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Combating Childhood Hunger Christy Felling '93 puts her communications skills to work for a good cause.

“Yes, we’re the idealists, but we’re the idealists who are getting stuff done.”

felling-christy-t Combating Childhood HungerChristy Felling

Christy Felling ’93
Share Our Strength / No Kid Hungry
Washington, D.C.

Christy Felling ’93 was born a “political junkie.” Growing up in small town in Delaware and inspired by her grandmother’s political activism, Felling always felt she was bound for Washington, D.C.

“When I was a little kid, my grandmother would sit me down, and we’d watch Watergate hearings together,” Felling said. “She was always protesting something or writing to members of Congress — it was just woven into the fabric of her life. She instilled in me this passion for politics and passion for trying to do something of value in the world. If you have the capability to help someone or make a difference, it’s your duty to do so.”

After attending a summer enrichment program at Washington and Lee the summer between her junior and senior years in high school, Felling “fell madly in love” with the university and applied early decision.

She arrived on campus in 1989 as part of the first class of students that would experience W&L as a fully co-educational institution. She majored in political science and also took a lot of history, English and Japanese courses, with the intention of pursing a career in political journalism.

“Getting to W&L when I did was huge for building the confidence and skills that I still use today,” she said. “At that time, it was not uncommon to only have one or two girls in a class or discussion group, which could be a little daunting. But the professors wouldn’t take that as an excuse to not speak up. I learned to get my ideas across, and to this day, in a board room or in meetings, I am rarely intimidated.”

Felling also credits Professor of History Emeritus Barry Machado for teaching her that power comes from working harder than anyone else. She said he was known for being really tough, turning students away who were late for class and insisting on excellence. Felling took every one of his classes she could fit into her schedule.

Professor Machado’s lessons would benefit Felling during one of her first positions after graduation. As the executive assistant for Executive Editor Al Hunt at the Wall Street Journal, Felling started out managing Hunt’s schedule and researching topics for his columns and television appearances.

“He was known for being a very smart, but very tough boss,” she said. “I knew I had to show him what I was made of while trying to learn as much as possible. I challenged myself to turn the position into more than it started out as. It became my professional bootcamp, and it really helped to build my career.”

Just as Felling began looking for her next career move, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 happened. Her office was just blocks from the White House, and the events of the day became a turning point in her career. Instead of reporting on what other people were doing to make the world a better place, Felling wanted to actually be doing it. She took a job as deputy director of strategic communication with the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization.

“Over the course of my seven years there, my position changed several times,” Felling said. “I’m a big fan of pitching yourself. Bring your greatest skillset to the job at hand and adapt that job. I’ve found that I excel at the ‘giddy-up’ — when you’re ready to move the ball forward, I’ll come in and make it go.”

It’s this very skill — Felling’s self-proclaimed “action ninja” trait — that led her to her current position as the director of strategic communication for Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit that works to end child hunger in America through its No Kid Hungry campaign.

“So many of the things you work on in D.C. — loud problems with a capital P — are too big or entrenched to change,” she said. “It was frustrating to me to never see the needle move. I wanted to have more of an impact and was ready for a change.”

After several professional contacts sent her the job opening for director of public relations for the organization, Felling decided to make the move. She eventually shaped the position into one that allows her to work on national messaging and political strategies for the organization.

“Childhood hunger is actually a solvable problem,” Felling said. “We’ve got the food, and we’ve got the hungry kids. Now we just need to connect the two. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we can figure this out.”

This fall, Felling was a host on the university’s Public Policy and Government Trip to Washington, D.C. Twenty students spent Reading Days visiting the workplaces of about 18 alumni, and Felling was excited to let the students see what it’s really like to work at the national office of a nonprofit organization.

“We’re run very much like a corporation — results-driven, fast-paced and action-orientated,” she said. “Making the world a better place is not something that is done only on the weekends or as a heartfelt hobby. It can be a career that is fulfilling. Yes, we’re the idealists, but we’re the idealists who are getting stuff done.”

– by Jenny Pedraza

Jennifer Peszka ’94 Named Arkansas Professor of the Year

Jennifer Peszka, a member of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 1994 and a psychology professor at Hendrix College, has been named the 2015 Arkansas Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Peszka’s selection was announced at a Nov. 19 awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., and presented at a congressional reception at the Folger Shakespeare Library that night.

“Whether she’s teaching an introductory or an advanced course, Dr. Peszka’s dedication to her students’ success and her enthusiasm for her discipline have inspired hundreds of Hendrix students,” said Hendrix Provost Terri Bonebright in a news release. “She is nationally renowned for her research and has ignited a passion for research among countless students, including several students who have followed her example in the classroom and in the lab.

“Not only has she worked tirelessly with her colleagues to develop the psychology program into one of the most popular majors on campus, she has served on countless committees whose work is responsible for some of the most significant advances in our academic program,” Bonebright continued.

A native of Harrison, Arkansas, Peszka joined the Hendrix faculty in 1999. She earned her doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.

CASE launched the U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program in 1981 to highlight its support of, and belief in, the work of higher education institutions. That same year, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching began hosting the final round of judging and in 1982 became the primary sponsor.


Go Generals!: Undefeated Football Team Faces Thomas More in NCAA Tournament

Washington and Lee will travel to Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, for a first-round playoff game in the 2015 Division III football championship on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 12:00 p.m.

Thomas More carries a 10-0 record and received an automatic bid from the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. The Saints are ranked ninth in the D3football.com poll and average 50.5 points per game.

W&L completed its first perfect regular season (10-0) in 54 years and is the recipient of an automatic berth from the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. W&L is ranked 17th in the D3football.com poll and averages 39.6 points per outing.

The winner of the first-round contest will take on the winner of a match-up between Wabash (10-0) and Albion (9-1) on November 28.

W&L and Thomas More met in a 2010 NCAA Tournament first round contest and the Saints claimed a 42-14 victory. The Generals are making their fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and carry an 0-3 overall record. W&L fell to Hobart (38-20) in its last NCAA appearance during the 2012 season.

The livestream broadcast of the game be shown on campus at 12:00 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater of Elrod Commons. Members of the W&L community are invited to attend and may bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.

Fans can also follow the action online, on WLUR and via live stats.

For more information, visit the W&L Athletics website.


James N. Falk ’77 Named Outstanding Fundraising Executive

James N. Falk, a 1977 graduate of Washington and Lee University, received the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award on Nov. 13 from the Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Since 2001, he has served as president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, growing its membership from 350 to over 4,000 and its annual budget from $375,000 to $2.3 million. He began the council’s International Education Program, equipping over 1 million students and 8,000 teachers to better understand and relate global issues to their lives.

Jim has worked as a commercial banker and was an active volunteer with the Houston World Affairs Council, UNICEF, the United Way and the MS Society. In 2013 he was appointed honorary consul for the Kingdom of Morocco for Texas and is now starting an annual fundraising dinner to purchase portable toilets for girls’ elementary schools in rural Morocco, since girls over the age of 8 are prohibited from attending school due to the lack of facilities.

He first became a member of the AFP Houston Chapter and then the Greater Dallas Chapter in 1999, when he relocated to work for the National Center for Policy Analysis, raising in excess of $12 million annually.

He has held board positions with the Dallas International School and World Affairs Councils of America, was recently reelected to the national board of the World Affairs Councils of America and is director of the North Texas Commission. Jim is also adjunct professor of international relations at the University of North Texas.


W&L Law Prof. Victoria Sahani Appointed to Advisory Council for Legal Funding Association

The Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding (ARC) has announced the appointment of Washington and Lee law professor Victoria Sahani to its advisory council. The council provides leadership and advises the trade association and its members on matters pertinent to the consumer legal funding industry.

Consumer legal funding, sometimes referred to as third-party funding, is a new method plaintiffs involved in legal disputes use to finance the cost of litigation. In exchange for a share of the litigant’s future settlement award, investors give a lump sum to a plaintiff for the immediate relief of financial burdens such as medical bills and legal fees.

Sahani is one of the leading voices researching third-party funding, which she says is constantly evolving and sometimes controversial. The relationship between the funder, client and attorney can create conflicts of interest or erode the control the plaintiff has over the legal proceedings. Her most recent research suggests additional structures and regulatory models that can help resolve such issues in order to preserve what has become a valuable tool for those who lack to the financial resources to pursue a legal claim.

Sahani is an expert on domestic and international dispute resolution procedures, including civil procedure, negotiation, mediation, domestic arbitration, international arbitration and investment treaty arbitration. She has written extensively on third-party litigation funding in both domestic and international dispute resolution, including a book titled “Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration.”

Sahani is a Member of the Editorial Committee for the forthcoming 2015 Benchbook on International Law published by the American Society of International Law (ASIL).  She is also a Member of the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), made up of the top academics in the field of international arbitration from around the globe, and the Task Force on Third-Party Funding jointly organized by the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), which is the premier international commercial arbitration policy and membership organization, and Queen Mary University of London.

Sahani served for five years as Deputy Director of Arbitration and ADR in North America for the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In this capacity, she advised government attorneys, in-house counsel and law firm attorneys on all phases of arbitration, mediation and ADR, including negotiating and drafting dispute resolution clauses, selecting neutrals and enforcing arbitral awards. Shannon previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School

Prior to joining the ICC, Sahani served as an associate with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where she specialized in complex tax credit and municipal bond financing arrangements for affordable housing and community development real estate transactions, as well as matters involving American Indian tribes. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she traveled to New Orleans in January 2006 to assist the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Fair Housing Project with two housing discrimination claims.

Sahani holds an A.B. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  She is a member of the bar in New York and the District of Columbia.

W&L Economics Professors Win USITC Research Contract

Michael A. Anderson, the Robert E. Sadler Professor of Economics, and Martin H. Davies, assistant professor of economics, have been awarded a United States International Trade Commission (USITC) government research contract for work on the organization’s India Trade Project.

Anderson and Davies, working jointly with economists Jose Signoret of the USITC and Stephen L.S. Smith of Gordon College, are conducting research over the next year into the exporting behavior of Indian firms for USITC’s “Trade Analysis Research for the India Trade Project.”

“We are involved in an ongoing study to examine the exporting behavior of Indian firms,” Davies explained, noting that understanding firms’ exporting behaviors is one of the most important questions in international trade. “We use a dataset constructed from different sources, PROWESS and TIPS, which give us very detailed information about Indian firms, both in terms of their characteristics — their productivity, for example — the types of good they export, and to which countries the exports are sent.”

Davies explained that identifying the determinants of exporting behavior is crucial to understanding the pattern of trade — which countries export which goods — which has been a focus of economics since Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage in the early 19th century.

“The export experience of the newly industrialized countries over the past 40 years suggests that export success may be a driver of economic growth. Those countries are characterized by high export growth and high income growth. China is included in that group, but India is not,” Davies said.

Dr. Pika Ghosh to Deliver Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History

Pika Ghosh, associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver the Pamela H. Simpson Lecture in Art History on Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in at the Wilson Hall Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Ghosh will speak on “Tales in Textile: Negotiating the Home and the World in Nineteenth-Century Bengal.” In her talk, Ghosh analyzes Bengali women’s vernacular art as practices of colonial resistance during the 1800s.

As one of the foremost scholars on late medieval Bengali art, her scholarship focuses on the region’s rich artistic traditions from temple architecture to quilting of the 17th-19th centuries. She’s authored and edited several books and received prestigious grants from the Getty, Mellon and The American Institute of Indian Studies, which have all funded her groundbreaking research projects. Her next monograph is “Fabricating Social Worlds: Women’s Embroidered Kantha from Colonial Bengal” (under contract).

Ghosh received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of the History of Art.

The Pamela H. Simpson Endowment for Art, established in 2011, is a permanently endowed fund to support the hosting of distinguished academics and professional visitors to campus to work directly with students and faculty in Washington and Lee’s Department of Art and Art History.

Simpson served on the faculty of Washington and Lee University for 38 years. She was the first female tenure-track professor at W&L and the first female professor to receive an endowed chair.

Lesley Wheeler Communicates with “Radioland,” Her New Collection of Poems

Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has published her fourth full-length collection of poetry, “Radioland” (Barrow Street Press).

The title of her volume comes from “an imaginary place broadcasters referenced to gesture towards their far-flung listeners,” explained Wheeler. “I’ve been interested in how and why we communicate over huge gaps in time, space and understanding. These poems concern many of the ways people get urgent points across, including radio but also letters, cellphones, websites, newspapers, literary works and ghostly messages.”

The poems are also autobiographical, covering Wheeler’s 2011 sabbatical in New Zealand with her husband and two kids, during which her parents’ marriage unexpectedly fell apart back in the U.S.; her father’s remarriage, illness and death; a catastrophic house flood; raising teenagers; and other episodes of personal and historical violence. “Some of the trickiest communications in this book occur between my father and me,” she said. “He was born in Brooklyn in 1925, so the dated sound of the word ‘radioland’ also conjures the generation gap between us, as well as the similar difficulties I have decoding my own teenagers.”

One reviewer noted, “Lesley Wheeler’s ‘Radioland’ is a spellbinding examination of communication breakdown in all its guises. With seismic heft, Wheeler mines the metaphoric capabilities of tectonic shifts and fault lines, slurred pop lyrics, and the lexicon of new technologies. With a flair for received forms and an exacting ear, Wheeler has her finger on the pulse of all that stands in the way of straightforward transmissions, not only of the other but of the self.”

For Wheeler, this latest volume is “a big book for me. It’s the best work I’ve done, and I feel really proud of it. I’m eager to get it out in the world, but also trepidatious, the way you feel when you’ve put a lot of yourself into a project. My second book of poems was about my mother’s childhood in Liverpool, England, and my father was mad about that. He always said, ‘Why don’t you write a book about me?’ And here I have. He wouldn’t like it at all. But it feels like I’m delivering on material I’ve needed to write through for a long time.”

Despite the disconnect between people in Wheeler’s poems, her ultimate goal is to offer assurance. “I want people to be hopeful, to know that even though it’s ridiculously difficult to get through to other people, you can sometimes. The effort is worth it, and there’s beauty and love in the trying.”

On Display: Work by Rives Granade ’01

Rives Granade, a 2001 graduate of Washington and Lee University, has an exhibition of his work on display at Ochi Projects in Los Angeles through Dec 19.

The Ochi Projects website describes his work as “otherworldly, archaic, or maybe instead, futuristic.” Inspired by a piece he made in art school, Granade creates his paintings by first using a computer to transform characters to “forms that defy the logical rules of space.” Then, he paints the images he has created on canvas, resulting in a piece that is a “sexy kind of organic realism that is at once corporeal and synthetic.”

Granade has had exhibitions at The Underground Museum in Los Angeles, Marine Projects in Venice, California, and at the Gallery Lara in Tokyo, among a number of others.

Following his B.A. in philosophy at W&L, Granade earned an M.F.A. from The San Francisco Art Institute, where he currently teaches.

— by Wesley Sigmond ’16

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Update on W&L Students in France

Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Washington and Lee, sent the following message to the University community today regarding Friday’s attacks in Paris:

“I am sure you are all aware of the terrible events that took place in Paris yesterday. The Center for International Education has confirmed the location and security of our students who are in France.  We will continue to monitor the situation and be in touch with our students. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the people of Paris.

“The university community will gather at 5:00 p.m. Sunday in front of Lee Chapel for a candlelight vigil.”


A Meaningful Legacy: Chris Coffland

Coffland’s death inspired the founding of Catch a Lift, a charity helping wounded post-9/11 combat veterans to regain physical and mental fitness through gym memberships and home equipment.

Chris-Coffland A Meaningful Legacy: Chris CofflandChris Coffland

Cpl. Chris Coffland, a member of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 1988, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan six years ago, on Nov. 13, 2009. He had joined the Army Reserve only a month before turning 42, the enlistment cut-off date.

As Greg Esposito ’00 wrote in a posthumous profile of Coffland in the Summer 2010 W&L alumni magazine, “After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Coffland looked into joining the military but was told he was too old. When, years later, he discovered he could join the reserves and would likely serve in a battle zone, he reasoned that his presence would keep another person — perhaps someone with children — out of harm’s way.”

An intelligence specialist, Coffland had volunteered for the mission on which he and two others were killed by an improvised explosive device.

His death inspired the founding of Catch a Lift, a charity helping wounded post-9/11 combat veterans to regain physical and mental fitness through gym memberships and home equipment.

A “CBS Evening News” story broadcast this week on Veterans Day illustrated how Catch a Lift helps veterans to hit the gym to heal their bodies and minds.

The organization also received the 2015 Top-Rated Nonprofits award from GreatNonprofits in recognition of its success in service to wounded veterans and in stewardship of donated funds. GreatNonprofits provides reviews and ratings of nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S.

Catch a Lift takes its name from Coffland’s trademark saying, “I’m goin’ catch a lift,” meaning he was off to the nearest gym to exercise, in keeping with his philosophy that physical fitness leads to mental fitness, which in turn makes possible service to others.

Coffland’s life — as an intercollegiate athlete, a doctoral student, an artist, a professional football player in Finland, a coach on three continents, an Army Specialist and a recipient of seven medals, including two Bronze Stars for bravery and a Purple Heart — continues to inspire and help people long after his departure from the scene.

For more about Chris Coffland, see these other stories we’ve written about him, on this website and in the alumni magazine:


W&L Law Prof Christopher Bruner to Deliver Inaugural Bain Family Lecture

Christopher Bruner, the William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, will deliver the inaugural chair lecture this month. The title of Prof. Bruner’s Lecture is “What Makes a Corporation a Corporation?”

The lecture is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:15 p.m. in Classroom A, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

The Bain Family Professorship was established by W. Donald Bain, Jr. ’49L of Spartanburg, SC in honor of his father, William Donald Bain. A native of Rochelle, Ill., Don Bain came to the W&L School of Law after earning a B.S. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He had a successful business career including more than 30 years at Moreland Chemical Co., where he rose to the rank of CEO. He merged Moreland with McKesson Corp. in San Francisco, eventually retiring as vice president and general manager of McKesson’s industrial chemical division.

A lifelong supporter of education, Bain has been particularly generous with W&L Law. In addition to this new professorship, Bain has supported the Steinheimer Professorship, the Class of 1949 Law Fellowship, the Law Library and the Law Annual Fund. He has been a participant or chair of numerous alumni chapter and reunion committees. For his dedicated service, Bain was awarded W&L’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987 and inducted as an honorary member of Order of the Coif in 2007.

Bruner joined the W&L faculty in 2009 and during that time has cemented his status as one of the leading voices in corporate law and securities regulation, including international and comparative dimensions of these subjects. His articles have appeared in a variety of law and policy journals, and he has twice received the Law School’s Ethan Allen Faculty Fellowship for scholarly excellence. His comparative study of U.S. and U.K. corporate governance, “Power and Purpose in the ‘Anglo-American’ Corporation,” won the 2010 Association of American Law Schools Scholarly Papers competition.

Bruner’s book, “Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power” (Cambridge University Press, 2013), has been called “a revelation,” and “a work of monumental significance and scholarly craft.” In the book, Bruner develops a new political theory to explain why shareholders in the U.K. and other common-law jurisdictions are both more powerful and more central to the aims of the corporation than are shareholders in the U.S. He argues that relatively robust social welfare protections in countries like the U.K., Australia and Canada have freed up their corporate legal systems to focus more intently on shareholder interests without giving rise to “political backlash” – because other legal structures accommodate the interests of employees.

At W&L, Bruner is the director of the Frances Lewis Law Center, the Law School’s faculty research and support arm, which funds summer research projects and research assistants for faculty, sponsors and supports conferences and symposia, and hosts visiting scholars. Bruner currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the Association of American Law Schools Section on Business Associations, and a member of the Scholarship Advisory Group to the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law.

Bruner is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan and also earned an M.Phil. from the University of Oxford, where he held an Overseas Research Student Award. He received his J.D. from Harvard, where he served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard International Law Journal. Following law school Bruner practiced with Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, where he worked with public and closely held companies on a range of corporate, transactional, and securities matters.

AdLib Conference Names 2016 Directors

The Williams School has appointed Jenna Faude ’16 and Natania Greenspan ’16 to serve as directors of this year’s AdLib Conference, which is scheduled to take place Mar. 10-11, 2016.

Faude is a strategic communications major from Sandpoint, Idaho. She spent last summer interning at Rawle Murdy Associates, an integrated branding agency in Charleston, South Carolina. Greenspan is a business administration and art history double-major from Ossining, New York and spent the summer working as a social marketing and digital merchandising intern at Jarden Consumer Solutions in Boca Raton, Florida.

AdLib is a daylong conference that brings alumni who work in advertising, marketing and communications back to campus to network with each other and share trends, best practices and lessons learned with current students. It’s intended to show students that the industry is accessible to liberal arts majors—regardless of major. This year, the conference, which was started by Amanda Bower, the Charles C. Holbrook, Jr. ’72 Professor of Business Administration, will celebrate its fifth anniversary.

“One of W&L’s greatest strengths is our dedicated alumni. The AdLib Conference gives students an opportunity to hear from and meet alums and other professionals who have been successful in a variety of advertising and marketing-related fields,” said Bower. “Students see some of the possibilities, get a better understanding of what they can do to prepare themselves for those careers, and then ultimately navigate their way into jobs themselves,” said Bower.

Both Faude and Greenspan discovered the AdLib Conference by way of Bower’s integrated marketing communications class, affectionately called “AdClass.”

“We went as a class, and I didn’t really understand how important the conference was until I sat through the breakout discussions, panels and talks. It makes a difference hearing from people who work in the field. You learn what it’s really like,” said Greenspan.

From the moment they attended AdLib, both women knew they wanted to get more involved. The conference may take place over the course of 24 hours in March but it’s an event that’s months in the making. There are keynote talks, panel discussions and shorter campaign talks, in addition to meals and an opening and closing reception, to plan.

“I still remember the conversations I had with alumni last year. Those conversations guided me as I made decisions about my summer internship and my senior year,” said Faude.

Faude and Greenspan will announce AdLib’s lineup in January.

Honoring W&L Veterans

Washington and Lee University held its annual Veterans Day gathering of staff, faculty, retirees and students in front of Lee Chapel on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The event was organized by Mark Fontenot and Paul Burns, who presided over the ceremony. Both men offered prayers, and President Ken Ruscio ’76 made remarks.

Attendees:

  • James Bailey, guest of Paul Youngman
  • Russ Bailey, guest of Paul Youngman
  • Paul Burns, Safety Office
  • Jerry Clark, Facilities Management
  • Mark Fontenot, Facilities Management
  • Ted Hickman, Facilities Management
  • Dick Kuettner, Tucker Multimedia Center
  • Laurie Lipscomb, Retiree
  • Holt Merchant, Retiree
  • Bob Strong, Politics
  • Tom Tinsley, Information Technology Services
  • Chandra Winter ’18L, Law Student
  • Julie Youngman, Business Administration
  • Paul Youngman ’87, German

W&L Honors Distinguished Young Alumni

Washington and Lee University honored four members of the Class of 2005 with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award during Young Alumni Weekend, Oct. 23–24. Brent Beshore, Emily Wolfing, Kiersten Salander and Thomas Worthy were each honored for their service to the university and to their professions.

Brent Beshore was honored for his continued support of the university and impressive entrepreneurial accomplishments. While at W&L, he was an active member of Lambda Chi Alpha and was inducted into the national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa. He graduated with a B.A. in politics, and attended the University of Missouri in the J.D./M.B.A. program.

In 2007, he founded his first startup and established adventur.es, a private equity firm. The firm has started, acquired or funded over 60 companies, providing marketing resources, strategic planning and operations management to main street organizations in media, technology, recruitment and software. It was ranked #28 on the 2011 Inc. Magazine list of the fastest-growing companies, based on a three-year growth rate of over 6,000 percent and the addition of 58 new jobs.

His other full-time job is community involvement. Beshore has been chairman of the marketing committee for the Boys and Girls Club board of directors, a member of the United Way board of directors and the marketing subcommittee, a member of the University Club board of directors, and founder of Good Hope Educational Initiative, a non-profit focused on education issues in South Africa. In 2011, Beshore created a Facebook page, Joplin, Missouri, Tornado Recovery, designed in part to raise funds for the Heart of Missouri United Way. The page helped to raise $1.7 million. He currently serves on Washington and Lee’s Shepherd Poverty advisory board, designed to address the problems associated with poverty.

As a result of his entrepreneurial success and community involvement, Beshore has won a number of awards. He received a 2012 American Express Open Forum 10 under 30 Award, a 2011 Heart of VAC award for community service, a 2012 Fast Track Award from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, and was included in the Columbia Business Times’ 2009 20 under 40 list of future leaders. In addition, he was nominated for a VH1 Do Something Award for his tornado relief efforts, coming in second to Lady Gaga.

Emily Wolfing was honored for her support of the university and her impressive career in national defense. While at W&L, she was an active member and president of Kappa Alpha Theta, co-captain of the women’s volleyball team and was inducted into the national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa. She graduated with a B.S. in mathematics and physics, and went on to earn her M.S. in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Since 2012, Wolfing has been at Hardwire LLC, which develops, designs and manufactures armor solutions for a variety of military and commercial applications. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hardwire supplied the armor kits for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles that saved the lives of thousands of soldiers. The company also armors bridges around the U.S. to protect them against terrorist threats.

Wolfing also helped patent the bulletproof whiteboard, which is used in schools, government and commercial buildings to provide protection against active shooters. She is the president and COO at Hardwire.

Previously, she worked as a technical support contractor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in both the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) and Strategic Technology Office in the areas of applied physics, materials science and systems engineering. In particular, Wolfing supported the development of all DARPA lightweight armor systems for military vehicles, military personnel and maritime platforms. This included overseeing the development of new technologies and production methods, and transitioning new technologies to users in the military and other government organizations.

Providing direct support to the director of DSO, Wolfing worked on DARPA Special Access Programs to help facilitate technology development and transition new capabilities. She was also responsible for coordinating and executing the Congressional and VIP briefings for the DSO director.

For the Department of Homeland Security, Wolfing performed research on a cargo inspection program to determine the feasibility of remote fissile material detection. She used and managed execution of Department of Energy Monte Carlo nuclear physics models, as well as assisted in management activities associated with performing materials experiments at international particle accelerator facilities.

Kiersten Salander was honored for her continued support of the university and remarkable business accomplishments. While at W&L, she was a member of the Williams Investment Society and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and graduated with a B.S. in business administration. Since graduation, she has been an important player in strengthening the university’s New York City alumni chapter, boosting attendance and growing the NYC Fancy Dress Ball event.

Salander is currently the deputy chief of staff to the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the leading global provider of financial data, analytics, news and media. In this capacity, she collaborates on key internal initiatives, corporate communications and strategic partnerships and has worked with Bloomberg colleagues and clients in over 30 countries. Prior to Bloomberg, she worked in account management at Ogilvy & Mather.

In addition to her work at Bloomberg, Salander chairs the steering committee of the U.S. 30% Club, a group of chairmen and CEOs committed to driving better gender balance throughout their organizations, with a near-term focus on female representation in senior leadership. The Club launched in June 2014 with a target of achieving 30 percent female non-executive directors on S&P 500 company boards by 2020. Today, there are over 50 chairmen and CEO members, including Warren Buffett, Muhtar Kent, Sheryl Sandberg and Larry Fink.

Salander is also a World Economic Forum strategy officer, representing Bloomberg in the Media Entertainment and Information Industry group, as well as a member of the Executive Women’s Council and W.O.M.E.N. in America.

Thomas Worthy was honored for his continued support of the university and contributions to the criminal justice system. While at W&L,  he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Student Body, Mock Convention Executive Committee, Sigma Chi fraternity and Kathekon, a student organization designed to enhance communication within the university and with alumni. He graduated with a B.A. in politics and sociology and was the first recipient of the Cullum Owings Memorial Fellowship, which is awarded to students who are “articulate, thoughtful and of outstanding personal integrity.”

Worthy has remained actively involved with the university by serving as Class Agent for the last decade, as a committee member for his 5th Reunion, as co-chair of his 10th Reunion committee, as a member of the alumni chapter boards of Washington, Birmingham and Atlanta, and as an Alumni Admissions volunteer.

Following his time at W&L, Worthy served on the senior staff of the late Congressman Charlie Norwood. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and subsequently worked as a litigator for the law firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham, Alabama.

He then became deputy executive counsel to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, advising the governor on legal matters and judicial appointments as well as spearheading the governor’s criminal justice reform and reinvestment initiatives.

Worthy currently is director of governmental and external affairs for the state bar of Georgia, and chairman of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. In these roles, he works to uphold the lawyer’s professional responsibility to improve the practice of law, to ensure access to justice for all Georgia citizens, and to repair the historic damage done by unjust and disparate criminal sentencing.

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio presented the awards to Beshore, Wolfing, Salander and Worthy in a ceremony in Washington Hall on Friday, Oct. 23.


Lexington Sunrise Rotary Names Ruscio Paul Harris Fellow

The Lexington Sunrise Rotary Club has named W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary’s highest honor and a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of The Rotary Foundation — world understanding and peace.

The club presented Ruscio with the 2015 Anne Conklin and Ken Newman Memorial Paul Harris Fellow at its annual Charter Night Dinner Oct. 29. The award recognizes a person who has had a significant impact on the Rockbridge area community, and the club makes a substantial contribution to The Rotary Foundation’s humanitarian and educational programs in the recipient’s name.

Bestowing a Paul Harris Fellow supports The Rotary Foundation’s array of programs that achieve beneficial changes in the world, including improved living conditions, increased food production, better education, wider availability of treatment and rehabilitation for the sick and disabled, new channels for the flow of international understanding and brighter hopes for peace.

Lexington Sunrise Rotary president Matt Hayden said that Ruscio and Washington and Lee University under his leadership have directly reflected and supported Rotary’s overall goals, as well as the local club’s many local community service projects in Lexington and Rockbridge County.

In accepting the honor, Ruscio noted Rotary’s exceptional worldwide accomplishments, such as End Polio Now, in which Rotarians have worked more than 25 years and raised the funds to eradicate the disease. But he also praised Lexington Sunrise Rotary for supporting local community service organizations and its own projects, such as the annual July 4th Balloon Rally, the area’s only Independence Day celebration, for the past 20 years. He quoted Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation that associations like Rotary bring communities together to improve life.

“Associations help people to realize their dependence on their fellow man,” Ruscio said. “By working toward the common good, rather than personal gain, people are forced to work together, similar to what you do in this wonderful organization.”


Literary Critic Philip Fisher to Lecture in Questioning Passion Series on Nov. 12

Philip Fisher, the Felice Crowl Reid Professor of English at Harvard University, will lecture as part of the Questioning Passion series at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 12 at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

He will speak on “Kindness and Malice: Ethics and the Passions.” His talk is free and open to the public.

Fisher’s book, “The Vehement Passions” (2002), analyzes the nature and value of intense emotion. He is working on a book about passions that move us ethically, in particular kindness and malice.

“We invited Fisher because of his stellar reputation as author and literary critic in general, and more particularly because of our respect for his book ‘The Vehement Passions,’” said Jeffrey Kosky, professor of religion and one of the organizers of the Questioning Passion series. “‘The Vehement Passions’ is an exceptional work that has proven to have great appeal among both scholarly and general audiences.”

Equally at ease in literature as Fisher is in philosophy and psychology, he attempts a very important recovery of strong emotions, what could also be called ‘the vehement passions,’ ones that people are often taught to suppress for ethical or social reasons.

Other publications include “Still the New World: American Literature in a Culture of Creative Destruction” (2000) and “Wonder, the Rainbow and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences” (1998).

Fisher is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a senior scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; held a senior fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin; and was a Guggenheim fellow.

Fisher received the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism for his book “Still the New World;” received the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize at Harvard; and has delivered the Christian Gauss seminars at Princeton on the subject of the passions, among other things.

W&L Professor David A. Bello Explores Relationships Among People, Environment and History in New Book

David A. Bello, associate professor of East Asian history at Washington and Lee University, is interested in how relationships between people and their environment shape history. He explores that idea in his latest book, “Across Forest, Steppe and Mountain: Environment, Identity, and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands” (Cambridge University Press).

In this work, he offers a new and radical interpretation of how China’s last dynasty, the Qing (1644–1912), relied on the interrelationship between ecology and ethnicity to incorporate the country’s far-flung borderlands, which included the additions of Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia and Manchuria, into the dynasty’s expanding empire.

He noted, “What’s critical about these relationships, is even in a conventional environmental historical approach, you usually have a scenario where people show up and cause a serious disturbance, like deforestation leading to extinction. This implies that animals respond to human action, never really vice-versa. In contrast, my analysis proceeds from the observation that humans are also responding to animal action, so that human-animal relations are mutually conditioning.”

One example he uses to illustrate his point occurred in Manchuria, in what is now northeastern China. “The Manchurian people were very good at mounted archery, and that was the primary military advantage they had over far larger groups of Chinese at the time,” explained Bello. “But this skill was developed mainly by pursuing wild animals in the forests of Manchuria.” The key animal initiative here is that the prey ran away, which presented a challenge to the humans that developed their military skills.

When the Manchus conquered China and begin living in areas where they were no longer engaged in hunting animals, they were no longer soldiers. “Historians have interpreted this loss purely as cultural assimilation,” said Bello. “Certainly, there is an interaction with the far larger number of Chinese people who maintain urban and agricultural institutions of great transformative power. There’s no question that one group of people is exerting change on another group of people, but I argue that critical change is not generated by mere human interaction from ethnic Chinese influence on these Manchus. An equally significant factor, ignored by people-centered historians, is that the Qing occupation of China alienates Manchus from their relationship with wild animals back home in Manchuria. They can’t bow hunt cows from horseback because the cows won’t cooperate. So, in the end, it’s the Manchu warriors who become extinct.”

Bello has been traveling to China since 1988, and for the past 10 years, with Glenn and Lenfest funding from W&L, has spent every summer there examining the administrative records written in Manchu. He explained that while most historians accept the idea that the Manchurians were culturally assimilated by the Chinese, the details of how that happened are incomplete and misleading. “I’m providing those very specific explanations based on Manchu documents that most people who work in Chinese history can’t read because it’s not in Chinese, it’s in a Chinese minority people’s language.”

As well as his example of Manchurian hunters, Bello presents additional evidence focusing on mosquitos and different populations’ resistance to malaria in indigenous areas of southwestern China and interdependencies between herders and livestock in Inner Mongolia.

“There’s been some quibbling by scholars about the degree to which these populations can be said to have assimilated by the ethnic Chinese — whether they lost their culture or whether they just adapted it,” said Bello. “All assume, however, that people are always behind this change; it’s always people changing people. I’m showing how when people’s relationship to their ecology changes, that makes them more vulnerable to human change. If the Manchus or Mongolians had maintained their relationships with their particular environment, it’s unlikely that this purely human assimilation or acculturation would ever have occurred.”

In praise of judicial activism

The following opinion piece by Mark Rush, director of International Education and Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Nov. 4, 2015, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

As the new Supreme Court term begins, the country still feels the impact of last term’s Obergefell decision, which struck down bans on same-sex marriage. It was a flawed but necessary decision, akin to Brown v. Board of Education.

When the court struck down public school segregation, Chief Justice Earl Warren alluded to a “badge of slavery” that racist practices pinned on black Americans. In Obergefell, Justice Anthony Kennedy made similar references to the plight of same-sex couples who were subjected to systemic inequality.

Both decisions relied on emotional appeals to systemic injustices and inequalities that had been perpetuated and, some would argue, justified by the fact that they were the product of the smooth, but imperfect, function of our democratic process.

Chief Justice John Roberts made an eloquent and, perhaps, constitutionally stronger counterargument in his Obergefell dissent. He did not condemn the substance of the majority decision. Instead, he condemned the Supreme Court’s hubris for overruling that democratic process in favor of the preferences of five of the nine court members.

“Who do we think we are?” he asked. How dare the court challenge the people’s wisdom?

Were the court conducting a seminar on legal or democratic theory, then reliance on an antiseptic vision of separation of powers, judicial deference to the democratic process and a trust that democratic deliberation will ultimately “get it right” might seem reasonable. But harsh realities indicate that 18th- and 19th-century visions of deliberative democracy no longer describe the workings of contemporary politics.

The same critics who condemn the court’s usurpation of the democratic process are quick to condemn the fact that our legislatures are gerrymandered, captured by rent-seeking special interests, and populated by incumbents who are virtually unbeatable.

As Jonathan Rauch has demonstrated in “Demosclerosis,” James Madison’s vision of a democratic process that treated all interests equally (by making it difficult for any one interest to govern) has given rise to a process that is colonized by entrenched interests that have secured special favors from our legislators.

Thus, in some states, it is more difficult to gain entry into the pet-grooming profession than it is to get an EMT license because, God bless them, those pet groomers are well-organized.

Critics of the court’s activism seek refuge in antiquated visions of democracy that do not describe reality. Powerful interests operate at the ongoing expense of weak, “discrete and insular” minorities — such as same-sex couples — that can neither garner majority power nor overcome the accumulated power or prejudice of entrenched interest groups.

So, those minorities go to court and, in cases such as Obergefell, they win amidst cries of judicial hubris. But critics of the court are, in fact, disingenuous. If the democratic process is as powerful, thoughtful and wise as Roberts or Justice Antonin Scalia contend, then why is there no congressional response to decisions such as Obergefell?

Congress has the power, as Mark Twain quipped, to change white to black and black to white. It has responded to and either overruled or ignored Supreme Court decisions in the past. Why is it silent after controversial decisions such as Obergefell?

From its silence, we can infer either that our elected officials agree with the court’s decision or that the democratic process is so constrained by entrenched interests that it is unable or unwilling to muster a response to it. Regardless, congressional inaction belies the romantic democratic visions of Roberts, Scalia and the many academic critics of judicial activism: We can’t rely on gerrymandered, entrenched legislators to act in the public interest.

The United States is a constitutional democracy in which the executive, legislative and judicial branches are empowered to check and balance one another. In Obergefell, the court checked Congress and the state legislatures in favor of a minority group seeking the redress of inequality. Congress is free to respond to and thereby “balance” the court’s decision. If it chooses not to do so, perhaps the court critics should train their sights on those unbeatable incumbents and ask why they choose not to assert their democratic power.

Mark Rush is director of International Education and Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University. Contact him at rushm@wlu.edu.

Summer Abroad: Diana Banks ’15

“From my time abroad I have gained insight, understanding and appreciation for the culture in Costa Rica, the people of Nicoya, and the Spanish language as a whole.”
~ Diana Banks ’15

banks-diana Summer Abroad: Diana Banks '15Diana Banks ’15 (center)
Glenwood Springs, CO
Resident Advisor
LEAD member
W&L Climbing Team
Campus Rec. Task Force

A lot of people take a Spanish class. At one point or another, most people take an introductory course, a conversation course or maybe an occupation-specific course, just because Spanish is a very prevalent language here in the United States.

I was definitely one of those students, taking Spanish class after Spanish class through middle and high school, going over the same verb tenses every year and forgetting them all every summer. With my Spanish professor’s assistance through the Latin American Caribbean Studies Department at W&L, I was able to travel to Costa Rica, where I spent two months learning and committing myself to this language; I was living, working and learning in Nicoya.

I couldn’t have asked for a more authentic and all-encompassing experience. My time was spent living with a host family, and my familia Costarricense took every opportunity to show me their lives, engage me in conversation–no matter how broken it was at first!–and include me in their fishing trips, beach weekends and World Cup parties (Fútbol in Costa Rica is quite the phenomenon!). I learned the finer points of Costa Rican cooking from my host mother–gallo pinto, chorreados, camarones, olla de carne–the food was absolutely incredible. I felt welcome, and I credit their effort to include me as the reason why I even began to feel more like a native than a tourist towards the end of my time with them.

I spent my mornings between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. taking formal Spanish lessons at the Academia de Español Nicoya, and for all 8 weeks of my experience I was in an individual, 1-on-1 class catered to my language ability at the time. These classes gave me a better blueprint of the Spanish language than I had ever had before, and the casual but fully-immersed nature of the lessons finally allowed me to build a strong foundation for moving past the wall I had always been hitting. I had so much fun at the Institute, and even ended up extending my classes from four weeks, as was originally planned, to eight weeks. With my professor I learned more than just grammar. I learned about Costa Rican popular culture and current events in the Central American world; I learned jokes and slang; and I was able to talk with my professors like I would with a friend, asking any questions that had come up since seeing them the day before.

In the afternoons, I spent the majority of my time at Café Daniela’s working as a waitress. This part of my trip pushed me back into the real world. None of the clients knew I didn’t normally speak Spanish, and it wasn’t a classroom environment where mistakes were expected and easily corrected. I felt comfortable at Daniela’s, though, and the waitresses, cooks and owners definitely stood up to their local reputation as “a restaurant of great friendship.”

I also spent some of my time working with another girl in Nicoya who was about my age, and she was starting a nursing job at the hospital during the time I was there. We became “partners in learning” through the Institute, and built a real friendship around the exchange of our two languages. She needed to know English to converse with American patients at work, and I was ready to learn as much Spanish as I possibly could. My relationship with her may have been the most special for me, and I gained a lot from seeing my language struggle from the other side.

From my time abroad I have gained insight, understanding and appreciation for the culture in Costa Rica, the people of Nicoya, and the Spanish language as a whole. Doing this has changed my thoughts and plans for the remainder of my time at W&L, and I am sure I will be pursuing more opportunities in Spanish beyond my college years as well.

Changing Perspectives: Arianna Nastoff ’16 Changing Perspectives, Shepherd Intern at Centro Latino, Danville, KY

“I learned that one could make a significant difference in a short period of time with a little effort.”

Emerging from a whirlwind summer experience, I could not be more pleased with my time as a Shepherd Intern at Centro Latino in Danville, Ky. I learned that one could make a significant difference in a short period of time with a little effort. I was able to witness firsthand the significant progress made by the children who attended our camps. For instance, three of the children from our first camp had come from Mexico a mere three months prior. They could not speak a lick of English and their teachers, who did not speak Spanish, did not set time aside to teach it to them. After three months in the States, they were only able to say words like, “door”, “water”, and “chair”. On the first day of camp, the three boys were glued to the perimeter of the room, watching us with a distrustful gaze. Breaking the ice, one of my fellow interns approached these boys and said, “¿Hablan Español?” The kids were so relieved that they could finally communicate with someone that they laughed and exclaimed, “¡Gracias!” After alternating between English and Spanish for three additional 7-hour days, each of the three eager boys was better able to communicate in short English sentences. At the end of the week, the eldest of the boys ran back into the classroom, after begrudgingly leaving, to give each of us a great big hug, he spoke to us using his newly learned English, “Thank you so much.” His gratitude and excitement erased the exhaustion I accumulated throughout the difficult week. This experience gave me optimism that individualized education of children can overcome substantial obstacles.

Centro Latino is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote the Hispanic population’s self-sufficiency and independence through social justice, education and health care initiatives. As Shepherd Interns, our tasks were always interesting, and the work we conducted always felt meaningful. We ran four separate week-long, enrichment-based summer camps; canvased houses inhabited by members of the Hispanic community to assess the families’ current needs or troubles; organized a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals/Affordable Care Act (DACA/ACA) information session with Spanish speaking attorneys; assisted with English classes for adults; transported students to free art classes; and directed an early childhood intervention class throughout the week. In short, as interns, we made ourselves available to the community in virtually any capacity that was needed. We established sincere relationships with families all over Central Kentucky, some of which insisted on showing their gratitude by making us homemade art or inviting us to lunch or dinner. This internship provided valuable insight into current pressing matters of immigration and poverty. The internship also provided me a new perspective on my options regarding a future vocation.

In a broad sense, I learned a number of substantive lessons from my internship experience. I observed the unique isolation that the immigrant population experiences. Language and cultural barriers are exacerbated in a largely conservative, southern town. These barriers frustrate any attempts to build connections between the Hispanic community and the community-at-large. One of Centro Latino’s principal, but implicit, jobs is to serve as a diplomat for the Latino community. Members of the board must choose their words carefully when they explain the mission of Centro Latino to this conservative community. For example, I had to refrain from using any sympathetic language during my segment of our presentation for a grant opportunity; I could not make it seem as though Centro Latino wanted to provide the illegal population with any special benefits. I also had to distinctly clarify that we connect the population to necessary legal resources and that we do not “try to help them too much.” To see this organization compromise its idealistic goals in order to achieve results was a lesson in the importance of pragmatism. I learned that even nonprofits with altruistic purposes must make sacrifices for the sake of efficiency, diplomacy, and politics.

This internship also informed my broader goals and sense of vocation. The element I appreciated most in this organization was its effort to alleviate all facets of poverty in the Hispanic population, not just income poverty. By focusing on education, health and justice, Centro Latino has been able to increase the freedom of the Latino community in Danville. They work to eliminate their social deprivation and, eventually, economic poverty by increasing their human capital. Without all of the services that Centro Latino provides, the Hispanic population in Danville and the surrounding counties would be void of resources to help alleviate their poverty. I want to be involved in an organization that offers a range of services to holistically assist individual’s suffering from poverty. All in all, I could not have asked for a more educational or fulfilling summer experience.

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Majors: Global Politics and Spanish

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Leadership Development program
  • Shepherd Poverty program

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I had a profoundly educational and eye-opening experience in my Poverty 101 and 102 classes. I found that my passion is service to those around me and believed this internship would best suit my interests. I was eager to volunteer again as I have in the past, but this time through an academic lens.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? My internship compelled me to consider the addition of a Poverty minor. I also learned about the unique and flagrant needs of this invisible population. I now hope to continue serving this population in Rockbridge County during the academic year.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? I did not expect to feel so integrated and established in the Danville community after a short 8-week stint. I left Danville feeling I had made lifelong friends and connections. Even more, after many recent text messages and phone calls, I feel that I sincerely made an impact on many people’s lives.

Post-Graduation Plans: I am currently considering several alluring options: the Peace Corps, Teach for America, Law school, Graduate school… the world is my oyster.

Favorite Class: My American Politics, International Development, and Global Politics classes stand out to me as having the greatest impacts. Each class compelled me to ask more probing questions and take an analytical approach to the world around me. I learned that I couldn’t hope to change the circumstances around me without the wealth of knowledge these classes instilled in me about the different ways things are done.

Why did you choose W&L? I was enticed to choose W&L after seeing just how invested the school is in its students. Professors are willing and eager to offer individual help and to offer any advice or suggestions students might need. The school offers a surprising range of resources and opportunities to students for its intimate size. I knew that Washington and Lee would do whatever it took to help me realize my life goals.

My W&L: Paqui Toscano ’16

“I have come to love W&L for . . . the people I have met here and the sense of community we have fostered together.”

As I think about my Washington and Lee experience thus far, I can’t seem to get out of my head a particular sentence from Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Gilead,” a beautifully complex book throughout which the aging narrator John Ames reflects upon his life. “I love this town,” Ames thinks to himself as he finally achieves much sought-after inner peace, begotten by a revived sense of community with his surroundings and loved ones. The town to which he is referring is Gilead, a small pastoral village in Iowa, quaint and endowed with a sense of heritage largely rooted in the Civil War. Sound familiar? Yes, I suppose I’m being heavy-handed here, but in myriad ways Gilead reminds me of Lexington, and I think this similarity is all the more meaningful to me because I have come to love W&L for the same reasons that Ames ultimately comes to love Gilead: the people I have met here and the sense of community we have fostered together.

This was already true by the end of my freshman year, but the degree to which I relied on my W&L family became all the more apparent to me after an accident I suffered two summers ago now. Struck down by a truck while riding my bicycle, I suffered a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed below the waist until, as my occupational and physical therapy revved up into full gear, I slowly but surely re-learned how to walk.

Within days, I received a care package from one of the deans, complete with a water bottle and hat–both of which saw daily use as I navigated my therapy regimens. One close friend sent me a string of postcards; another one wrote me a letter; while still another sent me a shirt with an inspirational saying across the front. Professors sent me get-well cards and flowers expressing their sincere hope that I would be able to return to W&L. One of my friends sent me a book on the Supreme Court; others sent care packages with cookies and DVDs. One even visited. And most adorably, one faculty member sent me a W&L teddy bear that, admittedly, I hugged once or twice, especially as the school year commenced.

For me, this was the hardest part. I felt exiled from the place and so many of the people I cared deeply about. Despite the geographical distance, however, I did not feel alone. One of the student affairs staff members sent me a video of the convocation processional with a caption that read, “We miss you.” My best friends kept me in the loop–FaceTiming became part of the routine. I had a professor take time out of her schedule to conduct an independent study with me while another one recorded all of his classes so that I could audit them. Still, another faculty member personally went to financial aid to secure my spot as a research assistant when I returned.

Indeed, once I did come back to W&L, the research assistantship was in fact waiting for me and my classes were moved to handicapped accessible buildings. Public safety and the amazing, but now tragically deceased, Sergeant Larry Stuart were always more than willing to help me make it through the day; and the wife of one of the university’s vice presidents drove me to physical therapy twice a week. I also received a truly meaningful note from another administrator’s wife. Other faculty members had me over for dinner to celebrate my return, and professors gladly met with me in accessible locations. For my birthday, several of my closest friends bought me a cane. How fitting that the purpose of the present–from people who played such an invaluable role in the rehabilitation process–was, literally, to support me.

The same professors who took the time to support me throughout my recovery have taken the time to support my academic and intellectual growth as well. With indefatigable energy, they constantly motivate me to be the best I can be, as both a person and a scholar. My English advisor, for instance, gave me the opportunity to more fully explore the literature of Marilynne Robinson by hiring me as a research assistant this past summer. I was encouraged not only to help her better understand the corpus of fiction grappling with questions of faith, but was also empowered to explore my own intellectual passions in the process.

Likewise, my Classics advisor made it possible for me to attend a research trip with her to Ercolano, Italy, a small town in the Bay of Naples where the ancient city of Herculaneum is located. Not balking at the prospect of having someone with a spinal cord injury on the field team, she not only invited me to apply for the trip, to which I was eventually accepted, but was also willing to fly out with me. Because of her, I have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the epigraphy–or ancient wall inscriptions–of one of the best preserved sites of the Roman empire, scratched into the plaster of walls by everyday, run-of-the-mill Roman citizens. It has always been a goal of mine to go to Europe to study first-hand the culture and language of the Roman world which has been such an important part of my academic journey, but I wasn’t sure if this goal would ever become a reality, especially so soon after the accident. Walt Disney once said that “all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them,” but courage is one of those virtues that is sometimes hard to muster up. Yet, the W&L community which was there for me–those professors and close friends who helped me transition back into the real world again–also helped me rekindle my sense of inner-confidence. They helped me realize that my dreams could still come true.

The most wonderful aspect of “Gilead” is that John Ames is thankful, and it is this thankfulness which truly shines through at the conclusion of Marilynne Robinson’s masterpiece. He is content–and feels blessed. In the midst of the sometime stressful academic rigors of college, which have nonetheless helped me grow and develop as a critical thinker and intellectual, and the sometimes overwhelming demands of extracurricular activities, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture–the picture we collectively paint together at Washington and Lee. Like Ames, I too am thankful, ineffably appreciative of the people I have met here who have played such an important role in inspiring me to persevere. Yes, my accident could have been worse–and, indeed, far worse things happen to people every day–but I had certainly never faced anything like it before. And the one thing that helped me make it through–and which still helps me through those difficult moments–was knowing that I was not alone, in large part, thanks to my W&L family. It is hard to believe that I have only known some of my most trusted mentors and best friends here for two years, because W&L has become such an important part of my life. It is more than just a place, a mere college campus, with beautiful red brickwork and grand, white columns. It is a home; it is my Gilead.

Hometown: Kettering, Ohio

Majors: Classics and English

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Student Judicial Council justice
  • Student Recruitment Committee member
  • Research assistant for Classics Prof. Rebecca Benefiel
  • University Big
  • Wind Ensemble member
  • Peer Tutor
  • Student Body Constitutional Review Committee member (freshman year)

Off-Campus Experiences: I was a participant in the Herculaneum Graffiti Project. Our mission was to study, record, and digitize the epigraphy-or ancient inscriptions scratched into the wall plaster-of Herculaneum, an ancient town that was destroyed by Vesuvius when it erupted in 79 AD. I was also a summer research scholar this past summer for Prof. Gertz in the English Department. I was working with novels that grapple with themes of faith and belief.

Post-Graduation Plans: The plan is to most likely go to law school with the hope of eventually working for the government or work in some other capacity in which I can deal with Constitutional issues. The idea of trying to pursue a career in academia has crossed my mind as well, however.

Favorite W&L Memory: There are so many memories from freshman year that really stand out, but one weekend we had a birthday party for Earl Warren, whom I greatly respect, after one of my friends bought two Earl Warren-themed birthday cakes from Sweet Treats. That same semester, I also stayed up until 6:00 a.m. one morning with two of my friends, just talking about life and politics and this and that as well as waking up at 5:00 a.m. on a different morning to watch the Australian Open championship match with another friend.

Favorite Class: All of my classes have left such an impact on me, but English 299 (focused on speculative fiction) with Prof. Wheeler was a wonderful experience. It was a class that really helped develop my critical thinking, discussion, research and writing skills, and the poetry we discussed left an impression on me because of both its complexity and power.

Favorite W&L Event: Midnight Breakfast–always a great time.

Favorite Campus Landmark: There’s something about the Colonnade that really resonates with me. The stately red brick façade of the buildings coupled with the grandeur of the columns represents to me the sense of history with which W&L is endowed–the tradition of honor that we hold dear and the mutual respect we have for each other that pervades this campus. I will say, though, that the former Gaines game room also has a special place in my heart. My friends and I spent quite a bit of time there throughout our freshman year.

What’s your passion? In one word: literature. I’ve always loved to read, but since I’ve been in college, I’ve become very interested in contemporary (especially American) fiction, particularly the literature of Marilynne Robinson. That being said, I also find ancient Greek and Roman religion and Classical literature fascinating, especially the speeches and dialogues of Cicero. Constitutional law and theater (as an audience member) are definitely up there too, though.

Why did you choose your major? I grew up in a family that really put an emphasis on reading and encouraged me to read and write, so English seemed like a natural major to pursue, although the decision really was clenched after a Recent American Fiction class I took freshman year. As for Classics, I took Latin my freshman year to fulfill my language requirement. My passion for the language was rekindled; I realized I really liked the close-knit feel of the department; I was inspired by the faculty members; and wanted to learn more about the foundation of our western civilization.

What professor has inspired you? Professors Gertz and Benefiel–my two major advisors–have inspired me a great deal. They are inspirational scholars, teachers, and people who have opened up so many doors for me these past two years and have been and continue to be amazingly supportive figures throughout the recovery process.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Make the effort to go to office hours and forge relationships with your professors. And avoid procrastination at all cost.

My W&L: Myers McGarry ’16

“Being a Peer Counselor did not just bring me closer to the 12 first-years on my hall, but it made me feel closer to the community as a whole.”

The life of a peer counselor is not always glamorous, but it has provided me with some of my most rewarding experiences at Washington and Lee. The program starts with a three-day training session where we discuss depression, anxiety, disordered eating, homesickness and other issues that first-year students can encounter. After my first training session, I was surprised to see how willing the older peer counselors were to discuss the topics and ask meaningful questions. This made training hard because I had never talked so deeply about such difficult issues. The conversations made training emotionally draining and tough to handle at times.

After training, I was excited to meet my peer counselees. My hall consisted of 12 first-year men and one resident advisor. One of the first things my RA said to me was that his goal was to foster a “close-knit community” on the hall. We achieved this goal, and by the end of the year there was no better way than “close” to describe the relationships we had made with each other. I was amazed by the honesty and trust the first-years on my hall put in my confidentiality.

I discovered that this trust was not just held by the first-years on my hall, but also peers in the greater Washington and Lee community. Because I was a part of the Peer Counseling program, people outside of my hall started to open up about their issues. Hearing about the serious problems that people have on a regular basis was overwhelming at first. But it did not take me long to realize that this trust was a perfect example of the sort of “close-knit community” my RA talked about the first day I met him. I realized that being a peer counselor did not just bring me closer to the 12 first-years on my hall, but it made me feel closer to the community as a whole.

Although I often hear the problems that people have at Washington and Lee, I have never been discouraged about the campus community. A major part of the peer counselor’s job is to make sure that students in need are aware of the resources available. For any issue, from homesickness to academic problems, there are several places they can go for support, including their peer counselor. I have found that the deans, the Student Health Center, and the Counseling Center, along with other administrative resources, place students’ needs first and strive to find the best solution for someone who is struggling. Working with these different groups of professionals has been one of my favorite aspects of being a peer counselor.

I would be remiss to not mention the community within the group of peer counselors. The group is kind, motivated and quirky. The peer counselors are purposely diverse, so the program has given us an opportunity to make friends outside of our normal social groups. Despite our differences, we share a passion for helping others through tough times, a similarity that makes our friendships as deep as the topics we discuss.

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Major: Mass Communications Major

Minor: Studio Art

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Peer Counselor
  • Mock Convention
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma

Favorite Class: National Security V. Freedom of Speech

Why did you choose your major? When I was choosing my major I realized that some of my favorite classes and professors were in the Journalism School. I decided that is where I wanted to spend my time.

What professor has inspired you? Toni Locy. Her passion for journalism is inspiring.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Love for Liza: Liza Heaton ’11

It was the wedding celebrated around the world.

News that Liza Haynie ’11 married Wyatt Heaton ’09 on Dec. 13, 2014, days after learning that she had less than a month to live, made headlines in throngs of newspapers and on websites. The “Today” show, CNN and Fox News all aired stories about the couple’s “I do’s.”

By February, the media frenzy had mostly calmed down, but Liza – who took Heaton as her last name – remained overwhelmed by the buzz her story had generated and the outpouring of support. “I’ve just never had that much attention in my life,” she said.

Although the private 26-year-old finds the spotlight a little uncomfortable, she is happy the stories raised awareness about her disease: synovial sarcoma, a rare cancer that mostly strikes young people. “I’m glad that if I do end up passing away from this, I will have done that,” Liza said.

Liza and Wyatt’s love story began in 2007, during her initial weeks as a first-year student at Washington and Lee, when her friend David Yancey ’09 invited her over to watch a football game on television. (While growing up, Yancey and Liza had been neighbors in Shreveport, Louisiana, and he was part of the reason she’d chosen the school.) The group watching football included Wyatt Heaton.

“We ended up being fast friends and dated all over those next two years, on and off,” Wyatt said. He liked Liza right away. “She was confident without being brash or loud,” he said of that first meeting. “She was a very smart girl. She was fun.”

The couple split when Wyatt moved to China following graduation, and Liza spent a semester at the University of Cape Town. But they never fell out of touch. “He ended up coming to visit me in South Africa,” Liza said. “I went to China.”

By Liza’s senior year, the couple was officially dating again. Wyatt was one of the first people Liza told after she went for a routine check-up, and the nurse practitioner sent Liza for an ultrasound to check out a tiny lump in her abdomen.

Liza, thinking she might have an ovarian cyst, went on a planned spring break trip to the Bahamas. When she got back, she accepted a job offer at Legg Mason Capital Management, in Baltimore, led by Bill Miller ’72.

That day, she Skyped with Wyatt, who was getting ready for a big hiking trip that would take him off the grid. “I was like, ‘I accepted the job. I’m going to have to move to Baltimore, but we can make it work. Have fun on your trip. I’ll talk to you in a week.’ “

Later the same day, Liza learned she had synovial sarcoma. It was a week before she could reach Wyatt to give him the news, a conversation made even more difficult because Wyatt’s mother had died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma a few years earlier. “He knew how bad it could really get,” Liza said.

By the time Liza was able to return to W&L, only a few weeks remained of school. “Liza, of course, being Liza, didn’t let it faze her at all,” explained her close friend Emily Allender ’11. “She didn’t want anybody dwelling on her cancer. It was so like her to go with the flow and have fun and focus on the present.”

“I was happy I got to do graduation,” Liza said. “I got to go and have fun and not think about it for a while.”

Wyatt, who’d planned to begin law school and to study for a master’s degree in taxation at Georgia State University that fall, left China months early so he could be with Liza as she had chemotherapy. “He really took care of me and did everything,” Liza said. “It made us a lot closer.”

After postponing her job for five months for that part of her treatment, Liza moved to Maryland. “She was always very enthusiastic and positive,” Miller recalled of his employee. “It was very easy to treat her like anybody else because she was like anybody else. She just happened to be going through a tough period.”

A rough patch was exactly how Liza saw her illness. “I didn’t think I was going to die or anything,” she explained. “I thought, ‘I’ll just do this for this year and this’ll be over.’ “

In October of 2013, Liza joined Wyatt in Atlanta, where she worked as an analyst. They had a lot of friends in the city, including many W&L alumni. It was a happy time.

The following summer, though, Liza began having stomach pain. Over Thanksgiving last year, she got the news. Her cancer was back. Oncologists at John Hopkins’ cancer center gave Liza the grim news that a gastrointestinal blockage meant they couldn’t treat her. “They said I was going to die pretty quickly,” Liza said.

Wyatt quickly proposed. “Once Liza got sick, and we didn’t know how much time we had left, we both knew we wanted to be with each other,” Wyatt said. “To me, it was the most important thing, no matter what the future was going to hold, that we be together. Together forever, just linked like that.”

“I was very sad but very happy at the same time,” Liza said of the proposal. “We were like, ‘Let’s just make this week really happy.’ “

Liza put the word out to her friends about her prognosis. She told them she wanted everybody to come to Shreveport for a fish fry, a last chance to be together. “We were all in complete shock,” Allender said. “We dropped everything to be there.”

What Liza didn’t tell her friends was that she and Wyatt were actually throwing their wedding that night. That left the couple a lot of planning to do in 48 hours. Bill Miller offered the couple the use of his plane so they could get back to Shreveport without dealing with the hassle at the airport. Liza’s aunt volunteered her lake house for the ceremony. That left Liza with the not-so-small detail of finding a wedding dress.

Whitney Dickson Davis ’07 also grew up near Liza’s Shreveport home. Liza had studied her 2012 wedding pictures on Facebook and had marveled over her dress. “It was beautiful, like a formal dress, but also fun,” Liza said. Davis didn’t hesitate when Liza called to see if she would loan out her gown for the special occasion. “She was so gracious,” Liza said.

Allender, who joined about 50 W&L alumni at Shreveport that December Saturday, said she and her friends never suspected they were there for anything other than a fish fry until they saw Liza’s father show up at the lake party in a suit. Next, they spotted a photographer. “All our wheels were turning,” Allender said. “Then it hit: ‘Oh my gosh, they’re going to get married.’ “

Before the ceremony, Liza told the pastor she didn’t know how long she would be able to stand. “We’re going to have to make this a really quick ceremony,” she said. But Liza managed to stand. And dance. For hours. Liza described that night as the best of her life.

The next night turned out to be pretty great, too. That’s when the blockage, which had been preventing doctors from treating Liza’s cancer, miraculously passed. Doctors quickly arranged for her to take a chemotherapy pill. She’s also hoping to be accepted soon into a clinical trial.

Liza’s sister, Ann Marie Haynie ’13, wasn’t that shocked by this good news. “The second we got back to Shreveport and started planning that wedding, she just perked up,” Haynie said of Liza. “You could see that something was changing and she was doing much better.”

Liza continues to be optimistic about her health. A CT scan performed in February showed her tumors are shrinking. “They’re not gone, but at least I’m making progress.”

Haynie, along with several of Liza’s friends, launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for research into the rare cancer. “The outlook Liza has had this whole time is, she doesn’t want somebody else’s best friend or daughter or sister to have to go through synovial sarcoma,” Allender said.

The group set a modest initial goal of $5,000 for the campaign but quickly passed that number. As Liza’s 26th birthday neared on Jan. 7, Allender decided she wanted to see the fund, which by then had about $470,000, top $500,000 by Liza’s special day. Allender started a social media campaign, asking friends to donate $26 to the fund.

Her plan worked. At the end of February, the fund had raised over $560,000 and is listed as one of the most successful campaigns on the site. Donations came from all over, but Liza thinks a sizable portion of the money stemmed from folks with W&L connections. “Now that it has hit close to $600,000, it feels like we can make a dent in the research that needs to be done,” Haynie said.

“It’s remarkable,” Wyatt added, “but when you think of the W&L community, it’s not surprising.”

– by Beth JoJack


St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Gilbert Bailon to Give 60th Media Ethics Keynote Address

Gilbert Bailon, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will deliver the keynote address at Washington and Lee University’s 60th Institute of Media Ethics on Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

Bailon will speak on “Ethics Amid the Ferguson Firestorm.” His talk is free and open to the public. The institute is funded by the Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and is co-sponsored by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

His talk will be streamed live online.

“Gilbert Bailon led the St. Louis Post-Dispatch during one of the most volatile, racial firestorms to erupt in the St. Louis metropolitan area,” said Aly Colón, Washington and Lee University’s Knight Chair of Journalism Ethics. “His journalistic instincts, coupled with his ethical focus, enabled his news organization to seek out the voices crying out to be heard and ensure they were fairly documented.”

Bailon joined the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2007 as editorial page editor, becoming editor in 2012. Prior to that, he was the executive editor at The Dallas Morning News. He also worked as a reporter at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Los Angeles Daily News, The San Diego Union and The Kansas City Star.

Bailon received the Benjamin C. Bradlee 2014 Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Foundation for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s coverage of the police shooting at Ferguson, Missouri, and the social unrest that followed.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography and was a Pulitzer finalist for editorial writing for its coverage related to Ferguson.

In 2003, Bailon was named founding president and editor—and a year later was named publisher and editor—of Al Día, a Spanish-language daily. AlDíaTx.com won a national Edward R. Morrow Award from the Radio Television News Directors Association, the first time this award had been given to a non-broadcast website.

In 2004, he received the prestigious ñ leadership award given by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

Bailon served as the 2007-2008 president of American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE); is past president of NAHJ; and was inducted into the NAHJ Hall of Fame. He has served on the nominating juries for the Pulitzer Prizes and the ASNE Writing Awards Committee.

The two-day institute is part of a decades-long tradition of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.  The event brings a half dozen journalists and communications professionals to campus to interact with students enrolled in the department’s required ethics course.

Domnica Radulescu to Give Lecture and Dramatic Reading on her New Book at Leyburn Library’s Author Talk Series

Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages and director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, will be talking about her new book, “Theater of War and Exile: Twelve Playwrights, Directors and Performers from Eastern Europe and Israel” (2015) on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Book Nook. Her talk will be part lecture, part dramatic reading.

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.

Radulescu has been a member of the W&L faulty since 1992, and was promoted to full professor of French and Italian in 2003. She earned a B.A. in English from Loyola University of Chicago, a M.A. in comparative literature and a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from the University of Chicago after coming to the United States from Romania in 1983 as a political refugee.

Radulescu has authored or edited scholarly books including “The Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater” (2005); many essays on European literature and cultures; and novels including “Black Sea Twilight” (2010);  and “Train to Trieste” (2008). “Train to Trieste” has been translated into several different languages and was honored with the 2009 Library of Virginia Fiction Award. She has written two plays, both of which were honored with the Jane Chambers Playwright award.

The founding director of the National Symposium of Theater in Academe, Radulescu was honored with the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the highest honor for faculty at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities.

W&L Trustee Emeritus Thomas Hal Clarke Sr. Dies at 101

Thomas Hal Clarke Sr., an emeritus member of Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees and a 1938 graduate of W&L’s School of Law, died on Sunday, Nov. 1, in Atlanta. He was 101. He had been an attorney with the Atlanta firm Mitchell, Clarke, Pate and Anderson and a copyright trustee of “Gone With the Wind.”

Devoted to his alma mater, Clarke served on the Law Council (1973–1976), as vice president and treasurer of the Alumni Board (1970–1974) and on the Board of Trustees (1975–1984). He and his wife, Mary Louise Hastings Clarke, gave generously to W&L, especially to the School of Law, over several capital campaigns. The W.O. DuVall Fund, which supports law scholarships, honors Clarke and two other W&L alumni.

Clarke was born in Atlanta on Aug. 10, 1914. After obtaining his bachelor of laws from W&L, where he belonged to Delta Tau Delta fraternity, he studied for a diplomatic career at the Mannix Walker School of Foreign Service and worked at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto, Canada.

During World War II, he joined the Navy, undergoing officer’s training at Princeton University and serving as communications officer on the U.S.S. LST-373 in the European Theater, including at Normandy on D-Day. The end of the war found him in the judge advocate general’s office in Shanghai, China.

Following the war, he established the Atlanta law firm of Clarke and Anderson, later called Mitchell, Clarke, Pate and Anderson and then Mitchell, Clarke, Pate, Anderson and Wimberly. Clarke practiced real property and savings and loan law. In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon appointed him the Democratic member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, in Washington, D.C.

In 1973, he returned to Atlanta and his law firm. He added to his portfolio the duties of copyright trustee (along with Paul Anderson and Herbert Elsas) of “Gone with the Wind,” succeeding his law partner Stephens Mitchell, who was the brother of Margaret Mitchell, author of the 1936 bestseller.

Clarke served his profession in several bar associations, including a term as president of the Atlanta Bar Association and president of the Old Warhorse Lawyer’s Club. He chaired the corporate section of the American Bar Association and served as section delegate to the House of Delegates. He helped found the International Bar Association Building Society Committee and served as its chairman.

Clarke’s civic service included the Atlanta Historical Society (president and chairman), the Atlanta branch of the English Speaking Union, the Ansley Park Civic Association and the Board of Visitors of Emory University.

He and his wife owned and restored Kilfane House, a historic property in Ireland’s County Kilkenny. He belonged to the Kilkenny Archeological Society, Friends of St. Canice’s Cathedral, the Tulleherin Heritage Society, Kilfane Church and the Kilfane Handball Club, which sponsors the Hal Clarke Cup.

Clarke is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Louise Hastings Clarke; his son, Hal Clarke Jr. ’73, ’76L, and daughter-in-law, Nan Clarke ’76L; his daughter Katie Clarke Hamilton and son-in-law Bill Hamilton; his daughter Becky Clarke Morrison and son-in-law Ralph Morrison; eight grandchildren (including Charlie Clarke ’05, Robbie Clarke ’06, ’11L and Clarke Morrison ’12); and two great-grandchildren. His other W&L relatives are great-niece Aria Allan ’12, ’16L and distant cousin Penn Clarke ’13L.

You can read Clarke’s complete obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


Event Cancelled: Lawyer, Author and Activist Linda Hirshman to speak at W&L Law

Note: This event has been cancelled.

On Nov. 16, lawyer, cultural historian and pundit Linda Hirshman will speak at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Hirshman will discuss her latest book, “Sisters in Law,” which details the lives of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first two-women to serve as U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

Hirshman’s talk is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 4:00 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. A reception and book signing will follow Hirshman’s presentation.

“Sisters in Law:  How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World” tells the story of the intertwined lives of O’Connor and Ginsburg. Hirshman’s dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession.

Hirshman also examines how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women’s lives.

Hirshman is no stranger to W&L Law. In 1995, she served as the school’s Frances Lewis Scholar-in-Residence. More recently, she spent time researching “Sisters in Law” in the archives of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, which are housed at W&L Law.

Hirshman received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and has taught philosophy and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, SlateNewsweek, the Daily Beast, and POLITICO. She is also author of “Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution” and many other books.

Hirshman’s visit is sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, the Women Law Students Organization, and the Office of the Dean.

Staniar Gallery Presents “An Exercise in Not Perpetual Motion,” an Exhibit by Jose Krapp

Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery is pleased to present “An Exercise in Not Perpetual Motion/Another Last Stand,” an exhibit by Brooklyn-based artist, Jose Krapp. The show will be on view Nov. 9–Dec. 14.

Krapp will give an artist’s talk on Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall. The lecture will be followed by a reception for the artist. Both are free and open to the public.

Using common construction materials and hardware, including plywood, extension cords, nuts and bolts, Jose Krapp creates installations and sculptures that are suggestively utilitarian. His escape hatches, fallout shelters and substations could be the paranoid preparations of a survivalist or a playful reflection on the absurdity of attempting to deny the inevitable by controlling one’s immediate surroundings.

For this exhibition, Krapp also presents a series of sketches and drawings that map the artist’s process of building something out of nothing.

His work has been exhibited at El Museo del Barrio in New York; The Bronx Museum of the Arts in the Bronx, New York; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Dallas Contemporary in Dallas, among other venues.

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.

Matt Bevin '89 Elected Governor of Kentucky

Matt Bevin ’89 of Louisville, who attended Washington and Lee with an ROTC scholarship, rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army and went on to careers in manufacturing, investment management and medical devices, was elected governor of Kentucky Nov. 3.

Bevin received 53 percent of the vote. Two opponents split the remaining 47 percent.

According to Louisville’s Courier-Journal newspaper, he called on members of both major political parties to work together to confront Kentucky’s challenges. In his victory speech, he asked the state’s citizens to “remember that we are one Kentucky at the end of the day, and we have much work that must be done.”

Bevin thanked every Kentuckian, including members of the opposing party, who stood for election to any post. He called running “the very thing that makes the fabric of this nation strong, when we continue to weave ourselves together with disparate ideas, different ideologies, different perspectives. This is the strength and the beauty of America.”

He called on his supporters to reach out to political opponents and encourage “representation of who we are, a seat at the table for people from every perspective of our state … . I truly think that we as a state have the ability to change the tenor of what politics looks like, what representation looks like” in Kentucky and the country.


Leyburn Library's Author Talk Series Features Melissa Kerin

Melissa R. Kerin, assistant professor of art history, will talk about her new book, “Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya” (2015), on Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. in Washington and Lee’s Book Nook in Leyburn Library.

This event is part of the University Library’s Author Talk Series and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

Sixteenth-century wall paintings in a Buddhist temple in the Tibetan cultural zone of northwest India are the focus of this innovative and richly illustrated study. Initially shaped by one set of religious beliefs, the paintings have since been reinterpreted and retraced by a later Buddhist community, subsumed within its religious framework and communal memory.

Kerin traces the devotional, political and artistic histories that have influenced the paintings’ production and reception over the centuries of their use. Her interdisciplinary approach combines art historical methods with inscriptional translation, ethnographic documentation and theoretical inquiry to understand religious images in context.

In addition to the above book, Kerin is the author of “Artful Beneficence: Selections from the David Nalin Collection” (2009). She also is the author of articles, reviews and book chapters including her co-edited article “Recollecting Kashmir in Style and Theme: The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Painting of the 11-headed 1000-Armed Avalokiteshvara” (2015).

In 2014-15, Kerin was awarded a one-year fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies to work on her project titled Materiality of Tibetan Buddhist Shrines: Devotional Objects and Ritual Agents in Tibet, Western Himalayan and the U.S.

In 2013, she was a Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges Mednick Fellowship nominee and was awarded support for fieldwork and research in Ladakh, India.

Mark Lubkowitz ’91 Named Teacher of the Year

Mark Lubkowitz, a 1991 graduate of Washington and Lee University and current professor of biology at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, received the 2015 Joanne Rathgeb Teaching Award. It is the highest honor bestowed on faculty at Saint Michael’s College and illustrates Mark’s dedication to giving his students the best educational experience possible.

His citation reads in part: “Professor Mark Lubkowitz brings what can honestly be described as high-octane, unbridled enthusiasm to every aspect of his teaching. Whether leading student groups through the woods in General Biology, explaining the complexities of transporter genes or illustrating why privet is a particularly good match for sun-exposed sandy soils, his can-do attitude is infectious.”

Mark graduated cum laude in biology from W&L, after which he received a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Tennessee. He has been at Saint Michael’s College since 2001, and teaches cell biology, plant biology and molecular biology. He incorporates field trips into his lesson plans and has taken his students to local farms; it is through this immersive teaching style that he is able to captivate his students. His research focuses on transmembrane movement of molecules in plants, as well as how plants allocate sugars.

In addition to academic work, Mark and his wife, Virginia, have their own vineyard in Huntington, Vermont, and grow food in their numerous gardens and greenhouses. They are also known for hosting dinner parties on the 15th of each month, which feature cuisine ranging from Thai to Southern specialties.

—Wesley Sigmond ’16

Professor Rosaan Krüger of Rhodes University, South Africa, to Speak as Part of “Human Rights in Africa” Seminar

Rosaan Krüger, dean of the faculty of law at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, will deliver a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Krüger will speak on “Commemoration and the Fractured South African Past: Free Expression and Hate Speech.” The talk is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Krüger will focus on the return in the public sphere of apartheid-era language and speech which could be interpreted as a call for vengeance and retaliation. She questions how far people can go in recalling the hurt of the past and in doing so potentially incite continued hatred against those who caused the hurt in the past. A specific focus will be on the South African parliament which has taken the opposite view and has enacted relatively restrictive legislation prohibiting speech.

Krüger’s lecture is one 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.

Krüger is also a senior lecturer at Rhodes University and attorney at the High Court of South Africa. She holds a B.A., an honours degree in political science and an L.L.B. from Potchefstroom University. She obtained her postgraduate diploma in higher education and her Ph.D. from Rhodes University.

She continues her work from her Ph.D. dissertation on discrimination law and its impact on social change. Other research interests include constitutional law theory and constitutional litigation.

Recent publications include “The (In)significance of the Common Law: Constitutional Interpretation and the Mansingh Judgments” (2014), in “South African Law Journal;” “Small Steps to Equal Dignity: the Work of the South African Equality Courts” (2011), in “Equal Rights Review;” and “The South African Constitutional Court and the Rule of Law: the Masethla Judgment, a Cause for Concern?” (2010), in “Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal.”