Feature Stories Campus Events

Professor's Wall Street Journal Column Praises “Peanuts” Holiday Program

Stephen J. Lind, assistant professor of business administration and an expert in the intersection of religion and the entertainment industry, published a guest column in The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 21 on the lasting impact of the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Lind wrote that the 50-year-old program, technically rudimentary by today’s standards and at first reluctantly broadcast by TV networks, has become a Christmas tradition for millions of viewers because it communicates the true meaning of the season.

“The annual spiritual validation on mainstream television is a breath of fresh air,” Lind said in his column. “Free from gross humor or double-entendres, the show is a reminder that Hollywood need not reach to the lowest common denominator.”

Lind recently published “A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz,” a book made possible by the support of Schulz’s family and friends. His work also can be found in academic journals including The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, ImageTexT, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Communication Teacher. Lind teaches courses in modern professional communication, such as presentation design and digital video creation in W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

Lind and faculty colleague Amanda Bower, the Charles C. Holbrook Jr. ’72 Professor of Business Administration and a marketing specialist, hosted a one-hour public radio special program, “The 12 Questions of Christmas,” produced on campus at the studios of WLUR 91.5 FM and broadcast Dec. 20 by WMRA 90.7 FM, Harrisonburg. Lind and Bower posed answers to such issues as saying “happy holidays” or “merry Christmas,” lying to children about Santa Claus and Supreme Court rulings on public displays of nativity scenes.

Variety Obituary Recounts Estrada's “Second Career”

Jorge E. Estrada ’69, a former trustee of Washington and Lee University and celebrated producer of cinema in Argentina, died Dec. 9 at age 68. Variety, the entertainment industry newspaper, has reviewed Estrada’s international professional accomplishments in an obituary

 
After graduating from W&L with a bachelor of science degree as an independent major in geophysics, Estrada attended MIT for graduate studies in seismology. He taught geophysics in Colombia at the National University in Medellin, then worked for several oil exploration firms before launching a second career as a film producer.
 
He is survived by his wife, Nancy O’Toole, and five children: Annie ‘04, Carolina ‘05, Juan ‘06, Estefania and Javier.
 

Changing Perspectives: Josh White ’16, George Park ’17 and Corey Guen ’17 in San Pedro, Belize Changing Perspectives

“Our hope is that Ambergris Caye becomes a yearly destination for Shepherd Interns and our respective communities can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Greetings from San Pedro, Belize!

Our Shepherd Internship has brought us to paradise, an island along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system, with sandy beaches, colorful buildings and pristine emerald water. Ambergris Caye is increasingly becoming a top tourist destination in the Caribbean, offering world-class diving, snorkeling and plenty of perfect spots to relax. Beneath the tourists’ paradise exterior, however, lies a forgotten community, passed over time and again by tourists and the government alike. This community is called San Mateo, and it resides over the bridge connecting the main town with the northern stretch of the island. Without reason, no tourist or expatriate ever enters San Mateo; the smell alone is enough to repel most curious visitors. See, the Belizean government grants land for free to citizens, and a community of very poor people were given the land that comprises San Mateo, on the condition that they build something on their plots. However, San Mateo wasn’t land at all—rather it was a lagoon surrounded by mangrove swamp. With nowhere else to live, the people built plywood shacks on stilts over the water, and rickety “London bridges” to reach their doors. With no money to afford sand or concrete, the residents had no choice but to begin throwing trash, seaweed and other waste into the water, hoping to build the waste up above the water line to create land. This terraforming process can be seen in varying stages of completion today; some houses—the lucky ones—have seaweed and sand covered lots. Others have cesspools filled with garbage, human waste and water that has been standing for years. Cholera, a disease contracted by ingesting water tainted with human waste, still exists here. Electricity, septic systems and running water are luxuries, and rarer still are systems that function consistently.

San Mateo is what brought us to the island. During a Spring Term 2014 class with Professor Casey, George Park and I were struck by the community, and resolved to return to do what we could. Adding Josh White to our team, we have spent the past month working with any organization entering the community. We work primarily with the San Pedro Food Bank, which serves the poorest families on the island. Most are headed by single women, who never finished high school and scrape by on less than $200 per week in income, if they are employed at all. They have many children and understand the value of educating them, but some simply can’t afford to do so.The food is handed out weekly, and much of our work revolves around fundraising to expand the roster of families we can serve and improving the quality of what we can give. We will spend the next few weeks organizing a major event to provide funds before the director leaves to travel.

We have also worked with the Red Cross on successful food and blood drives, and more importantly, the most comprehensive survey of San Mateo ever conducted. With a group from the School of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, we measured every single plot, took thousands of pictures and talked to every available family about their water, power and sewage.Through this work, we got to know the residents much better, and we discovered an overwhelmingly friendly people, hardworking and unwilling to let their living conditions break their spirit.

The data will represent the best and most expansive source of information about the vulnerabilities of the community, and can hopefully be applied in a number of useful respects. We hope to introduce Engineers Without Borders to the area, and Josh is already working with GenDev on setting up a microfinance project. Our hope is that Ambergris Caye becomes a yearly destination for Shepherd Interns and our respective communities can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.

George Park and Corey Guen extend a special thanks to the Vernon Holleman Fellowship and the The Class of 1975 Shepherd Poverty Alliance Summer Internship Endowment, respectively, for providing the funding to make their trips possible.

More about George:

Hometown: Fairfax Station, VA

Majors: Economics and Business

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement: LEAD, Student Recruitment Committee, Sigma Chi Fraternity (philanthropy chair), Traveller

Off-Campus Experiences: Spring Term Abroad in Ambergris Caye, Belize; Summer abroad in Barcelona and Amsterdam (funded through the Johnson Scholarship summer stipend)

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I was inspired to apply for this particular internship after coming to Ambergris Caye last Spring for an Economics course taught by Professor Jim Casey. Our class spent some time volunteering at a local school and got a quick glimpse of the impoverished conditions in San Mateo, one of the local neighborhoods. After that, I really wanted to come back, especially because I felt as though the local community was being neglected. From conversations with locals, it seemed like the government was doing very little to help, and most people outside of the local community appeared to be oblivious to the poverty on the island. Although there are volunteers that do come to Ambergris, most of them come through church youth groups and focus their efforts primarily on the school. Doing this internship has given Josh, Corey, and I the opportunity to make an impact in so many different ways, whether it’s through bagging and distributing food every week for Raise Me Up (a local non-profit) and the San Pedro Food Bank, collecting data for the Red Cross, advising a local business, organizing a fundraiser, spending an afternoon picking up trash, or volunteering at an island blood drive.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? Though this internship does not necessarily have a direct application to my studies beyond the Poverty minor, I do think that this work experience has still been of tremendous educational value. The past five weeks have been a great lesson in being more independent and proactive. Before I arrived in Ambergris, I expected this experience to be much more structured. However, our internship has been pretty unique in that we do not have a consistent daily routine with people telling us what to do. In a way, this has proven to be a blessing in disguise. We find ourselves doing something different every day, and everything we have done has been the product of network building and actively searching for different ways to help. Through this process I have learned more about how to find ways to be impactful without having someone there to tell me what to do. This is something that I think will continue to help me as I finish my last two years at W&L.

Post-Graduation Plans: Still deciding, but will probably go to either Law School or Business School.

Favorite W&L Memory: Dancing with my family at a band party during my first Parents Weekend at W&L.

Favorite Class: Poverty 101

More About Corey:

Hometown: Exeter, NH

Majors: Economics, Chinese (EALL)

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement: Kathekon member, Appalachian Adventure Pre-O Leader, Venture Club, Traveller Employee, Outing Club Employee, CRUX Climbing Team founding member, Phi Gamma Delta, Johnson Scholar

Off-Campus Experiences: Spring Term 2014 in Belize, Winter 2016 abroad in New Zealand at Otago University

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? This internship, planning included, has taught me a great deal already about being proactive and taking control of my education. The task seemed daunting when I set out to organize the internship, as I was having trouble finding contacts and organizations that I could work with. Now, three of us are here and we have built several excellent, sustainable relationships in what we hope will become a long-term destination for Shepherd interns and other W&L organizations. We envision working with groups from the Generals Development Initiative (a microfinance loan is already in the works!) to Engineers Without Borders in San Mateo and beyond.

Additionally, its easy to talk about the intricacies of poverty in a classroom setting (Professor Pickett is unparalleled in his ability to demonstrate the complex nature of poverty), but it is another thing entirely to look at it firsthand, and even harder to do something about it. What can you do for families run by single mothers, who are unemployed, with five children under 10, living in shacks in San Mateo? These are the sorts of questions one comes up against when doing this sort of work, and there is no better way to wrap your head around the scope and difficulty of helping the impoverished.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? The near-universal friendliness of the people we encountered during our survey of San Mateo. Upon learning we weren’t affiliated with the Belizean government, people were helpful, patient and always smiling. We even had “the Boss Man”, a huge Belizean man who owns a compound deep in San Mateo, offer to barbeque for us if we would return the next day. In the first day of surveying, I was genuinely nervous making the treacherous approach to the doors of some of the houses, but by the third day I was attempting to conduct interviews in Spanish, petting guard dogs and conversing with the people about their living conditions. I hold the people of San Mateo in extraordinarily high esteem following our survey, for their friendly nature and their refusal to submit to despondency in the face of often terrible living conditions.

Post-Graduation Plans: Unknown at this time, but I plan on finding an internship in China next summer that should guide my decision. Regardless, I love to travel and hope to see and live in as many places as I can.

Favorite Class: Professor Eastwood’s new class: Culture, Neighborhoods and Poverty. By extension, every course I have taken in the Shepherd minor. The professors and student alike have been nothing short of fantastic, and they showed me an academic passion I wasn’t aware I had. Nowhere else have I found my personal and academic interests overlapping so consistently, and Professor Eastwood’s class in particular was an incredible chance to explore urban poverty through a unique and personal lens.

Favorite W&L Activity: Anything James Dick has his hands in is guaranteed to be a good time. Trip Leader training is a blast, as are the pre-orientation hikes. Everything from climbing competitions at our bouldering wall to the break trips to the Everglades and beyond. If you haven’t been on an Outing Club trip yet, you are missing an essential part of the W&L experience.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? W&L offers wonderful opportunities in quantities that approach absurdity. By the time I graduate, I will have been all over the world, worked side by side with brilliant professors, hiked some of the best stretches of the Appalachian Trail, rafted the toughest whitewater in the country, and countless other things. If you feel bored or complacent, try something you haven’t done before. Find friends who have different interests than you do; they will lead you to places you never imagined, and I promise you will leave W&L with more memories and meaningful experiences than are possible to express.

More About Josh:

Hometown: Shoreline, WA

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Philosophy

Extracurricular Involvement: Outing Club, Venture Club, General Development Initiative

Off-Campus Experiences: Spring Terms abroad in Argentina, Spain, and the Caribbean. Internship summer after my freshmen year at Holy Trinity College, Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Internship with the microfinance organization, the General Development Initiative, in Quito, Ecuador the summer after my sophomore year.

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I applied for this internship so that I could develop a more grounded understanding of the poverty issues the world is dealing with today and make a tangible positive impact using the skills I have learned at W&L.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? Economic development has been the focus of my studies at W&L. One of the ways that can be applied in the real world to help people is through micro-finance and the development of socially minded enterprises. In my internship I have had opportunities to work with growing organizations and pursue possibilities in financing small businesses. Through hands on work I have developed a better understanding of the challenges and practicalities of such endeavors.

Post-Graduation Plans: I’ll be taking life as it comes.

Favorite W&L Memory: While in my second year at Washington and Lee I took a political philosophy class with five other students that met at 9:00 in the morning three times a week. Many of our classes were held at our professor’s house where he would provide us with breakfast foods, coffee, and tea. Sipping coffee and chatting with my classmates and professor on these mornings are the best memories I have at W&L.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Take risks and explore things that are unfamiliar to you. The things that have made the greatest impact on me at school were the ones I previously knew nothing about!

Toy Story: Psychology Professor Lends Her Voice to No-Gender December

‘Tis the season for giving gifts, and Megan Fulcher, associate professor of psychology at Washington and Lee University, appears on an Australian website promoting a no-gender December.

As the website notes: “Many toy retailers use gendered marketing which influences children and consumers alike, by sending strong messages about the appropriateness of their choices. Colour codes, labels and imagery all have a narrowing effect on our children’s perspectives.”

Fulcher, who teaches a class on gender role development, agreed to lend her voice in support for the public service announcement. In the video, alongside her students, she said, “Knowing a child’s gender tells you very little about their interests, abilities, wishes or aspirations.” She noted her favorite toy was a bike, and her students each reveal their favorite childhood toy.

The website, says Fulcher, is a clever idea because people are trying to figure out what to buy at this time of year. “This reminds people to not make a choice just based on gender. Historically, we’ve always seen toys just for boys or just for girls, but surprisingly, there’s been a real push to have more pink toys and more blue toys. Even though we’re encouraging girls to do more masculine activities, we are still color coding those toys pink.”

One example she points to: LEGO®. “People are interested in building girls’ skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). So LEGO® came out with pink sets. One of the things we’re finding is that the pink LEGO® sets are less complicated than the regular ones. They are not as hard to put together and don’t have as many pieces. You build it and then play with it, and the second part leads to very feminine play. Essentially the message is, you can do this as long as you do this in a particularly feminine way. It also gets parents to buy two of everything if they have also have a boy, so it is sort of a clever marketing ploy, too.”

Boys don’t often play with non-traditional male toys. “Parents are much less likely to give boys non-traditional toys than they are to give girls non-traditional toys,” Fulcher said. “What we do know is that when children play with kitchen sets and dolls, they build relationship skills. They also build language skills because they end up talking a lot while they are playing with someone else. If you’re playing cars or kicking a ball around outside, children aren’t interacting as much.”

Confused? Don’t be. While the phrase “gender-neutral toy” is a useful one, Fulcher said, “it doesn’t mean children should have only unpainted wooden blocks to play with. I think dolls are great toys. I think LEGOs® are great toys. I think cars are great toys. The point is that children learn different skills from all of those toys, and boys and girls should have access to all of them. When you’re deciding what toy to buy, don’t let gender be a deciding factor. Think about the children and what kind of skills they have and what kind of skills you want to help them build.”

The Intersection Between Psychology and Environment Psychology major Maya Epelbaum worked as an intern at Henry's Fork Foundation in Ashton, Idaho.

“I wanted a summer internship that allowed me to research human impacts on the environment.”

epelbaum-maya-m-234x350 The Intersection Between Psychology and EnvironmentMaya Epelbaum

Maya Epelbaum ’16
Henry’s Fork Foundation
Ashton, Idaho

Hometown: Morristown, N.J.
Major: Psychology
Minor: Environmental Studies and Philosophy
Company Name: Henry’s Fork Foundation (HFF)

Location: Ashton, Idaho
Organization Size: For the majority of my summer, I worked with a team of 4-8 people from two non-profits (Henry’s Fork Foundation and Friends of the Teton River) doing fieldwork. Each organization had about 10 employees.
Industry: Conservation research with an emphasis on “conserving, protecting, and restoring the Henry’s Fork watershed and its legendary wild trout.”
Position: Intern
Paid? Funded by the A. Paul Knight Scholarship

What attracted you to this internship? Curious about the intersection between psychology and environmental studies, I wanted a summer internship that allowed me to research human impacts on the environment.

How did you learn about it? The geology and environmental studies departments sent emails advertising the A. Paul Knight Scholarship. Additionally, I found it on Lexlink and the W&L website.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship? As president of Student Environmental Action League, Compost Crew leader, and an Outing Club Trip Leader, I have learned about how we interact with our environment, and want to improve these interactions. While the classes I took for my major and minors helped me understand the importance of this research, I believe my passion for the environment was my most important credential.

What were some tasks/projects you worked on? I spent the majority of my time analyzing how the trout population in the Teton watershed changes every five years. To do so, the team used an electro fisher, which temporarily stuns the fish so they are easier to catch and count. The goal of the study was to see if the native cutthroat trout are becoming endangered due to the invasive brook and rainbow trout.

Other projects included sampling and testing water quality, analyzing fish migratory patterns up and down the man-made fish ladder along a hydroelectric dam, and preparing for HFF’s annual fundraiser auction.

Did any courses and/or professors help you prepare for this internship? Environmental Ethics with my philosophy advisor Professor Cooper helped me realize that there is nothing straightforward about conserving the environment. He inspired me to find research opportunities to try and figure out more about what it means to treat the environment ethically.

What did you learn from your experience? I learned that conservation is not just keeping the ecosystems the way they are meant to be because there is no “way they are meant to be.” Rather, it is finding a balance among the competing needs of industries, ecosystems and anyone else impacted by the conservation efforts.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship? During the workweek I bushwhacked through the most glorious views in the Teton Mountains in the Wydaho (Wyoming and Idaho) area. I’d then go explore these same areas on weekends. That my work and recreation consisted of the same activities is the best perk a job could ever have.

What did you learn from city where the internship was located? The “city” of Ashton has three grain elevators, a few old-fashioned soda shops and fly-fishing stores. No chains, few people, and no nightlife. At first I craved civilization, but by the end of the summer, the people I met, places I saw, and nature I became a part of made me realize you do not need a city to have a great time.

What key takeaways/skills are you bringing back to W&L? This summer I pushed my limits — both mental and physical. I overcame my fears by bushwhacking through treacherous hills with a fifty-pound electro fisher on my back, and learned through experience.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this? Be open-minded and ready to stretch your mind and body to the fullest.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so? It opened up a field of careers outside the bounds of city offices.

Describe your experience in a single word. Eye-opening

Changing Perspectives: Laura Penney ’16 Changing Perspectives, Shephed Intern at House of Ruth, Baltimore, MD

“During my time at House of Ruth, I saw firsthand the positive impact the organization has on domestic violence victims.”

As a poverty minor at Washington and Lee, I like to think of myself as open-minded and well-informed about the needs and experiences of low-income individuals. In the past two years, I have engaged in countless discussions in and out of the classroom about all of the things poor persons are not. They are not selfish. They are not stupid. They are not lazy. I came into this summer believing that I knew just about everything there is to know about impoverished persons. It was not until I began my internship that I began to consider something to which I had previously given little thought: What the poor are. They are frustrated. They are rational. They are resilient. And, like any other human, they are imperfect, and they are doing the best they can given their circumstances.

This summer, I worked at the House of Ruth domestic violence legal clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. I spoke with dozens of victims of intimate partner violence, each with her own heart-breaking story. It was incredibly challenging to speak with these men and women about the trauma they had suffered at the hands of people they trusted, whether it be their partner, their spouse, or the parent of their children. From the woman who was sexually assaulted on a nearly daily basis by her husband, to the man whose ex-girlfriend stalked and threatened to kill him, I learned from each of the clients I spoke with. They reacted to their circumstances with varying degrees of shock, embarrassment, fear and anger, but what stood out most was their bravery and their determination to break away from dangerously unhealthy relationships. Every day, I went home from work completely exhausted and usually preoccupied with worry for the clients who seemed to be in particular danger. Given the high level of stress that working with domestic violence victims induced in me, I can only imagine what they must feel. After all, for me this was merely an eight-week educational experience; for them, it is an unrelenting reality.

As the weeks went on, I began to realize that domestic violence and poverty are deeply intertwined. Both operate in cycles that are difficult to escape; the majority of people born into poverty in the United States remain poor as adults, and individuals who grow up exposed to domestic violence have an elevated risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. Furthermore, domestic violence and poverty often coexist and exacerbate each other. Imagine, for example, a man who works long hours at a dangerous construction job that barely pays enough to cover rent for his family’s moldy two-bedroom apartment, while his wife stays home with their four children. The man returns from a stressful day at work to find that his wife has not prepared dinner. She attempts to explain that she has not had time to cook because she has been caring for their sick son, but her husband does not hear her over the sound of his own yelling. After telling the children to leave the kitchen, the man begins beating his wife. For what seems like the thousandth time, the woman contemplates leaving him, but although she fears her husband, she also fears what would happen to her and her children without him. Where would they go? How could they afford to get by? She has little education and no work experience, and even if she did find a job, she would have to pay somebody to watch the children. Furthermore, what if her husband came after her? Reluctantly, she decides to stay, desperately hoping her husband will change. The woman’s seemingly irrational choice may be the most practical for the immediate well-being of herself and her children.

Breaking away from domestic violence is far from simple. Success is never guaranteed, there is rarely a single-step way out, and the consequences for attempting to move forward may be severe. This is why House of Ruth, along with other programs that assist victims of domestic violence in protecting and supporting themselves and their families, are so essential. If the woman in this story never leaves her abusive husband, she will never provide for herself, and her children will never see an example of a healthy relationship, which will hinder them academically, socially and emotionally. Although domestic violence is not unique to the poor, it is one of many serious problems that must be mitigated before we can hope to effectively diminish poverty.

During my time at House of Ruth, I saw first-hand the positive impact the organization has on domestic violence victims. For many victims of domestic violence, taking legal action is the first step toward moving on, and the attorneys and legal advocates at House of Ruth thoroughly explain the legal process to clients and make sure they know what to expect in court. They also inform clients about options of which they may not be aware, such as Emergency Family Maintenance, a type of financial assistance that can be required as part of a protective order. Additionally, the staff refers clients to other organizations such as counseling, address-confidentiality services, and child support that assist with emotional and financial recovery from domestic violence. Perhaps most important, the staff at House of Ruth listens to clients without judgment and makes them feel validated. By supporting clients throughout the legal process, House of Ruth empowers them to help themselves, and I believe it would serve as a great model for the formation of similar organizations.

Hometown: Durham, N.C.

Majors: Psychology and Spanish

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Active Minds secretary
  • SPEAK executive committee
  • University Singers
  • JubiLee a capella group
  • Pi Beta Phi
  • ESOL volunteer
  • Project Horizon volunteer

Off-Campus Experiences: Studied abroad in Cádiz, Spain last spring term

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I am very passionate about domestic violence and wanted an internship that would help me alleviate this issue.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? My work applied most directly to my poverty coursework. Although intimate partner violence is not a class-based problem, poverty and intimate partner violence often coexist and can contribute to each other.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? I was surprised by how quickly I bonded with all of the House of Ruth legal staff. It was an office full of intelligent and compassionate women, and I learned a great deal from each of them.

Post-Graduation Plans: Law school

What professor has inspired you? Professor Mayock, my Spanish advisor, has been an enormous source of support and inspiration for me. She is always available to answer questions or chat about my plans.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Explore your options! I highly recommend taking a variety of classes and participating in a variety of extracurricular activities your first year, even if you think you already know what path you’re interested in. You may end up changing your plans completely or discovering a new passion.

W&L's Strong on Donald Trump and Ross Perot in the Roanoke Times

The following opinion piece by Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Dec. 14, 2015, edition of the Roanoke Times and is reprinted here by permission.

Trump, Perot and easing political paralysis

by Robert A. Strong

Will Rogers, the cowboy comedian, used to say, “I’m not a member of an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” If you change the party in the punch line, that joke works just as well as it did in the 1930s.

Republicans in the current presidential primary process don’t appear to be an organized political party. Instead, they are providing a playground for wildly irregular candidates, Donald Trump first and foremost among them.

There is nothing new about unusual candidates in a presidential race. Often individuals with no prior elected political experience show up on a debate stage or a primary ballot; think Jesse Jackson, Pat Robertson, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, or Herman Cain.

These candidates sometimes do well in polls or in particular state contests. At other times they justify their campaigns as efforts to give voice to some group or set of ideas within the party.

What is different in this election cycle is the long period of time in which an irregular candidate has dominated public attention, and done so even after making outrageous policy proposals about immigration and practitioners of the Islamic faith. That rarely occurs. Why is it happening this time around?

Perhaps we can learn something from the only recent example of a highly successful irregular presidential candidate.

In 1992, Ross Perot, the Texas businessman, did not run in any primaries, but he was a frequent guest on the TV program hosted by Larry King and converted his television popularity into a third party candidacy. He won nearly 20 percent of the national vote — a remarkable accomplishment.

Was 1992 anything like 2016? In both years there was a rising national debt, regular annual deficits, and a sense that politicians were not addressing the problems facing the nation. In both periods there were controversial trade agreements and divided government that produced deadlock.

In 1992, George H.W. Bush was in trouble for compromising with Congress on taxes. When Bush abandoned his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge, he damaged his public standing more than he, or political observers at the time, realized.

On the Democratic side of the contest, the winner in the 1992 primary season was another damaged candidate. Bill Clinton faced accusations about his marital infidelity, draft status and use of marijuana.

The nation had a choice between the guy who didn’t keep his word on taxes and the guy who said he didn’t inhale. That left an opening for a plain spoken candidate with nativist rhetoric, business success and a few charts showing everything you needed to know about how to make Washington work.

The Perot phenomenon befuddled Washington elites. Commentators could not imagine that voters would take the Texas software salesman seriously. But they did.

Will 2016 be another 1992? Today we clearly have debt and divided government. And there is an added dimension of division in the current era because the Republican caucus on Capitol Hill is itself divided.

Lots of important issues are in some stage of stalemate: immigration, entitlements, infrastructure, taxes and our response to ISIS. And a few issues that have no business on the national agenda (like willfully destroying the good faith and credit of the United States) are occasionally given serious attention.

In the early stages of this campaign season, the most talked about contenders had the same surnames as the candidates in 1992 and looked like they were going to deliver politics as usual. Is it really surprising that some voters have gone fishing for new candidates in waters far from the mainstream?

We should probably not push the 1992/2016 comparison too far. But it is worth noting that the strange three-way election in ‘92 ushered in a period that included some serious policy accomplishments. Washington, in the eight years that followed, actually did something about taxes, budgets and deficits; reformed welfare; passed crime legislation; brokered peace in Bosnia; reduced poverty and income disparity; and, as a bonus, gave us a soap opera sex scandal.

Maybe periods when voters turn to unconventional candidates in large numbers are also periods when regular politicians begin to pay attention to widespread voter dissatisfaction. And maybe that sets in motion actions that make our political system work better — at least for a while.

Could Trump scare the establishment in both political parties enough to get them to do things that make inexperienced outsiders less likely to prevail?

Maybe.

Former W&L President Robert E.R. Huntley dies at 68

“We have lost one of W&L’s most important and beloved figures.”

huntley-lj-350x346 Former W&L President Robert E.R. Huntley dies at 68Robert E.R. Huntley

Robert Edward Royall Huntley, president of Washington and Lee University from 1968 to 1983, died on Dec. 10, 2015, in Lexington. He was 86.

He held two degrees from W&L, a B.A. (1950) and an L.L.B. (1957). Huntley also served the university as the dean of its Law School from 1967 to 1968; as a professor of law from 1958 to 1968; and as the secretary of the Board of Trustees and legal advisor to the university from 1966 to 1968.

“We have lost one of W&L’s most important and beloved figures,” said President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “President Huntley made innumerable and invaluable contributions as a student, as an alumnus, as a member of the faculty and administration, and as the president. He personified our highest values of civility and integrity, and was able to articulate and explain those values with eloquence and force. He was indeed a Washington and Lee legendary figure.”

Huntley was born on June 13, 1929, in Winston-Salem, N.C., to Benjamin F. and Elizabeth Royall Huntley. He was educated in the public schools of that city and graduated from Reynolds High School.

Huntley and his brother, Benjamin, decided to attend W&L partly because of their family’s friendship with Francis Pendleton Gaines, president of W&L from 1930 to 1959. Gaines had been the president of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem; Huntley’s great-grandfather served as chair of English and Latin at Wake Forest, and his maternal grandfather was an alumnus and trustee there for more than 50 years.

At W&L, Huntley majored in English as an undergraduate, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. He won election as vice president of the student body and received the Washington Literary Society Award for the most distinguished service to the university of any graduating student. As a law student, he served as editor in chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review. He belonged to the Order of the Coif, the legal honorary society; Omicron Delta Kappa, the honorary leadership fraternity; Phi Delta Phi, the legal fraternity; and Delta Tau Delta social fraternity. He also earned an LL.M. from Harvard University in 1962.

As an undergraduate, “I had a wonderful four years, made lots of friends whom I’ve still got, and I managed to learn something in the process, despite an indifferent approach to academia,” Huntley said in “Come Cheer for Washington and Lee: The University at 250 Years.” “I had some great teachers who eventually managed to stimulate even an intellect as dull as mine.”

From 1950 to 1953, Huntley served in the U.S. Navy, enlisting as a seaman apprentice. He attended boot camp and electronics school in Great Lakes, Illinois, and the U.S. Naval Reserve Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He served as ensign and lieutenant j.g. aboard a destroyer in the Atlantic.

He married Evelyn Whitehurst, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Aug. 14, 1954. They had three daughters, Martha, Catherine and Jane.

Before returning to W&L to teach, Huntley practiced law with Boothe, Dudley, Koontz and Boothe, in Alexandria, Va., from 1957 to 1958.

As a law professor at W&L, “Bob Huntley was probably the smartest teacher I ever had,” said Ike Smith ’57, ’60L in “Come Cheer.” “He was the most naturally intelligent man I ever knew. He’d bring out the best in you and explain the law and the reasoning behind the law as well as any man I ever listened to.”

The 20th president of W&L, Huntley was the first and only alumnus to be inaugurated as president in the 20th century. When he was named president on Jan. 3, 1968, he was 38 years old and had only recently taken the dean’s post at the Law School. “My daughter says I was dean for a day,” Huntley said in “Come Cheer.” He took office on Feb. 5, succeeding acting president William W. Pusey III, and was inaugurated on Oct. 18 that year.

While he was president, Huntley officiated over changes to the curriculum: the 1968 elimination of Saturday classes; the 1969 revision to degree requirements, the first major change since 1937; and, in 1970, the first revision to the calendar in almost 50 years, when the faculty established two 12-week terms and a six-week spring term. The undergraduate population jumped by 20 percent, and the curriculum grew to more than 450 courses.

He also oversaw the changing composition of the student body. The first African-American graduated from the Law School in 1969, and three years later, the first two African-Americans followed on the undergraduate side. In 1970, W&L began an exchange program with the neighboring women’s colleges, and in 1972, the first women enrolled in the Law School.

Huntley presided over the university during the 1970 student protests against the Vietnam War that became known as Eight Days in May. In a less intellectual event — the short-lived streaking fad of 1974 — 40 students challenged the faculty and staff to a streak-off; Huntley said he appreciated the invitation but would decline.

The appearance of campus changed as well during Huntley’s time. In 1977, Sydney Lewis Hall replaced Tucker Hall as the home of the Law School. That same year, the addition of Warner Center enlarged Doremus Gymnasium. In 1979, Leyburn Library opened, and the former library, McCormick, became headquarters of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. Huntley also shepherded renovation and construction of residence halls. The Davidson Park apartments came down and the Reeves Center opened.

During Huntley’s tenure, W&L established the Office of University Development and undertook its first substantial capital campaign, which raised $67 million. During the 1970s campaign, he became embroiled in what is light-heartedly called “The Huntley Caper.” An alumnus gave him a $10,000 check during a reception at the Lee House. When, a few weeks later, the donor asked why his check hadn’t cleared the bank, the development staff searched everywhere but could not find the check. The donor graciously replaced it. Three months later, Evelyn Huntley found the missing check — in her husband’s sock drawer.

Huntley announced his resignation in February 1982, at the end of the capital campaign. “Quite simply, I feel I have been in the job long enough,” he said. “It is better for a new person to lead the institution into the next cycle of its life.”

When he told the faculty the news, there had just been a power outage on campus. “The announcement I am making here and this afternoon’s power failure on the front campus are purely coincidental,” he joked.

Rector James M. Ballengee ’48L called him “the most outstanding president of Washington and Lee since Robert E. Lee.” The student newspaper, the Ring-Tum Phi, wrote that “he was able to handle both the academic and financial crises of this school with precision” and “never lost sight of the value of the liberal arts education.” The Lexington News-Gazette thought he had presided over the university “with brilliance, with humor and with a refreshing lack of pomposity.”

Huntley expressed his thoughts about education in his 1981 Commencement address. “Education gives us power, a kind of power we can get in no other way: power over ourselves,” he said.

After retiring from Washington and Lee, he worked as president and chief operating officer (1984–1987) and chairman of the board and chief executive officer (1987–1988) of Best Products Inc., in Richmond, until it was bought out. He then worked as counsel to the Richmond law firm of Hunton & Williams from 1988 to 1995. The following year, he and Evelyn moved back to Lexington. Since 2010, Huntley had served as honorary chair of the just-concluded W&L capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future.

Huntley held directorships of several corporate boards: Centel Corp. (1975–1993); Sprint Corp. (1993–1998); 360 Communications Inc. (1996–1998); Altria Group Inc., formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc., presiding director (1976–2011; Best Products Co. Inc. (1972–1988); Piedmont Airlines (1982–1987); and Shenandoah Life Insurance Co. (1975–1984).

In his public and civil service, Huntley was a member of the Virginia State Board of Education (1970–1974); a staff director and consultant of the Governor’s Task Force on Science and Technology (1983–1984); a member of the Governor’s Committee on the Future of Virginia (1983–1984); the vice chairman of the Governor’s Policy Advisory Commission on High Technology (1984–1985); and the chairman of the Curriculum Study Committee for the Richmond Renaissance Public School Project (1992).

He also served charitable and nonprofit organizations: board of trustees, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (1981–1990) and chairman (1983–1988); board of trustees, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (1968–1995), president (1974–1976) and chairman (1982–1983); board of trustees, Virginia Historical Society (1985–1992) and treasurer (1988–1992); board of trustees, George C. Marshall Foundation (1968–1988); president, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (1977–1979); and president, Southern University Conference (1981–1982).

Huntley belonged to the American Bar Association, the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar. He served as an elder of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.

Huntley received honorary degrees from Randolph-Macon College, Wake Forest University, College of Charleston, Bridgewater College and, in 1984, from Washington and Lee.

In 1981, he received the W&L Lynchburg Alumni Chapter’s Lynchburg Citation for “absolute commitment to Alma Mater and the quality of his leadership in advancing her to a firm stance of unprecedented strength.” The student newspaper, the Ring-Tum Phi, gave him its award for outstanding service and dedication to W&L in 1982. On Oct. 2, 2004, the university honored him by re-naming the building that houses the Williams School as Huntley Hall.

Huntley is survived by his three daughters and three sons-in-law, Martha and Dyer Rodes of Nashville, Tenn.; Catherine (Katie) and James McConnel of Mount Crawford, Va.; and Jane and John Duncan of Staunton, Va.; by six grandchildren, Huntley Elizabeth Rodes (a 2007 graduate of W&L), Sarah Catherine Rodes (a 2011 graduate), Jordan Elizabeth McConnel (a 2010 graduate), Robert Huntley McConnel, William Colin Whitmore and Cole Huntley Whitmore. He was uncle to Robert Huntley ’75. His brother was the late Dr. Benjamin F. Huntley III ’46. His wife, Evelyn Huntley, died in 2010.

When looking back on his life and career, Huntley often said he had never sought the leadership roles he held during his life, but made each decision as it came along. Despite the legacy of leadership he leaves at W&L and beyond, he considered his greatest legacy to be that of the close-knit family he and Evelyn created together. Their three daughters, sons-in-law and particularly their six grandchildren reflect their dedication to that family.

After a family graveside service, a memorial service will be held at Lee Chapel on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. A reception at Kendal of Lexington’s Sunnyside House will follow the service (160 Kendal Drive, Lexington).

Jorge Estrada, Trustee Emeritus and Alumnus of Washington and Lee University, Dies at 68

Jorge Eliecer Estrada, a 1969 graduate and trustee emeritus of Washington and Lee University, died on Dec. 10, 2015, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was 68. He was the president of Petrolera del Comahue, an oil company, and was a film producer, serving as president and chief executive officer of JEMPSA Media & Entertainment. In addition, he oversaw companies in industries ranging from agriculture and cattle production to tourism and wine.

In addition to his wife, Ana Maria “Nancy” O’Toole Estrada, Estrada is survived by their five children, four of whom are W&L alumni and one of whom is a current W&L student: Ana Maria “Annie” Estrada Postma ’04 (and her husband, Will Postma ’02), Maria Carolina “Carol” Estrada ’05, Juan Ignacio Estrada ’06, Estefania Helena “Estefi” Estrada ’13 and Jorge Javier Estrada ’16. He also is survived by four grandchildren.

Estrada joined the W&L Board of Trustees in 2003 and served until 2012, traveling from his home in Buenos Aires to Lexington for all 27 meetings of the board during his tenure. He also served a term on the university’s Williams School Advisory Board and as an alumnus-in-residence to advise students interested in careers in international business. Estrada also had been responsible for the recruitment of several dozen Argentinian students to W&L.

He received W&L’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999 in recognition of his many contributions to the university.

A generous supporter of his alma mater, Estrada was always grateful for the moral and financial support that contributed to his success as an international student at W&L and in his career. The Estrada family’s philanthropy to Washington and Lee includes leadership gifts supporting the Annual Fund, the construction of Wilson Hall (an arts center), renovations to Robinson Hall (part of the historic Colonnade), and the construction of the Center for Global Learning.

Estrada was born on Aug. 15, 1947, in Medellin, Colombia. He came to Washington and Lee through the International Student Exchange Program, graduating in 1969 with a B.S. in geophysics. (In 2004, 35 years after his graduation, he met the late Isadore M. Scott, a 1937 W&L alumnus and trustee emeritus who had funded the scholarship that allowed Estrada to attend.) He then did graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to South America to pursue a career in oil and gas exploration from his adopted home base in Argentina.

Estrada also was the founding shareholder and director of Vantage Drilling Co., Houston; an investor and member of the board of advisors of DLJ South American Partners, a private equity firm; the director of Santillana, the largest Spanish-language textbook publisher; and president of Nostalgie Inc. and Velvet Symphony. He also was a senior advisor and investor in the private equity firm Victoria Capital.

In 2012, the government of the Republic of Singapore, with the provisional accreditation of the government of the Argentine Republic, appointed Estrada as Singapore’s Honorary Consul-General in Buenos Aires, with jurisdiction over Argentina.

He had served as vice president and president of the Lincoln American School of Buenos Aires and had been a member of the Clinton Global Initiative since 2005. Estrada belonged to the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to Fundación Vida Sin Violencia, which helps families affected by domestic violence.

A service will be held on Dec. 11, from 12 to 10 p.m., at Casa O’Higgins funeral home in Buenos Aires.

 


A Reminder for Civil Discourse

Bill Brock, a 1953 graduate of Washington and Lee University and chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1977 to 1981, published an op-ed in the Friday, Dec. 11, edition of the Washington Post.

He begins, “It is time for Republicans to ask ourselves a question: Are we so obsessed with the damage we believe Barack Obama and the American left are doing to the values we hold dear that we would ignore the serious threat posed by the candidacy of Donald Trump — or is there something even more dangerous going on?”

Bill, who served in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1963 to 1977 representing Tennessee, continues, “A truly free society, one that gives its citizens the responsibility of participation, can function only to the extent there is civil discourse. We can engage in a mutual search for solutions only to the extent that we agree a problem exists. That can never happen unless we talk to each other, listen to each other and respect the fact that honorable people can reach different conclusions. When that sense of comity is missing, we are at risk.”


CAJEF Global Fellows Program Announces Four-Week Seminar

The Center for International Education at Washington and Lee University will hold a Winter 2016 Global Fellows Seminar: Tradition and Change in the Middle East and South Asia. The seminar is supported by the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation.

The four-week session, from Jan. 18–Feb. 13, 2016, has been organized by Joel Blecher, assistant professor of religion; Seth Cantey, assistant professor of politics; and Shikha Silwal, assistant professor of economics. Each week will take a different approach to the study of the region.

Mark Rush, director of the Center for International Education, described the program as “an example of cutting edge, interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching. Thanks to the generosity and support of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, W&L has the opportunity to explore new curricular initiatives in innovative and transformative manners.”

“The 2016 Global Fellows Seminar brings together a dynamic group of faculty whose research and teaching interests add new emphases and depth to our already robust curriculum. The focus on the Middle East and South Asia complements the Mellon Seminar on Human Rights in Africa that is also taking place during the 2015-16 academic year.”

The seminar will address issues of Education in South Asia and the Middle East, Capitalism and Islam in India and the Arabian Peninsula, and Islam and Conflict in the Levant. It will engage students; faculty; and guest speakers to lay the foundation for a new, gateway course that will introduce future students to the study of the Middle East and South Asia.

Speakers will contribute to seminar and classroom discussions, provide radio interviews, give public lectures (three) and collaborate with faculty.

Jan. 18–20, 2016: Jayanth Krishnan is a professor of law, a Charles L. Whistler faculty fellow and director of the Center on the Global Legal Profession at Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. He will give a classroom seminar for faculty and students which will focus on the state of lawyers and higher education in India.

January 19-22, 2016: M. Najeeb Shafiq is an associate professor of education, economics and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. His recent research papers are on the social benefits of education (using public opinion data), household schooling and child labor decisions, and education reform, particularly educational privatization and accountability and incentive-based reforms.

  • Shafiq’s public lecture is Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. in Hillel 101. It is titled “Is Education a Panacea? Evidence from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.” He will also conduct a seminar discussion on “Returns or Revolution? Schooling, Earnings and Protest Participation during the Arab Spring and Arab Winter” (forthcoming publication, co-authored with Anna Vignoles, University of Cambridge).

January 26-28, 2016: Caroline Osella is a reader in anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Since 1989, Osella has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Kerala, South India and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Osella’s public lecture is Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. in Hillel 101. She will speak on “A Space of Possibilities: How Gulf Migration Impacts South Indian Muslim Family Life and Gendered Relationships.”

February 7-13: Nico Prucha is a Violent Online Political Extremism (VOX-Pol) Research Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at the Department for War Studies, King’s College London. His current project is titled “Viral Aspects of Jihadism: The Lingual and Ideological Basis of Online Propaganda and the Spill Over to Non-Arabic Networks.”

  • Prucha’s public lecture is Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. in Hillel 101. The lecture is titled “The Islamic State and the War for Hegemony in the Middle East.”

For more information on the seminar, see W&L’s Center for International Education’s website or contact Mark Rush, director of the Center, at rushm@wlu.edu.          

Founded in 1952, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to the life of the mind and spirit. It focuses its attention primarily on the field of education, in particular liberal arts education, which can help individuals realize their highest aspirations and fullest human potential.

Robert E.R. Huntley, Former President of Washington and Lee University, Dies at 86

Robert Edward Royall Huntley, president of Washington and Lee University from 1968 to 1983, died on Dec. 10, 2015, in Lexington. He was 86.

Watch the memorial service live on Dec. 15 at 11:00 a.m. >

He held two degrees from W&L, a B.A. (1950) and an L.L.B. (1957). Huntley also served the university as the dean of its Law School from 1967 to 1968; as a professor of law from 1958 to 1968; and as the secretary of the Board of Trustees and legal advisor to the university from 1966 to 1968.

“We have lost one of W&L’s most important and beloved figures,” said President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “President Huntley made innumerable and invaluable contributions as a student, as an alumnus, as a member of the faculty and administration, and as the president. He personified our highest values of civility and integrity, and was able to articulate and explain those values with eloquence and force. He was indeed a Washington and Lee legendary figure.”

Huntley was born on June 13, 1929, in Winston-Salem, N.C., to Benjamin F. and Elizabeth Royall Huntley. He was educated in the public schools of that city and graduated from Reynolds High School.

Huntley and his brother, Benjamin, decided to attend W&L partly because of their family’s friendship with Francis Pendleton Gaines, president of W&L from 1930 to 1959. Gaines had been the president of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem; Huntley’s great-grandfather served as chair of English and Latin at Wake Forest, and his maternal grandfather was an alumnus and trustee there for more than 50 years.

At W&L, Huntley majored in English as an undergraduate, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. He won election as vice president of the student body and received the Washington Literary Society Award for the most distinguished service to the university of any graduating student. As a law student, he served as editor in chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review. He belonged to the Order of the Coif, the legal honorary society; Omicron Delta Kappa, the honorary leadership fraternity; Phi Delta Phi, the legal fraternity; and Delta Tau Delta social fraternity. He also earned an LL.M. from Harvard University in 1962.

As an undergraduate, “I had a wonderful four years, made lots of friends whom I’ve still got, and I managed to learn something in the process, despite an indifferent approach to academia,” Huntley said in “Come Cheer for Washington and Lee: The University at 250 Years.” “I had some great teachers who eventually managed to stimulate even an intellect as dull as mine.”

From 1950 to 1953, Huntley served in the U.S. Navy, enlisting as a seaman apprentice. He attended boot camp and electronics school in Great Lakes, Illinois, and the U.S. Naval Reserve Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He served as ensign and lieutenant j.g. aboard a destroyer in the Atlantic.

He married Evelyn Whitehurst, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Aug. 14, 1954. They had three daughters, Martha, Catherine and Jane.

Before returning to W&L to teach, Huntley practiced law with Boothe, Dudley, Koontz and Boothe, in Alexandria, Va., from 1957 to 1958.

As a law professor at W&L, “Bob Huntley was probably the smartest teacher I ever had,” said Ike Smith ’57, ’60L in “Come Cheer.” “He was the most naturally intelligent man I ever knew. He’d bring out the best in you and explain the law and the reasoning behind the law as well as any man I ever listened to.”

The 20th president of W&L, Huntley was the first and only alumnus to be inaugurated as president in the 20th century. When he was named president on Jan. 3, 1968, he was 38 years old and had only recently taken the dean’s post at the Law School. “My daughter says I was dean for a day,” Huntley said in “Come Cheer.” He took office on Feb. 5, succeeding acting president William W. Pusey III, and was inaugurated on Oct. 18 that year.

While he was president, Huntley officiated over changes to the curriculum: the 1968 elimination of Saturday classes; the 1969 revision to degree requirements, the first major change since 1937; and, in 1970, the first revision to the calendar in almost 50 years, when the faculty established two 12-week terms and a six-week spring term. The undergraduate population jumped by 20 percent, and the curriculum grew to more than 450 courses.

He also oversaw the changing composition of the student body. The first African-American graduated from the Law School in 1969, and three years later, the first two African-Americans followed on the undergraduate side. In 1970, W&L began an exchange program with the neighboring women’s colleges, and in 1972, the first women enrolled in the Law School.

Huntley presided over the university during the 1970 student protests against the Vietnam War that became known as Eight Days in May. In a less intellectual event — the short-lived streaking fad of 1974 — 40 students challenged the faculty and staff to a streak-off; Huntley said he appreciated the invitation but would decline.

The appearance of campus changed as well during Huntley’s time. In 1977, Sydney Lewis Hall replaced Tucker Hall as the home of the Law School. That same year, the addition of Warner Center enlarged Doremus Gymnasium. In 1979, Leyburn Library opened, and the former library, McCormick, became headquarters of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. Huntley also shepherded renovation and construction of residence halls. The Davidson Park apartments came down and the Reeves Center opened.

During Huntley’s tenure, W&L established the Office of University Development and undertook its first substantial capital campaign, which raised $67 million. During the 1970s campaign, he became embroiled in what is light-heartedly called “The Huntley Caper.” An alumnus gave him a $10,000 check during a reception at the Lee House. When, a few weeks later, the donor asked why his check hadn’t cleared the bank, the development staff searched everywhere but could not find the check. The donor graciously replaced it. Three months later, Evelyn Huntley found the missing check — in her husband’s sock drawer.

Huntley announced his resignation in February 1982, at the end of the capital campaign. “Quite simply, I feel I have been in the job long enough,” he said. “It is better for a new person to lead the institution into the next cycle of its life.”

When he told the faculty the news, there had just been a power outage on campus. “The announcement I am making here and this afternoon’s power failure on the front campus are purely coincidental,” he joked.

Rector James M. Ballengee ’48L called him “the most outstanding president of Washington and Lee since Robert E. Lee.” The student newspaper, the Ring-Tum Phi, wrote that “he was able to handle both the academic and financial crises of this school with precision” and “never lost sight of the value of the liberal arts education.” The Lexington News-Gazette thought he had presided over the university “with brilliance, with humor and with a refreshing lack of pomposity.”

Huntley expressed his thoughts about education in his 1981 Commencement address. “Education gives us power, a kind of power we can get in no other way: power over ourselves,” he said.

After retiring from Washington and Lee, he worked as president and chief operating officer (1984–1987) and chairman of the board and chief executive officer (1987–1988) of Best Products Inc., in Richmond, until it was bought out. He then worked as counsel to the Richmond law firm of Hunton & Williams from 1988 to 1995. The following year, he and Evelyn moved back to Lexington. Since 2010, Huntley had served as honorary chair of the just-concluded W&L capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future.

Huntley held directorships of several corporate boards: Centel Corp. (1975–1993); Sprint Corp. (1993–1998); 360 Communications Inc. (1996–1998); Altria Group Inc., formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc., presiding director (1976–2011; Best Products Co. Inc. (1972–1988); Piedmont Airlines (1982–1987); and Shenandoah Life Insurance Co. (1975–1984).

In his public and civil service, Huntley was a member of the Virginia State Board of Education (1970–1974); a staff director and consultant of the Governor’s Task Force on Science and Technology (1983–1984); a member of the Governor’s Committee on the Future of Virginia (1983–1984); the vice chairman of the Governor’s Policy Advisory Commission on High Technology (1984–1985); and the chairman of the Curriculum Study Committee for the Richmond Renaissance Public School Project (1992).

He also served charitable and nonprofit organizations: board of trustees, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (1981–1990) and chairman (1983–1988); board of trustees, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (1968–1995), president (1974–1976) and chairman (1982–1983); board of trustees, Virginia Historical Society (1985–1992) and treasurer (1988–1992); board of trustees, George C. Marshall Foundation (1968–1988); president, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (1977–1979); and president, Southern University Conference (1981–1982).

Huntley belonged to the American Bar Association, the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar. He served as an elder of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.

Huntley received honorary degrees from Randolph-Macon College, Wake Forest University, College of Charleston, Bridgewater College and, in 1984, from Washington and Lee.

In 1981, he received the W&L Lynchburg Alumni Chapter’s Lynchburg Citation for “absolute commitment to Alma Mater and the quality of his leadership in advancing her to a firm stance of unprecedented strength.” The student newspaper, the Ring-Tum Phi, gave him its award for outstanding service and dedication to W&L in 1982. On Oct. 2, 2004, the university honored him by re-naming the building that houses the Williams School as Huntley Hall.

Huntley is survived by his three daughters and three sons-in-law, Martha and Dyer Rodes of Nashville, Tenn.; Catherine (Katie) and James McConnel of Mount Crawford, Va.; and Jane and John Duncan of Staunton, Va.; by six grandchildren, Huntley Elizabeth Rodes (a 2007 graduate of W&L), Sarah Catherine Rodes (a 2011 graduate), Jordan Elizabeth McConnel (a 2010 graduate), Robert Huntley McConnel, William Colin Whitmore and Cole Huntley Whitmore. He was uncle to Robert Huntley ’75. His brother was the late Dr. Benjamin F. Huntley III ’46. His wife, Evelyn Huntley, died in 2010.

When looking back on his life and career, Huntley often said he had never sought the leadership roles he held during his life, but made each decision as it came along. Despite the legacy of leadership he leaves at W&L and beyond, he considered his greatest legacy to be that of the close-knit family he and Evelyn created together. Their three daughters, sons-in-law and particularly their six grandchildren reflect their dedication to that family.

After a family graveside service, a memorial service will be held at Lee Chapel on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. A reception at Kendal of Lexington’s Sunnyside House will follow the service (160 Kendal Drive, Lexington).


Williams Investment Society Appoints 2016 Directors

The Williams Investment Society has named its 2016 directors. Noah Henderson ’17 will serve as the Society’s executive director. Cody Solomon ’17 and Finn Barrett ’17 will serve as associate directors.

Henderson is a business administration and Chinese double major from Greenwich, Conn. Solomon is an accounting and business administration major from Atlanta, Ga. and Barrett is an accounting and business administration major from Bethlehem, Pa.

The Williams Investment Society (WIS) is a student-led co-curricular club that invests a portion of Washington and Lee University’s endowment in equity securities. Forty students manage a portfolio of approximately $10 million; each year, their goal is to beat the return rate of the S&P 500.

Students can join WIS as first-years, sophomores or juniors. Henderson joined as a first-year student; Solomon and Barrett joined as sophomores. The application process, which includes a written application as well as an in-person interview, is strenuous and less than half of all applicants earn a spot in the group.

“I didn’t really know much about investing but I was super interested in learning more about what drives value in businesses,” said Henderson. “I spent a lot of time on my application, learning how to qualitatively value companies.”

Directors are chosen by the society’s outgoing leadership team with oversight from the group’s faculty advisor, business administration professor Adam Schwartz, and the Williams School’s Crawford Family Dean Rob Straughan. To be considered for a leadership role, applicants must be members of WIS who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the society.

“The financial performance of the portfolio is important but just as important are the learning opportunities members receive,” said Straughan. “That’s the challenge when it comes to selecting the society’s executive directors. We want leaders who will recognize those learning opportunities and be good teachers as well as good investors.”

Directors are responsible for recruiting new members and ensuring that they get up to speed quickly. They also work closely to coordinate visits by corporate recruiters and guest speakers. Faculty and alumni frequently make guest presentations at meetings. Recent speakers have included Greg Johnson ’83, CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments; Mary Weber, Nathan Kelly ’14, and Jake Rudolph ’14 of Lincoln International; and Stephen Hostetler ’02, COO of Stress Testing, Recovery and Resolution Planning at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

WIS meets two to three times per week. Upon acceptance into the society, students are assigned to a specific industry group, such as energy, consumer staples, or consumer discretionary, and make regular buy/sell presentations accordingly.

“When you’re dealing with real money and trying to figure out what to do with $250,000, you realize just how in-depth your analysis has to be,” said Barrett. “You’ll be looking at an industry that’s always changing, so there’s always an opportunity to learn.”

Much of the research WIS students do for their presentations is qualitative, not quantitative. Each student is responsible for researching and reporting out on certain stocks within their sector. It’s about getting to know the company, its potential for growth, the risks and the rationales.

There’s a big payoff for students who join the Williams Investment Society—both in terms of landing internships and, later, jobs.

“The fact that members are capable of applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to real world investing holds real weight,” said Henderson.

Henderson will intern at Citi next summer, Solomon at JP Morgan and Barrett at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Employers know Williams Investment Society members are capable of hitting the ground running. But the bigger reward of membership is what students learn about themselves.

“Regardless of whether you do finance after college, you learn a lot of very transferrable skills. By putting together a series of one-hour presentations, you’ll learn to do research, work in teams, speak confidently and answer in-depth questions,” said Solomon.

Five Seniors Receive CFA Exam Scholarships

Five seniors, Andrew Head, Payson Miller, Jerry Qiu, Michael Stovall and Xiaoxiang Yang, have received scholarships to study for level one of the exam to become a chartered financial analyst (CFA).

As a university recognized by the CFA Institute, Washington and Lee can offer up to five scholarships a year to reduce the exam price for students from $1,400 to $350. Additionally, the CFA Institute will send scholarship recipients books on six topics, including finance, accounting and ethics.

A highly sought after designation, a CFA charter gives students a distinct advantage on the job market. Annually, 150,000 people worldwide sit for the CFA exams, which comprise three levels. Students may retake a failed exam, but must pass all three levels to become a CFA. Approximately one in eight people who start the program will become a chartered financial analyst.

Shakespeare 2016! Continues Dec. 9-11 and Jan. 24

The three-night run of “Dancers Create…” on Dec. 9, 10 and 11 continues Washington and Lee’s year-long celebration of the 400 years of Shakespeare in theatre, music, dance, art and scholarship.

Choreographed and performed by students in W&L’s Dance Program, this showcase of dances will feature works that are Shakespeare or Elizabethan themed in celebration of W&L’s Shakespeare 2016! programming.

Performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9, 10 and 11, in the Keller Theater of the Lenfest Center at W&L. Tickets are $5.

On Jan. 24, Gregory Parker, W&L professor of music and baritone, will present songs and arias based on the works of Shakespeare, accompanied by pianist W&L Professor Timothy Gaylard.

The performance will be at 3 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall in the Lenfest Center, W&L. No tickets are required.

Organized by English professor Hank Dobin, Shakespeare 2016! events focused on or related to Shakespeare and his legacy will continue on campus through next April 2016. A complete description can be found online at www.wlu.edu/shakespeare-2016. For more information, contact Dobin at 540-458-8113.

W&L Law’s Jill Fraley Wins AALS Scholarly Papers Competition

Jill Fraley, associate professor of law at Washington and Lee University, has been named the winner of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) 2016 Scholarly Papers Competition. Fraley won the award, one of the most prestigious in legal education, for her paper “An Unwritten History of Waste Law.”

Launched in 1986 to highlight excellent work of junior faculty, the award is limited to full-time law teachers who have been teaching at an AALS member school for five years or fewer. The winner and runners-up were chosen by a panel of seven distinguished law scholars, using a “blind-grading” process. Fraley will present the paper at the AALS annual meeting in New York in January.

“Jill Fraley is a remarkably talented member of our faculty,” said Brant J. Hellwig, Dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law.  “This award, and the Fulbright fellowship she received last year to support her research, serve as testaments to the contributions she is making to the fields of legal history and property law.  In addition to her scholarly strengths, Jill is a masterful teacher.  We at W&L Law are fortunate to have her as a colleague.”

Fraley’s win of this award is W&L’s third since 2005. Corporate law scholar Christopher Bruner won the award in 2010 for his article “Power and Purpose in the ‘Anglo-American’ Corporation,” and international law scholar Mark Drumbl won the award in 2005 for his article “Collective Violence and Individual Punishment: The Criminality of Mass Atrocity.”

In “An Unwritten History of Waste Law,” Fraley uses historical evidence to displace the reigning economic and social theories of how the law of waste evolved in America. She critiques the current methods of legal history, arguing that the law and society and law and economics movements have distorted legal history by consistently privileging the lens of social context and neglecting doctrinal investigation, thereby overlooking the role of law as an independent, stable system that promotes social stability and affirms existing rights and investments.

“I am very honored to receive the AALS prize,” said Fraley. “With the competition encompassing all fields of law, the award is particularly exciting. It is also wonderful to have the AALS providing a forum where I can share my work. Property and legal history are not always headline-making fields, so it is a particular pleasure to have both the recognition of my work and the opportunity to share it.”

Fraley received a Fulbright grant for the 2014-15 year, which she spent in Ireland conducting research on the development of property law in colonial Scotland and Ireland. Her research on England’s colonization of Scotland and Ireland explores how Great Britain transported its own property law system as it expanded to other territories, including North America. Fraley is currently at work on a book manuscript titled “The Tragedy of the Wastes: A History of Least-Valued Properties and the Making of Nation-States in Eighteenth Century North America.”

Fraley is a graduate of Yale University, where she completed dual programs in History and Religious Studies. She received her J.D. from Duke University, after which she practiced law for more than six years, working primarily in toxic torts and premises liability. She eventually returned to the academy, receiving an LL.M. and a J.S.D. from Yale Law School.

Fraley has taught at the University of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Law School and Yale Law School. At W&L, she teaches property, environmental law, law and geography and legal history. Her recent writings focus on the legal history of Appalachia, property, cartography and the development of territorial jurisdiction.

Washington and Lee Announces November Community Grants

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 15 grants totaling $25,243 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first part of its two rounds of grants for 2015-16.

The committee chose the grants from 23 proposals requesting almost $81,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center: Funds to purchase material for student work space
  • Buena Vista Arts Council: Funds to support the council’s involvement in the January 27, 2016, Art Works for Virginia Conference
  • Coffeehouse of Rockbridge Inc.: Funds to support the continuing operations of the Coffeehouse of Rockbridge mission
  • Friends of the Rockbridge Choral Society: Funds to support a one-day vocal workshop for Rockbridge Choral Society singers
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center: Rider scholarships for needy individuals
  • The Lexington Woman’s Club: Seed money to establish a program to supplement the current Mobile Food Pantry’s provisions to the Goshen community with personal care products
  • Maury River Middle School Agriculture: Pollination garden at Maury River Middle School
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc.: Funds will be used for food purchase and various routine operational expenses
  • Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity, Inc.: Almost Home financial education short course
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association: Funds to help provide heating fuel for less fortunate seniors
  • Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Inc.: Funds to go towards the purchase of a new vehicle
  • Rockbridge County SPCA: Scholarships to benefit needy children to attend Animal Adventure Camp
  • Roots & Shoots Intergenerational Garden: Funds to partially subsidize the irrigation system for the new garden
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA: Summer camp program transportation for campers
  • Rockbridge Regional Library, Youth Literacy: Funds to help replenish the Gift Book collection and to purchase magazine subscriptions

Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.

During its 2014-15 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually. The submission deadline for the second round of evaluations for 2015-16 will be: by the end of the work day (4:30 p.m.) on Friday, April 15, 2016. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee, Attn: James D. Farrar, Jr., Office of the Secretary, 204 W. Washington St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450-2116.


W&L Professor Chris Gavaler Publishes “On the Origin of Superheroes”

Chris Gavaler, assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has published “On the Origin of Superheroes: From the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1” (University of Iowa Press).

“It’s a big subject, and I cast the net wide,” said Gavaler, who has taught a course at W&L on superheroes since 2009. “It began when a group of students asked for a seminar on superheroes. I grew up reading comic books and had remained connected to the subject through my daughter’s interest, so I said I would. I thought it would be a fairly straightforward class to put together, but nothing could be further from the truth.”

Over the next few years, Gavaler kept tweaking the course, as well as writing a blog (The Patron Saint of Superheroes), which formed the basis for his book. “On the Origin” traces the emergence of superheroes and explores their connections to mythological heroes and gods, folklore, ancient philosophy, revolutionary manifestos, discarded scientific theories and gothic monsters.

As he notes in the book’s introduction, “Superheroes, like most any pop culture production, reflect a lot about us. And since superheroes have been flying for decades, they document our evolution too. On the surface of their unitards, they’re just pleasantly absurd wish-fulfillments. But our nation’s history of obsessions flexes just under those tights: sexuality, violence, prejudice, politics, our most nightmarish fears, our most utopian aspirations, it’s all churning in there.”

Comic book superheroes emerged in 1938 through Superman. “One of the first questions I asked myself when I started my research was what led to the creation of this particular superhero? I assumed that the answer would be pretty clear-cut, but as I started looking for references, I realized that was nonsense. Precursors to Superman — the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Phantom, the Victorian League of Justice and Zorro — have superhero traits, but Superman is a new kind of do-gooder who materializes in a new medium, the comic book. He’s a combination of science fiction, detective fiction, penny dreadfuls and comic strips. And if you look at him from a historical perspective, he’s a reflection of what was happening in the world at that time. Comic book writers were responding to imperialism, eugenics, KKK vigilantism, the relationship of law and government—all grim stuff, but all of those elements shaped the superhero type.”

As a prehistory of Superman and the Golden Age of Comics, the book’s chapters are organized around themes, beginning with the origins of the universe and traveling forward in time. Gavaler covers Jane Austen’s Bath, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Mars and Owen Wister’s Wyoming and contemplates mad scientists, Napoleonic dictators, costumed murderers, diabolical madmen, blackmailers, pirates, Wild West outlaws, eugenicists, Victorian do-gooders, detectives, aliens, vampires and pulp vigilantes.

“A huge number of people are interested in superheroes,” said Gavaler. “I’ve written a number of scholarly articles on the subject, but I wanted this book to be a fun, accessible read. Academic books are not meant to entertain; I wanted my book to invite readers into a hugely fascinating area.”

Gavaler’s essays on superheroes have appeared in “The Journal of American Culture,” “PS: Political Science & Politics,” “ImageTexT,” “Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics” and “HoodedUtilitarian.com.” He is the author of the novel-in-stories “School for Tricksters” and the romantic suspense novel “Pretend I’m Not Here.” Earlier this year, he won the 2015 Donna Award (his fifth) for Best Playwright from The Pittsburgh New Works Festival for his play “Empty Plots.”

W&L Junior Selected as Merrell College Ambassador

Lenny Enkhbold, a junior at Washington and Lee University, from Fairfax, Virginia, who leads pre-orientation Appalachian Adventure trips and organizes climbing, horseback riding, rafting, hiking and other campus Outing Club trips, has been selected one of 13 founding members of the Merrell College Ambassadors program from colleges around the country.

Sponsored by Merrell, an outdoor apparel and footwear company, and Outdoor Nation, a non-profit organization “dedicated to reconnecting millennials with the outdoors,” the ambassadors will develop and implement a semester-long strategy to engage their campuses and communities in outdoor recreation. Each ambassador is asked to motivate, mobilize and engage at least 200 peers, especially those new to outdoor activities, in regular outdoor recreation experiences.

“Nature does not and will not slow down or speed up for anyone, nature simply just is,” Enkhbold said when asked about his goal as a Merrell College Ambassador. “It is then our prerogative that we match the pace of nature and experience it as such.”

A member of the Outing Club Key Staff, Enkhbold reports that his favorite outdoor activities include kayaking, rafting and fire-jumping, and he belongs to W&L’s CRUX climbing team. A German and computer science major and philosophy minor, Enkhbold serves as treasurer of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and as co-president of the German Club. A Quest Scholar, he received the German Department Award as a first-year.


Annual Christmas Candlelight Service—A Lexington Tradition

Washington and Lee University’s annual Christmas Candlelight Service featuring the University Singers will be held Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Seating will begin at 7 p.m. The public is invited to the event at no charge.

The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” broadcast each year from King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, and widely used in England, the United States and around the world, is an ancient form for corporate worship at the Christmas season. The prayers, lessons and music tell the story of sacred history from the Creation to the Incarnation.

In 1880, E.W. Benson, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up a service of lessons and carols for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918 this service was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. In the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programming, and it is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide.

The service has been held for many years in Lexington and was held at Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church during the earlier years. The W&L Men’s Glee Club participated in the service held at the church, but when the Candlelight Service was moved to Lee Chapel in the early 1990s, the newly founded W&L Chamber Singers became the featured choir.

Music for the traditional service again will be provided by the University Singers, the evolution of the Chamber Singers, and conducted by Shane M. Lynch, director of choral activities at W&L. The University Singer’s anthems will feature a wide variety of music, from the traditional “In Dulci Jubilo,” F. Melius Christiansen’s famous arrangement of “Wake, Awake,” and Gustav Holst’s classic “In the Bleak Midwinter” to modern and powerful masterpieces such as Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque” and the haunting “How Still He Rests” by Brent Pierce, featuring Joy Putney, W&L class of 2016, on the oboe.

Timothy Gaylard, professor of music, will be the organist for the service, leading the familiar hymns and carols and rounding out the evening’s experience with a festive organ prelude and postlude.

Nine members of the Washington and Lee University community will read the lessons. William C. Datz, Catholic Campus Minister at St. Patrick’s, will preside over the service.


W&L Magazine, Fall 2015: Vol. 91 | No. 3

Read Online »

In This Issue:

  • A Summons from the Shenandoah
  • A Yearlong Celebration: Talks, Exhibitions, Special Events
  • A Missing Piece of W&L History Finds Its Way Home

2 – Campaign Celebrities

3- Speak

  • Letters to the Editor

4 – Along the Colonnade

  • New Classes in Arabic
  • Re-Naming Renovated Spaces
  • Convocation
  • Shakespeare, 2016!
  • New Trustees
  • Presidetnial Search
  • Books and Noteworthy

12 – Generals’ Report

  • Hall of Fame Welcomes New Members

13 – Lewis Hall Notes

  • More Renovated Spaces Unveiled
  • Loren Peck ’16L Argues Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

26 – Alumni Profiles

  • Fan on the Run: Dave McLean ’78

28 – Milestones

  • Reunions
  • Alumni President’s Message
  • Annual Fund Message
  • Beau Knows
  • Alumni News and Photos
  • President Ruscio’s Column

Seaman Discusses Trade Secret Theft in Virginian-Pilot

Christopher Seaman, associate professor at the School of Law, was quoted Dec. 4 in The Virginian-Pilot, the commonwealth’s largest newspaper, as an expert on trade secret law. The story detailed a lawsuit by a company against a former employee who it says accessed his old company computer to retrieve documents and provide them to a competitor.

Seaman said trade secret theft is becoming increasingly problematic for employers in the information age, especially for employers who allow people to work from home and access information over the internet. “There are a lot more routes to a company’s information now than there were even five years ago,” he told The Pilot. Seaman said businesses should remove the hard drive from a former employee’s computer or wipe it clean of information.

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W&L, VMI Share Conservation Award

The Garden Club of Virginia has awarded its 2015 Elizabeth Cabell Dugdale Award for Meritorious Achievement in Conservation to Washington and Lee University.

The award recognized W&L’s creation of its Office of Sustainability Initiatives and Education and “remarkable progress toward energy efficiency and conservation.”

“Most prominent is W&L’s installation of solar panels on the law school and parking garage. This was the largest solar installation in Virginia when it was installed in 2012. Some of W&L’s recent accomplishments include a Campus Garden, a Composting Program, a Sustainability Development House, Energy Audits, a Recycling Program, a Green Office Initiative, numerous campus activities that offer engagement with student groups, and its University Sustainability Committee,” the club said in a news release.

W&L shares the 2015 award with Virginia Military Institute, which was noted for its stewardship of the Chessie Nature Trail, as well as energy, conservation and sustainability initiatives.

The Garden Club of Virginia exists “to celebrate the beauty of the land, to conserve the gifts of nature and to challenge future generations to build on this heritage.” The conservation award was first presented in 1974. In 1989, it was named for Mrs. Arthur A. Dugdale of the Ashland Garden Club, an outstanding member of the club. It is presented to an organization, industry or an individual who is not a club member for outstanding work in conservation.


Leading Scholar of Digital Journalism to Speak at W&L

Nikki Usher, an assistant professor in George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and one of the leading scholars of digital journalism, will deliver a talk at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. in Huntley Hall Room 221.

Usher will speak on “Interactive Journalism: Hackers, Data, and Code,” the title of her forthcoming book, which examines the collaboration of journalists and programmers to create new forms of interactive journalism built around data and multimedia.

Her talk is free and open to the public. The event is hosted by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Usher has spent time in dozens of newsrooms around the world, researching the ways journalists are adapting to the whirlwind of changes transforming their profession. She has conducted field research at The New York Times, NPR, Al Jazeera, the BBC, and others. Usher’s 2014 book, “Making News at The New York Times” (University of Michigan Press), was given the 2015 Tankard Book Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) as the top academic book in the field that year.

“Interactive Journalism” is based on extensive field research, conducted between 2011 and 2014, ranging from New York to London to Doha, Qatar, examining the work of data journalists and the creation of interactive forms of digital news.

Usher has published nearly two dozen peer-reviewed academic journal articles, and is a freelance contributor to the Columbia Journalism Review and Nieman Journalism Lab. She was also a 2014–15 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow at the University of Missouri and a 2013 Tow Fellow at the Columbia University School of Journalism.

Before entering academia, Usher was a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in communication from the University of Southern California and an A.B. from Harvard University.

W&L Dance Invites Audience Interaction Through Social Media

On December 9-11, the award-winning Washington and Lee Repertory Dance Company will perform “W&L Dancers Create….” in the Lenfest Center for the Arts in Lexington, Virginia. Presented by the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies, the evening concert, under the Artistic Direction of Jenefer Davies, will be comprised of work choreographed, designed and performed by students, showcasing the diversity and talent within the dance and theater programs.

In conjunction with the performance, the W&L dance company is reaching out to millennials through a new collaboration with Jamie Goodin, Washington and Lee social media strategist, and his team of W&L students. During pre-determined breaks in the concert, a specially designed hashtag, #WLUDance, will be projected onto a 40-foot on-stage screen, inviting audience members to open their phones and share their thoughts and questions about the work they are witnessing. At the same time, dancers backstage will Instagram what’s going on behind the scenes and respond to Twitter and Facebook questions. Goodin and his moderators, led by Taylor Gulotta ’17, will choose tweets to display in between dances on the massive stage screen.

“This collaboration will allow the audience members to connect both with one another and with the producers of the show in a new way. As opposed to waiting until after the performance to see how other people have reacted, audience members will be able to experience reactions during the show. Thus, rather than being isolated during the show, people will have the opportunity for community,” said Goodin.

“This experiment is about reaching new audiences, inviting them in and giving them a sense of inclusiveness,” Davies agreed. “Dance can be seen as a rarified environment, but really, we are just storytellers. Projecting tweets onto the stage will encourage dialogue about the work. The more people understand about what they are seeing, and the artistic goals and processes behind them, the more involved they will be in the performance. Our goal is to help make them comfortable speaking about dance.”

“The language of dance is movement,” she added. “While it may seem like a foreign language, we all possess bodies. We all move. That language is within all of us. We just need to be reminded sometimes.”

With a broad range of dance styles represented, the eclectic nature of the program should further encourage discussion. Classical and contemporary ballet works (choreographed by and Mamie Smith ’18 and Inga Wells ’16) will be performed alongside innovative post-modern pieces (Elliot Emadian ’18 and Gretchen Senglemann ’16); a light-hearted look at a runaway bride and her girl group (Nicole Porter ’16) will compete for laughs with a comic work (Emily Danzig ’16) featuring eight gray wigs, a walker and an old lady’s purse; a heartwarming journey into the children’s book “Beekle,” about an imaginary friend who is waiting for a real child to love him, (Kayla Sylvester ’17) will stand alongside a high-energy group work that expresses the frenetic panic that occurs when waking up five minutes before an appointment (Elliot Emadian ’17); while a piece with complex and layered contemporary dance choreography (Sara Dotterer ’18) will deal with the connection of breath to life, with the music of John Cage connecting the viewer to the thematic material and providing immediacy.

The concert’s student choreographers collaborated with fellow students who were responsible for lighting the works. Overseen by design professor Shawn Paul Evans, the lighting designers used the performance as a practical culmination to a semester-long class containing lecture and smaller projects. The student choreographers and designers worked in tandem, learning how to express their ideas and art with one another in order to create the work presented to an audience.

“Through actual hands-on experience, the designers used what they are learning about the science and craft of lighting to help provide visual context to the dance,” explained Evans.

Designers include Michael Garcia ’17, Taylor Gulotta ’17 and Dana Gary ’18, along with choreographer/designers Inga Wells ’16, Elliot Emadian ’18, Emily Danzig ’16 and Gretchen Senglemann ’16. The choreographers playing a duel role as designers have been specially tasked to light a piece of choreography that isn’t their own.

“I have begun to explore how light, set elements, music, and costume design can interplay and strengthen each other to communicate a clear vision,” said Emadian. “Lighting specifically can completely manipulate the mood and look of a piece to carry it to a new level of depth and intensity.”

Collaborating with Professors Davies and Evans, the W&L Repertory Dance Company and these student choreographers, dancers and designers, have dedicated countless hours in the creation of an expressive concert of new dance works. They will host a talk back following Wednesday’s performance where audience members are invited to stay for an intimate discussion about the work. It is their hope that the audience will feel inspired to participate actively by attending the performance, engaging in the social media fun and supporting the dance conversation.

Concert Details:

Wednesday-Friday, December 9-11
7:00 p.m.
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Lexington, Virginia
Tickets are $5
Purchase: 540-458-8000 or
#WLUDance


Chad Meredith ’04 Named Kentucky Governor’s Deputy Counsel

Chad Meredith ’04, a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington and Lee University who went on to earn a law degree as the University of Kentucky’s Bert Combs Scholar, has been named deputy counsel in the office of Kentucky Gov.-Elect Matt Bevin ’89.

Meredith is an attorney with the Lexington, Kentucky, law firm of Randsell and Roach PLLC, practicing commercial, banking, labor and employment, civil rights and tort litigation, as well as constitutional law and appellate advocacy. He previously worked in the litigation department of Frost Brown Todd LLC, in Louisville.

Before entering private practice, Meredith clerked for Judge John M. Rogers of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then for Judge Amul R. Thapar of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Meredith serves as chair of the Litigation Section of the Kentucky Bar Association and as a member of the Kentucky Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.


Williams School Launches Cincinnatus Book Club

The Williams School has launched a campus-wide book club for students, faculty and staff who want to bridge business, science and the liberal arts by coming together to read books on some of today’s most urgent topics.

Discussion groups meet twice during the winter term, and the program culminates with a public lecture by the author. Books are given to members free of charge, and are guaranteed to those students who register before Dec. 11.

This year, the Cincinnatus Book Club will read “The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations” by Jacob Soll, Professor of History and Accounting and the University of Southern California and a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient.

Important Dates

Tuesday, November 10
Cincinnatus Book Club registration opens

Tuesday, December 1
Books available for pick-up in Huntley Hall 203
To receive a book, students must be a registered member of the club

Friday, December 11
Cincinnatus Book Club registration deadline

Wednesday, January 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Discussion Part I
Larry and Fran Peppers Reading Room, Huntley Hall

Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Discussion Part II
Larry and Fran Peppers Reading Room, Huntley Hall

Tuesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Public Lecture by Jacob Soll
Stackhouse Theater

Members of the Cincinnatus Book Club are expected to attend both the January and February discussions and the public lecture in March.

W&L’s Glasgow Endowment Presents W&L Alumnus Matthew Null Reading from Debut Novel

Washington and Lee University’s Glasgow Endowment will sponsor a public reading by fiction writer Matthew Neill Null on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Null, a 2006 graduate of Washington and Lee, will be reading from his first novel, “Honey from the Lion” (2015). There will be a book signing afterward and the University Book Store will have books available for sale.

In addition to his above debut novel, Null is the author of “Allegheny Front” (forthcoming, 2016), which received the Mary McCarthy Prize. He is also author of stories including “The Island in the Gorge of the Great River” (2014) in “Ecotone;” “Gauley Season” (2014) in “West Branch,” which was reprinted in “The Best American Mystery Stories;” and “Destinations” (2014) in “Mississippi Review.”

He also is the author of essays including “No Judgment, No Message, No Mercy: At Ninety-Five, Maria Beig Remains Deeply Under Read in America” in “Paris Review Daily” (2015) and “I Read Dead People: Eudora Welty and Failure” in “American Short Fiction” (2013).

Null is the winner of the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, and his fiction has appeared in journals including “American Short Fiction,” the “Oxford American,” “The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories” and “Ploughshares.”

He holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he is currently the writing coordinator.

The Glasgow Endowment was established by the late Arthur G. Glasgow for the “promotion of the expression of art through pen and tongue.” In the past four decades the endowment has hosted authors including Claudia Emerson, Natasha Trethewey and Raphael Campo.

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