Feature Stories Campus Events

Fun Facts for July 4th

Ever wonder how much BBQ Americans consume on Independence Day? According to a feature on WalletHub, “Ask the Experts: Celebrating Independence the Right Way,” it’s around 900 million lbs.

As well as providing lots of fun facts about celebrating the day, the article offers advice on how to enjoy the holiday safely, and that’s where Gavin Fox, assistant professor of business administration and marketing at Washington and Lee University, enters the picture.

He weighs in on the biggest money-wasters (travel) and the best way to finance a fireworks display (economies of scale).

SOC 7.1.16


Erika Hagberg ’97: Comfortable Being Uncomfortable Hagberg says the philosophy at Google, where she is head of food and beverage advertising, is to avoid complacency.

Erika_2-2-400x600 Erika Hagberg ’97: Comfortable Being UncomfortableErika Hagberg ’97

Erika Hagberg ’97 learned the importance of building relationships and bonding with people while she was a student at Washington and Lee.

Those values have served her well as she built her career. Now head of food and beverage advertising at Google, Hagberg and her team build tight-knit relationships with clients to deliver tailor-made advertising solutions to powerhouse brands, including Coca Cola and Mars.

“I help brands understand, leverage and implement Google’s diverse product portfolio to become smarter and more efficient marketers,” said Hagberg, who is based in the company’s New York City office, overlooking the High Line park.

Her approach is to think of the consumer first and to partner with her clients to develop a custom game plan to best reach that target consumer. “Advertising is much more transparent and interactive than it used to be, which allows brands to really dial in their messaging with contextually relevant ads.” There’s no one-size-fits-all advertising solution, and Hagberg enjoys consulting with and helping her customers take advantage of Google’s platform of search, video, maps, social, mobile and other online solutions.

A journalism major at W&L, Hagberg interned for Fox News for several summers before landing her first fulltime job at AOL in a sales and relationship management role. “That was during the early days of dial-up internet access, when you installed AOL on your computer using floppy discs,” she recalled. She worked for AOL from 1997-2001, and then, when AOL merged with Time-Warner, she moved to Time Inc., as a senior sales representative for Money magazine.

As a business and sales developer, she described herself as an ambassador for the company’s 65 magazine titles, as well as for AOL’s burgeoning online sales business. “It was a really exciting time because businesses were learning about online advertising for the first time. It was my job to break down silos and introduce integrated marketing plans, combining traditional print media with new online advertising opportunities,” she said.

For the past 11 years, Hagberg has worked at Google as a sales and relationship management leader. Before moving to the food and beverage category, she helped build Google’s financial services sector, where she was responsible for developing relationships with advertising partners in banking, credit cards, insurance and investments.

Hagberg is proud of the life-long relationships and personal friendships she has developed, both with her W&L network and with her customers and colleagues. Often called an eternal optimist by those who have worked for or with her, Hagberg said she is candid with her peers and consistent and even-keeled in her management approach. She leads her team from behind by removing obstacles in their paths. “I empower those around me to succeed,” she said, crediting the relentless work ethic her parents instilled in her and her sister at a young age.

Google’s mission, she said, is “giving everyone in the world the same access to knowledge.” She described Google as an “incredible” company and that is “open and inclusive.” The company has “a young, passionate culture, where the founder believes that you can spend your entire career and still pursue your passions in making the world a better place.”

The philosophy is not to be complacent. “Sometimes, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” said Hagberg. “Google is not a hierarchical company. We don’t think of a career ladder or a glass ceiling — it’s more of a jungle gym,” she said. “Ideas come from anywhere in the company, and everyone is a contributor. I love that.”

In thinking of her time at W&L, Hagberg remembers Bob de Maria and Ham Smith in the journalism department, who “were tough but fair,” and helped her learn to think critically. She also remembers George Bent in art history and Jim Warren in English as friends and mentors.

As a lacrosse player, Hagberg looked up to coaches Jan Hathorn and Laurie Stagnitta

. “Both were incredible leaders” and instilled the importance of working as a team. “I remember watching Laurie, our assistant coach and mother of two young children at the time, and thinking how on earth does she do it?” Years later, Hagberg knows how to juggle being an accomplished working mom. With three boys of her own: William, 10, James, 8, and Layton, 4, Hagberg emulates her coach’s ability to balance work and family life.

“All my professors were incredible, and the learning environment at W&L was second to none,” said Hagberg. Small classes also attracted her to W&L, which she first visited when a friend’s daughter enrolled. “W&L continues to be the place where I go for advice.”

Hagberg recently returned to W&L to give the keynote speech at a summit sponsored by the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. She talked to students, alumni and faculty about “embracing the future and where we’re going.” Hagberg said she was impressed with the “incredible technology” in the center’s new space, where students are learning to break new ground as entrepreneurs.

She has given back to the school by being a resource for students, and she will be serving on the center’s advisory board. She also spoke on an alumni panel at a women’s leadership forum in Roanoke, where she emphasized the importance of helping girls gain confidence, whether in the classroom, at work or in social settings. “We should always be building our leadership presence, no matter how long we’ve been in a career.”

Originally from Medford, N.J., Hagberg now lives in Rumson, N.J., with her husband Peder Hagberg, ’97, and their sons, who get a healthy reminder of the W&L traditions of honesty, integrity, the speaking tradition and the importance of a solid liberal arts education.

Hagberg is proud of the wonderful connections she has made with her fellow Googlers and her clients over the years. “I get energy through people I work with,” she said. Building relationships and building trust allow her to flourish in partnerships with customers.

She loves what Google is doing to change the world. “One of our nine principles of innovation is to have a mission that matters, and to me, this is the most important principle of all. We believe that the work we do has impact on millions of people in the world. Every day, I’m more excited than yesterday about the positive impact we’re having on our world.”

Where Am I? This is one of the garden areas at Belfield, the former home of the late Frank Gilliam, dean of students.

Belfield-800x533 Where Am I?Spring flowers in bloom at Belfield.

In 2010, W&L received an anonymous gift from a former trustee to acquire and help renovate Belfield, which the university uses as a guest and event facility. Soon after, Greyson and Garland Tucker ’69 made a significant lead gift to renovate the gardens of Belfield, the former Lexington home of the late Frank J. Gilliam, the beloved dean of students.

“I was always interested in what happened to Belfield,” says Tucker. “Dean Gilliam retired in 1964, but he still had an office in Washington Hall. An aunt introduced us, and I was always in and out of his office. He and his wife, Louise, were very generous about entertaining students in their home.”

During his senior year, Tucker began dating Greyson, who was a freshman at Sweet Briar. She spent a number of dance weekends as a guest of the Gilliams. “During the first year of our courtship, we spent a lot of time at their house and in their garden. We very much enjoyed getting to know them and the history behind their garden,” says Tucker. “Often two people in their 20s aren’t that likely to become interested in gardening, but we were fascinated with how they developed the grounds, which were extraordinarily beautiful and well known throughout Virginia.”

The gardens were the work of renowned landscape architect Charles F. Gillette, who established a regional style — the Virginia Garden — that harmonized architecture with the surrounding landscape. A book about Gillette, “Genius in the Garden,” features photographs of Belfield’s gardens. Mrs. Gilliam had been president of the Garden Club of Virginia from 1948 to 1950, and in 1960 the Gilliams received the Massie Medal for horticultural achievement, the highest award given by the organization.

“We expanded our friendship in their house and garden and got married shortly before Mrs. Gilliam died,” Tucker reminisces. “Whenever we visited, we always spent time in the garden. I would say directly as a result of that experience, we too became avid gardeners.” The Tuckers’ own garden has been featured in Carolina Gardener and Southern Living magazines.”


Kelli Carpenter Fleming ’03 Named a Rising Star of Health Care

Kelli Carpenter Fleming, a 2003 graduate of Washington and Lee University, has been named to the Birmingham Business Journal’s Rising Stars of Health Care list for 2016. She is featured in the June 24 edition of the publication.

A partner at Burr & Forman, Kelli is a member of the firm’s corporate and tax practice group, where she focuses on health care law. She is also a member of the firm’s committees on recruiting and charitable contributions and its steering committees on women’s initiatives and the health care industry. Kelli is a contributing writer for the Birmingham Medical News.


W&L Law Review Publishes First-ever Disclosure of Facebook Internal Review Process

According to a recent New York Times article examining new Facebook suicide prevention tools, the social media giant is becoming more open about sharing internal practices related to user research. To that end, Facebook analysts chose the Washington and Lee Law Review to share for the first time a study describing their internal research review and privacy review process.

Facebook’s decision to discuss their research model publicly has made headlines. In addition to the New York Times article, coverage of the disclosure has appeared in the Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and the MIT Technology Review.

The study, titled “Evolving the IRB: Building Robust Review for Industry Research,” was authored by Molly Jackman and Lauri Kanerva of Facebook. According to the authors, companies increasingly conduct research in order to decide what products to build and to improve customers’ experience with those products.

But they say that existing ethical guidelines for research do not always completely address the considerations that industry researchers face, and they argue that companies should develop principles and practices that take into account the values set out in law and ethics. In Facebook’s case, this means maintaining a standing committee of five employees, including experts in law, ethics, communications, and policy to vet research proposals and identify ethical concerns.

The Facebook study was the product of a symposium sponsored by W&L Law and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a DC-based think tank that promotes responsible data privacy policies. The topic of the symposium, as the Facebook paper suggests, was ethical review processes for big data research, with an emphasis on the ethical challenges of internal corporate research by companies that are able to harvest massive amounts of digital data. The event was also supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

“Developing meaningful processes and standards for ethical reviews of data research is one of the critical challenges companies face today,” said Jules Polonetsky, CEO, Future of Privacy Forum. “Socially valuable advances will only be feasible if trustworthy paths are established for academic and corporate researchers alike. Kanerva and Jackman’s paper documenting the Facebook research process provides researchers with a valuable model for serious evaluation of the benefits and risks of new projects.”

The W&L Law Review will publish all of the symposium material in addition to the Facebook study, and W&L will host a follow-up symposium in Lexington in February 2017. The theme of the symposium is “Markets and Morality,” and it will be sponsored by the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice and the University’s Mudd Center for Ethics.

W&L Law entered into a unique academic partnership with FPF last year designed to enhance scholarship and conversations about privacy law and policy and to create new curricula and internship opportunities for W&L Law students. In addition, W&L and FPF recently announced the launch of a new summer program in Washington, DC for students interested in studying cyber and privacy law.

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 Facebook study and other submissions from symposium can be viewed at the Law Review website at http://lawreview.journals.wlu.io/.

Chief Justice Donald Lemons, Professor of Judicial Studies at W&L Law, Receives Legal Education Award

Donald Lemons, Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court and Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, is the 2016 recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers.

Justice Lemons received the award during the Virginia State Bar annual meeting, held this month.

Justice Lemons has served on the Virginia Supreme Court since 2000 and was elected Chief Justice in 2014. Since 2008, he has served as Distinguished Professor of Judicial Studies at Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he teaches a third-year practicum course on appellate practice that combines legal theory about the nature of the judicial process with hands-on simulations of appellate practice.

“Chief Justice Lemons has made significant contributions to the education of our students at W&L, not only by working with them to sharpen their appellate advocacy skills but also by speaking in numerous settings on the ideals of professionalism within the practicing bar,” said Dean Brant Hellwig. “Chief Justice Lemons is well deserving of this recognition, and we are both thankful and proud of his affiliation with our law school. “

A distinguished jurist and legal educator, Justice Lemons has served as a judge or justice at every level of the judiciary in Virginia, and has taught at the law schools of the University of Virginia, the University of Richmond, and Washington and Lee University. He also is a national leader in numerous legal and civic organizations including service as the president of The American Inns of Court, an organization dedicated to fostering professionalism, education, and mentoring to enhance the best values of the legal profession among the bench and the bar.

Recognized as an authority on American legal history, Justice Lemons served on the state, national and international committees that organized the activities to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown’s founding. In 2008, he was awarded the rare honor of being named an Honorary Master of the Bench by the Middle Temple in London.

Justice Lemons graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1976 and served as an assistant dean and assistant professor of law at the school for several years. After a successful career in private practice, Lemons was appointed in 1995 to the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond by Gov. George Allen. In 1998 Lemons was elected by the Virginia General Assembly to the Court of Appeals of Virginia and then to the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2000.

Faculty Focus: Shane Lynch Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities

“I love having intelligent students who are passionate about a wide variety of topics. I might make a little side comment in rehearsal about nothing in particular, and somebody will go do 30 minutes of research and come back and ask me questions about it.”

What do you teach at W&L?
I conduct the University Singers, our top choir here, the Men’s Glee Club and Cantatrici, the women’s choir. I also teach conducting and vocal music methods for our music education students.

When were you first interested in music?
Really it’s been as far back as I can remember. My older brother is also a musician, so I remember watching him sing in the school choir, and I was really fascinated by it. I started singing and playing the piano at a pretty young age.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in music?
Like lots of people, I went to college with the eventual goal of attending med school. As well as my degree in music, I also have a degree in physics, with a minor in chemistry. But I knew that music would be an important part of my life. As a young man, I routinely heard, “Oh, you’re good at math, science — medicine or engineering would be a real job, you can’t do music, you’ll never feed yourself.” It was well-intentioned advice, but it also was completely wrong, based on stereotypes and a lack of fundamental knowledge. But if you hear that message enough from people who do care about you, you start to believe it must be true.

I completed all my pre-med requirements, got to the point where I could shadow doctors and discovered that I hated every last second of it. For me, it was wrapping my head around the fact that I could actually follow a career in music and have a good life. It wasn’t a dead-end career with no job and no money — there actually was a real and wildly rewarding life path. There’s not necessarily a path if you don’t have talent, but I’m not sure how much of a career there is for anyone in any field if they don’t have the talent to pursue it.

What do you enjoy most about W&L?
I love having intelligent students who are passionate about a wide variety of topics. I might make a little side comment in rehearsal about nothing in particular, and somebody will go do 30 minutes of research and come back and ask me questions about it. So I really enjoy working with bright, motivated students.

You led the University Singers’ Ireland tour over spring break. What pieces did you perform?
We traveled through Ireland in April. We did a loop that took us up into Northern Ireland, and then we came back into the republic. It was the 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising, so it was a really great time to be in Ireland because there was so much going on related to that. I’ve done a lot of international touring, and this was probably the best international tour I’ve done so far.

The choir sang a lot of different works. We did a full Bach motet, “Komm, Jesu Komm,” which is well-known and fun to perform. When you perform abroad, it’s also nice to honor your hosts by singing their music and then sharing some of your music, so we did a set of Irish music, which included works in original Gaelic by Michael McGlynn. He’s the director of Anúna, a professional Irish choir, and we were able to work with Michael on his pieces while we were there. We then did some works of Americana. I wrote a piece that we performed that was entirely designed around the Easter Uprising. It used poetry by Joseph Mary Plunkett, who was the architect of the plan for the failed Easter Uprising. He famously married Grace Gifford, the love of his life, seven hours before he was executed for his role in the uprising. It was fun to use his poetry, which is very evocative. The piece got to be a little bit on the weird side, but it was very appropriate.

What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time?
I actually don’t listen to a lot of music in my free time because I spend so much of my professional life listening to it. You know, it’s like professional golfers don’t play a lot of golf in their free time. But I actually do listen to a pretty wide variety of stuff when I am listening, anything from kind of old Billy Joel sorts of things to Adele. My daughter is a big fan of hers, so we listen to a lot of Adele.

Do you have a favorite genre of music?
It’s probably really a cappella choral music, what I do for my career. I just feel like it’s the strongest art form we humans have ever created. It’s probably one of the oldest art forms, as there were probably people singing with one another tens of thousands of years ago, and it’s stuck around. I think it’ll stick around as long as humans are around.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like woodworking and construction. I actually helped put myself through school learning how to build homes and furniture. I still do a lot of that – it’s just more fun to do it for myself now, and it uses the physics-math side of my brain. I enjoy golfing with my children and I curl, or at least I did before I moved to Virginia.

– interview by Wesley Sigmon ’16

Title: Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities
Department: Music
Education:

  • B.A., Concordia College
  • Master of Music in Conducting, University of Northern Colorado
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting, University of Washington

Research Interests: Using effective movement to aid in singing and conducting performance, trends of Neo-Impressionism in modern American choral music and the a cappella Psalm settings of Mendelssohn.

Ciao to Prizewinning Author Matthew Neill Null ’06

Matthew Neill Null, a member of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 2006, will soon be practicing his craft — fiction writing — in Rome. Last month he won the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His prize citation reads: “Matthew Neill Null has set himself the heroic task of describing the earth’s fallen beauty by chronicling his native West Virginia. The task is Faulknerian but he has the back for it.”

Matt was featured in “An Outlaw Trade,” the Winter 2015 cover story of the W&L alumni magazine. He has two acclaimed books to his credit, the short story collection “Allegheny Front” and the novel “Honey from the Lion.”

Be sure to check out Matt’s website, which features links to stories, interviews, essays and excerpts from “Honey from the Lion.”

The Rome Prize goes to approximately 30 “emerging artists and scholars who represent the highest standard of excellence and who are in the early or middle stages of their working lives,” says the academy’s website.

With this honor, Matt receives a stipend, a place to write, plus room and board. During his time in Rome — where he’ll live in a villa that dates to 1650 — he will enjoy “an atmosphere conducive to intellectual and artistic freedom, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovation,” also according to the academy’s website, which you can peruse here.

It’s Real Simple, Ask a History Professor

Real Simple magazine, with its pages of healthy recipes, useful organizing tips and affordable beauty products, isn’t necessarily the first publication where one might turn for wisdom from a historian. Appearances can be deceiving, however, because the editors were smart enough to ask Ted DeLaney, associate professor of history at Washington and Lee University, for a recommendation that’s included in “5 U.S. Historic Sites Everyone Should Visit,” an article in the June 2016 issue.

Ted gives the thumbs-up to Colonial Williamsburg, right here in Virginia. “I think it is one of the most important historical displays in the United States,” he notes in the piece. “What I especially appreciate is that they did not overlook the contributions of the many African-Americans who lived there.”

Ted, who graduated from W&L in 1985, also chairs the Africana Studies Program, which gives students an interdisciplinary minor that examines the culture and experiences of African people and those who make up the African Diaspora throughout the world.

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W&L Professor Jim Kahn ’75 Named President-Elect of USSEE

John F. Hendon Professor of Economics and Director of Environmental Studies James R. Kahn has been named president-elect of the United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE).

In his new role, Kahn, a member of the W&L Class of 1975, hopes to enable the USSEE to be more embracing of alternative viewpoints and methods. He believes that each approach adds important knowledge that can influence policy positions.

“I think if we think about how we need to approach policy (both in terms of actual policy steps and the knowledge necessary to support decision-making), we can make a greater contribution to maintaining a planet with healthy ecosystems, thriving human societies, and a future which is bright rather than bleak,” said Kahn.

Among other offices held in professional organizations, Kahn has served as both secretary/treasurer and steering committee member for the USSEE as well as president of the Southern Committee for Resource and Environmental Economics. He will serve as president-elect of USSEE for one year, followed by two years as president and then one year as past president.

Kahn holds a B.A. from Washington and Lee University and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. His primary research subjects include environmental and resource economics, environmental studies and environmental policy.

The USSEE is a membership organization within the umbrella society of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), which was founded in 1989. The science of ecological economics brings together academics and practitioners from a variety of natural and social science disciplines.

USSEE members are engaged in research, policy, community projects and various other activities and collaborations to advance the interdisciplinary field of ecological economics. The society seeks to address pressing social and ecological problems by advancing dialogue across different disciplines, backgrounds and professional contexts.

Alumni Registration Open for 2016 Entrepreneurship Summit

Registration is now open to Washington and Lee alumni for the 2016 Entrepreneurship Summit, hosted by the Williams School’s Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. The Summit will take place Sept. 23–24 and is open to all alumni, students and friends of the university. Attending the Summit is free but all attendees must register by Sept. 16.

Last fall, over 120 alumni attended W&L’s Entrepreneurship Summit. Registration includes breakfast and lunch on both Friday and Saturday as well as two full days of programming. A schedule of events is available online, with more details to be released throughout the summer. On Friday night, registrants will attend a networking reception before dinner in town; on Saturday night, the Summit will conclude with a formal dinner program.

One of the most popular portions of the program has become the Alumni Pitch Session. Alumni entrepreneurs who are looking for investors and other forms of support pitch their start-ups and business ideas to their classmates and current students. A separate application to participate in the session is required and is available online. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31.

Washington and Lee students attend the majority of the Entrepreneurship Summit’s programming. In 2015, 550 students participated in some portion of the Summit. While on campus, alumni with interest in recruiting or mentoring W&L students are invited to conduct mock interviews as well as regular internship and job interviews. Student registration information will be available online later this summer.

The Williams School has secured a block of hotel rooms at the Hampton Inn Lexington-Historic District. Rooms at the Hampton Inn are $130 per night plus tax. To make a reservation, call (540) 463-2223 and refer to the ‘Entrepreneurial Summit’ by Aug. 23.

Washington and Lee University’s Entrepreneurship Summit was launched in 2012 by Jeffrey Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership. For more information about the Summit, please visit http://entrepreneurship.wlu.edu or contact Shay at shayj@wlu.edu.

Lenny Enkhbold ’17: Ambassador for the Great Outdoors

Last year, Lenny Enkhbold, a rising junior at Washington and Lee University, was selected as one of 13 founding members of the Merrell College Ambassadors. His charge was to develop and implement a semester-long strategy to engage campuses and communities in outdoor recreation. With the $1,000 that Merrell provided to W&L’s Outing Club, Lenny created a Merrell nature scholarship.

Lenny, an active member of W&L’s Outing Club, said in an interview with the Outdoor Industry Association website, “My goal truly is to help people engage in the outdoors. I want to help other people discover who they are through outdoor recreation.”

In the past, Lenny has led all sorts of outdoor adventures, from hang-gliding to hiking, rafting to climbing, caving to kayaking, skiing to biking and horseback riding. At W&L, he takes 50 first-year students backpacking on the Appalachian Trail every fall.

He said, “There’s a giant fear of missing out on certain weekends. I want people to be fearful of missing out on the wonderful outdoor opportunities around Washington and Lee.”

Lenny is a German and computer science major and philosophy minor, and he serves as treasurer of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and as co-president of the German Club. A Quest Scholar, he received the German Department Award as a first-year.

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable Erika Hagberg ’97 builds relationships with customers as head of food and beverage advertising for Google.

Erika_2-2-400x600 Comfortable Being UncomfortableErika Hagberg ’97

Erika Hagberg ’97 learned the importance of building relationships and bonding with people while she was a student at Washington and Lee.

Those values have served her well as she built her career. Now head of food and beverage advertising at Google, Hagberg and her team build tight-knit relationships with clients to deliver tailor-made advertising solutions to powerhouse brands, including Coca Cola and Mars.

“I help brands understand, leverage and implement Google’s diverse product portfolio to become smarter and more efficient marketers,” said Hagberg, who is based in the company’s New York City office, overlooking the High Line park.

Her approach is to think of the consumer first and to partner with her clients to develop a custom game plan to best reach that target consumer. “Advertising is much more transparent and interactive than it used to be, which allows brands to really dial-in their messaging with contextually relevant ads.” There’s no one-size-fits-all advertising solution, and Hagberg enjoys consulting with and helping her customers take advantage of Google’s platform of search, video, maps, social, mobile and other online solutions.

A journalism major at W&L, Hagberg interned for Fox News for several summers before landing her first fulltime job at AOL in a sales and relationship management role. “That was during the early days of dial-up internet access, when you installed AOL on your computer using floppy discs,” she recalled. She worked for AOL from 1997-2001, and then, when AOL merged with Time-Warner, she moved to Time Inc., as a senior sales representative for Money magazine.

As a business and sales developer, she described herself as an ambassador for the company’s 65 magazine titles, as well as for AOL’s burgeoning online sales business. “It was a really exciting time because businesses were learning about online advertising for the first time. It was my job to break down silos and introduce integrated marketing plans, combining traditional print media with new online advertising opportunities,” she said.

For the past 11 years, Hagberg has worked at Google as a sales and relationship management leader. Before moving to the food and beverage category, she helped build Google’s financial services sector, where she was responsible for developing relationships with advertising partners in banking, credit cards, insurance and investments.

Hagberg is proud of the lifelong relationships and personal friendships she has developed, both with her W&L network and with her customers and colleagues. Often called an eternal optimist by those who have worked for or with her, Hagberg said she is candid with her peers and consistent and even-keeled in her management approach. She leads her team from behind by removing obstacles in their paths. “I empower those around me to succeed,” she said, crediting the relentless work ethic her parents instilled in her and her sister at a young age.

Google’s mission, she said, is “giving everyone in the world the same access to knowledge.” She described Google as an “incredible” company and that is “open and inclusive.” The company has “a young, passionate culture, where the founder believes that you can spend your entire career and still pursue your passions in making the world a better place.”

The philosophy is not to be complacent. “Sometimes, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” said Hagberg. “Google is not a hierarchical company. We don’t think of a career ladder or a glass ceiling — it’s more of a jungle gym,” she said. “Ideas come from anywhere in the company, and everyone is a contributor. I love that.”

In thinking of her time at W&L, Hagberg remembers Bob de Marie and Ham Smith in the journalism department, who “were tough but fair,” and helped her learn to think critically. She also remembers George Bent in art history and Jim Warren in English as friends and mentors.

As a lacrosse player, Hagberg looked up to coaches Jan Hawthorne and Laurie Stagnita. “Both were incredible leaders” and instilled the importance of working as a team. “I remember watching Laurie, our assistant coach and mother of two young children at the time, and thinking how on earth does she do it?” Years later, Hagberg knows how to juggle being an accomplished working mom. With three boys of her own: William, 10, James, 8, and Layton, 4, Hagberg emulates her coach’s ability to balance work and family life.

“All my professors were incredible, and the learning environment at W&L was second to none,” said Hagberg. Small classes also attracted her to W&L, which she first visited when a friend’s daughter enrolled. “W&L continues to be the place where I go for advice.”

Hagberg recently returned to W&L to give the keynote speech at a summit sponsored by the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. She talked to students, alumni and faculty about “embracing the future and where we’re going.” Hagberg said she was impressed with the “incredible technology” in the center’s new space, where students are learning to break new ground as entrepreneurs.

She has given back to the school by being a resource for students, and she will be serving on the center’s advisory board. She also spoke on an alumni panel at a women’s leadership forum in Roanoke, where she emphasized the importance of helping girls gain confidence, whether in the classroom, at work or in social settings. “We should always be building our leadership presence, no matter how long we’ve been in a career.”

Erika_1-1-600x400 Comfortable Being UncomfortableErika and Peder Hagberg ’97 and two of their three sons.

Originally from Medford, N.J., Hagberg now lives in Rumson, N.J., with her husband, Peder Hagberg, ’97, and their sons, who get a healthly reminder of the W&L traditions of honesty, integrity, the speaking tradition and the importance of a solid liberal arts education.

Hagberg is proud of the wonderful connections she has made with her fellow Googlers and her clients over the years. “I get energy through people I work with,” she said. Building relationships and building trust allow her to flourish in partnerships with customers.

She loves what Google is doing to change the world. “One of our nine principles of innovation is to have a mission that matters, and to me, this is the most important principle of all. We believe that the work we do has impact on millions of people in the world. Every day, I’m more excited than yesterday about the positive impact we’re having on our world.”

Building a Brand Overseas Kate Boe ’13's business is filling a gap in the baby-food business in China.

Kate-Boe-800x533 Building a Brand OverseasKate Boe ’13 leads a leads a workshop on healthy eating for parents and children in in China.

Q: Where are you from?
I was born and grew up in Washington, D.C. When I started my college process, I really had no idea where I wanted to go. My mom thought W&L would be a great fit for me and pushed me to do a tour. Initially, I didn’t even want to visit. I did a campus tour, loved it, and decided W&L was the best place for me.

Q: You have a rather unusual double major, in Chinese and biology. What drew you to those areas?
I did have an unusual academic path, but these two subjects were my main interests. I had started studying Chinese in high school and wanted to continue. Similarly, I had loved science, particularly biology, from a young age. I had great biology professors my first year at W&L, which made me interested in pursuing that degree. It wasn’t always easy to balance two difficult and dissimilar course loads, but I had great support from my professors, particularly my advisers, Paul Cabe and Yanhong Zhu. I chose to study and to do what I enjoy and am most interested in, and that has shown in both my academic and career paths.

I actually never took a class in the C-school. I wish I had now that I am starting my own business. I would recommend all W&L students to take advantage of the liberal arts curriculum and ability to register for a variety of classes outside their interest or major. You never know when you’ll need knowledge in a different field.

Q: How did you end up overseas?
I initially went to China for a six-month teaching program — sort of a gap year before heading to graduate school. I ended up changing those graduate-school plans and found a permanent job in Shanghai in the health-consulting industry. It was a great place to start a career in China, to learn about the Chinese market, and to learn the cross-cultural work-life skills I needed. During this time, I also pursued professional certifications in international development and project management, as well as integrative health coaching. They have combined to be helpful and a great network for starting a health business in a foreign market.

My biggest takeaway from my unconventional career path is to stay flexible and be open to opportunities. Don’t be tied to a normal path or what you think you have to do to have a successful career.

Q: What company do you work for?
I have a full-time job at JUCCCE and do Bunnie’s Baby Foods on the side. It’s been a good combination for me, as my job with JUCCCE complements the idea of Bunnie’s.

At JUCCCE, we are building China’s first food-education program, which is centered on interactive, gamified nutrition and food lessons for kids and families to improve personal and planetary health. It’s an internationally recognized public health and environmental initiative, and it’s given me amazing access to global experts. Next month, I’ll be going to SXSW and the Salzburg Global Seminar to present and discuss the vision we have for China and global licensing of the program.

Q: Describe your start-up.
The idea for Bunnie’s (Chinese name is 伴你 “ban ni,” which means “accompanying you”) came very naturally. I was active in the health scene in Shanghai, restaurants, fitness studios, etc., and I would host nutrition and health workshops. In spring 2015, I hosted a Katherine Mom and Baby Health workshop, and it was very popular. Many of the moms were concerned about baby food, weaning and baby food brands. Parents, both Chinese and expats, really only purchase imported baby food or make their own in China. The imported options aren’t always the best, healthiest brands, are limited in quantity, and very overpriced — one jar of ordinary Gerber baby food can be over $3. There are also a lot of food-safety issues in China, which makes people wary of anything locally produced.

I realized there was a huge gap in the baby food market here. It was definitely an a-ha moment for me to start Bunnie’s. I knew as a health coach I had the training and knowledge I needed to make the foods despite the fact that I don’t have a baby of my own.

Bunnie’s is all natural, and the produce comes from a network of ecological farms. I don’t use sugar or juice or heaps of water in my baby blends. I’ve developed recipes that are nutrient dense and still taste yummy to babies and fussy eaters. My current product lineup is eight flavors suitable for babies around 6 to 18 months old. By working with my farms, I’m supporting the movement to a healthier environment, too. Connecting small, ecological farms to consumers and new opportunities is one of the best ways to contribute to building an environmentally friendly China.

Besides, the actual food products, I am positioning Bunnie’s as a reliable source of information of healthy parenting and child rearing. I have just started an Official WeChat Account and a linked WeChat ecommerce store. WeChat is the predominant social media outlet in China, with 840 million active users. I consider the WeChat posts and social media almost as a Bunnie’s product in themselves. It’s extremely valuable to my brand, and parents are hungry for legitimate and interesting family health knowledge. Focusing on WeChat and the local Chinese market has been a priority of mine for the past couple of months. I’m positioning Bunnie’s as totally healthy and safe, as well as trendy and modern for young Chinese moms.

One of the biggest hurdles is the manufacturing, because the food is perishable. I make it in a kitchen facility and not a factory — it’s a choice that reflects my belief in the importance of fresh and natural foods. My big goals for this year are optimizing production, as well as increasing my suppliers and, obviously, growing sales and the Bunnie’s brand.

Q: What advice would you give young entrepreneurs?
At first, I tried to do too much myself. I’ve found that things get way easier when you ask for help. I’ve developed some great friendships with Chinese people who are enthusiastic about my idea and business and want to be a part of it. There is an art to finding the right balance between holding down a full-time job and creating a start-up — the entrepreneur term is “bootstrapping” — I would like to think I’ve almost mastered that art. However, the best advice I can give is, don’t beat yourself up and wear yourself out.

Bunnie’s has not been an overnight success, and I am totally okay with that. I do what I can, and rather than spin my wheels, I try to sit back and think about new solutions or finding advice.

I have had to learn to put myself out there a lot and actually sell the products I’ve created. The selling is hard for me, because I’m not a natural salesperson — it’s harder than I thought it would be. But I think it is important for everyone to learn these skills, and every W&L student should practice their inner salesperson. It builds confidence, public speaking and self-awareness.

Q: What have been the challenges in developing a business in China?
Doing business here is surprisingly not as daunting as one might think. Traditional industries are regulated and more difficult to tap into, but the F&B space is growing exceptionally fast here. Entrepreneurs and other businessmen I’ve worked with are open and eager and very collaborative. Being a foreign woman in business here has not been a problem either. I think the culture is egalitarian, and women and men are represented fairly equally in the workplace. Plus, blonde hair still goes a long way in China.

Q: How difficult was it to build a social network?
When I first moved to China, I was introduced to two people through friends. That’s it. At first, it was hard, but the expat community is open and welcoming — everyone is far from home and needs friends. I’ve also made some great Chinese friends who have been an awesome support and source of guidance for life and business in China.

I’ve attended the W&L events held in China, as well as some KKG ones, but there are not very many alums here. I hope more will join me here in this great city. I’m connecting with the Spring Term abroad group here this year and will participate in some of their activities. I’m looking forward to it.

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New Yorkers Salute Larry Boetsch ’69

During his 40 years at Washington and Lee University, Professor Larry Boetsch has received many honors, but probably nothing like the ones that came his way this spring from Steven E. Losquadro, a member of the W&L Class of 1986. To mark Larry’s retirement this year, Losquadro, an attorney in Rocky Point, New York, rounded up salutes to his former professor from officials in Losquardo’s home state.

“Prof. Boetsch was my advisor,” Losquadro wrote to President Ken Ruscio ’76, “but more so a friend and mentor . . . and made my four years in Lexington memorable and rewarding.”

First, there’s a Certificate from Congratulations from Daniel P. Losquadro, the Brookhaven superintendent of highways, “on behalf of the 486,040 residents of the Town of Brookhaven.” It gives a nod to Larry’s “extraordinary service to the students, faculty and staff of Washington and Lee University, as well as the international education community.”

Then there’s the citation from Dean Murray, a member of the New York State Assembly from the Third District. It recognizes Larry’s “outstanding service and 40-year commitment” to W&L.

And finally, Kenneth P. LaValle, of New York’s First Senate District, presented a Certificate of Recognition for Larry’s “exception and dedicated service to the students and faculty of Washington and Lee University.”

Larry, a professor of Romance languages, served as acting president of the university from 2001 to 2002, and as the first director of the Center for International Education. Larry was also dean of the College for a number of years. He graduated from W&L in 1969.

A New Scholarship

Paradies_portrait_for_web_story-280x350 A New ScholarshipJim Paradies ’51

For James N. (Jim) Paradies ’51, W&L provided the right mix of rigorous academics and a nurturing environment to develop in him the leadership abilities and financial skills necessary for launching a successful career as an entrepreneur.

An economics major at W&L, Paradies, along with his brother, co-founded The Paradies Shops Inc. with the opening of one toy store in the Atlanta Municipal Airport (now Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport). The company, now called Paradies Lagardère, operates more than 850 stores and restaurants in over 90 airports.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have grown a great company,” says Paradies. “We have roughly 6,000 associates throughout North America, and I feel blessed by the success of this company. I think my experience at W&L had a direct impact on that.”

In appreciation for the positive influence W&L has had on his personal life and career, Paradies has given $100,000 to establish the James N. Paradies Scholarship Endowment to help deserving students in need of financial support. The scholarship will be awarded for the first time during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Paradies also recently contributed $25,000 to the Hillel Programming Endowment to support the campus organization that nurtures the intellectual and spiritual development of Jewish students at W&L.

“The organization is a great continuation of Jewish tradition at the university,” says Paradies. “I believe that Hillel can strengthen the overall W&L experience for Jewish students on campus.”

Paradies still stays connected to W&L through friendships that remain strong six decades after his graduation. Each Saturday, for example, he has lunch with classmates Dave Wolf and Sonny Shlesinger. He also values the lessons he learned serving on the Executive Committee. Paradies hopes future students who receive the scholarship he established also will find their lives enriched at W&L.


Utah Lt. Gov. and W&L Law Alumnus Spencer Cox ‘01L Receives National Attention for Orlando Vigil Speech

Spencer Cox, a 2001 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law and Lt. Governor of the State of Utah, is receiving national attention for a speech he delivered on Monday in Salt Lake City at a vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting.

Cox, a Republican state legislator who was selected to serve as the state’s lieutenant governor in 2013, expressed sympathy for the LGBTQ community in the wake of the tragedy and conveyed his hope that the country would rise above partisan divides in seeking solutions to the challenges posed by mass violence.

“Today we need fewer Republicans and fewer Democrats. Today we need more Americans,” said Cox.

Cox’s speech has gone viral in the media, with coverage from NPR, Washington Post, Esquire and other outlets. The full text and a video of the speech is available online.

A Utah native who came to W&L after graduating from Utah State University, Spencer was elected in 2012 to the Utah House of Representatives. Prior to being elected to the legislature, he’d served as mayor of Fairview, the rural Utah town where he was born and raised.

After graduating from W&L, Spencer clerked for U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart and then joined the Salt Lake City law firm of Fabian and Clendenin. He eventually returned to Fairview and served  as vice president of CentraCom, a rural telecommunications company.

Bren Flanigan ’16 to Serve in the Peace Corps

Bren Flanigan, a 2016 graduate of Washington and Lee University, will be putting his B.A. in economics and global politics to work with the United Nations over the summer before he departs for his posting with the Peace Corps, as a community economic development advisor in Benin.

Bren will be working in the Special Events and Advocacy Section of the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information at the U.N. Secretariat, in New York City. As reported in The Carthage Press, his responsibilities include increasing the engagement and awareness of the U.N. and the secretary general.

During the summer of 2014, Bren worked as a public diplomacy intern at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia, for the U.S. Department of State. While there, he wrote op-eds for the chargé d’affaires, co-led an education trip to the western province and acted as press site officer for the visit of Dr. Jill Biden. He also drafted talking points about women’s empowerment in Zambia, a key U.S. foreign policy objective for Biden.

The following summer, Bren worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C., helping to create information about strategic engagement within the Office of Transition Initiatives, an agency that helps support U.S. foreign policy objectives by helping local partners advance peace and democracy

Washington and Lee Announces May Community Grants

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 10 grants totaling $24,757 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the second part of its two rounds of grants for 2015-16.

The committee chose the grants from 19 proposals requesting over $77,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • Boxerwood Project NEST – Funds to support school program fee subsidies.
  • City of Lexington Office on Youth – For support of the youth outreach program “Summer Fun ’16.”
  • Lylburn Downing Middle School – Funding to purchase a 3D printer.
  • Mission Next Door – Assist needy families in the Rockbridge County area with home repair and social service advocacy.
  • Rockbridge Animal Alliance and Cats Unlimited – Assist local residents with the cost of spaying and neutering their cats and dogs.
  • Rockbridge Ballet – Funds to support a storytelling project, Where the Page Meets the Stage.
  • Rockbridge Historical Society – Purchase of a banner to promote the History Bee project.
  • Rockbridge Regional Drug Task Force – Funds to purchase equipment.
  • Waddell Elementary School Music Department – Class set of djembe drums.
  • Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center – To assist with the purchase of an updated structure for playground.

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

During its 2015-16 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually, at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The submission deadline for the two rounds of evaluations for 2016-17 will be: by the end of the work day (4:30 p.m.) on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, and Friday, April 14, 2017. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

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


Intro to Nanoscience A Spring Term course helps students with little or no science background understand the scientific principles that govern our world.

“How can you not do science? If you look around you, every aspect of your life involves science — pencils, clothes, drink, lighting and heating systems. This is what sustains our life.”

Think tiny. No, teeny tiny. Down to where you can manipulate the atoms of a material one by one.

The study of structures at this scale, nanoscience, is one of most exciting fields in science, with transformational applications in engineering, medicine and materials science. It’s an area where some of the world’s biggest problems are being solved at the smallest level.

Moataz Khalifa, visiting assistant professor of physics at W&L, is teaching a Spring Term course, An Introduction to Nanoscience, for students with little or no science background. The course was originally developed by Dan and Irina Mazilu, associate professors of physics at W&L.

“I have a mix of majors,” said Khalifa. “Classics, business, economics, math, engineering. It makes teaching a class like this interesting because I have to design a class that keeps all the students engaged. First, I want to offer a serious class to make sure the serious students don’t get bored. On top of that, this is a nanoscience class, so I have to start by teaching classical physics, which some of them haven’t seen — ever. And then when I take it to the nanoscale, everything changes again, so I have to teach them another kind of physics — quantum mechanics — and I have to do all that in four weeks.”

Khalifa_SEM_@IQ-e1465845483149-1024x676 Intro to NanoscienceProfessor Moataz Khalifa at the controls of W&L’s scanning electron microscope during a lab session for his Introduction to Nanoscience class.

Khalifa’s main objectives are to introduce students to the history of the field, the motivation driving it and the emerging technology that is changing our world.

He starts with Moore’s Law, named for Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel. “Moore said that the number of transistors and components in circuits was going to double every two years,” explained Khalifa. “He was making these predictions from the market and consumer point of view and the demand to make things more efficient and smaller. Lo and behold, this has been holding true since about 1965, when he introduced that idea. The semiconductor industry decided that this is where the industry should be and kept setting the bar higher and higher to make parts smaller and smaller. Electronic components came down in scale so much that the physical behavior of the materials began to change. When we started working with materials at the nanoscale, the quantum mechanical effects started showing up.”

Along the way, fascinating discoveries surfaced: the Bucky ball, graphene, carbon nanotubes. “With advances in science, we were able to approach and look at very small sizes,” said Khalifa. “This is where technology in our world is headed. As we build new structures, it’s going to take less material, cost less and be much stronger.”

Seeing is believing, and Khalifa took his class of nine first-years to Virginia Tech’s Division of Nanoscience labs for hands-on experience with state-of the-art equipment. The first session involved using the atomic force microscope to examine a film of anti-reflective coating deposited on a glass slide. “I’m trying to teach them why this is so important to us,” said Kahlifa. “If you touch the top of a table with your finger, it feels smooth. But to the atomic force microscope tip we used to image the polymer, it would be like trying to map the Grand Canyon with a broomstick. With this instrumentation we can manipulate individual atoms. I can pick up individual atoms one by one and put them anywhere I want to. The students thought this was pretty cool.”

The class satisfies the science requirement for graduation, which is why all of the students, except for one engineering major, took the class. “I’m scared of science in general,” admitted Davis Alliger ’19. “It seemed like it would be a pretty rough course because it all seemed like a foreign language to me. Professor Khalifa said, ‘Electrons are particles,’ and I didn’t know what an electron was. He started with a big sentence in which I didn’t understand a single word, and then he went back and explained it piece by piece. It makes sense now.”

“The students are doing really well,” said Kahlifa. “I thought I was biased, because they are my students, but when I took them to Tech they kept asking the research scientists all these great questions, and the research scientists were impressed by their abilities and curiosity.”

While some of the labs take place at Virginia Tech, Khalifa is also introducing his students to W&L’s IQ Center and the high-tech tools available for research projects. In one lab session, the group mapped the surface of a butterfly wing and the edge of a quarter with the scanning electron microscope. Bouncing a stream of electrons onto the surface of these two objects demonstrated how difficult it is to get accurate measurements at this scale.

“A smaller beam of electrons covers a smaller portion of the surface, so you can get a more precise measurement,” Khalifa said.

“The downside is that you see a lot less. You also have to move the beam around because it can burn a hole in the material. If you don’t move it soon enough, the damage will give you imprecise readings.”

It’s a fascinating new world, and along with getting to know all about Schrodinger’s cat, nanobots and how to walk through walls, the students are gaining confidence in accurately describing the scientific principles that govern our world.

“I’ve heard people say that science isn’t their thing,” said Kahlifa. “You cannot say that in this day and age. Everything around us has so much technology associated with it. You might as well say, ‘Walking is not my thing.’

While Khalifa doesn’t expect his students to become experts after one class, what they learn just might be useful later on. He points to a former student who works for a bank that lends to nanotechnology investors.

“Out of all the applicants, he was the only one who had taken a class on nanoscience, and this class helped him get the job,” said Khalifa. “That’s what spurred the idea to develop more classes in this area. If the market wants that, then why not educate people who are not in the sciences? It’s beneficial for everybody.”

Land in Lakota Culture, Economics and History W&L professors collaborate on a Spring Term course about American Indians and land.

There’s no better way to kick off a class about American Indians than with traditional morning greetings in the Lakota language — “Hihanni wasté, t‘unshká. Hihanni wasté, t‘unjan.” And so that’s how Harvey Markowitz and Joseph Guse, professors at Washington and Lee University, began every session of their new Spring Term course, Land in Lakota Culture, Economics and History.

The hardy students of the Spring Term course – Land in Lakota Culture, Economics and History – after reaching the summit of Bear Butte, South Dakota. L. to r.: Bowen Spottswood ’18, Maggie Hambleton ’16, Pepito Estrada Hamm ’19, Alex Dolwick ’19, J.T. Williams ’18, Kevin Good ’17, Erin Ferber ’18, Alison Masson ’18, Sara Jones ’18.

The students and professors used the greetings not only in the classroom but also during a week-long field trip in South Dakota, where they visited such important Lakota sites as Harney Peak, Wind Cave and Wounded Knee. The centerpiece was their stay at Wingsprings, home of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), near Martin, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Over the past couple of years, as the professors cooked up the class, they drew on Markowitz’s previous experience taking a Spring Term class to South Dakota, and on Guse’s recent scholarly venture into American Indian economics. During the four weeks of W&L’s Spring Term, students immerse themselves in one class only.

“It developed slowly,” Guse said of the course’s creation. “We started talking about how great it would be.” He needed to visit a reservation to pursue his research, and he thought taking students along would be the best of both worlds. “Somewhere along the line, I learned that Harvey did classes like this.”

“These travel courses create a kind of experience that’s hard to forget, in the John Dewey sense of experiential learning. You have a narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end. Those are the things you hold onto.”

Markowitz, associate professor of anthropology, is a regular visitor to South Dakota and has many friends on the reservation. Before arriving at W&L in 2003, he taught in that state at Sinte Gleska University, a tribal college on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and spent nine years as associate and acting director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library, in Chicago.

Guse, associate professor of economics, joined the W&L faculty in 2005. His introduction to American Indian studies emerged from his scholarly collaboration with Peter Grajzl (associate professor of economics at W&L) and Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl (associate professor of economics and business at Virginia Military Institute).

Markowitz read what he terms “an excellent paper” of Guse’s from his new area of study and promptly dispatched it to his old friend Craig Howe, who heads Wingsprings. Howe is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, holds a Ph.D in anthropology and is an architect.

“If there was ever a guy that deserved a MacArthur genius award, it is him,” said Markowitz of Howe. “Craig and his organization are an incredibly great resource for disseminating information about traditional Lakota history, culture, society, as well as contemporary issues. And Wingsprings is located in an area where you can just appreciate what Lakotas and other Indian people appreciate best — the land.”

“Last year we got serious about it,” said Guse, and he and Markowitz spent five days with Howe at Wingsprings, “just to get a sense of how things would happen, what Wingsprings was like.”

Back on campus, “we came up with a curriculum that would highlight as much as possible an economic perspective on Lakota land,” said Markowitz. “Land is the centerpiece. And what has happened, how Lakotas traditionally understood their relationship to the land, how they were alienated from their land, and how now they are trying to regain some of the land that was lost.”

The first two weeks of the course covered Markowitz’s area of expertise, with readings and videos about Lakota culture, cosmology, landscape and history. In the second half, they delved into Guse’s field, examining agriculture, land, economic development and poverty.

The field trip came in the second week. “It’s a match made in heaven, really, because Harvey is Harvey,” said Guse of the man he calls his mentor. “When we were traveling out there, Harvey had this immediate credibility. He speaks Lakota.”

Alison Masson ’18 said she signed up for the course “because I had taken American Indian ethnohistory with Dr. Markowitz in the fall and thoroughly enjoyed both the class and the professor, and because I was a Shepherd [Poverty Program] intern in the Navajo nation last summer and was interested in comparing the experiences and cultures. The interdisciplinary nature of the course was attractive as well, particularly as a double major between the Williams School and the humanities.” She’s majoring in politics and history, and minoring in poverty studies.

Masson also noted, “Having never taken a non-intro-level econ class, this has been a great opportunity to expand my ability to read critically about and discuss economic concepts, given my fascination with the particular context.”

Her observations align with the professors’ hopes for the course. “This group of people that these kids didn’t know anything about suddenly becomes important to them, historically, culturally,” said Markowitz. “We want the kids to understand that the Lakota and Indian people are still alive and still affected by the consequences of what has happened to the course of Indian-white relationships. And what has happened especially to their communities and their landscapes bears witnesses to the injustices.”

“And of course, you don’t have to lecture,” he continued. “It just comes out in the material.”

“It really is just an introduction,” concurred Guse. “My hope is that this would spark an interest in some of them to look at these things further. We’re not going into depth on anything. All we can do is scratch the surface on this. It’s my hope — I’m a little bit biased toward the economic — that some of these students will be affected by this. For a lot of students, they just have no idea what life is like out in some of these places. They got to see a little bit of that.”

Guse also sees opportunities for future scholarship. “There’s a lot of research opportunities for a lot of different angles; that’s true in economics. The field of American Indian economic development is not big, but it’s growing, and I’m always hoping to recruit more people.”

Furthermore, said Guse, American Indian tribes are “not going to have a healthy, sustainable economy or society until they can start to run their own affairs. So I think getting students to see that — whether they pursue this in the context of American Indian development or they take some of these ideas and apply them to urban areas or development in other countries — there’s a lot to learn from learning about these issues on reservations.”

A spiritual component joined the scholarly factor. “Two friends of Dr. Markowitz kindly welcomed us to their home and led us through a Lakota purification ceremony in their sweat lodge,” said Masson. “It was absolutely fascinating from an academic perspective, and the element of praying together was a particularly moving experience for our class.”

“I think they learned about Lakota prayer life as it exists today,” said Markowitz of the sweat lodge, which was voluntary. “Praying to one another, praying to the land.”

Masson treasures another benefit. “I didn’t expect our class to grow as close as we did,” she said. “I can honestly say that I am friends with all of my classmates after this week we spent together.”

“They were all great,” declared Markowitz.

During their week of intensive study in South Dakota, the students also shared a late-night meal at a truck stop convenience store; washed clothes in Martin’s only Laundromat and dried them back at the truck stop; and slept five to a garage at Wingsprings.

“They bonded a lot,” said Guse. “That was an unexpected bonus. They didn’t complain at all,” even when faced with a couple of nights in a dodgy motel. “Harvey complained,” he joked, “but the students didn’t.”

On and off campus, Markowitz and Guse started every day by shaking hands with each of the nine students, exchanging the Lakota morning greeting and calling them by the word for a man’s nephew (“t‘unshká”) or a man’s niece (“t‘unjan”). In return, the students called their professors uncle (“lekshí”), and called each other cousin (“cepansi,” “sicesi,” “hankasi” or “tahansi,” depending on the gender of the speaker and his or her subject).

“I think it was difficult for the kids to learn,” said Markowitz of the kinship terminology. “Now they of course know it very well. I think it really took root. Those kinds of things are really important, not only symbolically but also psychologically. They get to you. They teach an important part of Lakota culture, which is ethics and morality.”

Markowitz would like to conduct one repeat performance of this course before his retirement. “I hope it continues on and on and builds up more interest, especially with the Shepherd [Poverty Program] kids,” he said.

“They’ll definitely remember being out there,” Guse said of the students and their week in South Dakota. “These travel courses create a kind of experience that’s hard to forget, in the John Dewey sense of experiential learning. You have a narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end. Those are the things you hold onto.”

The History of Ghosts A Washington and Lee Spring Term class examined the history of ghost belief and local ghost lore.

Every college has at least one ghost story that is passed down through generations of students, and Washington and Lee University is no different. But school spirit took on new meaning during W&L’s 2016 Spring Term, when history professor Michelle Brock and her students delved into the belief in ghosts and how it informs our understanding of history, society, religion, culture, psychology, literature and other fields of study.

The History of Ghosts, a four-week course, started with a look at ghost legends from medieval Europe to modern America, then drilled down to ghost history in Rockbridge County. Students conducted Pew Research Center-style surveys of ghost belief, went on a Lexington ghost tour that perfectly illustrated the commodification of ghosts in the modern age, and made podcasts about local ghost legends.

“What I really wanted my students to do with both the Pew-style polls and the ‘Ghosts of Rockbridge’ interviews was to participate in the creation of a public living history, seeing themselves as historians recording these ideas about ghosts for future students and teachers and researchers to use,” Brock said.

The course is one of a cluster that sprang from a $150,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant, received by the university in 2015, was intended to support the study of how lessons from history can enhance understanding of contemporary issues.

“I think one of the reasons ghosts remain so interesting in the modern, secularized, scientific world is because they allow us to connect with history, with our past.”

Whether the students themselves believe in ghosts became part of the class discussion, but only as a lens through which to analyze the origins and endurance of such beliefs throughout history. “I am a skeptic, and I was honest with the students from day one about that,” Brock said. “But I really wanted to make the class an environment in which everyone felt comfortable experiencing their own reactions. I always really enjoy that.”

Reading materials such as Owen Davies’ “The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts” and “Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts,” by R.C. Finucane, exposed the class to ghost story tropes, and allowed them to see how tales of ghost encounters have changed and evolved, along with society, over hundreds of years.

For example, according to Davies, during the 18th century the poor often buried their dead in shrouds or white sheets; ghost stories from this time period often have the apparitions clad in flowing white fabric. In the second half of the 19th century, reports of ghosts wearing black became common — right about the time silk crepe prices dipped in Victorian England and black mourning attire was prevalent.

On the first day of class, lively discussion materialized around these correlations, which resonated with students throughout the course.

“The general trends we see in history can be mapped out in ghost belief,” said Christina Gordon ’19. Added Emily Utter ’16: “It’s just interesting to see how much it has changed over time.”

Some of the same trends revealed themselves in the results of the surveys, which students conducted in teams and posted to the class website. For example, they found that females they surveyed tended to be more open than males to the possibility that ghosts exist, and that religious belief seems to impact ghost belief (i.e., the more religious the person, the more open-minded about the existence of ghosts).

During the third week of class, students went on a Lexington ghost tour led by local artist and businessman Mark Cline, who told tales about ghost cats and dogs, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Lee’s horse, Traveller, who is the subject of W&L’s most famous ghost story. According to the tale, Lee used to leave open the doors of the stable next to his house so Traveller could come and go as he pleased. To this day, the doors, are left open so the ghost of Traveller can wander campus.

Brock said she and the students found the tour more entertaining than educational on its surface. It dovetailed perfectly, however, with a discussion they’d had in class earlier that day, about businesses that have developed around the notion of ghosts and ghost encounters, such as Cline’s tour and television shows about paranormal investigations.

Finally, students interviewed W&L employees and Lexington residents who have personal stories to share about ghost encounters. Senior Academic Technologist Brandon Bucy gave the students a tutorial on the audio-editing software Audacity, which they used to create podcasts out of their interviews. The podcasts have been posted to the class website and will be donated to the Rockbridge Historical Society.

“I met with both Bucy and [Digital Humanities Librarian] Mackenzie Brooks when I was conceiving of what I wanted to do with this course,” Brock said. “Washington and Lee has an unbelievable team of folks at the library who will provide the tools and expertise to make these ideas possible.”

Interview subjects for the podcasts included W&L First Lady Kim Ruscio; Tom Camden, head of special collections and archives in the university library; Dean of the College Suzanne Keen; Doug Harwood, editor and publisher of the Rockbridge Advocate; and Donald Gaylord, W&L research archaeologist and instructor of anthropology.

Camden told of his late grandmother’s rocking chair, which rocked itself in the attic of his childhood home; Keen talked about the infamous Payne Hall ghost of W&L; Gaylord spoke of a spooky incident in the Anthropology Laboratory, during which he heard a woman’s voice before finding his dog, Murphy, locked in a bathroom; and Harwood told a story about locked doors being flung open repeatedly in a farmhouse one stormy night.

During her interview, Kim Ruscio said she’d had some strange experiences while living in the Lee House, which has served as the president’s house on campus since 1869.

“I don’t know that I actually believe in ghosts,” she said, “but I absolutely believe in the spirits of a house.”

Ruscio said she’s heard laughter and the patter of footsteps, as well as the piano seeming to play itself. No matter where they put the Christmas tree each year, she said, the same gold ornament falls off the tree every night during the season. And on the floor of the dining room is a circular mark at the location of Lee’s deathbed. The floor has been refinished, but the mark always returns.

Of course, the Ruscios follow the tradition of keeping the doors to the stable, now used as a garage, open for the spirit of Traveller, and someone — they don’t know who — places fresh hay and apples in the rear of the garage, which used to be the stable, every couple of months. Kim Ruscio said nobody has ever seen this person … or spirit?

Participation in class discussion factored heavily into grades in The History of Ghosts. Brock was pleased to have a diverse range of majors in the class, including anthropology, neuroscience, psychology and English. That mix has fostered excellent discussion, she said, because “the students had so many different skills and interests to bring to bear on the materials.”

These are some of the questions they considered around the table: Why is ghost belief so enduring, especially in a world that has become increasingly secularized? Why do Americans like to be scared? Why do some people believe in angels and demons, but not ghosts? Are ghosts simply a vehicle for society to deal with difficult truths, such as death?

“You leave the class and you continue to think about it,” said Gordon. “It’s not just something you leave in the classroom.”

Because of the enthusiastic buy-in from students, and the skills they learned through their class research, presentations and immersion in new technology, Brock said she would like to teach the class again. This year, it had a wait list.

“I think one of the reasons ghosts remain so interesting in the modern, secularized, scientific world is because they allow us to connect with history, with our past,” Brock said, “and also to think about the afterlife, which is a big part of it.”

To see student surveys about ghost beliefs and listen to podcasts produced in The History of Ghosts, visit the class website.

W&L President Ruscio on the Value of Civility in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

The following opinion piece by Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee, appeared in the June 12, 2016, edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted here by permission.

The Value of Civility:
Pessimism or Optimism for the Class of 2016?

by
Kenneth P. Ruscio

Standing in front of the Class of 2016 last month to present my annual remarks at Washington and Lee’s commencement, I was torn between delivering a message of optimism or one of pessimism.

On the one hand, I am optimistic that our graduating seniors left having learned lessons that will serve them and society well.

I believe our graduates have learned that civility matters. 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. It elevates discourse. It leads to interesting and rewarding engagement with those around you.

When free and equal people with different backgrounds and perspectives come together, disagreement is inevitable. In that contentious swirl of competing views, assertiveness is called for, but so, too, is reticence.

You must develop the courage of your convictions while entertaining the possibility you could be wrong. And you have to resist the temptation to demonize those who disagree with you as morally deficient just because they don’t share your views.

I believe, too, that they learned that reason, a close companion of civility, is equally crucial. Never was the volume, intensity, spontaneity, or even the passion of an argument a measure of its quality. Positions supported by reason have greater force than those supported by emotion.

In the civic arena, outbursts of anger, frustration, and personal insults are like empty calories — a satisfying short-term solution to hunger with totally unhealthy long-term effects.

***

I certainly hope and trust that our students left knowing how to widen the space between thought and speech, so that reflective judgment can fill that space and influence what they say — or what ends up on their Twitter feeds.

There may be a few people for whom the thought that immediately occurs to them is a carefully reasoned, informed, and articulate point of view worth hearing. But I have not met that person. Revealing whatever is on your mind, unfiltered and impulsively, is of little interest to others. It is self-indulgent, narcissistic, and arrogant.

Along with civility and reason, these graduates have developed a sense of a common good. During four years living together in a college community, they have both grown so much as individuals, yet come to feel so much a part of that community.

But a university — and, selfishly, I think especially our university — proves the counter-intuitive proposition that strong individuals make for a strong community.

We are comfortable in who we are as individuals, even as we know that fulfillment in life comes from developing a commitment to something greater than the self.

So as I looked out at those graduates, and past them to their families and friends, I was optimistic that these lessons have equipped them for successful lives. Why, then, the pessimism?

I knew, too, that they were leaving a community that cares a great deal about civility and reason and the common good — and entering a world that increasingly does not care about those things.

This is an age of incivility, an age where emotion matters more than reason. It is an age of divisiveness and constant reminders of our differences instead of what unites us.

It is an age where, astonishingly, the urge to say whatever is on your mind, whenever it is on your mind — whether in social media or in presidential campaigns — has been elevated to a virtue.

***

We are in the midst of a dismal national political campaign that will only get more divisive, more emotional, less civil, and less rational.

Sadly, the tenor of our politics at the moment, the tone of our public discourse, the fact-free zone in which critical judgments of our future must be made, and the exploitation of our fears rather than a call to raise our sights, virtually ensure that no matter the outcome of this election, the worst may be yet to come.

Here is an ultimate irony: the campaign in which we find ourselves emanates from the citizenry’s current frustrations with the ineffectiveness of our leaders and government, but when it ends we are assured of a polarization that will lead to even greater discontent with our leadership and political system. It’s a downward spiral. And I don’t know how this ends well.

So I asked the graduates to brace themselves against the political and even moral headwinds ahead. I asked them not to succumb to the cynicism and meanness of the age in which we find ourselves, not to seek refuge from a complex world in the safe harbors of simplicity and slogans.

We need men and women who act with dignity, decency, and civility and who offer reasonable and reasoned positions in the midst of chaos. Most of all, we need people who care about others more than themselves.

In the end, I have to let my faith in those graduates prevail over my concern with our politics at the moment, because we’re going to need people like them now more than ever.


2016 W&L Graduate Patrick Wright Awarded Fellowship

Patrick Wright, from Tampa, Florida, a 2016 graduate from Washington and Lee University, has been awarded a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) fellowship for study and internship experience in Germany.

Competition for CBYX fellowships is highly competitive. Wright was chosen from a large pool of applicants following interviews in February.

CBYX is a yearlong fellowship, funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress through the U.S. Department of State. The program annually gives 75 American young professionals the opportunity to study, work and live with a host in Germany.

The CBYX program consists of three phases: two months of German language school; four months of classes in your career field at a university, technical school, or professional school; and a five-month internship in your career field. Participants are placed throughout Germany.

“I am both honored and thankful to be part of CBYX,” said Wright. “My goal for living there for a year is to improve my German and to be fully comfortable conversing in German. I also am looking forward to traveling around the country and checking out everything Germany has to offer. I know there will be a lot of challenges; working for a German company will be very different than an American one, but I think it will be a great time to learn more about myself and experience a different culture.”

“As a busy engineering student, Patrick is one of those students who began German a bit late in his career here,” said Paul Youngman, professor of German at W&L.  “He fell in love with the language and culture very quickly.  In fact, he wanted to minor but giving the demands of his major, he just couldn’t fit it.

“Last year he came to me for advice on how to live and work in Germany and I knew that the CBYX was not only for German majors and minors.  I also knew that Patrick is a fine human being, great student and wonderful leader, and therefore would make an excellent candidate. He will be working as an engineer in a firm that is still to be determined.”

A physics-engineering major at W&L, Wright was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society. He was on the varsity football team, serving as captain his sophomore and junior years, during which time the team was ODAC champions. From 2014-2016, Wright was on the Reformed University Fellowship and was on the Dean’s List. He also worked for CH2M Hill in Tampa, Florida, working with transportation engineers designing plans for roadway construction.

Ryan Welsh '10 Named An Emerging Leader in Transaction Banking

The Bankers’ Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) has named Ryan Welsh, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2010, an Emerging Leader in Transaction Banking.

Ryan, a specialist in trade finance assigned to sales and relationship management at the Bank of New York Mellon Corp., is one of 27 other bankers representing 25 institutions in 12 different countries in BAFT program’s first group of participants.

The BAFT initiative seeks to recognize and encourage the next generation of high achievers in the transaction banking industry. Ryan is a member of the Recruitment and Development of New Talent project team and will present recommendations to the BAFT board at the organization’s Annual Conference & Regulatory Compliance Forum in May.

Read more about the program and Ryan’s career on the BNY Mellon website.


W&L Professor Niels-Hugo Blunch Elected as President of the DAEiNA

Niels-Hugo Blunch, associate professor of economics at Washington and Lee University, has been elected president of the Danish Academic Economists in North America (DAEiNA).

As the organization’s new president, Blunch will host the DAEiNA’s annual conference at W&L next year.

Founded in 2012, DAEiNA is an organization for Danes studying or working in economics in North America. Their goal is to improve the Danish contributions to economics by facilitating connections between Danish academic economists and the North American economic community.

Blunch joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 2006. He has published more than a dozen journal articles and book chapters on health, education and labor-market issues in developing and transition economies.

He has presented dozens of studies at conferences sponsored by the Population Association of America, the European Society for Population Economics, the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) and other national and international professional associations.

He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the Aarhus University (Denmark), an M.S. from the University of Southhampton (UK) and a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University.

Happy 100th Birthday, Doremus Gym

Doremus Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated 100 years ago today (June 13, 1916) with what the Ring-tum Phi described as a “flow of oratory enthusiastically received by a large gathering of alumni which occupied the main floor of the gymnasium and many spectators who filled the galleries.”

New York attorney Charles J. McDermott, a personal friend of the late Robert P. Doremus — for whom the building is named — gave the dedicatory address, “The Need for Recreation in American Life.” The Phi described his remarks as “a convincing appeal for physical education among Americans.”

In fact, the construction of Doremus came just as Washington and Lee had begun to emphasize what it called “a universal, systematic, and compulsory program of bodily care and training.” President Henry Louis Smith was the architect of this new feature of the curriculum. In his 1913 inaugural address, “The College of To-morrow,” Smith previewed his intentions with a section on “College Athletics.” He argued that “the college which aims to train the whole man will realize the vast importance of the body, and will place its care and training on a par with those of the mind.” Although Smith criticized the “present one-sided and narrow development of college athletics,” he believed instruction in physical education for all students was necessary in order to “build for every graduate a physique which will stand the long-continued pressure of modern life.”

It was, of course, serendipitous that the university had just received the unexpected and generous Doremus gift — a gift that is the basis for the oft-told story about the New York stockbroker who was so impressed by the warm reception he received from a unidentified student during a visit to the Washington and Lee campus that he decided to give his estate to the university. Mr. Doremus died in 1913, just as President Smith was assuming office, and Mrs. Doremus made a gift to build the gymnasium that same year. The entire Doremus estate, amounting to $1.5 million, came to the university in 1936 following Mrs. Doremus’s death.

Although the dedication of Doremus was held in early June 1916, the gymnasium had actually opened in November of the previous year. The Sophomore Cotillion was the first event to be held there, and the new building was a welcome relief since, as the Phi reported, the “dancers by no means crowded the huge floor, as has often been the case in the old gymnasium.”

The construction of Doremus had not been easy. There were numerous unexpected delays due to what the Alumni Bulletin described as a combination of “difficult excavation” and “adverse weather conditions” — something that will ring familiar to those involved in current-day construction projects around the campus.

Once completed, the building was said to be especially noteworthy by virtue of “its imposing front of 218 feet,” which became “the first object to catch the sight of the traveler on his approach to Lexington by train.”

Doremus featured 1,000 lockers; two large rooms in the basement, where the Albert Sidney and Harry Lee crews trained; a “sterilizing room” where the gymnasium “suits,” mat coverings, athletic team uniforms, and towels were “properly sterilized by direct exposure to live steam”; a separate laundry; a wrestling room; and a fencing room. The pool was 70 by 25 feet in length and went from a depth of 4½ feet in the shallow end to 8 feet at the other end. The main gymnasium floor, or the “main exercise room” as it was called, was said to be large enough that it permitted two “regulation-size” basketball courts, while “its length is so great that, by taking advantage of the corridors at either end, a full 50-yard dash can be run upon it.” The running track that hung from the ceiling and circled the floor was the gallery for viewers of basketball games, other athletic contests, and many other public functions. Capacity was 750.

From its dedication in 1916, Doremus served for 56 years as the exclusive home to the university’s indoor athletic and physical education program, until Warner Center opened. Doremus’ “main exercise room” continues to serve as an auxiliary gymnasium, while the building now features a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, which was the result of a refurbishing project in 2002.

The university is conducting a $50 million fundraising campaign to upgrade the indoor athletics and recreation facilities with a renovation of Doremus, a reconstruction of the Warner Center, and construction of a new natatorium, scheduled to open in December 2016 at a site near Lewis Hall.


Alumni Chapters Keep University Connections Strong

Washington and Lee’s Alumni Association works tirelessly to keep far-flung members of the university community informed and connected once they leave campus. While the association provides significant programs and communications for alumni, parents, students and friends, it is only through its vibrant and extensive chapter program that this community can be fully involved and play an active role in university life throughout the United States and abroad.

In a program that is admired by many of its peers, W&L has 80 alumni chapters in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. All of the chapters are volunteer-driven with assistance from the Alumni Office, led by volunteers who serve as president and vice president, most for three-year terms. Many chapters also have a treasurer, social chair, communications/social media chair and other positions that allow for a variety of alumni volunteer opportunities.

The chapter program has an element of outreach through the Alumni Admissions Program, helping to identify and connect interested high school students with the university. Chapters also provide a social function, creating opportunities for alumni, parents and friends to connect at a variety of events, such as summer send-off parties for incoming first-year students, President’s Day celebrations, service projects and admissions, affinity and career-networking events.

Alumni chapters across the country vary greatly in size, ranging from 25 to more than 2,500 members. Several of the larger chapters – the District of Columbia, New York City, Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta – host Fancy Dress events, bringing local W&L communities together to celebrate their own versions of the Fancy Dress tradition enjoyed on campus.

Chapters of all sizes host events that bring university faculty, staff and students to their locations for lectures, cultural events and receptions. These visits provide an opportunity to build even stronger ties between chapter members and the campus community.

Keeping the university’s ever-expanding network connected continues to be the primary function of the alumni chapter program. Chapter presidents work with the Alumni Office to continuously grow their chapter memberships, particularly encouraging interaction with recent graduates who may just be settling into new cities.

The Alumni Office encourages new graduates to keep their contact information up to date to ensure they receive chapter information and invitations and to get involved with their local chapters as a means to maintain close ties to the university.

Chapter Presidents In Their Own Words

Nelson Bunn ’08, District of Columbia Chapter

On serving as chapter president:

“Serving as president allows me to continue to give back to Washington and Lee, just from another perspective. I essentially serve as a liaison between the school and the alumni community in the D.C. area to create a two-way street of communication for information dissemination, but also to help continue to foster the sense of one family of Generals.”

On the benefits of chapter involvement:

“Every week I get emails from someone introducing him or herself as a fellow General, asking what events we may have coming up, and often times how he or she can get involved with the chapter. It broadens my own network, but also allows me to introduce that person to someone else who might benefit from the connection. In a way, it’s a local form of the speaking tradition.”

On what the chapter does to encourage participation:

“We try to involve as many people in the process as we can for setting up chapter events and broadening our reach to the local alumni. We hold networking events for recent graduates, we do quarterly happy hours after work so folks can mingle, and we’ve made a concerted effort in the last year to increase our outreach to multicultural alumni and first-time attendees.”

Advice for recent graduates:

“First, change your contact information in Colonnade Connections. Often I get emails from individuals saying they aren’t receiving information about the chapter, and the reason has been he or she hasn’t updated the website. Second, contact the local chapter president and ask about upcoming events and offer that if any help is ever needed, to count you in. All of the chapters run such diverse programming that there is always a way for someone to get involved. Third, simply attend events. The more you attend, the more you will meet people, including local chapter boards. A conversation could arise that lends itself to a way to get involved. You never know unless you ask.”

Charlie Yates ’06, Atlanta Chapter

On serving as chapter president:

“I absolutely love Washington and Lee and really enjoy my fellow alumni in the Atlanta chapter. I joined the chapter board when I returned from law school and wanted to give back any way I could. When my predecessor asked me to be president of the chapter I did not hesitate to accept!”

On the benefits of chapter involvement:

“It’s really great to get to interact with my colleagues on the chapter board. They are very active in the chapter and the alumni association and are passionate about the school. I also really enjoy the opportunity to see other alumni at chapter events.

On what the chapter does to encourage participation:

We hold chapter events that we think will appeal to a broad and diverse cross-section of alumni. We hold large and small events all over Atlanta, and we hope that every member of the alumni chapter will be interested in at least one (or even better, several) of our programs.

Advice for recent graduates:

Come to chapter events. Members of chapter leadership are at every event, and if you want to get engaged with the chapter, talk to them. Chapters are always looking for good and committed volunteers!

John Allgood ’07, Nashville Chapter

On the benefits of chapter involvement:

“As a relatively new Nashvillian, the Alumni Chapter has been an excellent opportunity for me to meet new people and form new friendships.”

On what the chapter does to encourage participation:

“I think our chapter board does a great job of planning a variety of chapter event types (i.e. baseball games, ballet, happy hour, career networking, etc.), which draws the best overall participation.”

Advice for recent graduates:

“If you attend a variety of events, you will meet a variety of alumni. The chapter benefits from the energy and fun that young alumni bring, and many young alumni benefit from joining the W&L community in their new home away from Lexington.”


Twenty-six Members of the Faculty and Staff Retire from W&L

Washington and Lee University recognized three retiring members of the University’s faculty during the recent commencement exercises. Twenty-three retiring members of W&L’s staff were recognized during the Employee Recognition Banquet held in April.

The 26 faculty and staff retirees are Henry Alderman, carpenter, Facilities Management, 1984-2016; Thomas “Baner” Bane, equipment assistant, P.E., Athletics and Recreation, 1972-2015; Scott Beebe, director of energy initiatives, 1975-2016; Jan Bivens, administrative assistant, Admissions, 1988-2016; Larry Boetsch, professor of Spanish, 1976-2016; Kay Bostic, sergeant, shift supervisor, Public Safety, 2004-2016.

Connie Bowden, administrative assistant, Admissions, 2001-2016; Miriam Carlisle, associate professor of Classics, 2000-2016; Tom Contos, architect, university planner, University Architect’s Office, 1999-2016; Andrew Davis, grounds worker, P.E., Athletics and Recreation, 2006-2016; Lloyd Goad, technology integration specialist, Information Technology Services, 1999-2016.

Berkeley Harner, assistant director for the copying and mail services, Copy Services, 1996-2015; John Hufnagel, senior biology technical manager, Biology Department, 1983-2016; A. H. “Hank” Humphreys, director of gift planning, University Development, 1999-2016; Eddie Irvine, facilities and equipment coordinator, P.E., Athletics and Recreation, 1988-2015; Ed Kibler, technology integration specialist, Information Technology Services, 1996-2016.

Isca King, cashier/supervisor, Marketplace, 1997-2015; Pat Larew, event coordinator/membership secretary, Lee Chapel and Museum, 1963-2015; Joseph Martinez, associate professor of theater, 1983-2016; Janet Mayo, custodian, Facilities Management, 1998-2015; Gail Nicely, acknowledgement and records specialist, University Development, 1993-2015; Wendy Richards, senior library assistant, University Library, 1994-2016.

Sarah Tschiggfrie, news director, Communications and Public Affairs, 2006-2016; Mike Walsh, special assistant to the vice president of advancement, University Development, 1989-2015; Chris Wise, environmental management coordinator, 1988-2016; Barbara Woolston, head nurse, Student Health Services, 1992-2016.


Elliot Emadian Awarded Scholarship to American Dance Festival's Six-Week School

Elliot Emadian ’17, from Normandy, Tennessee, received a tuition scholarship to attend the American Dance Festival’s (ADF) six-week school. ADF is held on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina, but is not affiliated with Duke.

The scholarship, based on performance and choreography excellence, is very competitive as college students from around the world vie for it.

Emadian, a mathematics major and dance minor, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society, Nu Delta Kappa Dance Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. He is a past vice president for Alpha Phi Omega Service fraternity, co-president and choreographer for the W&L Repertory Dance Company and dancer in Progeny Dance.

He is also a resident advisor for upper-division students; the activities chair for the First-Year Orientation Committee; a tour guide for the Student Recruitment Committee; an employee, driver, dispatcher and monitor for Traveller Safe Ride Program; and a tutor in the Math Center.

“I’m so pleased and proud of Elliot,” said Davies. “He is a remarkable young man who is dedicated to dance and is a beautiful creative and performing artist. His time at ADF will not only enrich his academic life and provide him with the creative tools that will inspire his campus life and his peers, but could very well create opportunities for his future.”

Heralded as “one of the nation’s most important institutions” by The New York Times and as “the world’s greatest dance festival” by the New York Post, the American Dance Festival’s sustained record of creative achievement is indivisible from the history of modern dance. Since 1934, ADF has remained committed to serving the needs of dance, dancers, choreographers, and professionals in dance-related fields.

At the heart of ADF is its six-week school, where dancers come to train and to create, to see and be seen. Over the course of the festival, students of all levels work each day with ADF’s diverse faculty, extraordinary musicians and vibrant student body to create rewarding, life-changing experiences.