Feature Stories Campus Events

Class of 2016: What Will You Miss?

Commencement: Congratulations, Graduates!

On September 1, 2012, 498 young men and women began their journey at Washington and Lee. On Thursday, those students began the next chapter of their lives.

W&L Law Offers DC-based Cyber Law and Privacy Seminar with Future of Privacy Forum

Washington and Lee University School of Law has launched a new summer program in Washington, DC for students interested in studying cyber and privacy law.

The program is part of W&L’s exclusive academic partnership launched last year with the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a DC-based think tank that promotes responsible data privacy policies. The FPF was founded by W&L alumnus Christopher Wolf ‘80L, senior partner and former director of the Information Privacy Practice Group of Hogan Lovells.

The course, titled “Cyber Policy and Privacy Law,” will be co-taught by Professor Margaret Hu and Jules Polonetsky, CEO at FPF. The course will examine how the expanding role of the internet, big data, e-commerce, social media, and wearable technology has strained the preexisting regulatory and constitutional frameworks that have guided privacy protections under the law. The seminar will delve into these topics in both corporate and government contexts.

The first class will be held in the U.S. House of Representatives. W&L Law alumnus Bart Forsyth will be the host and guest speaker. Forsyth is currently Chief of Staff of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc), who helped to lead the effort on surveillance reform legislation and the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act following the Snowden disclosures.

Wolf also will serve as a guest speaker during the seminar. He will address the rise of privacy law and information privacy practices in the corporate sector and discuss several early cases involving data privacy in which he served as lead counsel. In addition, students will visit Google’s DC corporate office to meet with Google’s legal team for a discussion of privacy-related practice issues, including recent cases on privacy law both in the U.S. and in Europe.

According to Prof. Hu, the course also will incorporate a hands-on curriculum for students in order to position them for practical success in the profession.

“Students will select a summer research project that has a practical component, such as drafting a comment to federal rulemaking or proposing draft language for regulatory proposals for consumer protection in data privacy or cybersecurity,” said Hu.

The program has an additional career development component. FPF worked closely with W&L to help students without a summer position secure summer internships with some of the FPF’s 120 plus corporate and nonprofit affiliates. Internships that were facilitated by the summer program include: AT&T, Mozilla/Firefox, Software and Information Industries Association, Network Advertising Initiative, and the Future of Privacy Forum.

14 rising second- and third-year students are currently enrolled in the summer program. The 8-week session will begin June 9 and conclude in late July, with most classes being held at the FPF’s downtown office in Washington, D.C.

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Washington and Lee Graduates 444 Students at 229th Commencement

Graduating seniors at Washington and Lee University today were asked to remember and live by the high ideals and standards that have guided them over the past four years, as they are leaving “a community that cares a great deal about these matters and entering a world that increasingly does not.”

Having the university president give the commencement address is a custom that dates back to the 1930s. This will be current President Kenneth P. Ruscio’s 10th such address, and his last before he steps down from the presidency at the end of 2016.

“Civility matters,” Ruscio said in his address. “It makes possible conversations and debates where the purpose is to understand, not to prevail. Civility is the mark of those who have something to say, but can respect others who also have something to say.”

Ruscio asked the 444 members of the Class of 2016 to brace themselves, to constantly and consciously call upon their experiences at W&L, and to remember the habits of the heart and mind they have developed as students.

“You acquired a sensibility that leads you, from instinct and habit, to behave in certain ways toward others, to pursue your own passions and interests while helping others pursue theirs,” he said. “A finely tuned moral compass guides you.”

“Don’t succumb to the cynicism and meanness of the age in which we find ourselves,” he said. “Don’t seek refuge from a complex world in the safe harbors of simplicity and slogans. Act with dignity, decency, and civility. Become known as the Washington and Lee woman or man who offers reasonable and reasoned positions in the midst of chaos. And most of all, be someone who cares about others more than yourself.”

Watch the ceremony online >

Lauren R. Howard, an economics major from South Glastonbury, Connecticut, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2016 as its representative to the Executive Committee of the Student Body. She reminded fellow graduates that their graduation day is an opportunity to consider how they might be able to change the world. Howard encouraged her classmates to pause, reflect and thank those who have guided them.

“Today, when we receive our diplomas,” Howard said, “We must take them for what they are: physical manifestations of our potential to do something, with and for others — something that matters.”

Among Washington and Lee’s graduates were 14 who earned both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree. Altogether, the Class of 2016 earned degrees in 34 majors. Nearly a third of the class completed more than one major, with two students completing three majors, and 35 percent of the class completing at least one minor.

Michael Watkins Holt of Henrico, Virginia, was named valedictorian. Holt achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning a B.S. in mathematics and computer science. Holt is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.

Holt was a recipient of Washington and Lee’s Johnson Scholarship, the J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award, the Luther Seevers Birely Scholarship, and W&L’s Taylor Mathematics Scholarship. He was a two-time recipient of the James McDowell Scholarship and a three-time recipient of the James D. Davidson Memorial Fund Scholarship.

A notable student athlete, Holt received the William D. McHenry Male Scholar-Athlete Award after earning four letters with the men’s tennis program. He is a three-time All-ODAC honoree and a two-time All-American in doubles. Holt has received the ODAC/Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award three times and he is a two-time Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American. Holt finished his career ranked fifth all-time at W&L with 76 doubles wins (76-26). He also went 54-25 in singles in leading W&L to four ODAC titles.

The university awarded an honorary degree to Robert C. Vaughan III, president and founding director of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and a 1966 Washington and Lee graduate. In presenting the degree, Provost Marc Conner recognized Vaughan as an “intellectual, distinguished leader in the field of education, peerless advocate for the humanities in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” and praised Vaughan for his “stirring career of dedicated service to the humanities.”

On Campus: A Village Rises As construction wraps up on W&L's new upper-division housing, the university names new streets after two beloved employees: Lewis John and Larry Stuart.

It has been 267 years since a small classical school called Augusta Academy was founded near present-day Lexington, and 240 years since its successor, Liberty Hall, educated students in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In August 2016, the spirit of those institutions that became Washington and Lee will be resurrected in a new residential area on the university campus, completing a project that has drawn heavily from W&L’s recent history and remarkable sense of community.

The Village, which consists of two adjacent residential groupings called Augusta Square and Liberty Hall Common, is the largest construction project at W&L in decades, with a price tag of approximately $42 million. It is the result of a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees in 2014 that required all students to live on campus through the junior year.

“The guiding principle in developing this project has been our desire to preserve the distinctive character of the Washington and Lee community,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “The new residential neighborhoods add in significant ways to the university’s strong sense of place.”

As plans for the Village took shape, the project became about much more than a place to study and sleep. A restaurant, coffeehouse/pub, fitness center and green spaces in the new residential area were designed to encourage socializing and physical activity. University planners also seized the opportunity to improve safety campus-wide by establishing a detailed 911 addressing system that will improve emergency response times to W&L.

In addition, leaders decided to christen new streets on campus with the names of two men who left a lasting impression on the university: the late Larry Stuart, a public safety officer, and Lewis “Lew” John, a retired dean of students and professor of politics emeritus.

“At the end of the day, we want to have an infrastructure that supports the development of community because that’s what’s important here,” said Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “And those two people, for two different generations of students, contributed so much to that.”

Building boom

The two “neighborhoods” that make up the Village will house about 340 students in the 2016-2017 academic year. They encompass a total of nine apartment houses and eight townhouse buildings clustered around park-like greens. Construction of a new natatorium has taken place concurrently with the housing project.

Augusta Square, which is located on the lower end of the development, just above the natatorium, consists of four apartment buildings and three townhouse buildings. Liberty Hall Common, located above the Artificial Turf Field, holds five apartment buildings and five townhouse buildings.

Each unit in the three-story apartments offers four single bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a balcony. Most of the three-story townhouses are made up of six-bedroom units with two full baths and three half-baths. Two units each have seven bedrooms, three full baths and three half-baths. All townhouses have a kitchen, living room and balcony.

Every apartment and townhouse boasts handsome, modern decorative touches such as granite countertops and chocolate-colored wood laminate floors. Perhaps most exciting are the views from the upper-floor units.

“We knew the views up there were going to be great,” said Evans, “but especially from some of the higher units, they’re just phenomenal in both directions — towards House Mountain and then back towards VMI. It’s just beautiful.”

The two apartment buildings that overlook Wilson Field are a bit different from the others. One will house a restaurant and community room on the bottom floor, while the other will have a fitness center, a multi-purpose room and study rooms. The upper floors are student housing.

These two structures will be connected by a small, curved colonnade; the area between the buildings will be filled with tables for outdoor dining, socializing and studying. Planners hope the common spaces inside and outside these buildings will lure those who want a prime view of athletic events on Wilson Field.

To build the Village, the college used modular construction, a technology that neither the architect, the university nor the contractor had ever employed. John Hoogakker, executive director of university facilities, said modules were fabricated in a factory in Rocky Mount, Virginia, then brought to Lexington and assembled on site. Each townhouse structure comprises 19 modules.

Unlike the conventional method, modular construction prevents work from being impacted by foul weather or low light. Hoogakker said it was the highest quality, least expensive, and fastest method they could have used for the project.

“I was a little skeptical going in,” he said, “but I am a real convert for this method of construction.”

That doesn’t mean the whole undertaking has been a breeze. As in other construction projects on campus, while working on the natatorium, workers ran into a lot of hard local limestone that had to be excavated. They expected to encounter the “astoundingly challenging” rock, Hoogakker said, but they did not expect to have to plug holes.

One day, while doing some explorative drilling, the drill came back up with a 16-foot section of drill bit missing. It had fallen off in an underground cavern. “That took both time and money to address,” Hoogakker said. “It required hundreds of cubic yards of extra concrete.”

For the natatorium, more than 90 exterior wall panels were manufactured in Petersburg, Virginia, then transported to Lexington to be assembled. On a recent afternoon, dozens of construction workers crawled over the natatorium like an army of busy ants.

“It’s really great to see so many people out here making a decent living,” Hoogakker remarked. “This is a huge boost in the local economy.”

Avenues to remembrance

Construction of the Village, along with a push to assign new addresses campus-wide, created a need to develop new street names on both sides of campus. And that provided an opportunity for university leaders to honor two individuals whose contributions to the school are unparalleled.

Lewis John Avenue, which will connect West Denny Circle to the Village, was named for a 1958 W&L graduate who spent nearly his entire career at his alma mater. John started in Admissions and Financial Aid in 1963, left to obtain a master’s degree, and returned in 1968 to become dean of students, a position he held for 21 years. After earning a Ph.D. from Syracuse, John became a full-time politics professor in 1991.

He received the Pusey Award for University Service in 1986, and served as coordinator of the Public Policy Program, on the faculty for the Summer Scholars Program, as a pre-law advisor, and as a member of the Shepherd Program Advisory Committee. He was also chair of the University Athletic Committee, the ODK faculty secretary, and the faculty advisor to the Owings Fellowship Program.

As an alum, John volunteered for his 50th and 55th class committees, and generously supported Washington and Lee’s Annual Fund, the Friends of Leyburn Library, the Class of 1958 Farris and Judy Hotchkiss Alumni House Endowment, and the Class of ’58 Uncas and Anne McThenia Term Professorship. For these contributions and more, John received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.

“When I mention his name to alums who are probably more than 15 years out, the face says it all,” Evans said. “It’s clear he made an impact on students, an impact on their development.”

John said that when he received a call from President Ruscio about the street name, he was pleasantly surprised and honored. W&L has been “the major part of my life,” he said.

“I’m very pleased to have my name associated with an area of student housing, since I spent most of my career with students,” he added.

The street that cuts straight through the heart of Liberty Hall Common will be named Larry Stuart Avenue, after the caring, gregarious public safety officer whose death, in 2014 at age 54, came as a shock to the entire W&L campus. Stuart, who worked at the university for 29 years, was especially renowned for his rapport with students.

Ethan Kipnes, director of public safety, said Stuart understood that law enforcement in higher education is not always black-and-white.

“I think one of the things that’s great on a college campus is that even in a public safety area, we can live a lot more in that gray area and still hold students to certain expectations. We can still have rules and regulations, but at the same time take advantage of the opportunity that we are part of the educational process of the institution. Larry had a good feel for exactly that — what are the times when we have to say ‘OK, we have a job to do and here’s the line and you’ve crossed it,’ or is this student going to be better served by taking a little bit of a different approach?”

Stuart’s sister, Peggy McNeil, said both she and her mother cried when they found out the university wanted to use her brother’s name.

“Larry worked so hard to keep the students safe and to keep them close where he could be at arm’s reach to them,” McNeil said. “To have them closer on campus, that’s something that he would have wanted. He is smiling down now to see that this is finally happening.”

Larry Stuart likely would have also wanted local police officers and firefighters to be able to respond to emergencies on the Washington and Lee campus as quickly as possible, a goal that will be easier to meet with a more sophisticated addressing system.

Taking steps for safety

For at least a year, Assistant University Planner Truman Payne has been working to assign exact physical addresses to every location on campus. “This is going to be a really super thing, safety-wise,” he said.

Kipnes said more professional firefighters are being hired from outside the Lexington/Rockbridge County area, so one can no longer assume that all responders are familiar with the W&L campus. Even those who know it well use a variety of terminology for certain buildings and outdoor areas.

The sophisticated navigation technology that is being used increasingly by emergency responders was often defaulting to the W&L mailing address, 204 W. Washington St., when a call came in from campus. “It could have been a fire alarm in Lewis Hall — the Law School — and the fire trucks are rolling up to West Washington Street,” Kipnes said, “which is a half-mile away from where they needed to be.

“Anything that delays emergency response is not good, and certainly if we have the ability to do some work to remedy any of those issues or take out any of those possible delays, then that certainly is important for us to work on.”

Payne coordinated with local agencies to use the standard formula for assigning road names and numbers. Not all of the new road names are in locations that would typically be considered roads, but they do serve as access points for vehicles like fire engines and ambulances. In addition to Larry Stuart Avenue and Lewis John Avenue, other new names include Generals Lane, which cuts behind the Center for Global Learning between W&L and the VMI campus; Stemmons Plaza, the space behind the Colonnade; Early-Fielding Way, which runs behind Early-Fielding University Center and Evans Dining Hall from Lee Avenue to West Washington Street; Warner Drive (between Doremus Gym and the parking garage); and Augusta Square (off West Denny Circle, around Watt Field and the Artificial Turf Field).

Payne and Kipnes said the next step will be educating local responders and W&L students and employees about the new addresses. For reasons of safety and privacy, the mailing address for all locations on campus will remain 204 W. Washington St. Payne said the new addresses make for better communication between the university and local public safety officials, although he hopes the detailed addresses are never needed for a serious emergency.

“We hope that any calls will just be burned popcorn and stuff like that,” he said.

Other safety updates of note at the Village include electronic/swipe-card access on buildings, lots of additional lighting, and new freestanding pedestals that will feature a blue light, security camera and phone line to the Public Safety Office. “We wanted to be able to install these in some of those areas over there that will feel more remote, like the parking lot areas and some of the walkways,” Kipnes said.

Speaking of parking, he said, students living in the Village will be issued a permit that allows them to park in lots on the back side of campus, and does not allow parking on the main part of campus during academic hours. Kipnes said it is impossible to say for sure until everything is open, but he anticipates that the parking garage will be less utilized than it is now.

“The crunch that we’ve felt for the past year or year and a half will hopefully be alleviated by the fact that we’ll be able to distribute vehicles in a different way, and have added just enough new parking to manage to spread everybody out,” he said.

Life at the Village

The Village truly was designed with students in mind, Evans said, which is why they asked student focus groups for input. Those groups helped to inform decisions such as building six-person townhouses instead of smaller units, because W&L students seem to like living in larger groups. The focus groups also expressed a desire to make the Village inviting to all students, which is one reason planners included attractions like a restaurant and spaces for outdoor gatherings.

Evans said the housing lottery went exceptionally well, with any junior who wanted to live in the Village getting a spot there. “This class is pretty decent-sized, and we were hoping the numbers worked, but you never know until you try, and they did.”

The new dining facility at the Village, which is being called Fieldside, will be split into two halves; the larger half will be a restaurant, while the smaller half, Fireside, will be a coffeehouse and pub.

Michael Zanie, director of dining services at W&L, said the restaurant will have a rotating dinner concept to make the most of its smaller food-storage space and to keep the menu interesting. About every two months, the theme will change. No matter the dinner concept, he said, the ordering method will always be similar to a Chipotle, with customers able to build their own plates by pointing out whatever fresh hot and cold ingredients they desire.

The working plan for the rotating theme: Mexican cantina in September and October (“Mexican typically is identified as the most popular thing that we don’t have an identified spot for yet,” Zanie said); a firehouse grill in November and December; Asian stir-fry in January and February; a pasta bar in March and April, and lighter, more summery fare such as wraps and bowls in May.

Zanie said Dining Services will monitor the popularity of the themes and make changes, if necessary. “If something underperforms, we’ll introduce something else.”

The larger restaurant side will initially be closed for breakfast and lunch, but Fireside will be open during those mealtimes, serving quick items such as breakfast sandwiches, pastries, paninis and salads. The coffee shop will serve Lexington Coffee Roasters coffee, and at night the pub will serve beer, wine and hard cider with a locally sourced focus. There will even be a late-night pub grub menu featuring items such as quesadillas, pizzas and loaded nachos. The hours of the two venues may be adjusted to meet student demand.

Overall, university leaders see the Village as a residential hub that complements what the campus already has to offer. They picture students watching lacrosse or football games at Wilson Field from the comfort of their balconies, playing corn hole or Frisbee on the lawn in the center of Liberty Hall Common, sipping coffee while studying at a table outside Fieldside, and getting a little exercise while walking to class instead of driving.

“I’m anxious to see these apartments and townhouses come online,” Payne said. “We’ve got a lot of land back here, and I think it’s going to be awesome to see some new life on campus.”

– Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

W&L Senior Charles Zachariades Awarded R&A Ransome Scholarship

Charlie Zachariades, of Chatham, N.J., a senior at Washington and Lee University, was awarded a 2016 R&A Ransome Scholarship for a one-year master’s program in global health implementation at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Zachariades, a neuroscience major, was one of three scholars selected for the Ransome Scholarship. The scholarship provides support for full tuition, residential university costs or private residential costs, a book allowance and a travel allowance.

“I studied at St. Andrews my junior year, and I really fell in love with the school, the country and the people so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to go back,” said Zachariades. “I found out about the master’s program in global health implementation through its medical school website—it should help me decide whether I want to attend medical school or physician’s assistant school. To say I was pleasantly surprised when awarded the scholarship would be an understatement.”

“Charlie was a great addition to my research team,” said Sarah Blythe, associate professor of biology. “He has strong leadership skills, and he invested time in trying to make projects work better. I have known Charlie since his first year at W&L when he was a student in a class of mind. It’s been so rewarding to watch him grow as both a student and a researcher. He truly loved his time at St. Andrews, so I am truly pleased that he gets to return and work towards his master’s degree. “

Zachariades is a member of W&L’s varsity track and field team, serving as team captain his junior and senior years. He was All-Conference 4×400, Academic All-Conference team and is a W&L scholar-athlete. He is a member of the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, a member of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society and is a staff photographer and contributing writer for The Stone, an interdisciplinary academic journal.

He served as an emergency medicine research intern at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and as a medical intern with Richmond Term Shadowing. Since 2014, he has also done neurobiological research in Blythe’s research lab.

The Dr. Ernest L. Ransome III Scholarship was initially established in 1994 as a way for the friends and associates of Ernest Ransome to recognize his commitment to philanthropy, education and athletics. The scholarship’s mission is to enrich the experience of deserving postgraduate students by affording them the opportunity to attend the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. In 2015, the scholarship was renamed The R&A Ransome Scholarship.

Study Abroad in Japan: Working With Nature Around the World, Jane Kim '17, Kanazawa, Japan

Imagine a typical farmers’ market back in the U.S. What do you see? Maybe several cases of various organic fruits? Some home-grown leafy vegetables? Maybe there are some fresh meat or eggs or dairy products, too? Maybe people are walking through the aisles, browsing through different foodstuffs, chatting, and enjoying the fragrant aromas from fresh produce.

Omicho Market is similar, except that the items are 70-80 percent seafood The market is open every day from early morning until the late afternoon, and its vendors proudly display their wares. There are squid, fish, octopus and crabs that are bigger than the size of my head. The air is tinged with salt and the smell of roasted squid-on-a-stick. Other than seafood, there are also mini-bakeries that sell curry croquettes, bread with red bean paste, and melonpan — bread with melon flavor! — which are quite different from the common American fare. There were also fruits, but they were much, much more expensive than fruit in America: there was a small watermelon for ¥2300 (about $21). This is because Japan is only about the size of California, and it simply does not have the agricultural space for cheap produce to be a viable option. And from what little agricultural land they have, they sell only the best fruits from the harvest.

Of course that is a very simplified explanation, but nevertheless, it is undeniably a significant factor in the lives of the people here. After having taken a good look around Omicho Market and having observed my host family’s regular meals, I found that the residents of Kanazawa are very attuned to the natural world around them. They are aware of where their food comes from, and the food that is brought to the table is directly affected by the condition of the Japanese agricultural economy. For example, one day, I came home to find my Okaa-san (my host mother; okaa-san means mother) struggling to bring a large plastic bag through the door. I helped her carry it in, and after we set it down, she proudly opened the bag to reveal some enormous, cone-like roots. Takenoko, they were called: bamboo shoots. She had dug them up herself, she told me, from a mountain bamboo farm nearby. And after that day, we had takenoko for every meal: takenoko soup, pickled takenoko, steamed takenoko, takenoko tempura (deep-fried bamboo shoots) and even takenoko cooked into our rice. I told her that I had seen row upon row of takenoko at Omicho Market that were as big as the length from my elbow to my wrist and as thick as my neck that were sold for as cheap as ¥500 (equivalent to a little less than $5). She explained that they were so cheap because the harvest was good this season. Last season, the takenoko were small and very expensive, and so they did not eat as much of it. This was an inconvenience for them because it took away one of their staple foods for the season.

But Japanese people, Okaa-san informed me, always persevere to work with nature, and not against it.

Spain in Context: The Rocks Here are Cooler Around the World, Abigail Beasley '17, Cádiz, Spain

Hola from Cádiz, located on the beautiful southern coast of Spain — not the beautiful eastern coast of Ohio. While the distinct culture of Middle America rocks, the rocks here are cooler. Disclaimer: we went to Gibraltar yesterday just for fun!! I just skipped an entire week of class and two weeks’ worth of café, so let me start from the beginning of our trip.

Here we go: All 15 of us made it safely to this land of siestas and sol on Saturday, which we celebrated with tapas. (The only thing we’ve done wrong yet is not indulging in a paella pan bigger than my face.) Sunday morning, we got the grand tour of this ancient port city before being introduced to the beautiful families that signed up to host us for the following four weeks. Monday was just like any other first day of class back in Lexington, right? We started at 9:30 a.m., we were out at 1 p.m., and spent the following seven hours on the beach.

Some highlights from Week 1

Thursday: Today we hit some hotspots in Cádiz. The Torre Tavira was too cool for school, although it was for school. The camera obscura is like original Google maps live feed without search history. I spent the following four or so hours of my evening flirting with my favorite bakery café in town and the study-abroad 16. After enough of that, I enjoyed our evening dose of culture at a Flamenco show, which is an anagram for both flame and men, but definitely not lame.

Friday: We started our mornings like most — with baguettes, cheese and cured ham. The combination seems to be the holy trinity of modern Spain. Then we traveled to Zahara, Spain, a beautiful pueblo blanco situated beneath a 13th-century Moorish castle. The hike to the castle was absolutely worth the view of the lake (which I selectively unheard was artificial). After a quick café, we made our way to Ronda for lunch with a view. Ronda is beautiful (my mother’s name is Ronda). The origins of Andalusian bull fighting are rooted here. Unfortunately, this original 18th-century bullring only hosts a festival in September; fortunately, no animals were harmed during the making of our experience.

Saturday: We celebrated a classmate’s 20th birthday on a world’s top-20 beach in Bolonia, no boloney. Our history lesson of the day was at Baelo Claudio, an ancient Roman town now claimed as ruins, but I’m confident meets Airbnb standards. Today was totally cool, but also nearly 100°. Upon completion of our tourist activities of the day, we set out for some sand dunes in Tarifa. From the top we saw Tangiers, and at the bottom we mud bathed. When in Rome….

Now that I’ve updated you with a bit of this incredible place in which we are living and learning, I promise to provide more about my personal feelings on this experience in my next blog.

France Through Film: Bonjour in the Morning, Bonsoir at Night Around the World, Ava Lindsay '17, Toulouse, France

I have been in France for 10 days and can finally say that I have found my footing in Toulouse. The bus route is memorized, the metro schedule is constantly on hand and my legs have finally stopped hurting from hours of walking and exploring.

I met my host mom, Indiana, the first Saturday of the trip and soon found out that making small talk for 15 minutes in a car with a native speaker is an entirely different experience than being in a French class. I met the house rabbit, Nougat, who greeted me when I first arrived and has since provided me with laughs and company at breakfast.

I must admit that getting used to the habits and customs of a new family took longer than I had expected, but the past week of activities and French classes have kept me busy and have reminded me why I chose to take this course in the first place. I came here to become fluent in French, and I already feel like I am much more comfortable speaking in another language than when I arrived. I guess having five host siblings under the age of 17 who constantly engage in discussion might have something to do with it.

My most awkward moment so far was learning that bonjour is only acceptable in the morning, while bonsoir is used at night. I learned this the hard way when a bus driver couldn’t help but laugh after I confidently stepped on the bus and said hello with a “Bonjour!” For the record, this is the equivalent of saying good morning at 7 p.m. But, hey, I guess that is how you learn.

Every morning we take a French course where many of us are brushing up our grammar skills. Since this course is also focused on French film, we participate in activities involving things such as our favorite films and actors.

In addition, we watch films related to the themes we have studied each week in our afternoon class and connect them to our own experiences with our host families in class discussions. An extra perk this week was speaking with the director of a film we were viewing for class. We heard about his life story and inspiration for the film, as well as his plans for the future. All in French, of course.

We also studied French history in class on Tuesday in preparation for our day trip to Carcassonne on Friday. This trip was my favorite part of the week because we got to explore a medieval fortress, as well as see the plaque where Simon de Montfort was buried. This was especially cool because I had studied him in my French class this past term.

I am looking forward to my next three weeks in the laid-back Toulouse environment. I am missing Lexington and my friends, but the excitement of being here has made things easier. Hopefully, there won’t be too many more bonjour moments!

W&L Announces 2016 Athletic Department Awards

The Washington and Lee Department of Athletics held its annual Athletics Awards Ceremony at Lee Chapel on May 17.  The event, made possible by the generosity of the Brookby Family, honors student-athletes and administrators who have made the 2015-16 school year a tremendous success.

Headlining the awardees were seniors Ron Tassoni and Stephanie Foster, who were selected as the “Pres” Brown Outstanding Senior Male and Female Athletes of the Year as voted on by members of the department.

Senior tennis player Michael Holt and senior basketball and soccer player Shelbi Hendricks received the William D. McHenry Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, while lacrosse player A.J. Witherell and field hockey and lacrosse player Haley Tucker were presented the Outstanding First-Year Male and Female Athlete Awards.  Senior football player Dillon Stanfield was selected as the winner of the Wink Glasgow Spirit & Sportsmanship Award.

Tassoni was a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain for the wrestling team.  He spent his first two seasons wrestling at 174 pounds and then bumped to 184 pounds for his final two campaigns.  He finished as the program’s all-time wins leader with a 97-43 record and also set new school marks for team points (343.5) and takedowns (268).  A two-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American, he claimed the 174-pound title at the Centennial Conference Championship as a sophomore and finished as the conference runner-up at 184 pounds in his senior season.  He also finished third at the NCAA East Regional, becoming W&L’s first NCAA National Championship qualifier since 2001.  Tassoni twice earned All-Centennial Conference and VaSID All-State laurels.

Foster earned four letters as a member of the swimming team.  She twice won the ODAC Championship in the 100 backstroke and was a part of six ODAC Champion relay teams, including the 200 freestyle relay (1:35.81) and the 200 medley relay (1:45.46) that set school, conference and championship meet records this season.  She was an All-ODAC honoree all four seasons and garnered the ODAC/Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete of the Year following each of her final three years.  Additionally, she is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and she has twice received Scholar All-America honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

Holt received the McHenry Male Scholar-Athlete Award after earning four letters with the men’s tennis program.  The mathematics major is a three-time All-ODAC honoree and a two-time All-American in doubles.  He has received the ODAC/Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award three times and he is a two-time Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa, he finished his career ranked fifth all-time at W&L with 76 doubles wins (76-26).  He also went 54-25 in singles in leading W&L to four ODAC titles.

Hendricks was the female recipient of the McHenry Scholar-Athlete Award as a four-year letterwinner in basketball.  She also joined the soccer program as a junior to help add depth at goalkeeper.  In basketball, the forward played in 99 career games, starting 72 contests.  She averaged 8.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.9 steals across her four seasons.  In soccer, she played in seven career games, saving all six shots she faced in going 3-0 with three shutouts.  She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa and a 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree.

Witherell was named the outstanding first-year male after lettering as an attackman for the lacrosse team.  He played in all 20 of the team’s games and led the team and tied for seventh in the ODAC in scoring with 55 points on 33 goals and 22 assists.  He also had 38 ground balls in helping lead the Generals to their first ODAC title since 2009.  He was named Second Team All-ODAC and ODAC Rookie of the Year.

Tucker received the outstanding first-year female award after lettering in field hockey and lacrosse.  As a forward in field hockey, she was a Third Team All-ODAC selection after finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer with 18 points on eight goals and two assists.  On the lacrosse field, she helped the Generals to the ODAC Championship by finishing tied for third on the team in scoring with 31 points on 25 goals and six assists.  The midfielder also led the team with 48 draw controls and collected 23 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers.  Tucker earned First Team All-ODAC honors and was named the ODAC Rookie of the Year.  She also became the first-ever W&L rookie named to the All-Region team, garnering second team laurels.

Stanfield was named the winner of the Wink Glasgow Spirit & Sportsmanship Award after a four-year career with the football team.  He played in 20 games over his career, totaling 518 all-purpose yards as a running back.

Other awards that were presented on Tuesday included the J.L. Lefty Newell Award for the top student manager/worker and the R.E. Chub Yeakel Award, which is given to a member of the University community who has made outstanding contributions to the Department of Athletics.  Senior Christina Kamis was the recipient of the Lefty Newell Award, while former coach and administrator Chuck O’Connell was presented the Chub Yeakel Award.  Junior Diana Banks was voted to receive the Dick Miller Physical Education Scholarship.

Kamis was voted the Lefty Newell Award winner after serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the volleyball team after her playing career was cut short due to injury.  O’Connell received the Chub Yeakel Award for remaining a volunteer assistant coach with the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs following his retirement.  Banks received a scholarship for having completed the University’s physical education requirements as a model student.

For a complete listing of the major department awards and all the team awards that have been presented throughout the year, view it here.