Feature Stories Campus Events

Fan on the Run: Dave McLean ’78 and Paul McCartney

Last week, on June 23, several denizens of W&L trekked from Lexington across Afton Mountain to Charlottesville for a memorable concert by Paul McCartney. Along with everyone else, they applauded when Sir Paul invited a member of the audience on stage to celebrate the fan’s 100th McCartney concert. Turns out that lucky man was Dave McLean, a member of the University’s Class of 1978, and his moment of glory is splashed on McCartney’s Facebook page.

The first McCartney show for the lifelong Beatles fan occurred in May 1976, when Dave was wrapping up his sophomore year at W&L. It was part of the Wings Over America tour, at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. “As a sophomore, I didn’t have much disposable income, or I would’ve done more,” he said.

So the second — and third and fourth — shows had to wait for 13 years, until 1989. The Paul McCartney World Tour was playing a multi-night stand in Los Angeles, where the McLeans were living. The first night, his wife, Tammy, stayed home with their new baby, Emily; the next, Tammy accompanied Dave; the night after that, “I risked my marriage,” he jokes, and went alone.

On that fateful night in 1989, Dave wound up in the front row, about eight feet from the star. McCartney made eye contact and, “with a grin as wide as a Cheshire cat,” gave Dave a thumbs-up. “I was hooked,” he said. “That started it.”

Since then, he reports, “I have tried to go to the first and last shows in the U.S. of every tour.”

Dave also has traveled to England, Canada and Spain for McCartney shows. His 100 concerts include one-offs, like a 1993 Earth Day concert with Ringo Starr, and a 2010 Sirius XM gig at the historic Apollo Theater. (That night, Dave ended up, quite by coincidence, sitting next to Nancy Shevell, McCartney’s then girlfriend, now wife.) Last year, he was also lucky enough to attend the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the Beatles’ first appearance in the U.S., at the Grammys and at the television show “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A Grammy Salute.”

Along the way, Dave started taking oversize signs to concerts, modifying them for each occasion. At a 2005 show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Dave took his son, Michael, to the teenager’s first McCartney experience (and first rock concert of any kind). Dave’s sign listed all the shows he’d attended. It must have been an impressive list, for it elicited the first time McCartney spoke to him from the stage. “You have way too much information on that sign,” the legend joshed.

With all that concert-going, Dave has gotten to know McCartney’s staff — “the inner circle,” he calls them — because he often holds the ticket that permits attendance at the pre-performance sound checks. There the interaction with McCartney continues. At Dave’s 60th show, McCartney said, “Sixty? You hardly look like you’re 60.”

As for his big centennial moment at the June 23 show in Charlottesville, “I didn’t know it would happen until it happened.” McCartney only occasionally brings fans on stage. When it does occur, he says, “They pull you out during the first encore. It’s Paul’s call.” At the Charlottesville sound check, “there was talk it could happen. The security guy knew of my strong desire.” When McCartney acknowledged his 100th concert from the stage, Dave was thrilled. “Honestly, I thought that was it. That was kind of cool. But there was still a hope.”

Then came the encore, and hope became reality. The staffer “gave me the high sign,” and up on stage Dave went, poster in hand, for a handshake and a hug from McCartney — plus a shout-out from Dave to Tammy, who was in the audience, and to McCartney’s inner circle.

Dave found out about his Facebook fame the next morning, when he and Tammy were driving back home to New York and Dave was catching up with work e-mail. To his delight, as his McCartney friends and W&L friends became aware of the Facebook photograph, personal e-mails flooded his inbox.

“In the meantime,” he says with a laugh, “I actually have a life, a job, a family.” An attorney with a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, Dave is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins L.L.P., serving in the litigation department and practicing international arbitration, employment law, securities litigation, and professional liability and insurance coverage litigation. He hails from New Jersey and obtained a B.A. in politics from W&L. He and Tammy have been married for 30 years, and children Emily and Michael are in their 20s.

See Dave’s big moment and read the comments on McCartney’s Facebook page (scroll down to the June 24 entry) and watch him on YouTube (at about 1:13).

Sunday Morning in Charleston

On Sunday, June 21, just days after nine people were killed during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, Kate Shellnutt, a 2008 graduate of Washington and Lee University, attended Sunday service with members of the congregation.

Kate, who is a reporter for Christianity Today magazine and co-editor of its blog Her.meneutics, wrote that it was a day filled with praise for the Lord. “Tucked away in the back row of the balcony, part of me wondered, ‘Rejoice? Right now? On this day?’ I was overruled by the 500-plus crowd below, who shouted along with him .”

She added, “It kept coming. Prayers thanking God for his blessings. For waking them up this morning. A reading from 1 Thessalonians: ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’ (5:16-18, KJV). They literally sounded the trumpet, making a joyful noise with praise anthems and soloists walking the aisles until the cordless mic started cutting in and out.”

Despite all eyes on Charleston and talk focusing on the Confederate flag and racism, Kate noted that the major topic for most people focused on justice and forgiveness. “Black and white residents—at least the churchgoers I spoke with—largely defy Roof’s premise, striving to come together in prayer, discussion, and action, rather than letting the deadliest hate crime in the state’s history divide them further.”

Watson Pavilion Offers New Japanese Export Porcelain Exhibit

A new exhibit of Japanese export porcelain is now open in the Watson Pavilion at Washington and Lee University.

Though often confused with and overshadowed by Chinese export porcelain, much of the most exotic, desirable and expensive porcelain available in Europe came from Japan from 1660 to 1740.

“Japanese export porcelain’s brief period of prominence had much to do with China,” said Ron Fuchs, curator of the Reeves Collection. “Prior to the 1640s, China supplied most of the world’s porcelain. Conflict resulting from the collapse of the Ming dynasty in 1644 and the establishment of the Qing dynasty disrupted porcelain production and export. For a few decades, Japanese potters filled this void. By the late 1600s, Chinese production resumed and by the 1740s, the greater quantities and lower prices of Chinese porcelain drove the Japanese from the export market.”

Japanese porcelain was made in the city of Arita, which had abundant sources of clay. From there, finished products were shipped from the nearby port of Imari throughout Japan. Much of the Japanese porcelain exported to Europe came via the Dutch, who were the only Europeans allowed to trade with Japan.

A global product, Japanese porcelain was influenced by indigenous Japanese, Chinese and European ceramics. Often richly decorated, it combined familiar Western shapes with unfamiliar Asian designs to create objects that were both practical and exotic.

The Japanese export porcelain exhibit is on display in the Watson Pavilion, which is part of the Reeves Center at Washington and Lee University. It is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Deborah Miranda’s Poem Featured in West Trestle Review

“Juliana, 1803” by Deborah Miranda, the John Lucian Smith Term Professor of English at Washington and Lee, is the featured poem of the week on the website of West Trestle Review.

Deborah, an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area, has authored “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir,” as well as two poetry collections, “Indian Cartography” and “The Zen of La Llorona.” She is also co-editor of “Sovereign Erotics: An Anthology of Two Spirit Literature.”

At W&L, her main areas of research and teaching include contemporary American literature by authors from the margins of U.S. culture.

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McAllister Receives Virginia CFO Award

Virginia Business magazine has named Steven G. McAllister, vice president for finance and treasurer of Washington and Lee University, as the leading chief financial officer among large non-profit organizations in the state.

The magazine presented its 10th Annual Virginia CFO Awards at a banquet in Richmond to McAllister and others in five business categories: Small Nonprofit Organization; Large Nonprofit Organization; Small Private Company; Large Private Company; and Publicly Traded Companies.

The judges — themselves past winners of the awards — recognized McAllister’s contributions to Washington and Lee’s efforts to limit the rising cost of tuition, increase employee compensation, reduce energy costs and wisely invest its $1.5 billion endowment.

“It’s easy to forget that nonprofits have to meet a bottom line, just like any other business. They were not immune to the challenges posed by the recent economic downturn,” the judges wrote in the award citation. McAllister “met the test head-on by leading his institution through an important belt-tightening program. The organization trimmed expenses (cutting energy costs, for example, by 25 percent over four years) while increasing employee salaries and financial assistance to the people it serves.”

“Responsible for a $125 million budget, this CFO also manages an endowment of nearly $1.5 billion. The endowment has benefited from a $500 million fundraising campaign, which is scheduled to end this month. Philanthropy now exceeds other traditional revenue streams in the annual operating budget,” they continued.

The judges noted that McAllister “has proven that he possesses the ability to work through the complexities of financial management while relating well to all constituencies. He is a careful manager and a conscientious steward of the resources. As a result of that stewardship, no student from a family with income of less than $75,000 has to pay tuition to attend one of the most respected liberal arts colleges in the U.S.”

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio said that McAllister “richly deserves the award for management of the University’s finances in a way that directly benefits W&L’s students and its employees. He has been a careful and smart steward of the University’s resources during one of the most challenging periods in the economy and higher education.”

For more than 25 years, Virginia Business has served as a leading source of information about the people and industries most significantly affecting Virginia’s economy. Publisher Bernie Niemeier said the awards “are a testament to the quality of financial leadership in the commonwealth. The nomination process yielded many impressive candidates, and our judges were confronted with the difficult task of selecting the top CFO from each category.”

Kaylee Hartung ’07: Live From the College World Series

If you’ve been watching the College World Series on ESPN, you might have spotted Kaylee Hartung, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2007 with a double major in politics and journalism. This week she’s in Omaha, Nebraska, reporting on the 2015 Division I baseball championships. If you missed her on ESPN, you can check out her photos from the event on her Instagram account or follow her on Twitter.

Sports fans might recognize Kaylee from her earlier reporting gigs. Before she joined ESPN’s SEC Network as a studio and field reporter, Kaylee was an anchor and reporter for ESPN’s The Longhorn Network, a sideline reporter for CBS Sports Network and a correspondent for CBSNews.com.

As well as hosting The Longhorn Network’s flagship program, “Longhorn Extra,” she covered the 2013 College World Series and the 2012-13 college football and college basketball seasons. During her career at CBS Sports, she covered CBS and Turner Sports’ online NCAA Men’s basketball tournament and CBSSports.com’s PGA Championship and tennis’ U.S. Open. She also contributed to NCAA.com and SI.com’s College World Series and BCS National Championship coverage.

Along with her duties at CBS Sports, Kaylee also worked in the CBS News Washington Bureau as a reporter on the daily “Washington Unplugged” program and was a featured correspondent for “Unplugged Under 40.” Kaylee first joined CBS News as Bob Schieffer’s assistant and quickly advanced to associate producer of the Sunday public affairs program “Face the Nation.”

W&L Law’s David Baluarte Joins Advisory Council of Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

Washington and Lee law professor David Baluarte has been named to the advisory council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), an independent non-profit organization dedicated to promoting an integrated, human rights based response to the injustice of statelessness and exclusion.

Through research, education and advocacy, ISI seeks to build awareness of the plight of the stateless and disenfranchised and to work with partners in civil society, academia, the UN and government to strengthen human rights protections for these vulnerable groups.

Baluarte teaches and writes about topics ranging from immigration, refugees and stateless persons, and transnational law with a specific focus on international human rights law and practice. He also serves as director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, a semester-long practical lawyering experience available to third-year students as part of W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum.

Baluarte and his students recently won asylum for a client in one of the best-known cases of statelessness in the U.S. Mikhail Sebastian, sometimes referred to as the ‘most famous stateless person in the U.S.,’ was granted asylum after 15 years in legal limbo.

Sebastian had been marooned in America Samoa for nearly a year when Baluarte 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.

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. 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.

Baluarte is currently attending a regional conference organized by the Open Society Foundation on this issue in Costa Rica. He will present on statelessness in the U.S. and engage in a dialog about the protection of stateless person in the Americas.

Before coming to W&L, Professor Baluarte was a Practitioner-in-Residence and Arbenz Fellow in the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) at American University Washington College of Law. In addition to his clinical teaching responsibilities in that capacity, Professor Baluarte managed projects and consulted for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).

Before beginning his teaching career, Professor Baluarte served as a staff attorney in the Immigration Unit the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and as a staff attorney at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). Professor Baluarte earned his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Public Interest and Public Service (PIPS) Scholar, and his B.A. from Brown University.

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Digitized Archives of the Ring-tum Phi Now Available Online

W&L’s student paper, the Ring-tum Phi, made its first appearance in 1897 and has, with the exception of World War II, been in print ever since. Leafing through back issues in Special Collections, the curious can read about Fancy Dress, homecoming queens, Glee Club concerts, changes to The White Book, even extensive coverage of W&L’s long-ago Division I football team. The only catch is you had to be on campus to do so.

That has now changed. Over the past two and a half years, Alston Cobourn, digital scholarship librarian at W&L, has worked with an outside vendor, Backstage Library Works, to create a text-searchable digital archive of the Ring-tum Phi (http://myw.lu/studentorgsarchive). “It’s been a long process,” said Cobourn. “With over 100 years worth of material, there was a lot of prep work involved. It’s very exciting to now have the Phi archives online.”

The biggest users are classes from the journalism and history departments. So far, most searches are for stories on Lee Chapel and coeducation. Geographically, Texas, with its large alumni contingent, produces the highest number of hits nationally, while France leads the way for international readers.

“The digitized archives aren’t supposed to replace physical access of the Phi,” said Cobourn. “But it’s really useful in helping people discover new details about the University.”

Regarding its online presence, ringtumphiwlu.com, Coburn said, “We’re hoping to capture and preserve the digital version of the paper for the archives as well.”

As for the ongoing print version, the Phi’s coeditors for the 2015-16 academic year will be Krysta Huber ’16 and Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder ’16, with Hannah Howard ’16 as managing editor. Having worked as writers and editors of the Phi, they “believe we can lead the Phi to new levels of in-depth reporting, and will strive to give equal coverage to every group and issue on campus, no matter the size. We are also expanding our social media websites, and we will be introducing a new social media editor.”

You can subscribe to the Phi’s weekly paper for $45/year. Contact Ring-tum Phi, Elrod Commons #341, 204 W. Washington St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450-2116

W&L's Ruscio on Continuity and Change in The Roanoke Times

The following op-ed by W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio appeared in The Roanoke Times on Sunday, June 21, 2015, and is reprinted here with permission.

Continuity and Change

by Kenneth P. Ruscio
President, Washington and Lee University

At Washington and Lee, we tell this old joke on ourselves: “How many W&L alumni does it takes to change a light bulb? Five — one to change it and four to talk about how great the old bulb was.”

Washington and Lee has a storied past. We stand on the shoulders of those who sacrificed on our behalf. We look upon the accumulated wisdom of the ages as a gift. We mostly avoid the conceit of thinking we are somehow wiser, smarter or more enlightened than those who preceded us. We preserve what matters in our history. And, we learn from it.

But, this is a university, not a museum, and while the past shapes an institution, the past does not, and should not, dictate the future.

Imagine a university as a river. A river has a source, its headwaters, typically in a remote mountain spring somewhere. That origin defines not just the natural history of the river but also its character and the way we think about it. At any point along the way, you can find signs of where it began. To understand a river you have to know where it came from.

But a river always flows forward, away from its source. It never reverses itself. Sometimes the river’s waters are placid and calm, the current barely perceptible. Sometimes they are treacherous, flowing violently over rocks and rapids. Sometimes the river floods its banks. Sometimes it is diminished by drought.

A river, like a university, moves along in its own varied rhythms, changing through different stages, linked forever to where it began, even as it heads toward a different destination.

I grew up in suburban New Jersey in the shadow of New York City, where a Washington and Lee alumnus named Walt Kingsbery lived down the street. When Mr. Kingsbery heard I was interested in applying to his alma mater, he did what any self-respecting alumnus does. His sales pitch was aggressive and irresistible. He sold me.

Mr. Kingsbery was a member of the Class of 1948 and when he returned for his 50th reunion, he found that, in many ways, the university he knew as a student no longer existed. The football team had played its last national bowl game — the Gator Bowl against Wyoming — in 1951, and shortly thereafter abandoned scholarship sports in the wake of a cheating scandal. The dress code — coats and ties every day and in every place — was long gone. So were Saturday morning classes. The student body had been integrated in the 1960s, and half of the students were now women since the university became coeducational in the 1980s. The law school had moved, there was a performing arts center, a new library, and, well, you get the picture — the river had been rolling along.

But even with all the changes that greeted his return, Mr. Kingsbery knew that what mattered was unchanged. Here’s how he described what he found:

“I will never forget my first sight of the red buildings and white columns perched on a ridge overlooking the town streets. In May 1998 to Lexington for my 50th Class Reunion. Those red and white buildings still stand as firm, silent and impressive as ever. ‘Old George,’ the statue of George Washington, tall and silent, gazing over the campus and the town, was then, and even now is, a bit awesome. But the buildings and ‘George’ offered a strong and warm welcome to a world of learning, friendship and integrity.”

I know how you graduates feel today, or I know how you should feel or how I want you to feel. With your departure today, you are certain that your university will shortly begin an inevitable decline away from perfection.

However, as your life goes on, as you assume the duties of citizenship in this democracy, as you contribute to your communities and professions, I wish for you the quality of discernment — the ability to distinguish between what is important and what is not; to distinguish between what is real and what is artifice.

Judging wisely and carefully has always been in short supply. With the steep decline in public discourse these days, it seems on the verge of extinction.

Celebrity is not leadership. The volume of an argument is not a measure of its quality. Repeating a false statement over and over again does not eventually make it true. Sticking with an opinion in the face of contradictory evidence is not principled conviction but intellectual laziness.

Cultivate that quality of discernment in every corner of your lives.

Change is inevitable. Light bulbs burn out. This will be a different place — a better place — 50 years from now. Or if it’s not, you, as alumni, should be ashamed of it and of yourselves. What truly matters are the intangible attributes — the virtues of honor and integrity, of respect for each other despite our differences, of civility. Pay attention to the character, not the artifice.

To move forward, to improve, to change, is not a rejection of the past. It is the way to honor the past.

This is based on remarks that Ruscio, a 1976 graduate of W&L, made during the university’s recent commencement exercises.

New York Times Editorial Discusses New Study by W&L’s Bai

The New York Times editorial on June 16 discussed a new study by Ge Bai, assistant professor of accounting at Washington and Lee University. She is the lead author of “Extreme Markup: The Fifty US Hospitals With The Highest Charge-To-Cost Ratios,” that lists the 50 hospitals in the United States with the most extreme price markups. To date, more than 300 media outlets have written about the research.

The study was published June 8 in “Health Affairs” and was co-authored by Gerard F. Anderson, a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The researchers used Medicare cost reports from 2012 to show that these hospitals have markups approximately 10 times their allowable costs under Medicare. The study shows that one for-profit hospital system owns half of the 50 hospitals, 98 percent of the hospitals are for profit, 92 percent are owned by for-profit hospital systems and 40 percent operate in Florida.

Bai noted in media interviews that their research found that many hospitals charge 1,000 percent of their costs and that the effect trickles down to every single consumer, although it is worse for vulnerable populations, such as the uninsured and out-of-network patients. “It really plays an important role in the rise of overall healthcare spending,” she said.

Bai and Anderson claim that these markups are largely motivated by profit rather than the quality of service. They suggest that since patients find it difficult to compare prices and market forces fail to constrain hospital charges, federal and state governments may want to consider limiting the charge-to-cost ratio, setting a rate for all payers or mandating price disclosure in order to limit these hospital markups.

Outlets covering Bai’s research include: