Feature Stories Campus Events

Rachael Slobodien Joins Sen. Ted Cruz’s Staff

Rachael Slobodien, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2006 with a degree in politics and religion, has joined the staff of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as his communications director.

Rachael previously worked at The Heritage Foundation as manager of media affairs, where she led the regional communications team and crafted messaging and strategy for Heritage’s Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity. She began her career at Heritage as executive assistant to the vice president of communications. She then went to Capitol Hill as scheduler/office manager to Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.); she later became press secretary to then-Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.). Prior to returning to Heritage as a senior media associate in 2010, Rachael served as communications manager at the National Taxpayers Union.

Rachael is also an evening law student at George Washington Law School, where she serves as editor in chief of The Federal Communications Law Journal.

Fourth Annual SHECP Symposium to Address Food and Childhood Health

The increasing nutrition gap between children from the upper and lower classes will be the focus of the fourth annual symposium of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) on Aug. 2 in Lexington, Virginia.

“Poor nutrition has become a serious barrier to equal opportunity,” said Harlan Beckley, executive director of SHECP and former director of the Shepherd Poverty Program at Washington and Lee University. “We need a better understanding of this phenomenon so that we can more effectively reduce barriers to healthy, fulfilling and productive lives.”

Hosted by W&L and the Virginia Military Institute, the symposium is part of the Frueauff Closing Conference for the Shepherd Internship Program (SIP), in which more than 90 interns will convene in Lexington after working for eight weeks with impoverished people and communities. More than 40 faculty and staff from the 21 SHECP member institutions also will attend. The symposium is free and open to the public. For the full schedule, visit shepherdconsortium.org.

Twenty-nine undergrads and three law students from W&L participated in internships this year, serving all over the country, from a Navajo Reservation in Arizona to Burlington, Vermont, Atlanta, Georgia, and points further south.

“This programming will be a wonderful way for our students to begin to process what they have learned over the summer and to benefit from symposium speakers of national renown,” said Fran Elrod, associate director for W&L’s Community-Based Learning
, Shepherd Poverty Program.

The symposium will feature three highly regarded speakers shaped by different experiences and expertise. Their talks will take place in Marshall Hall, home of VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics.

Dr. Sandra Hassink, president of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), brings the expertise of a physician concerned about obesity and food policy. Dr. Elaine Waxman, vice president of research and nutrition at Feeding America, has 25 years of experience in social policy research and consulting. Victoria Kumpuris Brown, a graduate of W&L and senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, worked for 10 years with the Alliance for Healthier Generations negotiating with major food and beverage firms to market affordable and lower-calorie products in order to reduce obesity.

Hassink will speak on “Building the Foundations for Child Health: Moving Toward a National Agenda for Children.” In 1988, she began the weight management clinic at Nemours/AI DuPont Children’s Hospital, in Wilmington, Delaware. She is medical director of the APP Institute for Early Childhood Weight and advocates for legislation to address obesity. Her research on pathophysiologic mechanisms of obesity has informed three of her books: “A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Obesity”; “Pediatric Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Strategies for Primary Care”; and “Clinical Guide to Pediatric Weight Management.”

Waxman will speak on “The Evolution of Food Insecurity as a Public Health Issue.” She oversaw completion of Hunger in America 2014, the largest study of emergency food assistance in the U.S. and directed Hunger in America 2010 and the Map the Meal Gap project. Those studies provide the first county-level estimates of food insecurity in the country. Much of Waxman’s research focuses on the intersection of food insecurity and public health, a topic on which she has published multiple articles. She began a research position at The Urban Institute in May 2015.

During her work with the Alliance for Healthier Generations, Brown negotiated agreements with companies such as McDonalds, Coca Cola, Pepsico and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. She served earlier as a research analyst for the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services and in the Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Brown enrolled in the first capstone seminar of the Shepherd Program on Poverty at W&L. After graduation in 1998, she attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. She will address “A Systems Approach to the Obesity Epidemic.”

On Aug. 1, Dr. Jonathan Wortham (W&L’04), a medical officer with the Outbreak Investigators Team at the Centers for Disease Control, will lead a discussion on the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation.”

On Aug. 3, SIP interns, faculty and staff will gather at W&L’s Science Center for a day of presentations and discussion about the interns’ summer experiences. The interactions will provide students with the opportunity to learn from each other about the diversity of settings they worked in, the chance to deliberate how their internships will affect their future college course choices, and the career and educational paths they might follow.

“Through these internships, students from SHECP institutions benefit from a wide range of experiences with agencies that tackle issues of poverty in rural and urban communities,” said Elrod. “Some of the agencies that host our students have been part of our program for many years, while others have been developed based on changing student interests and through connections from institutions that are part of SHECP. All are designed to meet vital needs of our partner agencies, while giving our students the opportunity to explore the fields of law, medicine, education, economic development and more.

“Through the SHECP symposia, we aim to inform students, faculty, and the public about the causes and remedies of recalcitrant poverty that we can reduce,” Elrod added. “Sandra Hassink, Elaine Waxman and Victoria Kumpuris Brown will help us understand and address the problem of child poverty at one of its most sensitive points, the health of our children.”

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Eric Schwen ’15 is Apker Award Finalist

Eric Schwen ’15, a Washington and Lee University valedictorian and physics major from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, has been chosen as a finalist for the American Physical Society’s LeRoy Apker Award, recognizing outstanding achievements in physics by an undergraduate.

The Apker Award is considered the highest award for undergraduate physics research in the U.S.

As a finalist, Schwen receives a $2,000 honorarium and a certificate, and W&L’s physics department receives $1,000. If ultimately selected a winner, Schwen would receive $5,000, a certificate and a travel allowance to attend the award presentation, and W&L’s physics department would receive $5,000.

Two Apker winners can be chosen annually at the society’s discretion, one to a student at a Ph.D.-granting college or university and one to a student from a non-Ph.D.-granting institution.

Schwen previously won a highly competitive 2014-15 Goldwater Scholarship, which promotes research careers in science, mathematics and engineering. He was a Johnson scholar, teaching assistant in W&L’s physics lab, and academic peer tutor in introductory physics and calculus. Last summer, he received a Johnson Opportunity Grant from the university to attend international physics conferences in France and Spain. Schwen has been a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and W&L’s Outing Club.

The John Warner (SSN 785): One of a Kind

Last year, about the christening of an attack submarine named in honor of John W. Warner, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1949. On Saturday, Aug. 1, it will be commissioned at Norfolk Naval Station. One of the newest Virginia-class submarines, it is the only one of its type to be named after a person.

Warner, who served Virginia for 30 years as a U.S. senator, is a World War II Navy veteran and served in the Marines during the Korean War. He became undersecretary of the Navy in 1969 and took the top post in 1972. He began his first of five terms in the U.S. Senate in 1978, and when he retired in 2009 was the second-longest-serving senator from Virginia in Senate history.

The John Warner (SSN 785) will be the 12th Virginia-class attack submarine in the fleet, according to a Navy news release. Warner’s wife, Jeanne, is the sponsor of the ship, which will be based in Norfolk, Virginia.

W&L Law Welcomes New Dean for Administration and Student Affairs

Paul B. Rollins has joined Washington and Lee University School of Law as the new associate dean for administration and student affairs.

In this position, Rollins will oversee the school’s operations in admissions, student affairs and communications. Rollins will also have significant responsibilities for institutional reporting, budget and facilities.

“Paul possesses a considerable depth of experience in various facets of law school administration,” said Brant Hellwig, who took over as Dean of W&L Law in July. “I am confident he will make significant contributions to the operations of the Law School, and he will be particularly helpful as I step into my administrative role.”

In addition to managing several administrative departments, Rollins will handle the submission of the school’s responses to the annual data requests from the American Bar Association and from U.S. News for its annual ranking of law schools. He also will assist in the preparation and administration of law school budgets and will advise on strategic planning initiatives.

Rollins joins W&L Law from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. He also has served as the Associate Dean for Administration at the University of Georgia School of Law and as the Assistant Dean for Student Services at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Prior to beginning his career in higher education administration, Rollins practiced law as a business litigation associate for Wyche, Burgess, Freeman & Parham in Greenville, S.C., and was a judicial clerk for Judge James C. Turk of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Rollins received his J.D. from Yale University and a B.A. in political science from the University of South Carolina.

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W&L's Tommy Thetford Set to Compete at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

Washington and Lee rising sophomore Tommy Thetford of the men’s swimming team will compete in the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska on June 26-July 3, 2016.

Thetford got his Olympic Trial cut in the 50-yard freestyle event with a time of 23.15 at the Speedo Sectionals in the Central Zone Section 3 Championships held at Ohio State University on Saturday. He is the first men’s swimmer to compete at the Olympic Trials since Alex Sweet ’08.

ODAC Rookie of the Year and a First-Team All-ODAC selection, Thetford earned All-America accolades in the 50-yard freestyle (20.17) and the 100-yard freestyle (44.44) events at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships back in March. His time of 44.44 in the 100-yard freestyle set a new school record and broke Sweet’s previous record of 44.51 that was set in 2008.

W&L Law Professor David Bruck Appointed to Lead Defense Team for Dylann Roof

The federal judge overseeing the case of Dylann Roof has approved the request by his attorneys to name Washington and Lee law professor and death penalty specialist David Bruck the lead attorney for the defense team in the case.

Roof is charged with homicide as well as federal hate crimes for the shooting at the Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine dead.

In his ruling on the request, U.S. District Judge Mark Gergel wrote that “the Court finds it necessary and appropriate to appoint immediately upon indictment lead counsel “learned” in the law of capital cases. To that end, the Court hereby provisionally appoints David I. Bruck as lead counsel in this matter. Mr. Bruck, who is a member of the South Carolina Bar and Clinical Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has extensive experience representing death penalty defendants in trial and appellate courts across the United States, including cases before the United States Supreme Court.”

This is not the first time that Bruck has worked on a high-profile death penalty case. Most recently, he joined Judy Clarke, who previously served as a visiting professor at W&L Law, on the defense team for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev was found guilty and sentenced to death this year for the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Bruck and Clarke also served as co-counsel for Susan Smith, who was convicted of drowning her two small children in South Carolina in 1995. Smith eventually received a life sentence.

Bruck joined W&L in 2004 after practicing criminal law in South Carolina for nearly thirty years, where he specialized in the defense of capital cases at the trial, appellate and post-conviction stages. Since then, he has directed the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, a clinical program at W&L Law that serves as a resource center for court-appointed defense counsel at the pretrial and trial stages of death penalty cases throughout Virginia.

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Campus Spaces Named for Three W&L Legends

Three legendary campus figures with more than 105 years of service to Washington and Lee University will have parts of campus facilities named for them as they step down from their leadership positions.

Larry Boetsch ’69, professor of Romance languages and director of international education, will have the director of international education’s office suite in the new Center for Global Learning named in his honor. A term professorship, recognizing a faculty member teaching in an area related to global learning, also will be named for him. The former honor results from a leadership gift to the center; the latter comes from a private gift by an emeritus trustee and his wife. The center will consist of the renovated duPont Hall with a new addition, on the northern end of the campus.

Bill Hartog, for 37 years W&L’s dean and vice president of admissions and financial aid, will have the Gaines Hall commons area named in his honor, upon the recent approval of the Board of Trustees. The commons area is a large, elegant room used for studying, informal gathering and events in the recently renovated first-year residence hall.

Larry Peppers, dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics since 1986, will have the reading room of Huntley Hall renovated and named for him and his wife, Fran, a long-time resident of Lexington who has curated Williams School art shows since 1989 and the school’s McCarthy Gallery since 2007. Current and former members of the Williams School Board of Advisors, alumni and parents made gifts to support the renovation. The space will be dedicated to student collaboration, with three conference rooms for group study. It will also have a large area for meetings and events.

Boetsch has taught Spanish at W&L since 1976. He also served as a senior administrator from 1996 to 2003, first as dean of the college, then as vice president for academic affairs, and as acting president from 2001 to 2002. Boetsch took on a four-year assignment in Berlin, Germany, as president of the European College of Liberal Arts (ECLA), now Bard College/Berlin. He returned to W&L to teach Spanish and become director of the Center for International Education, and lead a strategic planning effort for international education, which became “Redefining Liberal Arts Education: Global Learning for Washington and Lee in the 21st Century.” The Center for Global Learning is one outcome of the plan. He is a co-founder and executive director of the European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS), a network of liberal arts and sciences colleges and programs in the European Union. The Board of Trustees established the Laurent and Elizabeth Boetsch Honor Scholarship in 2002 to recognize the leadership he provided as the 23rd president of W&L.

Hartog’s years at W&L included the university’s evolution from a largely regional to internationally prominent institution and its transition from men only to fully coeducational. The university’s position as a national and international liberal arts university grew consistently throughout his tenure, attracting exceptional students known for their academic and personal qualifications. Hartog helped establish the university’s Johnson Scholarship Program, created to attract students with extraordinary academic and personal promise, regardless of their ability to afford tuition and other expenses. He is known throughout the country as a leader in the field of admissions and financial aid.

Peppers joined Washington and Lee as dean of what was then the School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics in 1985, faced with the retirement of many faculty giants. He recruited able successors who were well matched to the needs of the school and the interests of its students, while supporting W&L’s overall liberal arts mission. By 2014, the university’s four most popular majors were taught in the Williams School. Early on, he recognized the need for, and advantage of, student internships in securing professional placement, and he encouraged creation of an advisory board to make them available at such high levels as the New York Stock Exchange. He also promoted a Spring Term politics program in Washington, D.C., studies in entrepreneurship, the W&L Student Consulting project of free services to small businesses and the AdLib on-campus advertising symposium. He was recognized with the endowment of the Crawford Family Deanship in 2009.

Katterhagen Named ODAC Nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year

Recent Washington and Lee graduate Jillian Katterhagen (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) has been selected as the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s 2015 representative for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

A four-year letterwinner and a captain in her senior season for the women’s track and field team, Katterhagen was one of 147 honorees selected from among a record 480 individuals nominated for the award, which honors senior female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.

Katterhagen earned degrees in politics and history, and she recently received the Marjorie Berkley Award as the ODAC’s top female scholar-athlete. The 2015 William McHenry Scholar-Athlete as the top female Scholar-athlete at W&L, Katterhagen was a six-time ODAC champion in the pole vault, racking up a total of 10 All-ODAC citations during her career.

Katterhagen also competed in the 60 meter hurdles, the 100 meter hurdles and the long jump, and she was a member of the 4×100 meter relay team. She holds the school record for the outdoor pole vault at 3.60 meters. Katterhagen is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa, and she served as a University Peer Tutor. She will enter law school at Stanford this fall.

The honorees represent college athletes from 18 different sports spanning all three NCAA divisions. Of those recognized, 57 honorees competed in Division I, 39 competed in Division II and 51 competed in Division III.

The Woman of the Year selection committee will next select the Top 10 honorees in each division. These Top 30 honorees will be announced in early September. The Selection committee will then choose and announce the top nine finalists (three from each division) at the end of September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote from amongst those nine finalists to determine the 2015 Woman of the Year.

W&L Magazine, Summer 2015: Vol. 91 | No. 2

Read Online »

In This Issue:

  • “I Knew W&L Was Very Rare”: Larry Peppers on 29 Years at the Williams School
  • “Our Distinctions Are Still the Same”: Bill Hartog on 37 Years of Admissions at W&L

General Stats

  • By the Numbers: 5 Staff Members, 1 Tree, 1 Lectern

Speaker’s Corner

  • Phi Beta Kappa Welcomes 64 Initiates
  • Mock Con, Institute for Honor, Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar and Contact Committee Bring Notable Speakers to Campus

Along the Colonnade

  • The Class of 2015 Sets Sail
  • President Ken Ruscio ’76 to Step Down in 2016
  • Larry Connolly ’79 Joins Board of Trustees
  • Digitized Archives of the Ring-Tum-Phi Now Available Online
  • Noteworthy
  • Straughan Named New Crawford Family Dean of Williams School
  • Leading the Way
  • W&L Students Learn Realities of Criminal Justice System Alongside Inmates
  • Books and CDs
  • Congratulations, Retirees

Lewis Hall Notes

  • Brant Hellwig Takes the Helm as Dean of W&L Law School

Generals’ Report

  • Year in Review

Alumni Profiles

  • Down from the Ivory Tower: Tanya Pergola ’90
  • Medical Call: Dr. Jonathan Wortham ’04


  • SABU Reunion
  • Alumni Weekend
  • W&L Traveller: Wildlife Safari in Botswana
  • A Family Affair
  • This Is Who We Are