Asians, self-indulgent sheiks, bloodthirsty Arabs) and the factual one. They coexist in our minds. In fact, the constructed stereotypes and clichés about the ‘Oriental Other’ exert as much force on our perceptions as experienced or observed in reality.

“Modern media portray the Middle East with images of the crying woman, the burkha, the veil and the violent Muslim,” Prager continued. “There are virtually no other pictures of the Middle East—they are just continuously recycled. We need to be more aware of how our view of people is filtered through the lens of these longstanding preconceptions, and constructed through literature and the media, and how we’re trapped in these ideas that make it very difficult for us to understand people when we’re not seeing them for who they really are.”

Prager joined Washington and Lee in 2006. She received a B.A. in history from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures from Harvard University.

The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Strawbridge Wins Award for Best Doctoral Dissertation

The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Strawbridge, Washington and Lee Class of 2001, received the inaugural Society for Biblical Literature DeGruyter Prize for Biblical Studies and Reception History.

The award, which recognizes the best unpublished dissertation or first monograph in biblical studies, provides $1,500 to biblical scholars at the early stages of their careers. Winning manuscripts will be published in appropriate De Gruyter book series or as stand-alone titles. Jenn did her doctoral work focused on early Christian use of the Pauline epistles before Nicaea.

Jenn is a research lecturer and chaplain at Keble College, Oxford University, in Great Britain, and focuses on patristics, early Christianity and the New Testament. She also conducts daily services in the college’s chapel. You can read more about her professional activities on her Keble College website.

A summa cum laude graduate in physics and religion, Jenn belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa. She was a University Scholar, a R.E. Lee Research Scholar and a member of the lacrosse and tennis teams. She served as a student leader in the Shepherd Poverty Program and spent two summers as an AmericCorps volunteer in Kentucky during her undergraduate career.

After graduating from W&L, Jenn earned a master’s in New Testament theology from Keble College, a master’s in divinity from Yale University and a diploma in Anglican studies from the Berkley Divinity School at Yale.

She was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2004 and began her ministry as curate at Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven, Connecticut. She also served as an oncology and hospice chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital. She was associate rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, for five years and also served as curate at Christ Church Episcopal in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 2009, Rev. Jenn presented the Baccalaureate Address at Washington and Lee, and in 2011, the University gave her the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.

What's Up in Lexington/Rockbridge, Time to Head Indoors

Here’s the next installment of our roundup of events in the Lexington and Rockbridge area, compiled by 3L Hannah Shtein. With winter weather on the way, you might want to consider indoor activities, like movies in the Commons!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Commons Movie: “Begin Again,” November 12-November 16. Wednesday – Saturday at 7 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. Free admission and free popcorn.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Concert Guild: Elizabeth Futral in Concert. 8-10pm, Wilson Concert Hall, Lenfest Hall. Famed Metropolitan Opera soprano Elizabeth Futral will sing a program of favorite songs and aria. Adult $20 Senior/Active Military $15 Student $12 W&L Faculty & Staff $10 W&L Student $5

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Taste of Africa at Global Service House, 6:30-8:30pm. African Society will host a dinner of African dishes accompanied with music and drinks at Global Service House.

Bluegrass Ensemble, 8-10pm, Concert Hall, Wilson Hall.

Football vs. Shenandoah at 1pm, Wilson Field.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lecture: “Titian’s Animals,” 5:30pm at Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. The Department of Art History presents Stephen Campbell, the Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor of Art History at Johns Hopkins University, who will deliver the 2nd Annual Pamela H. Simpson Fund Lecture. Dr. Campbell’s lecture. A reception will follow the lecture at 6:30 pm.

Lecture: “China of the Most Fashionable Sort,” 5:30pm in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. Suzanne Hood, Curator of Ceramics at Colonial Williamsburg, will use surviving objects, archaeological, and documentary evidence to show just how much porcelain “made in China” came to America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Documentary Film Viewing: “Play Again,” 8:30-10 at Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. What are the consequences of a childhood removed form nature? One generation from now most people in the U.S. will have spent more time in the virtual world than in nature. But what are we missing when we are behind screens? And how will this impact our children, our society, and eventually, our planet? At a time when children play more behind screens than outside, Play Again explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds. Is our connection to nature disappearing down the digital rabbit hole?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Workshop: “Getting Up on the Balcony.” 10-12pm, Hillel Multipurpose Room. Kelly Kienzle of Open Circle Coaching will present on how to separate yourself from day-to-day tasks and see the big picture. Richard Heifitz wrote that a leader’s role is to “move back and for the between the balcony and the action on the stage.” A team can only remain focused and motivated if they are kept engaged on the long-term goals. Use this workshop to learn how to view events with enough distance to be objective yet not so much that you are unengaged; identify the Adaptive Challenge to frame the key issue and bring about long-lasting change; act as a Stage Director by keeping your team focused on the “next horizon” goals and engaging them on how to reach those goals.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Commons Movie: “The Hundred Foot Journey.” Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory’s Michelin-starred eatery. Wednesday – Friday at 7 PM. Free admission and free popcorn!

W&L Commemorates Veterans Day

Burnishing a recent tradition, Washington and Lee University held its annual Veterans Day gathering of staff, faculty, retirees and students in front of Lee Chapel.

Co-organizers Mark Fontenot and Paul Burns presided over the ceremony and offered a prayer and a poem. Provost Daniel Wubah said a few words, and Jim Farrar ’74, senior assistant to the president, conveyed a message of gratitude from President Ken Ruscio ’76, who was unable to attend.

The ceremony also remembered three vets who were regular participants, all of whom have passed away since the last Veterans Day: Captain Robert Peniston, the retired director of Lee Chapel; Tony Stinnett, retired from Public Safety; and Larry Stuart, senior sergeant in Public Safety.


  • Paul Burns, Safety Office
  • Jerry Clark, Facilities Management
  • Bill Claytor, Retiree
  • Robert Etin, Law Class of 2016
  • Mark Fontenot, Facilities Management
  • Gavin Fox, Business Administration
  • Don Gaylord, Archeology/Anthropology
  • Lloyd Goad, Information Technology Services
  • Ted Hickman, Facilities Management
  • Rick Kirgis, Retiree
  • Dick Kuettner, Tucker Multimedia Center
  • Laurie Lipscomb, Retiree
  • Tom Tinsley, Information Technology Services
  • Michael Young, Retiree
  • Paul Youngman ’87, German

Power of the Pen

“He died at a particularly momentous event in a very momentous battle, the largest land engagement of the war, and he died in one of the most critical, if not the most critical spot on the field,” said Kent Masterson Brown, a Civil War historian, in an interview with the New York Times.

“He” refers to Lt. Alonzo Hereford Cushing, the subject of a biography Kent authored in 1993 that was used as the basis for Lt. Alonzo Hereford Cushing, who died at Gettysburg, receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, 2014.

Kent, a 1974 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, became enthralled with Cushing’s story as a young boy when his family visited Gettysburg in 1964. His book, “Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander” (University Press of Kentucky) was many years in the making.

“It took me 29 years to collect the information and write the story of Cushing’s life,” said Kent. “In 1977, I found all of Cushing’s letters to his mother and brother, William, stuffed in an envelope at the bottom of an old trunk in the attic of the Chautauqua County Historical Society in Westfield, New York. The Society had no idea they existed. There were 24 letters written by him that dated from his 2nd class year at West Point until one month before he was killed. That made a full biography of him possible. I have lived with “Lon,” as his friends called him, most of my life; I was 15 years old when I became interested in him while viewing the Cyclorama at Gettysburg. He was extraordinarily brave and absolutely revered by those who knew and fought alongside him.”

As the story about the Cushing’s posthumous award broke, numerous news outlets across the country and in Europe, including NPR and the New York Times, interviewed Kent. A feature program was made about him for “America Tonight” on Al Jazeera America television.

Kent, who is in private law practice in Lexington, Kentucky, will deliver the keynote speech on Lt. Cushing at the 151st Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in the Gettysburg National Cemetery on Nov. 19, and it will be covered by C-SPAN.

Kent is the founder and former editor in chief of The Civil War: The Magazine of the Civil War Society and has won numerous awards for his books, which include “Retreat From Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign” and “The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State.” In addition, he has hosted and produced nine award-winning documentary films for public and cable television on various aspects of American history. In October, he was named a 2014 Distinguished Graduate of Centre College of Kentucky for his efforts challenging government authority as a practicing lawyer, as well as for his Civil War scholarship.

W&L Law’s Moliterno Publishes First Legal Ethics Book in Former Soviet Country

Washington and Lee law professor James Moliterno, one of the foremost international experts in legal ethics and professionalism, has published a first ever book on lawyer ethics in the former Soviet Georgia.

The book is a translation of Moliterno’s book “Global Issues in Legal Ethics,” originally published by Thomson/West in 2007. It is the first book on lawyer ethics published in the Georgian language.

The newly translated and published book was dedicated this month during a ceremony at the Georgian National Library.

Moliterno has traveled throughout the world during his career to help countries develop ethics policies and training programs that guide lawyers, judges and law students through the conundrums they face in their professional careers.

“At times, I help develop codes for judges and lawyers in countries where none existed previously,” says Moliterno. “But more often, I’m engaged in facilitating the teaching of what their code is, trying to make education about it more effective and sophisticated.”

Moliterno has engaged in substantial international legal ethics and legal education reform work in Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand. He has trained law professors in China, Thailand, Georgia, Armenia, Slovakia, and Serbia, judges in Kosovo and Georgia, and both judges and prosecutors in Indonesia. He has worked to revise the lawyer ethics code in Thailand and Georgia and lectured extensively on international lawyer ethics topics in Spain, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

A member of the American Law Institute, Moliterno has held committee leadership roles in both AALS and the ABA. He was the 2012 recipient of the Rebuilding Justice Award from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) in recognition of his career-long legal education reform work.

Author Josip Novakovich to Give Talk and Reading on Nov. 13

Author Josip Novakovich, winner of the Whiting Writers Award, will give a talk and reading at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of Novakovich’s talk and reading, which is free and open to the public, is “Writing in the Stepmother Tongue,” about immigrant experiences in the United States and Canada. The author will sign copies of some of his books.

The talk is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment Fund and the Sociology and Anthropology Department.

Novakovich studied medicine at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia and after moving to the United States, earned his B.A. from Vassar College, his M.Div. from Yale University and his M.A.in English/creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin.

He is the author of a novel, “April Fool’s Day” (2004); three short story collections “Yolk” (1994), “Salvation and Other Disasters” (1998) and “Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust” (2005); and four collections of narrative essays, including “Plum Brandy: Croatian Journey” (2003). He is also the author of two textbooks and hundreds of short stories and essays.

Novakovich is the recipient of the Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, panelist of National Endowment of the Arts, an award from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Novakovich was a finalist for the The Man Booker International Prize in 2013. He was anthologized in “Best American Poetry,” “Pushcart Prize” (three times), and “O.Henry Prize Stories.” “Kirkus Reviews” called Novakovich “the best American short stories writer of the decade.”

His works are published in the top literary magazines in the U.S., including “Ploughshares,” The New York Times Magazine, “Double Take,” “The Threepenny Review,” to name a few.

Novakovich has taught at Nebraska Indian Community College, Bard College, Moorhead State University, Antioch University Los Angeles, creative writing at the University of Cincinnati and Pennsylvania State University. He is currently in Montreal, Quebec, teaching at Concordia University.

Why W&L Law: Chi Ewusi on How a Whim Became a Sure Thing

We asked several of our 1L students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Chi Ewusi, a graduate of the University of Phoenix from Moorestown, NJ, writes about how the innovative curriculum and personalized approach won her over.

I began my law school applications with very little idea of what I was doing and what to expect. I grew up all over the country with a very liberal and creative arts-heavy education and was afraid that law school would be too cold and black-letter for me. I think that the law admissions process was especially daunting to me because I didn’t have key points of reference, such as lawyers who I could consult or any pre-law classes from college. Because I was the first person in my family to pursue higher education, they couldn’t give me insight about what to look for in a graduate school or what my deciding factors should be.

Despite this, my experience with W&L Law admissions was anything but scary. The admissions office took the time to always answer my emails – oftentimes within 24 hours. They connected me to as many resources as I wanted to help me make this major life decision. Over the months, I spoke directly to successful local alums, at least a dozen current students with similar backgrounds and career goals, and even professors who – fun fact – remembered my name when I started school in the fall.

Like many potential law students, I started the application process by consulting guides, online forums, and other cursory sources and applied to W&L pretty much on a whim. It wasn’t until later in the admissions process that I really narrowed in on what was important to me in a law school and how I should evaluate schools beyond what a publication like U.S. News and World Report could tell me.

I applied broadly to many schools and quickly found out that it was hard to distinguish among most of them. From my research and visits, I realized that most of them seemed to be disappointingly similar and antiquated in their approach to curriculum and student engagement.

Something that distinguished W&L for me was the fact that the 1L experience was different than other schools, mostly in that first years take a basic transnational (international) law course. Growing up multicultural and also having worked in international development, I knew that my interests were already international law-inclined. That an institution thought so much of growing globalization to make this course mandatory for first years greatly appealed to me. I would soon come to learn that a significant amount of professors at W&L practiced internationally, and so I knew I would have incredible resources on hand to help shape and guide my career. Learning that W&L’s unique and modern approach to making students practice-ready would continue through 2L and then culminate with the distinctive 3L program made me feel confident that I would leave law school more than ready to enter the “real world”. Beyond the course offerings, I knew that factors like personal carrel spaces, a 10:1 student to faculty ratio, and an emphasis on legal writing would only further benefit me.

W&L stood out to me as a special place to be a student as well. Before my attendance at one of the Admitted Students Open House weekends, I had never encountered a group of people who were so genuinely excited to talk about education and were able to make me excited as well. These were no dead-end small-talk conversations – every student or faculty member knew somebody who they referred me to based on my particular interests and goals. It was made immediately clear to me the people at this law school were incredibly intelligent and yet so…genuine. This sort of easily-given helpfulness and enthusiasm went a long way in not only helping me make my decision to attend W&L, but allowing me to feel confident in making such a big move to Lexington, VA.

While law school is a definite adjustment, no matter your background or amount of exposure to the legal profession, W&L as an institution aims to make the transition as easy and natural as possible. It was very important for me to feel like “more than just a number”. With my small 1L class, I feel like I already am on such friendly (almost familial) terms with many of my classmates. This is especially true of my small section of classmates with whom I attend all my classes, share meals, and look to for encouragement after tough cold calls. While this may not seem like an important factor, please believe that once thrown into that swift and sudden law school workload, it will be nice to have a built-in support system.

I realized that I wanted a law school that would nurture my ambitions and leave me with more than just a degree. I had purposefully taken a non-traditional route through undergrad by working full-time and taking online classes. When choosing a law school, it was important for me to feel that my continuing education would be effective yet meaningful. I have definitely found that perfect balance at W&L Law.

Why W&L Law: Gabriella Alonso on “the Moment”

This is the final post in our series of 1L students discussing their decision to attend law school at W&L. In her post, Gabriella Alonso, a graduate of the University of Idaho from Meridian, ID, writes about the moment she knew W&L Law was the school for her.

The law school admissions process was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Between studying for the LSAT, personal statements, applications, a full time job, and the amount of literature I was receiving in the mail, I felt so overwhelmed and a bit lost. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not sure what actually matters when it comes to school selection. Sure, you can look it up online, or ask friends, family, or anyone you may know in the field, but when it comes time for a decision, you have to choose the school that’s right for you. That’s what I did when I chose W&L, and why I can say with 100% confidence that I would choose this school again, because W&L is unlike anywhere else.

Coming out of undergrad and beginning my search, I knew two things: (1) I wanted to move somewhere completely new, and (2) I wanted a school that valued its students as individuals. I came across W&L by chance, and after reading a little about the school, I thought to myself, “that seems like a pretty great place to be.” I saved the school under potential choices, and put it aside while I prepped for the joyous event that is the LSAT.

After I received my LSAT scores, I didn’t know if I was going to get in to W&L, I didn’t think my score was “good enough,” but I applied anyway, and I got in. My acceptance to W&L proved to me that Admissions didn’t just look at my GPA and LSAT and throw me into a “yes” or “no” pile; it meant that it read and considered my entire application. However, even after my acceptance, I was still on the fence and I was almost positive I was going to attend a different school in a big city. It wasn’t until I received an email from a student at W&L that I started to reconsider my choice.

Now, the fact that a current student took the time to send me an email asking me how my process was going and if I had any questions meant a lot. It was also something unique to W&L as I had yet to be contacted by any student anywhere else. The email wasn’t an attempt to sell the school, or tell me more facts that I didn’t understand; it was an email asking me how I was doing. I was asked about my process, my life, and if I had any questions about law school, W&L, or the way the experience affects an individual; it felt like for the first time in my admissions process, I mattered to a school. Additionally, I was given answers that were 100% honest. That honesty was probably the most refreshing part – the student told me that yes, law school is hard, really hard, and it will be hard no matter where you go, but if you go to a school that cares about you it will make the experience much more enjoyable. After sharing some of his personal experiences, he convinced me to just come and visit the school. I had never been to Virginia, so I signed up for Admitted Students Weekend with a “why not” attitude.

Before my visit, I read testimonials like this one and I knew that a lot of students said they made their decision to attend W&L after Admitted Student’s Weekend, but I thought that was just some cliché line Admissions fed them to get people to visit. I’m here to say that is definitely not the case. At every school I visited, tour guides and current students talked about “the moment.” If you’ve been on a school tour, you know what I mean, the part when they tell you “I just had this moment where I knew this was where I was meant to go,” and you think “yeah, okay, a moment.” If you’re not a believer (like me) I can tell you from experience that “the moment” is real, they aren’t making it up.

If I were to go back and re-do my admissions process, I would choose W&L all over again. In W&L you will find a school that cares about you, wants you to succeed, and works just as hard as you do to help you achieve your goals. The students go beyond being courteous with each other. We’re friends, we’re a community, and most importantly, we’re family. The professors, administration, and staff are always willing to meet and talk: whether it’s about school, life, the future, or just to chat. To anyone considering applying here, I say go for it, even if you think your numbers might not be “good enough” like I did. You are not a number and W&L recognizes that. Show W&L who you are, and give us the opportunity to show you who we are.

Virginia Tech Art Professor Exhibits in Staniar Gallery

Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery is pleased to present Reading Room, an exhibit of drawings, photographs and sketchbooks by Travis Head. The show will be on view Nov. 10 – Dec. 16.

Head will give a public artist’s talk on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall. The lecture will be followed by a reception for the artist.

Head’s work is inspired by a diaristic impulse to commemorate experience and examine the function of memory. He lists, inventories and diagrams everything from the banal to the significant in his meticulous drawings and detailed sketchbooks, which he considers finished works of art. He speaks of his works as souvenirs and often includes landscape imagery evocative of postcards.

Head earned his B.A. in studio art from the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia, and his M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in painting and drawing from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where he was the recipient of a Teaching Fellowship and the Mildred Pelzer Lynch Fellowship.

His drawings and artist’s books have been exhibited throughout the United States. His collective, The Fylfot Fellows Correspondence Club, has exhibited nationally, as well as in Norway and Qatar. Head is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech’s School of Visual Art.

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

Virginia Business Identifies W&L as a Leader in Efforts to Raise Faculty Salaries

A story in Virginia Business singles out Washington and Lee University as a leader in acting to raise faculty salaries, an area that received extensive scrutiny in a 2013 study by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC).

With higher education tuition rates on the rise, the study discovered that faculty salaries, by contrast, are generally down,which concerns college administrators who are trying to attract and retain qualified educators.

As quoted in the article, W&L President Ken Ruscio said increasing salaries by 8.5 percent beginning in 2008 was “very deliberate, very strategic and very intentional.” In 2007, W&L implemented a strategic plan and capital campaign, with a key component centered on raising faculty salaries to the average of the University’s peers, such as Middlebury, Amherst and Williams.

Helping W&L’s efforts was alumnus Gerry Lenfest ’53, ’55L, who provided a $33 million challenge grant to boost salaries and later a $17 million gift for faculty sabbaticals and summer research.

W&L's Rush Co-Authors Opinion Column on Opportunities for Innovation in Higher Education

Mark Rush, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law in W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, co-wrote a guest opinion column, “Higher Ed Is an Opportunity for Innovation,” published in the Oct. 14 edition of Virginia’s (Norfolk-Virginia Beach) Virginian-Pilot. Rush’s co-author is Bryan Alexander, a senior researcher with the New Media Consortium.

“Soon, many people fear, online teaching will replace some of the traditional residential or commuter models of college, and higher education will focus on professional studies,” Rush and Alexander write. “Given the technological disruption and declining student interest in the liberal arts and sciences, they worry that the country is losing a model of education that is vital to the production of civic virtue and democratically engaged citizens.

“They shouldn’t.

“Democracy is not killing higher education. But, higher education must now celebrate and come to grips with the democratic impulse that it has successfully propagated.”

The full column can be read online.

W&L's Colón Quoted in New York Times on F.B.I.'s Investigative Tactics

Aly Colón, the Knight Professor in Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee, was quoted in a New York Times article Nov. 7 about the FBI’s email impersonation of an Associated Press reporter in order to capture a Washington state high school student who made bomb threats. Colón said the practice undermines the ability of journalists to do their work.

You can read the full article online.

W&L Law Alumnus Paul Kirgis ‘94L Named Dean at Montana Law

Paul F. Kirgis, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law and a 1994 graduate of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been selected to lead the University of Montana School of Law as dean. Kirgis will begin his new duties July 1, 2015.

UM Provost Perry J. Brown announced the appointment on Nov. 3.

“Professor Kirgis impressed a wide variety of groups across campus and, importantly, the Montana bench and bar during the search and his two visits to Missoula,” Brown said in a University announcement. “I am confident he will successfully lead the University of Montana School of Law into the future.”

While at St. John’s in New York City, Kirgis received the Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal and was twice named the professor of the year. He is the founder and faculty chair of the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and previously served as associate dean for faculty scholarship.

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead the University of Montana School of Law,” Kirgis said in a press release from the school. “I look forward to working with the school’s outstanding faculty and the Montana bar to build upon its strong history of innovation and many successes in training practice-ready lawyers.”

Paul Kirgis is the son of professor emeritus Rick Kirgis, who served as Dean of W&L Law from 1983-1988. They are among a small group of families where a parent and child have both served as law school deans.

Kirgis received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He received his B.A. from Colgate University. Prior to coming to St. John’s, Professor Kirgis practiced with two major law firms in Washington, D.C., where he had extensive litigation experience in areas including defamation, insurance coverage, commercial disputes, antitrust, government contracts, and tax.

Catie Fulton Spivey Named Deputy District Director for Texas Representative

Rep. Kevin Brady (r.-Texas) has named Catie Fulton Spivey, Washington and Lee University Class of 2007, as the new deputy district director for the 8th District of Texas. Spivey will work closely with local communities, leaders and constituents to identify ways Brady can serve them on a wide range of federal issues.

After graduating from W&L, Catie earned her J.D. from Emory University and then joined Schooner Healthcare Services, a small health-care consulting company. She formerly served as an aide to Texas Rep. Michael Burgess and Nevada Rep. Joe Heck and worked on several campaigns.

In a news release from his office, Brady said, “I’m thrilled that Catie has joined our district staff. I am confident that my constituents and communities will benefit from her extensive experience and enthusiasm.” Catie added, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to join Congressman Brady’s district office. The 8th Congressional District is home to so many remarkable men and women, and I am honored and humbled to serve them.”

She and her husband, Gary, who works in the energy industry, live in Texas.

Why W&L Law: 1L Brent Phipps on the W&L Community

We asked several of our 1L students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Brent Phipps, a graduate of George Washington University from Washington, DC,  explains how the W&L community made his choice an easy one.

After spending the winter agonizing over applications for several schools, I found myself with a big problem: options. I had spent so much time worrying about getting into law school, that I had not spent enough time considering what I wanted from a school. As result, I needed to make a decision between several schools with great reputations and a host of statistical reports promising that each school offered a top flight legal education. On paper, the schools looked so similar that I had no plan to evaluate each possibility. After talking with my family and friends, I decided to attend Washington and Lee because I am at my best when I am on a team, in a group, or working for somebody that is watching out for me too. Washington and Lee offers that kind of community.

The community here impacts every aspect of the school. When professors greet you in the hall by name just to say hello, the classroom experience is different. The alumni network reacts differently because of the community. And more broadly, law school is less stressful and more enjoyable when you are with people that treat you like a friend, even if you barely know each other.

Of course, no law school will claim their students are unfriendly or the professors are cold, distant, and uninterested in their students. And in my application cycle, I found most everyone was pleasant for the time I interacted with them. But W&L was just intuitively different. When I visited W&L during an admitted student’s weekend, I had lunch with Professor Joshua Fairfield. We had never met before. We weren’t assigned to special group session. We met only because he said hello and asked about my day. We spent most of lunch talking about the school, video games (part of his research), and a dozen other topics both serious and not. Professor Fairfield did not interview me, pitch the school, or pontificate about the importance of legal education—he talked to me like a person that he was genuinely interested to meet. I am happy to report I found that to be a common feature among the professors here. They show a genuine concern for the students and go the extra mile. Earlier this semester, my Civil Procedure professor, Susan Franck, taught class until 6 p.m., knowing that she needed to drive several hours to Delaware that same night. This is hardly exceptional unless you know that the class was not part of her job; it was an optional class with the sole purpose of allowing students to ask questions about Civil Procedure. Donating time like that is just one example of the way professors here contribute to the community atmosphere of the school. I have also had a professor offer to review my resume and invite me to lunch. I have tons of similar stories and I have only been in school here for a couple of months!

The giving spirit of the professors is also reflected in the alumni network. When I was applying I asked to speak with some alumni. Fortunately, I was living and working in D.C., which hosts a fairly sizeable alumni group, and I was able to talk with members of the alumni, many of whom work at top firms in D.C. I was amazed at how quickly folks responded and how generous they were with their time. I do not want to think about what those conversations would have cost if they billed me. One gentleman worked a few blocks away from me and offered to meet for lunch. At lunch, I got some really practical advice about attending law school and a resounding endorsement of the school. W&L is truly a beloved institution. The alumni remember what it was like here, and they are protective about that legacy.

I have been in school for only a short time, but I already love it because it is such a friendly, welcoming place. When I walk through the library, people say hello and stop to chat. When I heard that friend missed a day of class because he was sick, I sent a text to see if he needed anything. Later, he told me that I was one of fourteen different people to check-in with him. The students here are very supportive of each other. When I am a having trouble understanding something I read, I just find a classmate or two, and we talk it through and come to some understanding. Nothing helps me learn more than trying to answer a hypothetical legal question with a group of classmates, regardless of whether I asked the question or I am trying to answer it. It is a collaborative environment that I don’t think is common in law schools. Of course, the law school has plenty of quiet corners if you like to study in peace and solitude. Just be sure to come out occasionally because your classmates will be great.

If I could offer only one piece of advice to a prospective student, it would be to meet the people here. Everyone—students, staff, faculty—shares a common bond of courtesy and friendship. That bond is what sold the school for me and I don’t have any regrets about it.

W&L's Youngman Discusses Digital Humanities on WMRA's “Virginia Insight” Show

Paul Youngman, chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group and head of the Department of German and Russian at Washington and Lee, discussed how scholars are using digital humanities to explore the arts, literature and history on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Thursday, Nov. 6. You can listen to the archived broadcast online.

“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.

Building Blocks

A large paper cube, seemingly composed of symmetrical cutouts, sits on a table at the entrance to the Washington and Lee University Math Department in Robinson Hall. On closer inspection, it turns out to be a compilation of discrete smaller cubes. Is it a 3-D M.C. Escher woodcut? An architectural model of a Moorish temple? No—it’s a Menger Sponge.

And that is a three-dimensional fractal, a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. This particular fractal is made by taking a cube and cutting out a square section through the center in each of the three directions. Then each of the resulting smaller cubes is cut out in the same way, and so on until you’ve removed infinitely many pieces. Each Menger Sponge is made from 20 identical, but, smaller Menger Sponges. This results in an object that has zero volume but infinite surface area.

W&L math faculty and students built the Menger Sponge on Oct. 29 and 31, part of a crowd-sourced, worldwide project to create a MegaMenger. Elizabeth Denne and Michael Bush, both assistant professors of math, were W&L’s on-site coordinators: 20 other math departments did simultaneous builds, including neighbors VMI and JMU. “This is a cool and unexpected example of global learning,” said Suzanne Keen, dean of the College. “There were people all around the world collaborating to build a giant fractal.”

The project is pretty simple. All it takes is rectangular cards, all the same size, and many willing hands. As she quickly folded cards and slotted them together, Denne explained, “It takes six cards to make a cube, which is a level-zero Menger Sponge. It then takes 20 level-zeros to make a level-one Menger Sponge. From there, it takes 20 level-ones to make a level-two, and so on. It grows exponentially.” She added, “There’s no glue, it’s just folded business cards that you pop into place. The cubes are really quite robust, and the way the cubes fit together is an engineering marvel.” As a finishing touch, the cubes are covered with a card printed in a repeating pattern, giving the fractal even more visual depth.

The goal of the worldwide project called for each of the 20 sites to build a level-three fractal, which would measure about one and a half meters long. For each site, that equals 8,000 small cubes made out of nearly 50,000 business cards. If all of the 20 level- threes (one million business cards) were combined, the result would make a huge level-four fractal, also known as a MegaMenger.

Denne estimated that, she, her students and her math colleagues could make a level-two Menger Sponge. “I figured it would take 30 to 40 people hours.” At any given time, she had about 10 students working on the cubes, and every math professor participated at some point. “We recruited some students who were doing homework in the math lab to join us for a bit,” said Denne. “They said it was quite meditative and relaxing. I think it gave them a moment in their busy lives to slow down for a moment. You don’t really have to use your mind while you fold the cards, but by handling these cubes, they are getting a sense of spatial orientation. Some students picked up the process faster than others, but everyone came up to speed pretty quickly.”

The build progressed over two separate periods, and the Math Department, which purchased the cards, also provided beverages, cookies and pizza to fuel the students. “Our second build started at around 4:45 on Friday afternoon and finished at 9 p.m.,” said Denne. “We had a blast, and every time I see our finished fractal, it brings a smile to my face.”

Trip to Washington, D.C., Offers Students Glimpse at Careers in Public Policy and Government

Twenty Washington and Lee students got a crash course in public policy and government when they spent Reading Days in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of two days, the group visited the offices of alumni working for federal agencies, non-profits, lobbying groups, think tanks, congressional offices, corporations and trade associations.

Hosts included:

  • Manuel Bonilla ’89 with the American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Danny Jasper ’13 with the Berkeley Research Group
  • Kelly Mae Ross ’13 with CQ Roll Call
  • John Schindler ’94, SoRelle Peat ’12, Ainsley Daigle ’13, and Thomas Groesbeck ’14 with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
  • Justine Sessions ’05 with Planned Parenthood Federation
  • John McManus ’91 with The McManus Group
  • Kat Emerson ’04 with Monsanto Company
  • Bailey Edwards ’04, Elizabeth King ’12, and Jack Pandol, Jr. ’11 with the U.S. Congress
  • Jerry Guilbert ’02 and Bill Samii ’87 with the U.S. Department of State
  • Chip Welsh ’79, Ben Brown ’94, and Jon Ingram ’94 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Rachael Slobodien ’06 with the Heritage Foundation
  • Ingrid Schroeder ’91 with The Pew Charitable Trusts

“We were extremely pleased to be able to offer this kind of opportunity to our students,” said Rob Straughan, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. “The trip adds to a portfolio of initiatives that emphasize educational opportunities outside the classroom and, in cases like this, entirely outside of a class.”

The trip, which was jointly sponsored by the Williams School and Career Development, was open to students of all class years and majors. Economics professor Katharine Shester and politics professor Seth Cantey accompanied the group, but just half the participants were politics and economics majors.

“We hoped that this trip would help economics and politics students see what some of their career options are, but there’s no one path that gets you to D.C.,” said Rachel Beanland, assistant dean of the Williams School. “You can approach careers in public policy and government from a lot of different angles.”

Students loved hearing what alumni had to say. Every single alumnus emphasized two essential factors that contributed to his or her success—the W&L alumni network and the strong writing skills each of them honed as a student at a liberal arts college.

“Writing is so important to intelligence,” said Bill Samii ’87, who is a senior Iran analyst for the State Department. “What I write can go directly into the President’s daily brief—it has the power to affect policies.”

At the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, alumni agreed writing mattered. But they also talked about the importance of being able to understand numbers.

“Take as much math as you can,” said Thomas Groesbeck ’13, a research assistant. “A math and economics double major is like the equivalent of majoring in big data. If you’re dealing with 5.8 million data points, that’s extremely useful.”

Ingrid Schroeder ’91, director of Pew’s fiscal federalism initiatives, recommended students show potential employers that they know how to use numbers to do research.

“We’re a data driven organization,” said Schroeder. “No one’s expecting you to be able to run regressions on the first day, but if you can show us you’ve worked with data—BLS data or Census data—and done some deep research, that’s a good starting point.”

Washington and Lee alumni pulled out all the stops to make the trip memorable for students. At the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, students visited the Commission’s closed hearing room. In Congress, alumni arranged for the group to visit a Senate hearing room. At the Federal Reserve, students got to see the boardroom where the Board of Governors and Federal Open Market Committee meet.

“My favorite stop was probably the State Department. Jerry Guilford is keeping weapons out of the hands of bad guys, and keeping people from getting hurt by landmines and other abandoned explosives,” said Nicole Porter ’16. “It’s cool to see someone who’s doing something that affects thousands of people around the world.”

The Williams School intends to offer the Public Policy and Government trip to Washington, D.C. on an annual basis. Alumni who work in the District and are interested in hosting a visit should contact Rachel Beanland.

W&L Students Kick Off Career Exploration with New Program

A new and innovative Career Exploration Trip in October gave 21 Washington and Lee University students a head start on their career paths, with help from alumni in Charlotte, North Carolina.

While it is common practice at colleges and universities to conduct trips for students interested in such fields as finance, advertising and journalism, W&L is among the first to offer students a trip to even more industries so early in their college careers.

Fourteen W&L alumni hosted the mostly first-year students for one hour each at 10 different companies encompassing the arts, banking, government, law, sports marketing, journalism, sustainability and other areas.

“It was a great way for students to see a lot of different career options in a short amount of time,” said Sara Greene, assistant director of career development at W&L. “It made a big difference for students to actually go to a place of business and experience that industry in its space. They met professionals in the field and gained inside knowledge of industries they might not get otherwise.”

During the visits, alumni talked about everything from how they became interested in the industry to their career progression, from how their major relates to their career to tips for students who might be interested in that industry. While some alumni made a formal presentation, others held panels with different professionals from their company, or led a question-and-answer session.

The trip also included a networking event with W&L’s Charlotte Alumni Chapter that included a mix of younger and older alumni.

Sophomore Prakhar Naithani, a native of India from Morrisville, North Carolina, described the trip as “an eye-opening experience.” “Many of the alumni decided to take a different route in life before arriving at their present career,” he noted. “Taking a circuitous route helped them to better understand themselves and gain an appreciation of what it takes to pursue any particular career.”

One example Naithani cited was a district judge who decided to practice law after majoring in English at W&L, backpacking across South America and getting married. “That example was by no means an outlier,” commented Naithani. “It reassured me that I do not have to plan out the rest of my life as a sophomore. The important idea is to follow your interests and plan out a course of action that not only allows you to gain a quality education, but one that speaks to your individual strengths and passions so that no matter what you decide to do in the future, you can have a fulfilling career.”

First-year student Courtney Hauck, from Beaverton, Oregon, was surprised to find that the career fields she knew the least about proved to be the most interesting. “I gained insight into fields such as real estate, investment banking and other career paths that I might not have considered otherwise,” she said. “This trip inspired me to try new activities while I have the opportunity to do so throughout college.”

Both students highly recommend that other students take advantage of future Career Exploration Trips. Parents were also enthusiastic about the trip and gave positive feedback to career development.

The key to the trip’s success, according to Greene, was Washington and Lee’s strong and enthusiastic alumni base. “All the alumni were on board and were very excited about it,” she noted, “so we sincerely could not have done this without them.” In the future, Greene said, Career Development hopes to expand the program to different cities, such as Atlanta and Houston, so students can explore even more careers.

W&L Biology Professors Receive $100,000 Grant from Jeffress Trust Awards Program to Research Obesity-Infertility Link

Three biology professors at Washington and Lee University in Lexington have won a $100,000 grant from the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research to investigate the link between obesity and infertility in women.

Sarah Blythe, Natalia Toporikova and Gregg Whitworth, assistant professors of biology, will apply the grant to research into the interactions between the female reproductive system and obesity. They will be assisted by more than a half dozen undergraduate lab assistants.

Over the past 20 years, obesity has become a health crisis around the world, associated with a number of medical problems, including reduced fertility. Some 15 percent of women receiving assisted reproductive therapy are overweight or obese, indicating a link.

“High-fat, high-sugar diets have been shown to produce alterations in reproductive hormone signaling,” Toporikova explained. “However, both the locus of action and the mechanism underlying these effects remain unclear. Therefore, to investigate this relationship, we have designed a three-step experimental approach.”

First, the research team will feed juvenile female rats with and without estrogen a high-fat, high-sugar diet for 12 weeks. They will then evaluate the levels of key reproductive hormones (e.g. luteinizing hormone and prolactin) at multiple time points to characterize any diet-induced changes in amplitude or timing. Second, they will collect physiologically relevant tissues (such as from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and abdominal fat) and use next-generation sequencing to examine alterations in gene expression levels.

“Finally, we will use a computer model to integrate the hormonal and molecular data in order to predict potential therapeutic strategies,” Toporikova said. “Our goal is to improve reproductive outcomes in overweight and obese women.”

Whitworth said that the new Jeffress Trust Award Program provides the opportunity to apply the tools of systems biology to fundamental questions about diet-induced obesity and reproductive physiology. As an educational opportunity for W&L students, we’re excited to see the reach of this project extend beyond our research labs and into the classroom.”

Blythe said that the Jeffress grant “represents a tremendous opportunity for students to participate in cutting-edge research that combines translational health research, bioinformatics and computational modeling.” She said that three undergraduates will be selected as Jeffress fellows to conduct summer research under the grant.

Judge of the Year Award: The Hon. Pamela J. White '77L

The Hon. Pamela J. White received the Robert M. Bell Judge of the Year Award from the Maryland Access to Justice Commission in recognition of her efforts to “improve the ability of all Marylanders to access the courts or to get legal help in civil legal matters so they can benefit from the rights, protections, services and opportunities that the law provides.”

White received her bachelor’s degree from Mary Washington in 1974 and her juris doctorate from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1977. She joined the Baltimore firm of Ober/ Kaler, Grimes & Shriver and became the first woman to be named a partner. She serves on the 8th Circuit Court for Baltimore City and has worked on criminal and civil dockets and in the family division.

At the awards ceremony on Oct. 23, Maryland District Chief Judge John Morrissey noted, “

From the beginning of her career at the law firm, Ober Kaler Grimes and Shriver, to the present, Judge Pamela J. White has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving access to justice for all Marylanders. During her 30 years in private practice, she provided countless pro bono hours and served on many committees to improve the justice system.”

During her term as Maryland State Bar Association president, Pam supported the adoption of revised pro bono rules recommended by the Maryland Judicial Commission on Pro Bono, which included the adoption of mandatory pro bono reporting for all Maryland attorneys. As a judge on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, she has expanded her leadership to improve access to justice inside the courthouse. She has overseen the court’s Civil Alternative Dispute Resolution Program since 2009, has served as the pro bono committee liaison for the Circuit Court bench for the past six years, and remains actively engaged on the local pro bono committee.

During her career she has been named to Maryland Top 100 Women by the Daily Record, received the Maryland Leadership in Law Award, also from the Daily Record, and won the Charles H. Dorsey Jr. Mentor Award from the Baltimore City Bar Association.

At W&L, Pam served as the first alumna president of the Law Council from 1991 to 1992 and then as the first alumna member of the Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2004. In 1994, the University awarded her the inaugural Distinguished Alumna Award, and in 2013, gave her an honorary doctor of law degree.

Community Grants Committee: Call for Proposals

W&L’s Community Grants Committee will evaluate proposals in early November

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Fall 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 Fall 2014 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7, 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 2014-15 cycle.

During the second round of the 2013-14 evaluations held in June 2014, 19 organizations submitted proposals for a total of more than $96,000 in requests. The University made $25,500 in grants to 8 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • CASA for Children
  • Concerned Citizens of Glasgow, Inc.
  • Lexington Police Department Foundation
  • Main Street Lexington
  • Parry McCluer High School Girls’ Basketball Program
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center
  • Rockbridge Area Hospice
  • Rockbridge County Public Schools Foundation

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

The second round of proposals for 2014-15 will be due on Friday, April 17, 2015.

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

Annual Law and Literature Seminar to Explore Orwell’s 1984

Washington and Lee University School of Law will host the 2014 Law and Literature Seminar on Nov. 7-8. Now in its 22nd year, the seminar will examine George Orwell’s 1984. In this program, participants will examine Orwell’s novel and discuss its many implications for our current ideas of law, freedom, privacy, centralized power, democracy, and the power of literature.

The program is co-sponsored with the W&L Alumni College program. The seminar has been approved for two hours of CLE ethics credit and is open to anyone interested in law and literature.

Orwell’s classic novel has become the very model of a dystopian vision. His portrayal of a future world oppressed by omnipresent surveillance and by an omnipotent State intent on suppressing individual liberty while it wages constant yet controlled warfare has haunted our notions of big government since its original publication in 1949.

Law professor Margaret Hu, who will help lead the discussion, says that 1984 has never been more relevant in law and policy debates surrounding mass surveillance technologies, particularly given the Snowden disclosures on the depth and breadth of government invasions into private data.

“In the recent Supreme Court case US v Jones, which dealt with the constitutionality of warrantless GPS tracking, 1984 was mentioned at least six times during oral argument,” says Hu. “The Supreme Court seemed to imply there was an Orwell baseline standard that could guide an understanding of the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. In other words, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures could be better understood in light of the potential Orwellian consequences of 24/7 ubiquitous and suspicion-less tracking technologies.”

Hu says some people think 1984 is no longer useful because the threat of totalitarianism and fascism seems to be diminished and that new surveillance technologies do not seem to be centralized by modern governments. However, she argues that the real value of the book is that it challenges readers to place a premium on human autonomy and individualism as core pillars of democracy.

“The point of Orwell’s novel was not to depict an accurate futurist vision—I don’t see it as part of the science fiction genre,” says Hu. “It was, I believe, intended to help preserve a vision of democracy. This vision of democracy has endured for over 65 years since the novel’s publication in 1949, and it is the same vision shared by our founding fathers. Biographers have noted that Orwell begins his first sentence of 1984 with a reference to the American Revolution and ends the novel with a passage from the Declaration of Independence.”

In addition to Hu, the program will be led by W&L law professor Brian Murchison, Villanova law professor Dave Caudill, and W&L English professor Marc Conner.

Why W&L Law: 1L Rennie Laryea Goes Beyond the Numbers

We asked several of our 1L students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Next up is Rennie Laryea, a graduate of Agnes Scott College from Atlanta.

As cheesy as it may sound, I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. At age 8, I was the unaccompanied minor who sternly demanded the airline staff call my father to confirm my final destination. As it turned out, internal miscommunication had prevented my boarding of the connecting flight. My family knew then that I would be following the footsteps of my great-aunt and uncle who had their own practice. In the years that followed, my passions did not seem to align with the legal profession. At Agnes Scott College, I majored in International Relations and French. The two subjects were applied working first in logistics, and then as a high school teacher and program coordinator.

Teaching or having any kind of full-time job while preparing for law school is quite challenging (Kudos to anyone currently enduring both). Thus for one, I knew I could only apply to small selection of schools. Also, getting time off during the academic year would be unlikely so visiting schools was not in the cards. Nevertheless, I created a school list based on certain criterion leaving the actual location of a school as the last factor only to be used for elimination purposes. The conditions were as follows:

Rankings: Of course rankings are not the only thing to consider with in a law school yet they are indicative of a school’s reputation. I studied each school’s ranking within a four year period. What was the general trend? A steady, high ranking meant the school was known and respected amongst legal professionals. That would translate into jobs which is the whole point of Law School.

Small class size: As my background was not in prelaw, my 1L year would be spent flailing around trying to figure out what was going on. Did the school have small classes were students could ask ‘stupid’ questions, make mistakes and engage with their professors? The right school would have small classes and some form of transitions program to help people like me, who had never briefed cases and could not tell the difference between a dissent and a concurring opinion.

Contact and Availability: There is nothing more difficult than waiting to hear from an organization or in this case a school. As a visit was not possible, I needed an admissions process structured to give me maximum contact with staff such that all my questions could be answered. Understandably, some programs would be too large to help me one-on-one.

W&L stood out on all three factors. In rankings, the general trend showed this was a top notch law school by all standards. I looked up some alumni online and saw accomplishments in various sectors of the legal industry. Second, the school had a low student-faculty ratio meaning professors were accessible outside of class and classes were a comfortable size. There was also the Burks Scholar program that taught the foundations of legal writing and research. But on the last factor, W&L outshined every school on my list. My application was fairly late in the admissions cycle which made following-up critical. The Office of Admissions made every effort to communicate when anything was delayed. They truly showed that exceptions could be made when considered on a case-to-case basis and coordinated my late visit. An alumna from a similar background contacted me making herself available for questions while a 1L who happened to be in town had lunch with me. The lunch took place at a bakery recommended by the Dean who even suggested a side. At this point, it was obvious students were more than numbers here and this was the right choice.

My experience so far has been incredible. Some of my classmates came straight from college and others like me worked for a few years before coming to law school. Even amongst those with work experience, there is diversity. There are some paralegals of course, but there are also teachers, people with real-estate backgrounds, nurses and political staffers. W&L law’s challenging program has humbled us on several occasions but we are collectively learning how to think like lawyers. In the end, no matter our strengths none of us has been to law school before and the first-year curriculum is equipping all. Help comes readily from the 2Ls and 3Ls with several campus organizations providing outline banks of notes from previous years.

The law student’s weekend typically looks no different from his or her weekday- filled with reading assignments and class preparation. But Lexington is a gem with her quirky stores and restaurants, and there is a lot to do in the surrounding areas. The beauty of living here lies in the low cost of living and open and warm environment. People go out of their way to help when you mention you are at the law school. That openness is at the core of W&L because ethical behavior is expected and enforced by our student-run Honor System.

Several areas of practice seem lucrative to me now, and I will have to make a selection soon. Yet the task is less daunting because this is a school with seasoned professors coming from a wide range of backgrounds. W&L law embraces the notion that legal training goes beyond the classroom and I am confident that the decision to come here will pay off.

Annual H. Parker Willis Lecture Features the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Eric S. Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, will give this year’s H. Parker Willis Lecture at Washington and Lee University on Monday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of Rosengren’s talk is “Current Issues in Monetary Policy.” It is free and open to the public. Rosengren will meet with faculty and students while at W&L.

Rosengren has been president and C.E.O. of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston since July 2007. Previously he headed the Bank’s supervision, regulation and credit group, and was active in domestic and international regulatory policy.

Rosengren joined the Fed in 1985 as an economist in the research department with a B.A. from Colby College and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has written extensively on macroeconomics, international banking, bank supervision and risk management, including articles in leading economics and finance journals.

In his research, Rosengren has made significant contributions in the fields of banking and monetary policy. He has served as an advisor on Japanese banking issues, and a focus of his recent research has been how financial problems can impact the real economy.

Rosengren is a director of the United Way, a trustee of Colby College and a member of advisory boards at Colby College and the University of Wisconsin.

Previous series’ lecturers included Dr. Ben S. Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve; Dr. Marvin Goodfriend, The Friends of Allan H. Meltzer Professor and professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business; and J. Alfred Broadus, past president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va.

Annual Turkeypalooza Kicks off on Nov. 14

The week of Nov. 16-24 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University will be doing its part to help address the problem with its eighth annual Turkeypalooza. The event kicks off Friday Nov. 14 with Bring Your Turkey to Work Day.

In addition to frozen turkeys, Campus Kitchen will need potatoes, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, cans of pumpkin and disposable roasting pans.

Paige Missel, rural outreach coordinator 
at W&L (and an AmeriCorps VISTA member), said, “We will be accepting frozen turkeys on the top deck of the W&L parking garage from 7 to 9 a.m. In addition, will be also having a food drive at Kroger on Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.” The Lexington Baptist Church is also holding a food drive. “Everyone is so willing to give to this event,” said Missel. “Last year, we collected 640 pounds of turkey and were able to deliver 236 meals. We hope to be able to feed even more families this year.”

As with past Turkeypaloozas, W&L’s Campus Kitchen is holding longer cooking shifts to prepare the meals on Nov.16, from 3 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., and again on Nov. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

Campus Kitchen partners with agencies throughout Rockbridge County to identify those in need; it will be serving the Thanksgiving meals Nov. 17-20 to clients at Magnolia Center, Lexington City Office on Youth, the Manor at Natural Bridge and Rockbridge Area Relief Association. Deliveries for the individual meals and fixings will be Nov. 16 and 17.

“We’ve got 15 leadership team members who mobilize other W&L students, faculty and staff to help prepare a traditional turkey dinner,” Missel said. “CKP’s goal is to actively engage the W&L and Lexington communities, and we’d love to have more volunteers sign up to help with both the meal preparation and deliveries.”

If you’d like to volunteer, please contact Missel at misselp@wlu.edu or (540) 458-4594. Members from the W&L community are asked to access the online portal (go.wlu.edu/ce) to sign up.