A Legacy of Love: Liza Haynie Heaton '11
About a year ago, W&L posted the heartwarming story “Love for Liza” on its homepage. It generated an enormous number of hits, and for good reason.
Liza Haynie Heaton ’11, who had been battling synovial sarcoma for a number of years, had become a bit of a celebrity after marrying Wyatt Heaton ’09 in December 2014, days after learning that she had less than a month to live. That story made headlines all over the country, including the “Today” show, CNN and Fox News.
What gave the story extra appeal was the emotional support of the W&L community, which rallied around Liza on her important day. In the short term, her health improved, and she started chemotherapy treatments.
In November 2014, Liza’s sister, Ann Marie Haynie ’13, and several of Liza’s friends had launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for research into Liza’s disease. As Liza said in an interview with the Shreveport Times, “People will forget about me in 15 minutes, but this money will go on helping people with the disease for a long time.”
In 15 days and with the help of almost 3,000 people, the fund raised $466,342. It hit $560,000 by the end of February.
Unfortunately, Liza won’t be able to benefit from any medical breakthroughs funded by new research. She died on Oct. 17, having exceeded doctors’ expectations by 10 months.
Her close childhood friend, Allie Kittrell, said in her eulogy at Liza’s service: “Liza, it is so hard to imagine you not in my future. I don’t think you will ever know how much you changed my life. Just look at this entire church with all the people you made an impact on.”
Liza’s legacy, though, will have an important impact on others fighting the disease. Through the support of the Love for Liza Fund, Johns Hopkins was able to hire a postdoctoral fellow to focus specifically on Liza’s rare type of sarcoma. The team has already made considerable strides in their research, and Liza has singlehandedly helped change the course of synovial sarcoma treatments.
W&L Professor Melissa Kerin Publishes Book on 16th-Century Buddhist Paintings
Melissa Kerin, assistant professor of art history at Washington and Lee University, first became interested in Tibet as an undergraduate at Trinity College, after hearing about the Tibetan diaspora.
“I knew very little about Tibet except for the fact that many Tibetans lived in exile because of the political situation with China. At the time, I was very interested in the role that art played, potentially, in creating a sense of community for people who were in diaspora. As a junior, I participated in a Tibetan studies program in India and Nepal, where I lived at a nunnery for a month and studied traditional thangka painting (a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene or mandala) with a teacher from Swyamabhu (Kathmandu). After I graduated from Trinity, I received a Watson Fellowship that allowed me to continue my study of thangka painting. This gave me the chance to live in India and Nepal for 16 months interviewing and studying with thangka teachers.”
In graduate school, Kerin continued her research on Tibetan art, ultimately focusing on its history from the 15th to 17th centuries. That work is now presented in her book, “Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya ” (Indiana University Press), which examines 16th-century wall paintings in a Buddhist temple in the Tibetan cultural zone of northwest India. It received the Edward C. Dimock Jr. Prize for the Indian Humanities, American Institute of Indian Studies.
“The book focuses on a set of paintings in a temple in Nako, in the western Himalayan region of India,” said Kerin. “These paintings reveal that a certain type of Tibetan Buddhism was practiced in this village for which there was no written documentation or painted evidence. This fleshes out a religious history that we previously didn’t know about.” The book also provides an intensive stylistic analysis of a 15th- through 17th-century painting style that is known to have been used in the Tibetan court and at religious centers, but less so at the kingdom’s periphery. By charting the geographic spread of this late medieval style, Kerin hopes to provide a deeper understanding of the different idiomatic and regional expressions of it.
Kerin did most of the fieldwork for her book 10 years ago, while she was in Nako on a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation research grant. “The village was part of a network of religious Buddhist centers in the western Himalayas and was situated along pilgrimage paths in the early days of Tibetan Buddhism,” she said. “As an art historian, it’s pretty typical to go in and take tons of photos and do lots of interviews. At the time I was just gathering, gathering, gathering and only started to make sense of the iconography and inscriptional evidence after I left the village.”
The paintings Kerin found were coated with mud and were not well preserved. “Because of climate change and the poor condition of the temples, the wall paintings suffer a great deal from water damage. These temples are made of baked brick — rammed earth, and if that gets excessively wet, the mud starts dripping over the paintings. Unfortunately, you can’t take that mud off without removing the pigment.”
Beneath the mud, Kerin noticed that the paintings pointed to an iconography directly related to Drikung Kagyu, a very specific form of Tibetan Buddhism that’s part of the larger Karma Kagyu tradition. “That was significant because the village, in its living memory, was Drukpa Kagyu, another form of the Kagyu tradition. After I had this information, I asked the villagers about Drikung, but they had only known the village to be Drukpa.”
In taking a closer look at the inscriptional evidence at the temple, Kerin concluded that all the graphic evidence “very pointedly and clearly showed that this was originally a Drikung temple. For the villagers, though, they understood and used the temple as part of a different, though related, lineage of Kagyu. When I spoke to the villagers about the seeming discrepancy, they weren’t very bothered by it,” she said. “Their response was, ‘Oh, well, yeah that’s interesting, but no, it’s Drukpa, not Drikung.’ The meaning and intent of the temple had changed over time. Even though the original iconographic form of the temple dates back to the 16th century, there was a different narrative existing alongside it. This wonderful realization allowed me to delve into the religious history of this area, specifically of the Drikung Kagyu tradition.
“Thoroughly documenting this site provides insights into the complex, overlapping, and sometimes nebulous networks of meaning, use and reuse, and reception at a single site over time,” Kerin said. “These paintings reflect the complex social, religious and political environments in the area during the late medieval period through today.”
Although Kerin has returned to India and the western Himalayans many times, she hasn’t been back to Nako since her initial fieldwork (2004 and 2005). “It’s really a difficult place to get to,” she said. “It’s a 12-hour ride from Delhi to Manali, and then once in Manali you have to register for an Inner Line permit because Nako is located in the conflict zone between Tibet and China. After you get the permits, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, you need to find a jeep and driver to make the harrowing two-day drive.” At an altitude of 11,500 feet, “life becomes so focused, and simple, but also incredibly rich. There isn’t the static of everyday stuff, you’re just there doing your work, and, for me, it is the most beautiful place in the world.”
She noted, “What’s remarkable is that in this tiny village in the middle of nowhere along former pilgrimage and trade routes (now closed due to the 1962 Sino-India conflict) Nako still has a story to tell. It was a good reminder that you always need to look at areas considered the periphery — at the faded, forgotten remains — because chances are, there’s an interesting story there that, in this case, changes history a little bit.”
At the Mouth of the River
“The lessons I learned will always stay with me and steer me in the right direction.”
I ended up with a most dreadful gown tan at graduation, but it was totally worth it. The day was out of the brochure W&L sends prospective students in the mail. I remember sitting with my fellow graduates, roasting in the sun, thinking “Yes! It’s the end! It’s the end?” As President Ruscio delivered his commencement address, I couldn’t help but wonder about the river to which he compared Washington and Lee — constantly moving away from its source, providing life to all it touches, carrying the same water to exciting new places. It was a beautiful metaphor, one I think of often as I wake each morning to go to work… and not class.
I have a feeling most graduates get a taste of what I now call “wandering syndrome.” It is the realization (and possible denial) that your college river has reached its mouth on the edges of a big, scary, real-world ocean.
“Wandering Syndrome” began like Lexington’s spring rainstorms: quick and unannounced. I was five weeks into my current Elrod Fellowship position with a non-profit called Linden Resources. I had just emailed my “ex” professors updates about working to find employment opportunities for people with disabilities and wounded veterans. Walking out to my car after a long day, I greeted an older man on the sidewalk with a smile and “hello,” realizing from his confused reaction that the Speaking Tradition was not universal. A lot of things outside of Lexington struck me in that moment as totally foreign to non-Generals.
I cook all my meals now (okay, most of them). The wonderful sorority chefs aren’t around to make mac and cheese for me anymore. I had to pay for my gym membership. The barista at Starbucks still doesn’t remember my order. I paused on that sidewalk, mid-step, and felt like I was back on the graduation stage, diploma in hand with, what was then, my entire world in front of me. I realized nothing, from that point on, would ever be like my time at Washington and Lee.
There is something freeing about graduating: the world is yours because it has to be. But it’s scary, too. There is no going back — admissions won’t have it, and that’s not how this river metaphor works. It can be challenging, too, with the pressure to be the same successful student you were on campus, but without the constant support network.
The more my experiences at W&L become memories, the more I realize how the lessons I’ve learned in those four years are perhaps the best protection in the “harsh conditions” of my new reality. I decided to pretend as if the Speaking Tradition was universal after my sidewalk revelation. I bring W&L with me now like a little lifejacket to keep from drowning. I keep in touch with my professors and, unsurprisingly, they all write back. I hold myself to the Honor System. I occasionally listen to a recording of “Oh Shenandoah” by the University Singers when I’m feeling really blue. The song says it all:
I long to see you,
Away you rolling river.
I long to see you,
Away, I’m bound away
‘Cross the wide Missouri.
Even though I’m thankfully only ‘cross the Shenandoah River, the song speaks to the longing I have for what is familiar, what is home. I never imagined I would feel so connected to a well-constructed pile of red bricks; however, I cannot fathom who I would be without Washington and Lee. I’m in D.C. now because of the University’s Elrod Fellowship program. I am who I am because of the amazing opportunities that were so generously made available to me.
I finally understand why so many graduates fervently hate change when it makes news back on campus: It feels like our time there is becoming history, our water source is drying up. That version of the story seems far too morose to be the story of us gentlemen and gentlewomen. I want to think that like that gown tan I still have, our memories of Washington and Lee travel with us forever, the water that carries and sustains us. The feelings and appreciation we have now are what remain constant for future graduates — the bonds that connect graduates throughout the years.
You can take the woman out of Washington and Lee, but you can’t take Washington and Lee out of the woman. I might submit business reports instead of term papers now, but the lessons I learned will always stay with me and steer me in the right direction. Because of Washington and Lee I can comfortably say I have no idea what I want to do after I finish my fellowship. But it’s okay. As I sail out into the open waters, I’m not scared. I know, somewhere in the sometimes dark waters below me, at least one of those currents originated from our enduring alma mater. I’ve decided wandering isn’t so bad after all. And if I ever get too lost, I at least know our Annual Fund committee will always find me.
DC-Based Privacy Think Tank Future of Privacy Forum Partners with W&L Law
Affiliation to Advance Privacy Scholarship, Create Business/Academic Ties, and Incubate Tomorrow’s Privacy Lawyers
WASHINGTON, D.C. & LEXINGTON, Va. – Thursday, October 29, 2015 – The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and Washington and Lee University School of Law today announced a unique strategic partnership designed to enrich the legal academic experience and to enhance scholarship and conversations about privacy law and policy.
The FPF/W&L Law collaboration will:
- Include new curricula for W&L Law students
- Create internships for students with both FPF and its Advisory Board companies
- Involve W&L Law Faculty in FPF Conferences and Research Initiatives
- Provide a Washington, D.C. home in FPF’s new offices for classes associated with the W&L third-year D.C. program
“This partnership is such a great opportunity to combine the resources and talent of a top-tier law school with the mission and objectives of a privacy-focused think tank,” said Christopher Wolf, co-chair of FPF. “FPF policy staff and fellows and W&L Law students and faculty already are working together on issues such as the privacy of data collected by connected cars and the ethical review processes for big data. As a 1980 graduate of W&L Law, I am so pleased to have brought together my law school with the Future of Privacy Forum, the think tank I founded in 2008.”
W&L Law Dean Brant Hellwig said “Through this partnership, we will expand our footprint in Washington, creating even more opportunities for our students in Lexington and in the D.C. program.”
“It also leverages our growing faculty expertise in privacy and national security law, so we can have a larger impact on policy deliberations.”
FPF Executive Director Jules Polonetsky added: “We are thrilled that as another feature of the partnership, W&L Law professors Margaret Hu and Joshua Fairfield will serve on the FPF Advisory Board. Professor Hu is well-known for her research on national security, cyber-surveillance and civil rights, and her recent writing on government use of database screening and digital watch listing systems to create “blacklists” of individuals based on suspicious data. Professor Fairfield is an internationally recognized law and technology scholar, specializing in digital property, electronic contract, big data privacy, and virtual communities.”
On Thursday, November 5, FPF and W&L Law are celebrating the partnership, along with the opening of FPF’s new headquarters in Washington, with a panel discussion addressing the future of Section 5 of the FTC Act. Former FTC Consumer Bureau Director David Vladeck and James Cooper, former Acting Director, FTC Office of Policy Planning, will discuss key Section 5 issues – such as materiality, harm, the role of cost benefit analysis and other issues raised in the FTC’s privacy and data security actions. The program will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by an open house reception at FPF offices, 1400 I Street, N.W., Suite 450, Washington, D.C. 20005.
About Future of Privacy Forum
The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups.
About Washington and Lee School of Law
Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia is one of the smallest of the nation’s top-tier law schools, with an average class size of 22 and a 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio. The Law School’s commitment to student-centered legal education, emphasis on legal writing, and dedication to professional development is reflected in the impressive achievements of its graduates, which include seven American Bar Association presidents, 22 members of the U.S. Congress, numerous state and federal judges, and Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell.
A Day in the Life: Daniel Rodriguez Segura
“During my four weeks in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I was able to explore Grameen’s services, organizational structure and idiosyncrasies in depth.”
Daniel Rodriguez Segura ’16
Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner
Intern at Grameen Bank, Dhaka, Bangladesh
“So as the money supply decreases, the interest rate initially increases, meaning a higher level of savings,” said my Econ professor.
“And what if people don’t have access to saving accounts?” I asked.
“We assume savings accounts are readily available”
“…what if they say saving interferes with their basic spending?”
“We assume that the general level of spending is well above autonomous spending”
“…And what about developing countries?”
“Yeah… this model makes assumptions about level of income as well.”
I was not satisfied. Through personal experiences from back home and my Shepherd internship last summer, I knew this is not always how the poor behave. Heck, I actually wasn’t even sure this is how anyone behaves. This didn’t catch my attention from a mere academic standpoint: Access to financial services is not a luxury but close to a need for expanding businesses. In poor countries, where the poor derive their income from highly entrepreneurial activities, being able to take a loan or have a savings account can make all the difference.
I chose to intern at Grameen Bank because it allowed me see in practice all the blank spots in the model taught in class. Grameen is indisputably one of the world’s leaders and pioneers in microfinance. Its methodology has been replicated in many countries after its great success in Bangladesh. They have been able to empower some of the planet’s poorest people through a fair inclusion in the financial markets in a way that is respectful of the culture but also willing to challenge norms to improve people’s well-being. In 2006, Grameen won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with its founder, Muhammad Yunus, for its efforts towards poverty eradication through their innovative financial services.
During my four weeks in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I was able to explore Grameen’s services, organizational structure and idiosyncrasies in depth. Specifically, I learned about the connection between their mission and the type of loans they give, and all of the background work that this involves. For instance, Grameen’s vision is that microfinance is an incredible tool for development, but not a magic bullet. They believe that in order to avoid the perpetuation of intergenerational poverty, education must be made available to the children of the borrowers, especially women. Therefore, they have higher education loans at rates that are cross-subsidized by their regular loans, making university loans highly accessible. I quickly learned that there is a huge gender gap in terms of human capital due to a highly conservative Muslim culture, especially in rural areas. In order to tackle this issue, half of these college loans are reserved for women, and the other half is distributed between both genders. In this sense, my internship allowed me to connect the business model of Grameen to the social and cultural context of Bangladesh, and gain a better understanding of how they now endogenously affect each other.
I also got the chance to visit Grameen’s field operations several times and actually stay in a rural village for a week. This gave me the chance to see their methodology for myself and dig a little deeper, with the help of a translator, into the lives of the borrowers. I was truly surprised to see how most borrowers, without much formal education, were able to run businesses successfully. Some even expand them in rather ambitious manners. I doubt that without access to affordable credit, these businesses would have even started, much less grown.
On the other hand, I am not trying to say that I fully agree with the Grameen methodology and approach. I think that there are several areas where it could definitely improve: the productivity of some workers, the red tape that hinders the speed of response, the stubbornness against investing in a research division, and the reluctance to digitalize a larger share of their operations. However, I do fully believe that Grameen’s heart is in the right place and that the impact they have had on Bangladesh’s development has been enormous. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I got to learn in depth about how a devoted institution can use access to financial services as a means to improve people’s well-being.
More importantly, the fact that models are simply approximations of reality became much more tangible. Towards the end of my internship, I was not as frustrated as I was when I was told about all the assumptions that the economics model made. I finally understood that these models are simply a type of tool to understand the complexity of reality, and that the real world has many more complications than what is feasible to model. Ultimately, I learned that in order to understand a broad and complex issue like financial services for the poor, one needs a balance between the simplifying models and the overwhelming real-life experience, like the one Grameen gave me.
More about Daniel
Hometown: Santo Domingo, Costa Rica
- GenDev Inc
- Shepherd Program
- Research Assistant, Economics
• Study abroad – Milan (Winter 2016, coming up!)
• Intern at Grameen Bank, Dhaka (Summer 2015)
• Study abroad – Paris (Winter 2014)
• Internship at Favela Experience, Rio de Janeiro through the Shepherd Program (Summer 2014)
• Poor Alleviation Conference at INCAE Nicaragua (Summer 2014)
Favorite Campus Landmark: the back-campus trail is definitely one of the best places to have a quiet afternoon and relax.
What professor has inspired you? Although definitely not the only one, I would say that Prof. Pickett really inspired me to bring the development component into my studies. He raised important questions to me about the practical and ethical details of poverty that I had never thought about. These are lessons that have stuck with me since, and I hope I can keep for the rest of my life and future career.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Lexington is great! The professors at W&L are great! So are the classes! But there is an amazing, weird, fascinating, brave new world out there. Use every in-class and abroad opportunity to explore it. Bring back your knowledge and experiences, and share them with the W&L community. Doing this truly widened my perspective, my analytical abilities and boosted my motivation for post-graduation plans… it’s a win-win for everyone!
R.T. Smith Publishes a New Collection of (Really) Short Stories
R.T. Smith, the award-winning author and editor of “Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review,” has published a new work of fiction, “Chinquapins” (Fiction Southeast).
His fifth collection of short stories is named for the Chinquapin oak tree and its edible acorns, an indigenous species in the Southeast. Like the tree, Smith’s stories in this book are indigenous to the region. “They’re very peculiar stories,” he said. Ranging from one to three pages, “they’re full of Appalachian vernacular and folkways and customs and religion, but are not set within any particular time frame.”
Smith has written four other collections of stories, “Sherburne,” “Faith,” “Uke Rivers Delivers” and “Calaboose Epistles.” He is the author of over 14 poetry collections, including “The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor,” “Outlaw Style: Poems,” “The Hollow Log Lounge,” “Brightwood” and “Messenger.”
Although the stories in “Chinquapins” cover the age-old themes of love, death, courtship, murder and widowhood, Smith noted that what binds them together is his exploration of how the hard life in the Appalachians leads his characters to such extremes and anguish. “An agricultural life, where the rhythm of life conforms to the farmer’s almanac, brings all kinds of ordeals that people have to go through, like absolutely killing weather,” he explained. “Some of the stories are uplifting, a lot of them are not.”
His publisher offers this description of Smith’s newest book: “In the short short stories of ‘Chinquapins,’ Smith exposes crucial moments in the lives of Appalachian characters and culture while exploring thresholds between poetry and prose, as songbirds fall from the sky, borders are violated and old war wounds linger over in the hills and hollers. Whether the issue at hand involves dulcimers, mill accidents, bear hunts or lost children, passion and peril entwine in a hardscrabble world where the sorrowful lyrics of ballads and the robust vernacular of the rural Blue Ridge Mountains echo on the wind.”
In addition to editing “Shenandoah,” Smith is W&L’s writer-in-residence, and teaches creative writing and literature courses at W&L and directs an internship program at “Shenandoah.”
He has received one fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Virginia Arts Commission fellowships, three Alabama Arts Council fellowships and the Alabama Governor’s Award for Achievement by an Artist. He also received three fellowships for an individual artist from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Smith’s writings have won the Pushcart Prize three times, have been published five times in “New Stories from the South,” and have also been published in “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Poetry,” “Atlantic Monthly” and “Southern Review,” among others.
He twice won the Library of Virginia Poetry Book Award, for “Messenger” and for “Outlaw Style: Poems,” and the 2013 Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry.
Chris Collins ’54, Champion Rower
Christopher Collins, a 1954 graduate of Washington and Lee University, returned to Boston on Oct. 17 to defend his title in the Grand Veterans age group at the Head of the Charles Regatta rowing festival. It’s the largest two-day rowing event in the world and is attended by some of the world’s best rowers.
The 82-year-old, who has participated in every Head of the Charles since 1994, rowed the course in 23:43, marking his seventh victory in the single sculler race.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, Chris said he discovered his talent in his 60s when he used a rowing machine at the gym to get into shape. Ever since, he has been competing at the top of his division in rowing events all over the East Coast. Fellow rower Carlo Zezza, a three-time Senior Veteran II winner, who rowed for Harvard in college, described Collin’s stroke as “truly original…there’s none other like it.”
Chris grew up on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley before attending W&L. During World War II he served on submarines for the Navy, after which he worked as a tour guide in the U.S.S.R. Eventually, after teaching and writing about Russian literature, Chris became a real estate broker with Virginia Estates.
His accomplishments on the water are clear considering he still holds the course record for the Veterans Singles Division at the Head of the Charles Regatta, set in 2001.
– by Wesley Sigmond ’16
W&L Offers Arabic On Campus for First Time
Anthony (Antoine) Edwards has reassured students learning Arabic at Washington and Lee University that his own first encounter with the language was as a first-year student. “My first words, my first class, were as a freshman and I didn’t know any Arabic or even a Semitic language. But it’s not difficult if you put enough time into it,” he said.
This is W&L’s first year of Arabic language courses on campus; previously, students wishing to study Arabic attended classes at Virginia Military Institute. The new Arabic classes are part of W&L’s comprehensive plan to infuse global learning into students’ experiences across curricula, disciplines and schools.
In addition to Edwards, visiting assistant professor of Arabic, who will teach for three years, W&L also recruited Ismail Slitine Alaoui, from Morocco, who is a one-year Student Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.
Suzanne Keen, dean of the college and the Thomas Broadus Professor of English, called the reaction of students to the new classes “very positive.” The initial offering of one course section on Arabic for 18 students filled up immediately, so W&L added a second section which accommodated an additional 12 students.
Edwards recently completed his doctorate in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at The University of Texas at Austin, and has lived in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, and has taught Arabic in Morocco. “I think it’s important to learn to speak Arabic and learn about the cultures and people of the region because it enlarges your perspective on the diversity of the world,” he said. “Also, there’s a lot of economic, political and cultural awareness that needs to happen regarding the Middle East.”
Edwards will teach both Modern Standard Arabic (the written, formal language that is not used on a daily basis for communication) and the Syrian dialect. He explained that there are several different Arabic dialects and that linguists group these according to the major capital cities in the region. The Syrian dialect is based on the language in the capital, Damascus. While most of these dialects are mutually understandable, differences emerge the farther you move from the capital. “I’m from California, so when I listen to someone from Boston I may take an extra 10 seconds to hone my ear in to what they are saying, and it’s the same with the Arabic dialects,” he explained.
To help students gain more experience in speaking Arabic, Edwards is already encouraging them to apply in 2016 to the Critical Language Scholarship Program, a fully funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. He also has plans for a 2017 Spring Term course on Arabic language and culture in Jordan that will examine what makes the language and place uniquely Jordanian.
“I am very excited that with our teaching assistant, Ismail, we have a native speaker of the language and someone who brings the Arabic culture here to W&L,” said Edwards. “Since Ismail is from Morocco, he nicely complements my expertise, which is more of Egypt and Syria; i.e. the Levant. So culturally, linguistically, cuisine-wise, he’s going to bring a lot of insight that I am unable to bring except from a theoretical perspective.”
Alaoui said that he sees himself as a cultural ambassador and is looking forward to helping students with the language, as well as hosting cultural events to introduce them to Arabic culture. “I will do that by sharing with the students, preparing dishes and telling them about the ceremonies and celebrations in the region,” he said. Alaoui is a graduate of Moulay Ismail University in Morocco and is also a calligrapher.
Edwards also studies literature and has a syllabus for a course on Arabic literature (read in English translation) that he will offer in winter 2016. In the meantime, he plans to organize an open-literature night since “poetry readings and the orality of language performance are very important in Arabic culture. I would like to introduce that to the student body and to the W&L community,” he said. Other cultural events will include an Arabic conversation table in W&L’s dining facility, movie nights in Arabic and a cooking night.
The impetus to include Arabic classes at W&L came from the Middle Eastern/South Asia (MESA) cohort — a group of W&L faculty from different departments dedicated to the development of interdisciplinary learning about the region and sponsored by the office of the dean of the College. “MESA was very interested in Arabic language classes and advocated for it as a complement to the things they were already teaching,” said Keen.
MESA members from the college include Joel Blecher, assistant professor of religion, who teaches the religion and history of Islam; Tim Lubin, professor of religion and an expert on India and areas of South Asia; and Melissa Kerin, assistant professor of art history who researches in India and Tibet. Members from the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics are Seth Cantey, assistant professor of politics, who teaches Middle Eastern politics; Shikha Silwal, assistant professor of economics; and Mark Rush, director of W&L’s Center for International Education and the Waxburg Professor of Politics, who recently served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Sharjah in the Middle East.
“We were very lucky to recruit Antoine Edwards since he was our first choice, and we were very fortunate to successfully apply for a native language speaker in a competitive situation,” said Rush. “Arabic really is one of the most important global languages right now, and this is a region where our graduates will certainly be working. It is our mission to provide students with a complete global education. It is exciting to see the new energy of the younger faculty who are really coalescing around a region and new areas of study and teaching.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to Speak at W&L Law
The Hon. Richard J. Leon, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, will speak this week at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Among Judge Leon’s notable decisions, he ruled in 2013 that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records likely violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The title of Judge Leon’s talk is “Battle Hymn of a Federal District Judge.” His lecture is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 at noon in Classroom B, Sydney Lewis Hall. His talk is free and open to the public.
Judge Leon was appointed to the United States District Court in February 2002. He received his A.B. from Holy Cross College in 1971, his J.D. cum laude from Suffolk Law School in 1974, and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1981.
Immediately prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Leon was in private practice in Washington, D.C., as a partner in the Washington office of Baker & Hostetler (1989-1999), and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease (1999-2002).
Prior to and while in private practice, Judge Leon served as counsel to Congress in the investigations of three sitting Presidents. In 1987, he was the Deputy Chief Minority Counsel for the U.S. House Select “Iran-Contra” Committee. From 1992-1993, he was the Chief Minority Counsel to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee’s “October Surprise” Task Force. In 1994, Judge Leon was Special Counsel to the U.S. House Banking Committee for its “Whitewater” investigation. He also served in 1997 as Special Counsel to the bipartisan U.S. House Ethics Reform Task Force.
Earlier in his career, Judge Leon served at the U.S. Department of Justice in a number of positions including Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Environment Division, Senior Trial Attorney in the Criminal Section of the Tax Division, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He also served as a Commissioner on the White House Fellows Commission and the Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control.
Judge Leon’s lecture is sponsored by The Federalist Society.
Annual Law and Literature Seminar to Explore McEwan’s “The Children Act”
Washington and Lee University School of Law will host the 2015 Law and Literature Seminar on Nov. 6-7. Now in its 23rd year, the seminar will focus on “The Children Act,” a new novel by acclaimed British writer Ian McEwan, author of “Atonement,” “Amsterdam” (which won the Booker Prize), “Sweet Tooth,” and other works.
In The Children Act, legal issues and personal repercussions take center stage. The woman at the heart of the story, Fiona Maye, is an English judge whose docket consists of highly contentious family law cases. In one case, legal rules and religious belief come into sharp conflict, allowing McEwan to delve deeply into questions of identity, responsibility, and the limits of human understanding.
Another conflict in the novel concerns the intersection between the private self and the public, judicial persona in Fiona, a conflict compounded by a marital crisis that unsettles her settled life and nudges her closer to judicial misconduct. A reviewer in The New York Review of Books wrote that this book is “among the best and most accomplished novels has ever written.”
Faculty for the weekend will include law professors Brian Murchison and Ann Massie, former W&L law professor David Caudill, and English professor Marc Conner.
The program is co-sponsored with the W&L Alumni College program. The seminar has been approved for two hours of CLE ethics credit and is open to anyone interested in law and literature.
My W&L: Nicky Peacher ’15
“I have learned that service in one’s community can take on many forms.”
My W&L experience, like many of my classmates, has been a unique, rewarding and slightly unexpected journey. Reflecting back on my time at this wonderful university, I now begin to understand the ways in which W&L allowed me to forge my own path. For me, this path became centered on the Shepherd Program, which allowed me to pursue a variety of invaluable opportunities. My ties with the Shepherd Program began before my first class, when I participated on one of the Volunteer Venture Pre-Orientation trips.
Through this brief introduction to service-learning and the Poverty and Human Capabilities minor, I was able to pursue a Shepherd Internship the summer after my sophomore year in Baltimore, MD. Working at a summer and after-school program for Baltimore city students in grades 4 through 12, I developed a true interest and enthusiasm for education policy. Upon returning to school in the fall, I quickly researched organizations in Washington, D.C. that worked on these issues and ended up interning at a lobbying firm that specialized in education policy.
Now, as I prepare to graduate from W&L (pending a successful spring option), I am getting ready to pursue a new challenge with Army Officer Candidate School. When people ask the inevitable question, “so, Nicky, any plans after graduation?” and I tell them about my decision, they often follow-up with “why?” I realize now that my answer to this question is due in large part to the values that the Shepherd Program instilled within me.
The Shepherd Program enabled me to involve myself within my local community in ways that I had not experienced before. Through this service-based work, I began to discover ways in which I could learn from and positively impact those around me. From teaching in classrooms to drafting educational policy briefs to participant observations, I have learned that service in one’s community can take on many forms. My time at W&L has given me opportunities to immerse myself in my community, and has taught me how to learn and grow from these experiences. As a first-year, I was very unsure about my plans after college. However, W&L and the Shepherd Program provided me with the direction and purpose necessary to pursue service-based work after I graduate.
Although I believe my experience has been unique, a student finding and developing their passions and interests is commonplace throughout W&L. This university has allowed me to truly blend my academic, professional and personal lives into one cohesive unit that I will forever cherish as My W&L.
Hometown: Weston, MA
Minor: Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies
- Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
- Volunteer Venture
- Sports Broadcasting
- IM Sports
- London School of Economics Summer Program
- Shepherd Internship in Baltimore
- Penn Hill Group in DC
Post-Graduation Plans: Army Officer Candidate School
Favorite Class: Professor Morel’s seminar called Lincoln’s Statesmanship. It was incredible to learn from someone who is so incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about President Lincoln.
Favorite W&L Activity: Das Klub
Favorite Campus Landmark: Although it is not very original, my favorite spot on campus would have to be Lee Chapel because of its immense history.
Interns at Work: Yashna Naidu ’15 Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Camden, N.J.
“I returned with a strong resolve to help reach the medically underserved and a much clearer vision of the quality of patient care I hope to provide one day as a physician.”
How did you learn about this internship?
As soon as I kicked off my summer internship search, I sat down with my advisor, Professor Dickovick, and brainstormed for potential opportunities. Given my interests in public health and service, he immediately suggested that I touch base with Professor Pickett and the Shepherd Poverty Program. Turns out it was a perfect match–I ended up interning and even becoming a minor!
What gave you the edge in landing this internship?
First and foremost, my time as a student medical volunteer with the Rockbridge Area Health Center and prior experience with clinical Spanish were both very helpful in gaining this position. In addition, throughout my time at W&L, I found myself naturally gravitating toward courses and lecture series that wrestled with issues of social and economic justice, the social determinants of health and community development. When it came time to pin down the right internship, I knew that I wanted to be a part of an organization that would tackle each of these areas. Once the Camden Coalition popped up on my radar, I could tell almost immediately that it would be a great fit.
Describe your daily duties.
While working in the field, I rotated through visits of each of the thirteen practices, hospitals and clinics in the area and engaged those in the waiting room with a patient satisfaction survey in order to help Camden residents gain a stronger voice and better advocate for themselves. In addition, I also assisted in the facilitation of diabetes self-management education classes for the community in English and Spanish. During my time in the office, I worked with the Clinical Redesign team, composing a variety of white papers and press releases on Medicaid ACOs, community projects and the healthcare system in Camden.
What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?
I loved being able to see so many different levels of a city’s healthcare delivery system, from the Camden’s citywide health information exchange to community health education classes and comprehensive care coordination on the ground.
How did you like living in the city where the internship was located?
While I worked in Camden, I lived across the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, Pa., on UPenn’s campus. At first, I was definitely a little nervous about moving into the middle of such a big, new city, but I grew to absolutely love it in no time. It is such a vibrant and beautiful city full of young people, fantastic food and no shortage of cool history and culture.
What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?
From my time with the Coalition, I gained a much greater understanding of the complexities of care coordination from the bedside to the home and of the planning behind community health programs. I also returned with a strong resolve to help reach the medically underserved and a much clearer vision of the quality of patient care I hope to provide one day as a physician. I’ve learned how to think quickly on my feet and adapt to new and unfamiliar settings, while improving my health coaching skills and clinical Spanish.
What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?
Especially within the Shepherd Program, it’s all about finding an organization that shares common values and goals with you. Explore your biggest interests and passions and pinpoint organizations that help you translate them into action. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to jump right into new territory! Some of your greatest lessons learned and best experiences may very well come from being immersed in a whole new environment.
Will you pursue a career in this field after graduation?
Currently, I plan on going on to medical school after graduation and either go into practice or work with a non-profit in public health. I am so thankful to have learned and been trained in such a hands-on environment this summer and plan on drawing from these experiences wherever my career takes me.
Describe your experience in a single word.
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK
Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies
Company Name: Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
Location: Camden, N.J.
Industry: Health Care
Position: Clinical Redesign Summer Associate
Was the internship paid? Costs of living (housing & food) are covered by stipend.
My W&L: Jillian Katterhagen ’15
“Pursuing my passions in and outside of the classroom gave me an amazing opportunity to fuse those passions into an incredibly interconnected liberal arts education.”
One of my favorite memories of W&L is also one of the most exhausting days of my life. My freshman year, W&L’s home track meet coincided with the spring Dance Company performance, and on that sunny day in March, I set a new school record in the pole vault at the meet before dashing over to Lenfest Theatre to perform in my first ballet solo as a college dancer. I’d run track and danced ballet all my life, and as I set out on my college search, I worried that the day had finally arrived when I’d have to make a choice between the two. When I arrived at W&L for my recruiting visit, however, I soon realized that W&L students pride themselves on being heavily involved on campus and decided that I would do the same. More than I realized on that busy March day, attending W&L and pursuing my passions in and outside of the classroom gave me an amazing opportunity to fuse those passions into an incredibly interconnected liberal arts education.
From my very first class as a freshman at W&L, a writing seminar with Professor Keen on “schools of magic” literature, I was surrounded by faculty and students that firmly believed in the efficacy of a liberal arts education. In Professor Keen’s class, we somehow managed to translate a discussion of Harry Potter and magical pedagogy into an understanding that we, as students of a liberal arts education, were doing something special. In a world where students increasingly choose college majors based upon what will be most competitive in the job market, liberal arts students are sometimes scoffed at for spending time exploring art and literature when we could be learning something “useful.”
During my past four years at W&L, I’ve spent my fair share of time enjoying activities that, to that scary future employer, might seem frivolous. In between reading a mountain pages for Professor Merchant’s Civil War class or polishing a term paper on Lincoln for Dr. Morel, I continued to pole vault through my days and dance my nights away. While my sheer joy from continuing to do what I love most was reason choose W&L, my ability to pursue both dance and track has impacted my college years in more profound ways that I ever intended.
Competing on W&L’s track team has taught me the value of hard work and positivity in ways nothing else has. It has compelled me to grow from an athlete to into a leader. As captain this year, the honor of leading such a talented and dedicated group of women challenges me every day to improve athletically and personally as we support each other and reach new heights together.
My study of dance at W&L has broadened my creative horizons in ways I never expected. I’ve learned how to dance and appreciate a vast array of techniques, grew from dancer to choreographer as I discovered new ways to create beauty, and had the chance to share my joy of dancing with audiences from Lexington to New York City to Edinburgh. Before coming to W&L, I never considered myself creative, and clung to ballet because of its predictability and rigor. The faculty and students in the dance department here have opened my eyes to the possibility that the creation of beauty can come out of the most rigorous of established techniques. When I joined the track team and auditioned for the dance company, I did so because I found joy on the track and on the stage. Now, I see that these experiences are just as much a part of my liberal arts education as are my classes.
At liberal arts institutions, we aren’t moved along a production line of instruction for the sake of a career. We spend our days studying, running, dancing, arguing, acting, writing, reading, competing, discovering and most importantly, thinking. We learn to see connections between subjects that have nothing in common on the surface. We synthesize. We strive to fuse tradition with progress. For all those who scoff at liberal arts educations, I ask them to look at the complex problems we face in our world and argue that we don’t need exactly these kinds of abilities to start to solve them. At W&L, the liberal arts extend well beyond the classroom. Having started my W&L career as someone who unabashedly chose a liberal arts education to avoid having to make the scary choice of choosing a major as a freshman, I am proud to say that after four years, I will go forward not viewing my liberal arts education as a luxury, but as a comprehensive way to explore and affect the world around me.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Majors: History and Politics
- W&L Track and Field Team
- W&L Repertory Dance Company
- Political Review
- Omicron Delta Kappa
- Chi Omega
- Internships in Speaker John Boehner’s Leadership Office and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn’s Office (both in Washington, D.C.)
- Dance performances with the W&L Dance Company in places including New York, Wilmington, and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Post-Graduation Plans: Currently applying to law schools
Favorite Class: Professor Merchant’s spring term Civil War Battlefields class or Professor Keen’s class on The Novel.
Favorite W&L Event: Every spring, the W&L Track and Field Carnival, our only home track meet, coincides with the W&L Dance Company’s spring performance. Its great to share what I love with my family and friends on that weekend.
Favorite Lexington Landmark: My favourite Lexington place is driving up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and looking down over the Shenandoah Valley.
What’s your passion? Ballet
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I have dual citizenship from the US and Canada
What professor has inspired you? Professor Myers inspired me to fully embrace what I’m passionate about.
My W&L: Eileen Small ’15
“My journey through the world of theater has been one of the most formative aspects of my college career.”
Although I love everything Washington and Lee has to offer, it is the experiences I have had outside the university over the course of my college career that have truly shaped me into the person I am today. The opportunities that I have been awarded over my time at W&L, from studying abroad at Moscow Art Theatre School to interning at Telsey + Company Casting right in the heart of Broadway, have lead me to discover what I am truly passionate about and develop lasting and meaningful relationships with both students and professionals in my artistic field.
2013 was an especially formative year for me. In January I entered my second semester as a sophomore dead set on becoming a professional actress. I had just come off my role as Ursula in the 2012 Bentley musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” and after a refreshing winter break, I was eager to get back into the rehearsal room. Auditions quickly rolled around for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a musical I had helped produce, and my hopes were high. I sang and read well, and left the theater feeling confident I would be headed back to start the rehearsal process the following week. I wasn’t entirely wrong, but the role I ended up playing over the course of the next four weeks was certainly not what I expected.
The day before rehearsals were set to begin, I got the call from the director that all actors dread. After politely listening to what he had to say, I quietly hung up the phone and let the realization that I had not been cast wash over me. Although I began auditioning for musical theater roles when I was 8 years old and have experienced rejection many times since, this particular casting decision was especially heartbreaking to me. I had been heavily involved in the preproduction phase of the project and fully expected to see it through to the end. Now, completely unsure of my role in the process, I spent the next few days questioning whether or not there was a place for me in the professional world which I so badly wanted to be a part of.
After talking things through with several professors in the theater department and a few of my very close friends, I resolved to become as involved as I possibly could in the production process. Having already spearheaded the budget proposal and the selection of the show and the creative team, I was intimately aware of the details of the production and the challenges that lay ahead. From then on, I began to attend rehearsal every day. While there, I did everything from taking notes on the performers, to discussing and implementing lights and sound with the stage manger, to creating props from scratch at the last minute. By the end of the four-week rehearsal period I had handled everything from booking the space to selling last minute tickets at the door. When the show finally opened, we enjoyed sold out houses every night of the run. Although I was not cast as an actress in the show, producing “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” was truly one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my college career.
Over the course of the rehearsal process, I became increasingly close with musical director, Josh Harvey ‘00, whom I had met several months earlier as the stand-in accompanist for “Bye Bye Birdie.” Following the overwhelming success of “Spelling Bee,” both Josh and I were eager to continue producing musical theater in Rockbridge County. In the months following the production, we began to discuss the possibility of another musical and even a production company. In June of 2013, an opportunity became available to produce a site-specific performance of Rodger and Hammerstein’s classic musical “Oklahoma!” on a farm just outside of Lexington. Over the next few days we discussed the pros and cons of a production such as this and, by the end of the weekend, (540) Productions was born.
Since its creation in 2013, I have served as the Executive Director of (540) Productions. As Executive Director, I have overseen the production of five shows over the course of roughly one year, four of them being musicals. Since our earliest production, “Oklahoma!,” we have become an offshoot of the community arts organization Fine Arts in Rockbridge. We have also played to over one thousand theatergoers and been host to guest artists, directors and choreographers from New York and beyond, including W&L alumna Jenna Worsham ’10. This summer, we closed our season by bringing theater back to Lime Kiln, a popular community arts space, with our production of “Spring Awakening.” We were publicly recognized for this performance not only in Lexington, but also throughout the state of Virginia, in Waynesboro, Staunton and Roanoke.
My journey through the world of theater has been one of the most formative aspects of my college career and none of it would have been possible without the support of the Washington and Lee department of theater, dance and film studies and the wonderful professors who have encouraged me to do what I love and follow my passion every single step of the way.
Hometown: Midland, TX
Majors: Theater and Studio Art (Printmaking)
- President of Mindbending Productions
- Artistic Director of inGeneral Magazine
- W&L Repertory Dance Company
- Arts League
- Omicron Delta Kappa
- Pi Beta Phi
- Volunteer for W&L Special Collections
- Executive Director of (540) Productions
- Semester abroad at Moscow Art Theatre School in Moscow, Russia
- Spring Term abroad in London, UK and twice in Italy
- Internship at Telsey + Co Casting
- Open Jar Institute in New York, NY
- Rhode Island School of Design Summer Institute for Graphic Design Studies
Post-Graduation Plans: Pursue a career in theater in NYC or an MFA in Printmaking (maybe both!)
Favorite Class: Surrealism with Dr. King
What’s your passion? Creating
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? When I was a baby I had a onesie that said “W&L Class of 2015.”
What professor has inspired you? Leigh Ann Beavers has inspired me to ask myself the difficult questions and be honest with myself about the answers. Stopping by her office to chat about everything and nothing is the highlight of my day.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Never be afraid to do what you love.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Although I love everything that W&L has to offer, it is the experiences that I have had outside of the university over the course of my college career that have truly shaped me into the person I am today. The opportunities that I have been given throughout my time at W&L, from studying abroad at Moscow Art Theatre School to interning at Telsey + Company Casting right in the heart of Broadway, have lead me to discover what I am truly passionate about and develop lasting and meaningful relationships with both students and professionals in my artistic field. I only wish that someone had told me all that was eventually in store for me before I came to campus. It would have made my college decision a complete no-brainer.
My W&L: Julia Lancaster ’15
“I was lucky to start college in a supportive yet competitive program that set the precedent to succeed on and off the field.”
I got an early start to my W&L experience three years ago, because freshmen year started with three weeks of pre-season training. As a member of the women’s soccer team, I was taught the W&L style right away–work hard, but have fun.
This beginning proved to shape all aspects of my W&L experience.
I was lucky to start college in a supportive yet competitive program that set the precedent to succeed on and off the field. As my academics advanced, I continued to meet more such driven people behind the white columns of our Colonnade. My professors always encouraged me to follow my intellectual curiosities, while fellow students were always eager to collaborate to progress both our strengths and weaknesses. W&L enables students to try it all, so I’ve taken a variety of creative classes such as Professor Bower’s “Ad Class,” but have also enjoyed an independent study on contemporary German literature with Professor Youngman.
Ultimately, I believe my W&L experience has been most profound outside the classroom. The many opportunities offered to get involved in extra-curricular activities at W&L have been fundamental to my well-rounded experience. Continued involvement in campus organizations allowed me to work and socialize with diverse people, expanding my horizons bit by bit. I am thankful for everyone in the community–my coaches, advisors, friends, etc.–who always encourage taking full advantage of everything W&L has to offer.
I came in as a freshman without a clear career path and without any idea of what my future would hold. Now as a senior, I still may not know exactly where I am heading, but I will leave this unique place confident that the academic, athletic and social experiences I had with my W&L family prepared me well for the future.
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Majors: Journalism & Mass Communications, German
- Women’s Varsity Soccer
- Kappa Alpha Theta, President
- University Tees Campus Manager
- 24: Many Sports, One Team
- The Coca-Cola Company, Public Affairs & Communications Intern, Summer 2014
- Porsche Cars of North America, Public Relations Intern, Summer 2013
- Vienna, Austria, Study Abroad, Summer 2012
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I love adventure! I’ve gone skydiving, I run a half marathon every year with one of my best friends, and I love scuba diving.
Why did you choose W&L? I wanted a good liberal arts school in a rural setting. I also liked the Honor System and spring term. The more I learned about this place and the people here, the easier my decision became.
Why did you choose your major? German because I was raised bi-lingual, and Journalism & Mass Communications because I figured it would be an interesting major with many professional options.
What professor has inspired you? Professor Youngman has inspired me to work hard, be professional, but to also be relaxed and enjoy life.
Favorite W&L Memory: Tough question. But beating Virginia Wesleyan in the final minute at their place last season and then being ridiculously happy with my teammates ranks at the top.
Favorite Class: Ad Class (BUS-370: Integrated Marketing Communications)
Favorite W&L Event: I love our big, traditional weekends at W&L such as Homecoming, Christmas Weekend, Fancy Dress and Young Alumni.
Favorite Campus Landmark: The view from Watt Field down over campus, being able to see the George Washington statue from Washington Hall and the mountains in the distance.
What’s your passion? I have many, but most of my passions include my friends and family.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? I wish I had known that for every initial reason I ever considered W&L, I would discover it to be even better than I could have imagined.
Post-Graduation Plans: Taking a gap year to work in the British Virgin Islands and Germany. I then hope to travel throughout Australia. After that, find a job!
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Get involved! It’s the best way to meet people and become a part of this community.
My W&L: Sofía Sequeira ’15
“Here in Lexington I found a home away from home.”
“So, how did you end up at Washington and Lee?”
I came to Washington and Lee without knowing what to expect. A new country, a new culture, a new language, everything was new to me. During the summer before coming to Lexington, I counted down the days; I was thrilled to start college in the United States. However, there were two things I was not particularly excited about: homesickness and winter. Summer passed by fairly quickly, and all of a sudden I was in the airport with one suitcase in hand and ready to leave behind everything I considered home.
Washington and Lee was a pleasant surprise; here in Lexington I found a home away from home. This university has offered me the small classroom experience, great professors willing to help me out, an amazing sense of community, a huge array of opportunities, and the necessary tools to achieve my goals.
After my first city tour around Lexington, I was dubious about how I was going to keep myself busy in such a small place. However, with less than two years left, I know that I will not run out of opportunities.
One of the most fulfilling experiences has been English tutoring. When you tutor for a child who struggles to learn English, every little step counts. Throughout the years, many doors have opened in order for me to develop my full potential, I knew I had to find a way to somehow pay back the countless blessings I have received. Washington and Lee has taught me that every action will make a difference, and this is a lesson that will stay with me even after graduation.
Lexington keeps me 5,666 kilometers away from my family, my house, my community, my culture, my language, my country; and I still cannot think of I place where I would be happier.
“So, how did you end up at Washington and Lee?”
I honestly do not know, but I am glad I ended up here.
Hometown: Heredia, Costa Rica
- Student Association for International Learning
- Multicultural Student Association
- African Society
- Ladies’ Club
- Model United Nations
- Immigrant Rights Clinic
- Tucker Multimedia Center
- English for Speakers of Other Languages
- Upperclassmen Resident Advisor
- Spring Term Abroad in Bayreuth, Germany (2013)
Post-Graduation Plans: Law School
Favorite W&L Memory: Dinnertime with my friends at the Marketplace during freshmen year.
Favorite Class: Psyc 296 – Psychology of Peak Performance with Professor Gregory.
Favorite W&L Event: International Student Orientation
Favorite Campus Landmark: The Colonnade during summer, fall, winter, and spring.
What professor has inspired you? Professor Melina Bell
My W&L: Cynthia Lam ’15
“I have been given incredible opportunities to embrace all that W&L has to offer.”
11 semesters, 2 Fancy Dresses, 36 essays (perks of being an English major), countless Wal-Mart trips, and dozens of band parties later, here I am.
Spring Term, senior year. The end of my college career.
A lot has happened in the last four years. I have examined everything from gendered coercion in Mulan to Cormac McCarthy in class, flown 3459 miles across the pond to study Shakespeare at Oxford, and consumed an impressive number of Hillel bagels. Between summers in D.C. and Sunday evenings in the Phi office, I have been given incredible opportunities to embrace all that W&L has to offer.
But if you ask me about my proudest achievement, I will tell you that it is not the number of positions I have held, or dollars I have raised, or awards I have won. You will not find it anywhere on my Linkedin page. Because my greatest success is the people — the friendships I have forged and the relationships I have cultivated along the way.
These individuals have brought me to where I am today. If Professor Mahon had not reached out to me over Christmas Break to apply to Oxford — eight days before the deadline — I would not have spent an unforgettable year abroad. If a friend had not encouraged me to submit my Davis Project for Peace proposal, I would not be going to Hong Kong this summer to launch an English academy for impoverished youth. If I had not been part of such a dedicated team for Nabors Service League, we could not have recruited so many volunteers to give back during our campus-wide Service Day.
And then there are the things that people do, every single day, that make all the difference. Friends who wake up at 6 a.m. to drive you to the LSAT. Sorority sisters who save you the last piece of brie at lunch, because it is your favorite. Roommates who surprise you on Monday morning with freshly-baked mufffins. Professors who hold “special office hours” at Macado’s before a big paper. Classmates who scan 60 pages of reading for you when you forget it. These moments remind me again and again of the amazing community we have here.
Students, professors, administrators, the list goes on. These individuals have always been there for me, ready to help at the drop of a hat. Even when I am away from Lexington, I still experience the energy and compassion of this community, which consistently goes above and beyond to help me achieve my dreams — be it law school, travel or simply the confidence to succeed. I am continually amazed by this powerful support network, and even more grateful for the phenomenal people I have encountered at W&L. I could not have done it without them.
This, for me, is the thread that ties everything together. Indeed, this is the reason that brought me to W&L. Four years ago, I walked into the Northern Jersey Admitted Students Reception, torn between two schools. I was immediately welcomed with open arms from students, parents and alumni, who went above and beyond to make me feel at home. I was a part of the community, long before I had even set foot on campus. When I sent in my decision that evening, I knew I had made the right choice.
Soon, it will be time for me to leave Lexington. A lot has happened in these four years, and a lot more will happen in the next forty. But I know that the people — and this community — will follow me wherever I go.
Hometown: Westfield, N.J.
Majors: English (BA) and Business Administration (BSc)
Minors: Creative Writing and Philosophy
- Managing Editor, Ring Tum Phi
- Special Events Chair, Nabors Service League
- Honor Advocate
- Writing Center Tutor
- Tour Guide
- Pi Beta Phi Sorority
- Glasgow Endowment Committee
- 2015 Davis Project for Peace, Hong Kong (Grant, Summer 2015)
- Legal Services of New Jersey, NJ (Internship, Summer 2014)
- Oxford University, England (Study Abroad, 2013-2014)
- Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC (Fellowship & Johnson Opportunity Grant, Summer 2013)
- Merck Employees Federal Credit Union, NJ (Internship, Summer 2012)
Post-Graduation Plans: Channeling my inner Elle Woods at law school this fall (either Stanford or University of Pennsylvania).
Favorite W&L Memory: O-Week junior year. So many memories were made during those five days.
Favorite Class: “Business Ethics” with Professor Sandy Reiter. Loved our discussions and readings about morality and professionalism. Turns out “business ethics” doesn’t have to be a paradox!
Favorite W&L Activity: Sorority lunch, because it combines my two favorite things in the world: friends and food. What’s not to love?
Favorite Campus Landmark: If you stand right in front of Lee Chapel, you’ll find the echo spot — aka the coolest 2′ X 2′ square feet on campus.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? “How I Met Your Mother” is my all-time favorite show. I once watched 19 straight hours of it (I would advise against that, for future reference).
What’s your passion? People. I am passionate about helping others, especially the underrepresented and disadvantaged, which is why I am determined to make a difference.
What professor has inspired you? Professor Lesley Wheeler is one of the kindest, most intelligent people I know. I had the honor of having her as my advisor from day one, where I was instantly drawn to her warmth and sincerity. She cares deeply about her students, going out of her way to help us succeed. This spirit is truly inspiring.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Freshman year, one of my best friends had a poster on her wall: “No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.” At the time, I laughed and went to bed. But now I have come to appreciate this quote. Sleep is definitely important, but there are many important things to embrace in college, as well. Some of my greatest memories come from the nights I stayed up just a little longer.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Create a future worthy of your past. Keep on challenging, pushing, and outdoing yourself to be even better than who you were yesterday. You will be amazed at what you can do.
My W&L: Nacho Portela ’15
“The most important thing I have learned is how to be myself.”
My need for adventure was a big reason why I decided to come to Washington and Lee for college. Admittedly, I did not know much about it coming in. Although I was plenty informed on the quality of education, I had no idea what the social scene would be like. The first thing I noticed? I was clearly not fitting in with the preppy vibes that are such a trademark of our campus. Later I learned that I was essentially all the things that the frat bro handbook tells you not to be, if you want to fit in easily. However, I would soon discover that it didn’t matter, because the Washington and Lee community was one that embraced and appreciated my individuality. Honestly, throughout my time here, I have become deeply convinced that because of the values that our honor system cultivates in us, those who are fully true to their identity can easily become leaders in the eyes of the student body.
The past four years have been filled with very important lessons, both on- and off-campus, but the most important thing I have learned is how to be myself. Now I must say that “being yourself” doesn’t mean just doing what you want, or saying everything you think. Rather it involves a constant process of self-discovery and evaluation that develops into a higher awareness of who you are and how you’re seen by those around you. I am forever thankful that I was able to go through a major phase of this process as a double major in business and theater at W&L. My business studies taught me about organization and how businesses are run, and how they affect the way the world works. Most importantly, however, they taught me about the ethical implications behind business decisions, and how to keep a solid moral compass to work not only towards profits, but for the improvement of societies as a whole. My studies in the arts taught me about responsibility and commitment. I was constantly pushed to be more creative, and to work harder to fulfil my potential as an artist. The study of these two fields forced my brain to balance the use of its right and left sides multiple times a day. It also forced me to constantly evaluate the way I behaved as a consumer in contrast with the beliefs I held, and in turn made me question multiple aspects of my personality many times in four years.
Looking back to my freshman self, I now realize what a blank canvas I was. By having been a part of such a supportive and encouraging environment, I was able to absorb immeasurable amounts of knowledge about academia, life and myself, while constantly growing into a version of myself that I love and am very proud of.
A final thought: What I love the most about Washington and Lee, besides the freedom it gave me to discover this version of myself, is the amazing friends that it has put on my path. I am very thankful for everyone around me, and as I leave these people who I now consider a family behind, I know they will always be with me — or whichever version of me I become.
Hometown: Mar del Plata, Argentina
Majors: Business Administration and Theater
- W&L Dance Company
- Peer Counseling Program
Off-Campus Experiences: I received two scholarships last summer to take dance technique classes in Brooklyn, NY, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Post-Graduation Plans: I’m going back to Argentina to keep training as an artist, keep growing as a person, and acquire some of what adults call “real world work experience.”
Favorite W&L Memory: I have way too many but the common factor seems to be the AMAZING friends I have made here. I cannot get over how much all of them have taught me.
Favorite Class: Every single class that required for me to be creative
Favorite W&L Event: Spring Term forever
Favorite Lexington Landmark: The sunsets (but also wherever my bed is)
What’s your passion? Art, dance, learning, teaching, gender/sexual equality, being one with the universe.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? Nacho is a really common name in Argentina, so I hadn’t ever in my life thought anything about it until I came here and people thought that it was both hilariously strange and perfectly suiting.
Why did you choose W&L? I figured it would be a crazy life experience
Why did you choose your major? I am physically incapable of staying away from the arts, and I also wanted the practical skills that management would give me.
What professor has inspired you? All of my professors have inspired me. I wish I could have had so many more life chats with all of them. My favorite professors taught me about keeping your passion alive, and working hard to fulfil your potential. I’m really thankful for all of the ones that gave me the trust and space to do that. Interestingly, even the ones I didn’t like at all further inspired me not to be a bad professor. I do believe that giving others knowledge is one of the coolest things you can do.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? BE YOURSELF. Grow confident in the person that you truly are — your progress as a human, student, artist, athlete or whatever you do will be deeply marked by this. The school’s honor system fosters the idea that you shouldn’t misrepresent yourself, so when a student puts themselves out there all the way, they get a lot of respect.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Fun fact: I didn’t know ANYTHING about W&L before coming here. I actually thought it was located in DC for a while…
My W&L: Josy Tarantini ’15
“Over the past four years, Lexington has begun to feel more and more like my home.”
I remember the first time I called Lexington “home.” I sat in a booth at Olive Garden with friends from my high school in West Virginia and commented that, in just a week, I would be going back “home.” Surprised to hear me refer to W&L as my home, my friends teased me for already moving on and forgetting about my life Morgantown. Although that wasn’t entirely true, I can’t deny that, over the past four years, Lexington has begun to feel more and more like my home, at least for this season of my life.
There are many reasons for these feelings that go far deeper than the pretty campus and rigorous academics. After all, it’s not those things that make a home. For me, it’s been largely the people in the Lexington community that have welcomed me in and made me a part of their lives.
Through the Teacher Ed program, I get to laugh and learn with K-5th graders as we sing Spanish songs and play Simon Dice (Simon Says), helping me hold onto my inner child and reminding me that life doesn’t have to stop being fun. As a Wyldlife leader, I get to surround myself with girls from Maury River Middle School who obsess over Mountain Dew and Minecraft but who are as awkward and quirky as I am and never expect me to be someone I’m not. Thanks to ESOL, I also get the privilege of working with a Spanish-speaking family in the community. Each time I meet with them, I’m confident that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, especially as we work on learning sign language and I see them finally able to communicate with their sixteen-year-old deaf daughter.
But even though each of these groups and people have wrapped me up in their lives and helped me feel loved and accepted, there is one place on campus that, more than any other, feels like home. You wouldn’t expect it when you walk into the room. It’s a damp, chilly basement with white walls and an occasional giant cricket lurking in the corner. Yet it’s also a place where I have spent hundreds of hours over the past four years. The W&L House of Prayer, in the basement of R.E. Lee Episcopal Church, comes to life every night at 9 p.m., when students gather to worship and pray for each other and for the larger W&L community. Dark the other 23 hours of the day, 9-10 p.m. is a special time where the room is full of singing and heartfelt prayers for friends, classmates and professors. We seek to love the Lord and the people around us, and there is nowhere else where I feel quite so comfortable and accepted. In the Prayer Room, I forget about my mountain of homework, my many meetings, and my momentary worries and am able to focus on the things that really matter. As we pray for people on campus that we sometimes don’t even know, I feel my heart growing more connected to this community. I see the value in each person, and I see the value in myself. When I graduate in a few months, I don’t expect to miss the homework. Or the meetings. Or the stress. But I will miss this new home of mine. And I will especially miss the W&L House of Prayer.
Hometown: Morgantown, W.V.
Minors: Poverty and Education
- W&L House of Prayer
- Generals Christian Fellowship
- Young Life
- English for Speakers of Other Languages
- Resident Advisor
- Internship with Shepherd Poverty Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Summer 2012
- Internship at International House of Prayer: Eastern Gate in Summer 2014
Post-Graduation Plans: teaching elementary school or Spanish, missionary work, and/or ministry
Favorite Class: Creative Writing in Spanish and Creative Writing: Memoir
Favorite Lexington Landmark: Boxerwood gardens
What’s your passion? Jesus and children
Why did you choose W&L? The poverty program and AMAZING financial aid/scholarships
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Don’t compare yourselves to others or do things just because you think everyone else is doing them! You don’t have to follow the crowd to have a great W&L experience.
My W&L: Nick Lehotsky ’15
“I had been drawn to W&L by the wide array of courses I would be compelled to take, but was hardly aware of how they could help my desired profession.”
As a first-year, I auditioned for the Bentley musical Cabaret, on a whim. Not because I like musicals (I really don’t, though I have grown to appreciate them) but because I’m always on the lookout for new acting experiences, which challenge me to apply acting and other skills to a final production. The audition consisted of a one to two minute monologue, and cold singing from the musical score. I felt confident in my mediocre monologue skills, but knew for certain I couldn’t sing. Hopefully, the director would understand.
He did more than understand; he opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. I came to W&L completely unaware of what I wanted to do with my life, and the director not only helped me discover that I want to act, but that I want to focus intensely upon acting. At the time, I thought such a concentration required a transfer, namely to an acting program elsewhere. He helped me find and polish monologues, as well as apply to several great acting programs. Everyone in the Theater Department supported my choice to transfer, and several professors wrote very touching letters of recommendation. I auditioned at the universities, briefly interacted with a multitude of talented people, and found that studying for four years at a highly competitive program meant sacrificing some things.
Namely, performing on a stage in front of a public audience. Until, in some instances, late in my sophomore year. And then, I would be contending with the numerous other talented individuals for a single role. By this point of my freshman year at W&L, I had performed in Cabaret (playing a character who also was born in Harrisburg, PA. Coincidence, you might say. Typecasting, my father sardonically remarked), and several other shows, not to mention some readings, all of which had public audiences. I talked with Grant Aleksander ‘12 after a session of Professor Martinez’s Acting for the Camera class (which he guest taught) about my difficult decision, and he reminded of just how unique my situation was. As Grant had once been in the same boat, he understood the necessity of polishing one’s skill set for the highly competitive job market, but from my freshman year alone, I’d had more roles than I’d probably get in all of my time at an acting program elsewhere. Like I said before, I relish new acting experiences. Right there, the choice became obvious, and my heart (well, all of me, really, but a little metonymy never hurt anybody) remained here.
Thanks to the numerous opportunities on campus, I developed my acting skills through frequent involvement in a large number of productions. And the liberal arts curriculum worked out pretty well, too. I had been drawn to W&L by the wide array of courses I would be compelled to take, but was hardly aware of how they could help my desired profession.
Tom Oppenheim, the artistic director of The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, once remarked that “Growth as an actor and growth as a human being are synonymous.” The summer before my junior year, thanks to W&L, I studied at Stella Adler, in one of their Summer Conservatory programs. Here I took classes in movement, scene study, Shakespeare, script interpretation, Adler technique, voice and speech, and improvisation. After this experience, it really hit me. So much of what actors do requires a thorough processing of dense amounts of knowledge in little time, often with unfamiliar material. Here at W&L, I was not only learning about topics outside my desired career, I was becoming aware of how my mind best grasps knowledge, and even how I can communicate that knowledge most effectively. W&L compelled me to follow the words of Robert Downey Jr., who once advised actors to be “[a]lways searching, sometimes hunting, but never resting.”
Hometown: Camp Hill, PA
Majors: Theater and English
- Mindbending Student Productions
- 540 productions
- Wednesday Night Live
- Leyburn Library Work Study
- the occasional MUSE piece
- Stella Adler Summer Conservatory Class of 2013
- Studying Abroad in Spring 2015 (London)
Post-Graduation Plans: Mill Mountain Theater Company. For the summer, anyway.
Favorite W&L Memory: Too many. Staying up to watch the sunrise. Reading one of my stranger pieces at last year’s MUSE launch party (and getting photographed by THE Tom Wolff ’14). Eating a Kenny burger. The Shannon-Clark English Major retreats. WNL sketches that were hard to perform with a straight face (Sexist SJC, The Tunnel of Friendship, Voices of the Puzzle). Max Chapnick’s hearty laugh. Meeting Theater and Dance Department Head Owen Collins in his painting jumpsuit. Hearing Chauncey Baker’s sexy car poem. Acting with Grant Aleksander ’12. Walking out of Payne Hall after submitting my final project for Professor Gavaler’s Superheroes course. Stage managing Rob Mish’s production of Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference and watching Betty Taylor perform. Throwing myself into two fantastic mainstage shows this year (Night of the Iguana and SPAMALOT).
Favorite Class: I took Doctor Desjardin’s and Professor Abry’s Disorder and Chaos because of Jurassic Park (thank you, Dr. Malcolm). I’ve forgotten nearly everything I learned in the class, but my entire perception of order shifted because of their witty and patient approach. Tied for third are Professor Gavaler’s Superheroes and the three poetry classes I’ve taken with Professor Wheeler (230, Mid-20th Century American Poetry, and African-American Poetry). These two professors connected with me on a personal level that I treasured in my high school English teachers, and their multifaceted approaches to education prevented me from becoming too cynical. By this logic, it seems the Professor makes the class. Take note of this, people.
Favorite W&L Activity: Cloud-gazing by the Colonnade has become a nice pastime of mine lately. I enjoy seeking out the Free Advice, when there are people at the Free Advice table. Acting is a thing I do a lot. (Never let it be said I’m not eloquent about my favorites.)
Favorite Campus Landmark: The bridge leading from the main parking deck to Commons. When the trees are full of leaves, when the fog has descended on Lexington, or when it’s late at night; turn towards the east and watch as civilization vanishes from your eyes. For five feet, anyhow.
What’s your passion? Making people laugh? I’ll settle for a smile.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I’ve been re-reading the Dhammapada, which is a small book of sayings from the Buddha. There’s no way to make it not sound pretentious.
Why did you choose W&L? Gorgeous campus, the Honor System, the liberal arts: these are the big three. Growing up in a small town with trees in spacious front yards meant a lot to me, and taking a wide array of classes with self-scheduled exams was an added bonus. Remember, true believers, with great power comes great responsibility!
Why did you choose your major? Growing up, my two passions were reading and acting, and it’s what I’ve spent a large portion of my time here doing. I’ve grown the most as a human being through textual analysis and performing.
What professor has inspired you? It’s a cop-out answer, but they all do, in their own ways. If we were going by origins of inspirations, however, Professor Gavaler takes the cake. I became an English major after taking three of his classes. I’ve worked with both Professors Martinez and Mish on more than a half-dozen shows, readings and classes, so it’s safe to say they’re the Theater uncles I never had. Frankly, everyone in the Theater department serves as a testament to how much fun theater can be and I do consider them nearly family. I’ve had brief conversations with Professor Delaney, whose kindness and style exemplify how warm and well-dressed Professors here can be.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? I’m going to quote Chauncey Baker on this: “Take the free things.” Spending four years of your life in a town swaddled by nature and local businesses is a gift. During the summer it’s a balmy and bug-populated gift, but there’s so much to do, so little time. I was something of a Mr. Bemis my freshman year (what, no love for The Twilight Zone?), but eked out into the world through little experiences. Check out the Bookery (and say hi to Mary Sue Ellen for me), walk/jog the Woods Creek trail, smell at least two of the numerous scents in Sunday’s Child, sit underneath a tree on the main lawn (sans texts, sans music, sans eyes, sans everything) and breathe.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? 1) That someone would never grab me by the lapels (or sew lapels onto my t-shirt just for the grabbing) and shout, “STOP TAKING YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY.” Not that I would’ve listened to them, but I certainly would’ve come around to that conclusion more quickly. 2) Quotes go outside the period. Right, English Majors? 3) Seriously, though. There will be days (weeks, even) when the impossible will become a reality. For better or for worse. You’ll have some essays, short reflective writings, and a class project to complete by tomorrow when all of a sudden you’ll remember that you’re supposed to meet with your advisor to talk about scheduling things. Just then, your phone buzzes. It’s your father — are you free to talk? And in the midst of all this, a small beautiful something will occur. A fat squirrel will scurry past. Some sweet seasonal scent may waft by. That charming person will walk by and smile at you. Enjoy the little things.
My W&L: Katie Strickland ’15
“W&L has prepared me to bridge the gap between policy makers and engineers and help lead our nation in a technology-driven world.”
Looking back at my experience at Washington and Lee, it is bittersweet to move on to the next chapter of my life. I have grown in so many ways at this wonderful institution. My professors’ commitment to supporting my passions and encouraging me to push myself, coupled with the wonderful community of W&L students, has created four unforgettable years. It is difficult to choose one defining experience at Washington and Lee, so I will try and capture a few incredible opportunities that shape who I am today.
I am studying both engineering and politics at W&L and have always been extremely interested in pursuing a career in global security, whether it be working for a defense contractor or in defense policy. I believe that in order to make good policy decisions, politicians need to be well versed in technology. I also believe that engineers must understand political philosophy to challenge the ethical implications of their innovations. W&L has prepared me to bridge the gap between policy makers and engineers and help lead our nation in a technology-driven world.
As a freshman I was selected to participate in Washington Term, a program where students take an American Government course while interning in Washington, D.C., over their Spring Term. I interned for Speaker John Boehner, worked for a PAC supporting the Speaker, and also worked with the National Republican Congressional Committee. I had the opportunity to interview Speaker Boehner and his senior staff for my final paper on Politics vs. Policy in the House of Representatives. Through the Program, Professor Connelly’s politics class came to life in the heart of the nation’s capital. Washington Term was a springboard for incredible internships in D.C. where I researched nuclear nonproliferation and defense policy issues. Washington and Lee’s Johnson Opportunity Grant and John Warner Public Service Award funded my internships at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the American Enterprise Institute’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies. This year I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Professor Connelly to help other W&L students secure internships through the Washington Term Program.
Over the last four years at Washington and Lee I have also been involved with Engineers Without Borders. I have been able to help grow the club from five engineering students to over twenty-five active participants across all majors. EWB brings students with diverse interests together and a passion to serve the local and global community to make a positive impact. I have had incredible opportunities working on water purification and accessibility projects in Guatemala and Bolivia. EWB partnered with villagers to implement engineering solutions and solve real-world problems. The most incredible takeaways manifested themselves in cross-cultural connections and close friendships with villagers–a shared smile, a celebratory dance. As President of EWB, I am excited about the expanded set of global projects on the horizon, which will allow more Washington and Lee students to make a global impact, learn new skills, and connect with villagers across the globe.
Lastly, Washington and Lee prepared me for an incredible opportunity to study Engineering Science at the University of Oxford last year, by far the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. Washington and Lee’s Engineering Department supported my year abroad and set me up for success at one of the top engineering programs in the world. I made lifelong friends while abroad, and several have come to visit me in the U.S. over the holidays. I hope to return to Oxford someday to pursue a Masters in Political Theory.
I am thankful to Washington and Lee for an incredible four years full of many life-shaping experiences. I encourage freshman at Washington and Lee to find something that they are passionate about and fearlessly pour themselves into their dreams.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Majors: Dual Degree: BS in Physics-Engineering and BA in Politics
- President, Engineers Without Borders
- PAACE Chair
- Kappa Delta
- Contact Committee
- Women in Technology and Science
- Bonner Scholar
- Co-Chair, First Year Orientation Committee
- First Year Leadership Council
- Jubilee Women’s A Cappella
- I interned for Speaker John Boehner through the Washington Term Program, for the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the American Enterprise Institute, and Accenture.
- I studied Engineering Science at the University of Oxford for my junior year abroad.
Post-Graduation Plans: Working for Accenture’s Management Consulting Practice in San Francisco
Favorite W&L Memory: Working with Engineers Without Borders to install a clean water irrigation system with the villagers of Pampoyo in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. I also enjoy tubing down the Maury in Lexington during Spring Term.
Favorite Class: My Writing 100 class: Schools of Magic with Professor Keen was one of my favorite classes at Washington and Lee. Professor Keen is an incredible professor who created a close-knit dynamic in our class.
Favorite W&L Event: So difficult to choose! Homecoming is always fun. I enjoy catching up with all the Washington and Lee alumni that come back home to Lexington.
Favorite Lexington Landmark: I love Lexington in the fall. The trees are so beautiful! Also I could not survive without LexCo cappuccinos — and their cranberry walnut muffins are to die for.
What’s your passion? I am passionate about working with people to confront challenges and make a positive impact. Whether it is bringing inspiring speakers to Washington and Lee, analyzing the budget for the Pentagon’s F-35 program, or testing water sanitation in Guatemala, my experience at Washington and Lee has enabled me to grow and develop this passion.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? In my spare time I enjoy snow and water skiing.
Why did you choose W&L? I was drawn to Washington and Lee’s close knit community and collaborative culture. I also wanted to study Engineering at a Liberal Arts College. Washington and Lee was the perfect fit.
Why did you choose your major? Why engineering and politics? I have always been extremely interested in pursuing a career in global security, whether it be working for a defense contractor or working in defense policy. I believe that in order to make good policy decisions, politicians need to be well versed in technology. I also believe that engineers must challenge the ethical implications of their innovations. I hope to bridge the gap between policy makers and engineers to help lead our nation in our technology driven world.
What professor has inspired you? It is extremely difficult to choose just one professor. Professor Mazilu is an incredible role model. As a female physicist in a male dominated field, she has supported and encouraged me throughout my time at Washington and Lee. Professor Erickson’s passion for using engineering to make a positive difference around the world inspired my involvement in Engineers Without Borders. Professor Connelly’s commitment to giving students the opportunity to engage with our federal government inspired me to apply for Washington Term and intern on Capitol Hill and for various think tanks in DC.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? There are so many incredible opportunities at Washington and Lee. Find something that you are passionate about and pour yourself into it.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Four years at Washington and Lee go by so quickly! Make the most of every moment.
WLSO Symposium Explores Stereotypes in Law Practice
This month, the Women Law Students Organization at Washington and Lee University School of Law will host the 2nd Annual Lara D. Gass Symposium on Women in the Law.
This year’s symposium is titled “Dare to be Different: Stereotypes of Power and Practice.” The event will take place Friday, Oct. 30 from 2-5:30 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.
The symposium will feature three panel discussions. First, “Power in the Law: Who Will Follow a Strong Woman?” will examine the disproportionate percentage of men in high partner-level positions and the challenges that women face in being seen as mean or aggressive when acting with authority. Second, “The Perfect Fit: Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Different Practice Areas” will consider stereotypes and their accuracies for lawyers interested in different legal fields. And finally, “Dispelling the Single Career Myth” will explore the career arcs of several women attorneys and busting the myth that a new lawyer will work in only one practice area.
WLSO is promoting the symposium through the organization’s blog, Juris Sophia. The site currently features a post by symposium panelist Nanda Davis. Davis, who started her own practice after law school, writes about her experiences as a female lawyer and the lessons she has learned.
The annual WLSO symposium is named for Lara Gass ’14L, who spearheaded the first Women Law Students Organization panel on women in the law before passing away in a tragic car accident during her third year at Washington and Lee Law School. Juris Sophia also features a moving remembrance of Gass written by the Hon. Rebecca Connelly ‘88L, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Virginia.
W&L’s Community Grants Committee Will Evaluate Proposals in Early November
Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Fall 2015 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2015 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2015-16 cycle.
During the second round of the 2014-15 evaluations held in May 2015, 28 organizations submitted proposals for a total of almost $170,000 in requests. The University made $25,700 in grants to 13 of those organizations. Those organizations were:
- Buena Vista Arts Council
- Community Action Network
- The Community Table
- Hull’s Drive-In
- Kling Elementary School
- Miller’s House Museum Foundation
- Mission Next Door
- Project Horizon
- RCHS Music Boosters
- Rockbridge Area Housing Corporation
- Rockbridge Christmas Baskets
- Rockbridge Regional Drug Task Force
- Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center
Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines.
The second round of proposals for 2015-16 will be due on Friday, April 15, 2016.
Please call 540-458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to email@example.com. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to 540-458-8745 or mailed to:
Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450
A Day in the Life: David Heinen Johnson Opportunity Grant Recipient David Heinen Learns to Teach English in Chile
“I guess you could say I was taught how to learn, then I learned how to teach.”
David Heinen ’16
Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner
Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, Santiago, Chile
I saw the fireworks on the 4th of July. But my fireworks, 5,000 miles south of the United States, were not celebrating anyone’s independence. Rather they were celebrating Chile’s win over Argentina in the final of the Copa America, Chile’s first-ever win in their 105 year history in the soccer futbol tournament. My host mother, Mirtha, was too nervous to watch the game, so I shouted her updates in Spanish from the other room. It took me by surprise to find her tearing up at the sight of the fireworks: Try as I might, as a foreigner I will never fully understand what this game means for the country of Chile.
Hours later, Mirtha and I started to talk about the course I would begin the following week, teaching me how to be an English teacher. I asked her if she would ever want to learn English. She looked down immediately and rejected the idea out of hand. As with many things in her life, the idea of learning English was an opportunity she hoped to provide for her beloved son, but not one she felt capable of taking for herself.
The country of Chile is longer than most people realize. If you started driving off the Pacific Coast of San Diego and drove northeast until you hit the northeast tip of Maine, you would still need to drive another 50 miles into the Atlantic Ocean before you reached the full length of the country of Chile. Long and thin, and impossibly full of natural beauty, all of the infrastructure and a third of the population of Chile center in Santiago, the capital city. Parents like Mirtha who want their children to learn English and have a good education dream of sending them to Santiago.
Interestingly enough, in my course I actually felt more Chilean than most, having just spent four months immersing myself in Spanish and studying the Chilean education system. After spending four months diligently trying to speak their language, now I was learning to show them how to speak mine. After spending four months trying to see the world from their perspective, now I was trying to show them how to see the world from mine.
There were nine of us in the course. Nine people from eight countries and five continents, with 14 languages spoken between us. I was not only the youngest by about seven years, but also the only person hailing from the United States. It’s an eye-opening experience to be the sole representative of a country of 330 million: All of your opinions implicitly become the opinion of all Americans; your accent becomes the accent of all Americans; your story becomes the American story.
It’s a lot of pressure. When your words start to define you, you start to watch them more closely. It’s impossible to show people how you say what you say without asking yourself why you say it. Because in the course, those words, that language (English) was really the only thing that united us. It was not only our way of communicating, but also our way of expressing who we are and where we come from. English was our home, our comfort, our subject of study, our goal. English was the one desire we had in common — to teach it to speakers of other languages.
The Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) is widely regarded as the most prestigious foreign language teaching certificate in the world. Native speakers of English with a college-level degree and this Cambridge University course can realistically expect to find a job teaching English anywhere in the world with little trouble.
The course was billed as ‘intensive,’ but it feels cheap to sum it up in just that one word. I averaged between 11 and 12 hours daily spent at the Chilean British Institute: lesson planning, taking classes, prepping, completing written assignments, observing other teachers, teaching myself, and of course frantically teaching myself all of the language structures that I would then later teach others: phrasal verbs, third conditionals, how to pronounce the word “memorabilia.” It amazed me how much I was able to learn in such a short amount of time.
One of the very first tips they give you is to learn your students’ names as quickly as possible. What they don’t tell you is what happens once you do. As soon as you learn those names and start to get to know your students, the most amazing thing happens: They become real people. They become people with dreams, hopes, fears, struggles and grand plans for the future. Like Luis, who hopes one day to go to California to work and earn a Master’s degree. Or Camilla, who’s hoping to get a research fellowship at Stanford. While painfully shy at speaking in English, she is in fact quite a strong reader.
When you’re teaching adults, there’s no such thing as a disaffected student. They are there in your class because they want to be there. They’re hungry to learn. They know exactly what they want and what they stand to gain from your teaching. And so teaching never really feels like teaching. It feels like a gift. It feels like a privilege. It feels like helping people open the door to the life they want — giving them opportunity, giving them a voice.
I learned so much in Chile. I learned about my home, the United States, and what it means to be able to speak its language. Mirtha and others taught me so much about their home, Santiago, and how to speak its language. After spending time immersing myself in learning the Spanish language and learning about the culture of Chile, the Johnson Opportunity Grant gave me a chance to learn about the English language, and to teach others about my own culture. I guess you could say I was taught how to learn, then I learned how to teach.
The day after my course ended, Mirtha drove me to the airport for my flight back to the United States. I asked her once more if she would ever want to learn English. This time, instead of rejecting the idea out of hand, she smiled, and told me that I would have to come back and teach her. I smiled back and said quizás: Maybe I will.
More about David:
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
- Peer Counselor
- Outing Club
- Climbing Team
- Chamber Singers
- Slow Food W&L
- Writing Center Tutor
Off-Campus Experiences: Chile: Comparative Education and Social Change, Winter-Spring ‘15
Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I applied for the Johnson Opportunity Grant to take a Cambridge University English teaching certification course, which would give me the opportunity to teach English abroad upon graduating from W&L.
How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? For my career I intend to be a teacher in some capacity, and through my Johnson Opportunity Grant I gained invaluable experience studying pedagogy, observing experienced teachers and, most importantly, actually getting up in front of people and teaching.
What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? I was constantly surprised and delighted by the profoundly multicultural nature of my experience. I saw the world through so many different lenses, and had my view of it turned upside-down and inside-out on a daily basis.
Post-Graduation Plans: Upon graduating from W&L I intend either to teach English abroad or to enter into a graduate program in Psychology.
Favorite Class: For me, it’s not the individual classes, though they are of course amazing, but how all of your classes constantly coalesce together in unexpected ways, regardless of how disparate the disciplines may be.
Favorite Campus Landmark: You find a home in all the different buildings on campus: Elrod Commons, Lenfest, Leyburn, the Science Center, Hillel — I have too many favorite spots to count!
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Never stop adding on to yourself. Go, today, and introduce yourself to as many of W&L’s incredible administrators and professors and students as you can. You don’t need a reason why. Stretch yourself: Say yes to the opportunities W&L gives you. Or, at least, don’t say no.
A Day in the Life: Nancy Stephen Johnson Opportunity Grant winner works on women's empowerment initiatives in Abuja, Nigeria
“I was exposed to the vast initiatives and projects being developed and implemented by the Ministry in order to aid and empower women who have been incapacitated and rendered miserable as result of the sexism rife in the patriarchal Nigerian society.”
Nancy Stephen ’17
Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner
Intern at the Federal Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development in Abuja, Nigeria
From mid-June through early August, I interned with the Federal Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) in Abuja, Nigeria. More specifically, I worked hand-in-hand with the Director of the Women and Gender Affairs (WGA) Department of the Ministry, Mrs. Esther Mshelia. Prior to my experience, I was almost certain that the Ministry did little to nothing to address encumbrances encountered by the average Nigerian female on a daily basis. However, my perception of FMWASD’s work changed during my internship. I was exposed to the vast initiatives and projects being developed and implemented by the Ministry in order to aid and empower women who have been incapacitated and rendered miserable as result of the sexism rife in the patriarchal Nigerian society.
Throughout the eight weeks I worked at FMWASD, my three areas of focus were physical abuse and sexual violence, women’s economic empowerment and women in politics. Of all the work I carried out in these three fields, I most especially enjoyed supporting the creation of a policy brief on reversing poverty trends in Nigeria through women’s empowerment initiatives. Creating this policy brief entailed research on past poverty initiatives adopted by the Nigerian government and their failures, and on the nexus between poverty and gender in Nigeria. It also required me to gain an understanding of the Ministry’s proposed Safety Net program to the federal government to eradicate poverty. The policy brief took one week to assemble, and the typical routine for working on the brief during that week was as follows:
Given the deadline assigned by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, working hours for the week were extended by an hour. Mrs. Esther Mshelia (DWGA) headed the creation of the policy brief. My colleagues and I worked individually for four hours on our assigned roles in preparing the brief, and then met at noon in the conference room to present our progress to one another. After that, it was back to the drawing board to amend unsatisfactory areas in our work. After compiling 10 pages of information, we had to convert it all into a three-page policy brief for presentation to the Presidency after approval from the Permanent Secretary. The conversion process involved seeking the input of some of the Ministry’s international partners, like UNDP and Action Aid.
Developing the brief was an amazing and informative experience that gave me the opportunity to discuss and even network with masterminds in the U.N. and other NGOs.
More about Nancy:
Hometown: Houston, TX / Abuja, Nigeria
Majors: Economics and French
- Logistics Co-Chair for Students’ Association for International Learning (2014-15)
- Chief Officer of Public Relations for African Society (2014-15)
- Languages for Rockbridge Program (2014)
- Intern with the Institute for Policy Studies, DC (2015)
- Intern with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (2014)
Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? To acquire the necessary financial means to go back to Nigeria, where I spent most of my childhood, and serve in their Federal Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development.
What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? I never knew that I’d be working closely with members of UNDP, UNWomen, Action Aid and African Development Bank. It was a splendid surprise!
How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? As an Economics major, I would say it is related to the field of Development Economics.
Post-Graduation Plans: Either a Masters in Finance or a Masters in Development Studies.
Favorite W&L Memory: O-Week in Freshman year. It was the week I made my closest friends.
Favorite W&L Event: Young Alumni Weekend. It’s always great to see old friends again.
Favorite Lexington Landmark: A Sunday drive on back roads in Lexington can’t be beat. Also, no Wal-Mart parking lot in America has a better view.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? W&L offers so many awesome opportunities to students. It is up to you to fish them out and make the best out of them!
A Day in the Life: Rachel Solomon Johnson Opportunity Grant Takes Rachel Solomon '16 to Argentina for Medical Fieldwork
“The ER environment not only challenged me to improve my Spanish and knowledge of medicine, it also enabled me to discover my passion for clinical medicine.”
Rachel Solomon ’16
Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner
Medical Intern, Cordoba, Argentina
It’s a Tuesday afternoon and I am walking to the front office in the Emergency Hospital to check out for the day, when a strange man stops me, hugs me, and gives me a kiss on the cheek. Startled, I look up to see who it could be. It’s common courtesy to greet everyone with hugs and kisses, even in the hospital, but I was not sure who had just embraced me. It certainly was not one of my doctor colleagues. It took me a moment to recognize the man, but my jaw almost dropped when I made the connection that he was the man who was bed-ridden in the emergency room less than a week ago. He had been stabbed in a knife fight, and I had watched and assisted the resident doctors while they changed his bandages and tubes and cleaned up his wounds. He had clearly recognized me, but in that instant, I could barely recognize him. He was all cleaned up and strutting right out of the hospital. His black eye had faded and his face was no longer swollen. He thanked me and hugged me again, and I wished him luck as he left. I was hit with a moment of awe and appreciation for the public hospital system.
In the public hospitals of Córdoba, Argentina, anyone in need of medical attention can receive it for free. While this is greatly beneficial for people in need, it also comes with its disadvantages. Resources are stretched thin, technology is not up-to-date, and doctors have to make difficult decisions to prioritize the urgency of certain cases. Even though my internship description clearly stated that I would not be allowed to touch patients (for liability reasons), often times the doctors needed an extra pair of hands, and they relied on me to help out with anything I could. The residents eagerly taught me new skills and let me interact with patients. I must say, I was a little overwhelmed on my first day in the emergency room when a flustered doctor practically threw a pair of gloves at me and told me to clean a patient’s wounds as he was rolled in on a stretcher. The constant influx of patients and fast pace of the work environment put me in a position to learn and adapt quickly. The ER environment not only challenged me to improve my Spanish and knowledge of medicine, it also enabled me to discover my passion for clinical medicine and confirmed my desire to pursue a career in the medical field.
I traded my Florida summer for the Córdoba winter and spent a total of twelve weeks in Argentina. During my internship, I spent seven weeks in the children’s hospital and three weeks in the emergency hospital, and I used the extra two weeks to travel throughout different regions of the country. My rotations in the hospital consisted of different specialties, including general consultation, surgery, rehabilitation and dermatology. Usually, I was able to help with patients and assist doctors with simple tasks. For example, I was able to weigh and measure children during physical examinations, check out rashes in dermatology, and pass doctors materials during surgery. More often than not, the doctors were willing to answer my questions and explain cases to me. I would spend four to five hours each day in the hospital and then take the bus back to the center of town to participate in medical Spanish classes offered through the internship program in the afternoon. During my free time in the evenings, I would run through Parque Sarmiento to keep up with my schedule of cross-country training. Additionally, I was able to spend my free time visiting with my extended family on my mother’s side. They graciously welcomed me at every opportunity and truly made Córdoba a place I could call home. The Johnson Opportunity Grant made it possible for me to have a hands-on experience with medicine in a country and a culture that are meaningful parts of my heritage.
More about Rachel
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
- Cross Country
- Track & Field
- Student Recruitment Committee
- I spent a summer as a DART intern at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine investigating drug therapy for genetic disorders.
- I spent a Spring Term in Italy, traveling and painting with the Drawing Italy class.
Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I knew that I wanted to go to Argentina, particularly because my mother is originally from there, and I wanted to improve my Spanish. I also wanted to pursue an internship that tied in my career goals in the medical field.
How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? I spent my summer shadowing and assisting in the public hospital system in Cordoba, Argentina. I’ve always known that I wanted to go into medicine, but my experience there really confirmed my desire to pursue clinical work. In my science classes, I learn a lot about the mechanisms behind medical cases, but in my internship, I was able to apply these concepts to real situations and cases.
Did any specific courses or professors help you prepare for this internship?
Professor Alty and Professor Stewart really encouraged me to pursue this internship and helped me realize the confidence I would need to live alone in a new country and engage in hands-on clinical practice. Additionally, Anatomy and Physiology with Professor Blythe gave me the foundation and crucial background information to be able to understand the medical scenarios in the hospital.
What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? I was really blown away by the warmth and generosity of the people I met, especially my extended family. Family is such an important construct in Argentine culture, and it was an amazing experience to feel so welcomed by people whom I barely knew. I left feeling very connected to the people I had met.
What key takeaways/skills are you bringing back to W&L?
I think my key takeaway from this experience will be the application of the things that I learned about in my classes to real, live clinical situations. This experience will help me with my classes and activities at W&L, including shadowing at Stonewall Jackson Hospital.
Post-Graduation Plans: I plan to do a year of clinical work in a hospital before entering Physician’s Assistant school.
Why did you choose your major? The neuroscience major gives a lot of flexibility, as it is an amalgamation of the disciplines of biology, chemistry, psychology, and physics. I liked that it encompassed all my interests and didn’t tie me down to solely one subject.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Make sure not to just use college as a path of stepping stones getting you from one place to the next. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do with your career yet or how you are going to get there. Take time to pursue something that makes you happy or inspires you, and be diligent about it. I think the rest will fall into place.
Advice for students interested in an internship abroad?
My advice to a student who interested in doing an internship in a different country is to give yourself enough time in the country to really feel settled and integrated within the community. Immersion is really important for language purposes and to have the best cultural experience. Also, don’t be scared to embrace new or uncomfortable situations.
Summer Experience: Emily Tichenor ’16L Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO
“This experience reaffirmed my desire to pursue public interest post-graduation. If I were one of the 600 million children living in extreme poverty, I would want someone to fight for me.”
Emily Tichenor is a 3L from DeLand, Florida. She graduated from Baylor University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Language & Linguistics. At W&L, she serves as president of the Public Interest Law Student Association and Managing Online Editor of Law Review and hopes to do human rights work post-graduation.
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked with in-house counsel at Compassion International, a non-profit organization based in Colorado Springs focused on relieving poverty in the developing world.
How did you find/get this position?
My family has sponsored a child through Compassion for several years, so I reached out to the internship coordinator to find out if they were hiring a legal intern. I then applied to the internship program and went through the hiring process. This year was the first year for the legal department to take an intern so I had the privilege of being the first-ever legal intern (and graduate intern) at Compassion.
Describe your work experience.
Every day brought something new. I worked with several departments throughout the organization, including human resources, finance, risk management and marketing to help them function safely and effectively. At the beginning of the summer I travelled to the Dominican Republic, one of the countries in which Compassion works, to see how the organization helps children and families in poverty. Because of this trip, I could think back on my trip throughout the summer and know that my work is changing their lives, even if work like reviewing contracts did not seem directly impactful.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
My work allowed me to improve my legal research and critical thinking skills in new ways through projects such as developing internal personnel policies and determining how developing laws might affect the organization.
What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?
Although all of my W&L classes prepared me by exposing me to many areas of the law, non-profit organizations was the most directly relevant. I worked for in-house counsel at another non-profit organization, International Justice Mission, during my 1L summer, which also prepared me for this work.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
I was surprised by how many areas of the organization the legal department affects. For example, I researched copyright law for the global program department and tax law for the marketing department.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
This experience reaffirmed my desire to pursue public interest post-graduation. If I were one of the 600 million children living in extreme poverty, I would want someone to fight for me. Thus, I want to use my legal education and skills to help those in need.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
This summer experience helped me realize the importance of a legal department for protecting an organization, as well as the versatility of a JD. Because of that I plan to use my remaining year at W&L to continue to discover the importance of lawyers.
This internship was a great opportunity to not only gain experience at a major non-profit organization, but also to explore Colorado! Over the weekends I did things such as hiking, bouldering, white water rafting, and visiting must-see sites like Rocky Mountain National Park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
A Body in Motion Taylor Gilfillan '13, a 2013 Teach For America (TFA) corps member, teaches underprivileged students at a school plagued by a high teacher turnover rate.
“I realized that I really wanted to have a career where I had the most impact on people’s lives — those who have been underserved and are ready for empowerment.”
On his first day at KIPP (Knowledge is Power) Sunnyside High School in Houston, Texas, Taylor Gilfillan ’13 promised his students (then freshmen and sophomores), “I’m going to be here when you walk across that stage at graduation.” This was no small commitment. Taylor, a 2013 Teach For America (TFA) corps member, was teaching underprivileged students at a school plagued by a high teacher turnover rate.
Taylor had originally planned to attend graduate school. A physics major at Washington and Lee, he spent a summer doing research on laser dynamics with Professor David Sukow and presented papers at conferences. “I knew I had a passion for physics and thought a Ph.D. was the logical next step,” he said. “But during my senior year, I realized that I really wanted to have a career where I had the most impact on people’s lives — those who have been underserved and are ready for empowerment. I thought being in the classroom might be one way to do that, I’m really appreciative that TFA gave me an avenue to pursue that goal.”
Helping others seems to be in his DNA. Taylor spent several summers as a sports camp counselor at the Alexander YMCA in Raleigh, North Carolina. At W&L, he served as a student-to-student mentor, as activities chair for the First-Year Orientation Committee and as an assistant head resident adviser. He also played varsity basketball and was president of the physics honor society and a teaching assistant for the Physics Department. His senior year, Taylor was named the 2013 John W. Elrod General of the Year by his peers for his contributions to his school. “Kind-hearted service to others” was, and continues to be, his mantra.
At KIPP Sunnyside, Taylor has taught geometry, biology, physics, pre-AP physics, and AP physics 1. Over the last couple of years, he learned that “you’re never just a teacher; you’re a mom, a dad, a counselor, social worker, problem solver and a mediator. I had to be all those things for my students and needed to apply those skills inside and outside my classroom.”
While TFA provided him with some basic classroom training — such as creating a coherent curriculum and behavior management — Taylor said, “This has been a journey. The single biggest hurdle I had to jump over was being too hard on myself. I have high expectations for me and my students, and when I have a tough day, it’s hard to forgive myself. But I have to embrace it and be able to give myself grace. I have to accept that I will make mistakes, that the lesson won’t always go according to plan and to not see that as a failure, but as a chance to grow. It can seem like really high stakes when you’re talking about closing the achievement gap and fighting to ensure an excellent education is accessible to everyone. It’s an ambitious goal. So I had to learn to be a reflective teacher, constantly tracking what went well, and how I could improve. Whether it was a good or bad day, at midnight, I had to flush it and be ready to start a new day — a clean slate for me and my kids.”
At KIPP Sunnyside, he has some free range in the classroom and has introduced innovative technologies. One involves a pilot program involving OpenStax Tutor, interactive online courseware designed to customize learning for each student. That collaboration occurred through the power of the W&L network: Duke Cancelmo ’80, the Houston alumni coordinator for W&L’s Elrod Fellowship program, introduced Taylor to Micaela Coffey McGlone ’09, a research specialist at OpenStax. “I’m piloting the program in my pre-AP physics class, and it has some pretty cool software,” said Taylor. “Students in that class got free laptops to access the online program. The program tracks student growth by topic, and can adjust the difficulty of problems to best support their learning. It really helps them become proficient with concepts at a pace that’s personalized for them.”
Not satisfied with what he’s learning on the job, Taylor applied for and was selected to be the physics course leader for KIPP Houston Public Schools. He leads regional professional development for his region’s physics teachers and manages the curriculum electronically to provide other teachers with the resources they need to succeed in the classroom. “I think that no matter what I do in the next phase of my life, teaching will provide me with a vital skill set,” he said. “And if I decide to continue with teaching, this opportunity will help me become the excellent teacher my students deserve.”
Back on the Field Wiemi Douoguih '92 pursued two passions to find career satisfaction.
As much as Wiemi Douoguih ’92 wanted to be a doctor, he also wanted to stay close to his love of sports.
An All-American and ODAC Conference Player of the Year in lacrosse at Washington and Lee, Douoguih noticed that injured teammates were able to take some time off and return to play again. What happened to them during that interim period — being treated by doctors — made him realize that he could specialize in sports medicine and combine both of his passions.
Now an orthopedic surgeon, Douoguih has been the medical director for the Washington Nationals baseball franchise for the past seven years. Recently he added the same title with the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals. In addition, he sees collegiate, high school, adolescent and professional and recreational athletes at his private practice at MedStar Orthopedic Institute at Washington Hospital Center.
After majoring in chemistry at W&L, Douoguih earned his medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond and did his residency at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. A fellowship in sports medicine and orthopedics at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, one of the world’s leading clinics in the diagnosis and treatment of sports medicine injuries and illnesses, “exposed me to athletes affiliated with the Dodgers, Angels, Kings (hockey), Galaxy (soccer), and USC Trojan football,” he said.
“I was exposed to the full gamut of sports medicine and also the nuances of dealing with management,” he said.
Prior to joining the Nationals, he was assistant team doctor for the Washington Redskins, where he worked under world-renowned senior consultant James Andrews. Recommendations from Andrews and Frank Jobe (a co-founder of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic) led to his hire by the Nationals at age 34.
Douoguih is on site for about 70-75 percent of all Nationals’ home games, where he treats any injuries from both the home and away teams. At the ballpark, he has an office and treatment area, and he supervises the trainers, physical therapists, a chiropractor and the strength and conditioning specialists.
A specialist in elbow, shoulder and knee injuries, Douoguih said the most common injuries he sees are hamstring and oblique injuries and elbow injuries to pitchers that require “Tommy John” surgery, a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow. Douoguih is one of only five doctors who have performed three or more Tommy John surgeries on major league pitchers.
Following an injury to a player, Douoguih and his staff can recommend placing a player on the disabled list or “DL,” but the final decision is made by the general manager.
Douoguih came to W&L on an academic scholarship. A native of suburban New Jersey, Lexington was a bit of a culture shock to him, but after some adjustment, “I found it to be a special place that helped shape the rest of my life.”
His advisor in the chemistry department, William Watt, encouraged him in his quest to be a doctor and also to play lacrosse. “It was a challenge to do pre-med and play a varsity sport,” Douoguih said. “He encouraged me and gave me tips on study and discipline.”
Other mentors were Michael Pleva, emeritus professor of chemistry, “a lacrosse fan,” and Lisa Alty, professor of chemistry, who “kept me in line and made sure my work was done.”
He credits his lacrosse coach, Jim Stagnitta, with being “like a father away from home.” The coach “taught me life lessons that still serve me to this day.”
As a busy alumnus, Douoguih takes time to talk to W&L student athletes who are interested in medical careers. “I encourage them and sometimes write letters of recommendation” for them, he said.
He is living proof that medicine and sports do mix and that pursuing your dual passions can lead to success in a career.
W&L “Mock Con” Documentary to Air on Virginia Public TV Stations
Election season is here—there’s no escaping the daily headlines announcing who’s leading in the polls for the race to the White House.
Paying close attention to the presidential race are the students of Washington and Lee University. Every four years, they hold their own Mock Convention, a simulated presidential nominating convention with the goal of predicting who the party out of power in the White House will nominate to run for president of the U.S.
Mock Con, as W&L’s students refer to it, has correctly picked the eventual nominee of the party out of power 19 of the past 25 presidential elections, and the candidates or their campaign leaders have taken notice. The 2016 event takes place on Feb. 11 and 12.
Last February, the 2016 Mock Con’s student organizers premiered a historical documentary of the W&L Mock Convention on campus. Based on the treasure trove of historical documents, photographs and film housed in the university’s Special Collections, it recounts the history, drama and inspiration of 25 mock presidential conventions.
Narrated by author and former CBS newsman Roger Mudd (a 1950 graduate of W&L) and funded by W&L’s Class of 1953, “Mock Con” will air on public television stations in Virginia beginning Oct. 22.
Broadcasts of “Mock Con” in the Richmond area will take place on WCVE-TV 23. In Charlottesville, WHTJ-TV 41 airs it on Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. and Oct. 25 at 4 p.m.
Harrisonburg/Front Royal/Lexington/Lynchburg stations WVPT-TV 51/WVPY-TV 42 will air the program Nov. 5 at 8 p.m., and Norfolk-based WHRO-TV 15 will broadcast it Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.
Professor and Author James Shapiro to Lecture on “Shakespeare in America” Nov. 12
James Shapiro, the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, will give the Shannon-Clark Lecture at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. His appearance at W&L is sponsored by the English Department and Shakespeare 2016!
Shapiro will speak on “Shakespeare in America.” His talk is free and open to the public.
Shapiro’s latest books are “The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606” (2015); “Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?” (2010), which was awarded the Theater Library Association’s George Freedley Memorial Award; and “A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare” (2005) which was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best non-fiction book published in Britain.
He edited an anthology on “Shakespeare in American” (2014) for the Library of America and coedited the “Columbia Anthology of British Poetry” (1995). He also coauthored and presented two 3-hour BBC documentaries, “The Mysterious Mr. Webster” (2014) and “The King and the Playwright” (2012).
He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Shapiro worked on the board of governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library and on the board of directors of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
Professor Winnifred Sullivan Will Speak on the Politics of Religious Freedom on Oct. 26
Winnifred F. Sullivan, professor and chair in the department of religious studies at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library, with a reception at 5 p.m. prior to the lecture. Sullivan also is an affiliate professor of law at Maurer School of Law.
Sullivan will speak on the “Politics of Religious Freedom Today: At Home and Abroad” and the lecture is free and open to the public. The talk is sponsored by the Departments of Religion and Politics, the Philip F. Howerton Fund and the Law Center in the School of Law.
Sullivan, who taught in the Religion Department at Washington and Lee from 1995-2000, will examine “the persistent definitional ambiguity at the heart of religious freedom.” This ambiguity, she says, “has created a situation in which these laws, because they can’t be fairly and coherently administered, have become merely expressive. They are, in a sense, no longer law.”
Sullivan is the author of “Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care and the Law” (2014); “Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution” (2009); “The Impossibility of Religious Freedom” (2005); and “Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States” (1994).
“Each of earliest three books offers a close reading of the texts of a U.S. religion case using the resources of legal anthropology, socio–legal studies and the academic study of religion,” said Sullivan, “with a view to displaying the multiple and contending models of and discourses about religion.”
Sullivan continued, “My fourth book portrays the chaplain and her ministry as a product of the legal regulation of religion and as a form of spiritual governance.”
She also is co-editor of “Politics of Religious Freedom” (2015); “Varieties of Religious Establishment” (2013); and “After Secular Law” (2011).
Sullivan wrote more than 50 chapters and academic articles; over 30 blog postings; and 20 book reviews. She is the co-editor of the series “Religion and Society” and was co-editor of “Religion and Reason.”
She is a fellow in “Material Economies of Religion in the Americas: Arts, Objects, Spaces, Mediations” at Yale University; had a fellowship at the American Council for Learned Societies; was a fellow at the Guggenheim Foundation; was a fellow at the National Humanities (Lilly Endowment Fellow); and was a visiting scholar at the American Bar Association, among others.
Sullivan received her B.A. from Cornell University and received her J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Toshio Ohi, Descendent of Family of Potters, to Speak in the Senshin’an Tea Room at W&L on Oct. 24
Toshio Ohi, an 11th-generation descendant of the illustrious Ohi family of potters in the city of Kanazawa, will be giving a talk at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 24 from 10–11 a.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.
Ohi will speak on “The Cultural Importance of the Tea Bowl, A Venerated Tradition in Japan.” His talk is sponsored by East Asian Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Following the lecture, the Chanoyu Tea Society of W&L will be serving sweets and tea in the Senshin’an Tea Room (洗心庵) which was named by Sen Genshitsu Daisosho, the 15th-generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition of Tea. The tea room is in Watson Pavilion on the W&L campus.
Ohi will be in the U.S. as an invited artist in the program, “In the Studios with the Artists from Japanese Kōgei/Future Forward,” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.
The Ohi family lineage dates from the 17th century when the fourth generation grand master of the Urasenke tradition of tea, Senso Soshitsu, went to Kanazawa at the invitation of Lord Maeda, the ruling warrior family of Kanazawa or Kaga province, and brought with him the potter Chozaemon, who established the Ohi family kiln. Chozaemon had been the chief apprentice with the renowned Raku family in Kyoto and brought many of the Raku techniques with him.
Ohi studied at Boston University, where he completed an M.F.A. after graduating from Tamagawa University in Tokyo. He is a visiting associate professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an honorary guest professor at Kanazawa University.
Ohi has received numerous awards and held exhibitions throughout the world from Tokyo and Beijing to New York, Belgium and France.
Ambassador David Shinn to Lecture on China and Africa at W&L on Oct. 22
David Shinn, professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, will give two public lectures at Washington and Lee University.
Shinn will speak on “China and Africa: An Evolving Relationship” on Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. in Hillel 101. In this lecture, Shinn will discuss aspects of China’s growing relationship with the 54 countries of Africa, including an analysis of China’s interests in Africa and a comparison with U.S. interests in the continent.
On Oct. 23, his second lecture, “China’s Investment in Africa: Environmental Implications and the Law,” will be at 12:15 p.m. in Classroom C in the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Shinn will describe the nature of China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) and where it has the greatest impact, the relative concern in Africa and China about the environment, the approach Chinese companies take towards the environment as they invest in Africa, and the environmental law and practice.
Shinn has been teaching at George Washington University since 2001. Previously, he spent 37 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, with assignments in Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritania, Cameroon, Sudan and as ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
He is the author of “Hizmet in Africa: The Activities and Significance of the Gülen Movement” (2015) and is coauthor of “China and Africa: A Century of Engagement” (2012) and “Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia” (2013). He is the author of numerous book chapters and articles in academic and policy journals. Shinn blogs at davidshinn.blogspot.com.
His lectures are two of several 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.
“150 Years Later: Lee’s Lasting Vision” is New Exhibition at Lee Chapel and Museum
“150 Years Later: Lee’s Lasting Vision,” Lee Chapel and Museum’s new changing exhibition, will mark the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s inauguration as the 11th president of Washington College, which took place on Oct. 2, 1865.
The exhibit opened on Oct. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2016. It summarizes Lee’s accomplishments that led to today’s Washington and Lee University, information that complements the museum’s long-term exhibition: “Not Unmindful of the Future: Educating to Build and Rebuild a Nation.”
Objects on view include items that are not normally on display because of their fragility, including a vest and tie worn by Lee. Also featured is a portrait of Lee as president by Cephus Giovanni Thompson, on loan by an alumnus, as well as Lee’s original oath of office, on loan from the Leyburn Library Special Collections and Archives.
“This changing exhibition has given the museum the opportunity to showcase objects that are rarely on view,” said Pat Hobbs, associate director of University Collections. “Lee’s vest, for example, has not been on display for at least twenty years. It was conserved for this exhibition thanks to a generous gift from the Virginia Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy.”
Until Nov. 1, Lee Chapel hours are Mondays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5 p.m. From Nov. 1-March 31, hours will change to Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sundays, 1–4 p.m.
For more information, contact Lee Chapel & Museum, (540) 458-8768.
Leyburn Library Features Panel on Open Access (OA)
The Leyburn Library is hosting an Open Access (OA) Panel on Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Northen Auditorium. The panel is in celebration of Open Access Week (Oct. 19–25).
The OA Panel is open to the public and apple cider and cookies will be provided.
The panel discussion will feature Washington and Lee authors who have published in OA journals. Provost Daniel Wubah; Jon Erickson, associate professor of engineering; and Nadia Ayoub, associate professor of biology, will serve as panelists.
Before the session begins, Alston Cobourn, assistant professor and digital scholarship librarian, will provide a brief overview of what OA is, discuss how she and the university library are involved in OA and will introduce the panelists. The panelists will discuss the process involved in publishing in an OA journal and why they choose to publish in one.
Editor and Poet William Wright to Give a Reading at Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University’s Glasgow Endowment and “Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review” will present a reading by editor and poet William Wright of Marietta, Georgia, on Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Hillel House on the W&L campus.
The reading is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing.
Wright, whose Ph.D. is from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Writing Center, is the author of several volumes of poetry, including “Tree Heresies,” “Night Field Anecdotes” and “Dark Orchard.” He is an assistant editor for “Shenandoah” and also edits “Town Creek Poetry.”
His long-term projects include the multi-volume series “The Southern Poetry Anthology” with Texas Review Press. He is also co-editing “Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry,” University of South Carolina (forthcoming, 2016).
Wright, whose subject matter includes both the gothic, rural South and the new, changing and diverse South, has also been a college writing teacher and a peach packer. He will serve as the guest writer-in-residence at the University of Tennessee in the spring of 2016.
His work – including poems, interviews, essays and copious reviews – has appeared in “Kenyon Review,” “Oxford American,” “Southern Poetry Review,” “Crab Orchard Review,” “Southern Quarterly” and “Texas Review.” This summer he is providing Poems of the Week, along with brief commentary, for “Shenandoah” (shenandoahliterary.org). While on campus in November, he will work with current and former “Shenandoah” interns. More information on Wright can be found on www.williamwright.net.
Of Wright’s work, “Shenandoah” editor R. T. Smith said, “Will’s poems are deft and dark but always seeking the luminous image, the radiant phrase. He’s found a way to be both careful and wild, and has become a vital force in poetry and an important curator of American literature.”
For further information, contact “Shenandoah” at (540) 458-8908.
Visual Artist Jim Creal Wins Award from Artists' Guild of Spartanburg
Jim Creal, a 1975 graduate of Washington and Lee University, won the 2D Excellence Award from the Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg during its 42nd annual juried exhibition.
The UpstartbizSC website describes his work as an “exuberant, exploding, pulsating dance of creation.” Jim creates landscapes, still lifes and non-representational images through lithographic, etching and monotype-print processes. His work, which has been exhibited in numerous solo, invitational and juried exhibitions and recognized by many awards, is held in private, institutional and corporate collections. Jim also teaches in the South Carolina Arts in Education Program.
A Spartanburg native, Jim’s path to creating art has been an interesting one. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from W&L and worked for several years as a mate on a dive boat in the Florida Keys and as a welder on a massive fossil-fuel construction site in Nebraska. He then earned a degree in geology from the University of Montana and worked as a minerals-exploration geologist in Ireland, Scotland and Alaska. He returned to school for a B.F.A., also from the University of Montana, and began a career as an artist.
In 2013, Creal initiated his South Carolina Coastal Lithograph Project with a successful Kickstarter campaign, dedicated to creating a lasting body of lithographic work that captures the mood, spirit and rich diversity of South Carolina’s coastal habitats.
Professor Joseph Carens to Give Keynote Address at the Ethics of Immigration Conference on Nov. 6
Joseph Carens, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.
Carens’ talk, “Immigration and Citizenship,” will be the keynote address of the Ethics of Immigration Conference on Nov. 7. His lecture and the conference are free and open to the public. Caren’s talk will be streamed live online.
To attend the conference lunch/lunch panel discussion: “Current U.S. Immigration Policy,” please RSVP online for a headcount only.
The conference will address questions about the moral status of national borders, the normative foundation of the modern state’s right to control immigration, the connection between immigration and citizenship and the ethical status of undocumented migration, among other issues.
Carens’ publications include “The Ethics of Immigration” (2013) and “Immigrants and the Right to Stay” (2010). He won the 2002 C.B. Macpherson Award from the Canadian Political Science Association for “Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness” (2000).
He co-edited two books and has written over 80 articles in journals and edited volumes. Carens held the Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research, a Connaught Fellowship from the University of Toronto, as well as fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Carens’ research focuses on questions about justice, equality and freedom in democratic communities. He is particularly interested in the normative issues raised by the movement of people across state borders and by ethnic and cultural diversity in all forms.
Carens’ lecture and the conference are part of the year-long series on The Ethics of Citizenship and are sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics.
For more information about the Ethics of Immigration Conference, see http://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2015-2016-the-ethics-of-citizenship/ethics-of-immigration-conference.
William A. Jenks, Professor of History Emeritus at W&L, Dies at 97
William Alexander Jenks, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History Emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died this past Monday, Oct. 12. He was 97. A 1939 graduate of W&L, he taught at his alma mater for 37 years, from 1946 until his retirement in 1983.
“A fellow alumnus once told me he had majored not so much in history but in Jenks,” said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio, a 1976 graduate. “I know exactly what he meant. Bill Jenks infused generations of students with a passion for learning. His devotion to teaching undergraduates will continue to inspire his successors. We are so grateful for his long life and for his many gifts to our community.”
Jenks was born on Jan. 20, 1918, in Jacksonville, Florida, to Thomas W. and Marjorie G. Jenks. He graduated from W&L in 1939 with a B.A. in history, magna cum laude. He held an M.A. (1940) and Ph.D. (1949) in European history from Columbia University.
During World War II, Jenks served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain, and in the Office of Strategic Services. In 1946, he worked at the Department of State.
Jenks joined the W&L history faculty in 1946. He became the department head in 1970 and was appointed the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History in 1971.
During his nearly four decades at W&L, Jenks taught a range of subjects under the umbrella of European history. His students who went on to their own scholarly careers were known as the “Jenks Mafia.”
From 1964 to 1966, he sat on President’s Advisory Committee at W&L during the committee’s supervision of the university’s institutional self-study.
Jenks wrote four books: “The Austrian Electoral Reform of 1907” (1950), “Vienna and the Young Hitler” (1960), “Austria Under the Iron Ring, 1879–1893” (1965) and “Francis Joseph and the Italians, 1849–1859” (1978). He contributed scholarly articles and book reviews to many publications, including the Austrian History Yearbook, Journal of Modern History, American Historical Review and the Slavic Review.
Jenks studied in Italy and Austria under the auspices of the Fund for the Advancement of Education and the Fulbright Program; in Austria under a Social Science Research Council grant; in Austria and Italy with a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies; and in Italy and England under a Ford Foundation Humanities Grant.
In 1978, Jenks wrote of his preference for teaching at a small undergraduate institution like W&L instead of a large graduate school. “I’ve been much happier in teaching medieval history for a while, then teaching the 17th century for a while, teaching the French Revolution and Napoleon for a while — just moving around with a great deal of freedom. . . . Some of the best students I’ve had have gone on in other fields.”
He also served as a visiting professor of history at the University of Virginia, Duke University, the University of Maryland, Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Tech.
Jenks belonged to the Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa national societies. As a student, he was a member of Sigma Nu social fraternity. As a scholar, he belonged to the American Historical Association.
In 2007, a book titled “. . . Ending with a Flourish: A Collection of Essays Celebrating William A. Jenks — Teacher, Scholar, Mentor, Friend” gathered tributes from such admirers and former students as Roger Mudd ’50, famed journalist and founder of the W&L Mudd Center for Ethics; J. Holt Merchant ’61, professor of history emeritus at W&L; Larry Boetsch ’69, professor of Romance languages and former director of the W&L Center for International Education; Gerry Lenfest ’53, ’55L, one of the university’s most generous benefactors; and President Ruscio.
“Of the heroes of my W&L years as student, teacher, and administrator, Jenks is the one whom I identify as a precise embodiment of this school’s ideal professor,” wrote Robert E.R. Huntley ’50, ’57L, former president of W&L, in the book. “An accomplished and productive scholar, a teacher who drew out the best in the young minds that encountered his, a campus citizen whose understanding of our most exalted ideals was joined with capacity for practical solutions.”
In 2009, Jenks received W&L’s Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of his 70th class reunion.
A prize and two scholarships pay additional tribute to Jenks. Following his 1983 retirement, friends and former students established the William A. Jenks Award in History for W&L graduates undertaking graduate work in history. The William A. Jenks Scholarship benefits students of unusual academic merit with a strong interest in history. And the Class of 1954 William A. Jenks Scholarship was established by members of that class as part of their 50th reunion. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts go to one of these funds.
His wife of 54 years, Jane Irving Jenks, died in 2003. The hospitable couple were renowned for opening their home to students. Their son, Thomas W. Jenks II, died in 1996. Jenks is survived by his daughter, Elaine Jenks Emerson, of Lexington; his daughter-in-law, Natalie Land Jenks; his granddaughter, Kendra Emerson Kilburn ’07, and her husband, John Kilburn; and his great-granddaughter, Addison Paige Kilburn.
Services will be private.
U.S. Appeals Court for Armed Forces to Hear Case at W&L, Law Student to Argue
On Tuesday, October 20, Washington and Lee School of Law will host the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for oral argument. During the session, 3L law student Loren Peck will appear before the Court arguing issues laid out in an amicus brief filed in support of the appellant.
The session will begin at 12:00 pm in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The session is open to the public. Use of electronic devices is prohibited. Computers and backpacks are not allowed. No audio recordings or photography is permitted while the Court is in session.
The Court will hear a challenge involving a Fourth Amendment claim in the case of U.S. v Matthew Hoffmann. Hoffmann, a Marine corporal, was convicted of five charges related to the solicitation of a minor for sexual activity and possession of child pornography. Hoffmann claims that some of the evidence used to support his conviction was seized without proper consent or a search authorization.
The first appellate court to hear the case was the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA). The NMCCA affirmed Corporal Hoffmann’s conviction, concluding that even if the Government had violated the Fourth Amendment the evidence in the case would have been inevitably discovered.
Loren Peck, a law student, authored an amicus brief under the supervision of W&L law professor Tim MacDonnell in support of the appellant’s Fourth Amendment claims. Peck was invited by the Court to argue his position and will appear alongside counsel for the Government and Corporal Hoffmann.
Specifically, Peck argues that the military judge abused his discretion and the NMCCA erred in their determination that the seizure and search met the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Author Taylor Branch to Speak about “Scalawags and Big Government” at W&L on Nov. 3
American author and public speaker Taylor Branch will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel.
Branch will speak about “Scalawags and Big Government: How Racial History Warps Politics.” It is free and open to the public, and will be broadcast live online. A book signing will follow the talk in the lobby of Lee Chapel at 6:15 p.m. Branch’s talk is sponsored by the William Lyne Wilson II Symposium Fund and the Mellon Grant on History in the Public Sphere.
He is best known for his landmark narrative trilogy, “America in the King Years.” The first book, “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63” (1988) won the Pulitzer Prize and other awards in 1989. The other two books in the trilogy also garnered awards and much critical success: “Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–65” (1998) and “At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965–68” (2006).
Branch is the author of 11 books including the above three. His latest three are “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement” (2013); “The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA” (e-book, 2011); and “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President” (2009).
Branch speaks before a variety of audiences including schools, churches, political and professional groups. His 2008 address at the National Cathedral marked the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last Sunday sermon from that pulpit.
He has been awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Lifetime Achievement; Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Lifetime Achievement; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship; and the John S. Guggenheim Fellowship.
He received his A.B. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He lectured in politics and history at Goucher College from 1998–2000.
Washington and Lee Board of Trustees Welcomes New Members, Reelects Childress as Rector
Washington and Lee University welcomed two new members to its Board of Trustees during the fall board meeting, Oct. 8–10.
Christopher Charles Dyson ’00 graduated from W&L with a B.A. in history, magna cum laude. Dyson is the vice president, sporting director and driver for Dyson Racing, one of the top-rated sports-car racing teams in the country. Since making his driving debut in the top categories in 2002, he has claimed several major race wins, and he has twice won the IMSA American Le Mans Series Championship, in 2003 and 2011. Dyson is also a director with the Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp., a privately owned, international holding company, and he is a commercial and residential real estate developer. He serves as director and treasurer of the Dyson Foundation, which has supported W&L’s Spring Term and Center for Global Learning. As a volunteer for W&L, he has served as a co-chair of his alumni chapter’s Alumni Admission Program. He and his wife, Joy, live in Pleasant Valley, New York, with their three children: a son, Nicholas, and two daughters, Leona and Margot.
David A. Lehman ’99 graduated from W&L magna cum laude, with a B.S. with special attainments in commerce. While at W&L, he served as a resident assistant, played on the tennis team and belonged to the Williams Investment Society. Lehman joined Goldman Sachs in 2004 and is the global head of real estate finance in the investment banking division. He is also co-chair of the Structured Finance Capital Committee and a member of the GS Bank Management Committee. Previously, he was co-head of the mortgage trading operations in the securities division. He serves on the board of directors of New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization. He and his wife, Laura, and their two children live in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
In other news, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reelect J. Donald Childress to a third, four-year term as rector of Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees, commencing with the October 7-8, 2016, meeting and ending at the conclusion of the board’s May 2020 meeting. They also elected to the board the following trustees-elect: James L. Baldwin Jr. ’83, effective February 12, 2016, and George D. Johnson III ’05, effective October 7, 2016.
W&L Among Top Teach for America Producers for Third Straight Year
For the third consecutive year, Washington and Lee has made the list of the top 20 small colleges and universities (2,999 or fewer undergraduates) sending the most graduates to Teach for America. Only 15 percent of this year’s 44,000 applicants to Teach for America from schools across the country were admitted to the program.
During the past three years, 35 graduating W&L seniors have joined Teach for America and 21 are currently members in their first or second year of teaching through the program. A further 68 Generals are Teach for America alumni.
Nationally, more than two thirds of the organization’s teachers continue in the classroom for a third year after their corps commitment. While there are no figures available specifically on W&L students, some have gone on to teach in low income communities across the country, including Baltimore; Houston; New York; Atlanta; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Founded in 1990, Teach for America recruits and develops a diverse group of outstanding individuals from all academic disciplines to spend two years teaching in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity.
W&L Community Celebrates $542.5 Million Campaign Success
More than a thousand students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered in Lexington Oct. 9 to celebrate the conclusion of the second-largest campaign by a liberal arts institution.
Under an expansive tent on Cannan Green and inside a transformed Warner Center, supporters of Washington and Lee toasted the historic success of Honor our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee with a traditional picnic, an open house showcasing campaign accomplishments and a black tie gala, all highlighted by student musical performances, souvenirs, testimonials, a moving campaign-celebration video and fireworks.
The campaign addressed the goals of W&L’s strategic plan, including securing gifts and commitments for the endowment; improving access and affordability for students; increasing faculty compensation; establishing new academic programs and enhancing existing ones that foster learning, engagement and character; and creating a campus for the 21st century, including restoration of the historic Colonnade.
Campaign co-chairs Phil Norwood ’69 and Warren Stephens ’79 welcomed the crowd at the evening gala, recalling the planning days of the campaign in 2008 and the economic conditions that caused them to question the feasibility of the fundraising quest at that time. Stephens recited the headlines of the day: “On first look, the economy looks bad — on second look, it’s worse.” “Worst prices since the ’30s with no end in sight.” “Job losses in 2008: 1.2 million.” “Payrolls shrink by 240,000 in October.” “Unemployment soars.”
But, he said, “With two magnificent gifts in hand from Rupert Johnson (’62) and Gerry Lenfest (’53, ’55L),” their generosity “was an inspiration to me and, I am quite sure, to other trustees and alumni. This is one of the reasons that despite the clouds of that November, we were motivated to go out and ask people to invest in Washington and Lee’s future.
“In the end, our decision to move forward was based on our shared belief in the strength of our university and the uncommon devotion that alumni and friends have for this institution,” Stephens said.
In the gala’s keynote address, W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio noted that “during a time when most colleges and universities have compromised or even abandoned their missions, when the economic headwinds have forced others to alter their course, we have strengthened and enhanced our deeply held values.
“For me, then, this has been a campaign of affirmation, rather than transformation — of change, to be sure, but the kind of change that preserves what has made us so strong. What has served us so well throughout our history will serve us well into the future.”
Ruscio continued, “Our new endowments for financial aid — the Johnson Program and many others — ensure we will continue to have great students from throughout the country and the world, young men and women who are intellectually bright and strong in character. Our new endowments for faculty compensation and professional development, sparked by the Lenfest Challenge, ensure that we will continue the long tradition of academic excellence, of bringing to Washington and Lee teacher-scholars who can detect a spark of interest in a student and nurture it into a passion. Our tradition of academic innovation carries on in the newly established Mudd Center for Ethics, the Connolly Entrepreneurship Program, the Integrative and Quantitative Center, the Center for Global Learning, the revised Law School curriculum, Spring Term, new internships, summer projects, and the now fully endowed Shepherd Poverty Program.”
But, Ruscio emphasized, the sense of place created by W&L’s buildings creates memories and shapes civil interactions among the university community — “Hillel House and Holekamp Hall, a renovated library, changes in Lewis Hall, a natatorium, a Center for Global Learning, a new Wilson Field and the Duchossois Outdoor Athletic Complex — and of course at the very heart of it all, a restored and renovated, national historic landmark Colonnade, whose architectural qualities of grace and strength so perfectly define the university’s very same qualities. If there is a physical symbol of who we are, one needs look no further than those beautifully symmetric white columns, imposing and dignified, yet welcoming into the halls of learning and friendship.
“I am reminded this evening of the generosity of so many of the thousands of alumni whose lives the university has touched in some profound way, of the parents and friends who developed their own deep affection for this university. I am reminded of that intergenerational bond that defines Washington and Lee. It is perfectly fine for us here today to benefit from the sacrifice of those who came before us, so long as we sacrifice equally for those still to come. Our inheritance from the past becomes our obligation to the future.
“The generosity of this campaign benefits our students. But what we do here matters beyond the boundaries of Lexington and beyond the development of our students. We should never lose sight of the wider effects — our students developing into something greater than themselves, and they will lead their communities and professions to serve the common good,” he said.
Ruscio summed up the campaign’s results: “If there is one message of this historic campaign, it is that in order to preserve the timeless salience of Washington and Lee, we have to always make it better.
“I thank all of you for the sacrifices you have made these past few years. I thank you on behalf of many future generations of students. I thank you for the inspiration your commitments have given to me personally. And, finally, I send my congratulations to all who honored our past by building for our future,” he said.
Poet Seth Michelson to Give Reading on Oct. 26 as Part of Ethics of Citizenship Series
Seth Michelson, an assistant professor of Spanish at Washington and Lee University, will give a poetry reading on the Ethics of Citizenship on Oct. 26 from 12:15–1:20 p.m. in Hillel Multipurpose Room.
This event, part of the Mudd Center’s year-long series on the Ethics of Citizenship, is a new presentation featuring original poetry of Michelson’s. Lunch will be provided—please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 19 if you plan on attending.
Michelson’s research interests include Latin American poetry, aesthetics, translation theory, feminist poetics, state violence, colonialism and neoliberalism.
His most recent book of poetry is “Eyes Like Broken Windows” (2012), winner of the poetry category of the 2013 International Book Awards. He also is the author of the chapbooks “House in a Hurricane” (2010), “Kaddish for my Unborn Son” (2009), and “Maestro of Brutal Splendor” (2005).
Michelson’s poetry translations include “The Ghetto” (2011) from “El ghetto” (2003) by the internationally acclaimed Argentine poet Tamara Kamenszain; “roly poly” (2014), the translation of “bicho bola” (2012) by the Uruguayan poet Victoria Estol; and “Dreaming in Another World” (2014) by Rati Saxena.
He received an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Southern California.
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.
Warren A. Stephens Recognized at W&L’s Colonnade
The renovation and restoration of the Colonnade would not have occurred during the Honor Our Past, Build Our Future campaign without the special support of Warren ‘79 and Harriet Stephens of Little Rock, Arkansas, and their children Laura ’12, John and Miles. Warren served as co-chair of the recently completed $542.5 million campaign and as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2015. Harriet and Warren made an early leadership gift for the Colonnade at the beginning of the campaign and a second in early 2015.
Harriet, Laura, John and Miles wanted to honor Warren at the end of the campaign and made a third gift recognizing his leadership and devotion to the University. Due to the third gift, the University was able to reach the $50 million campaign goal for the Colonnade. The Stephens family has continuously supported the University through contributions to the capital campaign and many other initiatives, giving over $25 million to Washington and Lee to date.
In recognition of the Stephens family’s support and in honor of Warren, the University announced at its campaign celebration Oct. 9 that it has named the walkway of the Colonnade the Warren A. Stephens Colonnade Walk. Two stone plaques placed in the walkway at Newcomb Hall and later at Tucker Hall will read:
“A gift was made in Mr. Stephens’ name by his wife, Harriet, and their children Laura (Class of 2012), John, and Miles in recognition of and appreciation for his love of and devotion to Washington and Lee University. Mr. Stephens served as Co-Chair of the capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee (2008-2015), and was a member of the Board of Trustees (1997-1998, 2007-2015). During those years, the Stephens family made significant gifts to renovate and restore the Colonnade and established an endowment to ensure its preservation. The Colonnade symbolizes Washington and Lee and its core values of honor, integrity, civility and excellence. A walk along the Colonnade reminds students and faculty of Washington and Lee’s illustrious history while inspiring them to be Non Incautus Futuri, Not Unmindful of the Future.”
At a tribute to her father during a May 2015 dinner when the University and trustees celebrated his service, Laura told the story of her great-grandfather taking Warren to Lexington more than 40 years ago to visit his alma mater, VMI. Warren realized then that the row of brick buildings and white columns at Washington and Lee were a better match for him.
“Two special moments I shared with my dad serve as bookends to my years as an undergraduate,” Laura continued. “The first, the night before freshman move-in day, we walked the Colonnade as he gave me fatherly advice and reassured me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The second, another walk down the Colonnade the day after graduation, my dad comforted and reassured me that my experiences here would not be limited to the past four years. This is a walk that we have all taken countless times, and it sums up the bond that I share with my dad and all of you. It is one that extends past bricks and columns. … It seems that no matter what is happening outside Lexington, being on campus and taking that walk, brings a sense of order, clarity, peace, and, most importantly, hope.”
“Warren’s and my first date was at Washington and Lee thirty-six years ago,” said Harriet. “Warren had just graduated and as we drove into Lexington there was a perceptible excitement and pride that was evident in him. From the outset, it was obvious how much Warren loves Washington and Lee and the Colonnade has always represented what he holds dear about the University. It is with tremendous pleasure and happiness that our family is able to honor him in the naming of the Warren A. Stephens Colonnade Walk.”
Hon. Diane Wood to Deliver Annual Tucker Lecture
The Hon. Diane P. Wood, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will deliver the 2015-16 Tucker Lecture at Washington and Lee University School of Law.
The lecture will take place Monday, Oct 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee. The title Chief Judge Wood’s talk is “The Quiet Crisis in Access to Justice.” This event is free and open to the public.
In addition to her position with the Seventh Circuit, Chief Judge Wood is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning her B.A. in 1971 and her J.D. in 1975. After graduation from law school, she clerked for Judge Irving L. Goldberg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court. She then spent a brief period at the Office of the Legal Adviser in the U.S. Department of State.
In 1980, Chief Judge Wood began her career as a legal academic at Georgetown University Law Center. She moved to the University of Chicago Law School in 1981, serving as a full-time professor until 1995 and as associate dean from 1989 through 1992. In 1990, she was named to the Harold J. and Marion F. Green Professorship in International Legal Studies, becoming the first woman to hold a named chair at the school.
From 1993 until she was appointed to the Seventh Circuit in 1995, Chief Judge Wood served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Chief Judge Wood is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and is on the Council of the American Law Institute.
The Tucker Lecture at Washington and Lee School of Law was first established by the W&L Board of Trustees in 1949 to mark the bicentennial of the University and the centennial of the Law School. It was named after John Randolph Tucker, hired in 1870 as the second teacher in legal education and named the first dean of the Washington and Law University School of Law in 1893.
British Actor and Producer Ben Crystal to Speak at W&L on Oct. 26 as Part of Shakespeare 2016!
Ben Crystal, British actor and producer, will give the opening lecture as part of Washington and Lee University’s Shakespeare 2016! on Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. His talk is free and open to the public, and will be broadcast live online.
He also is the artistic director of London-based Passion in Practice and its Shakespeare Ensemble, which he founded in 2010. Passion in Practice explores fresh approaches to acting Shakespeare.
Crystal’s talk is titled “The Once and Future Shakespeare.” His visit is hosted by W&L’s Department of Theater, Dance and Film.
In his words, he will discuss “why our current approach to Shakespeare’s works may need to change, how we can learn from the practices of the past to see our way forward, and the dramatic effect these lessons may have on the existing canon.”
Crystal is an expert in performing Shakespeare in original pronunciation (OP). In March 2015, he consulted with Baltimore Shakespeare on their OP “Merchant of Venice” and created an OP Lab in a three-day workshop and performance with the Shakespeare Society in New York City.
In 2014, he gave the English Council lecture at the British Council on speaking the English of Shakespeare, and in 2012, he was the curator, producer and creative director of the first CD of extracts of Shakespeare in OP for the British Library, their best-selling CD to date. He also played the role of Hamlet in 2011 with the Nevada Repertory Company in the first OP production in 400 years.
Crystal’s recent publications include of “An Illustrated Dictionary of Shakespeare” (2015) and “Springboard Shakespeare” (2013). He also is the co-author of “Shakespeare’s Words” (2002) and “The Shakespeare Miscellany” (2005) with his father, David Crystal, a linguist, editor, writer and lecturer.
With his Shakespeare Ensemble, Crystal collaborated with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He restaged the Globe Theatre for a staged reading of “Macbeth” in OP in a London loft and prepared a production of “Pericles” in OP in Stockholm.
Shakespeare 2016!, a year-long celebration of William Shakespeare’s legacy, will be observed at the university with an academic year of special events, performances, public lectures and courses.
Other lecturers in addition to Crystal include noted Shakespearean scholars James Shapiro and Katherine Maus and political philosopher Quentin Skinner. Events throughout the year will include theatrical, musical and dance performances. For full details about Shakespeare 2016!, visit http://www.wlu.edu/shakespeare-2016/speakers or contact Hank Dobin at email@example.com.
It’s been almost 50 years since Penney and A.C. Hubbard started transforming their two-acre garden in Baltimore into what is now recognized as one of the finest in Maryland.
Walnut Hill began as a family project, and A.C., who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1959 and its Law School in 1962, and Penney did much of the early planting and design themselves. Their later collaboration with the internationally known Kurt Blumel (a.k.a. the King of Grasses) transformed their garden into a site that has been featured in national and regional magazines and is a destination for prestigious national and regional garden tours. It’s even listed in the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens.
The Hubbards’ garden is the subject of a new book, “On Walnut Hill: The Evolution of a Garden,” featuring essays and text by garden writer Kathy Hudson and images by award-winning photographer Roger Foley. The book is filled with 270 pages of photographs of the Hubbards’ exquisite gardens, and details their passion and tireless efforts to create the ultimate living landscape.
A.C. is a trustee emeritus of W&L and has retired from his career as an investment management executive. Penney is a retired public school teacher, private school admissions director and community volunteer. You can read more about the project and pre-order the book at onwalnuthill.com.
Shakespeare 2016! Kicks Off Oct. 11 with the Drama “Desdemona”
The three-night run of “Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief” Oct. 11–13 kicks off Shakespeare 2016!, Washington and Lee’s year-long celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare in theater, music, dance, art and scholarship.
Directed by Kate Powers of New York, W&L’s Sessoms Visiting Artist, and presented by the Department of Theater, Dance and Film, the play by Paula Vogel presents a modern take on the female characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Othello.” Part “Sex and the City” and part social commentary, it looks at the possibility that Desdemona, Bianca and Emilia aspire to greater roles than those in which their patriarchal society has confined them.
The play strikes the tone for the more than 20 events — many free and all open to the public — scheduled for the coming academic year. Performances of “Desdemona” will take place in Lenfest Hall’s Keller Theater. Tickets are $5.
The second event of Shakespeare 2016! takes place Oct. 26 with a guest lecture by Ben Crystal, British actor, producer and artistic director of Passion in Practice, the London-based dramatic ensemble dedicated to teaching and presenting “how to play Shakespeare as simply as possible.” Crystal will speak on “The Once and Future Shakespeare” — why contemporary approaches to Shakespeare’s works might need to change, how we can learn from the practices of the past, and the dramatic effect those lessons have on the existing canon. His talk will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Admission is free.
On Oct. 27, Chanticleer, the internationally acclaimed, twelve-member male chorus, will perform at the Lenfest Center’s Wilson Concert Hall. The group’s repertoire includes original interpretations of vocal literature ranging from Shakespeare’s time to today. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and active military, $20 for W&L faculty and staff, $10 for general students and $5 for W&L students.
Perhaps Shakespeare’s most famous play, “Hamlet,” receives a new and original adaptation in “Believe None of Us” by W&L theater professor Jemma Alix Levy. To be staged Nov. 1 for one 3 p.m. performance at Lenfest’s Johnson Theater, the drama puts the Hamlets from three varying printed versions from 1603, 1604 and 1623 in conversation with each other to reveal how they differ. The cast will include professional actors from London, New York, Chicago and Staunton, Va. Admission is free.
Organized by English professor Hank Dobin, Shakespeare 2016! events focused on or related to Shakespeare and his legacy will continue on campus through next April. A complete description can be found online at www.wlu.edu/shakespeare-2016. For more information, contact Dobin at 540-458-8113.
The Man Behind the Camera
Year after year, Patrick Hinely, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1973 and has been the school’s photographer since 1980, has been publishing his favorites in the Annual Fund calendar.
A selection of those works, “Photographs from W&L Calendars,” is now on exhibit in W&L’s Kamen Gallery until Dec. 15, and there will be a reception for Patrick at the gallery on Oct. 7 at 5:30.
The exhibit features 25 images, going back to the first W&L calendar (1979–1980), including five film originals among 25 digital prints. While some of these views could also be on postcards, Patrick 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.”
He believes images can speak across decades and evoke enjoyable recollections and a feeling of ongoing connectedness to W&L, and need not have any further agenda.
“The calendar reminds us warmly of this place, as much a place in our hearts as in more tangible dimensions,” he said. “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.”
While he often hears others say that he sees things others don’t, Patrick noted 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.”
He added, “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.”
Leyburn Library's Author Talk Series Features Deborah Miranda
Deborah Miranda, the John Lucian Smith Professor of English at Washington and Lee, will be talking about her new book, “Raised by Humans” on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 4 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Book Nook. “Raised by Humans” was published in April, 2015.
This event is part of the University Library’s Author Talk Series, and the talk is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
Miranda has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2004. Prior to this, she taught at Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington.
She is also the author of “Bad Indians” (2013), which was the winner of the PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal for Memoir and short-listed for the William Saroyan Prize; and “The Zen of La Llorona: Poems” (2005), among others. “The Hidden Stories of Isabel Meadows and other Lacunae of California Indian History” is under contract with the University of Nebraska Press.
Miranda is the coeditor and contributor of “Sovereign Erotics: An Anthology of Two-Spirit Writing” (2011). She has written 20 articles, many poems in anthologies and literary journals, and seven book reviews.
She received her B.S. from Wheelock College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Staniar Gallery Has New Exhibit of Photographs by Eliot Dudik
Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery is pleased to present “Broken Land/Still Lives,” an exhibit of photographs by Eliot Dudik. The show will be on view Oct. 9–Nov. 4.
Dudik will give an artist’s talk on Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall, followed by a reception. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.
This exhibition of large-scale photographs by eastern Virginia-based artist Dudik includes prints from two recent series: “Broken Land” and “Still Lives.” In “Broken Land,” Dudik photographs Civil War battlefields, depicting them as contemporary landscapes in order to explore the similarities in cultural and political conflict between now and the period prior to the Civil War. He will also be sharing work from his “Still Lives” series, portraits of Civil War reenactors at the culmination of their performance.
Dudik is a visiting assistant professor of photography at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. His work has been featured on CNN, and has been exhibited around the country. He was the recipient of the 2014 PhotoNOLA Prize and was selected for the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward 2015 festival.
Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, please call (540) 458-8861.
Mike Missal ’78 Tapped As New Inspector General of Veterans Affairs
On Friday, Oct. 2, USAToday reported that Michael Missal, a 1978 graduate of Washington and Lee University, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the inspector general of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mike, a Washington attorney who specializes in government enforcement and internal investigations, was “selected because he has a distinguished legal background and a proven record of expertly leading prominent, sensitive and extensive investigations,” said a White House official.
The position has been vacant since 2013, and Congress has repeatedly criticized the department for its poor investigations of veterans’ health care and of going after whistleblowers rather than the problems they bring to light.
Mike, a partner at K&L Gates, began his career as a staff assistant to President Jimmy Carter. He then clerked for chief judge H. Carl Moultrie, District of Columbia Superior Court, before serving as senior counsel for the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
His extensive résumé includes an appointment by the Justice Department to examine negligence in the bankruptcy of subprime lender New Century Financial Corp. He served as lead counsel investigating the demise of WorldCom, the long-distance phone company. Mike also assisted the Senate Select Committee on Ethics during its investigation of former Sen. John Ensign of Nevada.
Art Historian, Critic and Writer James Elkins to Lecture in Questioning Passion Series
James Elkins, the E.C. Chadbourne Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will lecture as part of the Questioning Passion series at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 22 at 4:30 p.m. at the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.
The title of Elkins’ talk is “Writing About Intense Encounters with Artworks: Some Thoughts on Immersion, Absorption, Passion, Emotion, Affect, Feeling and the Sublime.” The event is free and open to the public.
The recent work of James Elkins raises serious questions about the place passion and passionate response might or might not have in a university classroom in general and, more particularly, in a critical discussion of artwork.
In the past, Elkins has written on art and non-art images; publications include, “What Photography Is” (2011); “Six Stories from the End of Representation: Images in Painting, Photography, Microscopy, Astronomy, Particle Physics, and Quantum Mechanics, 1985-2000” (2008); and “What Happened to Art Criticism?” (2004).
He edited two book series for Routledge: “The Art Seminar” (conversations on different subjects in art theory) and “Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Arts” (short monographs on the shape of the 20th century). He is organizing a seven-year series called the Stone Summer Theory Institute.
“‘What Photography Is’ is experimental nonfiction,” Elkins said. “Beginning in 2011, impelled by the general lack of experimental writing in art history, I rearranged my schedule to concentrate on writing a novel with images. My current book projects should be complete by fall 2015. After that my principal focus will be the novel, whose working title is ‘A Journey.’”
Elkins received his B.A. from Cornell University and his M.F.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Philosophy Professor Pia Antolic-Piper to Lecture at Washington and Lee
Pia Antolic-Piper, professor of philosophy at James Madison University, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 19 from 5 p.m. in Huntley 327.
Antolic-Piper will speak on “How Practical is Practical Philosophy? Roger Bacon on the Full Task of Moral Philosophy.” Her talk is free and open to the public and is sponsored by W&L’s philosophy department.
“My talk will center on the medieval thinker Roger Bacon,” said Antolic-Piper. “It will be mostly an exercise in the history of philosophy insofar as I will retrace Bacon’s reflections on what moral philosophy is and what it should be. However, Bacon’s arguments are also of enduring relevance in that, in a certain sense, there are universally true insights that can be gleaned from them and that pertain to the potential of moral philosophy to go beyond conceptual analysis and normative arguments and to extend to moral motivation.”
Selected publications of Antolic-Piper’s include “Beyond Bosnia: Ethical Reasoning in Political Deliberations about Humanitarian Intervention,” chapter in “The Role of Intelligence in Ending the War in Bosnia in 1995” (2014); “Roger Bacon,” in “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy;” Roger Bacon’s “Opus maius. Selections from Moral Philosophy,” introduction and translation, Latin to German (2008); “Experience and Demonstration: The Sciences of Nature in the 13th and 14th Centuries,” co-edited, (2007).
Her research includes the history of philosophy (with emphasis on medieval philosophy, ancient philosophy and 13th-century metaphysics and ethics), feminist philosophy and aesthetics, aesthetics and ethics, the use of poetry in ethics, philosophy of mind and feminist philosophy.
Antolic-Piper attended Goethe-University in Frankfurt and received an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy.
Comedian Julie Goldman to Give a Performance at Washington and Lee
Comedian Julie Goldman will give a performance at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. This performance is free and open to the public.
Goldman is sponsored by W&L Hillel, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Her appearance is part of Pride Week.
Goldman is currently a series regular on the runaway hit series “The People’s Couch” which airs on Bravo. She starred in the first three seasons of the “Big Gay Sketch Show” on the Logo television network and is the former comedy writer for E!’s Fashion Police.
She is the winner of the Brink of Fame Comic Award given by the NewNowNext Awards, and the MAC Award for Best Headlining Comedian in New York City.
Goldman has been doing standup comedy in clubs and colleges around the U.S., as well as Logo and Comedy Central. She also has been headlining and working with Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black and Jeff Garlin.
Goodman has performed at Montreal’s prestigious “Just for Laughs” comedy festival, in “Laughing Liberally” on Broadway and is a favorite on Olivia Cruises and R Family Vacations. She also performed a duet with Jane Lynch on the Do Something Awards on VH-1 cable network and has appeared on “Bones” on Fox and RuPaul’s “Drag Race.”
Three years ago, Superstorm Sandy roared across the Eastern seaboard, devastating vast stretches of the shoreline. In particular, the tall grasses that grow along the Atlantic coast were destroyed, removing a vital protective buffer for the region’s shoreline.
A story by the Associated Press noted that, Bill Brumback, a 1971 graduate of Washington and Lee University and conservation director for New England Wild Flower Society, is leading the way to restore these habitats by collecting the seeds of native plants, such as saltmarsh rush and little bluestem, and replanting them.
The two-year, $2.3 million project will help these habitats be more resilient to future storms, especially the coastal areas that act as a buffer. This is the first large-scale, coordinated, seed banking effort in the eastern United States and is part of the Seeds of Success program, a national initiative the Bureau of Land Management.
“We know from experience that having natural habitats there, along the coast, as a buffer for storms is very important,” Bill said. “We know restoring these areas is going to provide protection for future storms.”
So far, the team has collected about 50 species and has plans to make 200 trips to collect seeds next year. “Sandy is just one event,” Bill noted. “Other events are coming, and we want to be able to restore the coastline.”
Bill has worked for the New England Wild Flower Society for several decades. His contributions to the conservation of that region’s flora has been extensive, and his work to propagate and protect Robbin’s cinquefoil in New Hampshire’s White Mountain led to its recovery and subsequent removal from the U.S. Endangered Species list.
Seasoned Performer Bobby Horton to Perform at Lee Chapel on Oct. 11
Lee Chapel and Museum will present multi-instrumentalist, composer and seasoned performer Bobby Horton on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium. The title of Horton’s event is “Songs and Stories of the Civil War.”
Seating will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 and are available at the Lee Chapel and Museum Shop (540) 458-8095, Lexington Visitor Center and Pumpkinseeds in downtown Lexington.
Horton was raised surrounded by music; his father played the trumpet and his grandfather played the banjo. He also was exposed to the big band sound, jazz, classical, Southern gospel and hillbilly.
His love of history started at an early age. He enjoyed listening to World War II veterans telling their war stories and learning about the Civil War during the centennial celebration.
Combining these two loves turned into 14 volumes of authentic Civil War tunes, playing all of the period era instruments and singing all the parts himself. He found these songs while researching music from the mid-19th century for a film score that was set in 1863 in southern Indiana.
Horton has performed with the musical-comedy trio “Three On a String” throughout the U.S. and Canada for 40 plus years.
He also produced and performed music scores for 16 PBS documentaries by Ken Burns, including “The Civil War” and “Baseball,” two films for The A&E network and 21 films for “The National Park Service. His series of recordings of authentic period music has been acclaimed by historical organization and publications in the U.S. and Europe.
W&L's Strong on Jimmy Carter in the Roanoke Times
The following opinion piece by Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Oct. 1, 2015, edition of the Roanoke Times and is reprinted here by permission.
Jimmy Carter at 91
Today is Jimmy Carter’s 91st birthday, a day made more poignant by the news that he struggles with the disease that claimed the lives of his father, his mother and his three siblings. After the public announcement of Carter’s cancer diagnosis, commentators were quick to praise the former president for his remarkably active post-presidency and for personal acts of charity, faith and promotion of democracy.
This is as it should be.
But I belong to a small group of scholars who also believe that Carter should be praised for success in the White House. He was not a great president, but his record in office was better than most people acknowledge.
In the only major candidate debate in the 1980 election cycle, Ronald Reagan famously asked if Americans were “better off” than they had been four years earlier. This was a time of intense public anxiety about the economy. Interest rates, inflation and unemployment were all historically high. Energy prices had endured two sudden spikes in the 1970s (one producing temporary gasoline shortages and long lines at gas stations) and every sector of the economy dependent on the cost of oil faced an uncertain future.
Though the American people concluded that they were not better off in 1980, some were. Unemployment fell in every year of the Carter administration except the last one. In 1980, inflation was finally being addressed by Paul Volker, Carter’s appointee to head the Federal Reserve. Volker’s tight money policies produced temporary hardships that would later lead to long-term stability.
In Carter’s four years in the White House, real growth of GDP averaged a respectable 3.1 percent a year — a better record than Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, or Reagan and much better than the experience of twenty-first-century presidents.
High interest rates and inflation wreaked havoc for first-time homebuyers in the late 1970s, but established families with fixed-rate mortgages from an earlier era saw their debts decline while property prices rose. They were actually better off.
In foreign policy, Carter made more progress in the vexing Middle East peace process than any of his predecessors or successors. The Camp David Accords did not lead to a final settlement of the disputes between Israel and her Arab neighbors, but they ended Israeli hostilities with Egypt and took a major step in the direction of peace that has held for decades.
Carter pushed for the highly unpopular Panama Canal treaties that foreign policy experts — Republican and Democrat — uniformly favored, and lobbied 68 senators to cast controversial treaty ratification votes that cost many of them their political career.
In Iran, he failed in a risk-ridden rescue mission, but succeeded in negotiating a final release of the American diplomats held hostage. With the Soviet Union, he gradually accepted the decline of détente and delivered a return to higher military budgets, more cautious arms control negotiations and stern warnings against Soviet mischief-making in the Persian Gulf.
On the world stage, Carter made human rights a core concern in American foreign policy, not just a slogan.
Not a bad record for four years in office. And a longer list of accomplishments would include a forward-looking energy policy, the Alaska land bill, deregulation of phone and airline services, the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with China, amnesty for Vietnam-era draft dodgers and the first federal bailout of the Chrysler corporation.
Of course, this record did not win reelection. A better politician might have postponed the Panama decision or the appointment of an inflation-fighting central banker. Carter received good political advice, from his wife among others, to put off controversial actions until after 1980. He never took that advice. He sincerely believed that the American people would see the sense and necessity of what he was doing.
I once introduced former President Carter to students at Washington and Lee University by comparing him to the university’s namesake president, George Washington. Both were southerners, farmers, and military men known for their integrity. Both were fiscal conservatives and reluctant partisans who had problems with Islamic hostage takers.
Carter politely chided me for an inappropriate introduction and said that none of today’s politicians should be compared to our Founding Father. “Besides,” he said, “Washington got reelected.”
Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and the author of Working in the World: Jimmy Carter and the Making of American Foreign Policy. This summer he did research on the Carter presidency with assistance from Lauren Howard ’16.