Staniar Gallery Presents New York-Based Artist Mark Fox
Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery is pleased to present “Not In This Fool’s House,” an exhibit of recent work by New York-based artist, Mark Fox. The show will be on view Jan. 12 through Feb. 11.
Fox will give an artist’s talk on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall which is free and open to the public. The lecture will be followed by a reception for the artist.
Fox works in a variety of media, drawing on source material mined from personal biography, popular culture, news media, historical and religious texts, comic books and advertising. His drawings, sculptures, videos and installations are united by his methodical process, use of iconography and exploration of the relationship between destruction and construction.
For the exhibition in Staniar Gallery, Fox will present several sculptural pieces, drawings and a selection of films and animations.
Fox received his M.F.A. from Stanford University and his B.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other institutions, and he is represented by Robert Miller Gallery in New York City.
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.
The Hobbit: Heroism for Our Age
by Marc C. Conner
Associate Provost and Ballengee Professor of English
Peter Jackson’s concluding film in his Hobbit trilogy is a fitting conclusion to the way he has conceived and rendered J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel. Long on action and scenes of battle, but short on character development, the film is on the whole a rich and faithful presentation of Tolkien’s world. And Jackson has worked hard to depict not only the story of The Hobbit, but also to show the undercurrents and hidden stories that connect The Hobbit to Tolkien’s longer, later trilogy, The Lord of the Rings (which Jackson brought to the screen in an earlier film trilogy ten years ago). While Tolkien enthusiasts will find much to love and much to quibble with in The Hobbit, for the general viewer who may not know the books well, the film is a sumptuous, riveting mythic-action classic with special effects that frankly astonish, even in this age when everything seems possible in film.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies culminates the trilogy that began with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and then The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). Whereas The Lord of the Rings is a 1000+ page epic that obviously demanded a three-film treatment, The Hobbit is an eminently readable 250-page story that certainly any Hollywood producer would think could be done in a 2:20 treatment. But Jackson, to his credit, held out for the full, lavish three films. This allowed him to layer into the immediate story—the quest of Bilbo Baggins and his 13 dwarf companions—other stories that are only hinted at in The Hobbit, such as the confrontation between the White Council and the Necromancer (who turns out to be Sauron, the Dark Lord who will be the great antagonist in The Lord of the Rings), or the encroaching betrayal by Saruman, the white wizard who turns evil in the later epic. Jackson draws upon not only The Hobbit itself for this material, but also Tolkien’s other more obscure writings, such as the appendices to The Lord of Rings published in later editions, and The Silmarillion, his posthumously published mythic history of the earliest age of Elves, Dwarves, and Men.
What does this mean for this movie, The Battle of the Five Armies? Devotees of the books will relish the small details that only such careful (even obsessed) readers could notice; and those coming to the films without the knowledge of the books will enjoy the magnificent action scenes and the stirring contests between mighty opposites. Jackson is unrivalled in his ability to create astonishing scenes of magic that look, well, real. For example, the great scene in which the dragon is destroying the city and Bard the Bowman faces him armed with a single arrow is remarkably stirring, and looks just the way I’d imagine such a confrontation would look. And the individual performances in the film are quite strong: Richard Armitage as Thorin, the driven Dwarf king, is exceptional throughout all three films; Lee Pace gives a fascinating performance of the enigmatic elf-king Thranduil; and Evangeline Lilly is quite moving as the elf-warrior Tauriel. (The fact that Tauriel exists nowhere in the books, and that she was created wholly in order to introduce a female character, and a romantic plot—a romance between an elf and a dwarf, in fact, which is unthinkable in Tolkien’s world—can be excused, and probably does make for a more enjoyable movie for the non-Tolkien-enthusiast.)
The finest performance of all in the film, and indeed in all three films, is by Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, the reluctant burglar. Yet the performance is lost to a great extent because all of Jackson’s pyrotechnics and brilliant computerized animated effects and stirring confrontations between goblin monsters and elvish kings end up taking over the film. What is lost in this imbalance is the fact that the real hero of this book is a humble Hobbit, an almost ridiculous creature who is no warrior and professes not even to be brave. Like Joyce’s Leopold Bloom, Bilbo is an anti-hero, apparently a mockery of true heroism. Tolkien’s point is that we ourselves are most like the Hobbits—bumbling, frightened, far preferring a warm fire and snug home to the wilderness and the horrors of trolls, dragons, orcs, and wolves. Yet Bilbo is ultimately the bravest character in the entire book. He is the one who dares to descend the mountain tunnel and face the dragon alone and unarmed—something his dwarf companions and wizard guide do not dare. Tolkien describes this moment as the heroic climax of the book: “Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.” This moment is essentially absent from Jackson’s film, and so we lose the book’s great claim, that heroism is to be found not in epic characters and mythic battles, but in the small, fleeting moments of courage, truth, and honor. This is indeed a loss; for in a world in which evil seems increasingly complex, the simplicity of true heroism is more in need than ever.
W&L Website and Other Online Services Unavailable on Friday Evening, Jan. 2
The W&L website, faculty/staff e-mail, WebAdvisor and virtually all online services, including the campus connection to the Internet, will be unavailable from 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2 until about 1 a.m. Saturday Jan. 3 during emergency maintenance at the Richard A. Peterson data center. Planned maintenance Friday morning on The Stable, the virtual desktop and streaming service, has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Inside the 3L Year: Marshall-Brennan Practicum Brings Constitution to High School
As part of W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum, law students have the opportunity to participate in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Law Literacy Practicum. The goal of the class is to educate young students in under-served high schools in order to foster more educated citizens who will better understand and exercise their rights. In the Q&A below, 3L Katherine Moss describes her participation with the program.
Katherine is from Normal, Illinois. She graduated from University of Southern California in 2009 with a B.A. in Philosophy. During law school, Katherine has focused exclusively on indigent criminal and capital defense. During her summers she interned at Southern Center for Human Rights and the Office of the Public Defender in Alexandria, Virginia. She currently works as a student attorney for both the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse Clinic and the Criminal Justice Clinic. She also serves as a Lead Articles Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review. Katherine was recently awarded the prestigious E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship, a two-year post-graduate criminal defense and teaching fellowship at Georgetown Law.
How does the program work?
Every week W&L 3Ls travel to Roanoke, Virginia to teach Constitutional Law to seniors at William Fleming High School. We are in charge of preparing our own curriculum and executing that curriculum in the classroom. Each student teacher instructs approximately twenty-five to thirty high school students. In addition to the teaching component, we engage in a weekly class at W&L to help learn the substantive law we are teaching, develop teaching skills, and address any challenges that may arise throughout the semester.
How did you prepare to participate in the program?
Each week I designed a detailed lesson plan, outlining the curriculum I wanted to teach. I also created handouts, worksheets, powerpoints, and quizzes. In the W&L Law class component, I worked with the professor and other student teachers to help refine my lesson plans.
Have you ever taught before? If not, what was this experience like?
This is my first time teaching. On my first day, I arrived knowing only to expect the unexpected. There was certainly a steep learning curve, but after the first few weeks, I felt more comfortable in the classroom. I loved teaching these students. They have brilliant ideas and ask intelligent questions. I left every class with a smile on my face.
What was one challenge you faced in the program?
It took a lot of effort to create lesson plans that would keep the students engaged. My focus throughout law school has always been indigent criminal defense. Because I am most familiar with criminal law––and because “cops and robbers” is way more interesting than the Commerce Clause––I focused my class on “street” law. I primarily taught the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. We discussed police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, and racism in the criminal justice system. No doubt, these are difficult topics, but there is value in having that difficult conversation.
What was you favorite part of participating in the program?
I conducted a mock trial for the students. Volunteers from W&L Law played the roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, client, and witnesses. I played the judge – robe and all. The students served as our mock jurors, vigorously debating their positions. One panel of jurors reached a “not guilty” verdict, and the other a “guilty” verdict, sparking further uproar. After the bell rang, I enjoyed watching the students walk out of the room still engaged in a debate about the case.
What lessons or memories will you take with you from this experience?
Teaching has taught me so much, and not just about the substantive law. I understand the real time and preparation that go into creating a lesson plan. I learned to explain each concept in different ways because students have different learning styles. I started building skills to help manage a classroom. But most importantly, I was able to challenge students to learn, at a young age, some of the most important constitutional concepts that apply in their every-day lives.
The Class of 2014: What Will You Miss Most?
Each year at commencement, we ask our graduating seniors what they will miss most about W&L.
In Depth: Lean Green Gardening Machines
In Depth: Summers to Remember
2013 Shepherd Interns Discuss Their Summer Placements in Impoverished Communities.
In Action: The 2014 Veggie Brigade
Cucumbers, spinach, kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, carrots, yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes. The array of fruits and vegetables looked tasty, and many of the children in Central Elementary School’s cafeteria tried one or two of them, and some came back for more.
“Yummy,” said one youngster who munched on a carrot.
This was the second year the Veggie Brigade has brought nutrition education to local schools, including Natural Bridge Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Fairfield Elementary. The Veggie Brigade sponsored by the Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT), a coalition comprising Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University, Rockbridge Area Community Services, the YMCA, Let’s Move! Lexington and Rockbridge County Schools.
Julie Sklar, a first-year student at W&L from Denver, Colorado, and a Bonner Scholar (a leadership development program for students with an interest in service and civic engagement), has helped pass out fruits and vegetables at each school visit and rewarded those who tried a sample with a backpack key ring festooned with colorful beads. As she approached each table, she asked, “What would you like to try?” For one boy, the cherry tomato was too messy, but a strawberry was acceptable. “We’re trying to encourage the children to incorporate a wide variety of foods into their diet, and the beads help remind them to try and eat lots of colorful foods.”
Sklar noted that most students had no trouble eating the foods most familiar to them, but need a little nudging to taste some of the others “I had one young boy who was not at all interested in the kiwi fruit–he had never seen one before–but he decided to try it and really liked it,” she said.
Melody Tennant, the Veggie Brigade project coordinator from Lets Move! who was also handing out fruits and vegetables, said, “The kids seem much more willing to try more foods than they did last time. The message we’re trying to get across is definitely sinking in.”
The Veggie Brigade will return in the spring to visit additional schools in Lexington and Buena Vista.
Jim Mercy ’76 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
“Homicide is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for 15- to 35-year olds,” said Jim Mercy ’76, who is the acting director of the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), in Atlanta. “Suicides are at 40,000 per year.”
Mercy, who’s worked at the CDC for three decades, is trying to change those stats. He’s relied on his training as a sociologist to develop violence prevention programs and policies. By collecting and analyzing information, he and his colleagues can evaluate the magnitude of the problem, determine who is at risk, offer strategies and policies that would be most effective in each community, and demonstrate how prevention measures are cost-effective and worth the societal investment. “Good public-health research is at the heart of making good policy,” he said.
Mercy, who grew up in New Jersey, was, like many incoming first-years, unsure of his professional aspirations. “I took a little bit of everything–history, English, psychology–a lot of different subjects intrigued me,” he said. “I was initially drawn to sociology because it gave me a unique lens and a set of methods to understand the seemingly chaotic world around me. I was at W&L from 1972 until 1976, and this period included the emergence of an enormous political scandal in Watergate, the resignation of the president, and the end of the Vietnam conflict. It was also on the heels of movements for peace and civil rights that literally forever changed the fabric of our society. Sociology offered me insights into these events and ways of understanding them that were transformative for me and my world view.”
While at W&L, he assisted Professor Scott Cummings on a project involving a qualitative study of banned books in the Buena Vista school system. “There was a set of popular books, mostly classics, that some people found offensive because of language or situation–Billy Budd was one of them,” he said. “We interviewed teachers, administrators and religious leaders, and it was fascinating to listen to the different perspectives.”
After graduation, he attended Emory University, earning his M.A. and P
h.D. in sociology and writing his dissertation on whether a direct correlation existed between the dollars spent on police departments and a decline of violence in their jurisdictions. “I found that money played virtually no role in bringing the levels of violence down. That led me think about other ways to address the problem that would be more successful.”
He joined the CDC just as it was expanding its mission to address violence as a public health issue. He has worked on child maltreatment, youth and intimate partner violence, homicide, suicide and firearm injuries. “There’s no question that exposure to violence in young children alters the way their brains develop, which can lead to violent behavior as young adults,” he said. “It’s also clear that people living under the constant stress of an abusive environment are more likely to develop heart disease, obesity, depression and diabetes, as well as become involved in drug and alcohol abuse. Treating violence as a public health problem is not yet a mainstream concept, but it is starting to take hold.”
Mercy’s research has helped shift the focus from simply responding to violence through the criminal justice system to preventing violence through the use of school- and family-based programs, efforts to change social norms that support violence, and modifying social environments in, for example, public housing and impoverished neighborhoods.
In the past few years, Mercy has expanded his scope to address violence as a health issue in other countries. He was a co-editor of the World Report on Violence and Health, prepared by the World Health Organization, and served on the editorial board of the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Study of Violence Against Children. Most recently, he’s participated in a global partnership, called Together for Girls, with UNICEF, PEPFAR and WHO to end violence against girls in developing countries. “In everything we do, we need partners,” he explained. “Collecting and analyzing information about violent deaths is essential to developing strategies to prevent them. What we’ve learned in the U.S. is relevant to other nations, and their effective violence-prevention efforts can help us in the U.S. It is essential that countries coordinate their efforts and share knowledge.”
He added, “We all know that good health is central to our happiness and well-being–as individuals and communities. Using science to understand the nature of the problem and then developing and adopting appropriate interventions is at the heart of solving the health problems we face in the U.S. and the world.”
Darby Shuler ’14 Davis Project for Peace, Ahuachapán, El Salvador
Peace of mind. That’s what Darby Shuler ’14 wants to provide amputees in El Salvador.
“Peace is traditionally defined in terms of war and violence,” explained Shuler, a biochemistry major. “But, it can mean so much more. There is a mental peace that comes with knowing that you and your family are safe and secure, have a place to live, have food on the table, and that you are able to provide a happy future for those you love. When a tragic event takes away an arm, it does not just take away the physical arm. It leaves a questionable future, especially in a country like El Salvador with limited resources and support in the field of prosthetics.”
Over the past four summers, Shuler has worked in El Salvador with local clinics to provide better health-care to the community, “but I always wanted to do something more,” she said. While studying abroad her junior year in Morocco, the light-bulb moment occurred during a conversation Shuler had with a friend about new technologies. “He wondered why no one had started using 3D printers to make prosthetics. I started doing some research and found the Roboarm open-source model that others had been working on and knew this would greatly benefit amputees in El Salvador. When I returned to W&L in the fall, I discovered that the University had created the IQ Center and had purchased a Makerbot 3D printer, so I was able to learn how to use it.”
After Shuler collected her diploma, she headed to Ahuachapán, a city of about 110,000 residents on the western edge of El Salvador, an agricultural region producing coffee. With a $10,000 grant from the Davis Foundation Projects for Peace, she and her team (W&L students Alessandra Catizone ’15 and Eleanor Jones ’15 and her brother, Andrew Shuler, a biomedical engineering student at the University of South Carolina) purchased a Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation 3D printer, as well as a few supplies, including screws, nuts, string and thermoplastic.
Shuler worked primarily with Carla Clavel, a nurse at the Clinica Iglesia Metodista clinic. The first week, the team met several patients and chose José to begin. By the end of the week, they sent José home with an arm. By the end of the summer, they completed five more arms. Clavel finished several more after they left. The cost? About $60 to $80 each.
“Unfortunately, amputations are common in El Salvador,” said Shuler. “Some come from accidents or violence. Many come from medical conditions. It is often cheaper for a hospital to amputate a limb rather than treat a complicated condition. Each of our patients had a very different story. Several had had their amputations for years, resulting from the civil war or gang violence. A few had tried prosthetic arms before, but they were expensive to replace later. Two patients were out of work because of their amputation. Fortunately, after receiving the arms they have been able to find new jobs. One of those patients, Urania, invited us to her home a few weeks after fitting her arm to show us tasks she could complete around the home using the arm. Having a second hand allowed her to cut vegetables and sweep. She could pick up small objects. The prosthetic arm will never replace her original arm, but it allows her to perform basic chores more easily. It also means she can work again to help support her family.”
As with any new project, there were challenges. One of the parts on the 3D printer, the extruder, had to be replaced four times throughout the summer, meaning the printer only functioned for half of the time. Another main challenge came from the inherent uniqueness of each amputation. “Although we had an overall plan for making the arm, each individual was different, and we had to adjust to each situation. We never gave up on a patient, we just needed more time for one than we did for another,” noted Shuler.
Even though Shuler had to leave El Salvador for her next project-teaching English in Shanghai-the work goes on through the efforts of others. The group left enough supplies for Clavel to make 20 more arms, and Shuler’s brother will print more parts in the U.S. and send them to her via mission teams traveling to El Salvador every two months. Moreover, Shuler has developed several fundraising ideas to continue building low-cost prosthetic arms for patients in El Salvador and other South American countries. She hopes to expand the program to provide prosthetics for those with amputations above the elbow and eventually begin construction on prosthetic legs.
“This project has definitely shaped the way that I see the world and my ability to affect it,” said Shuler, who will attend the Medical University of South Carolina next year. “I have always had a passion for both medicine and development in the U.S. and abroad. Throughout this project, I took everything that I learned in El Salvador in the past and everything I have learned about technology and science at W&L and combined them to create a lasting impact. My experience working in El Salvador with 3D printing and prosthetics has only just opened the door to what will hopefully be a lifetime of using technology and creativity to improve the lives of others.”
Mark Rush, Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law, to Direct Center for Global Learning
Mark Rush, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University, has been appointed the next director of W&L’s Center for Global Learning.
Rush will lead the University’s traditional international education programs, such as study abroad, and the continuing implementation of its strategic initiative for global learning, including the infusion of international topics across W&L’s curriculum, disciplines and schools.
He will succeed Laurent Boetsch, the current director of international education, professor of romance languages and a W&L graduate, who will retire at the end of the academic year.
“I am very pleased that Mark has accepted this position because of the experience that he brings to the role. I can’t think of a better qualified person to lead our comprehensive efforts to infuse global learning into our students’ experiences,” said W&L Provost Daniel Wubah.
Rush said his goal is to make Washington and Lee a regular destination for global scholars, while also promoting the university to the world. He will draw upon more than two decades of teaching, research and administration at Washington and Lee and three years’ serving in academic administration in the United Arab Emirates. Rush says that his overseas experience broadened his perspective about global education and deepened his appreciation for liberal education and, in particular, Washington and Lee’s unique educational model.
“While there continues to be great debate in the U.S. about the future of the liberal arts, the world is eager to embrace the American model of higher education. But, in many ways, the model remains a bit of a puzzle in many parts of the world. I believe that W&L’s unique combination of arts and sciences, schools of journalism and commerce and a graduate program in law makes us a particularly attractive model of liberal learning,” he said.
Rush will begin his new position as construction of the university’s new $13.5 million Center for Global Learning continues. The facility will combine 8,600-square-feet of renovated duPont Hall with 17,700-square-feet in a new building. Along with classrooms, seminar rooms and instructional labs, the center will feature an atrium, garden, courtyard and international tea shop, all designed to encourage student-faculty interaction. A gallery also will provide space for special events and exhibits.
Alumna Awarded Stipend for Research on the Struggles of Teenage Girls
The Rev. Emily Peck McClain, a 2002 graduate of Washington and Lee, is finishing up her Ph.D. in Christian education and New Testament at Duke Divinity School, and she’s getting some financial support—the American Association of University Women awarded her with a one-year stipend to help her complete her doctoral dissertation.
In an interview in the Augusta Free Press, she discusses her research on how the words of the Apostle Paul, written in the mid to late 50s A.D., speak to the lives of modern American adolescent girls.
As a pastor in New York, Emily had ministered to young women and noticed issues they struggled with. “They had problems with their body image or with cutting themselves or they had eating disorders or substance abuse problems,” she said. “I wanted the church to have a response to that and to help girls lead their lives in a different way that might help them survive and thrive.”
Emily interviewed 24 teenaged girls, all active members of the United Methodist Church, in New York. “Adolescent girls have an amazing strength and a perspective the church could really benefit from, but is missing,” she noted. “I hope my work can help encourage the church to receive the gifts the girls bring with them, and also help churches reach out to young people, especially girls, in a way that empowers and fulfills them.”
Emily lives Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she has pastored three churches as an ordained Methodist minister. Her husband the Rev. Andrew Peck-McClain is a pastor at Mount Clinton United Methodist Church, a few miles west of Harrisonburg.
Lincoln Scholar and W&L Politics Professor Releases New Book
Abraham Lincoln scholar and Washington and Lee University professor Lucas Morel’s new book, Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages, will be released Jan. 2, 2015. The book, which is a collection of essays by prominent Lincoln scholars, has earned advance praise for being one of the finest collections of essays to date about Lincoln and his era.
Morel, who has been a politics professor at Washington and Lee University since 1999 and is the university’s preeminent Lincoln scholar, teaches American government, political philosophy and black American politics.
“The latest conventional wisdom is that Lincoln evolved as a thinker, but most of the essays in this volume don’t follow that script,” said Morel. “What makes Lincoln great is that—very early in his political career, back in the Illinois legislature—he had a pretty set idea of the meaning of America, the problem of slavery, and how we needed to deal with it. He took his cue from the founders, who despite owning slaves, set out to establish a nation upon principles and structures that would secure freedom for the governed as fast as circumstances could permit.”
Since Lincoln’s death, generations of Americans have studied his life, presidency and leadership, often remaking him into a figure suited to the needs and interests of their own time. In Morel’s essay collection, he explores the notion that it was Lincoln’s reverence for old ideas, not new ones, that influenced his most important political decisions.
The book uses a variety of lenses—like literature, race, religion, statesmanship and public opinion—to examine Lincoln’s political thought and practice. Biographer Fred Kaplan, who wrote Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, contributes an essay, “Lincoln and Literature,” and Mackubin Owens, editor of the foreign policy magazine Orbis, submitted the piece, “Abraham Lincoln as War President.” Morel’s essay, “Lincoln, Liberty, and the American Constitutional Union,” advances the argument that Lincoln believed the only just way of securing liberty was through the consent of the governed, which entailed the preservation of the constitutional union established by the American founders.
“Some see Lincoln as progressive with a capital P. I think of him as conservative with a small c. He saw things in the American regime—the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the structures of the U.S. Constitution—that were worth conserving, and used those things to address the crises of his time, which still offer the best approach to solving the problems of the future,” said Morel.
The book was inspired by a conference, funded in part by the Apgar Foundation, that Morel held at Washington and Lee University in 2009 to honor the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. In addition to the conference, the university hosted a speaker series during the 2009-10 academic year, which brought more Lincoln scholars to campus, including noted Civil War historian James McPherson, who wrote Battle Cry of Freedom, and Diana Schaub, professor of political science at Loyola University in Maryland, who recently co-edited What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the Morel’s book’s introduction, “Lincoln, Dred Scott, and Preservation of Liberty,” was a guest speaker at the university in 2009.
Morel is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. This past November, he gave a talk, “Justice and Justices in Lincoln’s Civil War Presidency” as part of its Leon Silverman Lecture Series. He is also a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association and a past president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute. Morel is currently at work on a forthcoming book, Lincoln and the American Founding, which will be published by Southern Illinois University Press.
Copies of Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages are available for sale online.
Inside the 3L Year: Q&A on Access to Justice in the Middle East
In this Q&A, Professor Speedy Rice discusses the Access to Justice practicum and the class trip to Israel and Palestine that occurred in late November. 3L Hannah Shtein, who compiled the Q&A, will report next on the students’ experience on the trip.
Q: Tell us a little about the Access to Justice practicum–what’s the purpose behind it, how is the course structured, and what do you hope students walk away with when the class is complete?
Rice: The Access to Justice Practicum is designed to allow students to experience work in post-conflict/conflict developing countries. Students with a career goal in international human rights, development work and/or foreign diplomacy get an introduction to the law and the situational complexity of legal work in less than ideal conditions. The key structure and an essential component is our partnering with a local law faculty and students for a semester long educational experience by videoconferencing, followed by travel to and actual work with local law students in the partner country.
This year we are partnering with Law Faculties in Hebron, Ramallah and Jenin in the West Bank of Palestine and with Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The videoconferencing this semester gives us the ability for a depth of subject study with both schools and the students in Hebron Law School and at W&L Law to meet on line and exchange their different views on common legal issues. The actual visits create the hands on experiences essential to understanding how to solve problems in an international setting.
Our goal is for students to walk away with a better understanding of the course subject matter, the practical issues of implementing law in post conflict/conflict areas, to be better prepared for the legal issues of a globalized world with its kaleidoscope of cultures, legal systems, languages and capacities.
Q: What sort of work will the students be doing on the West Bank trip this semester?
Rice: Each semester there is a variation in the work as legal, political, social and economic issues are all factors that influence our joint projects. This semester there was an initial goal of joint community legal workshops and trainings but circumstances in Palestine have made that impractical this semester. We adapted to joint programs on comparative legal demonstrations regarding the common law legal system in the US and the civil law system in Palestine. At each university, W&L students will do a 90 minute US trial demonstration and the Palestinian students will do a 90 Palestinian trial demonstration before the student body, faculty and community legal leaders, followed by an open colloquium on the different trial systems. W&L students will also spend a day at the Palestinian Juvenile Detention Center working with the institutional managers and the youth detainees on social projects to improve conditions for the kids detained at the Center.
We will also visit with criminal defense clinic law students at Hebrew University and do a joint video discussion with them and W&L law students in the criminal defense clinic at W&L. Finally, since a core belief in our program is law and history are intertwined, the two week trip has some additional time to explore the history of the area and its current legal/political complications.
Q: Where have you done the practicum trip in the past, and what are your plans for it for the coming years? (not just for location, but generally–where would you like to see the course go)
Rice: Our Practicum recently concluded 7 years partnering with the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, in Monrovia, Liberia. The recent outbreak of Ebola in that region caused a number of serious disruptions (martial law, closed schools) and an unacceptable health risk to W&L students. This led to the program in Palestine and Israel. We need to focus for a couple of years on successful development of this new location but in the future we hope to develop programs in both Ukraine and Myanmar.
Accompanying our Access to Justice program, we currently offer students a Tribunals Practicum, where students provide direct legal assistance to lawyer in the defense function of the International Criminal Court and the Military Tribunal in Guantanamo. The European Court of Human Rights Practicum, partnered with Union Law School in Belgrade, Serbia (offered in the Spring Semester), and the Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Practicum in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (offered in the Fall Semester).
Washington and Lee Named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
Washington and Lee University has been named to President Barack Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, one of 120 schools in the nation to receive this designation. This is the third year in a row that the University has attained this status.
During the 2013–14 academic year, W&L students tallied approximately 64,080 hours of service. The University’s mission statement emphasizes preparing students for lifelong service to others by engaging them through the classroom, student service groups and fraternities and sororities.
The honor roll recognizes colleges and universities that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus-community partnership. It is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community, service learning and civic engagement.
This year’s recognition of W&L focused on the Law School’s Black Lung Clinic, Greek organizations’ service, and the Campus Kitchen Backpack after-school lunch program.
“The honor is especially gratifying, given all the work going into community engagement and service learning on our campus,” said Marc Conner, W&L’s associate provost. “Service is a crucial component of a Washington and Lee education, and the University has invested heavily in financial and human resources supporting that objective.
“Our local community is an extended classroom for our students and faculty,” he added. “Whether they volunteer their time and talents with local agencies or supplement their classroom education through individual and community service, W&L students make a difference locally, nationally and around the world.”
The foundation for much of the service work is W&L’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, which provides rigorous academic preparation for students who spend summers interning with agencies serving impoverished people and communities. Under the Shepherd Program umbrella are a number of student service groups, including the Nabors Service League, Bonner Leaders and Campus Kitchen. Those organizations have helped the region in various ways, such as teaching dance classes, developing ACT and SAT study sessions and supplying disadvantaged schoolchildren with weekend backpacks filled with nutritious food.
W&L also offers student service awards and fellowships, such as the Sarah G. Ball Teaching Award and the John and Mimi Elrod Fellowship for careers in the public sector. And student interns in the Teacher Education Program recruit and train volunteers to work in local public schools.
Washington and Lee’s School of Law requires every student to participate in extensive service learning. The cornerstone of its third-year curriculum is six legal clinics that serve low-income clients: the Black Lung, Tax, Immigrant Rights and Criminal Justice clinics, Community Legal Practice and Virginia Capital Clearinghouse.
Conner noted that students in fraternities and sororities support philanthropies associated with their national organizations, but also contribute additional time and skills through W&L’s Greek co-ed day to local organizations such as Boxerwood Nature Center, Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, Mayflower assisted living facility, Rockbridge Area Relief Association and Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center. A number of students also took part in the Woods Creek and roadside trash pick-up.
W&L’s Community Grants Committee makes annual grants totaling $50,000 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. This year’s recipients included the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center, Rockbridge Area Occupational Center and Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, to name a few.
“I’m immensely proud of the work our University is engaged in,” said Conner. “It is a benefit to the entire Lexington and Rockbridge community, and it really shows the dedication of our students, faculty and staff. The idea of service with a purpose is one we value highly at W&L and one that will always be one of our institution’s highest priorities.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has administered the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact and the Interfaith Youth Core. Established in 1993, CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its core programs—Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund—and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
W&L's Myers Discusses Southern Unionists on Virginia Insight
Barton Myers, assistant professor of history at Washington and Lee University, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, to discuss Southern Unionists, Southerners who opposed secession during the Civil War.
Myers teaches the American Civil War, War and Society, the U.S. South and Public History at Washington and Lee. His latest book, Rebels against the Confederacy: North Carolina’s Unionists (Cambridge University Press, October 2014) presents evidence that Southerners who opposed secession and supported the North played a key role in the War Between the States.
Gerry Lenfest '53, '55L: 2014 USRowing Man of the Year.
He’s not known as a rowing enthusiast, but H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1953 and from its Law School in 1955, felt strongly enough about Temple University’s plan to drop its crew program that he donated $3 million to help save it.
For his efforts, USRowing named him Man of the Year, and Gerry was honored at the 2014 USRowing Annual Awards Reception, in Jacksonville, Fla.
A story on the USRowing website features an interview with Gerry, a Temple University trustee and Philadelphia philanthropist. He said, “It just occurred to me that Temple is the university of Philadelphia, and with the tradition of rowing in Philadelphia, not to have Temple represented in the rowing community seemed a great travesty to me. And so I didn’t have to have a background in rowing to know that much, and to make sure that they not only got back, but they had their own rowing club facility.”
Gerry’s endowment, along with $2.5 million from the city helped restore the East Park Canoe House on the Schuylkill River, which formerly housed Philadelphia Police Department’s marine unit.
“If I lived my life over again, I would definitely have a scull, because I think it’s one of the greatest sports there is,” Gerry said. “It keeps you in great physical condition, and you’re in beautiful surroundings rowing on the Schuylkill River.”
The Culture of Victim Blaming
Michelle Brock, assistant professor of history at Washington and Lee University, examines the culture of victim blaming in a guest blog for the Global Justice Academy website.
In “Why We Blame the Victim, and Why We Have To Stop: a Perspective from a Historian,” she says, “From the decisions not to indict the officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner to the disturbing Rolling Stone article on a brutal gang rape at UVA, this country has produced a harrowing month of news. The reaction of much of the American public to these stories has been as distressing as their content. Many have turned not to self-searching or activism, but to stereotype and judgement.”
Michelle teaches a class at W&L, on the Age of the Witch-hunts, where students examine the 300-year period in Europe and North America when individuals, mostly women, were executed for imagined crimes. She notes, “My students are appalled by the historical injustice illustrated by their readings. More often than not, I end up asking them to refrain from labeling pre-modern authorities barbaric or ignorant in hopes that they will seek to understand, rather than to anachronistically (and sometimes ironically) judge, societies of the past.”
She ends her blog with the same advice she gives her students: “Critical, painstaking, comprehensive analysis is the only way we learn from the past, and it is the only way we can avoid moving blindly and blithely into the future. But before we can begin to change, we must start by giving the victims of present injustice the same dignity, empathy, and benefit of the doubt that we so easily afford those who lived and died centuries ago.”
Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder Awarded Scholarship from Florida Capitol Press Corps
Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder of Tallahassee, Florida, a junior at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded a 2014 Barbara L. Frye Scholarship from the Florida Capitol Press Corps. The scholarship is awarded to aspiring journalists.
Each year, the Press Corps presents $2,000 scholarships to college students and graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a career in reporting and writing. Students who attended high school in Florida or are enrolled at a Florida college or university are eligible to apply. This year’s 12 winners represent students from five different universities and one high school.
Money for the scholarships is raised by the Press Corps members through the “(Sometimes) Annual Capitol Press Skits.” The event pokes fun at politicians and how policy is made at the Florida state capitol.
Barbara L. Frye was the Tallahassee bureau chief for United Press International for 38 years until she died of cancer in 1982. The first woman to work full time in the Florida Capitol Press Corps, Frye was elected to the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984. She was a member of the inaugural class of the Florida Press Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
Smith-Schoenwalder, who is majoring in journalism and minoring in environmental studies, is the news editor for the Ring-tum Phi and oversees a news staff of 13 writers during the fall 2014. She is the head videographer for W&L’s Mock Convention, a national recognized student exercise in political analysis and research. She is a member of Kappa Delta sorority and a music show host for WLUR 91.5 FM, W&L’s radio station.
She was head camera operator for the Rockbridge Report, a local news website and television broadcast for the Rockbridge county area. She was an intern at Tallahassee Democrat during the summer 2014 and Tallahassee Magazine intern during the summer 2013.
Smith-Schoenwalder was awarded the Robert de Maria Intern Scholarship in 2014, a scholarship awarded by W&L’s journalism department.
About her award, Smith-Schoenwalder said, “To receive a scholarship dedicated to such a strong journalist who was so clearly passionate about her job is an honor. Her dedication to journalism and her achievements as a woman in a traditionally male field are reason for motivation in aspiring journalists everywhere.”
What's Up in Lexington/Rockbridge, Exam Break Special
Our most roundup of events in the Lexington/Rockbridge area includes plenty of diversions to help relieve exam stress. Take a break!
Friday, December 12, 2014
Commons Movie – A long way down, R. Four people meet on New Year’s Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another weather the difficulties of their lives. Wednesday – Saturday @ 7 PM and Sunday @ 2 PM. Free admission and free popcorn! Through December 14th.
Speaker – Gregory Lilly, Elon University. Part of the W&L/VMI Seminar Series. 4-5pm, Huntley 235, topic TBA.
Shabbat Shalom Dinner at Hillel – Free Shabbat dinner in the Hillel multipurpose room, open to all students! 6-8pm.
Electronic Music Ensemble Concert, Concert Hall, Wilson Hall. 8-10pm. Formed in 2010, this ensemble focuses on student compositions and interpretations of existing works. The ensemble performs with a variety of electronic tools including iPads, laptops, drum pads, turntables, synthesizers, and foot pedals along with standard instruments like electric guitars and drums. The EME also has an interest in creating a strong visual presentation at their concerts with modern, computer-generated video projections.
Christmas Tours of the Stonewall Jackson House to Benefit RARA Food Pantry – 9am-5pm, Stonewall Jackson House, 540-464-7704. Bring canned food to help benefit the Rockbridge Area Relief Association Food Pantry on Friday, December 12 to receive free admission to the Stonewall Jackson House. Tours will focus on Christmas traditions of the mid-19th Century. Tours are on the hour and half hour with the last tour at 4:30.
Holiday Open House at Artists in Cahoots – 10:30am-7pm, Friday and Saturday, 10:30-3:30pm, Open House. Artists in Cahoots, 21 W. Washington, downtown Lexington, 540-464-1147. Celebrate the holidays at Artists in Cahoots. Enjoy cookies and a 10% discount off all purchases – Dec 12th – 14th. Our way of saying Thank You. Free Gift Wrapping! Open until 7:00 on Friday & Saturday Evenings.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Rockbridge SPCA Open House, 1-4pm. Play with cute animals available for adoption!
Holiday Market at Natural Bridge Park, 11am-4pm. Shop Local artisans, crafts and farmers from across the Blue Ridge region this Holiday Season.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Hike – Belfast and Gunter Ridge Trails. Hike with the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club. Meet-up: 08:00 AM @ Boonsboro Shopping Center, Drive: 90 miles.
Leaders: Laurie Foot, 434-384-0013, Gary Nero, 434-384-0013
This hike is part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act. We’ll hike up the Belfast Trail and past the Devil’s Marbleyard. Then we’ll go down the Gunter Ridge Trail, and return to our starting point on the Glenwood Horse Trail. HD: 10 miles.
Sunday Night Football at Hillel – 8:30-10pm. Join Hillel in the Conference Room to watch the game. We’ll have pizza, drinks, and a prize for guessing the final score! Please email email@example.com or call x8443 with any questions.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Midnight Breakfast at the Marketplace, 10pm-Midnight! Breakfast is the most important (and best!) meal of the day, and now you can break all the rules and have it AT MIDNIGHT.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Holiday Open House at Lee House – 2:30-4:30pm. Lee House is decorated for the holidays, and there will be eggnog, cider, and holiday treats!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Commons Movie – This is where I leave you, R. When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might- have-beens.Wednesday – Saturday @ 7 PM and Sunday @ 2 PM Free admission and free popcorn! Through December 21st.
Washington and Lee Announces November Community Grants
Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 16 grants totaling $28,160 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first part of its two rounds of grants for 2014-15.
The committee chose the grants from 25 proposals requesting more than $100,000.
W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:
- American Red Cross, Central Virginia Chapter – Funding to support the Pillowcase Project and Disaster Action Team emergency preparation in Lexington/Buena Vista/Rockbridge County
- Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center – Take Home Reading Program for students and their families
- Boxerwood Education Association – Fee subsidies for Generation NEST school programs
- City of Lexington – Funds to install WiFi in Lexington City Hall and Police Department
- The Community Table of Rockbridge – Funds to feed the hungry and to strengthen the Community Table’s organization
- Enderly Heights Elementary School – Funds to allow the school to purchase books to build its library and to improve students’ reading skills
- Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center – Funding for rider scholarships and for the purchase of riding helmets
- Lexington Lacrosse – Funds to purchase youth lacrosse equipment specifically for those who would not be able to purchase it otherwise
- Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry – Funds to purchase food for the needy and to support basic operational expenses
- Rockbridge Area Occupational Center – Funds to assist with improving operational security: new hardware for entry doors and an intercom system connecting the two buildings
- Rockbridge Area Relief Association – Funds to help provide essential utilities and heat for those unable to afford it otherwise
- RCHS Parent, Teacher, Student Association – Funds to assist the RCHS PTSA sponsor a drug and alcohol-free after-prom party in 2015
- The Rockbridge Ballet – Funding to help provide need-based scholarships for tuition
- Rockbridge Regional Library, Youth Literacy – Funds to help replenish the Gift Book collection, to purchase magazine subscriptions and to provide training materials for reading tutors
- Rockbridge Strings with FAIR – Funding to help purchase instruments for use by students unable to purchase them on their own
- Valley Program for Aging Services – Funds to help provide comprehensive training and career advancement opportunities for direct-care workers serving homebound elders in the local area
Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.
During its 2013-14 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually. The submission deadline for the second round of evaluations for 2014-15 will be by the end of the work day (4:30 p.m.) on Friday, April 17, 2015. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.
Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions.
If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to:
Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington St.
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450-2116.
Williams Investment Society Appoints 2015 Directors
The Williams Investment Society has named its 2015 directors. James Emanuelson ’16 will serve as the Society’s executive director. Kiril Krendov ’16 and Brian Krouskos ’16 will serve as directors.
Emanuelson is a business administration and accounting major from Dallas, Texas; Krendov is a business administration major from Sofia, Bulgaria; and Krouskos is an accounting and business administration major from Alpharetta, Ga. All three have already secured summer internships, at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and JP Morgan respectively.
The Williams Investment Society (WIS) is a student-led co-curricular club that invests a portion of Washington and Lee University’s endowment in equity securities. Forty students manage a portfolio of more than $5.5 million; each year, their goal is to beat the return rate of the S&P 500.
“Investing real capital in the market helps students develop interest and expertise in investments and financial analysis—an experience that sets Washington and Lee apart from many other schools,” said Adam Schwartz, a business administration professor and the advisor of WIS.
Students can join WIS as first-years, sophomores, or juniors. Emanuelson, Krendov and Krouskos all joined as sophomores. The application process, which includes a written application as well as an in-person interview, is strenuous. Less than half of all applicants earn a spot in the group.
Directors are chosen by the society’s outgoing leadership team with oversight by Professor Schwartz. To be considered for a leadership role, applicants must be members of WIS who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the society.
“Choosing the new directors required careful consideration. We took many factors into account, such as financial knowledge, communication and presentation skills, and the quality of work each applicant had contributed to the group so far,” said Sarah Beth Hampton ’15, WIS’s outgoing executive director.
Directors are responsible for recruiting new members and ensuring that they get up to speed quickly. They also work closely to coordinate visits by corporate recruiters and guest speakers. Faculty and alumni frequently make guest presentations at meetings. Economics professor Linda Hooks often presents on current Fed policy, alumni Brian Keegan ’11 and Jason Harden ’12 of Sands Capital Management advised WIS this past year, and the group recently enjoyed a teleconference with Board of Trustees member Bill Miller ’72, the former chairman and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management.
WIS meets two to three times per week. Upon acceptance into the society, students are assigned to a specific industry group, such as energy, consumer staples, or consumer discretionary, and make regular buy/sell presentations accordingly.
Much of the research WIS students do for their presentations is qualitative, not quantitative. Each student is responsible for researching and reporting out on certain stocks within their sector. It’s about getting to know the company, its potential for growth, the risks, and the rationales.
“People think finance is a bunch of guys crunching numbers all day long but there’s a lot of qualitative work you need to do before you can crunch the numbers,” said Krendov. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Why do customers like this company?'”
Mary Morton Parsons Foundation Challenge Grant Supports Tucker Hall Renovation
The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond has approved a $350,000 challenge grant to Washington and Lee University — to be matched two for one — toward the $13.5 million renovation and restoration of Tucker Hall, part of the National Historic Landmark front campus in Lexington.
The grant and match, totaling more than $1 million, will help the University complete the renewal of the Colonnade, the group of five red-brick, white-columned buildings dating partly to the early 19th century.
Tucker Hall is the last of those primarily academic buildings to be restored and renovated. Former site of the University’s School of Law, it now houses computer and multimedia services and the departments of Romance Languages and German and Russian. After the work is complete, Romance Languages will be joined by Classics and Religion. German and Russian will move to the Center for Global Learning, now under construction and incorporating duPont Hall.
“Like the other buildings that compose the Colonnade, Tucker Hall has long needed a substantial but sensitive overhaul,” said George Graves, W&L’s associate director of corporate and foundation relations, “to make repairs and physical improvements, increase safety and accessibility, increase energy conservation, correct unwise or outmoded alterations and enable students and faculty to use technology fully for effective teaching and learning.” The building will contain smart classrooms and seminar rooms.
Overall, the Colonnade project consists of historic preservation of exteriors — trademark W&L red-painted brick, white columns, metal roofs, vintage windows and doors, well-trod stone steps, distinctive walk with the so-called Lexington bricks featuring circles and stars — and rehabilitation of interiors that maintains authenticity and upgrades all infrastructure, including plumbing, heating and cooling.
Built in 1935 to replace a building that burned, Tucker Hall is the newest building of the Colonnade, on the north end. In addition to faculty offices and other facilities, the four-story building will have two classrooms, a seminar room and a student study space. Work is scheduled to begin during summer 2016 and be completed within 18 months.
Tucker Hall is named for Henry St. George Tucker, a former acting president and instructor of law at W&L who was president of the American Bar Association and served nearly two decades in Congress. He earned the University’s affection not only for his service and accomplishments but also for his efforts to secure the institution’s future.
Alex Yacoubian '16 Receives William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to Study Abroad
Alex Yacoubian ’16, a Washington and Lee University politics and French double major from Metairie, Louisiana, received a prestigious William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to attend the American University in Dubai (AUD) during the winter term of 2015.
This is the second consecutive year that a W&L student has received a scholarship from the Clinton Presidential Foundation, which has partnered with AUD to provide funding for up to 10 students per semester. Yacoubian’s grant fully covers his tuition, and he will earn a certificate in Middle Eastern studies from AUD.
Yacoubian, a Dean’s List student who has played on the football team and is a WLUR radio host, said he’s always wanted to study in the Middle East. “This dream began when I was a child, listening to my Lebanese grandmother’s enthralling stories of growing up in Beirut. I enjoyed listening to her accounts of a world that seemed so different from my own.” His grandfather’s tales of graduating first in his class at the American University of Beirut’s Medical School and moving to the U.S. to practice medicine also influenced Yacoubian’s decision to pursue the Clinton Presidential Foundation scholarship. “I wanted to reconnect with my roots,” he said. “It’s exciting that I’ll be studying at the same institution as my grandfather, albeit in Dubai.”
For Yacoubian, the scholarship is a perfect match. He has not yet traveled outside the U.S., and one of the main goals of the Clinton scholarship is to provide American students based in the U.S. with the opportunity to expand their educational and cultural horizons by studying in the Arab world.
Mark Rush, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law who helped Yacoubian with the application process, said, “Alex’s interest in the Middle East springs from many personal and academic interests, and Dubai is an ideal place for him to study. He will be a great ambassador for Washington and Lee.”
On his return, Yacoubian plans to “apply my newly gained knowledge and understanding of Middle Eastern politics and the Islamic culture to start the school’s first Middle Eastern club. Despite the global importance of the Middle East, there is presently no ample opportunity for W&L students to share their collective knowledge of this part of the world or to discuss this vital region’s pressing issues and concerns.” He also hopes to start an Arabic language program, which he says is “essential for any liberal arts college aspiring to be globally connected. I believe global interdependence and peace become more attainable with a better understanding of another’s culture and language.”
Annual Christmas Candlelight Service—A Lexington Tradition
Washington and Lee University’s annual Christmas Candlelight Service featuring the University Singers will be held Thursday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Seating will begin at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to the presentation at no charge, and the service will be broadcast live online.
The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” broadcast each year from King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, and widely used in England, the United States and around the world, is an ancient form for corporate worship at the Christmas season. The prayers, lessons and music tell the story of sacred history from the Creation to the Incarnation.
In 1880, E.W. Benson, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up a service of lessons and carols for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918 this service was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. In the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programming, and it is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide.
The service has been held for many years in Lexington and was held at Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church during the earlier years. The W&L Men’s Glee Club participated in the service held at the church, but when the Candlelight Service was moved to Lee Chapel in the early 1990s, the newly founded W&L Chamber Singers became the featured choir.
Music for the traditional service again will be provided by the University Singers, the evolution of the Chamber Singers, and conducted by Shane M. Lynch, director of choral activities at W&L. The Singer’s anthems will feature a wide variety of music, from Michael Praetorious’ traditional “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” and Paul J. Christiansen’s classic arrangement of “Wind Through the Olive Trees” to modern and powerful masterpieces like Stanford Scriven’s “Christ the Appletree” and the “Kyrie eleison” from Uģis Prauliņš’ “Missa Rigensis.”
Timothy Gaylard, professor of music, will be the organist for the service, leading the familiar hymns and carols and rounding out the evening’s experience with a festive organ prelude and postlude.
Members of the Washington and Lee University community will read the lessons. William C. Datz, Catholic Campus Minister at St. Patrick’s and former coordinator of Religious Life at W&L, will preside over the service.
Celebrating a Legal Elite
Congratulations are in order for attorney Amos Workman, a 1974 graduate of Washington and Lee, who was honored with the prestigious Tommy Thomason Award by the Greenville (South Carolina) County Bar Association. Established in 1993, the award recognizes the Greenville lawyer who best exemplifies compassion, unshakeable integrity, strong personal values, dedication to the community, humility and diplomacy. The association’s highest honor, the award celebrates those who are admired by peers, dedicated to improving the legal system, and committed to resolving disputes in a way that minimizes conflict.
“Amos’s career demonstrates how a genuine concern for others can make a meaningful impact on the legal profession. He embodies all of the characteristics that the Tommy Thomason award represents, and it is truly an honor to recognize the impact Amos has had on our community,” said Courtney C. Atkinson, president of the Greenville County Bar Association. In 2013, Amos was named a Legal Elite by Greenville Business Magazine.
In his practice at Wythe, in Greenville, Amos mediates cases in the family and circuit courts. In addition, he navigates matters in family court and handles commercial real estate transactions. An ordained minister, he serves as a member of the Foothill Presbytery Unity and Community Team and its Theological Examinations Commission. He is past president and board member emeritus of the Upstate Mediation Center and past chair of the United Way Campaign Clergy Division, and serves on the Samaritan House board.
Rob Ashford '82 Flies with Peter Pan Tonight
Over the past few years, Rob Ashford, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1982, has traveled to Scotland with “Macbeth,” to Austria with “The Sound of Music,” and to Mississippi with “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Tonight, Dec. 4, he’ll be in Neverland as the stage director and choreographer of NBC’s live telecast of “Peter Pan.”
Rob played a similar role in last year’s popular production of “The Sound of Music Live!” Its success led to tonight’s show, which stars actors from television, movies and Broadway, plus some talented kids (and a dog) getting their big breaks.
If you are a Baby Boomer, you may have watched “Peter Pan” as live telecasts and once-a-year reruns starring Mary Martin as Peter, back in the days of black-and-white TV.
We’ve blogged about Rob’s many productions and honors before. He tackled both “Macbeth” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” last year. He’s also choreographed the Academy Awards (winning an Emmy for that work), among other productions, and received nominations for Tony Awards and Oliviers.
We wish him happy flying tonight.
Laura Hawkins, Oxford University, to Lecture on Writing of the Ancient Near East
Laura Hawkins, Oxford University, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on “A Writing Revolution: How and Why Writing Spread in the Ancient Near East,” on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.
The lecture is free and open to the public. After the talk, Tim Lubin, W&L professor of religion, will discuss “Writing Eastward: from India to Borneo” in a brief afterword.
Hawkins, a doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, will begin with an overview of cuneiform writing, showing how the signs acquired syllabic phonetic values, a characteristic which may have been important in the script’s adoption throughout the ancient Near East for use in a variety of languages. She will offer some conclusions on why cuneiform was such a successful technological innovation in the region.
Lubin will pick up the thread in ancient India, where a new script, probably inspired by the one used for Aramaic, was designed to publish the edicts of the Emperor Asoka in Magadha Prakrit. This script, also a type of syllabary, subsequently spread across South and Southeast Asia, being adapted to write texts in many different languages, for many different purposes.
W&L President Ken Ruscio to Participate in White House College Access Event Dec. 4
Ken Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University and chair of the board of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), will participate in the White House College Opportunity Day of Action Dec. 4 in Washington, D.C.
Ruscio will represent AAC&U at the event, which supports President Barack Obama’s effort to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders and nonprofits in encouraging students across the country to help the U.S. reach the goal of leading the world in college attainment.
Obama is expected to speak. The day’s program will be streamed live online at WhiteHouse.gov/live, beginning at 9 a.m.
AAC&U represents more than 1,300 member colleges and universities through publications, meetings, public advocacy and programs to reinforce the commitment to liberal education. It also helps individual colleges and universities keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges, while promoting educational improvement and reform.
Immigrant Rights Clinic Wins Asylum for Nation’s ‘Most Famous Stateless Person’
After 15 years in legal limbo, Mikhail Sebastian, sometimes referred to as the ‘most famous stateless person in the U.S.,’ has been granted asylum thanks to the efforts of Washington and Lee law students and the Immigrant Rights Clinic.
Sebastian’s saga begins in the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. An ethnic Armenian, Sebastian was forced to flee when the USSR began to crumble. Armenia was overwhelmed with refugees and would not take him. He then traveled to Turkmenistan, but Sebastian, who is gay, could not remain there because homosexuality is illegal in that country. Finally, he sought asylum in the U.S.
The U.S. rejected his asylum claim and ordered him removed, but because he is stateless – not a national under the laws of any country – none would take him. After months in detention, immigration officials recognized that the breakup of the Soviet Union meant that Sebastian held no citizenship, and released him on “immigration parole.” He got a job as a barista and started to build a life here even while his status remained unresolved.
Things took a strange turn in 2011, however, when Sebastian vacationed in America Samoa, a U.S. territory. Unbeknownst to him, he also visited the independent country of Samoa, at which point immigration officials decreed that Sebastian had “self-deported” and permanently barred him from reentering the mainland U.S.
Sebastian had been marooned in America Samoa for nearly a year when Prof. David Baluarte, director of the W&L Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, became involved in the case. Baluarte had recently completed a comprehensive report on statelessness in the U.S for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a version of which was later published under the title “Citizens of Nowhere,” and was asked by the UN to provide pro bono counsel. Baluarte says that stateless individuals, who lack any lawful status, access to rights or protections, are highly vulnerable to discrimination and abuse. But even among the stateless, Sebastian’s case was unusual and unique.
“While American Samoa is a U.S. territory, our immigration laws do not extend there,” says Baluarte. “Because Mikhail was believed to have executed his removal order when he traveled to Western Samoa, and he would need to cross the Pacific to return to his home in Los Angeles, immigration officials had the power to keep him cordoned off in that section of our national territory.”
Baluarte, working with the UNHCR and the Jewish Family Service in California, eventually was able to get Sebastian a humanitarian parole, allowing him to return to the U.S. mainland. An unintended benefit of this situation was that Sebastian’s immigration process started over, giving him another chance to argue his case for asylum.
By this time, Baluarte had joined W&L, and he assigned Sebastian’s case to Michael Keller ’14L and Meagan Peterson ’14L. The students conducted extensive research and developed new legal arguments to support the asylum claim, this time focusing Sebastian’s sexual orientation and the consequences of returning him per immigration policy to his country of last residence, Turkmenistan.
“We know enough about Turkmenistan’s view of homosexuality that this would have been in effect a death sentence for Mikhail,” says Baluarte.
The students and Baluarte traveled to Los Angeles last spring to represent Sebastian at an interview with an asylum officer. So unusual was the situation that a decision normally taking two weeks dragged on for almost 8 months as Sebastian’s case was reviewed by higher and higher levels within the U.S. immigration enforcement offices.
Finally, just in time for Thanksgiving, Sebastian learned that he been granted asylum after 15 years of stateless legal limbo, putting him on the path to getting a green card and eventually U.S. citizenship.
“I called Mikhail as soon as I received the news, and we celebrated together,” says Baluarte. “Mikhail had spent so many years as a stateless person that the idea that his struggle was over and that he could finally call the U.S. his home was overwhelming.”
Sebastian’s story of being stateless remains one of the most notorious and unusual, but Baluarte’s research has shown that he is not alone. There are likely thousands of stateless people in the U.S., living under constant threat of detention and with no real established avenue to legal status.
Baluarte, together with other advocates for the rights of stateless persons, worked hard to ensure that the U.S. Congress would include a legislative solution to statelessness as part of the comprehensive immigration reform initiative in 2013. With the future of immigration reform uncertain, stateless persons who are not so fortunate as Mikhail continue to languish in legal limbo. Baluarte continues to help individual clients, and to research and write about the problem.
“The way that we have written our laws to exclude stateless persons is simply inhumane. We have identified a gap in our laws that produces real human suffering and that urgently needs to be addressed,” Baluarte says.
More money for sports teams means better facilities and better athletes, and David Johnston, a 1991 graduate of Washington and Lee University, is in the business of helping schools maximize their revenues from their athletic programs.
David and his partner, Rich Kein, offer multimedia rights management through the firm they founded in 2011 called Rockbridge Sports (yes, it’s named after Rockbridge county), based in Charlottesville. Their business model offers incremental revenue growth and it is particularly focused on digital content.
In an interview posted on the Forbes SportsMoney website, the two explain why they think their approach is best. Unlike the bigger companies, such as CBS Collegiate Sports Properties, where both worked for eight years, Rockbridge Sports offers long-term partnerships to help athletic directors understand the complexities and evolution of multimedia rights management space.
David began his career as an account executive for corporate sales and director of licensing and merchandising for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Teams, working closely with team and Olympic sponsors, suppliers and licensees leading up to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He entered the collegiate multimedia rights industry as the general sales manager of Terrapin Sports Marketing and moved to CBS’s senior management team, where he was responsible for the overall operation, growth and financial success of the company and was directly engaged in the acquisition and start-up of 10 new collegiate and media partnerships.
He lives in Charlottesville, with his wife Kelly and three daughters, Talley, Emma and Virginia Leigh.
Georgetown's Ed Soule to Give Keynote at Business Ethics Institute Dec. 5
Ed Soule, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, will give the keynote lecture at Washington and Lee’s first Business Ethics Institute. The lecture will take place on Friday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium.
The title of his lecture is “Humane Management: Apparel Brands and the People that Make Our Clothes.” It is free and open to the public.
Soule’s teaching and research draws upon his business career and his training in moral philosophy. He practiced public accounting for 12 years, and then served as the chief financial officer of Edward Jones from 1986 to 1995.
Soule is interested in the intersection of morality and management and publishes on corporate strategy and regulatory policy. He teaches courses on managerial ethics, corporate social responsibility, and leadership. His book, “Morality & Markets: The Ethics of Government Regulation,” was published in 2003.
Soule received a Ph.D. in moral and political philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis in 1999.
Provost Daniel A. Wubah Elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science
Daniel A. Wubah, provost of Washington and Lee University, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
AAAS fellows are elected by the association’s membership in honor of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Wubah is only the second Washington and Lee educator to be elected.
A member of AAAS’ Section on Education, Wubah was chosen for his outstanding contributions and leadership in improving undergraduate science education, undergraduate research, international education, and inclusion and diversity. He is among 401 fellows so honored this year.
“We congratulate Provost Wubah on this important recognition, well deserved for his extensive contributions to undergraduate science education and his commitment to inclusion and diversity,” said W&L President Ken Ruscio. “We take great pride in calling him one of our own and celebrate his latest achievement.”
Wubah joined Washington and Lee in 2013 from Virginia Tech, where he served as vice president for undergraduate education and deputy provost. He holds a B.S. with honors in botany and a diploma in science education from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, an M.S. in biology from the University of Akron, and a Ph.D. in botany with specialization in anaerobic microbiology from the University of Georgia. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia.
Wubah began his career in higher education in 1992 at Towson State University as assistant professor of biological sciences. In 2000, he moved to James Madison University as associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; in 2003 he was appointed special assistant to the president. While at JMU, he testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on how to prepare the STEM workforce for the 21st century. And he developed the Centennial Scholars Program, which provides access for students from under-represented or first-generation groups.
After serving as associate provost for undergraduate education and professor of zoology at the University of Florida from 2007 to 2009, he moved to Virginia Tech, where his accomplishments included the development of a vision plan for undergraduate education, an interdisciplinary program in real estate, and the first baccalaureate program in meteorology in Virginia. He also was the architect of the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes-funded undergraduate research program and the Signature Course program and led the establishment of an international journal on e-portfolios.
Wubah has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and reports. He has served on several review panels for state and federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health. He has received competitive grants totaling approximately $15 million from federal, state and private sources. During the past 12 years, he has been continuously funded by NSF to manage an international summer research program for undergraduates in Ghana. He has mentored 96 undergraduates and 12 graduate students.
AAAS began recognizing fellows in 1874. They are nominated by steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, any three fellow AAAS members, or the AAAS chief executive officer.
Experience, W&L Law: Haley White ‘15L
Broad shouldered and standing well over six feet tall, Edward Saunders is an imposing figure. He is also a compelling speaker, and his oratory gifts were on full display earlier this year when he testified in Roanoke circuit court that the plea deal he accepted in 2012 was coerced.
Saunders, who is serving 20 years for a 2014 conviction for aggravated sexual battery, was back in court arguing that the 44 years suspended from the earlier plea deal should not be tacked on to his sentence. In dramatic fashion, he claimed his defense counsel was ineffective and he was forced to sign a plea deal in the 2012 case for something he did not do.
“He even had me almost convinced,” says Washington and Lee third-year law student Haley White ’15L.
White, who participated in W&L Law’s public prosecutors externship program this year, was there to argue on behalf of Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office that the 2012 sentence should be reinstated in full for the probation violation. Though not her first time in court, this was definitely the biggest case so far during her year gaining real courtroom experience.
White recalls the first days on the job back in the fall. She and the other externs spent one day observing court and the next day were handed files for cases on the docket that same day. In a preliminary hearing on a shoplifting charge, she presented evidence and testimony, and the case was certified to circuit court.
“We told the Commonwealth’s attorney, Don Caldwell, that we won,” White says. “That was first time of many that he reminded us, ‘This is not about winning. It’s about justice.'”
This lesson stands out among the many White learned during her time in the office, where she worked on everything from grand larceny to bond hearings. When she wasn’t honing her own courtroom skills, she was observing, seeing both very good and very bad attorneys in action. Along the way, she was developing the confidence she would soon call on for her biggest case.
White had enjoyed the externship so much that she stayed on in the spring as a service project, and it was then that she was assigned to the Saunders’ case. Appearing before Judge William Broadhurst, known for his conservative approach to sentencing, White argued that because of the gravity and similarity of the crimes, both of which involved sexual assault of minors, the entire 44 years suspended from the original conviction should be added on to Saunders’ sentence.
Judge Broadhurst added 40 years.
Now facing six decades in prison, Saunders continues to appeal both the 2014 conviction and the 2012 plea deal.
White, originally from Benton, Louisiana, will graduate this May. Her experience in the Public Prosecutor’s program has solidified her desire to be a criminal prosecutor. She is seeking a district attorney position in North Carolina, armed with the confidence and skill that can only come from real practice experience.
Author John Grisham Turns to W&L Law Alumna for Help with Recent Novel
When famous author John Grisham set about writing his most recent blockbuster, the story of young lawyer who loses her big city job and ends up working legal aid in rural southwest Virginia, it wasn’t long until his research led him to Mary Cromer ’06L and the Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center (ACLC).
Opened in 2002, the ACLC was created as a non-profit public interest law firm devoted solely to providing free legal services to Appalachian citizens adversely impacted by the coal industry. Cromer and her colleagues represent miners and their families on issues of black lung and mine safety and also engage in litigation and policy work in the areas of mine safety and health, environmental protection and sustainable energy.
Grisham was referred to Cromer after speaking with Rick Middleton, founder of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), where Cromer worked following law school. The author arranged a trip to meet with Cromer and her colleague Wes Addington, where he got an education in the variety of health, safety, and environmental issues their office handles.
“We showed him the kinds of work we do and also drove him around the area to show him some mine sites,” says Cromer. “He followed up afterward with emails when he had more questions.”
Grisham could not have been in better hands. Cromer is a native of Pound, Virginia in the heart of coal country. She came to law school knowing she wanted to work on issues related to the impact of coal mining on the environment. At W&L Law, she was a student attorney with the Black Lung Legal Clinic, which was recently recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative.
Following law school, she clerked for the Hon. Glen Conrad of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and then as staff attorney with the SELC before joining the ACLC in 2008. In 2011, Cromer was named a “Legal Hero” by the Sierra Club for representing Kentuckians for the Commonwealth in a challenge to Kentucky’s permitting of a mountaintop removal coal mine just upstream from one of the state’s best rafting destinations.
While the young attorney in Grisham’s novel is based in a legal aid office, where poverty issues take center stage, Cromer thinks Grisham did a good job in the book giving a picture of the area and kinds of problems she and her colleagues tackle.
“Working with him was a pleasant experience,” says Cromer. “He is interested in people and telling their stories. He cares about them, and this comes through in the book.”
John Vlahoplus '83 to give talk about housing crisis Dec. 4
John Vlahoplus ’83, director at Credit Suisse, will give a talk, “Left Behind: How the federal government and not-for-profits sacrificed American homeowners and renters in the recovery from the Great Recession,” at 7:30 p.m. on Thurs., Dec. 4 in the Hillel House multipurpose room.
Vlahoplus and his partners argued that in light of little federal action on the housing crisis, local governments should use their eminent domain authority to modify underwater loans, allowing homeowners to keep their homes.
A Rhodes Scholar, Vlahoplus will also host a breakfast for students interested in pursing the scholarship at 8 a.m. on Fri., Dec. 5 in Elrod Commons 216, followed by drop-in hours for students with questions about national fellowships from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. in Elrod Commons 216.
SanPietro to Talk on “Charity and the Creation of the Church”
Dr. Irene SanPietro, assistant dean of students at Columbia University, will give a talk on “Charity and the Creation of the Church” at Washington and Lee University on Friday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327, Williams School.
SanPietro’s talk is free and open to the public. The lecture is supported by the Howerton Fund of the Religion Department, the Department of Classics and the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.
SanPietro said, “My research interests are primarily in the social and economic history of late antiquity.” She wrote her dissertation on the institutions and ideology of the church and, she said, “Specifically, how charity redrew the boundaries of public and private life on a mass scale, affected the inner life of individuals and determined the form of institutions that would outlast Rome.”
SanPietro continued, “I am working on a book project based on my dissertation and several smaller projects, including a study of Strabo’s orientalism, the replacement of the Roman aristocratic ideal of the polymath with that of the convert-knower in Christian circles, legal responses to family disputes over pious donations and mapping Jerome’s “De viris illustribus” using social network theory.”
SanPietro received her doctorate in classical studies from Columbia University in 2014.
Top Honors for Louise Phipps Senft '88L
Louise Phipps Senft, founder of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation, received a Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region. This is the second Top 100 MBE Award for Louise, who was also honored in 2009.
A 1988 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, Louise founded her firm in 1993, and, at the time, it was the first to offer private mediation in Maryland. She has become one of the region’s leaders in the field of alternative dispute resolution and has pioneered the use of transformational and relational approaches to mediation in the U.S. and abroad.
She received her award from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler and MBE Award Founder/Program Director Sharon Pinder during ceremonies hosted by the mayor’s office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development on Oct. 23, in Baltimore.
The Top 100 MBE Awards were created to recognize those enterprising women and minority entrepreneurs who fuel the country’s economy through their innovation, sacrifices, and dedication. The awards also celebrate entrepreneurs for their significant and inspiring contributions to their clients, professions, industries and communities.
Louise has served on the boards of numerous organizations, from community associations to professional organizations and international non-profits, to advocate for safety, the environment, religious integrity and women’s rights, among other causes.