Meet the Johnsons: Andy Cuthbert ’18 Meet Andy Cuthbert '18, a pre-med neuroscience major with a serious love of the outdoors.
“I was already very academically driven, but being a recipient of the Johnson Scholarship is a constant reminder of the goals I set for myself before college, and has helped push me even closer to these goals, whether they be academic in nature or not.”
Q: How did you first hear about the Johnson Scholarship?
I first heard about the Johnson Scholarship through my high school college counselors. I was really lucky to have some great college counselors as resources during my college search, and they did a great job matching up students with different universities based on interests.
Q: Were you considering any other colleges when you applied for the scholarship?
U.Va., Princeton, Yale, Vanderbilt and Dartmouth, among others. Being from Virginia, U.Va. was a great option for me due to its fantastic academic reputation and in-state tuition. I have family who have gone to Yale, Princeton, or Vanderbilt and so it made sense to put these three on my list.
Q: Why did you ultimately choose W&L?
I chose W&L mostly due to the school size as well as its academics. I found the small class sizes to be extremely attractive; it offers students the chance to connect with professors in a more intimate setting rather than force them to sit through a lecture in which they might be taught by a TA, which sometimes happens at bigger schools such as U.Va. In addition to that, the small school size does, in fact, offer students opportunities they might not get at bigger schools, such as research positions or grants.
Q: How has Johnson affected your views on leadership and integrity or on academics?
Coming into college, I was already very academically driven, but being a recipient of the Johnson Scholarship is a constant reminder of the goals I set for myself before college, and has helped push me even closer to these goals, whether they be academic in nature or not. Additionally, I think being a Johnson has pushed me to be an example for others here on campus.
Q: What is your favorite story about your W&L experience — if you had to pick one?
My favorite “story,” or experience, was spending the summer doing research here in Lexington with a group of close friends. One weekend, we went camping on the Appalachian Trail near the James River and spent the following day kayaking through the Class I, II and III rapids on the river. One of my friends flipped five times – it was hilarious. By the end of the trip, he had managed to lose a flip flop, a water bottle and his fishing rod.
Q: Do you have a mentor on campus? Faculty, staff, or another student?
I don’t think I can say I have one single mentor on campus, though I definitely know some faculty and other students that I look up to and admire. I know that at any time I could go to these people with any issue and could receive guidance on how to overcome it.
Q: What extracurricular are you involved in right now that you are extra-passionate about?
Right now, I’m extremely busy with my ski patrol training. I’m in the middle of the Outdoor Emergency Care course – it’s a first-responder course very similar to an EMT course. I grew up skiing quite a bit and always admired the patrollers, so to have the opportunity to be a member of National Ski Patrol is really cool to me. It also enables me to combine my interest in public health with my passion for skiing.
Q: What is your favorite campus tradition or piece of history?
My favorite story is one I frequently tell on tours. The Colonnade at W&L is a national historic landmark and has a statue of George Washington on top of the central building, Washington Hall. The story goes that during the Civil War, the Union Army was marching through Lexington and saw a statue on top of Washington Hall. The Union soldiers assumed the statue to be Jefferson Davis, president of the south at the time. These soldiers wanted to burn down the Colonnade; however, their general stated correctly that the statute was not Jefferson Davis, but rather George Washington. Thus the Colonnade was saved, and the Union soldiers instead burned down VMI.
Q: If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to “first day on campus” you?
I knew what I wanted to study coming into college, so I took classes that put me on track for some science major. I wish I had taken more classes outside of the sciences, although because I’m close to completing my major I will have that opportunity my senior year. My advice to me (and other incoming first years) would be to take a variety of classes early on in your time at school. You’ll have plenty of time to complete a major, and could potentially find an interest that surprises you.
Q: If someone asked you “why choose W&L,” what is the one reason you would tell them?
I feel like a broken record saying this, but I’ll say it again anyway. I really like the small size of the school and its location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The size allows me to get to know professors very well and have a wide range of friends. The location allows me to get away from whatever is stressing me out at the time and simply enjoy the beautiful views and surrounding nature.
Thinking about W&L for college? Why not apply for the Johnson Scholarship?
If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.
A little more about Andy
Outing Club, Student Recruitment Committee, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-med Honor Society
Ski Patroller at Wintergreen Resorts
Why did you choose your major?
The neuroscience major is a combination of studies in biology, chemistry, psychology and physics. While it encompasses a broad range of studies, I found that the major required me to integrate what I had learned in one area of study with another. As I took courses throughout my first and sophomore years, I found that I was more interested in tying together studies from these areas rather than focusing more specifically on one subject. Additionally, the major dovetails quite nicely with the pre-med requirements.
What professor has inspired you?
Dr. Greg Pask. Unfortunately, he is leaving Washington and Lee following this academic year. I have taken two courses with him, and in those courses, I found the passion for his work quite admirable. I think he truly follows the mantra “choose a job that you love, and you will never work a day in your life” as closely as possible, something that seems to be increasingly difficult in this day and age.
What’s your personal motto?
Live your life to the fullest
What’s your favorite song right now?
“Flexicution” by Logic
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Sweet Treats. Sunday morning brunch there is the best. I order blueberry pancakes or an omelet.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
What I didn’t realize (and I don’t think many people do) is that every other incoming first year is worried about the same trivial matters and everyone is on an even playing field. It’s what you do at college, not what you’ve done before college, that matters most.
I am planning to take a gap year and work as a ski patroller or ski instructor for a season in Colorado. Then off to med school!
Favorite W&L memory:
Leading an Appalachian Adventure pre-orientation trip this past September. I had a blast getting to know some incoming first-year students while hiking the Appalachian Trail
So far, probably a history class I took sophomore year on American history prior to 1864. I’ve taken a lot of science classes and not as many humanities courses, so this class was a welcome break from that. It was also very interesting and well-taught.
Favorite W&L event:
Young Alumni Weekend. Getting to see my friends who have graduated and reminisce with them is something I look forward to every year.
Favorite campus landmark:
Lee Chapel. On a clear day, the historic chapel is beautiful.
What’s your passion?
I really enjoy being outdoors, whether I’m skiing, hunting, fishing or hiking. Being out in nature helps me clear my mind and forget whatever I’m stressed out about at that time.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m pretty musical. Growing up, I learned to play four instruments: cello, piano, upright bass and bass guitar.
W&L’s Colón Weighs in on Use of Graphic Photos of Ambassador’s Murder
“Why is showing the dead body of the Russian ambassador in Turkey helping me, as a viewer, understand the significance of this act better?”
Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University, recently shared his expertise in a piece exploring how news sites handled graphic photos of a Russian ambassador’s murder.
In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Colón points to the key questions that must be asked in a situation such as this one, when determining if the graphic nature of a photograph outweighs its journalistic importance.
“Why is showing the dead body of the Russian ambassador in Turkey helping me, as a viewer, understand the significance of this act better?” asks Colón. “That’s in addition to the knowledge you’re bringing to me in a narrative format. And will I understand the circumstances of this assassination better because of it?”
You can read the full piece in the Christian Science Monitor online.
Jonathan Holloway, Historian and Dean of Yale College, to Speak at W&L Founders Day/ODK Convocation
“Particularly at a time when the relations between institutions and their histories is under scrutiny, Holloway’s is a voice of reason and inquiry and value.”
Jonathan Holloway, historian of post-emancipation American history and black intellectualism and dean of Yale College, will be the featured speaker at Washington and Lee University’s Founders Day/Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation, on Jan. 19, at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel.
Holloway will speak on “The Price of Recognition: Race and the Making of the Modern University.” He will be signing copies of his book, “Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940,” on the museum level of Lee Chapel from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Visitors attending the book signing are asked to use the side entrance.
The talk is free and open to the public. The program will also be broadcast live online.
Holloway’s address will precede the induction of 22 undergraduate students, 16 law students and 6 honorary initiates into membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff and administrators, founded in 1914 at Washington and Lee. The University Singers will perform.
Holloway is dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies. He specializes in post-emancipation United States history, with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of “Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919–1941” (2002) and “Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940” (2013), both published by the University of North Carolina Press. He edited Ralph Bunche’s “A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership” (NYU Press, 2005) and co-edited “Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century” (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). He has written an introduction for a new edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Souls of Black Folk,” published by Yale University Press in 2015, and is working on a new book, “A History of Absence: Public Narratives, Race, and the Making of the Modern World.”
Holloway won the William Clyde DeVane Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College in 2009 and the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 2014. He served as the master of Calhoun College from 2005 to 2014 and was chair of the Council of Masters from 2009 to 2013. He began a three-year term as chair of the Department of African American Studies in 2013. That term was abbreviated when he became dean of Yale College in July 2014.
Holloway has held fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University, the Stanford Humanities Center and the Ford Foundation. He was an Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellow from 2011 to 2012. Currently, he is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
Holloway received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American studies from Stanford University. He earned three advanced degrees in history from Yale: an M.A., an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. He began his academic career at the University of California, San Diego, before joining the faculty at Yale in 1999 and becoming a full professor in 2004. He will become the provost of Northwestern University in July 2017.
Marc Conner, interim provost at Washington and Lee, describes Holloway as “one of the leading intellectual figures in African American studies.”
“His work on leadership and race is especially influential,” Conner said. “Particularly at a time when the relations between institutions and their histories is under scrutiny, Holloway’s is a voice of reason and inquiry and value. I’m very excited to hear his remarks at our Founders Day event.”
ODK has more than 285 active circles, or chapters, at colleges and universities across the country. Headquartered in Lexington, Virginia, ODK awards annual scholarships and leadership-development initiative grants and holds a national day of service each April. Individual circles conduct additional leadership-development activities.
Alexander Named Inaugural Dean of the Bucknell University College of Management
Raquel Alexander, associate dean and Ehrlick Kilner Haight Sr. Term Professor of Accounting at Washington and Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, has been named the first Kenneth W. Freeman Professor and Dean of the College of Management at Bucknell University. She will begin her new role on July 1.
Robert Straughan, the Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School, said Alexander will remain in the W&L associate dean’s position through the current academic year.
“Raquel is the quintessential teacher/scholar,” said Straughan. “Her teaching has been innovative in its approaches and in its interdisciplinary nature. Her scholarship and professional accomplishments have shaped accounting and tax policy in both the US and abroad. In her most recent role as Associate Dean of the Williams School, she has proven herself a leader on strategic planning, operations, accreditation, and more. I can’t imagine a more qualified candidate to serve as the inaugural dean of Bucknell’s College of Management.”
Alexander worked for KPMG as a tax consultant in Dallas, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona, before earning her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the faculty at W&L in 2012, teaching courses in taxation and the business of art. She was named associate dean in 2015.
“It has been an honor to be a part of the Washington and Lee family these past five years,” she said. “With its historic campus and storied tradition, W&L has felt like home from the beginning. I will miss all the wonderful students, alumni and faculty who make this university such a remarkable place.”
More information about Alexander’s appointment is available on the Bucknell University website.
Career Paths: Chi Ewusi ’17L 3L Chi Ewusi spent the summer working for the Pillsbury law firm in their Washington, D.C. office.
Chi Ewusi is a graduate of the University of Phoenix from Moorestown, NJ. At W&L Law, she serves as a Law Ambassador and as the executive editor of the German Law Journal. This summer, she worked for the Pillsbury law firm in their Washington, D.C. office.
How did you find/get this position?
I attended a Black Law Students Association (BLSA) job fair. BLSA-affiliated students get to attend members-only job fairs that take place across the country. I interviewed with Pillsbury at one in Washington, D.C. I received a callback and then accepted an offer for summer employment early on in my 2L year.
Describe your work experience.
My work experience was varied and fast-paced. Summer associates initially received assignments from a database but, as the summer continued, we began to solicit work more organically. This more “free market” approach taught us to develop relationships, pursue our individual interests, and practice time management. Most of my assignments came from the following sections: Global sourcing (think technology transactions and licensing agreements), corporate and securities, and nuclear energy. Pillsbury’s D.C. office performs litigation, transactional, and regulatory work, so I received a healthy dose of all three. Beyond assignments, our program was packed with summer associate events—think fancy meals and shows throughout the city.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
I learned time management and people management skills. I really learned to balance expectations, find allies and mentors in the workplace, and practice making the lives of the associates and partners around me as easy as possible.
What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?
My journal experience helped prepare me for summer work—both the practice of being detail-oriented and the handling of large volumes of documents without feeling overwhelmed. Class-wise, international business transactions, securities regulation, and American Public Law Process (APLP) were especially helpful.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
The variety and scope of my assignments was surprising. My 1L summer, I mostly just wrote legal memos and did some minor document review. At Pillsbury, I worked on business development matters, prepared regulatory filings, participated in deal closings, drafted sections of contracts, and even went to Capitol Hill to meet with representatives about a new construction project.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
The first week of my program, the White House announced sanctions against Vietnam were being lifted (in conjunction with President Obama visiting the country). The international trade group at Pillsbury contacted me to write a blog about the legal ramifications of the lift. The firm published my work and even put my name in the byline.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
My summer at Pillsbury helped me figure out what type of legal work I like and prepared me for the pace of a large law firm. I was able to use my experience and contacts at Pillsbury, as well as my experience with a “free market”/open assignment environment, to secure a position at Kirkland & Ellis in Houston, TX, which is where I’ll be after graduation.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
Working at Pillsbury has taught me to think beyond legal theory and hypotheticals. I am increasingly focused on being client-oriented and practical. It has tied in nicely with the third-year experience here at W&L Law.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet Celebrates the Diversity of Dance
The Lenfest Center for the Arts at Washington and Lee University presents Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Influenced by a wide range of distinct dance styles, rhythms and periods, Complexions Contemporary Ballet reflects the rich diversity present in our world, through its exciting range of mixed dance cultures and forms.
Complexions comes to the Lenfest Center for a one-night engagement on Jan. 11, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in the Keller Theatre.
Hailed as “two of the greatest virtuosos ever to emerge from ‘Ailey land’’ by The New York Times, founders Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden have created over 90 ballets for Complexions using a wide array of classical, modern and contemporary dance. Combining the best of physical athleticism and dancing grace, Complexions captivates audiences with striking athletics, stirring movement and magnificent delivery.
Complexions is a multicultural ballet, comprised of 16 dancers of different ethnic and dance backgrounds and it but incorporates all dancing techniques into their shows.
Order your tickets online today at wlu.edu/lenfest-center. The Lenfest Box Office will reopen after the holidays on Jan. 9, 2017. The box office number is (540) 458-8000, and hours are Monday through Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. and will be open 2 hours prior to the performance time. Complexions is sponsored in part by the Class of ’64 Performing Arts Fund.
W&L Chanoyu Tea Society to Host Tea Ceremony in Memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Washington and Lee University Chanoyu Tea Society will host a Martin Luther King Jr. tea ceremony on Jan. 16, 2017 in the Senshin’an Tea Room, Watson Pavilion. Everyone is invited for sweets and a bowl of whisked green tea to commemorate this special day.
There will be free tickets available for each of the three seatings: 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The free tickets will be available beginning Jan. 3 and must be picked up at the Reeves Center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Space is limited, so please pick up your tickets early.
The Chanoyu Tea Society is a W&L student organization comprised of students who express an interest in the art of the Japanese tea ceremony and wish to pursue their study of the ceremony in the Senshin’an (Clearing-the-Mind Abode) Tea Room.
Chanoyu, or the Japanese tea ceremony, is a prescribed art form that dates back to 16th- century Japan. The group aims to build on its knowledge of the way of tea, which includes but is not limited to the procedure of preparing tea, the architecture of the tea room, the culinary arts of tea sweets and the kaiseki meal, and the history and philosophy of tea.
In addition, the group aims to increase exposure of the Japanese tea ceremony and Japanese culture to the W&L community and the surrounding Rockbridge area by hosting public tea demonstrations.
W&L Team Headed to National Finals of NYC Bar Moot Court Competition Third year law students Max Gottlieb, Bo Mahr and Jenna Lorence will represent W&L Law at the national finals of the NYC Bar Moot Court Competition.
Third year law students Max Gottlieb, Bo Mahr and Jenna Lorence placed second at the New York City Bar Association’s regional moot court competition this fall. Lorence was also named best oralist in the final round. The team will represent W&L Law at the national finals in January. Congrats and good luck!
W&L Law Students Organize International Anti-Corruption Conference The students are participating in an innovative practice-based course that engages them in research and analysis of international acts pertaining to good governance and corruption.
Six Washington and Lee law students traveled to Albania this semester for an anti-corruption conference they helped organize as part of an innovative practicum course.
The course, titled “Anti-corruption Law and Global Good Governance,” engages students in problem-based learning concerning the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act. It is taught jointly with students from University of Tirana Law School in Albania using facilities and remote technology available at W&L Law.
As part of the course, the W&L students undertook extensive legal and factual analysis on corruption and good governance issues in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands and then presented those findings at the conference in Albania.
The students partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center in Doha, Qatar; the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Albania and the University of Tirana Law Faculty in planning and executing the conference, which brought together about 50 European professors who teach anti-corruption law in their universities. The W&L students spoke at the conference and also served as rapporteurs, or official reporters, on different sessions. The students who participated are Thomas DeMatteo ‘17L, Tacho Fernandez Sanchez ‘17L, Solomon Gonzalez ‘17L, Andrew Smeltzer ‘17L, Hollie Webb ‘18L, and John Fluharty ‘17L. Katie Sheild ‘18L also traveled with the group, providing administrative support for the conference.
During their stay in Albania, the students met with the Chief Justice of Albanian Supreme Court and discussed the prospect and challenges of judicial reform in the country. They also shared their experience from Washington and Lee Law’s clinical legal education with students and faculties at Tirana University’s newly established criminal law clinic.
Disclaimer: This event is partially funded by the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Tirana. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author/s and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of State.
‘A Good Place to Spend a Career’: Ken Ruscio Reflects
On Dec. 31, after 10 years as Washington and Lee’s president, Ken Ruscio leaves office.
Before he was president, he was, of course, a professor of politics, associate dean of the Williams School, and dean of freshmen, from 1987 to 2002. Before that, he was a student, from 1972 to 1976.
The W&L community recently honored the Ruscios and their legacy in the video above, featuring excerpts from many of Ken’s speeches over the years.
Earlier this fall, President Ruscio sat down with us in his Washington Hall office for a conversation, which appeared in the fall issue of W&L: The Washington and Lee Alumni Magazine.
Q: In a 2011 Q&A for this magazine, you said you take seriously the leadership principle that we are all obligated to leave things better than we found them. You are leaving W&L a better place. Of what are you the most proud?
Being able to change while also respecting history and tradition is very important for an institution like Washington and Lee, so with all that we have been able to accomplish, I think we’ve also held very true to our traditions and our history. And as I have said — on too many occasions, probably — in order to keep things the same, sometimes you have to make some changes. Preserving what matters sometimes means changing some things along the way. That seems contradictory and paradoxical, but Washington and Lee demonstrates the truth of that proposition. So if there’s something that I feel best about, it’s being able to remain true to the institution’s character even as we prepare ourselves for a very different kind of future.
Q: These days in particular, colleges and universities must work to communicate the qualities that distinguish them from the rest of the pack. How has W&L distinguished itself while you’ve been president?
We are not very good at self-promotion at Washington and Lee, and that’s one of the things that I like about the institution; we just do what we’re supposed to do. We don’t engage in constant navel-gazing about what makes us unique and what makes us distinctive. Having said that, we are a category of one. We are so unlike any other college. We have such a depth and breadth of curriculum, and such a unique relationship between professional and liberal arts educations, and also such a deep understanding that education goes beyond the formal classroom setting. We think about education in a comprehensive, broad way.
During their time here, our students learn a great deal about themselves in their everyday interactions with faculty, staff and students. The combination of that breadth of experience, and at the same time a very intensive academic experience, happens at W&L unlike any other place I am familiar with. There is an institutional ethos here that is hard to adequately explain or articulate, but it is real and shapes the lives of our graduates in ways they don’t fully appreciate until they get some distance from the university.
Q: During your presidency, how have we used data to inform decisions about changes
that needed to be made at W&L?
This university is both a left brain and a right brain university. We have an intuitive understanding of the culture that is not quantifiable. But we are also very good at using information and data, keeping up with trends, and understanding the external environment in which we find ourselves. For example, with the capital campaign, which ended last year, Dennis Cross (vice president for advancement) and his staff exceptionally used extensive research to assess the institution’s potential to raise funds.
But at the same time, they knew that for any W&L capital campaign to be successful, it would have to be based on relationships and commitments of individuals who cared about the university. That was a great example of the use of information, the use of data, an understanding of our alumni base, but it was combined with an understanding that success requires more than data.
There are many other instances of that. You look at how Steve McAllister (vice president for administration and treasurer) has managed our finances. A lot of analysis goes into projecting our revenues and expenditures, managing our endowment, and making specific decisions such as whether we could develop additional campus housing. Over in the admissions area, we are increasingly aware of demographic changes in the population, and how we can best communicate with 18-year-olds who acquire their information differently than prospective students did 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.
Q: In your conversations with alumni, you hear so many examples of how W&L has made a difference in their lives. Can you share one of your favorite success stories?
It’s very hard, because I can think of so many alumni Washington and Lee can be so very proud of. Surely one of the most recent ones is Mike Missal ’78, who was confirmed in April as inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It came at a stage in his life where he could kick back and just enjoy things, but he decided to take on one of the nation’s most challenging problems at the moment: the treatment of veterans. And he did it out of a real ethic of service, of duty, of obligation — for all the reasons that we hope our students take from here. He took on a challenge that most of us would have run from in a heartbeat.
So I think of him, but frankly, mostly because he is the most recent example, and I spoke with him just the other day. Call me tomorrow, and I will probably have just been thinking about another alum who is doing something incredible, maybe one of our graduates conducting medical research, like Dr. Erika Proko Hamilton ’03. This summer she became the director of the breast and gynecologic cancer research program at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, in Tennessee, and she is a member of our Athletic Hall of Fame for her admirable career here as a student-athlete.
Or call me the next day, and I may have just had the privilege to talk with one of our legendary public servants, such as Senator John Warner ’49, or Governor Linwood Holton ’44, or journalist Roger Mudd ’50, or philanthropists Gerry Lenfest ’53, ’55L and Rupert Johnson ’62, all of whom are alumni who love what they are doing or who have had careers based not on self-gratification but on the impacts that they have on others and on society.
Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at W&L, whether as a student, a professor or the president?
Whenever I have made a decision about whether to take a job or not, it has always come down to whether I will be surrounded by good people. That consideration brought me to Washington and Lee in three different capacities — as a student, as a faculty member and now as president. I’ve learned that institutions that care about relationships and the quality of relationships are a good place to spend a career.
Washington and Lee has the capacity to enhance and nurture relationships, and it’s across the board. It’s student-faculty relationships, of course, but it’s also staff and students, students and students, students and alumni, and faculty and alumni. There’s just something about Washington and Lee that leads to relationships of very high quality and very high character. So if I’ve learned one lesson — and it’s a lesson that I hope our students take away — it’s that as you go through life, look for settings and opportunities where relationships can develop, where you can be surrounded by good people, where you can learn from them, and where you can grow as an individual even as you feel a part of a close-knit, supportive community.
Q: What is your hope for the future of our endowment?
We crossed a major milestone about a year or two ago, when we became one of the few institutions in the country where, on an annual basis, more of our revenue comes from philanthropy than from tuition. A lot of colleges are trying to focus on what they need to do to get through the next year. We can focus on things that we want to do because we have, for the most part, taken care of the things we
need to take care of. We can focus on the quality of the educational experience here, not our survival year to year. So endowment growth is critical for our success in the future. It makes the institution more stable, it makes our future less uncertain, and it puts so many things under our control. The sum of all of that means that we can indeed focus on quality and innovation in ways that other places can’t.
Specifically, the capital campaign has enabled us to do three important things through the endowment. First, our financial aid has increased more than any other part of our budget, and we were able to do that not by putting pressure on tuition but rather by increasing endowment dedicated to that purpose.
Another problem we addressed at the beginning of the strategic plan was a shortfall in faculty compensation. How do you improve faculty compensation, where we lagged far behind our peers, without putting pressure on tuition or without taking away from other priorities? By increasing endowment dedicated to supporting faculty.
The third set of initiatives was the growth of innovative interdisciplinary programs. The Shepherd Poverty Program is now endowed, and the recently created Roger Mudd Center for Ethics (2010) and the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship (2013) are both supported through endowments. Those are among the most exciting and innovative academic developments of the last few years. Without support from an endowment, they would have been impossible to develop and sustain in the long run.
Q: If you had to choose only one quality with which to imbue graduates of W&L, what would it be?
One of the definitions that I have of leadership is that leadership is not about you as a leader, it’s about understanding the needs and interests of those you serve. The leadership we teach here at Washington and Lee starts with a perspective, and that perspective is, “How can I make the community better? How can I help others who are in that community?”
So there is an awareness among our graduates of the needs and interests of others around them. We appropriately reference a number of virtues such as integrity, trust, honor, duty, obligation and respect for others. All of those matter greatly, but when you put them all together, living a life of consequence, of honor, is a rejection of self-interest, and instead a focus on the needs and interests of others. And Washington and Lee does have a way of making that almost instinctive in its graduates. Yes, there’s the Honor System. Yes, there is student self-governance. Yes, it’s the relatively small size of our community.
All of those are means, though, to the end, which is to develop a commitment to something greater than the self.
Q: You’ve made it clear over the years that you believe strongly in civilized debate. Do you think it is endangered?
I do, I really do. It’s always been endangered to some degree. It’s in our human nature to simply spout off, to not think before you speak. And we go through these periods where, remarkably, speaking your mind is mistakenly equated to saying whatever is on your mind without reflection and without letting any kind of judgment or discernment serve as a filter. Well, there is something to be said for being candid and direct, but there is also a lot to be said for thinking before you shoot your mouth off.
And it goes back to what I was saying before: If Washington and Lee teaches respect for others, then understand that some of that respect has to be respect for the opinions of others and the perspectives of others. It’s easy to be around people you agree with; it’s a lot harder to live in a community where people have different views and different opinions, but that’s life in a democracy. Civility is always a fragile virtue in society, but it’s important for places like Washington and Lee to remain committed to that during the tough times and to send the signals that educated, broad-minded people ought to practice the virtue of civility and respect the views of others.
Q: The working group that you established to study the history of African-Americans at Washington and Lee continues to explore that history as race relations in America seem to be eroding. What advice would you give this group?
Clearly we have thought so much about that, and in the broadest context imaginable. Washington and Lee is an institution with a long and rich history. It’s a complex history, and it is a history that reflects the arc of our country’s history. We were here before the founding, we were here during the founding. We were here during the Civil War, obviously; we were here in the aftermath of the Civil War. We were here during the civil rights era, when Washington and Lee integrated its student body. We rightly embrace the history of this institution in all of its complexity. In many ways, we are in a position here at Washington and Lee to lead the very difficult conversations about the nation’s history. Why not take advantage of that opportunity and tell our history in its fullest? We try to understand the history of our country and the history of our institution in order to become better, and the only way we are going to become better is to understand the difficult choices that people made in the past and how that is going to inform the difficult choices that we are going to make in the future. So if any institution ought to embrace the complexity of history, it ought to be Washington and Lee.
So I would advise the working group to keep telling the story and learning the lessons from it. So many people have made contributions to this university in so many different ways, and when we look back at the contributions of African-Americans over time, those contributions have also come in so many different ways. What we have not looked at until this point are the contributions of those 84 enslaved Americans who were part of this institution from 1826 to 1857. They are part of our history, and that ought to be acknowledged, and their contributions ought to be acknowledged as well.
Q: You’ve made some decisions during your tenure that some people considered controversial. How did you prepare yourself for potential backlash?
When there are hard decisions to be made, you talk to as many people as possible, and you do as much research as possible. You really try to understand the issue and understand the perspectives of so many different people. But in the end, if you know you are going to get criticized no matter what you decide, that can be liberating. You might as well do what you think is right, and then you can at least live with yourself when it’s all over. That doesn’t make it easy when the criticism comes, because you know it’s coming from people who also care very much about the university.
I don’t minimize the commitment that individuals have to the institution who may disagree with things that we’ve done. So I’m not saying that makes it easy, but I am saying it enables you to be confident in the decision that you’ve made, knowing that you are looking at the best interest of Washington and Lee. We don’t want to be an institution that’s frozen in time. We are an academic institution, not a museum. For an institution that is always going to be moving forward, always going to be engaging with hard decisions, always trying to improve itself, you can’t sit still. You have to be out there trying to determine how we can constantly make ourselves better.
Q: Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
The answer is yes, sure, there are always things you would do differently if you knew then what you know now. If there is one frustration —and I don’t know how I would have fixed this — it’s that there just wasn’t enough time to spend with the people I wanted to be with and keep track of. At the end of every year, I would say to myself, “Gosh, I wish I had spent more time with the faculty and gotten to more of their events and presentations.” The next day, I’d say, “I wish I could have spent more time with the students.” Then I’d be headed off to an alumni trip, which I love to do, and I’d say, “I’d like more time for this.” So I wish I had been fully aware at the beginning of just how difficult it is to spread your time among all the people you really want to get to know.
Q: During your tenure, the university has lost students, esteemed faculty members, former presidents. How did you stay strong for the community at those times?
When Kim and I talked in 2006 about coming back to Washington and Lee, one of the things we understood was that it was entirely possible we would be here when some of the true legends of W&L would be leaving us. So many of them have had such an impact on the institution. As we have gone through those periods of loss, we have tried to use that time to remind ourselves of some of the fundamental values and principles that those individuals represent, and how those dedicated individuals have helped shape the university into what it is today. So those are sad times, but they are also times to reaffirm the fundamental underlying values of the institution those individuals personified.
The loss of students is a very different matter, and there is just no way to ever anticipate that or be prepared for the impact that has on you as an individual or on the community. I am deeply aware of the feeling of loss that students have when one of their classmates has been taken from them tragically, and I’m also very much aware of the impact on the faculty and staff who knew that student. Because of the closeness of this community, any loss has a real and genuine effect on the place, and those are hard times to get through, to be sure. During those difficult times, I take some consolation and draw strength from seeing some of W&L’s finest qualities on display — the caring, mutual support that members of our community provide so naturally to each other.
Q: What advice are you going to give your successor, Will Dudley?
Well, the standard response to that is, that will be between me and Will Dudley [laughs]. We are very, very fortunate to have someone of his experience and background and understanding of Washington and Lee to lead the university, at this time of challenge, but also a time of great opportunity. He is going to be a wonderful president, and he already has made connections and shows a deep understanding of the institution. I think I am going to have my advice be between us, in part because he is not going to need advice from me. He is going to be fine.
Q: In what ways have your wife, Kim, and your son, Matthew, helped you do your job?
You can’t do it without support. Kim has come to know Washington and Lee and come to love and understand this place as much as anybody. In those moments when I needed somebody to say, “Get over yourself,” she has never failed to deliver that kind of message. And of course through her own involvement in campus life, she has helped set the tone and spirit during our time here. It has not escaped my notice that I don’t hear too many people telling me that I’ll be missed, while hearing many, many people say they will miss Kim.
Matthew has also helped me keep things real. He went through his college years while I was a college president, so some afternoons I would go from delivering messages to W&L parents about how to work with sons and daughters during this important time in their lives, to getting in the car and driving up to his college to be a parent. And he would remind me to take the advice that I so easily dished out to the parents of Washington and Lee students. Seeing him make his college decision while I was a college president, then go through the four years as a student (and student-athlete), and then graduate and embark on his career, was a constant reminder that the students at Washington and Lee are young men and women going through the real ups and downs of college life. I would see it every day in my own family.
So the two of them played a lot of roles, but probably the most important role was to keep me grounded, and not to always be thinking of myself as the college president, but as a father and a husband at the same time.
Q: What has been your favorite part of living in Lee House?
We could write a whole different article about living in Lee House. Kim and I have so enjoyed our time there. It’s an adjustment because it’s not the real world, you are right in the middle of everything. It’s a place where you live, and you have to make it your house, but you’re always aware that that so much of the history of the university has gone through those doors. And so many prominent individuals — not just the people who have lived there, like Robert E. Lee, but the people who have been there for dinner and receptions — have graced our campus. We keep track of the number of people who come through on an annual basis, and it’s typically anywhere from 5,500 to 6,000 people per year. That always surprises us because it doesn’t feel like crowds have gone through, it just seems like there is a lot of activity and a lot of events. It includes people who are coming back to campus for the first time in 50 years, as well as new students who have been on the campus for only two or three days and are seeing Lee House for the first time.
Q: Is there any particular feature of Lee House that you wish you could take with you?
You know, in truth, we probably spend more time in the kitchen than any other room. It’s where we go in and out, it’s where we converge at the end of the day or at the end of a meeting or a reception. It’s where Kim and I finally settle down at the end of the day, over dinner on those rare days when we have no late commitments. It’s where the public and the personal side of the house intersect, at least for Kim and me. I’m sure that’s not an answer that people would expect to hear, but it is a place where for us, as residents, we both rest at times and at other times prepare for the receptions, dinners and other events we hold at the house.
I do remember my first night in Lee House. I hadn’t yet been installed as president, but I was preparing for the transition. I was visiting for a couple of days, and the Lee House was not occupied at the time. And I was determined that it was going to be just a matter-of-fact evening, nothing special, this is where I’m going to live for however long, so I’m just going to go to bed like I usually do and do a little reading before I nod off and go to sleep. I figured, I’ll get into the routine, nothing special. But I just couldn’t get to sleep. It wasn’t noise or anything like that, it was the realization that I was in the Lee House. Finally, about 1 or 2 a.m., I just got up and wandered around. [I was thinking] Robert E. Lee lived here, this is the room where his wife taught his daughters how to play the piano, this was Mrs. Lee’s bedroom, and this was Robert E. Lee’s bedroom, and this was the room in which he died, and you just realize that yes, this is a house, but it’s much more than a house.
If you asked Kim that question, she’d probably have a very different answer. She has spent much more time with the décor in Lee House and making sure it was right for its character. One of her projects was restoring some historical integrity to the rooms. My job was to stay out of the way.
Q: When you come back to visit Lexington, what spots are you most likely to visit?
Gosh, we’ll have to make the rounds. When I talk to the alumni and new students — so people who are very familiar with the place and some who aren’t — I tell them that this is a place where the whole becomes much greater than the sum of the parts. For a new student, the footbridge to Wilson Field is just a cement structure that gets you from one place on campus to another. For someone who has been here longer, that becomes a kind of landmark that conjures up certain memories. The Colonnade is not just a bunch of bricks and columns and a nice front lawn, it’s a place where a lot of things have happened that are in your store of memories.
So I don’t know that I’m going to have one place. I’m going to see the Colonnade and think of all kinds of things, I’m going to see Doremus Gym and think of a lot of things. I’m going to see the library and the Elrod Commons and think of a lot of things. I’m going to see the landmarks in town — the shops and the restaurants — and think of people I’ve seen there and stories we have. So it’ll never be one place, because this is a university where truly the whole becomes much greater than the sum of its parts.
Q: You are moving on to serve as president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent
Colleges. What appeals to you about that job?
It was not planned. This was the first time in my life where I stepped down from a job not knowing what I was going to do, but thinking that I wanted to finally get some time to write, to maybe go back and do some teaching, and I was very happy and prepared to do that. And I hope in some ways to still be able to do that. I knew I didn’t want to do another college presidency; this was the only college presidency that would ever be right for me. So I made the decision to step down, intending to determine the next step down the road, not immediately.
I was contacted by the VFIC unexpectedly. I didn’t know that their president was planning to step down; that had not been publicly announced. I have enjoyed working with the other college presidents in Virginia, and I have enjoyed making the case for independent higher education. I really do believe higher education is at a critical point in its history in our society, and the VFIC presidency sounded like an intriguing opportunity to make the case for independent higher education in a state where independent higher education has played a vital role. So it was one of those decisions that just felt right at the right time, and they were kind enough to wait until April 1, 2017, to let me start. I ran out of reasons to say no. But I’m looking forward to it. I think it’ll be exciting. And I can still maintain contact with Washington and Lee. We will be living in Richmond, which is close enough to Lexington that we’re going to be back and forth a lot. It’s the best of both worlds for us.
Q: What will you miss most about W&L?
Boy, I could say a lot of things, but there is something about the quality of the relationships around here. Walking into Washington Hall this morning, I ran into Kathy Wallace, who is the custodian here. Kathy had been working since 2 a.m., and here I come strolling in at what is for most of us the start of the work day — 8:30 or 9 o’clock. She and I were talking downstairs for a few minutes about everything from the weather to how the summer has gone to what we’ve been up to. And just before that, I crossed paths with one of the Facilities Management workers who was out with the leaf blower cleaning off the sidewalks. You know, I just never take for granted that we are at a place where people understand that what we do matters. They take great pride in Washington and Lee and their own individual contributions to the university, and I don’t think there are many places around where that happens to the extent that it happens here.
The setting in which we find ourselves contributes to the formation of that community. We are surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains. We are in the Shenandoah Valley. We are in a town that has a lot of character itself, so that fosters highly personalized interaction. Things happen here at a certain pace. There is time for reflection and there’s time for action, but the setting in which we find ourselves contributes to that as well. People walk on the campus who are tourists, and they say, “My God, you work here every day?” And I never take that privilege for granted. It really is a special place and a special setting.
The DC Program: Andrea Marshall ’17L Gets “The Talk” 3L Andrea Marshall interned with the EPA while participating in W&L Law's Program in DC, a one-semester, residential program that gives W&L students practice experience in the nation's capital.
Andrea Marshall is currently a third year law student originally from the New York City area. At the law school she is a Law Ambassador, a Managing Online Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, and a Senior Articles Editor for the German Law Journal. Andrea is interested in environmental and international law and will be working for the Sierra Club as a Legal Fellow in Washington, D.C. after graduation.
On my third day of work I received the “FIFRA 101” talk. Let me explain. I am currently working as a Law Clerk at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). To further confuse you, I work within the Office of Civil Enforcement (OCE) in the Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division (WCED) specifically working in the Pesticides and Tanks Enforcement Branch (PTEB). Yes, I have a list of acronyms written on a sheet of paper I keep on a wall next to my desk.
I am a 3L in W&L Law’s D.C. Externship Program. As a prospective student way back in 2014, I found myself captivated by the idea that I would get real life work experience in my third year of law school. It factored into my decision to attend W&L Law. When spring semester of 2L year arrived, I knew there was nothing I would rather do than apply to the D.C. program and take advantage of the endless opportunities D.C. affords fledgling law students. Though it was hard to leave Lexington and the incredible community I have at W&L, I am thoroughly enjoying big city life and my work experience here this semester.
Which brings me back to FIFRA 101. FIFRA is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, enacted with the goal of regulating and controlling pesticides and pesticide products in the U.S to protect human health and the environment. As I’ve learned during my weeks here, there are a lot of things that qualify as pesticides and many ways those pesticides can hurt you.
When I arrived on my first day, I had all the first day nerves, excitement, and disorientation. Would I be prepared? Would I get interesting assignments? What would my supervisors think of my work? Compounding my nervousness was the fact that I was computer-less for about two weeks due to government bureaucracy. However, on my third day of work, an attorney cared enough to take two hours out of his day to give me the FIFRA 101 talk. Not only did he walk me through the entire history of the Act, he pointed out specific sections for me to focus on, he notated and highlighted important points in the Act, and he threw in a bit about EPA structure and networking strategies to top it all off. It was a tremendous learning experience, one that is difficult to simulate in a classroom setting.
Thinking about graduating in May 2017 and leaving the comfort and security of Lexington is overwhelming and, at times, downright scary. But thanks to my experience at EPA through the D.C. Program, I’ve come to realize that people in the “real world” want to see you succeed. They are willing to help you and work with you, even in an agency as large as EPA and in a city as big as D.C. Though it took another week and a half for me to get a computer and get beyond FIFRA 101, I won’t forget the effort attorneys put in to make me feel welcome and situated here at EPA.
Georgia On My Mind Richard Bidlack, the Martin and Brooke Stein Professor of History, writes about reconnecting with a former student in her hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, 27 years after she was an exchange student at W&L.
During the 1988–89 academic year, Washington and Lee University hosted three students from the Soviet Union. They were among the very first Soviet undergraduates to study anywhere in the U.S. without official chaperones. One of the three was Nona Mchedlishvili, from Tbilisi, located just south of the Caucasus Mountains in what was then the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. Nona, who had received notice that she had been selected for the exchange program just three days before she departed for the U.S., immersed herself at W&L in mastering English and studying journalism.
During Spring Term of 1989, I led 30 students on the university’s first and only study tour of the Soviet Union and communist Poland. I included Tbilisi in the itinerary and planned to visit Nona’s family, while she completed her year at W&L. But on April 9, not long before we departed Lexington, Georgian nationalists staged a massive anti-Soviet demonstration in central Tbilisi. Soviet army troops brutally crushed the rally. Twenty demonstrators were killed, and hundreds were injured. Tbilisi was immediately closed to foreigners, and the W&L group was diverted instead to Sochi (the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) along the Black Sea. Nona and I were shocked by these events and very disappointed that the group could not meet with her family.
Nona returned home in June 1989. Before the dawn of the internet, and when the antiquated Soviet phone system made placing a phone call from Lexington to Tbilisi extremely difficult, she and I lost contact. By late 1991, the Soviet Union was falling apart, and Georgia descended into chaos and civil war for two years, which included street fighting in downtown Tbilisi. Nona endured these hardships and pursued her career in journalism, eventually becoming a correspondent for Radio Free Liberty.
A few years ago, Nona and I reconnected through Facebook. This past summer my wife, Nancy, and I traveled to Tbilisi to gather insights and information for a course I’m preparing on the history of the Caucasus region and Central Asia. We enjoyed a wonderful reunion with Nona and became acquainted with her husband, Konstantin (Koka), and their teenage daughter, Mia.
While walking through Tbilisi’s picturesque old town, with its mountain vistas and churches dating back to the sixth century, and over glasses of local wine and a scrumptious meal of khachapuri (a cheese-filled bread) and other delicacies that Nona and Koka prepared, we filled each other in on the contours of our lives over the past 27 years. Nona reminisced about the teal dress with matching shoes that Nancy lent her for the 1989 Fancy Dress ball. Nona also described the five terrifying days in August 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia and reached within 25 miles of Tbilisi. During that brief war, Nona and Koka sent Mia to relatives in the countryside as Russian planes bombed targets in and around Tbilisi.
Georgia has recovered remarkably well since the war. The country’s reputation for warm and generous hospitality has attracted many visitors from Europe and North America. My wife and I look forward to further developing our relationship with an exchange student from decades ago.
ODK Receives 2017 Maurice A. Clay Leadership Grant
“At W&L, we value civility and community, and the grant will allow the circle to have a positive impact on maintaining those traditions.”
Washington and Lee University’s Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) is a recipient of a 2017 Maurice A. Clay Leadership Development Initiative Grant which is designed to enhance leadership development. The grant is $500.
Kiki Spiezio ’18, circle president, wrote a proposal for a Clay grant titled “Bridging the Gap: Leadership Networking Nights with ODK and Diverse Student Leaders.”
Programs are chosen by the ODK National Awards Committee using three distinct characteristics: furthering circle engagement within the campus community, enhancing current programming and developing new initiatives to increase publicity.
W&L was one of 10 ODK circles chosen. There are 302 active circles, and the number of living members is just under 300,000. Maurice A. Clay was the first executive director.
“The Clay grant will give the students in our circle the opportunity to meet other campus leaders that they might not encounter otherwise,” said Linda Hooks, professor of economics at W&L and ODK’s faculty advisor. “This is one of the primary goals of ODK, to bring together leaders from across campus to discuss issues of common interest, so it is very exciting that our circle president, Kiki Spiezio, found a way to implement the goal so effectively.
“Winning the grant is also a public recognition of the importance of these goals,” Hooks added. “At W&L, we value civility and community, and the grant will allow the circle to have a positive impact on maintaining those traditions.”
ODK was founded on Dec. 3, 1914, at Washington and Lee University. Its mission consists of identifying, honoring and developing leaders in collegiate and community life; encouraging collaboration among students, faculty, staff and alumni to advance leadership; and promoting and publicizing ODK’s ideals.
Tax Clinic Students Release Guides for Taxpayers The guides help with a variety of tax issues, including determining filing status and information about claiming children as dependents.
Students in the Tax Clinic at Washington and Lee University School of Law have released a series of guides to help taxpayers.
The guides were produced to help with a variety of tax issues. Third-year law students Arthur Vorbrodt and Zachary Imboden, for example, produced a guide to help self-employed taxpapers with record keeping.
“Ideally, the taxpayer will use each sheet, some for each month and some for other variables, such as per customer or per job,” said Imboden. “At the end of the tax year, if the taxpayer has continually kept consistent and accurate records using this packet, we hope it will lead to an easier and more efficient filing process.”
Students in the tax clinic work with low-income taxpayers to help resolve disputes with the IRS. The students also work on advocacy projects, such as taxpayer guides. Other projects published this semester include guides about innocent spouse relief, prepared by Mikail Clark; subordinating a federal tax lien, by Christian Addison; determining filing status, by Lucas Barta; failure to file a timely return, by Lucas Barta; claiming children as dependents, by Abby Mulugeta; and tax credits for families, by Ashly Slisz.
The tax guides are available online at https://law.wlu.edu/clinics/tax-clinic/advocacy-projects.
Elliot Emadian Releases Debut Album Somehow, in addition to all of his coursework and extracurricular activities, Elliot Emadian has found the time to write, record and release his premiere album.
“That’s kind of why I write music—as a way to work through things, emotions, life experiences. I hope that comes through in the album.”
— Elliot Emadian
Most students will recognize our title hero. At this point in his college career, Elliot, a senior with more extracurriculars under his belt than FoodFlex I have left in my account, probably requires little to no introduction.
Between going to dance rehearsals, being a First-Year RA, working for Traveller, contributing to wluLex, etc., we don’t know when Elliot sleeps (or if he sleeps). Yet somehow, in addition to all that, he’s found the time to write, record, and release his premiere album.
The album is titled “selftalk,” and it hit campus on November 11.
It includes an impressive lineup of 10 original songs (12 on the deluxe version!), written and performed by Elliot himself. The album is being produced under Friday Underground Records (not to be confused with the W&L coffeehouse event Friday Underground). This marks the second student album released under the label, with Ralston Hartness’ Atlas being the first.
The funding for “selftalk” was supplemented by a very successful Kickstarter campaign launched by FUDG Records.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with the ever-elusive Elliot himself to talk about “selftalk.”
Q: Describe this album in one word.
Q: What inspired the album?
My life. Particularly relationships I have with people and how I, as a human, interact with other people.
Q: What’s your favorite song off the album?
“Bridges.” But “Without You” is a close second.
I wrote it in early 2015 and never touched it again and then came back to it when we needed a tenth track for the album. … I reworked the lyrics and I completely reworked the track and I sent it back to [FUDG Records] and [they] said, “Yes.” When it came back from being mastered it was just at another level. I’m very pleased with it.
Q: Where does the name come from?
The first name I came up with was “soliloquy.” But something about that didn’t feel perfect in regard to the album, so I started looking at other things and self-talk came up, which is a branch of positive psychology. It’s the things you tell yourself to make yourself feel better. And that’s kind of why I write music—as a way to work through things, emotions, life experiences. I hope that comes through in the album.
Q: What did you learn about yourself as an artist through this process?
I had a lot of self-doubt about the songs and the quality and whether it was worth making at all. Austin and Dana [of Friday Underground Records] were really good about pushing me to accept that it was a quality product and worth making and publishing. I think through that I learned that it’s important not to worry about what other people are going to think about it. It’s more important to think about whether this impacts me and if it impacts me, will it impact other people? And if that’s the case, then it’s worth putting out. I shouldn’t try to interpret what other people think about it.
Q: Why should people listen to it?
I think that through the story of the album there’s at least one song that everyone can relate to.
Q: What are you going to do next?
I am still writing. I’m working on finding a new method of writing. It’s been such a long time [since] I’ve written anything that I want to figure out what works best for me. I’m also just enjoying this… I’m excited. My mind is blown that people will be listening to the music I made. I never thought this would happen.
Be sure to keep your ears open…rumor has it that FUDG Records has started talks with yet another student artist for a third album under the label… Who could it be?
In the meantime, you can catch Elliot onstage in the upcoming fall dance concert, hanging out on his hall, running to a math class from the dance studio, at the weekly wluLex team meetings, or at his album’s listening party on November 16th in the atrium of the Center for Global Learning.
Story by Taylor Gulotta ‘17
"Selftalk" at a Glance
Number of tracks: 10
Available on: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Bandcamp, 8tracks, Rhapsody
Holiday Greetings from the Office of Alumni Affairs and a Hearty Thank You!
As we prepare to close the book on 2016, warm Holiday Greetings and thank you to W&L’s marvelous and loyal alumni. Your Association offers these highlights since June 30 as we strive to serve you.
- The alumni board and the campus office are great partners implementing Alumni 2020.
Chapter and External Programming
- Over 600 volunteers make the chapters run successfully — Thanks!
- We are actively supporting 78 chapters stage hundreds of events with increasing variety. Just over 80 percent of our alumni live in chapters rated healthy by specific metrics, thus sustaining the goal set by the Alumni Board in 2010. Numerous faculty, staff, coaches and administrators have visited.
- The friendly competition of the Chapter Colonnade Challenge (C3) is generating chapter networking events (up significantly), community service and cultural activities (including a Boston Pops Holiday concert).
- Our largest chapters in D.C. and Atlanta continue their diversity and inclusion efforts. Both have added a multicultural seat on the chapter board.
- We sponsored a solid Chapter Leadership Conference with representatives from 17 chapters. A competition to create the most distinctive new event was won by Cumberland Valley, Maryland.
- Welcome to the City events for 2016 grads in 19 chapters, up from seven just two years ago.
- Another very successful Alumni Weekend in May for classes celebrating their 15th through 50th reunions. It was a banner year in attendance and giving, substantive programming and high-quality social events.
- Young Alumni Weekend Oct. 21-22 saw record-breaking attendance, highlighted by the 5th and 10th class reunions. Over 200 undergraduate seniors joined the festivities Saturday night.
- Multicultural events were successful during Alumni Weekend and Young Alumni Weekend.
- We partnered with University Advancement to implement a multi-pronged approach to engage young alumni, including social media, the importance of giving, a new leadership giving plan and building class unity.
- The Five Star Festival for those beyond their 50th reunions included the first ever 65th reunion, by the class of 1951!
- Partnered with Athletics to sponsor the Hall of Fame ceremony; five stellar former athletes were tapped.
- Our alumni leaders-in-training group, Kathekon, is thriving and productive. They hosted a sentimental farewell party for President Ken Ruscio at The Village, the new housing for third-year student, on Dec. 6.
- We launched a new, mobile-friendly Alumni Affairs website!
- Substantial improvements to the speed and utility of Colonnade Connections, including social media sign on.
What’s Coming Up in 1Q 2017?
- We are excited to bring W&L’s new president Will Dudley to a number of chapters.
- As this communication arrives, we have launched registration for Black Alumni Reunion 2017 for March 3-4.
- Richmond, Dallas and New York Chapters will stage local Fancy Dress
We are fortunate to work joyfully for this great institution. You make it easy by coming back, giving, volunteering, promoting W&L locally, living lives of integrity, and contributing to your communities. We wish you a wonderful holiday and many blessings in 2017. GO GENERALS!
‘A Better World’ Kara Karcher '11 is parlaying her studies in poverty and women's and gender studies into a law career dedicated to helping women and children.
“I started to realize that, although the world was filled with injustices, it was possible to work towards a better world.”
By Kara Karcher ’11
My first exposure to the Shepherd Program at Washington and Lee was through the Washington, D.C. Volunteer Venture program. I knew I wanted to participate in a pre-orientation program in order to get to know some of my classmates before starting classes. Little did I know how much of an impact that small decision would make on my four years as an undergraduate at Washington and Lee as well as my future career trajectory. I remember the professor speaking with our small group during one of the days of our trip, and I made the decision to try out the Poverty 101 class in the fall. I had never thought about issues of poverty from an academic perspective and although my first-year self was very intimidated by the dense reading and the profound conversations going on in our classroom, I knew that I had found something meaningful, and I committed to making the poverty program part of my undergraduate experience.
The class that made all the difference for me was Poverty 102, where I had the opportunity to volunteer inside a preschool classroom that served general education preschool students, as well as students who qualified through some type of intellectual or physical disability. It was a powerful intellectual experience to connect the day-to-day happenings of the preschool classroom I was observing with the theories and scholarly reading that we read and discussed in class. I found that I enjoyed connecting my real-life work with my academic work, and it lent a sense of urgency and importance to all of the studies I was doing as an undergraduate. That summer, I completed my Shepherd Internship at the House of Ruth Legal Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland, an experience I still consider one of the most formative components of my education. The House of Ruth offers legal support to survivors of domestic abuse. I worked firsthand with women from all backgrounds, helping them to apply for protective orders and providing moral support in court hearings. I was passionate about the work I did with House of Ruth, and, as a result, when I returned to campus, a lot of my academic work in the poverty program focused on the unique issues facing women attempting to escape abuse. I also joined the Bonner Program and completed many of my 900 volunteer hours as an advocate at Project Horizon, the local women’s shelter. Just like I had experienced in Poverty 102, I felt passionate about connecting my studies with real life issues that mattered.
My junior year, I discovered the Women’s and Gender Studies minor and took a course at Washington and Lee’s law school on legal theory related to women’s issues, including domestic abuse. As a student, it was eye-opening for me to realize that real world problems like what I had observed at House of Ruth and Project Horizon could be analyzed from an academic and legal perspective. It wasn’t until I discovered my two minors in Poverty and Human Capability Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies that I began to feel that my college studies were driven by a sense of purpose. I started to realize that, although the world was filled with injustices, it was possible to work towards a better world.
After graduation, my work with Teach for America as a bilingual teacher on the border of Texas and Mexico exposed me to another dimension of public interest work. Although working in education is, on the surface, very different than advocating for abuse survivors, for me the motivation comes from the same place. My work to advocate for those who are underrepresented was and continues to be incredibly personal. My academic studies, particularly within the poverty program, internships, volunteer experience, and now work experience have all showed me the different sides of what it looks like to work towards increasing access to justice. Now, I am taking a different step forward and will begin studying at the University of Texas School of Law this fall. Law school will further enable me to expand my passion for the public interest with the goal of making a meaningful impact on our society. In both my undergraduate work and my work as a bilingual teacher, I have seen the impact our country’s legal systems can have for better or worse on underrepresented populations. I know my journey in law school will enable me to discover the unique role that I will have in increasing access to justice for those who most need it, and I am forever grateful to the Shepherd Poverty Program at Washington and Lee for sparking my journey down this life-changing path.
Karcher graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2011 with a bachelor of arts in politics and minors in poverty and human capability studies and women’s and gender studies. Upon graduating, Kara worked with Teach for America in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas as a bilingual elementary teacher. Upon completing the two-year program, Kara continued to teach in the bilingual classroom for several years and completed her master’s in bilingual education at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Beginning this fall, she will begin her studies at the University of Texas School of Law, where she hopes to specialize in public interest law and continue her work with women and children.
New Book Covers 70 Years of the W&L Story Historian Blaine Brownell ’65, who spent his career as a college professor, administrator and consultant, has completed a 608-page history of W&L, from 1930 to 2000.
Blaine Brownell earned a degree in history from Washington and Lee in 1965, so he must have experienced a sense of déjà vu when, decades later, he found himself hunched over books and papers in the school library. This time, however, the circumstances had changed. For one thing, the university was paying him, not the other way around.
In 2010, W&L commissioned Brownell, a notable historian, professor and college administrator, who served as the 12th president of Ball State University, to write a history that picked up where Ollinger Crenshaw’s 1969 work, “General Lee’s College: The Rise and Growth of Washington and Lee University,” left off. The result is “Washington and Lee University, 1930–2000: Tradition and Transformation.”
The 70-year slice of W&L’s 268-year history is available in hardcover at online and brick-and-mortar retailers, including the University Bookstore. It was published by LSU Press, and funded by a generous gift from the W&L Class of 1966 on the occasion of their 50th reunion.
Brownell’s book covers a challenging period for American higher education, as it includes the Great Depression, World War II, shifting patterns of funding, the Vietnam War, and social and cultural revolutions. Washington and Lee also weathered its own storms between 1930 and 2000, such as the athletic cheating scandal of 1954 and the debate over coeducation in the 1980s.
Brownell decided to approach the history from the perspective of the institution’s presidents because the university is “embraced in their perspective.” He focused on the four “very well-qualified, very engaged” presidents who served between 1930 and 1995: Francis P. Gaines, Fred C. Cole, Robert E.R. Huntley ’50, ’57L, and John Wilson. (John Elrod’s presidency extended beyond 2000, so his term awaits a future historian.) In addition to presidents, Brownell strove to include as many influential players as possible, whether they were trustees, administrators, coaches, alumni, professors, student leaders or donors.
Brownell, who lives near Charlottesville, found most of the primary source materials for his book in W&L’s Special Collections & Archives, where he grew so close to the staff that he refers to them as “extended family.” His wife, Mardi, was his research assistant and copier-in-chief.
“When I started, I didn’t know what was there or how much,” he said. “If I was teaching [at W&L] now, I would have a whole slew of projects that I could recommend to students because of things I know that I just didn’t have a chance to follow up on.”
For example, he said, he didn’t have time to chase down details about important national documents that were hidden at W&L during WWII to keep them safe. He also would have enjoyed fleshing out the history of the Law School, spending more time on the work of individual faculty members, and telling stories about noteworthy people who visited the university.
It was a no-brainer to include the word “tradition” in the title of any book about W&L, but it became just as important to draw out the stories of transformation, he said. If the university had not adapted to the changing world, it could never have sustained its traditions.
“Frank Gilliam used to say to alumni who were distressed with almost any change they saw on campus, that if this university had not changed since you had been here, you wouldn’t be proud of it,” he said, referring to the late dean of students.
By the time Brownell embarked on the book project, he had spent 45 years away from Washington and Lee, earning an M.A. and a Ph.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then serving as professor, senior administrator and academic consultant at a number of universities. Having completed the W&L history, he said he feels closer to his alma mater than ever before.
“I certainly have a much more in-depth appreciation for the university and the challenges it has faced.”
Click here to watch a lecture about W&L history delivered by Brownell at Washington and Lee in early November 2017.
Click “play” below to watch Blaine Brownell talk more about Special Collections & Archives, and the Class of 1966’s role in preserving W&L’s history.
Something Old, Something New After more than 10 years and $50 million, the restoration and renovation of Washington and Lee University’s hallowed Colonnade is complete.
Students weren’t the only members of the Washington and Lee community who moved into new digs on campus for Fall Term. At the end of August, 30 faculty and staff unpacked boxes and settled into offices in a beautifully renovated Tucker Hall.
The completion of Tucker Hall marked the end of the extensive restoration and renovation of the entire Colonnade, a project that took more than 10 years and $50 million. The undertaking was the centerpiece of W&L’s most recent capital campaign.
“It’s a great feeling after many years in the Baker Hall swing space to come back to the Colonnade — and to come, for the first time, to Tucker Hall,” said Alex Brown, Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion. “How nice to come to spaces that seem, figuratively speaking, to have been expecting us.”
Prior to the renovation, the five buildings that make up the National Historic Landmark — Newcomb, Payne, Washington, Robinson and Tucker halls — were not up to modern standards for safety and fire protection, or for contemporary learning and teaching. They had not been updated since 1936, around the time Tucker Hall was rebuilt after the original structure burned down.
In addition, decades of structural changes, such as the 1980s insertion of a mezzanine in the two-story former law library at the rear of Tucker Hall, had covered up original features. “A lot of our work was just taking off all the things that had been melted onto the buildings over the years and restoring them to their simple elegance,” said Tom Kalasky, director of capital projects.
The restoration involved updating electrical and fire protection systems, replacing window air conditioning and radiator heat with modern mechanical systems, adding restrooms to the upper floors, improving handicapped accessibility, creating more office space, and upgrading technology — all in a way that was environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Glavé & Holmes of Richmond served as architects throughout the project, and Kjellstrom + Lee of Staunton as construction managers. O’Byrne Contracting Inc., owned by Elizabeth O’Byrne King ‘00, did custom millwork, and many other local craftspeople were also involved. All of the work aligned with the secretary of the interior’s “Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties,” and historic tax credits yielded more than $7 million that went back into the project. Every building submitted for certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program achieved a silver rating.
Kalasky said just about every building offered a neat surprise in the form of a hidden architectural feature or quirky find. The team worked with Alison Bell ’91, associate professor of anthropology, to assess potentially important discoveries along the way. Outside Robinson Hall, Bell and her team uncovered thousands of artifacts from the early 1800s, including a penknife, medicine vials and pieces of pottery. All are believed to have come from Graham Hall, a classroom and dormitory built in 1804 and demolished in 1835.
Ultimately, the Colonnade job took much longer than the original estimate of five years, in part because Facilities Management had to set up swing space for faculty and staff to use while buildings were under construction. In addition, W&L undertook other large capital projects, including the Ruscio Center for Global Learning, upper-division housing, Stemmons Plaza and the new natatorium, during the same time frame.
The result of all that hard work on the Colonnade is a perfect marriage of state-of-the-art, 21st-century functionality and freshly maintained 19th-century beauty.
“To be involved in a project like this, and to work with a project team of that caliber, was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, so it has been very fulfilling,” Kalasky said.
The Secret is in the Sauce Pete Hendricks '66, 69L and his son Nat are marketing a handcrafted cocktail mix.
For years, Pete Hendricks, a real estate attorney in Atlanta, has served family and friends his special Bloody Mary cocktail, crafted from a mix he created over 50 years ago.
“People kept saying, ‘You’re nuts not to do anything with this,’ ” the 1966 graduate of Washington and Lee University and a 1969 graduate of the W&L Law School told the Reporter Newspapers.
About a year ago, his son, Nat, listened to that advice and decided to market and sell the mix full time. Known as Sister’s Sauce, the handcrafted blend is named in honor of a beloved bird dog, and her image graces the label on the bottle.
According to Pete, an early version of the mix was tested in the early 1970s when Pete’s wife, Kathy, ran a cooking and catering business called Cook’s Corner.
When Nat, who used to work for a logistics firm, decided to take the product mainstream, he got a commercial cooking certification, modified Pete’s recipe and began hand-bottling the mix. Pete said Nat “got all the junk out of it. It has no MSG or high-fructose corn syrup, and it is gluten-free.”
Sister’s Sauce launched a year ago at a pop-up shop in Midtown’s Ponce City Market and is now available at specialty stores around Atlanta, including Lucy’s Market in Buckhead.
For more information, see facebook.com/SistersSauce.
David Chester’s Excellent Adventures David Chester '78 sets intense physical challenges that take him on epic hikes and rides.
According to David Chester, who lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts, retired Generals don’t simply fade away. They roll off the couch, put down the chips, turn off the TV and bicycle across France on a dare.
The 1978 graduate of Washington and Lee University covered 877 miles over 14 days, climbing 65,000 feet — “that’s biking up Mt. Everest twice with some miles left over,” he said.
We caught up with David for a few more details.
Q: What did you do after graduating from W&L?
I served for four years at the rank of lieutenant in the Navy as a surface warfare officer, mine countermeasures officer and naval instructor. I decided to seek my fame and fortune in high tech.
From 1983 to 2006, I was a sales rep, with various fancy titles and enviable expense accounts, in software sales to the Fortune 1000. I managed complex sales campaigns for companies like Control Data Corp., Must Software International, Dun & Bradstreet Software and Baan and Ariba Inc., spanning the computer evolution from mainframe to client/server and, finally, emerging internet technologies.
Q: How long have you been retired?
My retirement date is a bit of a family scandal, because Chesters do not historically take early retirement. In fact, they typically continue working way beyond the age at which any meaningful work can be expected. Often they need to be carried out on a gurney. I broke with tradition and retired at 50 (2006).
My wife, Kimberly, had a similar work history, so we often would say, when pressed, that between us we’d been working for over 50 years, hence we decided it was time to smell the roses. At least that was the polite way of saying it.
So post-retirement, I’ve been a volunteer firefighter and first responder for my town’s fire department, manning Engine # 2, the water tanker. May not sound sexy, but since our town has no fire hydrants, we were very important, because, after all, we had the water. I also serve on various town boards.
Q: When did the urge to cycle long distances start?
When I turned 50, I decided I needed a physical challenge to commemorate my half-century mark. I chose to climb Mount Rainier (14,410 feet). Not knowing anything about mountain climbing, I begged an older cousin with Himalayan experience to join me.
We both made it to the summit. Thirteen out of 25 in our group didn’t. I was hooked; every couple of years I would do a mini-adventure that pushed me out of my comfort zone.
By 2013, enough time had passed since Mount Rainier for that story to run out of juice. My family started a new mantra, “What’s next?” I began surfing the web for inspiration and decided on the LEJOG, a famous bike ride across Great Britain, from Lands End Cornwall to John O’Groats, Scotland. That took 14 days, 1,000 miles via back roads. I lost 20 pounds on that ride. Our oldest cyclist was a 77-year-old English lord.
I then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet), with a mandatory guide service. It’s a trek, but not a technically difficult climb. It does require a sincere desire to summit. The altitude effects people differently, and be forewarned — seven days without a shower makes for a ripe tentmate.
Q: How did you prepare for your personal Tour de France?
I am not a cyclist. I began serious biking with the LEJOG in 2013. So to get ready for France, I rode regularly three to four months prior, ultimately logging in 1,000-plus miles for an anticipated 870-mile cycle and focusing on hill work at every opportunity.
Victory lies in the preparation. Training notwithstanding, I made a name for myself by:
1. Showing up without a bike (I rented one from the tour company — steel frame — which proved to be five times heavier than any of the other bikes. I won’t comment on the bike’s vintage or the gear configuration.)
2. Showing up at a svelte 230 pounds. The leader of the Scottish contingent was delighted to calculate that I was 60 pounds heavier than the average weight of all the other male cyclists on the expedition.
They called me overweight. I called them lightweights.
My compatriots were all Lycra-wearing, bike-club fanatics who could spend an entire evening’s conversation on various proposals to drop an extra half a pound from their cycle kit for maximum speed and efficiency.
I also confess that I added to their disbelief by exaggerating the extent of my training. I told them I never got around to it.
Q: Who dared you to make the trip?
It was a wife-son-daughter tag team. My 30-year-old daughter arrived from Los Angeles and convinced everyone in the house that if I didn’t lose weight and get back in shape, I would be dead in a year. She is an actor, and through repetition had the whole house planning my funeral, never mind the fact that a recent physical had given me a clean bill of health.
Finally, my 16-year-old-son dared me with the shameful taunt, “Middle-age white guys can’t jump or pump” (as in pumping/pedaling a bike cross country).
Q: Will you do more of these cycling trips?
Funny you ask, because riding long-distance is a grind, no matter how beautiful the scenery, especially if you’re doing it for 14 days, seven to nine hours in the saddle, with no down days. So the evening of day eight, it was the general consensus of the group that no one was going to do another 14-day ride. Never! Of course, after we finished and were celebrating on the beach in Nice, toasting each other with fine French Champagne, everyone was talking about the next big ride.
It’s always easy when you’re finished.
Q: What’s your next adventure?
I want to Telemark hut-ski from Vail to Aspen. I know my limits — I will need a guide, an avalanche beacon and a SAT phone. But if the idea can capture your imagination, the logistics and training will take care of themselves.
Maybe I’ll dare that 16-year-old son, who is now 17 (and hoping to attend W&L), to join me. But are the millennials as mentally tough as the baby boomers? Frankly, I don’t think so, but I guess my millennial deserves the chance to prove me wrong.
Randy Rouse ’39: Breezing to the Top The Virginian horseman is honored for his commitment to American steeplechasing.
He may be closing in on his 100th birthday, but Randy D. Rouse, a 1939 graduate of Washington and Lee University, has racked up another honor in the equestrian world.
The Virginian horseman received the F. Ambrose Clark Award, American jump racing’s leading honor, from the National Steeplechase Association (NSA), which earned Randy a shout-out on the BloodHorse website.
The award recognizes individuals who have done the most to promote, improve and encourage the growth and welfare of American steeplechasing. Randy, the story noted, “is all but synonymous with jump racing and hunting in northern Virginia.”
NSA president Guy J. Torsilieri said, “Randy Rouse is a most deserving recipient of the F. Ambrose Clark Award. He has been a leader of the sport in his native Virginia and nationally, and he is an inspiration to those who have followed him.”
After a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Randy founded the construction and investment firm Randolph D. Rouse Enterprises in 1947. He became interested in hunting and racing and later served as master of foxhounds for the Fairfax Hunt.
He was elected the NSA’s president in 1971, and set about to change the focus from off-track betting to race meets. He also helped develop a manmade fence that would be moved from meet to meet to reduce the costs of maintaining natural fences for hurdle races.
In the 1980s, Randy won 10 races with his top horse, Cinzano, in point-to-points. He still trains racehorses, and his Hishi Soar put him in the record books when the hurdler won the Daniel Van Clief Memorial at the Foxfield Spring Steeplechase in April.
“I will never retire,” Rouse said in a 1998 Washington Post interview. “I may wear out, but I won’t rust out.”
The Problem of Asylum Free Zones Immigrant Rights Clinic director David Baluarte will present at a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to discuss the growth of asylum-free zones.
Among the many immigration issues facing the U.S., the lack of a consistent treatment of asylum seekers is a growing problem, one that might put the U.S. in violation of regional and international human rights obligations.
In some jurisdictions, immigration judges and prosecutors have applied sub-regulatory rules, without legal justification, to create asylum free zones, spaces where asylum seekers are systematically denied protection. According to Washington and Lee law professor David Baluarte, who directs the school’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, research has shown a troubling trend line in some jurisdictions in the United States that deny nearly every claim for asylum they hear.
“Today in Atlanta, a non-citizen fleeing life threatening violence has a near zero chance of receiving protection due to practices by immigration judges and prosecutors,” says Baluarte. “The situation has deteriorated to the point where the United States is in violation of binding refugee law obligations.”
Baluarte joined a group of immigration practitioners and scholars to petition the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a division of the Organization of American States (OAS), to grant a hearing on the issue. The group argues that the existence of jurisdictions where asylum seekers have no hope of international protection violates the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and requires the U.S. government to design corrective actions to come into compliance with its human rights obligations.
“Our hope is to get the OAS to investigate this matter and re-frame it from an issue of discretionary administrative procedure to one of fundamental human rights,” added Baluarte.
The hearing will take place on Dec. 9.
Fall Issue of Shenandoah Now Available
Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review released its fall 2016 digital issue on Dec. 1. Volume 66, Number 1 includes original poetry, fiction, essays, reviews and visual art, as well as four Poems of the Week per month.
Shenandoah also features a blog titled “Snopes,” with reflections by editors, interns and guests on issues of interest to the literary and artistic community, including blog posts on children’s literature, speculative fiction, Robert Frost, current films and Walt Kelly’s political cartoon strip “Pogo.”
The current issue includes a raucous George Singleton story, “Flag Day,” about unneighborly antics; skinny dipping; the alt-right; and fraternity high-jinx. The fiction also includes work by Virginia native David Huddle and Holly Hunt.
The 22 poems in the issue address a variety of subjects, from Red Riding Hood to Welsh Monasteries to the song “Deep Purple.” While David Bottoms’ poem “A Scrawny Fox” delves into the operation of memory, former Shenandoah Poetry Prize winner Corrie Williamson’s five poems range from the amorous to earthquakes. The issue also highlights “Wahunsenacawh.” This historical piece by Staunton resident Jess Quinlan explores the burial of Powhatan, father of Pocahontas. Quinlan received this year’s Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets from Shenandoah.
Non-fiction includes an interview with poet and editor Michelle Boisseau and an essay by Lexington resident Sarah Kennedy about novels, including the acclaimed “Cool Hand Luke,” which are set in prisons. The art in the issue is by Virginian Linda Burgess.
The journal’s homepage currently features the prose piece “Leigh,” winner of the 2016 Edgar Allan Prose contest and written by W&L English Professor Lesley Wheeler.
Shenandoah was founded in 1950 by a group of W&L students, including Tom Wolfe, and existed as a print journal for 60 years. It is now in its sixth year as a no-fee on-line journal located at shenandoahliterary.org. Unsolicited work may be submitted through Submittable.com via the submissions link on the website.
The next issue will appear in April 2017, and materials may be submitted beginning in January. For further information contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poetry Reading Features Authors Hoppenthaler and Smith
The 8th Annual Washington and Lee University Writer in Residence Poetry Reading, featuring John Hoppenthaler and R.T. Smith, will be Jan. 12, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room.
The reading is free and open to the public. Hoppenthaler’s reading is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment, and Smith’s reading is sponsored by the office of W&L’s Writer in Residence. Books will be for sale and a book signing will follow the readings.
Hoppenthaler’s books of poetry are “Domestic Garden” (2015), winner of the 2015 Brockman-Campbell Award for best volume of poetry written by a North Carolinian; “Anticipate the Coming Reservoir” (2008); and “Lives of Water” (2003). He has co-edited a volume of essays on the poetry of Jean Valentine, “This-World Company,” (2012).
He currently serves as advisory editor to the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, where he edits “A Poetry Congeries.” He is a professor of creative writing and literature at East Carolina University.
Smith has edited Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review since 1995. His 14 books of poetry include “In the Night Orchard” (2014) and “Outlaw Style” (2007), which received the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize.
Another volume, “Summoning Shades,” will be released in late 2017, and new poems are scheduled for Southern Review, Five Points and Carolina Quarterly. Smith’s sixth collection of stories, “Doves in Flight,” will appear in spring 2017. He is Washington and Lee’s writer in residence.
Witt Hawkins ’18 Receives Clinton Scholarship
“Study abroad has opened my eyes to the international business and politics of the world.”
Witt Hawkins ’18, a Washington and Lee University global politics major and mass communications minor from Memphis, Tennessee, received a William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to attend the American University in Dubai (AUD) during the winter term of 2017.
He is the third W&L student to receive a scholarship from the Clinton Presidential Foundation, which has partnered with AUD to provide funding for up to 10 students per semester.
The Clinton Scholarship, which covers his tuition, exists with the intent of sponsoring American College students who want to be exposed to Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures for the first time.
Hawkins is a member of the inaugural W&L Arabic language class, is in his third semester and will complete his language requirement next term when he takes his fourth semester at AUD. He will also be taking classes in Middle Eastern politics, history, religion and business.
“I am excited about this opportunity. Since Arabic isn’t an official program at W&L, there is no course sequence to supplement my linguistic studies,” said Hawkins. “At AUD, I’ll be receiving a comprehensive experience in Middle Eastern studies in addition to the immersive experience of living in an Arabic-speaking nation.”
On his return, Hawkins will apply for the Certificate of International Immersion through W&L’s Center for International Education. He has also studied abroad in Copenhagen and London.
“Study abroad has opened my eyes to the international business and politics of the world and that experience can be credited for my switch to a major in global politics and for wanting to take Arabic. I look forward to engaging with and learning about Middle-Eastern culture for the first time,” Hawkins continued.
He is a starting wide receiver on the varsity football team at W&L, a two time letterman, a 2014 Rookie of the Year and an ODAC Scholar-Athlete. He is a member of the Reformed University Fellowship, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Kappa Alpha Order and participated in the 2016 Mock Convention.
“I’m thrilled that Witt will be studying at AUD and that W&L has another winner of the prestigious Clinton Scholarship,” said Mark Rush, the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at W&L and director of the Center for International Education. “This is a great stepping stone to further engagement in the Middle East and the growth of Middle East and South Asian Studies on our campus.”
Dedicated to Dickey Ward Briggs ’67 has memorialized his longtime friend, writer James Dickey, with a large donation of Dickey materials to Washington and Lee Special Collections.
“With this collection, or any collection, of Dad’s stuff, what would make him the happiest is if it was used as an inspiration for young writers.”
— Bronwen Dickey
In autumn 1963, at a classy dinner party in the home of then-Washington and Lee University Dean Bill Pusey, acclaimed poet and novelist James Dickey spoke to a first-year student named Ward Briggs for the first time. Briggs will never forget the words that launched a long, meaningful friendship.
From his position of drunken repose on the sofa, Dickey scowled up at Briggs and said, “Who the hell are you?”
As their relationship matured over the next three decades, so did the quality of their interactions. Nevertheless, after Dickey’s death in 1997, Briggs, a retired University of South Carolina Classics professor who graduated from W&L in 1967, found himself contemplating that question as it related to the prolific, passionate and greatly misunderstood 20th-century writer:
Dickey, dear friend, who the hell were you?
“I knew how brilliant he was and what a great and loyal friend he was,” Briggs said, “I just didn’t understand what a poet he was. So I started gathering up as much of his poetry as I could. I wanted an understanding of him as a poet, to see what my friend’s identity really was. Then, as these things came in the mail, I had this feeling that it’s almost like he’s still out there producing wonderful stuff.”
The result of Briggs’ sourcing was a large, eclectic collection of Dickey materials, which Briggs has donated to W&L. From first-edition novels and poetry to film posters from “Deliverance,” the thriller based on Dickey’s 1970 novel, the comprehensive collection is a significant gift.
“Briggs’ collection reveals the intellectual development and the constant experimentation of this iconic American literary figure,” said Tom Camden, head of Special Collections and Archives at W&L. “Any study of major 20th-century American poets must include Dickey, and Briggs’ collection provides the authoritative source for that study.”
Dickey, who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, is best known for “Deliverance.” But his son, novelist and journalist Christopher Dickey, says his father merely entertained himself by writing novels — he sustained himself by writing poetry. “If you asked him what he really cared about as a writer, it was poetry,” Chris Dickey said.
James Dickey realized his love of poetry while serving as an Army radar operator during World War II. At his request, his mother sent him poetry collections so he could entertain and distract himself during terrifying night missions.
“So he really discovers poetry in the cockpit of this plane when he is scared to death, when his life is in danger,” Briggs said. “It’s an amazing conversion. He just found what he could do.”
Between WWII and the Korean War, during which he served in the U.S. Air Force, Dickey earned degrees in English and philosophy from Vanderbilt University. Later, he taught at Rice University and worked in advertising (the character of Ken Cosgrove on the popular AMC television series “Mad Men” is said to have been partially based on Dickey) before diving fully into poetry.
His “Into the Stone and Other Poems” was published in 1960, followed by “Drowning with Others” in 1962 and “Buckdancer’s Choice” in 1965, which brought a National Book Award for Poetry. From 1966 to 1968, Dickey was U.S. poet laureate (then called “poetry consultant”), after which time he became an English professor and writer-in-residence at USC. Briggs joined the faculty in 1973, shortly after Dickey became a household name with the 1972 film release of “Deliverance.”
The novel, which was published in myriad languages, is considered by many to be one of the best of the 20th century. On Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels, “Deliverance” is No. 42, above novels by Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Roth, Updike and other celebrated writers. It made considerable money, landed Dickey on talk shows, and allowed him to hobnob with famous movie stars. Although he would write two more novels and reams of poetry over the next 25 years, nothing in his canon would ever be as well-known as “Deliverance.”
Like many gifted writers, Dickey had a multifaceted and complex existence. That included an intense dependence on alcohol, a tendency to epitomize contradictions, and a famous disdain for the truth. Any study of Dickey’s work is made more complicated and more fascinating because of these quirks.
Said Briggs, “I mean this not as a personal or ethical critique but as an aesthetic observation: He simply didn’t care what the truth was. He cared whether it was a good and entertaining story.” At times, this made for challenging relationships. In his 1998 memoir, “Summer of Deliverance,” Chris Dickey wrote: “Long before ‘Deliverance,’ my father had begun to make himself up. And me. He would not tolerate for a minute the world as it was.”
Dickey’s ability to be competitive and critical was tempered by a deep-seated sensitivity that played out in his poetry, Briggs said, as well as during interactions with strangers, friends and family.
“He certainly did or said his share of wild and crazy things, but as a father he was the most encouraging, attentive, pleasant, conscientious, caring parent you could ever want,” said Bronwen Dickey, his daughter and the youngest of his three children. “He would always stop in the middle of what he was doing to play checkers or watch a nature documentary with me.”
Dickey died at age 73, having lived much longer than many of the poets he admired. Briggs, aware that Dickey’s writings outside “Deliverance” were a mystery to many readers, decided to begin work on the most thorough and accurate edition of Dickey poetry to date. “The Complete Poems of James Dickey,” which contains all 331 poems published during the writer’s career, was released in 2013. Briggs was careful to ensure that each poem was printed the way Dickey intended, since magazines such as the “New Yorker” often altered poems before publishing them.
The donation to W&L is an effort to spread that respect for Dickey’s work to students who may never have read it, or who may be discovering their own love of poetry — as Dickey did in that airplane cockpit many years ago.
“With this collection, or any collection, of Dad’s stuff, what would make him the happiest is if it was used as an inspiration for young writers,” said Bronwen Dickey. “He was a really dedicated teacher, and he was very enthusiastic and encouraging with young writers.”
Chris Dickey said Washington and Lee is a suitable home for his father’s works for a number of reasons.
“My father always loved W&L — loved the campus and its history, liked and respected the people he knew there, and wanted me to go there,” he said. “We paid more than one visit when I was in high school. In the end, I went to the university a bit farther north, and it was my younger brother [Kevin Dickey] who went to W&L— then left to focus on pre-med and medical degrees at Emory. So we have a soft spot for Washington and Lee in our family, and I am delighted that Ward has given us, now, this very tangible connection.”
Virgil Collection Enriches Classics Department
The James Dickey collection is not the only donation recently made to Washington and Lee University by Ward Briggs ’67. Briggs, a retired Classics professor with a specialty in the ancient Roman poet Virgil, has given the university a set of about 600 works on Virgil.
Washington and Lee Classics professor Caleb Dance already has built a fall course, Topics in Advanced Latin Literature, around the collection. In addition, Parrish Preston ’17 is drawing on the resources for his honors thesis.
“I was very impressed with its organization,” Dance said. “It’s a comprehensive collection of teaching texts and close-reading texts, and it includes all of the big names in Virgil scholarship.” When he entered the conversation about the proposed donation, Dance said, “I just remember thinking that this would be a great resource to use with W&L students.”
The library at University of South Carolina at Columbia, where Briggs is Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics and Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Humanities Emeritus, wanted the collection. But Briggs said he believes that W&L, being a liberal arts school, is likely to get more use out of it.
The collection is currently housed in Dance’s office, but it will soon be catalogued and shelved in Leyburn Library’s Special Collections.
A Dream Job and a Landmark Case As the Secular Society Women’s Rights Legal Fellow for the ACLU of Virginia, Deady '11L works on issues related to gender equality, reproductive rights and LGBT discrimination.
Gail Deady ‘11L came to law school to fight for civil liberties and gender equality. Little did she know that five years after graduation one of her cases would be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Deady, a legal fellow at the ACLU of Virginia, is one of the attorneys representing Gavin Grimm, the Virginia high school student at the center of a dispute over bathrooms and transgender rights. The High Court added the case to its docket in October, and it is likely to be one of the most anticipated decisions of the current term.
While in law school, Deady pursued practice experiences that allowed her to advocate for issues affecting women. She interned with Rappahannock Legal Aid her 1L summer and spent her 2L summer and an externship during her 3L year with the Central Virginia Legal Society, handling a range of family law and domestic abuses matters.
Beyond affirming her commitment fighting for women’s issues, these placements gave Deady a great deal of real-world experience.
“I was allowed to represent clients in hearings and get a lot of courtroom exposure,” says Deady. “I realized I really liked litigation and wanted to do that after graduation.”
However, like most of her classmates graduating at the height of the legal recession, Deady had trouble finding opportunities for legal aid fellowships or post grad clerkships. Luckily, her small section professor from her first year was able to connect Deady with a former student at a midsize firm in Richmond, which ultimately led to a job offer with the litigation group at the firm, McCandlish Holton.
In all, Deady spend three and half years at the firm doing mostly tort defense, starting with small scale bench trials in district court, and moving up to bigger cases in federal court after she proved herself. She also kept up an active pro bono practice focused on women’s rights law, and when an opportunity to join the ACLU of Virginia opened up in early 2015, she jumped at the offer.
“To do women’s rights work for the ACLU was like a dream come true,” says Deady.
As the Secular Society Women’s Rights Legal Fellow, Deady works on issues related to gender equality, reproductive rights and LGBT discrimination. In addition to case work, Deady lobbies for legislative change, and is also authoring a white paper exploring why the fastest growing prison population in Virginia and the nation is women.
The headline-making Grimm case was waiting on Deady’s desk the day she started her new job.
“At the time, I don’t think anyone realized how far the case would go,” says Deady, whose role in the case in similar to that of a second chair at trial. She does most of the work on the ground in Virginia, gathering information and helping draft briefs for the hearings in federal court. Oral arguments are handled by litigators in the ACLU’s New York office, most notably Joshua Block, who is a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project.
In December of 2014, the school board of Gloucester County adopted a bathroom policy requiring students use bathrooms corresponding with their biological sex. A motion for preliminary injunction filed by the ACLU was denied in district court, but that decision was overturned in August of 2016 following a hearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Deady had just begun the discovery process when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take the case following a petition from the school board. Oral argument will take place in spring 2017.
“It’s really been a crash course in appellate practice and procedure for me,” says Deady, noting the speed with which the case has moved through the judicial system. “For a case to advance this far in less than two years and to be able to experience all those stages in pretty unique.”
Deady says working with the seasoned attorneys from the ACLU as they prepared for argument in the Fourth Circuit was a great learning experience and helped tremendously as she prepared for oral argument in another case before the Virginia Supreme Court earlier this year.
In Luttrell v. Cucco, Deady represented an ex-husband who was suing to have his spousal support agreement modified since his ex-wife was cohabitating with someone, in this case, another woman. A circuit court had concluded that only opposite-sex couples can cohabit in a relationship analogous to marriage, as determined by Virginia statute, and so Mr. Luttrell had no grounds to change the support agreement.
“It was actually a pretty typical ACLU case,” says Deady. “We weren’t representing the group that is most often discriminated against, but we were pointing out the inequality of the situation.”
Deady won the case with a 7-0 decision.
Deady’s ACLU fellowship will last three years, after which she hopes to continue working on women’s rights and LGBT issues.
“It is humbling and such a privilege to be able to do this kind of work,” she says. “You get to do something that makes a real difference in people’s lives, and that’s not something every lawyer gets to experience.”
Liz Tarry ’17, AdLib Co-Chair "It's been exciting to serve in this role and see others get interested in the advertising field, as well as having the opportunity to spend time and plan with several fabulous members of the Williams School staff."
“Meeting W&L alumni from the marketing and advertising fields has been incredibly rewarding.”
What first interested you in Adlib? How did you first get involved?
I got involved in the AdLib Conference after taking AdClass from Professor Bower. That class was instrumental in fostering my love for the advertising/communications world, and just generally in teaching me plenty of valuable skills. Last year’s conference was, for me, an affirmation of my interest in marketing and advertising, and in the speakers that returned I found a convergence of several of my personal interests, including art, design and history.
What is your current role in the organization, and what are some of the challenges and rewards you’ve found in that role?
Being Co-Chair of the AdLib Conference means that Camille and I also serve as AdClass advisors and spend a lot of time mentoring students in the class, as well as in a planning capacity to prepare for the National Student Advertising Competition in March. It’s been exciting to serve in this role and see others get interested in the advertising field, as well as having the opportunity to spend time and plan with several fabulous members of the Williams School staff.
If you share the role, how do you and your counterpart divide the responsibilities?
Camille and I work very well together – we share common leadership roles in several other organizations, so we’ve learned to be a good team. I’ve found that consistent communication has been the most important lesson we’ve learned in planning the AdLib Conference, but otherwise, Camille is an incredibly talented designer and she makes working together super easy.
How would you characterize your experience in one word? Why?
Adaptive. The media world is changing so rapidly and encompasses so many different disciplines (analytics, computer science, social media, art, sociology, etc.) that it takes a concentrated effort to keep up with what’s happening and apply that to our planning.
What has been the most rewarding experience with this organization?
Meeting W&L alumni from the marketing and advertising fields has been incredibly rewarding. Going through the unique experience of AdClass creates a meaningful bond and having the opportunity to connect with these alumni when they return for the AdLib Conference has been invaluable in fostering support for the advertising field at W&L.
What has been the most challenging experience?
Embracing failure has been the most challenging, but also the most lasting lesson I’ll take from this experience. Creating an advertising campaign was a daily lesson in learning from failure, and planning the AdLib Conference has been difficult in generating interest and awareness among students of the possibility of a career in the marketing/advertising field.
What have you learned about leadership in this role, and what other lessons will you take with you going forward?
Positivity and constant communication is imperative for success in leadership, and that’s something we’ve absolutely learned throughout this process, but otherwise I believe that leadership, as one quote puts it, is taking more than your share of the blame and less than your share of the credit.
What advice would you give to students who may be interested in getting involved?
I’d love to tell students that in the advertising world, everyone has something to offer. Whether you’re a math or an art history major, it’s a field that requires different types of knowledge. A group of solely business majors can’t fully understand the entire consumer population and produce an effective integrated campaign. That’s a myth whose time has come.
More about Liz
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Major: Journalism and Mass Communications
Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies
- Chief Marketing Officer, Kappa Alpha Theta
- Social Media Strategist, wluLex
- Appalachian Adventure Trip Leader
- Kathekon Student Alumni Organization
- Communications and Media Intern, W&L Financial Aid Office
Meet the 2017 AdLib Leadership Team The 2017 AdLib Conference is scheduled to take place March 2-3.
Washington and Lee University’s AdLib Conference was founded in 2011 to bring alumni in the marketing and advertising fields back to campus, where they can offer real-world advice, trends and lessons to current students.
The 2017 AdLib Conference is scheduled to take place March 2-3, and although the guest alumni have not yet been announced (look for that information after the turn of the year), the student leaders involved in organizing the conference have been hard at work for a long time.
Co-leaders Liz Tarry and Camille LeJeune say the work has been difficult at times, but the project has also been very exciting and rewarding so far. Alongside the co-chairs, Isabelle White has been in charge of media and brand strategy for the conference.
“The work we put in all of this semester and next culminates into the two days that will be the AdLib conference, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out,” White said.
To read more about Tarry, LeJeune and White, click on their individual Q&As below.
Isabelle White ’17, AdLib Media and Brand Strategy "The conference is a great way to meet and network with alumni, and a leadership role with AdLib allows more opportunity to speak with and gain valuable advice from alumni in my interested field."
“After AdClass finished, I realized that this sort of branding and media role was something to I wanted to continue doing, on campus and after college, and AdLib has been a great outlet for me to do that.”
What first interested you in AdLib? How did you first get involved?
Because I was in AdClass last year, the AdLib conference was something that our whole class got to participate in. Attending the conference and seeing all of these successful alumni coming back to W&L to help students in pursuing any sort of career, not necessarily just advertising, got me involved and interested in helping out this year. After AdClass finished, I realized that this sort of branding and media role was something to I wanted to continue doing, on campus and after college, and AdLib has been a great outlet for me to do that.
What is your current role in the organization, and what are some of the challenges and rewards you’ve found in that role?
My current role is to work with Liz Tarry and Camille LeJeune to find a brand strategy for the conference. Basically, we want students, faculty and alumni to know what AdLib is, that it is not just for people interested in advertising, and to promote involvement in the conference when it comes up in March. I am also involved in the way we get the word out, mostly through social media. It has been challenging to create one cohesive brand image of the conference reaching three separate groups (students, faculty and alumni), and we are still working on that, but we have a great group and the people are fun to work with.
If you share the role, how do you and your counterpart divide the responsibilities?
I will be taking over more of the front-end work of getting the word out and making sure everyone understands AdLib, while Liz and Camille will be working behind-the-scenes to put on a great conference. Their roles are more event planning-based, but when the time comes, I’m sure we will be all hands on deck with whatever is needed.
How would you characterize your experience in one word? Why?
Excited. The work we put in all of this semester and next culminates into the two days that will be the AdLib conference, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
What has been the most rewarding experience with this organization?
The conference is a great way to meet and network with alumni, and a leadership role with AdLib allows more opportunity to speak with and gain valuable advice from alumni in my interested field. It has also been a great experience working with faculty and staff in the Business school.
What has been the most challenging experience?
I would say the most challenging experience will be how to get students involved that may not be interested in advertising, faculty involved who may not teach business or journalism courses, and alumni who work outside the advertising realm. The conference is about much more than just the ad industry—we have alumni come back in consulting, PR, and marketing, plus others, so we want to expand our reach in terms of interest from alumni participants or student and faculty attendees.
What have you learned about leadership in this role, and what other lessons will you take with you going forward?
The leadership in this role is pretty self-starter, meaning that there isn’t someone holding our hand during it. Professor Bower is a great mentor and advisor in the process, but we are all figuring out what needs to be done as we go along.
What advice would you give to students who may be interested in getting involved?
Definitely get as involved as you can in the conference this year—go to the networking lunch, the panels, the speakers—get as familiar with the conference as you can to see what goes into it.
More about Isabelle White '17
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Major: Strategic Communications
Minor: Art History
- Fancy Dress Steering Committee
- Habitat for Humanity
- Kappa Kappa Gamma
Camille LeJeune ’17, AdLib Co-Chair "When you’re involved with a large-scale project like AdLib that’s sponsored by the school, you come to learn that your work is a reflection of W&L as a whole."
“It’s really cool to have a voice in helping put together such an important project.”
What first interested you in AdLib? How did you first get involved?
I attended the AdLib Conference during my first year at W&L and was instantly hooked. I was so drawn by the inner-disciplinary nature of the advertising/marketing world – to me, it was a translation of my liberal arts education into a career path. I first got involved in the conference last year as a member of AdClass. Liz and I both worked closely with last year’s co-chairs within the class, and realized that AdLib was a project that we wanted to inherit.
What is your current role in the organization, and what are some of the challenges and rewards you’ve found in that role?
I currently work as a Co-Chair, which involves running the conference from the student side. It’s very rewarding to be able to work so closely with faculty and administration from the school. Liz and I are valued as key assets on the AdLib team, so it’s really cool to have a voice in helping put together such an important project.
If you share the role, how do you and your counterpart divide the responsibilities?
Liz and I have mastered a balance between our skill sets. We’ve worked together in the past on projects including AdClass, the executive committee of our sorority, and Kathekon, so we’ve really come to know each others’ strengths and weaknesses. It’s made working together a breeze. I tend to handle more of the graphic design aspects while Liz manages coordination with school officials and faculty, but we share duties such as working with alumni and organizing schedules. She’s one of my favorite people to work with because we make such a great team.
How would you characterize your experience in one word? Why?
Dynamic. Headlining AdLib requires you to wear many different hats – we are more than just planners, we are creative thinkers, alumni coordinators, graphic designers, public speakers, detailed organizers, proofreaders, the list goes on. You have to be comfortable with fulfilling many different roles in order to be successful at this position.
What has been the most challenging experience?
The most challenging experience about this role is that no one tells you how to run AdLib. There is no training guide or checklist to follow, so a lot of this project requires you to figure it out on your own. We just had to dive in and then learn how to swim. However, I’ve come to find this to be the most rewarding experience as well. It is such a valuable lesson that I can take with me into my career and my life, and I feel lucky that this experience has prepared me to take on anything in the future.
What have you learned about leadership in this role, and what other lessons will you take with you going forward?
When you’re involved with a large-scale project like AdLib that’s sponsored by the school, you come to learn that your work is a reflection of W&L as a whole. I’ve learned that the level of dedication and effort that we put into AdLib is a message to the entire W&L community, as well as the companies who will attend the conference. So there’s a pretty big weight on Liz and I’s shoulders. The effectiveness of our leadership is indicative of how W&L prepares its students to be successful in the real world. The good thing is, however, I feel fully prepared. Although leadership like this can be a bit intimidating, this experience has taught me how rewarding it is to be able to step up to the plate and perform.
What advice would you give to students who may be interested in getting involved?
First of all, attend the conference! W&L works so hard to bring in incredible, successful people in the advertising/marketing field who want to share their stories so that you may be successful, too. Second, feel free to reach out to Liz or me. We are so passionate about this project and are working to make this year’s conference the best yet, so we’d love your help and support. As we strive to communicate through AdLib, the world of advertising/marketing is for more than just C-school majors. Everyone from every major or background has something to offer, and this conference will help you find out what that is. Please email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Camille LeJeune '17
Hometown: Lafayette, LA
Major: Art History
- marketing chair of Fancy Dress Committee
- Student Advisor of AdClass 2017
- CEdO of Kappa Alpha Theta
- member of Kathekon
- member of JubiLee a cappella group
W&L’s Ruscio Presented with VMI Superintendent’s Award
Kenneth P. Ruscio, outgoing president of Washington and Lee University, received the VMI Superintendent’s Meritorious Achievement Award in a ceremony on W&L’s campus on Nov. 30.
The Award recognizes extraordinary service and dedication to the Institute over many years by an individual who is not a VMI employee.
VMI’s Superintendent, Gen. J. H. Binford Peay, presented Ruscio with a medallion, accompanied by a signed citation recognizing Ruscio for innovative leadership, strategic insight and tireless efforts in the pursuit of excellence.
“I am deeply appreciative of this recognition by VMI,” said Ruscio. “I want to assure them that the respect is mutual. Kim and I have been fortunate to have enjoyed the friendship and support of colleagues at VMI, especially Gen. Peay and his wife, Pamela.”
The citation lists a number of Ruscio’s accomplishments during his tenure at Washington and Lee. These include the establishment of several new academic initiatives, including the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, and the development of the highly regarded Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity; the significant expansion of the university’s financial aid program; and the modernization and construction initiatives that led to the renovation and restoration of the historic Colonnade, the building of the Hillel House, The Village third-year student housing, and the recently named Ruscio Center for Global Learning.
The award also recognized Ruscio for his support of the communities of Lexington and Rockbridge County through the creation of W&L’s Community Grants program.
Relishing the Role Matthew Reichel '17 didn't expect to be cast as Edward in Washington and Lee's production of "Sense and Sensibility," but now he is embracing the part.
“Theater fosters community like nothing else can. Each cast is a family, and the bonds you form during a production last a lifetime.”
Matthew Reichel ’17
Hometown: Saratoga Springs, NY
Minors: Theater, Film
What was your reaction when you learned that you’d been cast as Edward in W&L’s upcoming production of “Sense and Sensibility”?
Honestly, I was shocked. It was the last thing I expected. I have really only played comic roles in the past; characters with bombastic personalities that tend to yell a lot. Edward is the opposite of that. He’s a romantic character who’s reserved and soft-spoken. Playing him is a big departure from what I’m accustomed to, but throughout the rehearsal process I have grown to really enjoy him. I’ve had to approach Edward in a new and unique way, and I feel as if I have grown as a performer. I appreciate that Prof. Sandberg saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and portraying Edward has given me the chance to develop as a person. I certainly don’t second guess casting choices anymore.
What has been the most challenging part of the role?
Edward is a very subtle character, and it has been difficult identifying and executing all of the physical nuances that he does. Whenever he is pressured or is presented with a difficult situation, he tends to close himself up. Getting these small but crucial physical movements across to the audience has not been easy, but with guidance from Prof. Sandberg and the cast, Edward has developed rather well. It’s very easy to go big and over the top on stage, especially in a fast-paced comedy like this. It’s a lot harder to tone things down and keep it delicate.
What has it been like to work with Prof. Sandberg and the rest of the cast?
The collaboration among this cast is fantastic. Prof. Sandberg has fostered an environment of free creative expression where the actors not only have the ability to experiment and try new things, but to also have a say in the overall presentation of the play. Normally directors make all those decisions themselves, but Prof. Sandberg always asks for our opinion on almost every element of the play, and it has created a special relationship between cast and director. We don’t make art from the top down; we make it together. It has been a group effort from day one. There’s a rigid hierarchy of roles in the theater world, and this show has transcended them.
What do you think makes Kate Hamill’s adaptation of the Austen classic particularly fun?
Kate Hamill has turned a 400-page Victorian-era novel into a fast-paced two-hour extravaganza. It retains the spirit of the original novel while highlighting the oftentimes ridiculous humor and circumstances that people like Elinor and Marianne Dashwood had to put up with. It reads like a sitcom, and it moves so quickly that it feels like one, too. The language is tremendous, and doesn’t lack in all of the subtle, biting wit that people adore from this time period. It presents a centuries-old story in a light that is uniquely modern, punctuated by its vitality and inventiveness.
Some people may be skeptical of a play like this, afraid that it will be a boring British period drama, and I can absolutely understand that. But Hamill tosses that expectation into the garbage. We have a brutal fight scene, multiple drunken rants, vicious insults, violent arguments, scandals, intrigue, backstabbing, and at one point a character gets kicked in the groin. (That character is me, by the way.) This is one of the most exciting and smart adaptations of the classic Austen novel you will ever see.
Why do you enjoy live theater?
Theater fosters community like nothing else can. Each cast is a family, and the bonds you form during a production last a lifetime. The memories alone are worth it. When you’re crazy enough to sign on for this ride, you meet people who are just as crazy as you. Then you struggle and stress for several hours a day every day for a few months. Then you perform, and then it’s over, and the set gets taken down, and all the props and costumes get put back into storage, and the theater is gutted to make room for the next show. Theater is impermanent, but it forges a special kind of friendship, one that you know will endure because you’ve already gone to hell and back once together. You know your cast mates have your back, and you have theirs. You don’t soon forget that.
What other roles/productions have you been involved in at W&L, if any?
Oh boy. I’ve been around once or twice. I’ve held a wide variety of positions during my four years here. This is my fourth acting role. In the past, I have been a stage manager, assistant stage manager, stagehand, writer, director, teacher, lyricist, production assistant, set builder, and I did lighting design once but I was pretty bad at it so I never did it again.
I think it’s important to see how theater is made from as many perspectives as possible. You get a taste of what it’s like to serve in each role, which helps you to better communicate with your peers and your fellow cast members. You understand what they’re going through because you’ve been there. I think every person in theater should have to stage manage at least once, so they know what those brave souls have to put up with. You gain respect for every person involved in the production, no matter what their role is. You begin to realize just how complicated the process is. When a single actor is on stage, there are dozens of people behind him that nobody ever sees. Their jobs are usually the hardest.
What would you tell a prospective student who may not think W&L has enough opportunities in the performing arts realm?
You can make any opportunities you want as long as you have the courage to ask. You don’t often find a theater department that trusts its community enough to produce full-scale productions run solely by students. That’s what makes the W&L theater department so special. They welcome new projects and support fresh ideas. They will do anything they can to see your vision become a reality. If you want to make a movie, just ask. If you want to stage a new play, let them know. Chances are they will respond by asking “what do you need?” and “when do you need it?” If you suddenly have the urge to design the lights for a three-hour musical comedy, that’s on the table as well. Visualize the final product, and then pursue it relentlessly. Don’t stop until it’s finished. The W&L theater department will help you see it through. There are more opportunities here than those that are handed to us. We make our own, too.
Anything else about yourself or this production that you’d like to share?
I just wanted to say thank you to all the talented cast and crew who made this show a reality. It’s been a long time coming, and we are all very proud of the work we’ve done and the show we’re putting on. I sincerely wish I get to work with this incredible ensemble again in the future. We hope you enjoy the show as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.
If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.
'Sense and Sensibility'
By Kate Hamill
Based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Stephanie Sandberg
When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Friday, Dec. 9, 2016
Where: Lenfest Center/Johnson Theatre
Tickets: Required. $5 per person. To buy online, click here.
“Sense and Sensibility” is a lively and fun adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel.
“This playful new adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of the Dashwood sisters — sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne — after their father’s sudden death leaves them financially destitute and socially vulnerable.”
— Dramatists Play Service
“…an unconditional delight…invigorating…a bouncy, jaunty take on Austen…remains remarkably true to the values and priorities of its source. The classic Austen preoccupations with real estate, income, class, reputation and equilibrium in life are all rendered brightly and legibly here.”
— NY Times
Holiday Pops Concert
Kick off the holiday season with traditional and contemporary arrangements of favorite holiday tunes performed by the University Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Glee Club, and Cantatrici.
The program will open with Dr. Shane Lynch’s setting of Gloria and will close with Mark Wilberg’s iconic setting of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Enjoy a lighthearted concert that will be fun for the entire family! Identical programs both nights.
Concerts will be held December 5 and 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Wilson Hall Concert Hall.
Tickets are free, but required. Tickets for this event must be reserved and obtained in person at the box office during open hours Monday through Friday 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. and 2 hours prior to each ticketed performance.
A Loss for W&L: Mike Miller
To: The W&L Community
From: President Ruscio
I write with the sad news that locksmith Mike Miller, of Facilities Management, died yesterday, Nov. 29.
Mike was one of those hard-working, professional, friendly people who exemplify the best of our community. His work as the locksmith made him one of the most necessary people on campus. We will miss him.
Mike joined W&L 42 years ago, in 1974, as a carpenter. He began his apprenticeship as a locksmith in 2001 and was promoted to locksmith in 2009.
Kim and I send our deepest condolences to his family — his wife, Catherine “Tootie” Miller; his daughter, Charity Preuss, and her husband, Tim; and his granddaughters, Hailey and Maddy — and to his friends and coworkers.
A memorial service will be held this Friday, Dec. 2, at 2:00 p.m., at Harrison Funeral Home. His family will receive visitors an hour before the service.
In lieu of flowers, Mike’s family requests donations to the Rockbridge Area Hospice.
Meet the ‘Mayor’ of the Upper-Division Village Diana Banks, ‘17, fills us in on her actual title (although we are just going to run with "mayor"), the hot tub situation over there, and the awesome sense of community that makes the Upper Division Village a pretty sweet place to call home.
“Everyone has been flexible and respectful of their neighbors, and it’s made for an easy and fun start to the year.”
— Diana Banks
Diana Banks ’17 is a veteran RA and three-year resident of Graham Lees Dormitory. As a senior, this is the farthest “off-campus” she has ever lived, and for Diana, it’s been a wild ride that was well worth it. Her official title is “Assistant Head CA for The Village,” (NOT Assistant to the Head CA, Matt Carl ‘17) and her duties include helping Matt with any issues that arise at The Village, as well as being directly responsible for residents in two buildings and “coordinating the team of Village CA’s to distribute information and serve as a liaison between Student Affairs and the Staff in The Village.”
Additional duties include coordinating with the administration to be able to make life in The Village as pleasant as possible, and answering all the questions that come with the brand-new space. “How to we make the showers hotter, can we change the hours of the dining facilities, is there a Bizhub up here, what’s the word on hot tubs, hammocks, fire pits, and flags? I’m the one who works on getting these answers, and tries to make sure that all voices are included and heard when there are different needs and preferences to account for.” (P.S. Pretty sure it was a no on the hot tubs. Sad.)
Banks has her own residents to look after in addition to keeping the rest of The Village in check, but three years of RA-ing means that these lucky few get the slightly more personalized care that Banks has perfected. “I’ll be a resource to them, when they need it, and I’ll also be there to make sure everyone is keeping that ‘neighborly’ vibe alive and well. That means health and safety inspections, energy checks, but also just personal check-ins — how are you doing, as a person? As a student? Is the roommate situation smooth so far? Have you been on this hike, because I know you love hiking and this is a great one!”
The mystery of what The Village would be like once it was completed might have prevented a meeker individual from taking up the mantle of mayor, but Banks isn’t one for meekness. “As the new third-year housing project started to take shape, there was a lot of conversation around how it would feel, what it would look like, and what it might mean for the junior class, our campus, and our community at large. Nobody knew what this would do to the academic environment or the social dynamic; it was an enormous investment with incredible opportunity, and I felt that the way this space was used in its inaugural year would necessarily set the tone for years to come.”
Banks has had an instrumental role in the development of the lifestyle up there, from coordinating s’mores nights to hosting speakers and planning birthday parties. “Some students have even decided to kick-start some instrumental changes within The Village itself, and their CA supported them through their meetings with the appropriate deans and administrators so that their ideas were heard by the right people.”
Her favorite part(s)? That’s hard to pinpoint. They range from the little things like “the porches and the balconies, as well as the kitchens. People sit out to talk on their porches, watch field hockey games from their balconies, and individualize their front door area with all kinds of furniture and decorations. Even the outdoor seating between the civic buildings — you just can’t beat that view.”
She is quite a fan of the kitchens in particular: “The kitchens are amazing, and my own kitchen is (hands-down) my favorite room in the apartment. While cooking is something I’ve always loved to do, the kitchens up here are a place where people get together — for dinner parties, to hang out, to study at the counter tops — it’s nice to have a space where people can congregate. Kitchens are the natural place for that, so it’s nice to have good ones!”
The biggest thing that Banks loves, however, has been the sense of community that has formed as a result of these amazing new facilities. “Everyone has been so excited and on board with the fact that we’ll all be figuring this space out together; everything is new, and things change every day — it’s nice to live with a community who’s just interested to see and learn about the changes rather than one that complains about the kinks and roadblocks that come up along the way. Everyone has been flexible and respectful of their neighbors, and it’s made for an easy and fun start to the year.”
They’ve avoided craziness (for now) but when everyone was still trying to figure out what constituted a “Village-Appropriate Move” (in Banks’ words), “there were some interesting animals/pets that were floating around up here, and some creative porch setups that, to a certain extent, were definitely admirable (although not really the best idea).” Diana would classify the fire pit up there as crazy – crazy awesome!
It’s truly the community, though, that makes The Village a special place. Students living there now always do their part to be neighborly (whether that means keeping noise levels in check, clearing garbage from porches, or coming out to the green space or grills to hang out with neighbors) and even students who don’t live there are feeling the effects. “I think it’s done a lot of good for the community beyond the junior class as well, and sports attendance at the fields nearby have seen a lot more traffic.” Current inhabitants have embraced life in a new space that they are lucky enough to call their own, and the pride of “ownership” shines through in the way that everyone respects each other and their townhouses or apartments. “It’s still a little bit of a spectacle, with students, faculty, alumni, and even board members still touring and visiting all of the time, but I think the residents up here are happy to show off a little; and having that ownership of your space goes a long way towards people taking care of it, and holding each other accountable for doing the same.”
Banks, in addition to her one-year term as “mayor” of The Village, is also a member of the LEAD Team working to manage and design the LEAD Program, and the president of Slow Food W&L (which perhaps explains her love of kitchens). She’s a co-captain for the climbing team here, leads trips as key staff for the Outing Club, and is a member of the student-run team that is responsible for putting on Friday Underground. So, take a bit on inspo from Banks and get involved here! The Upper Division Village is just one (more) small reason that W&L is an amazing place to call home, so soak up every second!
Story by Blair Dewing ‘17