Melissa Lane to Lecture at Washington and Lee University for The Ethics for Citizenship Series
Melissa S. Lane, the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. The event is free and open to the public.
Lane will speak on “The Democratic Ethics of Communicating Climate Change: Insights from Aristotle.”
Her talk is part of the year-long series on The Ethics of Citizenship and is sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. For more information about this series, see: http://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2015-2016-the-ethics-of-citizenship.
Lane is also an associated faculty member in the departments of classics and philosophy. Prior to joining Princeton, she was a senior research fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and associate director of the Centre from History and Economics at King’s College.
Recent publications include “The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter” (2015) and “Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue and Sustainable Living” (2012).
Lane is co-convener of Princeton Climate Futures based at the Princeton Environmental Institute. She was previously co-convener of Communicating Uncertainly: Science, Institutions and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change sponsored by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.
She was named a 2012 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for a project on The Rule of Knowledge: Platonic Psychology and Politics. While on leave from Princeton in 2012–13, she was a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
Lane received her A.B. in social studies from Harvard University and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Cambridge.
The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is the fitting home.”
“I always wanted a bookstore,” said Tyrone Fine Books owner Harry Goodheart in an interview with The Tyron (North Carolina) Daily Bulletin.
Before opening the doors of his store, Harry, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1966, served in the Air Force for three years, including one in Vietnam, and then attended law school. He was a trial lawyer for 20 years before switching to mediation, which he still practices. “I decided to give up confrontation and arguing. I’d rather help people peacefully resolve their differences as a mediator,” he explained.
Always a book lover, he read “The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe” at an early age, and in the mid-1990s decided to more actively scout rare books and bookstores for his own pleasure. In 2005, he opened what he calls “Harry’s Folly” with 6,000 of his own books. “I enjoy the tactile pleasure of a book not possible with a screen,” he said. “Electronic books are neither good nor bad, just another medium, and I am for anything that gets people to read.”
His discoveries have included Mickey Mouse first editions, a 1816 edition of “The Travels of Ali Bey,” a Dublin pirated edition of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and a 1731 edition of “Gulliver’s Travels.”
“The excitement was the hunt,” he said. “The pay-off was the satisfaction of completing a collection. It was an afterthought to sell anything.”
Author Jonathan Horn to Focus on Lee at Washington College
Lee Chapel and Museum presents “Remembering Robert E. Lee” with a speech by author and former White House presidential speech writer Jonathan Horn on Oct. 12 at 12:15 p.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium.
Horn will speak about “Lee at Washington College: The Link and the Legacy.” The public is invited at no charge.
There will be a book signing of Horn’s book, “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington” at 10:30 a.m. in the Lee Chapel Museum Shop the morning of his talk. The book will be available for purchase at that time.
Horn’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, The New York Times “Disunion” series, The Weekly Standard, and other outlets. He has appeared on MSNBC, the PBS NewsHour, C-SPAN and the BBC radio. “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington” was on the Washington Post bestseller list.
During his time at the White House, Horn served as a speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush. He is a graduate of Yale University.
“For generations, Washingtons and Lees had lived along the Potomac,” said Horn. “Lee’s father was Washington’s most famous eulogist, author of the famous words ‘first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’ Meanwhile, Lee’s father-in-law was George Washington’s adopted son.”
Horn continued, “These connections were so powerful at the start of the Civil War that an emissary for the Lincoln administration actually tried to persuade Lee to accept command of the main Union army by arguing that the country looked to Lee as ‘the representative of the Washington family.’ Lee’s place in history today would be very different had he accepted that offer instead of casting his fate with Virginia.”
Career Paths: Amanda Fisher ’16L
Amanda Fisher is a third-year law student at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Originally from Ashburn, Virginia, she graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2013 where she majored in Finance and Management. While at USC, Amanda served as a University Ambassador and was an active member of her sorority.
After her 1L year, Amanda interned with a tech startup, Main Street Genome in Washington, DC, and served as a research assistant. Amanda spent this past summer in the General Counsel’s office at SPARC, a high tech firm specializing in software development, in Charleston, SC.
At W&L, Amanda is a Law Ambassador, Student Bar Association 3L Vice President, Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment staff writer, and a member of the Women’s Law Student Organization and the Powell Lecture Board. Outside of school, Amanda enjoys watching Gamecock football, cooking, traveling, and exploring all that Southwestern Virginia has to offer.
What did you do for work this summer?
I spent the summer working at SPARC, a custom software development contractor, in Charleston, SC. I worked in the Corporate Counsel’s office and experienced a wide variety of legal issues.
How did you find/get this position?
Having gone to undergrad at the University of South Carolina, SPARC was brought to my attention through college classmates living in Charleston. I sent a LinkedIn message to the Head Corporate Counsel inquiring about the potential to intern in the office. After a series of emails and a Skype interview, I secured the position and headed south.
Describe your work experience.
A large percentage of SPARC’s business is government contracting. Thus, I was exposed to that world for the first time. I primarily worked with other government contractors and was solely in charge of negotiating Non-disclosure Agreements and Teaming Agreements with our partners. I also assisted in a number of other steps in the proposal process. A smaller percentage of the business includes commercial undertakings. These relationships had a very different structure and required different agreements.
Apart from the contracts work with company outsiders, we were faced with a number of internal legal issues as well. I was able to experience a mediation with a former client, and an employment dispute. We also conducted an audit of a quasi-Employee Stock Option Plan, for which my Securities Regulation course had been a great introduction.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
One of my biggest takeaways of the summer was an understanding of the complexity of the role of General or Corporate Counsel. There are both internal and external people, such as outside counsel, to work with. There are legal concerns for the company both internally and externally. A delicate balance was required to manage all of the issues and people at once. My summer experience has made me more interested in the role of Corporate Counsel and I hope to use my third year at W&L to become more prepared to take on such a role after graduation.
Career Paths: Paul Judge ’16L
Paul Judge went to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant out of ROTC. He is now a 1stLieutenant in the United States Army. He plans to enter the JAG Corps after graduation. At W&L, he is a Lead Articles Editor on the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduation, he will be clerking for Judge Margaret Ryan on the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, a federal Art. I appellate court in Washington, DC.
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked for the United States Army at Fort Hood, Texas. Specifically, the 1stCavalry Division, Division Artillery, Brigade Judge Advocate Office.
How did you find/get this position?
I applied to the Army’s 2L intern program. I am an Army officer and obligated to serve in the Army post-graduation.
Describe your work experience.
I researched a complicated complaint regarding retaliation; assisted with preparing arguments, witness interviews, and litigation strategy for two courts-martial, two administrative separation boards, and one pre-trial confinement hearing; reviewed case files; researched and drafted memoranda analyzing case law and advising commanders on whether to proceed with prosecution; drafted seven charge sheets; drafted a memorandum on a complicated issue involving consumer fraud.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
Developing strategies in the courtroom; advising commanders on military justice matters; witnessing attorneys in Secret-Classified environments conduct operational law exercises (basically telling commanders whether or not they can drop a bomb on a target); legal research and writing.
What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?
Criminal Law, Evidence and Criminal Procedure, mostly. Virtually everything we did was either criminal law under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or administrative law under other army regulations. My experience externing with the Army JAG Corps Trial Defense Services the previous summer at Fort Hood was invaluable.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
The sheer amount of evidence and procedure necessary to bring a trial to court-martial surprised me. The entire process took months and months, even years, between the actual criminal conduct that occurred and the trial itself. I underestimated how difficult it was to get evidence to be admitted and to use it at trial. We had tons of people come in accusing other people, but so much of that was inadmissible, or we wouldn’t be able to get them to testify, or they weren’t specific enough… And so on. Getting evidence to use at trial is way harder than I thought it would be.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
I already knew I wanted to be a JAG. In fact, I have to be, I am contractually obligated. It has, however, helped me develop a plan for managing my career in the Army; where I want to be stationed, what kind of jobs I want, etc.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I am taking the Poverty Law Practicum in the Spring. The consumer fraud issue I worked with was highly concerning to me. Here was a soldier who had been fraudulently exploited by her husband, who opened a credit card in her name. As a result, she ended up racking up tons of credit card debt. She had very few options when she walked in the Legal Assistance office for help. If we didn’t help her, that was it; she would be unfairly on the hook for thousands of dollars. That scenario opened my eyes to the issues that many people face without adequate legal redress. I want to be in a position to help people like that in the future.
Career Paths: Elaine McCafferty ’16L
Elaine McCafferty is from Newtown, Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Psychology and Philosophy. Elaine is a Burks Scholar and Lead Articles Editor on the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduation, Elaine will work as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell.
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked as a summer associate for Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP in New York City.
How did you find/get this position?
The Office of Career Strategy connected me with S&C’s recruiting department. I emailed my application to the Chief Legal Recruiting & Professional Development Officer and flew there for an interview.
Describe your work experience.
I gained experience in a breadth of practice areas, including mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, financial services investigations, and employment law. Most of my assignments entailed researching a legal question and writing a memorandum, but I also drafted letters to clients and estate planning instruments. I also took advantage of professional development opportunities, such as workshops that focused on legal writing, negotiation skills, and taking and defending depositions. Finally, I enjoyed social events with other summer associates; I attended a Yankees game, The Tempest at Shakespeare in the Park, and dined at some of Manhattan’s best restaurants.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
During a writing workshop, the speaker, Dianne Rosky, stressed the importance of summarizing the conclusion at the outset of a memorandum or email. And, interestingly, she described this as practicing empathy; a good writer understands that busy readers need a concise, easy-to-find statement of the conclusion. This resonated with me because empathy is also one of the most important qualities for practicing law. Because clients, opposing parties, and judges do not always communicate the considerations driving their decisions, lawyers must put themselves in the shoes of others. The importance of empathy was the most important skill I developed this summer.
What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?
Civil Procedure, Conflicts of Law, and Publicly Held Businesses. I strongly recommend Publicly Held Businesses to anyone pursuing a career at a large law firm, it provides a fundamental understanding of how corporations work, which is invaluable for practicing litigation or transactional law. Regarding Civil Procedure, I researched the feasibility of contesting personal jurisdiction for two different matters. Last, I researched whether a U.S. court was likely to apply the privilege law of the United States or another nation in an international dispute. The material I learned in these courses was a tremendous asset for completing these assignments.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
Every matter I worked on concerned parties or law of another nation. Resolving the inevitable conflicts of law questions in international disputes is challenging, but cultural differences and the clash of perspectives between attorneys from different legal systems is a fascinating and challenging aspect of international disputes.
Has this experience helped you figure out post-graduate plans, and if so, how?
I accepted an offer from S&C to join their litigation practice group in New York City. Working for a large law firm seemed daunting, but everyone I met was friendly and supportive. I completed a lot of litigation assignments and feel confident that litigation is the right path for me.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I hold myself to a very high standard after working at S&C. At S&C, everyone I worked with went above and beyond for every project. It was a pleasure to work with such dedicated attorneys and it motivated me to devote myself to every case I work on.
Daniel Sharfstein to Deliver 2015 Hendricks Law and History Lecture
On Thursday, October 8, Daniel Sharfstein, professor of law and history at Vanderbilt, will deliver the 2015 Hendricks Lecture in Law and History. The title of Sharfstein’s talk is “Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph’s Encounter with the Administrative State after Reconstruction.”
The lecture will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.
Sharfstein’s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the U.S. He received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work on a book-length exploration of post Reconstruction America, “Thunder in the Mountains: The Clash of Two American Legends, Oliver Otis Howard and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.” His book “The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White” won the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for excellence in non-fiction as well as the Law & Society Association’s 2012 James Willard Hurst Jr. Prize for socio-legal history, the William Nelson Cromwell Book Prize from the American Society for Legal History, and the Chancellor’s Award for Research from Vanderbilt.
His article, “Atrocity, Entitlement, and Personhood in Property” won the Association of American Law Schools 2011 Scholarly Papers Competition. His writing has also appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, New York Times, Slate, Washington Post, Economist, American Prospect and Legal Affairs. For his research on civil rights and the color line in the American South, Sharfstein was awarded an Alphonse Fletcher, Sr., fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Raoul Berger Visiting Fellowship in Legal History at Harvard Law School. He has twice won the Law School’s Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award.
A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, he was a law clerk for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Rya W. Zobel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He was also an associate at Strumwasser & Woocher, a public interest law firm in Santa Monica, California. Prior to law school, he worked as a journalist in West Africa and Southern California.
The Law and History lecture series at W&L was endowed by alumnus Pete Hendricks (’66A, ’69L), who has a private practice in Atlanta specializing in land use zoning and government permitting. A history major himself, Hendricks also endowed the Hendricks History Major Stipend Fund and the Ollinger Crenshaw Prize in History at the University several years ago in honor of his favorite professor.
The event is sponsored by the W&L Center for Law and History.
W&L's Strong Comments on Republican Debate in Richmond Times-Dispatch
The following opinion piece by Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Sept. 25, 2015, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.
Donald and the Dictionary
It began with twaddle.
I was watching the CNN Republican presidential debate last week and simultaneously doing research about a 19th-century argument over issues in higher education. While the candidates were busily responding to all the insults that had accumulated since their previous debate, I was reading one college administrator criticizing another for proposed curriculum reforms that were “twaddle from beginning to end.”
It was clear that twaddle was a pejorative term, but it wasn’t one I knew. With one eye on the proceedings in Simi Valley, I did a quick check on my iPad for the definition of twaddle. It turns out that it means “trivial or foolish speech or writing,” a kind of nonsense.
By coincidence, my dictionary search had given me the perfect word to describe what I was watching on the television screen. Much of what passes for political speech in a presidential election season is, in fact, twaddle.
Then I searched for synonyms of twaddle and was delighted to find a long list of words that can be used to describe silly speech. There were drivel, claptrap and blather; piffle, bunk and balderdash; gibberish, hogwash, hooey, poppycock and more. There are subtle differences in meaning among those synonyms, and I actually began to enjoy the presidential debate as I tried to categorize each candidate’s comment with the best version of nonsense available from the array of words before me. Was I hearing claptrap or balderdash; drivel or piffle?
Rand Paul called much of what Donald Trump says about the appearance of others sophomoric, just before Trump made a sophomoric comment about Paul’s appearance. The word sophomoric was, unfortunately, an insult to 25 percent of the high school and college students across the country who generally behave better than Trump. But Paul went further. He said that the kind of observations and insults Trump routinely dispenses really sound like the things you hear in middle school. He might have called those insults drivel, the childish version of nonsense.
Then there was Trump’s speculation about the connection between vaccinations and autism, a serious subject that should have prompted a careful response with accurate information and sensitivity to the families with autistic children. Instead, what we got was balderdash, the form of nonsense that involves both stupidity and exaggeration.
It didn’t help when Ben Carson only gently corrected Trump about the inaccurate statements he had just made regarding the safety of vaccinations. I heard balderdash; Carson thought Trump was “a pretty good doctor.” That was piffle, which as a noun means nonsense, and as a verb means “to talk or behave feebly.”
Carly Fiorina had a very effective moment when she said that women across the country understood exactly what Trump’s comments about her face meant. But she also gave a vivid description of video footage showing Planned Parenthood doctors hovering over a squirming fetus while discussing the harvesting of brain tissue. No one has proved that such video footage exists. Asserting that it does is claptrap, which one dictionary calls an “expedient for winning applause” and another calls “mendacious cant.”
My classification game was amusing for a while, but it couldn’t last for the entire three hours of the debate. I was getting ready to abandon the television when I found one more synonym for twaddle: “trumpery.”
Yes, trumpery is in the dictionary. It is an old word. Shakespeare, with a slightly different spelling, used it in the “Winter’s Tale.” It appears in sentences written by Swift, Trollope, Arnold and Scott. And what does trumpery mean? It means “showy but worthless.”
My evening was now complete. I knew exactly what I was watching on television: trumpery and twaddle, and the decline of American political discourse.
Robert A. Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University.
Annual Supreme Court Preview Examines Key Cases on High Court Docket
On Monday, faculty at Washington and Lee University will discuss several of the most compelling cases on the 2015-16 U.S. Supreme Court docket during the Law School’s annual Supreme Court Preview.
Sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the Office of Career Strategy, the event will be held on Monday, Sept. 28 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
During the panel discussion, professors from the law school and the college will analyze several key cases currently on the high court’s docket, framing the important issues of the case and explaining the routes the cases took through the lower courts before being accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The cases and participating faculty are as follows:
Prof. Al Carr will explore FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association, a case dealing with regulatory authority. The Court will determine whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reasonably concluded that it has authority under the Federal Power Act to regulate the rules used by operators of wholesale-electricity markets to pay for reductions in electricity consumption and to recoup those payments through adjustments to wholesale rates.
Prof. Ann Massie will discuss Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action case making its second trip to the Supreme Court. This time, the Court will determine whether the Fifth Circuit’s re-endorsement of the University of Texas at Austin’s use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions decisions can be sustained under this Court’s decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,
Prof. Brian Murchison will discuss Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a case involving tribal court jurisdiction. The Court will determine whether Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers, including as a means of regulating the conduct of nonmembers who enter into consensual relationships with a tribe or its members.
Prof. Todd Peppers will examine Kansas v. Gleason and Hurst v. Florida, two death penalty cases. In Kansas v. Gleason, the Court will decide whether the Eighth Amendment requires that a capital-sentencing jury be affirmatively instructed that mitigating circumstances “need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” as the Kansas Supreme Court held in this case, or instead whether the Eighth Amendment is satisfied by instructions that, in context, make clear that each juror must individually assess and weigh any mitigating circumstances. The Hurst case explores whether Florida’s death sentencing scheme violates the Sixth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment in light of this Court’s decision in Ring v. Arizona.
Prof. Mark Rush will discuss Evenwel v. Abbott, a voting rights case. The Court will determine whether the three-judge district court correctly held that the “one-person, one-vote” principle under the Equal Protection Clause allows States to use total population, and does not require States to use voter population, when apportioning state legislative districts.
A Controversial Canonization
During Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., he held a mass on Sept. 23 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., to canonize the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra as a saint.
Deborah Miranda, the John Lucian Smith Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, is among those who have criticized the Pope’s actions. Earlier this year, she told The New York Times, “Serra did not just bring us Christianity. He imposed it, giving us no choice in the matter. He did incalculable damage to a whole culture.”
Serra (1713–1784), who was born in Majorca, Spain, and was an influential theological professor, founded the first missions in California, which converted tens of thousands of Indians along the West Coast. Once baptized, they were not allowed to leave the missions, and those who fled were rounded up by soldiers and returned.
Miranda, who is a mestiza (she describes herself as half Indian, half white), has continued to voice her opposition in an interview with National Catholic Register and in interviews with the BBC and CNN. She also traveled to D.C., joining a delegation of Californians as a representative of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area, which held a press conference to explain its opposition to Serra’s canonization.
Miranda is the author of “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir” (2013), which won the 2014 gold medal for autobiography/memoir, in the family legacy category, in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPYs. She also has a blog, Bad Ndns, where she posts about Native American issues.
“Free Spirit” Sculpture Graces Campus Green
The kinetic outdoor sculpture “Free Spirit,” by Drew Klotz, a nationally recognized creator of wind sculptures, has been donated to Washington and Lee University by the parents of Kelsey Durkin, the student who died in a December 2013 automobile accident not far from the campus.
Laura and Jay Durkin, of New Canaan, Connecticut, commissioned the wind-activated sculpture in memory of their daughter for display in the new campus green linking Graham-Lees and Gaines halls across West Washington Street.
The sculpture was delivered and installed Sept. 18 in the under-construction campus green, which will be completed in time for Parents and Family Weekend, Oct. 2.
Soon after the accident that took Kelsey Durkin’s life and injured 10 other students driving back from an off-campus party, the Durkins approached the university about donating a sculpture by Klotz, whose Connecticut studio is located near their home. They felt that the aluminum and stainless steel rings of the statue evoke wristbands worn by students after the accident as part of the Promise for Kelsey campaign.
Sidney Evans, W&L’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the movement of the piece is “engaging and captivating, much like Kelsey, who was actively involved in campus life. It serves as a reminder of her spirit, her laughter and her character. The sculpture’s location on the campus green, the center of the first-year neighborhood, recalls Kelsey’s heart for working with first-year students.” Durkin led pre-orientation Volunteer Venture trips for three years and served as a Rho Gamma, a sorority recruitment counselor for first-year women.
W&L Junior Named Young Ambassador of German Academic Exchange Service
Matthew Carl, a junior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, has been selected as a participant in the German Academic Exchange Service’s Young Ambassadors Program for 2015-16.
The Young Ambassadors Program honors students who have studied, researched or interned in Germany during the previous academic year by naming them liaisons for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the U.S. and Canada. Carl spent summer 2014 at the Universität Bayreuth, taking classes in German, playing with a local soccer club and traveling around Germany in his spare time.
Carl, a German and economics major and mathematics minor from Edmond, Oklahoma, joined 35 other college students from around North America in New York for a four-day seminar in August on the knowledge and skills needed to promote study and research in Germany. The Young Ambassadors learned about the German higher education and research system, as well as the range of funding opportunities offered by DAAD. Special emphasis was placed on refining public speaking and presentation skills and meeting people.
During the coming academic year, Young Ambassadors will work with their own university’s study abroad offices, volunteering at study abroad fairs, organizing classroom visits and information sessions, and answering fellow students’ questions.
“Washington and Lee is proud of Matthew for being selected as an Ambassador,” said Daniel A. Wubah, the university’s provost. “It demonstrates our students’ engagement in global learning, which is key to their future success.”
Carl says that personal growth and international friendships were the most rewarding aspects of his summer studying in Germany.
“Even more powerful than the academic component of studying abroad was the chance to engage with my peers outside of the classroom, learn first-hand about German culture, and challenge my opinions on political, economic and philosophical issues,” he says. “I count long discussions at the dinner table as some of my best memories from my stay in Germany.
Carl plans to return to Germany next spring and summer to conduct research or work as an intern.
Investigative Reporter Stephen Kurkjian to Give Talk at W&L
Acclaimed investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian will deliver a talk at Washington and Lee University on Sept. 28 at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.
Kurkjian will speak about “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist,” the title of his book which chronicles the investigation into the theft of $500 million in art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than 25 years ago. His talk is free and open to the public.
This event is hosted by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.
A 40-year veteran of the Boston Globe working mostly as an investigative journalist, Kurkjian specialized in writing about political and government corruption and art theft.
He began his career covering local news. In 1969, he covered Senator Ted Kennedy’s fatal accident on Martha’s Vineyard Chappaquiddick Island and the Woodstock Rock Festival.
Kurkjian was a founding member of The Globe’s investigative Spotlight Team, later becoming its editor. As a member, he shared in three Pulitzer prizes. In 1986, he was appointed chief of The Globe’s Washington bureau and covered the Justice Department, Supreme Court and the first Bush White House, among other beats.
After returning to Boston, he became the paper’s first project editor, overseeing investigative reporting, including inadequate mental health services for Massachusetts prisoners, the Rhode Island rock club fire which killed 100 people and the theft of numerous paintings, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, from the Gardner Museum in Boston.
After his retirement in 2007, Kurkjian wrote “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist” (2015). He has also written and spoken on the Armenian genocide of 1915, a horrific massacre by the Ottoman Turkish Empire of more than a million Armenians, including Kurkjian’s grandfather.
He received a B.A. from Boston University and is a graduate of Suffolk Law School.
Let’s Talk: The Ben and Morey Show
What can you do with an English major from Washington and Lee University? Ben Oddo and Morey Hill, 2012 graduates of W&L, have put their skill with words to use as hosts of a new late-night-talk-show at Centennial Park Black Box Theatre, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Both have day jobs: Morey works for a public relations firm, and Oddo works for a digital TV start-up. Their act caught the attention of Nashville Scene, which profiled the two in its online publication. “We are kind of goofy guys and like to entertain an audience,” said Morey. “We have a good bit of natural repartee — chemistry — between the two of us. But also, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on in Nashville, and I think almost anyone has a story, whether it’s the mayor or the cook from Brown’s Diner.”
The Ben & Morey Show, a weekly talk-variety show, has a band (Dr. Soul’s Wholly Funk Band), and they’ve hosted recent mayoral candidate Charles Robert Bone, media executive Rex Hammock, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Denice Hicks, Music City Burlesque’s Freya West, cartoon producer David Campbell (Doug), Santa (of Santa’s Pub), Hippie Radio’s Chris Lucky, marionette artist Phillip Huber, attorney David King and film producer Coke Sams.
Right now, the show is a live theater production, but a website and live streaming are in the works. Check out their show’s promotional video on YouTube.
Washington and Lee Students Create Symposium for Undergraduate Research in the Digital Humanities
On Nov. 6-8, Lenny Enkhbold and Lizzy Stanton, juniors at Washington and Lee University, will attend the inaugural Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities (UNRH) symposium at Davidson College to present their work with W&L Professor Paul Youngman on creating a web-based map of railway travel portrayed in 19th-century German Realist literature (read more about their research here). They also have another connection to the symposium — they created it.
The idea grew out of discussions the two had in August with their peers about the role of the undergraduate in faculty research while attending a week-long digital humanities workshop, the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS), at Hamilton College.
“As students, we invest a significant portion of our time and skills into these research projects,” explained Enkhbold. “It gives us a certain authority to present at conferences like the ILiADS, but there isn’t enough institutional support for undergraduates doing research in the humanities, and we’d like to change that. This symposium gives us a physical platform for students to network and share their digital humanities projects.”
Youngman, who also chairs W&L’s Digital Humanities Working Group, sees his students’ involvement in creating a symposium for other undergraduates as an exciting development. “ILiADS was the first conference that either Lizzie or Lenny had attended, and part of the educational experience for them was to not only present their work to other scholars, but to also see firsthand the kinds of collaborations going on at other institutions. To have them take the lead in continuing to engage undergraduates in research in the digital humanities is fantastic.” The two will appear as co-authors on the paper he is writing about their research results.
In the past few years, more faculty at W&L have been incorporating digital humanities into their pedagogy and research, and in July, the university received an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop new methods of teaching the humanities using technology. “Digital humanities offers faculty and students in a liberal arts environment useful tools and techniques — data mining, text and network analysis and data visualization,” said Youngman. “Text is no longer the only medium the world uses to acquire information. The printed word is becoming more and more embedded in a digital platform, and these methods open up entirely new ways of approaching the objects of our research.”
He added, “Today’s world is collaborative and data-driven, and we need to build our students’ skills in computer literacy, research, writing and presentation, which will serve them well in the job market. Having our students work with us on digital humanities projects is one way to meet those objectives.”
As co-hosts for the UNHR symposium, Enkhbold and Staunton are already putting those kinds of skills to work. Along with students from Davidson, Hope College, Grinnell College, Antioch College and Cornell College, they crafted a mission statement for the symposium, determined a location and created a web page (unrh.org). Plans are underway to find a keynote speaker, choose participants and finalize the schedule. One of the greatest challenges was communicating the call for proposals to interested students. “Each member of the team contacted 10 to 15 schools,” said Stanton. “We wanted to encourage as many students to apply as possible, because we think participating in this symposium is an important part of their education.”
In addition to urging students to network at the symposium, Enkhbold and Staunton have planned sessions for their peers to develop professional skills, as well as discussion groups on the current undergraduate research model and ways to change it. “We talked a lot about these issues at ILiADS,” said Enkhbold, “and we hope to continue those conversations in November. As more students become involved in digital scholarship, we’d like to provide them with guidelines on payment, academic credit and scholarly recognition.”
Applications for Public Policy and Government Trip Due Sept. 18
The Williams School, in partnership with the Office of Career Development, will again run its public policy and government trip to Washington, D.C. over Reading Days. The trip runs from Oct. 14-16, and applications are due Friday, Sept. 18.
While in the District, students will visit the offices of approximately a dozen alumni who work for congressional offices, lobbying firms, think tanks, trade associations, not-for-profits, federal agencies, public interest groups and more. Places students visited last year included Congress, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the State Department.
On each visit, alumni speak candidly about their educational and professional experiences and students are invited to ask questions. In many cases, alumni will also share information about upcoming internship and employment opportunities with their organizations. A highlight of the trip is a networking dinner the university hosts for students, alumni and friends of the program.
The trip is particularly well suited for those students who are considering or currently undertaking an economics or politics major, but it is open to any undergraduate student with an interest in careers in public policy and government, regardless of class year or major.
The bus leaves for D.C. on Wed., Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. and arrives back in Lexington on Fri., Oct. 16 at approximately 10 p.m. The trip costs $500 and includes transportation, accommodations in Dupont Circle and breakfast on both Thursday and Friday mornings, as well as dinner on Thursday evening. Students are responsible for covering all other meals on their own.
Visit careers.wlu.edu and click on LexLink to apply. Search Job ID 2764. A small number of opportunity grants are available for students who demonstrate financial need. Please contact Dean Beanland before the application deadline if you believe you qualify for an award and wish to be considered. Please contact Dean Beanland at (540) 458-8604 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
W&L Law’s Murchison Celebrates the Liberal Arts in Convocation Address
In “The Liberal Arts in Practice,” his address to the Sept. 9 opening convocation of the 2015–2016 academic year at Washington and Lee University, Brian C. Murchison told the audience of first-year students, undergraduate seniors and third-year law students that the liberal arts at W&L are about “the enlargement of mind and soul, the process of questioning and discovering the meaning and worth of things, and ultimately about defining what it is to be human and what it is to take up civic and moral responsibility.”
Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law, has taught at W&L’s School of Law since 1982. His subject matter includes administrative law, mass media law, jurisprudence, torts, and contemporary problems in law and journalism. He served as the acting dean of the School of Law from 2006 to 2007.
Calling it “a product of liberal arts collaboration at its best,” Murchison used as his touchstone this year’s 20th anniversary of the W&L Black Lung Clinic, wherein law students represent coal miners and their survivors who are pursuing federal black lung benefits. He served as a supervising attorney for the clinic from 1996 to 1999.
Murchison told the audience, which also included the W&L faculty, how the clinic took root in the early 1990s with a W&L law course taught by Andrew “Uncas” McThenia. The James P. Morefield Professor of Law Emeritus at W&L, McThenia is a member of the W&L undergraduate class of 1958 and law class of 1963. The course, which Murchison attended, examined a West Virginia mine disaster from 1969, a subsequent strike, and the eventual passage of a law to compensate miners with occupational lung disease. The students and Murchison learned that nevertheless, 20 years later, disabled coal miners rarely won such cases against their former employers.
“Liberal arts learning can be like this,” said Murchison. “It can begin with an intensive study of facts or ideas, and the encounter with the reality of a time and place can stick in your mind. Sometimes, when the class is done and the semester is over, it’s not really done, it’s not really over. A liberal arts experience can haunt a student whose mind has been opened, even a crack. We were definitely haunted.”
After the conclusion of the course, McThenia and other law professors pursued the establishment of the Black Lung Clinic at W&L to handle the coal miners’ claims. They realized that the participating students would have to dive into many fields besides the law: history, sociology, biology, poetry, literature and written and oral communication.
“Putting all of this together is one of the things that liberal education makes possible,” said Murchison. “And the good news is that a number of people on this campus, from different disciplines, helped to make this integration a reality and to bring the clinic alive.”
Murchison touted the critical role that writing plays in a liberal arts education. “The clinical experience was very much an engagement with writing,” he remembered. “Not just things we had to read, but sentences we had to write.”
On that topic, he related an anecdote from his own senior year, at Yale University. “When it comes to writing,” Murchison said, “in some corner of my soul is the voice of a man I learned from in college, William Zinsser.” The renowned journalist and nonfiction writer, who died in May of this year, taught nonfiction writing at Yale and was the master of Murchison’s residential college. Although he had not taken a class from Zinsser, Murchison sought his advice when he was pondering whether to keep going with school, to teach or to enter the Peace Corps. Zinsser asked him, “Which of these things would present the most challenge?”
“I suppose is always the question of the liberal arts,” said Murchison. “Where can you best enlarge your mind, your sympathies, your participation in the world?” He chose the Peace Corps, where he enlarged his mind “so much that it hurt,” he said.
“I credit Zinsser in large part with helping me ask the right question. And of course, that is what writing does. To write a sensible sentence requires understanding your topic, asking questions about it until you’ve asked the right one. And in the Black Lung Clinic, that act of writing is the vehicle for bringing everything together in coherent, persuasive words.”
Echoing Murchison’s theme of liberal arts collaboration, the ceremony also included the University Singers performing “The Lake Isle,” by Ola Gjeilo, under the direction of Shane Lynch, associate professor of music. The composition contains stanzas from the poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” by W.B. Yeats. Marc Conner, W&L’s associate provost and the Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English, gave a mini-lecture about the Yeats piece. “This, then, is a poem that longs to go back home,” he said, “certainly an experience that many a college student will experience, whether in her first week on the new campus or at other moments during the college season.”
President Kenneth P. Ruscio presided over his final convocation, having announced in May that he will step down as president in June 2016, at the end of this academic year.
You may watch the entire convocation online.
A Students-Eye View of Higher Education Issues
Robert Strong, Hal Higginbotham and W&L’s Politics 294 Class
The pages of higher education journals and newsletters are filled with commentary by faculty and administrators, higher education experts and the journalists who cover the college beat. Given the opportunity, what would students — the people who matter most in discussions of higher education — have to say about the educational issues of the day?
During the recently completed spring term at Washington and Lee University, 15 undergraduates took a course titled College Conundrums: Issues in American Higher Education, taught by a former W&L provost and a recently retired senior vice president of the College Board. The students read about the history of higher education in American culture. They encountered the budget and equity dilemmas in admissions and financial aid. They examined the complicated factors that explain the rising costs of college and the questions about who should bear the burdens of those costs. And they developed critiques of both the Education Department’s pending system for rating institutions and the ranking formula used by U.S. News and World Report. Their end-of-term assignment was to write an op-ed essay on their choice of a major issue facing higher education today.
The following quotations are drawn from their essays, and the essays in their entirety are available by clicking on each student’s name.
“Read about higher education in the news today,” one student observed, “and it is almost guaranteed that the word ‘crisis’ will be utilized. Tuition is too high, access is too low, the admissions process is in shambles and a college education just might not be worth it.” (Shelbi Hendricks) What is to be done?
The Three-Year Degree
Several students explored the three-year degree. Although one cautioned against rushing, saying “you’re only in college once,” others saw virtue in the shorter path. One junior had decided in the fall term to accelerate his progress and complete all remaining degree requirements in one year. Though his plan involved heavy overloads and a rush to complete the college’s physical education requirement (decisions that others might characterize as insanity), he emerged confident that finishing in three years “would be a challenging but very manageable goal for motivated students who plan correctly.” (Christian von Hassell) One first-year student outlined with precision how someone could combine modest Advanced Placement credit with online courses in the summer and an occasional term-time overload to meet W&L’s existing degree requirements in three years. “It is no secret that college is expensive,” and a three-year degree could save families real money. Won’t parents put pressure on students to take this option? Maybe, she observed, but that “would just be ignoring the fact that students already receive pressure from their parents.” (Monica Musgrave)
On the negative side, one student observed that there might be no real savings for institutions because undergraduates who take “the required amount of credits at their school in three years instead of four” would be paying for three years while “still using the resources it would take to do it in four.” (Kendra Nedell) Another student wrote that a tight three-year schedule would make it harder to change majors and might not provide enough time for the growing up that usually occurs in college. “Attempting to speed up the college experience could be very harmful to students as they do not have the opportunity to fully mature and learn from their mistakes.” (Elizabeth Case) A classmate offered a different view, however, saying “it is incredibly difficult to tell a junior and senior apart on a campus based on how they comport themselves, while it is easy to tell a freshman apart from an upperclassman.” She contended that three-year-program students might mature more rapidly since “they would be forced to balance more responsibilities in a faster-paced educational system.” (Caroline Bearden)
The Minerva Project
Two students evaluated the Minerva Project’s reimagined version of liberal arts education without a campus. They liked the courses taught online to seminar-sized groups with high levels of interactivity, and they were enthusiastic about the idea of living in four different cities during the course of a college education. “Living in another country is very different from visiting one. Students have to put themselves out there and figure out their daily routines and possibly a new language.” (Ravenel Harrigan) But they questioned whether the approach would really provide significant cost savings, citing the travel and living costs associated with famous foreign cities and the projected level of personal mentoring and online instruction using a low student-to-faculty ratio.
Money and MOOCs
Money was a theme in many of the papers. For these students, the attraction of MOOCs was not the quality of education they provided, but the potential for cost savings. They recognized, however, that a key consideration was the willingness of colleges to grant MOOC participation some legitimacy. One student questioned institutions that offer MOOCs but frequently do not permit regular students to take them for credit. “Why are Harvard online courses good enough for other students but not for actual Harvard students?” (Riley Garcia)
They applauded the flexibility that MOOCs might provide to students holding full-time jobs, but doubted that online courses could fully replace the four-year residential college. “The college experience can be anything from conversations in the dining hall … to playing in your conference championship game, to going on a weekend camping trip through your school’s outing club.” (Matt Parker) For the moment, as these students see it, MOOCs can’t compete, but “when online courses can offer high-quality learning, personalized interaction and effective assessment, they will become a well-recognized form of higher education.” (Annie Boyd)
Admissions and Access
Other areas where money played a role in our students’ assessments of higher education involve admissions and loan repayment. Some highlighted the importance of better recruiting of talented low-income students who may be unaware that they would qualify for admission and financial aid at high-quality institutions. “Students from low-income families are significantly less likely to earn a four-year degree by age 24 than students from well-off families; even poor students who score between 1200 and 1600 on the SAT are 40 percent less likely to earn a degree than students from wealthy families.” (Hannah Hoskin). “If low-income students had the information and assistance, they would apply and attend schools that fit their academic and economic needs. … Politicians should focus efforts and money on creating the services to change” the match between students and institutions. (Hayley Price)
In response to the stronger competitive situation that might flow from this outreach, one student proposed the elimination of alumni preferences in admissions to open more seats to talented students from every background. “Preferential treatment creates a dynastic system where it is easier for the rich to get richer as their family name earns more power over generations.” (Jonathan Granirer)
Another student looked at the other end of the college experience and recommended expanded income-based debt repayment to reduce the burdens of loans and maintain the freedom of all students to choose majors and careers that may not generate large salaries. “There is an argument today that students going into college are too career-driven and aren’t enjoying higher education for the experience and love of learning that used to convince students to attend college.” (Maggie Sands) She saw income-based repayment as one way to help restore the balance between career and creativity.
We leave the final word with a first-year student who summarized her views on what higher education ought to be by describing the best course she had taken at Washington and Lee. It wasn’t online and it wasn’t in a classroom. It was a “conversational Spanish class with a service-learning component. A few times a week, I would go to an elementary school in a low-income area to teach Spanish. This experience benefited me and enhanced my learning in more ways than I could have imagined. …Doing work in the world is an experience I personally want more of as a student and one I think needs to be more standard in colleges.” (Mary Elizabeth Silliman)
Williams School Welcomes Nine New Faculty Members
The Williams School announces five new tenure-track faculty and four visiting appointments for the 2015-16 academic year.
The following faculty members have been appointed to tenure-track roles:
Elicia Cowins, Assistant Professor of Accounting
Cowins received her Ph.D. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was previously a visiting assistant professor at Georgia State University. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she worked in financial reporting for various publishing, media and software development companies in the southeast United States and is a CPA (inactive) licensed in the state of Illinois. She holds a B.S. in accounting from Florida A&M University and a M.Acc. from Florida State University.
Stuart Gray, Assistant Professor of Politics
Gray is a political theorist who studies the history of political thought, Greek and Indian political theory and cross-cultural political thought. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and was a post-doctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University. Gray reads and translates ancient Greek and Sanskrit and is at work on a book, “Ancient Political Thought in Comparative Perspective: Distinction and Stewardship in Greece and India.”
Chris Handy, Assistant Professor of Economics
Handy joined the university in 2013 as a visiting assistant professor and has taught courses in poverty and inequality, microeconomics, macroeconomics and applied statistics. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from Cornell University and his B.A. from Vanderbilt University. He is currently researching the volatility of workers’ earnings over time and the intergenerational persistence of schooling and earnings.
Stephen Lind, Assistant Professor of Business
Lind came to Washington and Lee University in 2013 as a visiting assistant professor. He earned his Ph.D. with distinction from Clemson University’s transdisciplinary doctoral program in rhetorics, communication and information design. Lind’s research focuses on the intersection of religion and the entertainment industry and his upcoming book, “A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz,” will be released this November.
Colin Reid, Assistant Professor of Accounting
Reid earned his Ph.D. in 2011 from the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee and was previously an assistant professor at Northeastern University. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., he worked for PwC in Dallas, Texas. Reid is a licensed CPA and received B.B.A. and M.Acc. degrees from Baylor University.
The following faculty members have been appointed on a visiting basis:
Steve Bragaw, Visiting Professor of Politics
Bragaw comes to W&L as a visitor from Sweet Briar College where he was a professor of American politics and chair of the Department of Government and International Affairs. He has taught courses in public policy, American political and legal development, social movements and the law, as well as American politics and popular culture. Bragaw studies the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in negotiating the boundaries of power and authority. He earned a master’s and Ph.D. in government from the University of Virginia and has a M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Kip Pirkle, John and Barbara Glynn Family Visiting Professor of Business Administration
Pirkle returns to W&L after previously teaching in the Department of Business Administration from 1989-2008. His tenure included a seven-year term as department head. In addition to teaching at W&L, Pirkle has taught at Furman University, Old Dominion University, the University of Georgia and the University of Iowa. He has also run a successful consulting practice, specializing in the management of quality, financial forecasting and valuation. He earned his Ph.D. in management from Clemson University after earning an accounting degree and M.B.A. from the University of Georgia.
Tom Williams, Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics
Williams earned his Ph.D. at The Johns Hopkins University where he was a James Hart Fellow. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, he was a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He teaches and researches geopolitics, international relations and civil war, and his most recent work focuses on the global patterns of civil war. He earned a B.S. from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Julie Youngman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Business Law & Adjunct Professor of Law
Youngman has practiced law for 20 years. Before joining the Williams School, she was a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At the SELC, her work focused on the protection of water quality, water quantity and coastal resources in the southeastern United States. Prior to joining the SELC, Youngman worked in private practice, most recently as a partner at Ellis & Winters LLP where she practiced commercial litigation. Youngman earned her J.D. from Duke University Law School and a M.A. from the Duke University School of the Environment.
W&L Community Remembers 9/11
Flags on the W&L campus are flying at half-staff today in remembrance of those who lost their lives 14 years ago on September 11, 2001. W&L alumni Rob Schlegel, of the Class of 1985, who died in the Pentagon, and James Gadiel, of the Class of 2000, who died in the World Trade Center, were among those lost.
Rob was on the staff of the chief of naval operations at the Pentagon and had been promoted to commander just weeks prior to the attack. James worked in the equities department of Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Exhibit of Photographs from W&L Calendars is in Kamen Gallery
Washington and Lee’s Lenfest Center for the Arts is celebrating its 25th Anniversary and is featuring work in the Kamen Gallery by Patrick Hinely, W&L Class of 1973. The exhibit, entitled “Photographs from W&L Calendars,” will continue through Dec. 15.
A reception for Hinely will be held Oct. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Kamen Gallery.
The exhibit features 25 images, going back to the first W&L calendar (1979-1980), including five film originals among 25 digital prints.
The work of University Photographer Patrick Hinely has been featured on the Washington and Lee engagement calendar for more than 30 years. The exhibition comprises imagery from W&L calendars dating from the past year back to the days of film. While some of these views could also be on postcards, Hinely prefers to think of them as “tableaux for longer-term visual edification, a set of photographic meditations about our National Historic Landmark campus, hoping they are not only moments captured but also timelessness distilled.”
When asked, Hinely believes images that can speak across decades and evoke enjoyable recollections and a feeling of ongoing connectedness to W&L need not have any further agenda. This may be one of the reasons why the W&L calendar has consistently remained so popular.
Hinely says, “It reminds us warmly of this place, as much a place in our hearts as in more tangible dimensions. It’s odd to think that some of the views seen here are already gone forever, and while all of these moments are gone forever, it is reassuring to realize that there will always be more, long after we are no longer here to see them.” Hinely feels that, year in and year out, it is the nicest thing he does for his alma mater, and takes great delight in knowing that 80 percent of the alumni who receive the calendar actually use it.
Hinely counters the oft-heard and well-meant claim that he sees things others don’t by saying that we all see the same things, he just notices them: “This is a place like no other, and I am glad to be able to share some of my glimpses of its beauty with others who love this place as I do,” Hinely said.
He continued, “Alumni of all ages have told me how particular images have spoken deeply to them, some saying they’ve even framed a few of their favorites. I always thank them for their kind words, and tell them I hope to do better next year. So that’s what I’m doing here: framing a few of my favorites. I hope to do better next year.”
Hinely offers his thanks to the Publications Office and the Lenfest Center, Kevin Remington, Mary Woodson, Susan Wager, Laurie Lipscomb, Jeremy Leadbetter, Tom Litzenburg ’57, Pat Hobbs, Kyra Swanson, Garth Deacon and all his colleagues in University Facilities, the men and women who keep W&L photogenic all year round. “Last but not least, for its ongoing sponsorship of the W&L calendar, I thank and salute W&L’s Annual Fund,” Hinely added.
Kamen Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 p.m.–5 p.m. and open during performances.
London School of Economics Fellow Dr. Awol Allo to Speak at Washington and Lee University
Awol K. Allo of the London School of Economics (LSE) will deliver a public lecture at Washington and Lee University on Sept. 17 at 4:45 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.
Allo will speak on “Law Against the State: the Courtroom as a Space of Resistance.” Refreshments will be served.
Allo’s lecture is the first of several events in a year-long seminar titled Human Rights in Africa: A Transdisciplinary Approach. The seminar has been made possible by the Center for International Educational with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other events include public lectures, book colloquia, a winter term film series and a workshop for high school students.
Allo is an LSE Fellow in Human Rights at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of critical social and legal theory, political theory, human rights, biopolitics, genealogy, performativity and resistance.
Prior to joining LSE in 2013, Allo was a lecturer in law at St. Mary’s University College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and has taught at different universities including Addis Ababa University, Glasgow University and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Allo holds an L.L.B. from Addis Ababa University, an L.L.M. in international human rights from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow.
W&L’s I’Anson Wins Grant to Study Early Obesity in Children
Helen I’Anson, professor of biology at Washington and Lee University, has won a $95,399 grant from the Commonwealth Health Research Board (CHRB) to fund one year of research into the role of snacking in the early onset of obesity in children. In making the award, the CHRB noted that I’Anson’s research could lead to the development of appropriate interventions during early childhood.
I’Anson is the John T. Perry Jr. Professor of Biology and Research Science and will conduct the study with her co-investigator, Gregg Whitworth, assistant professor of biology at W&L, and three Washington and Lee students.
“I’m really pleased to receive this grant,” said I’Anson, “because I think we need to have information about what makes children more vulnerable to the onset of early obesity. As far as I’m aware, no other group is looking into this, and all pointers suggest that this research could be really important.”
I’Anson noted that 22 percent of youth in Virginia are obese, and that snack foods account for up to 27 percent of children’s daily caloric intake. For a long time, health experts have touted small frequent meals and exercise to control weight gain. I’Anson thinks that the advice brought about the advent of snacking. “It’s very common for children and parents to carry bags of snacks, so children are constantly eating,” she said.
While the developmental period under investigation —weaning to adulthood — takes a long time in humans, rats complete this development in just six to seven weeks. So I’Anson has developed a new model for using female rats for the research.
Previous studies from other laboratories have shown that when adult humans or rats eat a high-fat diet for a few weeks, males are more adversely affected than females in terms of sensitivity to insulin, glucose tolerance, fat storage and weight gain.
I’Anson noted that if a female rat’s ovaries are removed, then she becomes as vulnerable as the adult male. With the addition of estrogen, the male rat becomes less vulnerable. “So it’s something to do with estrogen from the ovaries,” said I’Anson. “Being a developmental biologist, my first thought was that if adding estrogen makes females less vulnerable, then they must be developing their vulnerability as children, because they don’t have the sex steroid, estrogen, during the period from birth to puberty because the reproductive system is inactive.”
She continued, “It was sort of obvious to me, but nobody has checked whether the reason we have this enormous population of obese and overweight adult people is because they have probably developed the syndrome and the problems when they were children.”
In a pilot study, I’Anson’s research students gave one set of rats healthy snacks (high in fiber and protein), and another set of rats unhealthy snacks (high in fat and simple sugars). They found that rats, like children, have taste preferences and binge on snacks they like. On the days they binged, the rats gained weight. By the end of the study, they had a slightly elevated growth trajectory, meaning that they would grow to be a little bit bigger than the animals that didn’t get the snacks.
“You could say that a couple of grams is not much weight gain, but when you think about humans, if you gain a pound a year, then 10 years later you’re 10 pounds heavier than you should be. So gaining just a little bit each week is enough to make a rat bigger when it gets to be a middle-aged adult, which is when we see a lot of the problems,” explained I’Anson.
I’Anson’s research team also found that the rats had a significantly greater amount of visceral fat in their bellies, irrespective of whether they had healthy or unhealthy snacks. Visceral fat is linked to diabetes and insulin insensitivity. “This was a real surprise to us,” said I’Anson. “We thought the rats that ate the healthy snacks would be somewhere in between, but they had as much fat deposition as the unhealthy snack group, which says that having that continuous supply of food, snacks plus meals, predisposes us to store the fuel.”
According to I’Anson, the part of the brain that regulates food intake becomes unable to regulate a person’s body weight as it normally would. It starts to defend a new body weight, bigger than it should be, and tends to spiral out of control.
“So, with this new research, we are trying to find out if this idea of vulnerability during the developmental period from weaning to adulthood, when a person starts to eat proper food and potentially snacks, is true,” said I’Anson. “We’re looking for what signals are changing in the bloodstream that could be measured in humans. We’ll also be looking at protein levels and gene expression in certain genes that we think might be important in this process. Hopefully, our research will get other people interested in working in this particular area.”
The three students involved in the research work with I’Anson on all aspects of the project. They are Leslie dela Cruz, a junior biochemistry major from Jacksonville, Florida, and sophomores Candler Clawson from Columbia, South Carolina, and Steven Allen, a Johnson Scholar from King’s Mountain, North Carolina.
“This research is an interesting introduction to a professional research setting,” said dela Cruz. “One of the great lessons I’ve learned is that it’s OK to try and fail and ask a lot of questions in science. I’ve also gotten a lot of practice in translating what I’m doing and communicating it to a general audience,” she said. As an HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) Fellow, she receives two years of research opportunities, travel and other programs, made possible by a $1 million grant to Washington and Lee from HHMI.
Clawson said that her ability to participate in research influenced her decision to come to W&L. “It’s one of the few universities where undergrads, especially first-years, can get involved in research. We get hands-on experience, and a lot of the research we do on our own. We have to come up with solutions and problem solving. It contributes a lot to your understanding of how real-world applications work with research and how procedures are developed, and the implications of your actions.”
First Global Issues Seminars Will Focus on Middle East and South East Asia in 2015-16 and Brazil in 2016-17
The Center for International Education at Washington and Lee University has announced that two groups of faculty will receive support to establish Global Issues Seminars under the Global Fellows Program, which is funded with support from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation.
The Global Fellows Program is a new initiative that provides stipends to three W&L faculty members who agree to team-teach a four-week seminar that approaches a single global issue from an interdisciplinary perspective. Global Fellows propose a theme and design an intensive seminar that includes classroom instruction, public lectures with visiting international scholars and collaborative research. Each fellow receives $5,000 and a course release during the term in which the seminar takes place.
Professors Joel Blecher (religion), Seth Cantey (politics) and Shikha Silwal (economics) were named the Center’s 2015-16 Global Fellows. The three will lead faculty and student discussion in a seminar, “Tradition and Change in the Middle East and South Asia,” that explores the effects of intellectual and institutional traditions — both religious and secular — on the region’s rapid transformation. Topics will include education in India and Pakistan, the intersection of capitalism and Islam in the Persian Gulf, and the role of religion in conflict in the Levant.
“This grant provide the perfect opportunity for us to focus on understudied areas of the curriculum,” said Mark Rush, director of international education. “Our goal is to boost international programming with new courses, collaborative research grants and faculty cohort programs.”
The Center’s 2016-17 Global Fellows will be professors James Kahn (economics/environmental studies), Martin Davies (economics) and Niels-Hugo Blunch (economics). Their seminar, Complexity and Socioeconomic Transitions: A case study of Brazil and its implications for other emerging countries, will bring Brazilian scholars to campus to study the country’s economic and political development and identify the factors that contribute to Brazil’s lag behind its North American and European counterparts.
More information about the 2015-16 Global Issues Seminar will go online later this fall.
Accounting Department launches new Reading Days trip to visit Northern Virginia firms
Sophomores and juniors who are interested in careers in accounting are invited to apply for a one-day trip to Northern Virginia over Reading Days.
The program will take place at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Tysons Corner office. Alumni from BakerTilly, CohnReznick, EY, Deloitte, and PwC will provide presentations concerning the different service lines.
One session will provide an overview of the profession and its relationship to regulators. Further sessions will cover audit, tax and consulting/advisory services. During lunch, a group of second-year staff members will talk about their first-year experiences and what students can expect when working for a large accounting firm.
A bus will depart Lexington on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 a.m. and return to campus around 6 p.m. The trip is free for students but they must apply to participate. Applications will be accepted through LexLink. Visit careers.wlu.edu, click on the LexLink promo and search for job ID 2939. Applications are due Sept. 18.
The trip is sponsored by the Accounting Department, Beta Alpha Psi and Career Development and is hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
W&L Enrolls First-Year Class of 455, Will Award Financial Aid to Record Percentage
Some 455 first-year students will be among the student body when fall semester classes begin Sept. 10 at Washington and Lee University, and a record percentage of them will receive financial aid.
Forty-eight percent of the 214 women and 241 men will receive direct grant aid from W&L. The university does not make loans a part of its financial aid packages, and, under the W&L Promise, domestic students whose families earn less than $75,000 receive at least full-tuition scholarships.
Members of the first-year class hail from 39 states, with the largest delegations coming from Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, Florida and New York. Among international students, the largest groups represent China, Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Thirty-five first-years are the first members of their families to attend college, and 30 have received federal Pell grants.
The class ranks among W&L’s best-qualified. The middle 50 percent of those who took the SAT scored an average of 1960-2200. The middle 50 percent of those who took the ACT scored 30-33. Around 76 percent of the class took a calculus-based math class in high school, 74 percent studied science at least four years, and more than three-quarters studied four or more years of foreign language, including Spanish, French, Latin, German, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Arabic.
Author and NYT Columnist David Brooks to speak at W&L on Oct. 1
David Brooks, an author and a bi-weekly op-ed columnist for The New York Times, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel on W&L’s campus. It is free and open to the public.
The event will be part of the university’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s taking the oath of office as its 11th president.
Brooks will speak on “The Future of Higher Education in America.”
He is the author of three books, “The Road to Character” (2015); “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement” (2012); and “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How they Got there” (2001). He appears as a regular analyst on “PBS NewsHour” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Brooks has worked at The Weekly Standard since its beginning and now serves as senior editor. He has been a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly. He worked at the Wall Street Journal for nine years in various positions, including op-ed editor.
He holds honorary degrees from Williams College, New York University, Brandeis University and Occidental College, among others. In 2010, he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago.
His talk is sponsored by the William Lyne Wilson II Symposium Fund and the President’s Office.
H. Jefferson Powell to Give the Constitution Day Lecture at Washington and Lee University
The Constitution Day lecture at Washington and Lee University featuring H. Jefferson Powell, a professor of law at Duke University, will be Sept. 17, at 5 p.m. in the Moot Court Room, Lewis Hall.
The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Constitution as Experiment: An Interim Report.”
Powell has served as a deputy assistant attorney general and as the principal deputy solicitor general in the U.S. Department of Justice, and as special counsel to the attorney general of North Carolina.
His recent books include “The President as Commander in Chief: An Essay in Constitutional Vision” (2014) and “Constitutional Conscience: the Moral Dimension of Judicial Decision” (2008). His next book “The Law in Chains: the American Attorneys General and Slavery, 1789-1871,” is under contract with Cambridge University Press. He is the author of more than 40 articles and essays and 14 book chapters.
He has been a visiting professor at Columbia, Yale, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Iowa. His scholarship includes the history and ethical implications of American constitutionalism, the powers of the executive branch and the role of the Constitution in legislative and judicial decision-making.
Powell holds a B.A. from St. David’s University College (now Trinity St. David) of the University of Wales; an A.M. and Ph.D. from Duke University; and a J.D. and M.Div. from Yale University.
Barbara Fredrickson is Inaugural Lecturer in Questioning Passion Seminar
Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Barbara Fredrickson, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab (PEPLab) at UNC, will give the inaugural lecture in the Questioning Passion interdisciplinary seminar series at Washington and Lee University. This series will run through the 2015-2016 academic year.
Fredrickson’s lecture will be Sept. 17, at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. The title of her lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “On Passions, Positivity and Love.”
It will be streamed live online.
Her talk is also sponsored by the Root Lecture Fund which was established by Robert W. Root (W&L ’42) in 1991 to support guest speakers selected by the Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Religion.
“Barbara Fredrickson will launch the Questioning Passsion series by considering what many would call the most essential passion: love,” said Karla Murdock, Elmes Professor of Psychology at W&L. “As a psychologist whose research relies heavily on biological measures, Dr. Fredrickson’s lecture will describe how experiencing micro moments of love can be associated with physiological changes in cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, oxytocin and immune functioning. She will also describe research showing emotional benefits of learning how to foster positive micro moments of social connection.”
Fredrickson is best known for her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, which suggests that positive emotions lead to novel, expansive or exploratory behavior, and that, over time, these actions build knowledge, social relationships and physical health. Her scientific contributions have influenced scholars, readers and the business community worldwide, in disciplines ranging from finance to healthcare.
Fredrickson is the author of two books, “LOVE 2.0” (2013) and “Positivity” (2009) and the co-author of “Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology” (14th, 15th and 16th ed.). She also is the author or co-author of more than 80 peer-reviewed articles.
“LOVE 2.0” provides a new way of thinking about love in addition to romantic or passionate love but also focusing more on momentary interactions and ordinary, everyday experiences that generate love.
Fredrickson has received more than 16 consecutive years of research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Her research and teaching have been recognized with numerous honors, including, in 2000, the American Psychological Association’s inaugural Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology; in 2008, the Society for Experimental Social Psychology’s Career Trajectory Award; and in 2013, the inaugural Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the International Positive Psychology Association.
Her work has been featured in the New York Times, The Economist, CSS, NPR, PBS, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere. She has twice been invited to brief His Holiness the Dalai Lama on her research.
Fredrickson earned her B.A. from Carleton College and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. She was a professor at the University of Michigan for 10 years before moving to UNC.
Traveller Day to be Held at Lee Chapel and Museum on Sept. 19
Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveller, will be celebrated with the live appearance of a look-alike mount, Traveller-themed tours and a scavenger hunt Sept. 19 when Lee Chapel and Museum at Washington and Lee University holds Traveller Day.
The event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m.–3 p.m., part of the university’s 150th commemoration of Lee’s taking the oath of office as its 11th president. Lee rode into Lexington on Traveller Sept. 18, 1865.
Other activities will include a historic interpreter portraying Mildred Lee, daughter of Robert E. and Mary Lee and Traveller-themed souvenirs for sale. Children must be accompanied by an adult. All school groups, including home-schooled and public schools, are welcome. To ensure supplies for all who attend, phone registration by Sept. 15 is requested at 540-458-8768.
Children interested in following Traveller’s summer activities can visit the Traveller on the Move section of Lee Chapel and Museum’s Facebook page. For more information, visit Lee Chapel and Museum’s website at leechapel.wlu.edu, or call the office at 540-458-8768.
Changing Perspectives: Mason Grist ’18 Shepherd Intern Mason Grist '18 worked for the Guilford County Public Defender's Office
“It was my job for eight weeks to try and tip the scale toward those whom the system often persecutes.”
Confusion. Anger. Frustration.
These emotions culminate in an outpouring of tears on the other side of the glass window at the Guilford County Jail. As part of my work for the Guilford County Public Defender’s Office, I often visit clients whom the attorneys need to interview but, because of intense caseloads (some misdemeanor attorneys have as many as 250 clients at a time), do not have the time to visit. Ms. Cashmere Davis is one of many clients accused of violating their probation. She will wait in jail for most of the week for an opportunity to appear in front of a judge. A probation violation, in the State of North Carolina, is any violation of the terms of a suspended sentence. A failed drug test, a missed meeting, even an inability to pay money can send someone on probation to prison for years. One week out of every five in Guilford County is dubbed “Probation Week,” and all probation violations are handled in that week — usually a caseload of about 430 total people, almost a fourth of whom our office is charged with keeping out of jail.
A glass window is not the only thing that separates me from Ms. Davis as she tells me her story. She seems to speak to me as if from a different world. There is an obvious disconnect between the two of us as I sit down, wearing a suit and equipped with a notepad, pen and the file containing all of the information on the case, from the crime she is accused of to her social security number and home address. At the beginning of the summer, handling this information would have made me uneasy, but Ms. Davis’ file is just like hundreds of others I’ve handled this summer: manila, with “Ms. Cashmere Davis” scribbled across the top and a file number written down the side. One of the attorneys I am working for this week, Roger Rizo, sent me here to find her version of events. So far, all the information we have about Ms. Davis has come from her probation officer (PO), who filed the violation report. According to her PO, Ms. Davis is a pathological liar; a vagabond who has refused to inform the PO of her whereabouts, a requirement of all people on probation. People charged with “absconding,” or not making themselves available, almost always have their probations revoked and are sent to finish their sentence, serving active time incarcerated.
The court ordered Ms. Davis not to have any contact with the co-defendants in her case. A fair request, I figure, until she tells me one of the co-defendants of that case is her mother, with whom she had been living until her conviction. Her original probation officer allowed her to continue to live with her mother, despite the court order. However when she got a new probation officer in April, she was ordered to move within three days or be sent back to jail. She had to uproot her entire life and move everything, including her infant, to a friend’s apartment. Sadly, at the end of June, that friend could no longer afford to live in an apartment, and so Ms. Davis was forced to find another place to live. As she searched Greensboro for a place to live with her infant, she was required to inform her PO of her location every time she moved. She tried to live in a hotel with another friend, but couldn’t produce the money, and so she and the friend took up residence in a green four-door Honda. Her PO wanted Ms. Davis to tell her where the car was parked every night, seemingly not caring that her probationer was homeless with an infant.
When we go in front of the judge, we are prepared to fight tooth and nail for Ms. Davis. We know the probation officer, a strict adherent to the rules, will ask for Ms. Davis to be sent to prison to finish her sentence. When Ms. Davis comes into the courtroom, Roger denies the charges against her, and the PO takes the stand. She begins to tell the judge her version of events, explaining how she forced Ms. Davis to leave her mother’s house. She then elaborates on Ms. Davis’ refusal to keep her whereabouts known at all times.
“Hold on,” says the judge. “It appears to me that the court has essentially made this young lady homeless.”
I want to stand up and yell. “That’s exactly what has happened here, Your Honor,” I imagine myself exclaiming in disgust. “Now let’s do something about it…”
Looking back on this experience now, I recall how shocked I was that Roger treated this as a fairly routine case. I remember looking down at Ms. Davis’ file after the case was over and feeling my stomach turn when I looked at her birthdate; she was born just seven months before me. The judge went on to order the probation officer to find a place for Ms. Davis to live, and she now has a permanent residence, though it is sadly not with her mother. I was shocked at how moved I was by Ms. Davis’ story. The debilitating injustice that she faced until, luckily, she arrived in front of a judge who had sympathy for her was heartbreaking. Did justice not require that she be treated fairly as a fellow human, regardless of her status as an offender? This balance is a hard one to find, and it was my job for eight weeks to try and tip the scale toward those whom the system often persecutes. I applaud the attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office who have devoted their lives to making our justice system as balanced as possible. They treat their clients like real people. They do not leave indigent defendants to fend for themselves in a difficult system. However, they also did not take excuses or coddle these adults charged with serious crimes.
Sadly, their work is not enough to make amends for a system that has been broken for years. This story luckily had a moderately happy ending, but there are hundreds of others that do not. Our clients facing probation violations often had jobs and were back on their feet, but because of a violation were incarcerated and lost everything they had worked to achieve. Unfortunately, everyone on probation has been convicted of a crime, so many legislators do not want to help them any more than is necessary. This mindset has to change. Probation needs to be seen as a measure of rehabilitation, a way for people to have a second chance while still serving their debt to society. I do not know how to do this, but someone in the government needs to step up for these citizens who are often not being treated as such. We have to change the system, or success stories like Ms. Davis’ will continue to be rarities in the criminal justice system.
Hometown: Lexington, VA
- Executive Committee
- University Big Program
Off-Campus Experiences: GCPD Intern Summer 2015
Why did you apply for this particular internship? Law school has always been an idea far off in the distance for me. At the beginning of my freshman year, I began to question whether or not it was right for me. I undertook this internship hoping to see how a career in law would prepare me to help change the crippling policies I had learned about in Poverty 101.
How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? I saw firsthand a lot of the issues we discussed in Poverty 101. We always talk in class about how statistics represent real people, but it is difficult to wrap one’s head around that in a classroom. I knew going into the internship that interacting with people would be a different experience, but I did not realize how much of an effect it would have on me. Poverty is complex, as we learn, but I think it is difficult to realize why it is such a complex issue. My internship exposed me to the imperfections of humanity. Inmates in prison, lawyers, judges and yes, even interns, are all flawed in some way. Depending on where we are born, these flaws play out differently. A lawyer’s flaw can often hurt his or her client and the client’s flaws almost always hurt him or her.
What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? I expected to learn a lot about the criminal justice system, and I did. In many ways, it does act as the new Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander’s book so eloquently suggests. However, the system does not go out and find people to incarcerate. Approximately 90 percent of our clients were guilty of the crimes they were charged with. I found myself questioning a lot of laws more so than I questioned the way the courts and law enforcement officers handled the breaking of the law.
Post-Graduation Plans: Law School
Favorite Class: Poverty 241: Poverty, Ethics and Religion
Favorite W&L Activity: Appalachian Adventure Pre-Orientation Trip
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Don’t let our small size fool you. We have global connections and our alumni have a vested interest in our success in the world.
Mudd Center for Ethics Begins Series on the Ethics of Citizenship with Speaker Danielle S. Allen
Danielle S. Allen, professor of government and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, is the first speaker in the 2015–16 Ethics of Citizen series, sponsored by the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University. Her event will be on Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.
Allen will speak on “Participatory Readiness: On the Liberal Arts and the Ethics of Citizenship.” It is free and open to the public.
Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology and the history of political thought. She is widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America.
Allen is the author of four books, including “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality” (2014), “Why Plato Wrote” (2010) and “Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education” (2004).
She is co-editor of the award-winning “Education, Justice, and Democracy” (2013) and “From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age” (2105). “Education, Justice, and Democracy” was co-edited (with Rob Reich) and won the 2013 Prose Award for Best Book in Education. She is also editor and co-editor of over 30 scholarly articles.
Allen is a chair of the Mellon Foundation board, past chair of the Pulitzer Prize board and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Philosophical Society.
She is a frequent public lecturer and regular guest on public radio to discuss issues of citizenship and education policy, as well as a contributor on similar subjects to the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Democracy, Cabinet and The Nation.
She holds an A.B. in classics from Princeton University, an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in classics from Cambridge University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.
The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is the fitting home.”
For full details of this series, visit: http://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2015-2016-the-ethics-of-citizenship.
New Exhibit by Cleveland Morris to Open at McCarthy Gallery at W&L on Sept. 11
“Moments and Millennia: Drawings from Rome,” a collection of new work by Cleveland Morris, will run from Sept. 11-Dec. 11 in the McCarthy Gallery of Holekamp Hall at Washington and Lee University. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Morris created the work for this exhibit in Rome in the spring of 2015, during a visit expressly devoted to this project. The drawings were either created entirely on the spot; started on the spot and completed in his hotel; or developed from field work and finished using photos taken with his iPad. All were made using no more equipment than could fit in his shirt pocket, along with a drawing pad.
The works for this exhibit were created specifically for the McCarthy Gallery in Holekamp Hall. “It’s a direct path from the design of this gallery to the subject matter that inspired the show,” said Morris. “Jefferson to Palladio to Vitruvius and back again. Classicism moves me and inspires me. There is no gallery where I’d rather show my work than here,” Morris added.
Morris is an artist and teacher who exhibits frequently in the mid-Atlantic region. This exhibit marks his fourth show at the McCarthy Gallery.
The McCarthy Gallery in Holekamp Hall is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
“Maternal Instincts,” Photography Exhibit by Christa Bowden, to Open at W&L’s Williams Gallery on Sept. 11
“Maternal Instincts,” a selection of work from the Scanner Obscura and Roots & Nests projects by Christa Bowden, will open on Sept. 11 in the Williams Gallery of Huntley Hall at Washington and Lee University and will remain on view until Dec. 11. Bowden will have an opening reception on Sept. 10 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Huntley Hall. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
“Maternal Instincts” is a selected collection of works Bowden created using a flatbed scanner to photograph her body and natural objects. Beginning the project after her mother suffered a stroke in 1999, she said, “As a photographer, this one event entirely changed my way of seeing and set my course as an artist. I transitioned from observer and finder of photographs, to an active participant and subject in my work.”
Bowden was born in Atlanta in 1975. She earned her M.F.A. in photography from the University of Georgia and a B.A. in photography and film from Tulane University. She is an associate professor of art at Washington and Lee University, where she started the photography program in 2006.
This exhibit marks her first show at the Williams Gallery and the first artist exhibited in the new Larry and Fran Peppers Room, formerly the Reading Room.
The Williams Gallery in Huntley Hall is open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
A Day in the Life: Emma Swabb Johnson Opportunity Grant Recipient Emma Swabb Explores Alternative Education Models in Washington, D.C.
“If we are to begin identifying and changing the numerous systems that herd young African-American men from low-income communities to prisons and jails, one very helpful place to start is in our nation’s schools.”
Emma Swabb ’16
Teaching Assistant at Washington Jesuit Academy
It was the first Wednesday of the mandatory summer program at Washington Jesuit Academy (WJA), and I was sitting at a desk grading diagnostic tests. These pre-tests had been given on Monday, the first day of class, to Mrs. Brower’s seventh grade language arts class and would help us determine where each individual stood academically and who needed review on specific topics. One of the questions asked students to come up with a list of ten nouns that could be considered living quarters, and the example given was “home.” Students scrawled words including house, apartment, condo, cabin, flat, etc. I was surprised when I came across one student’s answers; the first noun Reggie listed on the lines provided was “prison.” Despite my study of developmental psychology and research on the pervasive and multifaceted issue of mass incarceration in our country, I was taken aback. Never had I experienced the two topics in such close and potent proximity. Upon further consideration of this moment, however, I realized that my initial reaction was naïve. After all, I was going to be teaching and interacting with middle school boys from low-income communities in Washington, D.C., 96 percent of whom were African-American. Statistically speaking, it is an unfortunate reality that the men who fill our nation’s prisons, or who are under some form of correctional control, match the age and racial demographics of my students’ older brothers, cousins, uncles and fathers.
WJA is a unique school for a number of reasons. It is a privately funded middle school for boys in fifth through eighth grades from low-income communities. Its small class sizes allow teachers and counselors to get to know each student and his family. In order to attend the school, students must, among other things, qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. This means that a student’s family income is at or below 130 percent of the poverty level. Every young man who attends the school does so on a full scholarship. WJA operates on an extended year model, meaning they have an 11-month school year that includes the mandatory summer program. This program consists of three academic periods in the morning followed by recreational activities in the afternoon. Depending on the day of the week, students attend field trips, go to their chosen clubs or do recreational sports outside. The summer program is meant to prevent the ‘summer slide’ that often occurs for students living in low-income communities. By holding academic classes and free reading periods in the summer, it is the hope that students will continue to achieve or maintain the educational gains that have been made during the school year. During the regular school year, WJA operates on an extended-day model. Students are required to attend a study hall after the school day ends and complete most or all of their homework assignments. Students also eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the school.
Before entering the classroom each period, students shake the teacher’s hand, look him or her in the eye and say, “Good morning.” At first this seemed like an odd routine to me, certainly nothing I’d ever done in school before. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized what an important exercise this routine truly is; this simple gesture is vital in fostering students’ soft skills. To look someone in the eye and to greet a person, even if you may not really be in the mood, is an extremely important lesson in communication as well as social and interpersonal skills that make a person both employable and more pleasant to be around. Students are also held accountable for their absences. I got in the habit of asking students, even those I didn’t have in class, “I didn’t see you around yesterday; why weren’t you here?” This sort of individual attention and soft skill training may be absent in the home lives of students, especially if they are coming from difficult family situations.
Another interesting fact about WJA is that a number of alumni, whether they just graduated in May or they are now entering college, come back — they come to work out at the gym, help the summer program staff or just hang out and play basketball with the students at recess. If they’re bored at home, they know the doors are open at WJA. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I sure wouldn’t voluntarily go back to my middle school to hang out. This is a really subtle, positive way to show the current students just how special WJA is and that their role models actually like going to school, because they continue coming back even after they’ve graduated. WJA truly seems to be students’ home away from home.
Positive reinforcement is the rule rather than the exception at WJA. Each student is often reminded that he has the potential to be a great leader, role model and contributing member of society. The headmaster at WJA, Marcus Washington, delivered an articulate, inspiring, yet informal speech to the new and returning fifth and sixth graders in July. He told them about how he attained his present position and what it takes to succeed in life even if you start out at a perceived, uncontrollable disadvantage. As a fellow D.C. native, Mr. Washington told the students about the fate of some of his friends who took a different path. Unfortunately, he had to separate himself from these bad influences and now some of his closest childhood friends are in prison or have been victims of gun violence. He also took quite a bit of time to explain the expectations that he and the teachers have for the students. It is clear that each student would be held to a higher standard than they would have been at their old school. The bar is high at WJA — very high, but it is not unreasonable, and the benefits of staying the course are plentiful.
The young men are expected to work hard academically and athletically, stay on a good path and learn and live what it means to be “Men for Others.” Men for Others have grit and the wherewithal to do what is right at all times, even when no one is watching. They are “willing to be courageous, just in their actions and active in their acceptance of God, their gifts, and others.” The school’s goal is to help form respectful, confident young men who will be caring, contributing members of their communities. Doing well at WJA helps students form good study habits and get into better private high schools in the D.C. area, then hopefully go on to college. WJA boasts a 98 percent high school graduation rate for its alumni, which is nearly two times the graduation rate for young men of color in the D.C. area. WJA also helps its students in ways they may be too young to realize. Middle school is a time when students are beginning to determine not only their academic habits, but also their social habits. WJA reminds the young men to be themselves, resist negative peer pressure and always set a good example for the younger students. Those who work hard and commit themselves to excellence end up forming positive, lasting relationships with teachers, coaches, staff members and peers.
I chose an internship as a teaching assistant at this progressive school with a few specific goals in mind. As a psychology major and poverty minor, I wanted to glean more about how our education system, from an early age, can either positively or negatively affect young men of color, who too often are the subject of conversation when we talk about crime and poverty in our nation. Second, I wanted to see how it would feel to be a teacher — to middle school boys, nonetheless. Having been accepted into the Teach For America Corps as a junior, I was wondering if I could see myself doing this job. Would I be comfortable in front of a classroom? My father spent his entire 35-year career teaching English to students at an inner city high school, and I truly wanted to catch a glimpse into the career of being an educator. As the daughter and niece of teachers, I have always had the utmost respect for those who make it their life’s work to spread knowledge, sow seeds of passion and impart wisdom to our nation’s students. After my experience, I can now say that I have even more respect and appreciation for the work that educators do. By working with individuals and small groups in class, assisting with the art club and racecar club, as well as chaperoning numerous field trips, I believe that I achieved my goals and learned that I have the patience to effectively handle a classroom of middle school boys. But, most importantly, I learned that kids are fun. I truly had a great time and really got to know an amazing group of young men, whom I hope will go on to become the leaders and role models I know they can be.
Before beginning this internship, I knew that young men like Reggie are too often surrounded by negative influences. This summer has afforded me the opportunity to work at an institution that is actively seeking to ensure that its students choose a different path and do not emulate those negative influences. Though my reaction to Reggie’s answer on his diagnostic test admittedly seemed naïve, it was still a proper reaction, in my opinion. I believe that we should all be equally surprised, and even more disturbed, to realize that young men of color in the U.S. consider “prison” to be just another place to live — to be a synonym for “home.” There is no doubt that there has been a recent and evident change in terms of citizens and politicians reexamining some of our nation’s most deeply held beliefs about the intersection of crime, punishment, educational opportunity, mental health and race. When we draw a critical eye to some of our nation’s most frequently touted ideals, such as equality before the law and access to education, are we at all living up to our promises? If we are to begin identifying and changing the numerous systems that herd young African-American men from low-income communities to prisons and jails, one very helpful place to start is in our nation’s schools. The “school-to-prison pipeline,” the existence of which is irrefutable, can and must be permanently redirected. Thanks to the Johnson Opportunity Grant, I was extremely fortunate to have been able to intern at Washington Jesuit Academy, a school whose model is at the forefront of changing the face of urban education and its outcomes.
Hometown: Erie, PA
Minor: Poverty & Human Capability Studies
- Captain of swim team
- Co-president of SPEAK
- 24: Many Sports, One Team
- Impact Area Leader for Nabors Service League (Strong Returns)
- Outing Club Trip Leader (Appalachian Adventure)
- Rho Gamma
- Summer 2014 Shepherd Intern in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia Justice Project
- Spring 2014 study abroad in Rome, Italy
Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? Because I had already completed my required Shepherd Internship for the minor in 2014, I was not able to secure funding through SHECP for another internship. However, I am now the first poverty student at W&L to have completed two domestic Shepherd internships, thanks to the Johnson Opportunity Grant.
I had such an impactful experience as a Shepherd intern in 2014 at the Georgia Justice Project (GJP); I really wanted to complete another Shepherd internship in 2015. Though I was most interested in learning about the legal aspect of GJP’s work, my duties as a social work intern included tutoring a client for the GED. I found that I enjoyed and excelled at this task, so I started to consider exploring teaching as a post-grad option. This summer, I wanted to work directly with children in the classroom to gain a sense of whether or not I was confortable in the role of a teacher. My work at the Washington Jesuit Academy in D.C. helped me to realize that if I can handle a class of middle school boys, I can do anything.
How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? My work at Washington Jesuit Academy as a teaching assistant gave me a glimpse into the real world applications of both psychology and poverty studies in the classroom and beyond. Specifically, I was able to apply my study of developmental psychopathology, urban neighborhoods and poverty, contemporary social problems, and the school-to-prison pipeline.
What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? My dad has been educator for 35 years and I have a number of aunts and uncles who also teach; prior to this internship, I believed that I had the utmost understanding and appreciation for educators. I didn’t think I could have any more respect for teachers, but this summer showed me just how difficult it is to command the attention of a classroom and gain the respect necessary to be a successful teacher. It was not until I actually had the experience of standing in front of a classroom that I realized just what my dad has gone through for his entire career.
Post-Graduation Plans: I was accepted to the 2016 Teach For America Corps as a junior and will be choosing whether or not to accept the position this fall after exploring some other post-grad options. In a few years, I hope to attend law school and pursue a career in public defense or with a nonprofit organization aimed at reforming our criminal justice system.
Favorite Class: Freshman Seminar Brain & Behavior, because I loved how challenging it was. It also pushed me in the direction to take more psychology classes and explore some neuroscience courses as well.
Favorite Campus Landmark: Leyburn Library and the Colonnade, especially at night.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Like James Dick always says, “college goes fast.” Try something new. Do anything and everything you think you want to do. But by the same token, choose what is important to you and don’t just try to pad your resume. Have fun, look around you, and explore the Lexington that exists beyond our small campus. Be yourself and be grateful, always.
Why did you choose W&L? I was first introduced to W&L when I was contacted as a recruit for swimming. My dad then implored me to check out the website and consider a visit to the school. As corny as it may sound, I had this “love at first sight” feeling as soon as I drove through campus for the first time. It was so green and beautiful, and everyone I met was helpful and friendly. I felt as though W&L bred the type of academic environment and intellectual I was seeking. Lexington seemed like a place I could make my home, and I’m so glad I have done just that.
Law Professor Brian Murchison to Address Washington and Lee’s Fall Convocation
Brian C. Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, will address the 2015 Fall Convocation on Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m. on the Front Lawn.
Murchison will speak on “The Liberal Arts in Practice.”
Fall Convocation is the traditional opening of W&L’s academic year. The university will mark its 267th academic year and the 167th year of the School of Law this year. The law school’s orientation began Aug. 17 and the first day of classes was Aug. 24. Orientation for new undergraduate students begins Sept. 5, and classes begin Sept. 10.
Murchison taught English in the Peace Corps in Benin, Africa, and was an associate in a Washington, D.C., law firm prior to joining the W&L Law School faculty in 1982. He was director of the Frances Lewis Law Center, the research arm of the law school, from 1991–94 before being named the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law in 2002. He served as acting dean of the School of Law from 2006–07.
Murchison received both his B.A. in English and J.D. from Yale University.
His specialties are mass media and the First Amendment, administrative law, torts and jurisprudence. Recent publications include “Blogging and Anonymity,” a book chapter (2013); “Reflections on Breach of Confidence from the U.S. Perspective” (2010); and “Speech and the Self-Governance Value” (2006).
Murchison received the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award in 1988, and in 1996, he was co-founder of W&L’s Black Lung Clinic.
In 2015–16, he was awarded the John W. Elrod Law Alumni Faculty Fellowship for Teaching at the law school and in 2012, received the Student Bar Association Outstanding Faculty Award, among many other awards.
The convocation is open to the public.
Roger Mudd Center for Ethics to Focus on Ethics of Citizenship
The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University will examine “The Ethics of Citizenship” during its 2015–2016 lecture and conference series. The center will bring prominent speakers to campus to discuss the role of liberal arts in fostering civic agency, the responsibilities of scientists in a democracy, the ethics of immigration and the morality of governmental whistle-blowing. The series begins on Sept. 24 and ends in April 2016. It is free and open to the public.
The subject for the year’s programming was sparked by a combination of factors, according to Angela Smith, the Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics at W&L and director of the Mudd Center. “First, since 2016 is a presidential election year, this is a good time to reflect upon both the rights and the responsibilities of democratic citizenship,” said Smith. “Second, one of the big debates we are currently having in this country concerns our immigration system and who should be granted a path to citizenship.”
Smith continued, “Finally, one of the themes that emerged from our series last year, ‘Race and Justice in America,’ is that African-Americans in this country are too often treated as second-class citizens. Some of our speakers this year will pick up on this theme and explore what it would take to fully realize first-class citizenship for all Americans. So there are a number of important ethical issues that will benefit from thoughtful, reasoned discussion.”
Smith noted that the concept of citizenship is often used to talk about a variety of things—the enjoyment of certain rights and privileges, political and civic engagement, experiences of collective identity and solidarity, and the possession of formal national membership status. “For example, one can be a good global citizen or a good citizen of Washington and Lee without being a legal citizen of the United States. This series will explore the nature and value of citizenship in all of its different senses, as well as more specific questions about the justice of particular practices of granting or withholding legal national citizenship status,” said Smith.
On Sept. 24, Danielle Allen will begin the series by delivering the Mudd Distinguished Lecture in Ethics, “Participatory Readiness: On the Liberal Arts and the Ethics of Citizenship,” at 5:00 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater. She is the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and professor of government at Harvard University. Allen previously served for eight years as the UPS Foundation Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. She is widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America.
“Danielle Allen is an accomplished classicist and political theorist and is the ideal keynote speaker for this series,” noted Smith. “Her book ‘Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education’ (2004) brilliantly explores the ways in which interracial distrust impedes the effective functioning of democracy. Allen advocates for new habits of citizenship to restore this trust and to revitalize our democratic practices.” Her more recent publications include “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality” (2014) and two co-edited books, “Education, Justice and Democracy” (2013) and “From Voice to Influence: Citizenship in a Digital Age” (2015).
On Oct. 8, Melissa Lane, the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, will talk on “The Democratic Ethics of Communicating Climate Change: Insights from Aristotle” at 5:00 p.m. in Northen Auditorium. As a political theorist, Lane has written extensively on how ancient Greek political thought holds lessons for addressing contemporary moral and political problems. Her book “Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us About Ethics, Virtue and Sustainable Living” (2011) uses insights from Plato to put forward a new vision of citizenship that can support an ecologically sustainable society.
On Oct. 26, the Mudd Center will sponsor a lunchtime poetry reading and discussion by Seth Michelson, assistant professor of Spanish at W&L, from 12:15 to 1:20 p.m. in the Hillel Multipurpose Room. Michelson engages themes of citizenship and belonging, including border and immigration issues. Those interested in attending this reading, which will include lunch, should email email@example.com to RSVP.
On Nov. 6 and 7, the series’ fall programming will end with a two-day conference on “The Ethics of Immigration.” On Nov. 6, Joseph Carens, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, will give the keynote address, “Immigration and Citizenship,” at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater. Carens is one of the foremost political theorists working on issues of immigration today. His book, “The Ethics of Immigration” (2013), synthesizes a lifetime of work on normative issues of transnational migration, citizenship and democracy.
The Nov. 7 portion of the conference will feature six experts on the ethics of immigration from around the country and a lunchtime panel of policy experts who will discuss current U.S. immigration policy. The speakers are from the fields of law, journalism, philosophy, sociology, political science and creative writing.
In the winter, the Mudd Center will host additional talks related to the ethics of citizenship, including an address in January by award-winning poet Claudia Rankine on her recent book “Citizen: An American Lyric” (2014), which uses poetry, essays, cultural criticism and visual images to explore what it means to be an American citizen in an allegedly post-racial society.
In late February or early March, the center will host a mini-conference on the ethics of governmental whistle-blowing. And in early April, British historian Quentin Skinner and British philosopher Susan James will give three public lectures on citizenship and will visit classes and student groups as scholars-in-residence for a week.
Quentin Skinner has written extensively about conceptions of citizenship in early-modern Europe, focusing on the work of Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. His best-known work, “Foundations of Modern Political Thought” (1978), was listed by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the 100 most influential books since World War II.
Susan James focuses on the intersections between early modern philosophy, feminist philosophy and political philosophy. She is completing a book, “Spinoza on Learning to Live Together,” which examines the importance of passions in shaping our interpretations of the world and our political practices, especially our practices of citizenship.
During the winter term, the Mudd Center may also bring performance art to W&L’s Staniar Gallery. “I hope to involve as many disciplines as possible in this series,” said Smith. “We all benefit from approaching these complex ethical questions from a truly interdisciplinary perspective.”
The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. In making his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is the fitting home.”
For full details of this series, visit: http://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2015-2016-the-ethics-of-citizenship
W&L Law Student Newspaper Wins Top ABA Award for Third Straight Year
The Law News, the student newspaper at Washington and Lee University School of Law, was honored again this year by American Bar Association with the Law School Newspaper Award. This is the third year in a row The Law News has won the award for the finest law school newspaper in the country.
Editor in chief Michael Darmante ‘16L says that in addition to updating several of the paper’s recurring features, his staff spent considerable energy last year on a new website and other technological innovations.
“We built a new interactive website from scratch, made it smart phone accessible and included a QR code on the print edition to promote the online platform,” said Darmante. “This year we will continue to try and propel the paper forward using social media to make it more accessible to a new age of law students. In an effort to enhance the paper’s usefulness to the university and legal community as a whole this year we will be working in conjunction with the Office of Career Strategy to develop a classifieds section that will appear every issue.”
Darmante indicated that the goal of this new section will be to provide students with another forum to assist in their internship and job searches in today’s difficult legal market. This section will come complete with job tips from Dean Jarrett, smart phone accessibility to job search websites and alumni perspectives on how they obtained certain positions.
The Law News is online at http://www.wlulawnews.com/.
“Shenandoah” Prize Winners Announced
The annual winners of “Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review’s” literary prizes in prose are Ashley Davidson’s “A Daring Undertaking” for the “Shenandoah” Fiction Prize and Clinton Crocket Peters’s “Going to a Burn” for the Tom Carter Nonfiction Prize. The winner of the James Boatwright Prize for Poetry is Jane Fuller’s “Conversation with Two-Time All Mid-American Conference Relief Pitcher Douglas Dean Stackhouse on Winning, Losing and Learning to Fiddle.” All three pieces can be found in Volume 64, No. 2 of shenandoahliterary.org.
Jane Fuller’s poem is an agile spiel about a jar of rotting zinnias, a baseball career, “Macbeth” and “Cripple Creek.” She is co-author of a book of poems and prints, “A Story of Many Lives.” Fuller teaches at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, and has previously published in “Denver Quarterly,” “Pikeville Review” and “Aethlon.” She is at work on a manuscript entitled “The Torturer’s Horse.”
Ashley Davidson lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and has published in “Meridian,” “Five Chapters,” “Nashville Review” and “Sou’wester.” Her story is a narrative told through letters that focuses on a survivor of the U. S. Army’s notorious experiment with camels in the west before the Civil War. “Shenandoah” Editor R. T. Smith says, “‘A Daring Undertaking’ is “a tour de force of 19th-century idiom by turns elegant and earthly, always suspenseful.”
Native Texan Clinton Peters has been a radio DJ, a wilderness guide and an English teacher in Japan. His work has been published in “Green Mountains Review,” “American Literary Review” and “Los Angeles Review.” He is currently working on a Ph.D. and teaching at the University of North Texas. “Going to a Burn” is a first-person account of the discoveries of an amateur volunteer accompanying a team of professional forest-fire fighters going on a back burn, where they face danger and beauty.
Shenandoah’s prizes are not the result of a traditional contest but have for several decades been selected from among the work published in a volume year. Each prize is accompanied by an honorarium of $500. This is the first time all three winners have been graduates of the prestigious Iowa Writing Workshop.
Keen’s Book in the Running for Phi Beta Kappa Award
Congratulations to Suzanne Keen, dean of the College and the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English at Washington and Lee University. Her 2014 book “Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy’s Imagination” (Ohio State University Press) has landed on the short list for the prestigious Christian Gauss Award, given by the Phi Beta Kappa Society to books of literary scholarship or criticism.
Suzanne’s book joins four other titles up for the Gauss Award; we find out the winner — who receives a $10,000 prize — on Oct. 1.
Suzanne joined the W&L faculty in 1995. She teaches and conducts research in contemporary British fiction, Victorian novels, postcolonial literature, narrative theory, the novel in English, psychological approaches to literary study and digital humanities. In 2008, she received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia. She became the dean of the College in 2013.
Her other books are “Empathy and the Novel,” “Narrative Form,” “Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction,” “Victorian Renovations of the Novel” and a volume of poetry, “Milk Glass Mermaid.”
The Phi Beta Kappa Senate established the Gauss award in 1950 to honor the late Christian Gauss, a distinguished Princeton University scholar, teacher and dean who served as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the oldest and best known academic honor society in the U.S.