Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L's Rush Discusses Primary Results on WRVA

Mark Rush, Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law and director of international education at Washington and Lee, will discuss Tuesday’s Virginia presidential primary results on The Jimmy Barrett Morning Show on Wednesday, March 3, at 6:35 a.m. You can listen to the broadcast online.

The Jimmy Barrett Morning Show airs on Newsradio 1140 WRVA Monday-Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in Richmond, Virginia. The program is archived on the WRVA website.

Washington and Lee Announces New Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs

Jessica L. Willett has been named executive director of communications and public affairs at Washington and Lee University.

Dennis Cross, vice president for advancement at W&L, announced the appointment of Willett, who had served as assistant director of communications and public affairs since 2012.

“I am delighted that the university will have Jessica’s leadership and talents in this key position,” said Cross. “Throughout her tenure in communications, Jessica has demonstrated that she manages well with creativity and vision. She has been instrumental in developing our electronic communications strategy and is a proven partner with all areas of the campus community.”

Willett is a 1995 honors graduate of Washington and Lee where she majored in English and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

She began her career at Random House, Inc. (now PenguinRandomHouse), in New York, where she held a number of positions with the international publishing house, eventually moving into the organization’s new media ventures. She was manager of promotion and new media for Vintage/Anchor Books from 1998-2000 before being named director of new media and online marketing for the Knopf Publishing Group. She returned to her alma mater as a web writer and editor in 2002, later serving as web editor and the director of web communications.

Throughout her tenure at W&L, Willett has been instrumental in creating the university’s online presence. She has overseen two comprehensive website redesigns, implemented a University-wide web content management system and created the University’s award-winning student social media team, wluLex.

In her latest position as assistant director of communications and public affairs, she managed a team of technical and communications professionals responsible for content strategy, information architecture, website design, user support and training, social media and multimedia for the university’s websites.

Willett serves on numerous university committees and has also been active in the College Communicators Association of Virginia and the District of Columbia.

In her new role as executive director of communications and public affairs, Willett will oversee an office that comprises digital communications, news and media relations, publications and graphic design, alumni magazines, photography, videography, sports information and WLUR radio station.


Gone Fishing

One of Chattanooga’s biggest tourist attractions, the Tennessee Aquarium, has tapped businessman and 1980 Washington and Lee University graduate Keith Sanford as the institution’s fourth president and CEO.

“I’m excited,” said Keith in an interview with the Times Free Press. “It’s a way for me to give back to the community that’s been so good for me.”

Keith, an executive vice president at First Tennessee Bank, has been active in his community, serving as the chairman of the 2015 United Way Campaign and as director of the Tivoli Foundation, which aims to restore the iconic downtown Tivoli Theatre.

He noted that one of his first goals will be to raise money for the Tennessee Aquarium Freshwater Conservation Institute, a $4.5 million structure under construction on the Baylor School campus that will raise fish, including lake sturgeon and brook trout, for release into the wild.

“The aquarium, other than capital needs, is fairly self-sufficient,” said Keith. “But the conservation institute is going to need community support.”


W&L to Show the Documentary “Who Owns Water”

Washington and Lee University will have a screening of the award-winning documentary “Who Owns Water” on March 8 at 7 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The film is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker David Hanson, Washington and Lee Class of 2000.

“Who Owns Water” is a 50-minute film telling the story of a water crisis in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Hanson paddled from the source of the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola Rivers to the sea.

Florida is suing Georgia in an interstate water battle concerning the rivers in the film. Interstate lawsuits require that the U.S. Supreme Court appoint a special master to consider the various arguments and offer some form of advice.

“The water wars date back over two decades,” Hanson said. “It’s a well-rounded, liberal-arts dilemma, involving politics, law, hydrology, biology, agriculture, city planning, recreation and the full spectrum of free-market industry from giant energy corporations to family-owned oyster businesses.”

The showing is sponsored by University Lectures, the Geology Department and the Outing Club. See the film’s trailer at www.whoownswater.org.

Professor Jurgen Brauer of Georgia Regents University to Speak on Economic Aspects of Genocides at W&L on March 4

Jurgen Brauer, professor of economics in the James M. Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 4 at 3:45 p.m. in Huntley Hall 221. This event is hosted jointly by the W&L/VMI Economics Seminar Series and the Transnational Law Institute.

Brauer will speak on “Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Prevention.” His lecture is free and open to the public.

The ongoing scourge of genocide has received widespread attention from scholars—thus far with the curious exception of economists. What can economists usefully contribute to the study of genocides, other mass atrocities and their prevention?

Brauer will focus on concepts, measurements, theoretical and empirical results, and provide examples of practical implications and applications of the research that policymakers might wish to consider.

He has consulted for the World Bank, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S. National Defense University, and for the chief economist for the Office of the Comptroller in New York City. He is a former Peace fellow of the United States Institute of Peace.

Journalist David Hanson to Speak on Developing Healthy Food Movement in Low-income Communities

Journalist David Hanson will give a talk on “Breaking through Concrete: Next-level Grassroots Initiatives Developing a Healthy Food Movement in Low-income Communities” at Washington and Lee University on March 6 at 7 p.m. in the Hillel House, room 101.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by University Lectures, the Geology Department, Campus Kitchen at W&L and Nabors Service League.

Hanson, a member of the Washington and Lee Class of 2000, will relate stories of urban farming from his book of the same name. He will report on the people and communities he met while covering the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Food Grant recipients.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a year ago the availability of $9 million in funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and independent food systems.

Leyburn Library’s Author Talk Series features Chris Gavaler and Lesley Wheeler

Chris Gavaler, assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University, and Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at W&L, will discuss their latest books on March 15 at 5 p.m. in the Book Nook in Washington and Lee University’s Leyburn Library.

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

Gavaler’s latest book is “On the Origin of Superheroes: From the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1” (2015) and Wheeler’s most recent book of poems is “Radioland” (2015).

Gavaler is the author of “School for Tricksters” (2011) and “Pretend I’m Not Here” (2002). He has written 17 academic publications including book chapters and scholarly articles, and 44 literary publications including short stories and creative non-fiction. He has also written for stage and film.

Gavaler has won numerous awards and honors including Outstanding Playwright Award from the Pittsburgh New Works Festival in 2015, 2009, 2008 and 2007; Best American Short Stories of 2009; and four nominations for a Pushcart Prize.

In addition to “Radioland,” Wheeler has written six books of poetry and two scholarly books, including “The Receptionist and Other Tales” (2012); “Heterotopia” (2012); and “Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present” (2008). She’s the author of 27 essays and book chapters and 110 published poems.

Wheeler has won numerous awards and honors for her work. In 2012, she also won an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

Human Rights in Africa Film Series Continues at Washington and Lee

“Yesterday,” an Oscar-nominated movie about HIV/AIDS in the Zulu community, and “Call Me Kuchu,” a film by Malika Zouhali-Wollall and Katherine Fairfax Wright, are the next two films to be shown at Washington and Lee University. Both will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in Elrod Commons’ Stackhouse Theater.

“Yesterday” will be shown on March 1 and “Call Me Kuchu” on March 16.

The movies are being presented by W&L’s Center for International Education, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It is the third in a series of African films as part of the university’s 2015-2016 Seminar on Human Rights in Africa.

Admission is free and open to the public. A 30-minute discussion will follow the screening. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

“Yesterday” is a 2004 South African film written and directed by Darrell Roodt that explores cultural and social reactions to HIV/AIDS and divided between rural and urban environments. It is the first full-length, commercial film completely in Zulu (unrated, 96 minutes).

“Call Me Kuchu,” a documentary focusing on the struggles of the LGBT community in Uganda, follows the life of late activist David Kato. Also a 2004 film, it explores the international discourses on gender, nationalism and sexuality that converge in contemporary Uganda (unrated, 87 minutes).

Pittsburgh Professor to Speak on The Indecisive Murmur of Color

Mazviita Chirimuuta, assistant professor in history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 4 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Chirimuuta will speak on “The Indecisive Murmur of Color.” The talk is free and open to the public. The lecture is sponsored by the Philosophy Department.

“In my book, ‘Outside Color,’ I defend the idea that colors are not properties of either the objects we see, or of our inner mental states, but instead properties of the perceptual interaction between the seeing subject and the object viewed,” Chirimuuta said. “This proposal invites the objection that colors appear to be stable, intrinsic features of things around us and thus cannot be properties of an inherently changeable activity.

“In this lecture I will discuss how the apparent constancy of color can be understood according to my interactionist views. In particular, I will review some relevant findings from the psychology of color vision and relate them to a longstanding puzzle concerning our experience of perceptual constancies.”

As well as “Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy” (2015), Chirimuuta has written or co-written 10 articles, including “Psychophysical Methods and the Evasion of Introspection” (2014), in Philosophy of Science; “Extending, Changing and Explaining the Brain” (2013), in Biology and Philosophy; and “Magnitude of Perceived Change in Natural Images May be Linearly Proportional to Difference in Neuronal Fining Rate” (2010), in Seeing and Perceiving.

She is also on the adjunct faculty of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and the secondary faculty of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sidney M. B. Coulling III, S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English Emeritus, Dies at 92

Sidney Mathias Baxter Coulling III, the S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English Emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died on Feb. 22, 2016, at Kendal at Lexington. He had celebrated his 92nd birthday earlier this month. He taught for 35 years at his alma mater, from 1956 to 1991.

“When I think of Sid Coulling, I remember that he was called ‘the heart and soul’ of W&L by our former president John Wilson,” said President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “That is the perfect description. And Sid was one of the finest teachers who ever graced a classroom at Washington and Lee.”

Sidney Coulling was born on Feb. 13, 1924, in Bluefield, West Virginia, and grew up in Tazewell, Virginia. He earned a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee University (1946) and an M.A. (1949) and Ph.D. in English (1957) from the University of North Carolina. As an undergraduate, he belonged to the Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946.

A scholar of Victorian literature and of British poet Matthew Arnold, he taught at Florida State University (1949–1952) and the University of Maryland (1955–1956) before returning to his alma mater in 1956.

Coulling was named the S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English in 1983, and chair of the English Department the same year; he served as chair for three years.

He wrote a book, “Matthew Arnold and His Critics: A Study of Arnold’s Controversies” (1974), and many articles, mostly about Arnold, which he published in such journals as The Review of English Studies, Studies in Philology, Victorian Studies, Studies in English Literature and The British Studies Monitor. He also contributed many book reviews to the Roanoke Times.

He belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, the academic honor society; the Modern Language Association of America; and the National Council of English Teachers.

At W&L, Coulling coordinated a five-year program, partly funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council on Library Resources, to increase the familiarity of students and faculty with the resources of the university’s library. He also served as president of the university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter (presiding over its 60th anniversary, in 1971), as chairman of the board of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review, on the executive committee of the faculty, and on the president’s advisory committee.

For his contributions to W&L, Coulling received several honors. In 1972, the student newspaper gave him the Ring-tum Phi Award for service to students. In 1982, he was elected to honorary membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L. And 1986, he received the Dr. William Webb Pusey III Award from the Executive Committee of the Student Body as a member of the faculty or administration who has made the greatest contribution to W&L. In 1989, Coulling received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.

In another recognition of Coulling’s influence, in 1986 William C. Porth, the parent of a W&L student, established the Sidney M. B. Coulling Prize in English. It is given annually to a first-year student or sophomore for the best essay on a literary topic.

And in 1993, the Sidney M. B. Coulling Scholarship Endowment was established by the estate of Mary Esther Streng. The student recipients demonstrate the greatest promise for academic achievement, and manifest in their personal lives the sense of honor and integrity that Coulling conveyed both in and out of the classroom.

Coulling contributed to the Lexington community as well, with service on the board of directors of Stonewall Jackson Hospital from 1969 to 1974, including a year as the board president. He also belonged to the Fortnightly Club and was a longtime member of the Lexington Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon and an elder.

In 1977, Coulling spoke to the W&L Richmond alumni chapter about the importance of professors’ pursuing their own research interests. “I think it’s good for me to be on leave, and good for my students; they’re never the last to get the point. Seeing me go daily to my office, not to prepare for classes but to engage in my harmless and esoteric study, they gain a new sense of Washington and Lee’s commitment to the pursuit of knowledge.”

In 2010, he again demonstrated that commitment when he gave the opening address at Alumni Weekend, “W&L’s Legacy of the Past.” The Class of 1960, which celebrated its 50th reunion that year, had invited their former professor to speak; the class and Coulling had both begun their careers at W&L in 1956. At age 86, he gave a witty and eloquent speech — from memory, without notes.

Upon his 1991 retirement, his English Department colleagues Ed Craun and Dabney Stuart wrote: “There used to be a podium standing in Payne 21 on which the following graffito had been scrawled: ‘Sidney Coulling taught God the English language.’ Hyperbolic no doubt, like so many undergraduate utterances, the quotation captured well both Sid’s deep commitment to literature and language and the even deeper admiration in which three decades of students have held him. And still his reputation reached well beyond the confines of this campus. While he will deny it, his is a voice which is listened to with respect by Victorian scholars all across the land.”

His uncle, Sidney M. B. Coulling Jr., graduated from the W&L Law School in 1916; his brother, the late Louis Roberdeau Coulling, was a member of the W&L Classes of 1943 and 1949 Law.

Coulling is survived by his wife of nearly 58 years, Mary Greenwood Price Coulling, whom he married on June 23, 1958; their children, Margaret Coulling Miller (and her husband, Brock), Anne Baxter Coulling (and her husband, Dr. Timothy McMahon, a member of W&L’s Class of 1987) and Philip Coulling (and his wife, Sandra Hayslette); and six grandchildren, Nathaniel Tracey-Miller, Rebecca Miller, Elizabeth Miller, William McMahon, Mary Catherine McMahon and Maria Celeste Hayslette.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions go to Washington and Lee University, Lexington Presbyterian Church or the Fellowship Fund of Kendal at Lexington.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at Lexington Presbyterian Church. A reception will follow in Kendal Hall at Kendal at Lexington.

Matt Simpson’s Road to Rio When Matt Simpson '12 rang in the new year of 2016, he knew it was going to be one that would change his life.

“I get to train every day to be the best in the world in something — not for external gain, wealth or notoriety.”

mattsimpson-234x350 Matt Simpson's Road to RioMatt Simpson ’16

Matt Simpson ’12
Paralympic Athlete
Fort Wayne, Indiana

When Matt Simpson ’12 rang in the new year of 2016, he knew it was going to be one that would change his life.

“It’s a big year; it’s really here,” he said. Simpson has been working toward this year since he was 10 years old and joined his first goalball team. In September, he will represent the U.S.A. in the sport at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Goalball is a sport developed for blind and visually impaired athletes like Simpson, who has a congenital disease of the retina that leaves him unable to see anything but shadows. The three-person teams compete on a court, trying to roll a ball past each other into a net. The balls contain bells that allow the players to hear where they are and try to prevent them entering the net. Because players have varying levels of sight, all players wear blindfolds. With balls coming at players at 50 miles per hour, the sport requires a high level of physicality and agility.

The U.S. team narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Paralympics in London, and for the past four years, players worked hard to qualify for 2016. That determination has taken a step further, with Simpson and several of his teammates moving to Ft. Wayne, Ind., in January to train full time.

Being able to train together full time “is huge for us,” said Simpson, noting that top teams from China, Brazil and other countries live and train together to attain a competitive advantage.

In order to train full time, Simpson left a job with the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes in Colorado Springs, Colo., which he had held since graduating from Washington and Lee. He now has part-time status with the organization, which provides athletic opportunities in various sports including track and field, Nordic and alpine skiing, biathlon, judo, wrestling, swimming, tandem cycling, powerlifting and goalball.

As membership and outreach coordinator for USABA, Simpson promoted and advanced the cause of sports for people with visual impairments. He worked on grant writing, helped with programs for disabled veterans and children, and worked with partner organizations around the country to build programs on the local level.

“I want people to know they are not bound to a life on the couch or a life of obesity,” Simpson said. Visually impaired people “can be fit and active.”

Goalball has also provided Simpson with opportunities for world travel. The U.S.A. team takes several trips each year, often to Europe. He has competed in Toronto, Lithuania and Poland, and the team will go to Rio in May, where officials will hold “test” matches prior to the official games in September.

U.S. Paralympics is a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee. USOC provides the majority of funds for the team’s travel, entry fees, room and board, as well as a stipend to each athlete. The Paralympic games take place every four years, usually just after the Olympics and in the same host city.

A native of Atlanta, Simpson plays for the Georgia Renegades when not occupied with the national team. Not new to winning goalball titles, Simpson’s Under-19 team won an international title in 2009, and he was a member of the team that won the National Goalball championships in 2011 and 2014, advancing through a field of about 25 teams.

Simpson credits his time at W&L for developing his athleticism. He came to the university as one of the first Johnson Scholars, after spending a weekend on campus and found it a good fit for him.

A political science major, he spent a lot of time in the weight room under the guidance of Chris Schall, associate professor of physical education and director of the Fitness Center. “I told him of my desire to be a Paralympic athlete, but I knew I was not ready,” said Simpson. “He helped me develop the skills, going beyond the call of duty” for a student who wasn’t on a W&L varsity team. “He put as much into my development in the weight room” as he did for varsity athletes, and took Simpson from an “aspiring young person with a dream to one of the strongest people” on his goalball team.

Neil Cunningham, director of physical education and assistant athletic director, “also took an interest in me and helped me with drills” in the weight room, said Simpson.

Academically, Bob Strong, Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics, was Simpson’s advisor, who helped me “all the way.” W&L President Ken Ruscio also encouraged him, along with the entire politics department. “I was well supported by community and staff.”

Simpson also was a member of the Student Judicial Council for four years, serving as chairman his senior year. He was an R.A. and served on the Student Advisory Council his senior year.

Now as he prepares for the biggest year of his life, Simpson is elated. “I get to train every day to be the best in the world in something — not for external gain, wealth or notoriety,” he said. Speaking for himself and his teammates, he said, “We find it fun, and we want to be the best in the world as representatives of the U.S.A.”

Ultimately, his goal is to educate the public about the abilities of blind people. He has done a lot of outreach with schools, talking about the ways that visually impaired people can excel. “We are athletes. I train just as hard as other Olympic athletes,” he said. “I want to be the best athlete I can be who happens to be blind.”

IRS Matching Grant Helps W&L Tax Clinic Serve Low-income Taxpayers

The Tax Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law has been awarded a matching grant from the Internal Revenue Service’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic program (LITC). This is the ninth straight year that the Tax Clinic has received federal dollars to support its efforts.

The grant of $85,000 will help fund the clinic for the 2016 calendar year. This is the largest award the clinic has received from the LITC to date and brings the total federal funds awarded to the clinic since its inception to $567,760.

“The award determination follows an annual application process and an ongoing evaluation of our clinic’s work by the grant program,” said Michelle Drumbl, clinical professor of law and director of the Tax Clinic. “I am thrilled the LITC grant program continues to recognize our clinic’s work representing low-income taxpayers in Virginia.”

Law students working in the Tax Clinic provide free legal representation to low-income taxpayers in resolving their controversies with the Internal Revenue Service. The Clinic students assist taxpayers with audits and a wide array of collections issues. The clinic also represents taxpayers in tax cases before the U.S. Tax Court and in refund suits in federal district court.

The Tax Clinic serves the entire state of Virginia. At least 90% of the clients represented by the clinic are “low-income”, meaning their incomes do not exceed 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines published annually by the Department of Health and Human Services. For example, a family of four making less than $60,750 per year is eligible to use the Tax Clinic’s services.

The IRS Low Income Taxpayer (LITC) grant program is administered by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, which operates independently of any other IRS office and reports directly to Congress through the National Taxpayer Advocate.  Likewise, clinics funded by the grant program remain completely independent of and are not associated with the federal government. The LITC grant program was created as part of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.

Writer-in-Residence Poetry Reading to be March 1

The 7th Annual Washington and Lee University Writer-in-Residence Poetry Reading, featuring Lesley Wheeler, John Leland and R.T. Smith, will be March 1 at 12 p.m. in Hillel House, room 101.

The poetry reading is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College, the Glasgow Endowment and Shenandoah.

Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at W&L, has written six poetry collections and two scholarly books including “Radioland” (2015); “The Receptionist and Other Tales” (2012); “Heterotopia” (2012); and “Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present” (2008). Recent work has appeared in Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, Ecotone and Poetry.

She has held fellowships from Fulbright, the National Endowment for the Humanities and other grantors. Wheeler has won numerous awards and honors for her work. In 2012, she also won an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

Leland recently retired from the English Department at W&L where he taught literature and creative writing. A native of coastal South Carolina, he has lived in the Shenandoah Valley for 30 years and writes in poetry and essays about his experiences there.

“Learning the Valley” (2010); “Aliens in the Backyard: Plant and Animal Imports into America” (2005); and “Porcher’s Creek: Lives between the Tides” (2001) are among his non-fiction books about landscape, flora, fauna and culture. His collection of poetry is “Fireflies.”

Smith, editor of Shenandoah and W&L’s writer-in-residence, he has also served as writer-in-residence at VMI, Auburn, Converse and Appalachian State. He has received the Library of Virginia Award for Poetry twice and was awarded the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize in 2014.

His most recent collections of poetry are “In the Night Orchard: New and Selected Poems” (2014) “The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor” (2013); and “Sherburne: Stories” (2011). He has published in various journals including Asheville Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner and Southern Humanities Review.


Katharine Maus, Specialist in Renaissance Literature, to Lecture at W&L

Katharine Maus, the James Branch Cabell Professor of English at the University of Virginia, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the Hillel House, room 101.

Maus will speak on “Caesar’s Will.” Her talk is free and open to the public. Her appearance is a joint event sponsored by the Medieval and Renaissance Studies as part of Shakespeare 2016!.

Many critics have noted that Shakespeare seems to develop a changed, apparently more profound conception of human nature in the plays he writes at the turn of the 17th century, as he finishes his cycle of history plays and begins writing a series of great tragedies. They agree, too, that Julius Caesar is the play in which this new conception of character begins to emerge.

“In this lecture I argue that this change and deepening is related to, and perhaps inspired by, differences between the Roman and English ways of determining inheritance, succession and legacy.” Maus said. “Such issues might seem dry legal matters, but in fact, they define a person and his affiliations physically and temporally, and specify the way a person’s agency may be imagined and legally enforced.”

Maus, a specialist in Renaissance literature, is the author of “Being and Having in Shakespeare” (2013); and “Inwardness and Theater in the English Renaissance” (1995) and “Ben Jonson and the Roman Frame of Mind” (1985).

She is editor of “Four Revenge Tragedies of the English Renaissance” and coeditor of “The Norton Shakespeare,” “The Norton Anthology of English Literature,” “English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology,” and “Soliciting Interpretation: Literary Theory and Renaissance Texts.”

Maus has been awarded five fellowships, including National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, Guggenheim and Folger fellowships, and won the Roland Bainton Prize for Inwardness and Theater.

Professor Robert Frank to Lecture on Passion within Reason at W&L

Robert H. Frank, the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and professor of economics at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 3 at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. The event is part of the university’s yearlong Questioning Passion series.

Frank will speak on “Passion Within Reason: Human Emotions and Social Interactions.” His talk is free and open to the public.

“Frank will talk about how introducing the role of emotions and moral intuition into the realm of economic decision-making provides a deeper and more complete understand of human behavior allowing passion to play a role in the everyday choices we make,” said Arthur H. Goldsmith, the Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics at W&L.

Frank was an economic columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2015. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, a public policy organization working for an America where all have an equal say in its democracy and an equal chance in its economy.

He is the author of 13 books, including “Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy” (forthcoming, April 2016); “The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition and the Commons Good” (2012); “Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class” (2007); and “Principles of Economics” (ed. with Ben Bernanke, 2001). The sixth edition of “Principles of Economics” and the third brief edition were published in 2016.

“The Winner-Take-All Society” (ed., 1995) received a Critic’s Choice Award, was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and was included in Business Week’s list of the 10 best books of 1995.

He is a co-recipient of the 2004 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He received the Cornell’s Stephen Russell Distinguished teaching award in 2004, 2010 and 2012, and the Apple Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005.

Executive-in-Residence at W&L Shannon Izquierdo to Speak on Delivering Unique Value

Shannon Izquierdo, manager of sales enablement at FedEx, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hillel House room 101, as the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics Executive in Residence.

She will speak on “Delivering Unique Value.” The event is free and open to the public.

Izquierdo, W&L Class of 1997, manages a FedEx Solutions team responsible for enabling the sales team with the right content to sell to customers. She will speak on the challenges of delivering unique value for customers, the FedEx sales force and herself as a leader.

Her FedEx career began in the IT sourcing area. After working as a usability consultant and then for Harrah’s Entertainment as an eProcurement manager, she returned to FedEx in 2002 as part of a customer-consulting team. She was a project leader on programs including division-wide professional development, global product launches and international-sales support before stepping into her current role.

Izquierdo is a graduate of the FedEx Purple Pipeline program, an exclusive training system designed to broaden select employees’ leadership abilities and their understanding of corporate objectives.

While at W&L, she will interact with students and visit classes. She will also devote time to one-on-one sessions with students in the Career Development office and meet with members of the Student Consulting organization.

BLSA Wins Small Chapter of the Year, Mock Trial Headed to Nationals

The Washington and Lee School of Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA) mock trial team has moved one step closer to repeating as national champions. The team advanced to nationals following a second place finish at the mid-Atlantic Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, held earlier this month.

In addition, the school’s BLSA chapter was recognized as “small chapter of the year” by the national organization.

W&L fielded two teams for the mock trial competition, and students also competed in the Frederick Douglas Moot Court competition at the regional conference, held in Philadelphia Feb. 3-7.

The advancing mock trial team includes Tejkaran Baines ‘17L, Robinson Hubbard ‘16L, Rennie Laryea ‘17L, and Adrianne Williams ‘17L. Team coach, Prof. Beth Belmont, noted that this was the first mock trial competition for these students.

The team will head to Baltimore in March for the national competition.

This is the fifth year teams from W&L have competed in the BLSA moot court and mock trial competitions. W&L teams have advanced to nationals every year.

W&L's Strong on the Trump Phenomena in the Roanoke Times

The following opinion piece by Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Feb. 17, 2016, edition of the Roanoke Times and is reprinted here by permission.

The Trumpery before Trump

by Robert A. Strong

Though the Trump phenomena in this year’s presidential election is unlike anything we have seen before, it is probably something we should have expected.

For a very long time, candidates and commentators have criticized the American presidential selection process. The complaints are familiar. The election season lasts too long. It is filled with artificial news: gossip about exploratory committees, donor interest, strategist hires, and oddly timed vacations to Iowa.

For months and months before anyone attends a caucus or casts a vote, candidates compete for money, endorsements, high rankings in meaningless straw polls and national media attention. The process is so long and so vapid that it is hard to take seriously, even though CNN manages to announce breaking news on a regular basis.

The early candidate debates are not debates. There is no Lincoln / Douglas exchange on the preeminent issue of the day. Instead, there is a crowded stage, a hyped up audience, rapid fire questions from media mavens, and pre-packaged sound bites that trigger brief rebuttals and awkward interruptions from candidates who have not been heard from lately. This is followed by live interviews in a crowded room of campaign spokespersons all simultaneously insisting that their candidate won.

Actually winning one of these debates involves spending over an hour and a half in front of television cameras without saying anything that will embarrass you for longer than a single news cycle.

In between the debates there is a constant and desperate search for any piece of information that might indicate that someone is rising, or someone else is falling, in the imaginary election that takes place in a steady stream of polls.

It is now so common to say that media coverage of presidential candidates resembles a “horse race” that online flashcards for the AP American Government exam advise high school students that some reference to horses running in a circle is likely to be the right answer to a multiple choice question about presidential politics.

The early contests when voters begin to express themselves take place in two small states that are utterly unrepresentative of the rest of the nation. The horses run on some very strange tracks.

While all of this early activity can be superficial, and sometimes silly, prospective candidates with no chance of ever winning join the fray as an easy way to garner publicity. Pat Paulsen, the comedian from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, got more than a thousand votes in the 1972 New Hampshire primary, and ran again in 1996. Pat Robertson, the televangelist, got almost 15,000 votes when he ran in the Granite State primary.

The ballots in New Hampshire include multiple listings for David Duke, the Ku Klux Klaner, and Lyndon LaRouche, the conspiracy peddler. Harold Stassen, a plausible candidate early in his political career, continued to run for the presidency long after anyone remembered who he was. Craig “Tax Freeze” Freis (a New Hampshire native who went to court to change his middle name from Raymond to Tax Freeze) got 0.7 percent of the Democratic vote in the 2012 primary.

These, of course, are the obscure contenders, but the newsworthy candidates are often not much better.

George Will, the dean of conservative commentators, has written that the “Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.”

This quote comes out of the archives. Will was writing about a normal presidential election cycle, not one with Donald Trump taking victory laps after winning big in New Hampshire.

There is a history here. Complaining about problems in our presidential selection system has a long pedigree. The blame for how we got here is shared equally by both political parties along with the media, the donors, the highly paid campaign advisers, and the candidates who tolerate the odd things that happen on the way to the White House.

Donald Trump is not really an anomaly. If you build a circus, you shouldn’t be surprised when a clown comes along and steals the show.


Follow Me

With the 2016 presidential campaign well underway, we’ve found several Washington and Lee University alumni on social media who are either covering the campaign or part of it. If you’re a campaign staff member or a journalist covering a candidate, please let us know, and we’ll add you to the list:

Jessica Hopper ’08 (blogged about earlier here) is a digital reporter for ABC News and is covering Sen. Ted Cruz. You can follow her @jesshop23.

Tweeting for Politico is chief White House correspondent Mike Allen ’86 (@mikeallen). His Politico blog, Playbook, also offers campaign analysis.

Meanwhile, as communications director for Cruz, Rachael Slobodien ’06 is offering her perspective @rsslobodien.

And finally, Jennifer Agiesta ’00, director of polling and election analytics at CNN, chimes in regularly @‪jennagiesta.

W&L to Show “Moolaadé” as Part of Human Rights in Africa Film Series

“Moolaadé,” the 2004 film depicting the controversial issue of female circumcision, will be shown Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Washington and Lee University’s Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

The movie is being presented by W&L’s Center for International Education with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It is the third in a series of African films as part of the university’s 2015-2016 Seminar on Human Rights in Africa.

Admission is free and open to the public. A 30-minute discussion will follow the screening. Complimentary refreshments will be served. The movie is unrated and 124 minutes.

Directed by Senegalese writer and director Ousbane Sembène, “Moolaadé” argues strongly against the practice of female circumcision. It is a common practice in a number of African countries from Egypt to Nigeria.

Ruscio to Become VFIC President in April 2017

The Board of Trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) announced today (Wednesday, Feb. 17) that Kenneth P. Ruscio, the president of Washington and Lee University, will become the next president of VFIC on April 1, 2017.

Ruscio is stepping down as Washington and Lee’s president at the end of this calendar year and will be succeeded by William C. (Will) Dudley, provost of Williams College, who was elected by the W&L Board of Trustees on Feb. 12.

Ruscio, who will become the seventh president in the history of the VFIC, succeeds Tom Morris, who served from 2010 to 2016. At the same time, Mary-Beth Johnson, who has served VFIC as vice president for 11 years, has been named the organization’s chief operating officer.

Founded in 1952, the VFIC’s mission is to advance the distinctive values and strengths of its 15 smaller-enrollment, undergraduate, residential Virginia member colleges, including Washington and Lee. The VFIC works to secure financial support from the private sector, increase visibility for the sector, facilitate innovative and collaborative initiatives between the colleges, and support initiatives that ensure that this personalized educational experience remains an affordable choice for tomorrow’s citizen-leaders.

“We are very fortunate to have Ken as our next president,” said VFIC Board Chair Thurston Moore, “and look forward to the leadership and strategic guidance he will provide as we continue the important work and continued success of the VFIC. We have selected a strong leader for a strong organization.”

Moore added: “Mary-Beth’s new role is recognition of the contributions she has made to the organization over the last decade. Her level of responsibility in operations of the organization has increased through the years, and with her leadership we expect to have a smooth transition.”

Ruscio has served as the 26th president of Washington and Lee, his alma mater, for 10 years, and led numerous major initiatives at the Lexington school. Under Ruscio’s leadership, W&L completed a historic $542.5 million capital campaign that resulted in the renovation and restoration of the Colonnade, which comprises the university’s signature campus buildings; the creation of several new academic initiatives; the development of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity; and a significant expansion of the financial aid program, which has resulted in the removal of loans from all financial aid packages and the creation of the W&L Promise to guarantee free tuition to any admitted undergraduate student with family income of $75,000 or below.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to work on behalf of Virginia’s independent colleges and universities,” Ruscio said. “Independent higher education plays a critically important role in the commonwealth, and I look forward to working with the VFIC board and the 15 college presidents as we continue to strengthen that role.”

A distinguished scholar of democratic theory and public policy, Ruscio earned his B.A. in politics from Washington and Lee in 1976, and a master of public administration (1978) and a Ph.D. in public affairs and public administration (1983), both from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

He held teaching and research positions at UCLA, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Kansas before returning to his alma mater in 1987. Between 1987 and 2002, he held staff and faculty positions as professor of politics, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and dean of freshmen. From 2002 to 2006, Ruscio served as dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.

Active in national higher education circles, Ruscio has served on the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.

In announcing Ruscio’s appointment, Moore also paid tribute to Tom Morris’ six years as VFIC president.

“Under Tom Morris’ leadership, the VFIC was instrumental in increasing the average distribution to the member institutions, assisting the member colleges to begin working collaboratively on instructional technology and the delivery of language courses across institutional lines, and securing vital scholarship support,” said Moore. “We are indebted to Tom’s vision and commitment to the organization and the 15 colleges and universities that make up the VFIC consortium.”

In addition to W&L, VFIC member institutions are Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, the University of Richmond and Virginia Wesleyan College.


Larry Stene: It’s Personal

For his last exhibition before he retires from Washington and Lee University as a professor of studio art, Larry Stene has sorted through 43 years of work and chosen pieces that tell a story.

“A lot of my work is deeply personal, and I’ve always created art for myself,” said Stene. “I wouldn’t have spent hundreds of hours on these pieces if they didn’t mean something to me. There’s nothing in this show that I wouldn’t want to keep for myself.”

The exhibition runs Feb. 15 – March 19, with a lecture by Stene on Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall at W&L. The talk is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception.

Featuring digital prints and sculpture, his art reflects his lively observations and interpretations of his immediate environment — his family, multiple rescue dogs, a rural home, students, colleagues, friends and travel. Though the intent is suitably serious and contemplative, many of the works are seriously humorous as well.

There is also a packrat element implied by multiple layers, décollage, texture and intense color, all of which is inspired by Stene’s boxes of assorted treasures, including birch bark fragments, wallpaper debris, rusted sheet metal, scrap leather, old photographs, Hawaiian shirts, antique toys and photographs of peeling billboards. Throughout his 50 years of making art, Stene’s work has remained both thematically consistent — often invoking age and gentle, unsolvable mysteries — and multifaceted, owing in large part to his definitive mastery of multiple materials and techniques.

Stene began his art education at Minnesota State University at Moorhead and received his M.F.A in sculpture from the University of Illinois, Champaign, in 1973. He taught at North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University at Bemidji before coming to Washington and Lee in 1982.

According to Stene, “Making art is personal — it grows and changes with time. My one-person exhibit is actually a group show — a gathering of my younger and older selves. It is about stepping back and enjoying who I am and what I make. My most recent sculpture, drawings and prints will happily share the gallery with the work of the relative neophytes.”

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Marisa Charley Recognized as Second-Year National Bonner Fellow by the Bonner Foundation

Marisa Charley, coordinator of student service leadership and research with the Shepherd Poverty Program at Washington and Lee University, was recognized as a second-year National Bonner Fellow for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.

“Being a fellow has offered me the opportunity to explore my personal and professional development in new ways,” Charley said. “The chance to work more closely with the Bonner National Network has provided me with enriching conversations and experiences, as well as sharpening my skills around resource development, large scale public speaking and presenting, and articulating the unique work happening at Washington and Lee.”

At W&L, the Bonner Program integrates community-based research into the student developmental curriculum. Each Bonner in the class of 2016 will have completed a community-based research project on issues from education to health and nutrition which are intended to match a student’s academic and professional interests with community need.

“My work at W&L has helped to frame my sense of the opportunities and challenges around effective and responsible community engagement work,” said Charley. “This has helped me to think critically about the national scope of community engagement and how we can continue to align our work with best practices.

“I believe my work as a two-year national fellow will help me to leverage the vast knowledge of my peers and experts in our field to impact our work at W&L, in the Rockbridge area and at the campuses I have the opportunity to work with nationally.”

“Marisa brings years of experience with Bonner and a passion for transformative community engagement to our program and our University,” said Howard Pickett, the director of the Shepherd Poverty Program. “In addition to her tireless work with students and community partners as coordinator of our Bonner Program and Community-Academic Research Alliance, Marisa has also spearheaded our community’s AmeriCorps VISTA project to address local hunger and health issues. Her experience and talent as a Bonner Fellow remains invaluable to University efforts to enhance community-based learning opportunities that connect our students with community agencies.

W&L’s Mock Convention Predicts Trump Will Win GOP Nomination

The 2016 Washington and Lee University Mock Convention came to a close on Saturday, Feb. 13, predicting that Donald J. Trump will win the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

The prediction, a result of years of research conducted by 56 student state and territory chairs, five regional chairs, and two national analysts, followed a lively roll call, during which each delegation indicated the allocation of its votes.

The final tally was Donald J. Trump: 1320, Ted Cruz: 652, Marco Rubio: 399, Jeb Bush: 72, John Kasich: 19, Rand Paul: 3, Ben Carson: 5, Carly Fiorina: 1, Mike Huckabee: 1

Trump accepted the nomination via telephone shortly after the prediction was announced. “I’ve been hearing about for many years, and I know your track record is extraordinary, better than anyone else’s,” he said. “This is such a great honor.”

The students’ track record of accuracy—they have been correct in their predictions 19 times out of 25—is a reflection of their organized and thorough research efforts. State and territory delegations are charged with conducting extensive research to predict the eventual nomination of a candidate. The delegations work in conjunction with national and regional specialists using the most up-to-date poll numbers and political analyses. Students work closely with some of the most influential political operatives in every state to get the most accurate information possible.

Along with the prediction, Mock Convention attempts to create the most realistic convention atmosphere possible. The students followed the Republican Party’s rules for its upcoming national convention in Cleveland, and created a meticulously researched mock platform that predicts what the students think the Republican Party will focus on during the presidential campaign.

Mock Convention kicked off in Lexington on Thursday evening, Feb. 11, with a debate on “The Ethics of Citizenship,” sponsored by W&L’s Mudd Center for Ethics. Students participated in the Delegates’ Parade through downtown Lexington on Friday morning before the convention was called to order.

The convention itself was divided into four sessions, with prominent speakers at each session, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), former Republican National Convention Chairman Ed Gillespie, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, and others.

In his keynote address on Friday night, Cheney congratulated W&L on its reputation as an accurate predictor of presidential nominees. “I’ve been in politics long enough to know this: If you want to see where a presidential election is headed, the place to be is the Washington and Lee Mock Convention.”

General Chair Andrew McCaffery ’16, who has spent the last three and a half years involved with the effort, noted the significance of Mock Con for the student body. “Mock Convention is an opportunity for us, the students of Washington and Lee, to learn what we might not learn in any University classroom, and to show others that we do care about citizenship and the electoral process.”


Jim Baldwin ’83 Elected to W&L Board of Trustees

Jim Baldwin, executive vice president and general counsel for Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., Dallas, was elected to Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees on Feb. 12, at the board’s winter meeting.

Baldwin holds a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee (1983, cum laude) and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University (1986).

At Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS), Baldwin oversees all legal issues for the company, and has played a key role in the company’s growth, major acquisitions and restructurings. He was involved in the spin-off of DPS from London-based Cadbury Schweppes plc as a publicly traded company in 2008. Previously, he played a central role in consolidating the operations of Snapple Beverage Corp., Mott’s Inc. and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc. into Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, as well as the subsequent acquisition of Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Bottling Group and several other bottling and distribution businesses. He also helped lead the acquisition of several of DPS’s leading brands.

Baldwin joined the company in 1997 as assistant general counsel, where he supported company initiatives to strengthen the company’s bottling network and route to market. The following year, he was promoted to general counsel for Mott’s Inc., in Stamford, Connecticut, where he oversaw all legal aspects of the Mott’s business. In June 2002, he relocated to Dallas to head up the legal department at Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc. as senior vice president and general counsel. He was promoted to his current role a year later. Prior to DPS and Cadbury Schweppes, Baldwin was a partner in the Dallas office of the Houston-based law firm of Hutcheson & Grundy. He began his law career with the firm of Berman, Mitchell, Yeager and Gerber.

Baldwin has served the Dallas community as a member and past president of the Dallas Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and he is on the Law School Advisory Board of Southern Methodist University.

Baldwin has served Washington and Lee in many capacities, including as class agent, member of his reunion committee, member of the Dallas Alumni Chapter, interviewer for the Alumni Admissions Program, alumni career mentor and a member of the Williams School Board of Advisors. While a student, he belonged to Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Susan, and their daughters, Marie (a member of W&L’s Class of 2019) and Sarah.


Will Dudley Named 27th President of Washington and Lee University

William C. (Will) Dudley, provost and professor of philosophy at Williams College, will be the next president of Washington and Lee University.

W&L’s Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dudley as the university’s 27th president during its meeting in Lexington today (Feb. 12, 2016). Dudley will assume his duties on Jan. 1, 2017, succeeding Kenneth P. Ruscio ’76, who announced in May 2015 his intention to step down from the presidency, and who will remain in office until Dec. 31, 2016.

“Will Dudley possesses a blend of experience in, and commitment to, the distinctive liberal arts education that we prize at Washington and Lee,” said J. Donald Childress ’70, of Atlanta, rector of the board and a member of the search committee. “We were fortunate to attract an extraordinarily strong pool of well-qualified candidates for the presidency, and Will emerged as the unanimous choice of the committee, which was impressed by his intellect, his skills as a communicator, his many achievements both in the classroom and the administration at Williams, and his passion for the power of the liberal arts.”

Craig Owens, a W&L trustee from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and a 1976 graduate of the university, chaired the 15-member search committee. Owens praised the committee for its dedication to the process.

“We knew at the outset that we faced a difficult task in finding someone to succeed Ken Ruscio as president and maintain the university’s strong momentum,” said Owens. “Will impressed us all with his record of achievements as a teacher and scholar and with his collaborative leadership style. We are pleased to introduce him to the university community, and we are confident he will serve W&L well.”

As Williams’s provost since 2011, Dudley has overseen operations that directly support the college’s academic mission, allocating budgets and positions and undertaking strategic initiatives. He supervises the directors of Admission, Financial Aid, the College Libraries, Information Technology, the Science Center, Institutional Research, the Williams College Museum of Art and the Zikha Center for Environmental Initiatives. He has been intimately involved in aligning fundraising efforts with the college’s needs, including establishing priorities for Teach It Forward: The Campaign for Williams, which was launched in October 2015 with a goal of $650 million.

A native of Virginia, born in Charlottesville and raised in Arlington, Dudley received his B.A. in mathematics and philosophy, magna cum laude, from Williams in 1989, and an M.A. and a Ph.D., both in philosophy, from Northwestern University. He joined the Williams faculty in 1998. His area of expertise is German idealism, from Kant to Hegel. He is the author of two books, “Understanding German Idealism” (2007) and “Hegel, Nietszsche and Philosophy: Thinking Freedom” (2002). He is also the editor of volumes on Kant and Hegel and has published numerous scholarly articles.

“I am honored to be asked to lead Washington and Lee,” said Dudley. “It is an extraordinary liberal arts institution, and I am inspired by its long tradition of excellence, spanning more than two and a half centuries, and by its commitment to the idea that we most truly honor our past when we draw upon its strengths in innovative ways that serve the future. I admire its faculty, accomplished scholars who engage with students not only as teachers but also as mentors and friends.

“Washington and Lee students are to be commended for their dedication to the Honor System. The culture of trust, respect and freedom that it sustains is deeply appealing to me and critically important at this particular moment in American higher education.”

As an undergraduate at Williams, Dudley was captain of the water polo team, a member of the swimming and diving team, and the recipient of a Herschel Smith Fellowship to study at Cambridge University from 1989 to 1990. He worked from 1990 to 1993 for AES Corp. before pursing graduate studies at Northwestern.

He has received fellowships from the Williams College Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Humboldt Foundation. He served as the Gaudino Scholar at Williams from 2010 to 2011, a presidential appointment to lead the Robert L. Gaudino Memorial Fund and to encourage curricular innovation and experiential learning at the college.

Dudley serves as a trustee and vice-chair of the board at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the public liberal arts college for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. He received a gubernatorial appointment to that board in 2010 and became the vice chair in 2015. He also served as president of the Williamstown Community Chest from 2007 to 2009 and served on the board of that non-profit for six years.

He is the father of two children, Nicholas K. (Cole), 17, and Elizabeth K. (Ella), 15.

In addition to Owens, the chair, and Childress, rector of the board, the 15-member search committee comprised Dana J. Bolden ’89, W&L trustee, Atlanta, Georgia; Johanna E. Bond, W&L professor of law; Mary C. Choksi, W&L trustee, Washington, D.C.; Blair Hixon Davis ’94, W&L trustee, Irvine, California; Waller T. Dudley ’74, ’79L, W&L executive director of alumni affairs and emeritus trustee; James D. Farrar Jr. ’74, secretary of the university and senior assistant to the president; Mason Grist ’18, president of the W&L Executive Committee of the Student Body; Janine M. Hathorn, W&L athletics director and professor of physical education, athletics and recreation; Helen I’Anson, John T. Perry Professor of Biology and Research Science at W&L; Michael R. McAlevey ’86, W&L trustee, Cincinnati, Ohio; Marshall B. Miller Jr. ’71, W&L trustee, San Antonio, Texas; Angela M. Smith, W&L’s Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics, professor of philosophy and director of the Mudd Center for Ethics; and Robert A. Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at W&L.

More About President-Elect Dudley:


A Conversation with Congressman Bob Goodlatte Congressman and Mock Convention Speaker Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Reflects on the Experience of Mock Convention

Congressman and Mock Convention Speaker Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Reflects on the Experience of Mock Convention

“Not only is it a valuable, real-world educational experience, but it’s something that no student who participates will ever forget.”

goodlatte-350x234 A Conversation with Congressman Bob GoodlatteRep. Bob Goodlatte (Rep.-Va.), a 1977 graduate of the Law School

Representative Bob Goodlatte is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Virginia’s sixth district. Rep. Goodlatte has been a member of Congress since 1993. He has been the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee since 2013. He has attended past conventions, and spoke most recently during the 2012 Convention Weekend. He is a 1977 graduate of the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Representative Goodlatte spoke during Session Two on Friday, February 12th at 7:00 p.m. Watch the session live.

For 108 years now, Mock Convention has been a significant event in the lives of W&L students. Why do you think it is so enduring?

I’ve never experienced an event quite like the Mock Convention. It’s a massive undertaking. Not only is it a valuable, real-world educational experience, but it’s something that no student who participates will ever forget. It’s the involvement of those students that has kept this event going for 108 years. The success of the Mock Convention is a testament to the generations of W&L students who have worked to continue this proud tradition.

What are the main benefits you want students to gain from their involvement with this year’s Mock Con? How does Mock Con prepare students for their roles as informed citizens? For careers in politics?

There is nothing more important to the political process than engagement. I think we’ve seen that the youth vote can have a significant impact on the results, and I’m hopeful that the Mock Convention will help spark a lifelong involvement — or at least interest — in the political process. For those thinking about careers in politics, I can’t think of a better setting in which to get your feet wet.

How does Mock Con compare to the real thing?

It’s remarkably similar. It truly feels like the Republican National Convention, just on a smaller scale and located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

What are your memories of your interactions with students during your previous appearances as a member of Congress at Mock Con?

It’s the students that make this event the success that it is, and it’s quite impressive to see all of these young people working together. I’ve enjoyed talking to them during my time at the Mock Convention. I’ve always been struck by the level of professionalism and commitment. They want to be there to participate, and they are really into it! I think that’s a great sign for the future of politics.

W&L's Mock Convention Featured on WMRA

Mock Convention leaders Andrew McCaffery ’16, Randy Karlson ’16, John Crum ’17 and Kevin Ortiz ’16 sat down with WMRA’s Jessie Knadler on Feb. 9 to discuss the convention’s history, the research process, and the challenges facing this year’s students in making their nomination.

You can listen to the archived broadcast online.

“Washington in Glory” Exhibit Opens at W&L Watson Pavilion

An exhibition of  late-18th and early-9th century ceramics honoring George Washington’s presidency and death runs now through October at Washington and Lee University’s Watson Pavilion.

“Washington in Glory: Comemmorating the First President on English Creamware,” includes objects on loan from Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library’s collection of American decorative arts and the Watson Pavilion’s own pieces. The jugs and bowls produced 1785–1815 are decorated with images of Washington that glorify his military exploits, political leadership, and character.

Admission to the Watson Pavilion and exhibitis free and open to the public, Mondays-Saturdays from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

As the commander-in-chief who won the American Revolution, served as president of the Constitutional Convention and became the first President of the United States, Washington was, in the words of his eulogizer, Col. Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countryman.” Americans showed their reverence for Washington by commissioning paintings, prints, and objects decorated with his image.

“Every American considers it his sacred duty to have a likeness of Washington in his home, just as we have images of God’s saints,” a visiting Russian diplomat wrote in 1811.


Craig Wood '84L Receives 2016 William J. Brennan Jr. Award

Craig Wood, a member of the law class of 1984 and a partner in the firm of McGuireWoods, has received the William J. Brennan Jr. Award from the National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law. The award recognizes Wood for his 30-year career as a lawyer and for more than two decades of teaching in the program.

Wood is a partner in his firm’s labor and employment practice. He regularly defends businesses, higher education institutions and school boards in a variety of employment and regulatory compliance matters. He tries cases in state and federal courts in Virginia, and handles appeals in the Virginia and U.S. Supreme Courts, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He regularly handles employment matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and other state and federal agencies.

He has served as a professor of practice at W&L Law since 2009, teaching a practice simulation on higher education law.

The Brennan Award was instituted in 1987 in honor of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr., who served on the court from 1956 to 1990. The honorees — who include judges, lawyers in private practice and public officials — are recognized for exceptional trial skills and contributions to advocacy education and the legal profession.

Previous honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; former U.S. District Judge Robert Merhige Jr., known for his desegregation rulings; famed litigator David Boies; and civil rights lawyer Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project. Last year’s recipients were Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and Fairfax trial lawyer Kenneth W. Curtis.

W&L Alumni Named to Birmingham’s Top 40 Under 40

The Birmingham Business Journal has named two Washington and Lee University alumni to its 40 Under 40 list for 2016.

As CEO of Momentum Telecom, Bill Fox’05 has helped grow the firm into a national, industry-leading provider of business voice service, increasing its revenue by nearly 500 percent in less than three years. “Bill is a tremendous asset to our organization, and the growth we have experienced since he joined Momentum reflects the strength of his leadership,” Momentum Telecom Chair Elizabeth Pharo stated in a release posted on the company’s website.

Bill received an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in business administration and accounting from W&L. He is an active volunteer with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, serving as the board president of the Alabama/NW Florida chapter.

Joining Bill on the 40 Under 40 list is Bebe Goodrich ’07, who founded Cantata Coffee in 2012 and later rebranded it as , which offers some classic specialty coffee recipes.

A politics major, Bebe worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA-05) from 2007 to 2010, specializing in tax and financial policy. She then moved to Birmingham, to work for a non-profit, before launching her start-up.

Shenandoah Announces the Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review is looking for Virginia poets to submit their work for the 2016 Graybeal-Gowen Prize. This annual prize awards $500 to a writer born in Virginia, with current residence in Virginia or one who lived in Virginia for what they consider a substantial amount of time. Current members of the Washington and Lee community are not eligible.

The submission period for this year’s Graybeal-Gowen Prize is March 1 through April 1, 2016. Shenandoah will consider up to three poems per author of 50 lines or less, and the winning poem will be published in a future edition of Shenandoah.

Previous year’s winners include: Nancy Schoenberger of Williamsburg, Virginia, with her poem “London Foundling Hospital;” Judith McCombs, currently of Bethesda, Maryland, with her poem “The Minister’s Wife Seeks Patrick McKommie’s Advice;” and Margaret Mackinnon of Falls Church, Virginia, with her poem “Writing On the Window.”

Contestants should send one word file of each poem with contact information in the upper right-hand corner, and a brief biographical note confirming eligibility as a Virginian, to the submittable link on Shenandoah’s website. No entry fee is required.

The Graybeal-Gowen Prize is dedicated to Howerton Gowen (W&L ’30), a lifelong lover of poetry. The prize is donated by Priscilla Gowen-Graybeal and her husband, James (W&L ’49).

For more information, visit shenandoahliterary.org/graybeal-gowen

Casey, Richardson: “A Path Forward for Coal Country”

Jim Casey, associate professor of economics at Washington and Lee University, co-authored a Feb. 5 opinion piece, “A path forward for Coal Country,” with Jeremy Richardson, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in the Bristol Herald-Courier. In the piece, the two argue that the market for coal is waning, and that “we must find pragmatic energy solutions that can help the southwest region transition to a future without coal.”

Louis W. Hodges, Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics Emeritus at Washington and Lee, Dies at 83

Louis Wendell Hodges, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Professor of Journalism Ethics Emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died yesterday, Feb. 8, from complications of a severe head injury he received in a fall six years ago. He was 83. Hodges taught religion and ethics at W&L for 43 years.

“With his thoughtful and visionary incorporation of ethics into all aspects of our liberal arts curriculum, Lou embodied principles and values that we hold dear at W&L,” said President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “He made a lasting impact that we will uphold and build upon for years to come.”

Louis Hodges was born on Jan. 24, 1933, in Eupora, Mississippi. He obtained a B.A. in history from Millsaps College (1954) and a B.D. (1957) and Ph.D. (1960) in theological studies from the Duke Divinity School at Duke University. His dissertation was “A Christian Analysis of Selected Contemporary Theories of Racial Prejudice.”

In 1960, Hodges started out at W&L teaching religion; he became the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Bible in 1987.

In 1975, he expanded his sphere of interest to found and direct the Society and the Professions Program, which allowed undergraduates in business, journalism, law and medicine to study applied ethics. As part of that program, he started annual two-day institutes that brought practitioners in those four areas to campus to work together with students on case studies. The institutes often featured keynote speakers of national renown, and those lectures were published in an annual volume. He also established the Summer Institute for Executives, which related the humanities to contemporary business issues and their ethical implications.

After the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded an endowed professorship to W&L, Hodges joined the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; he became the first holder of that professorship in 1997. He retired from the university in 2003.

Among his many professional involvements were the Association for Education in Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Christian Ethics, and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

In 1969, he published a book, “The Christian and His Decisions: An Introduction to Christian Ethics,” co-authored with Harmon L. Smith. He contributed articles and reviews to such publications as Religion in Life, Youth Teacher and Counselor, Christian Advocate and The American Review. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics.

At W&L, he served on several committees that encompassed such topics as the curriculum and coeducation, and advised the University Fellowship of Christian Concern and the University Christian Association. He was faculty advisor to the latter group in 1961, when its plan to invite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to campus was rejected by the Board of Trustees.

He had been a Gurney Harris Kearns Fellow in Religion at Duke University; a University Fellow at the University of Virginia, studying Asian religion; and a fellow at the Hastings Center, which focuses on bioethics and the public interest. While holding a J. William Fulbright Lectureship at Osmani University, in Hyderabad, India, he lectured on the ethics of journalism at 14 Indian universities. In 1986, he won a Fellowship for Excellence in the Teaching of Journalism Ethics from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Active in his community, Hodges served on the Virginia State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1968 to 1974; chaired the Lexington-Rockbridge Council on Human Relations from 1965 to 1968; and served as first vice president of the board of directors for the Lexington-Rockbridge United Fund in 1972.

He served as president of the Rockbridge Area Housing Corp. from 1968 to 1974, the organization responsible for the low-income housing development on Diamond Hill known as Thompson Court. Hodges also advised local citizens during the establishment of the Rockbridge Area Hospice.

A man of many interests, Hodges was an avid hunter and skilled gunsmith and thoroughly enjoyed beekeeping. An ordained Methodist minister, he performed many weddings and funerals and served as a guest pastor in churches throughout Rockbridge County.

For W&L’s baccalaureate address in 1982 — one of several that he delivered — Hodges talked to the graduating seniors about faith. “It is . . . our faith at Washington and Lee . . . that knowledge is never merely an end in itself. Knowledge is useful and must be used as an essential means to meet human needs.”

He is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Helen Davis Hodges; his sons, John David Hodges (and his wife, Linda, and her children) and George Kenneth Hodges (and his wife, Nina, and their daughter, Christine); seven great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, Lexington.

The Roanoke Times published a warm tribute to Prof. Hodges, which you can read online.

And the Society of Christian Ethics has published the tribute that Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus, delivered at Hodges’ funeral.


W&L Law Professor David Baluarte Awarded Fulbright for Statelessness Study

Washington and Lee law professor David Baluarte has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to study the stateless population in Argentina. Baluarte will conduct his research at the University of Buenos Aires Law School, where he also will teach refugee and asylum law in the immigration clinic while conducting his research.

With the ratification of two conventions in the 1950s, Argentina made an international commitment to protect refugees and the stateless, those who have no country of nationality and are often condemned to roam the globe without the protection of any government. Over 5000 refugees and asylum seekers from 65 different countries reside in Argentina, making it one of the largest systems of refugee protection in the Americas.

Baluarte says that while much is known about the refugee population in Argentina, virtually nothing is known about stateless population in that country.

“Argentine legislators have recently proposed legislation to protect the stateless population in accordance with that country’s international obligations under the 1954 Convention,” says Baluarte. “I plan to collaborate with Argentine partners to incorporate a statelessness perspective into their work on behalf of refugees, to better understand statelessness in Argentina, and to inform the legislative process underway to protect stateless persons.”

In addition to the research project, Baluarte will teach in his host school’s immigration law clinic, where he will incorporate a specialized module about refugee protection into their curriculum. This module will involve instruction about regional and international standards and will incorporate a comparative component in which students learn about the U.S. system of refugee and asylum protection.

Baluarte is one of approximately 500 faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2016-2017. The Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.

Last year, W&L was recognized as a top producer of Fulbright scholars thanks to the successful applications of three law professors, Jill Fraley, J.D. King and Johanna Bond. Fraley studied property law in Ireland, King researched Chile’s criminal defense system, and Bond worked on access to legal aid in Tanzania.

Baluarte teaches and writes about topics ranging from immigration, refugees and stateless persons, and transnational law with a specific focus on international human rights law and practice. He also serves as director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, a semester-long practical lawyering experience available to third-year students as part of W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum.

Last year, Baluarte joined the advisory council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to promoting an integrated, human rights based response to the injustice of statelessness and exclusion. He is also a member of the board of directors for the ACLU of Virginia.

Before coming to W&L, Professor Baluarte was a Practitioner-in-Residence and Arbenz Fellow in the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) at American University Washington College of Law. In addition to his clinical teaching responsibilities in that capacity, Professor Baluarte managed projects and consulted for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).

Before beginning his teaching career, Professor Baluarte served as a staff attorney in the Immigration Unit the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and as a staff attorney at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). Professor Baluarte earned his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Public Interest and Public Service (PIPS) Scholar, and his B.A. from Brown University.

Analyzing Presidential Elections

Scott Thomas, who double majored in history and journalism from Washington and Lee University in 1977, has been analyzing numbers for a long time. As a projects editor for American City Business Journals, he writes a daily demographics blog, On Numbers, which uses data to provide a daily glimpse of American society — covering everything from communities with the richest populations, to median salaries for upstate New York teachers, to unemployment numbers.

He just published his ninth book, “Counting the Votes: A New Way to Analyze America’s Presidential Elections” (Praeger). It is “inspired by the vast disparity in statistical analysis between baseball, which enjoys such an abundance of data that it has spawned the field of sabermetrics, and presidential politics,” he explained.

As he writes in the book’s introduction: “Political books and websites don’t offer much to readers who are numerically inclined. Statistics are typically confined to state-by-state and county-by-county election returns. No specialized stats of any kind. No rankings of the best and worst performances of all time. No year-by-year records of presidential candidates. None of the originality and variety that sports fans take for granted.”

“Counting the Votes” is Thomas’ effort to fill that void. He calls it “a political version of sabermetrics that raises new questions and offers tentative answers, while forging a numerical link between the past, present and future.” He not only breaks down the data from each presidential election, but also teases out statistically interesting information. “I use each of the elections as a departure point for a fairly short essay focusing on something that is relevant to that year and points to broader issues in terms of presidential politics. It’s more interpretive and not a straight history,” he said.

Thomas was interested in politics from a very early age. Watching John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration on TV made a big impression, and W&L stimulated his interest in political statistics in a couple of ways. The first was a politics class taught by William “Buck” Buchanan in the fall of 1974. “Dr. Buchanan was the author of a standard textbook in the field, ‘Understanding Political Variables,’ and he focused the class on the congressional elections that fall,” said Thomas.

“Our major project — counting for a sizable part of the final grade — was to devise formulas to predict the state-by-state results of that election. It was all very high-tech. We entered our statistics on IBM punch cards and then took them to the computer building, where they were processed by the university’s mainframe. My final grade has mercifully slipped from my mind, but I do remember that I mispunched the card for Alaska, so that I predicted a turnout of several million voters in a state that had just a few hundred thousand residents.”

As news director for the university’s radio station, WLUR, Thomas anchored the election night coverage of 1976. “The famous standoff between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford wasn’t settled until the wee hours of the morning,” he said. “We were on the air continuously from 7 p.m. until 4 a.m., and I loved it.”

His fascination with politics and statistics continued, resulting in five books focused on the history of American presidential elections. Thomas describes “Counting the Votes” as “a new compendium of original statistics, fresh interpretations of old numbers and purely random observations. Some of the statistics in this book might prove useful, but more importantly, I hope they’re intriguing, provocative and fun.”

As an example, he points to the Bush-Gore presidential election of 2000. “We all remember what a tight election that was,” he said. “We focus always on Florida and the recounts. But if Al Gore had won one of any of 12 states where he was reasonably close, that would have been sufficient for him to have won the presidency. In his home state of Tennessee, it was his inability to get 18 more votes per precinct that prevented him from becoming president, much more so than the failures he had in Florida.”

If you’d like a closer look at the statistical breakdowns for all the presidential campaigns between 1789 and 2012, check out Thomas’ website, CountingtheVotes.com.

Faces of Mock Con: Madison Smith

“My contributions to Mock Con have shown me a different side to service. Political participation is integral if we care about the well-being of our country, and Mock Con will hopefully inspire our community to vote, become policy makers, or even maybe run for office one day.”

smith-madison-t-345x350 Faces of Mock Con: Madison SmithMadison Smith ’16

“Mock Convention, similar to the Shepherd Program, is something that you hear about from the first time you visit campus, so I knew I wanted to get involved early, especially since I would be a senior when the next Convention came around,” said Madison Smith ’16, a poverty minor and Mock Con’s event planner-in-chief. She joined the Mock Con team as the Social Committee events chair during her sophomore year, and helped plan last fall’s Presidential Gala as well as the upcoming parade and convention.

The 26th Mock Convention, Feb. 11-13, will involve the greater University community in one of the most ambitious student political research projects in the country. Madison said she aims to make sure everyone has a memorable experience, one that might also influence their willingness and passion to get involved in the political system in the future.

“I think that my contributions to Mock Con have shown me a different side to service,” she said. “Political participation is integral if we care about the well-being of our country, and Mock Con will hopefully inspire our community to vote, become policy makers, or even maybe run for office one day.”

An economics major who also is minoring in education policy, Madison spent the summer after her sophomore year in Can Tho, Vietnam, through the Shepherd Internship Program. While there, she created an independent research project, partnering with Can Tho University to interview members of the Hoa An community about their education system and personal education and well-being. This internship gave her an opportunity to sit down and listen to people who have never been given the opportunity to voice their opinion about education or government assistance.

“My biggest takeaway from the summer was simply that asking people what they want and need is the first step in the fight for poverty alleviation,” she said.

Since then, Madison has worked in the local community as a student-teacher at Waddell Elementary School and at Natural Bridge Elementary as an afterschool activities coordinator. She also served as the Nabors Service League education and youth outreach chair during her junior year. Mock Con has been her primary focus this year.

Madison is particularly excited about the Mudd Center-sponsored debate that will kick off Mock Con on Thursday in Lee Chapel. William Galston of the Brookings Institution will debate Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, on a variety of issues relating to the ethics of citizenship. She thinks this will definitely be a don’t-miss event for anyone interested in poverty-related issues.

“While the topics of each speaker throughout the convention are unknown, I would encourage everyone to come to all sessions to hear about the current presidential race,” said Madison. “There will no doubt be interesting viewpoints from many of the speakers on the economy, government assistance and other poverty-related topics.”

Madison believes that the 2016 election has sparked a greater interest around the country in the political system and that people seem to be more engaged and invested in their candidate of choice.

“We are at a critical point where the presidential race could go in many different directions,” said Madison. “I think that what is most important about the 2016 election is that for those interested in poverty-related issues, our engagement does not end once the polls close. No matter who wins, we must still work to fight for poverty reduction and the promotion of justice in our country.”

– by Anu Shrestha ’19

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Calling All Generals: Alan Carrillo ’18L "I'm so honored to be part of a W&L community that is full of kind, generous and responsive people that care enough to act and support organizations like RARA, who are on the front lines investing in our neighbors' lives and wellbeing."

Editor’s Note: Alan Carrillo is a first-year law student from Bedford, Texas, and the 1L Representative to the Executive Committee. Concerned about the impact of the recent blizzard on the Rockbridge area’s needy, Carrillo launched a last minute fund-raising campaign and called on his fellow Generals for donations to the Rockbridge Ara Relief Association (RARA).

The effort brought in over $1000 in only four hours, enough to cover the cost of a week’s stay in a motel for the three families that had reached out to RARA for help ahead of the storm. In the essay below, Carrillo explains what motivated him to launch the effort, which is still active at https://www.gofundme.com/rockbridgerelief.

* * *

As winter storm Jonas bore down on the mid-Atlantic a few weeks ago, I remember hearing some students complain about the weather. People were excited about having a snow day, but even then some students were frustrated about being unable to get out of their houses. As I was stocking up on my groceries, I had similar thoughts—the weather simply felt like an inconvenience.

I saw some headlines that mentioned how the storm would be a life and death situation for people in Washington, D.C., in particular. As I thought about the people it would affect the most, I immediately thought of the large homeless population in the greater D.C. metro area. It made me wonder how already-packed homeless shelters would prepare to help more people in need. It also made me incredibly grateful that, for me, a huge snowfall just meant a holiday cooped up in my warm apartment. Ultimately, it was a stretch to even call it an inconvenience. It certainly wouldn’t be anywhere close to a life and death situation for me. And I wondered if there were shelters in the greater D.C. metro area that would need help in the wake of the storm.

Then I realized that surely there were people in Lexington who were homeless and in need of help. I did a quick Google search and discovered the Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA). I gave them a call and spoke with their executive director, Kitty Brown. I told her I was a W&L law student and wanted to see if there was anything my fellow students and I could do to help as RARA prepared to help people in the midst of the storm. I asked if they had a shelter, and Kitty said that RARA primarily serves the community as a food pantry. However, because of the weather conditions, the food pantry would be closed. She confirmed that financial donations were the best way for us to help. RARA had put three local homeless families in motel rooms for a week to survive the weather, and when she told me the costs of the rooms I said, “I’m going to see what I can do. I’ll let you know soon.”

After my last class for the day, I launched a GoFundMe page called, “Relief for Rockbridge Families.” I recruited a few friends at the law school and the university to help me spread the word, and within five hours the link had been shared on social media over 250 times, and we had reached our financial goal to provide these three families a place to stay for the week. I was absolutely amazed not merely by the generosity of my fellow students, their friends and members of the local community, but also by the timeliness of their response. They saw a need and an opportunity to help, and with no hesitation, they gave. In just five hours, we were able to serve our community in a simple, but intentional and tangible way.

I think the campaign resonated with students of the university and the law school because it’s so easy for us, in this flat world in which we live, to think of problems such as terrorism, climate change, famine, etc., on a global and impersonal scale. It sometimes feels like there is nothing we can do to reverse their course. However, every need our world faces is essentially a basic human need—food, water, shelter, security—and can be identified and addressed anywhere, including in our own backyard.

I think the recognition of the existence of a real, basic human need that we tend to take for granted—a warm place to call home—combined with its immediate presence in our local community, convinced people not only that we can do something, but also that we should do something. If members of a community don’t identify and work to solve local problems, no one else is going to do it. This is exactly what RARA has successfully done and continues to do in Rockbridge County.

I’m so honored to be part of a W&L community that is full of kind, generous and responsive people that care enough to act and support organizations like RARA, who are on the front lines investing in our neighbors’ lives and well-being. This is just another small example of how W&L is truly a special place.


W&L Mock Convention: At Its Core, a Research Project

The Washington and Lee University Mock Convention is a mock presidential nominating process with over 100 years of success. Every four years, Mock Convention attempts to predict who the party currently out of power in the White House will nominate to run for president of the United States. Distinguished by unmatched accuracy and undergraduate participation rates, Mock Convention has attracted some of the most respected names in politics to Lexington over its 108-year history.

Mock Convention is, at its core, a research project. Since the inaugural convention in 1908, Washington and Lee students have been correct in their prediction 19 times out of 25. They’ve been correct about the Republican Party since 1948.

The students’ track record of accuracy is a reflection of their organized and thorough research efforts. Mock Convention’s research project is driven by 56 state and territory delegations comprising enthusiastic students who are charged with conducting extensive research to predict the eventual nomination of a candidate. These delegations work in conjunction with national and regional specialists by using the most up-to-date poll numbers and political analyses. Students work closely with some of the most influential political operatives in every state to get the most accurate information possible.

The research project will conclude on Feb. 13, when Mock Convention conducts its roll call, during which each delegation indicates where its votes will go, and finally announces who it believes will be the Republican nominee for president. Convention weekend is a spirited event attended by a student body responsible for executing the time-honored tradition and eager to determine who could be the actual nominee in the upcoming election.

“The state chairs and their delegations have been Mock Convention’s eyes and ears in their respective states, analyzing data points and making crucial contacts that guide our prediction process,” explains Mock Convention political analyst Kevin Ortiz, a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina. “The regional chairs then synthesize that information for their regions to give us a snapshot of our five regions of the country,” he said. “The national analysts factor in national trends, data points and information from national political strategists.”

Along with the prediction, Mock Convention attempts to create the most realistic convention atmosphere possible. The students will follow the Republican Party’s rules for its upcoming national convention in Cleveland, including a Call to Convention made before Jan. 1, down to actual session rules. Students also create a meticulously researched mock platform that predicts what the students think the Republican Party will focus on during the presidential campaign.

Mock Convention 2016 will feature former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), former Republican National Convention Chairman Ed Gillespie, political commentator Ann Coulter and others. In addition to this exciting lineup of speakers, Mock Convention will host a Delegates’ Parade, during which all 56 state and territory delegations will ride homemade floats through downtown Lexington.

Mock Convention 2016 will join a long list of past conventions that together boast a prolific history. The tradition began in 1908, when candidate William Jennings Bryan visited campus, inspiring students to hold a Mock Convention and choose him to represent the Democratic Party in that year’s election. Former Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Harry Truman and Bill Clinton have been guests at Mock Convention in the past. Additionally, Alben Barkley, former vice president and U.S. senator from Kentucky, gave the keynote address at Mock Convention 1956. Barkley died of a heart attack while still on stage after stating, “I’m glad to sit on the back row, for I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty.”

Washington and Lee’s Mock Convention hopes to continue its accurate and historic record Feb. 11-13.

W&L’s Mudd Center Presents the Mock Con Debate: The Ethics of Citizenship

To kick off Washington and Lee University’s 2016 Mock Convention, The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at W&L will host a debate on “The Ethics of Citizenship” on Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Mock Con will be Feb. 12–13.

William Galston, the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, will debate Peter Wehner, senior fellow at The Ethics and Public Policy Center. The debate will be moderated by Angela Smith, director of the Roger Mudd Center and the Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics at W&L.

The debate is free and open to the public. It will be broadcast live online.

The debate will address a variety of topics concerning the ethics of citizenship, particularly as they pertain to the 2016 presidential campaign. These topics include: issues surrounding current levels of political partisanship and polarization, debates over campaign finance reform, the role of civility in political discourse, the relation between religion and politics, the justification of civil disobedience and the role of journalism in a democracy.

Galston is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. A former policy advisor to President Bill Clinton and presidential candidates Al Gore and Walter Mondale, Galston is an expert on domestic policy, political campaigns and elections.

He is the author of eight books and more than 100 articles in the fields of political theory, public policy and American politics. His most recent books are “Public Matters” (2005), “The Practice of Liberal Pluralism” (2004) and “Liberal Pluralism” (2002). He co-authored “” (2010) with Wehner.

He writes a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal, and has also appeared on all the principal television networks and is a frequent commentator on NPR. A winner of the American Political Science Association’s Hubert H. Humphrey Award, Galston was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

Wehner writes widely on political, cultural, religious and national security issues. He has authored articles for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, the Weekly Standard, Commentary and Christianity Today. In 2015, he was named a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and posts regularly to Commentary magazine’s blog “Contentions.”

He has also appeared as a commentator on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and C-SPAN, as well as national talk radio programs. In 2011, Forbes magazine featured Wehner on a short list of conservatism’s leading “educators and practitioners of first principles.” Wehner is co-author of “” (2010) and “” (2010).

Wehner served in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations prior to becoming deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. In 2002, he headed the Office of Strategic Initiatives, where he generated policy ideas, reached out to public intellectuals, published op-eds and essays, and provided counsel on a range of domestic and international issues. He also was a senior adviser to the Romney-Ryan 2012 presidential campaign.

“The Misfit Economy” Writer to Speak on the Art of Being an Outsider

Alexa Clay, a storyteller and researcher of underground subcultures, will speak at Washington and Lee University on Feb. 16 as the Fishback Visiting Writer. Her talk will begin at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

She will speak on “The Art of Being an Outsider,” and her talk is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

A graduate of Brown University and Oxford, she is co-author of the 2015 book “The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs.” Clay researches and writes about grassroots innovation, technological change, economic transition and the power of misfits.

The Misfit Economy” was named the best business book to read in 2015 by The World Economic Forum, TechRepublic, The Daily Telegraph of London and The Huffington Post. In the book, Clay interviewed more than 500 Somali pirates, Los Angeles drug dealers, young hackers and New York con artists to unveil their remarkable ingenuity.

She is the founder of an experimental group call Wisdom Hackers, which seeks to tap into wisdom traditions in ways “that transcend the myopic communication of social media sound bites.”  Clay is also a co-founder of The League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to promote change from within large organizations.

“The Misfit Economy” is a lively and incisive book, according to a review in The Economist. “Their central message is that misfits make the best innovators because frustration with the status quo spurs their desire to change it. Rather than money, the real motivators are personality quirks: idealism, ambition, curiosity and stubbornness.”

Each year, the Fishback Visiting Writers program, funded by Sara and William H. Fishback Jr. ’56, brings to campus someone who has written with distinction on public affairs, nature and the environment, history or the theater. The Fishback visitor spends time with W&L students in the classroom and delivers a lecture to the local communities. Since 1996, it has brought such speakers as Diane McWhorter, Cornel West, Ray Suarez and Jane Meyer.

Leyburn Library’s Author Talk Series Features David Bello

David A. Bello, associate professor of history at Washington and Lee, will talk about his book “Across Forest Steppe and Mountain: Environment, Identity and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands” on Feb. 16 at 4:30 p.m. in the Book Nook in W&L’s Leyburn Library.

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

Using sources in Manchu and Chinese, Bello offers a new and radical interpretation of how China’s last dynasty, the Manchu Qing (1644-1911), managed the sustainable incorporation of its multiethnic borderland orders in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan within a larger ethnic Chinese imperial core.

The empire coordinated environmental relations between different groups of humans and animals, including game, livestock and malarial mosquitoes, to consolidate and expand its control of what remains China’s largest territorial expanse in its history.

Bello joined the W&L faculty in 2004. He received his B.A. from the University of Dayton, his M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

He is the author of articles, book chapters and book reviews including “Relieving Mongols of their Pastoral Identity: The Environment of Disaster Management on the 18th Century Qing China Steppe” in Environmental History (2014); “The Cultured Nature of Imperial Foraging in Manchuria” in Late Imperial China (2010); and “To Go Where No Han Could Go for Long: Malaria and the Qing Construction of Ethnic Administrative Space in Frontier Yunnan,” Modern China (2005).

W&L Students Raise Funds to Help Area Families during Blizzard

With the recent winter storm bearing down on Virginia, Washington and Lee University law student Alan Carrillo ‘18L wasn’t concerned with whether he had enough milk and bread on hand. His thoughts were focused on the area’s needy and how he and his fellow students could help.

On the Thursday before the storm, Carrillo, a first-year law student from Bedford, Texas, reached out to the Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA) to see what kind of help the organization might need. Staff there reported that their immediate need was to cover the hotel lodging costs for three homeless families that had contacted the organization for assistance.

Carrillo quickly set up a fundraising site at gofundme.com and reached out to his fellow students for help. In a matter of five hours, the site brought in over $1000 dollars, which covered the costs for a week’s stay in a motel for the three families.

“I was absolutely amazed not merely by the generosity of my fellow students, their friends and members of the local community, but also by the timeliness of their response,” said Carrillo. “They saw a need and an opportunity to help, and with no hesitation, they gave. In just five hours, we were able to serve our community in a simple, but intentional and tangible way.”

The fundraising site, available at https://www.gofundme.com/rockbridgerelief, is still operational. So far, 63 people have donated over $1200 to help RARA. The organization serves the Rockbridge area primarily as a food pantry, and Carrillo, who serves as the 1L representative to the Executive Committee, is urging the W&L community to continue to support RARA’s efforts.

“I’m so honored to be part of a W&L community that is full of kind, generous and responsive people that care enough to act and support organizations like RARA, who are on the front lines investing in our neighbors’ lives and wellbeing,” said Carrillo.

Kitty Brown, executive director of RARA, said she was most impressed by the caring shown by the students.

“Our staff and volunteers feel honored to have these young people partner with us,” she added.

Professor Nico Prucha to Lecture at W&L as Part of Global Fellows Seminar

Nico Prucha, a Violent Online Political Extremism (VOX-Pol) Research Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at the Department for War Studies, King’s College London, will lecture at Washington and Lee University as part of the Winter 2016 Global Fellows Seminar: Tradition and Change in the Middle East and South Asia. His talk will be Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. in Hillel 101.

The talk will be broadcast live online.

The Global Fellows Seminar is supported by the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation.

Prucha will speak on “The Islamic State and the War for Hegemony in the Middle East.” The talk is free and open to the public.

He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, Austria. 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.

Part of Prucha’s work at the ICSR includes establishing a lexicon of Arabic key words frequently used within Arabic and non-Arabic propaganda videos and writings. It focuses on the analysis and deciphering of primary Arabic-language jihadist propaganda content on- and offline. He specializes in jihadi online activities related to Syria, Iraq and the organized opposition.

This research covers textual and audio-visual content of jihadist activity and how ideology, in part, morphs from Arabic to English and German language clusters. The analysis of social media strategies used by groups such as the Islamic State to incite and recruit using a blend of languages and elements is one area of special interest.

Another area of interest is the lingual and theological analysis of extremist Sharia law interpretation of hostage taking and executions and how videos, as well as social media outlets, convey these acts.

Prucha is the author of an online book in German published in 2010, and he has edited and coedited over 40 articles.

Selected publications include “Tales from the Crypt—Jihadi Martyr Narratives for Online Recruitment” (2015); “ISIS is Winning the Online Jihad Against the West,” in The Daily Beast (2014); “Eye of the Swarm: The Rise of ISIS and the Media Mujahedeen,” in CPD Blog, U.S.C. Center on Public Diplomacy (2014); and “Celebrities of the Afterlife: Death Cult, Stars and Fandom of Jihadist Propaganda,” in “Jihadi Thought and Ideology, Jihadism and Terrorism Volume 1” (2014).

Proceeds from Souper Bowl Combat Childhood Hunger in Rockbridge County

The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University hosted its fourth annual Souper Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 31, raising over $7,300 from about 500 attendees to support its Backpack Program, a hunger-fighting project that began in 2009 as a partnership between CKWL and local schools.

The Backpack Program serves all area elementary schools and Head Start programs, providing nearly 700 children with a bag of non-perishable food items to take home with them for the weekend.

The total raised by the event will fund roughly three months of the program.

Now in its fourth year, the Souper Bowl features soups and desserts from local restaurants, caterers and bakeries. This year’s participants included Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Bistro on Main, Blue Sky, CHEFS Catering, Cool Springs Organics, Full Circle Catering, Haywood’s Restaurant, Healthy Foods Market and Café, Kind Roots Cafe, Lexington Golf and Country Club, Mountain Mama Catering, The Palms, Pronto Caffe and Gelateria, Pure Eats, The Red Hen and Cheese to You, Sweet Treats Bakery, The Sheridan Livery Inn, The Southern Inn, Taps and W&L Dining Services.

Davidson & Garrard, a financial advisory firm with offices in Lynchburg, Tyson’s Corner and Lexington, sponsors the event so that all ticket fees and additional donations can go directly to the cause.

Watch local coverage of the event from WDBJ-7 Roanoke:

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Strong: A Trump Triumph Runs Against All Odds

The following opinion piece by Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Jan. 31, 2016, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

A Trump triumph runs against all odds

by Robert A. Strong

For most of the 2016 presidential election cycle, the conventional wisdom about the Republican Party Convention has been that Donald Trump could never win the party’s nomination. He was too brash, too crude, too rude, too divisive, too inexperienced, too liberal, too strangely coiffed to win a major party nomination for the presidency.

But as we settle into the early caucus and primary voting, all those earlier bets are off. In actual overseas betting (in countries like Great Britain, where wagers on American presidential nominations are legal), Trump is currently the odds-on favorite to be the Republican nominee.

Just how odd are those odds?

More than one commentator has observed that we have never had a president in American history who lacked service in a prior elected office or a high-level appointment. No one has ever won the presidency without previously having contested a local, state or federal election, secured a senior appointment or won a battlefield victory.

Success in business does not disqualify a person for the presidency — but, by itself, it has never been enough to win that office. Just ask Ross Perot or Wendell Willkie. In the list of presidential elections that have taken place since the beginning of the 20th century, only Perot and Willkie (a third-party candidate in the 1990s, and the 1940 Republican nominee, respectively) have made a serious run for the presidency without significant prior public service.

Since 1900, 62 of the names that appeared on national presidential ballots were individuals who went on to win more than 10 percent of the popular vote. This includes all the Republican and Democratic nominees from William McKinley to Mitt Romney and from William Jennings Bryan to Barack Obama, plus Teddy Roosevelt in his Bull Moose days and the Progressive Party’s Robert La Follette, as well as George Wallace and Perot.

Of the 62 serious presidential candidates in the last two centuries:

  • 31 were sitting or former governors;
  • 38 had previously won a state or local election;
  • 38 had won a federal election; and
  • 58 held at least one elected public position before running for the presidency.

Serious candidates for the highest office in the land almost always run and win some other political office first.

What about the exceptions? There are four people who made a credible run for the presidency since the beginning of the 20th century without winning prior elected office.

That group includes Dwight Eisenhower, who served as NATO commander and as the allied general in charge of the European theater during World War II. He was a world leader long before he was president and, like George Washington, actually put his national and international reputation at risk when he ran for the presidency. He was no Donald Trump.

Herbert Hoover — like Trump, Perot and Willkie — had great success in the private sector. When the world went to war in 1914, he became involved in relief work, first in Belgium and later across the European continent. He led the U.S. Food Administration and international organizations that saved civilian lives during the war and in the years that followed. His was public service of an extraordinary kind. At the end of the war, The New York Times called Hoover one of the “ten most important living Americans.” He had never sought elected office, but both the Democrats and the Republicans thought of him as a potential presidential candidate. When Harding won in 1920, Hoover served as secretary of commerce. He was no Donald Trump.

Perot and Willkie were more like Trump than any other serious presidential contenders since 1900; and only Willkie won a major party nomination. That is one name out of 62 consequential presidential candidates, or something less than 2 percent.

If history provides any lessons for today’s politics, the odds of a Trump nomination are very small. But as Adlai Stevenson, an unsuccessful presidential candidate in the 1950s, once observed: “In America, anyone can become president. That’s one of the risks you take.”

Indeed it is.