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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/.

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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.

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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

  • 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.

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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.

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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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