Feature Stories Campus Events

Student Scholarship: Law Review Notes Colloquium

On Friday, February 24, the Washington and Lee Law Review held its annual celebration of student scholarship, the Student Notes Colloquium.

Each year, the Law Review staff writers, as second-year law students, write a legal article on an issue of current interest in the law. The editorial board of the Law Review evaluates the submission, choosing the two most outstanding notes to receive awards the following year. This year’s winners were Daniel Martin ’17L and Leanna Minix ’17L.

Martin was awarded the Roy L. Steinheimer Law Review Award for his note “Dispersing the Cloud: Reaffirming the Right to Destroy in a New Era of Digital Property.” Martin’s article also won second place in the student writing competition held by the Berkeley Journal of Law and Technology. Prof. Aaron Perzanowski of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Prof. Josh Fairfield of W&L Law provided commentary on Martin’s work.

Minix received the W&L Law Council Law Review Award for her note “Examining Rule 11(b)(1)(N) Error: Guilty Pleas, Appellate Waiver, and Dominguez Benitez.” She then engaged W&L law professors and criminal law experts J.D. King and Jon Shapiro in a discussion of the topic.

More information about the Student Notes Colloquium is available online.

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W&L’s Music Department Hosts Faculty Recital with Pianists Watanabe and Petty

The Music Department at Washington and Lee University will present a faculty recital with pianists Shuko Watanabe and Byron Petty on March 5 at 3 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall at the Lenfest Center.

The recital is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. A reception will follow the concert.

The program features several selections from “Songs Without Words” by Felix Mendelssohn along with an early Romantic period work, the “Grand Sonata in C Minor” by the English composer George Frederick Pinto composed in 1803, and a “Sonata in B Major, Op. 15” by the American Percy Goetschius from the year 1880.

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W&L Institute for Honor Looks at Lawyers and Infamous Clients

bridgeofspies W&L Institute for Honor Looks at Lawyers and Infamous Clients

On March 13-14, the Washington and Lee University Institute for Honor is hosting an event examining legal professionalism in the context of representing unpopular clients. The event is free and open to the public.

From Redcoats to Red Spies and Beyond: Lawyers and Infamous Clients

The main speaker is Prof. Jeff Kahn of Southern Methodist University.  Kahn is a graduate of Yale College, Oxford University, and the University of Michigan Law School.  His areas of expertise include Constitutional Law, Russian Law, Human Rights Law, and National Security Law.  He has a particular interest in New York attorney James Donovan’s 1957-59 representation of the Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, a story told in the 2015 Steven Spielberg movie, “Bridge of Spies.”

The event will include two sessions:

Monday, March 13, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (Millhiser Moot Court Room):

  • Film screening, “Bridge of Spies”
  • Panel discussion with Prof. Kahn and Prof. Richard Bidlack of W&L’s History Department.  Prof. Bidlack teaches Eastern European, Russian, and Soviet history, including a seminar on the KGB.

Tuesday, March 14, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm (Millhiser Moot Court Room):

  • Introduction by W&L Law Prof. Sam Calhoun, including remarks on John Adams’s defense of the British soldiers charged with murder in the Boston Massacre.
  • Keynote address by Prof. Kahn – “The Story of James Donovan: The Real-Life Inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s ‘Bridge of Spies’”
  • Remarks by W&L Law professors Jon Shapiro, who represented the “Beltway Sniper,” John Allen Muhammad; and David Bruck, who represented Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shooter; and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber.

Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Amanda Whalen ’18

I am blown away by how much I have learned, both about auditing and about the different industries of the clients that I have been assigned to.

Growing up, I always loved to travel; I believe the only way to truly understand a culture is to immerse yourself in it. Applying to college in high school, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to spend an entire semester in another country, experiencing a different culture. Junior year came way more quickly than expected, however, and suddenly I realized I had to make two important decisions: where I would study abroad and where I would apply for internships the next summer. After spending all of August before junior year researching different internship and study abroad programs, I quickly became overwhelmed with all the options and trying to figure out how timing would work out with being abroad and then returning for a summer internship. Upon returning to campus in the fall, I heard about the Sydney Study Abroad and Winter Internship combined program and was immediately interested in the opportunity. Although I always imagined myself studying abroad in Europe, after a Spring Term in Copenhagen my sophomore year, I was ready to explore a completely different area of the world. Not to mention that the inclusion of a winter internship made the program hard to pass up. After spending most of fall semester attending recruiting events and interviewing with different Big Four accounting firms, I accepted an offer for an auditing internship with Ernst and Young at their Columbus, Ohio office.

Six weeks ago, I was flown to Chicago along with every other Assurance Intern in EY’s Midwest region for a week-long orientation. The first half of the week was an introduction to EY as a company and the second half of the week was a crash course in auditing. And I mean a crash course! There were so many new acronyms and phrases being thrown around and when I left I honestly remembered none of them. Thankfully once I started working with clients, my team walked me through everything I needed to know.

Now that I am five weeks into the internship, and only have one week left, I am blown away by how much I have learned, both about auditing and about the different industries of the clients that I have been assigned to. One of my favorite parts about my internship at a public accounting firm so far has been my exposure to clients in multiple industries. So far, I have worked on a major pharmaceutical distributor, a real-estate investment trust that owns malls and retail spaces all throughout the United States, and another real-estate fund that owns hotels. With each new client, I am curious and excited to see how this client would differ from my previous one.

Aside from the actual work, I have enjoyed all of the people that I have worked with and gotten to know through this internship and the flexibility offered by EY. Despite being in the thick of busy season, my team still makes time for their own traditions such as going out together for dinner and drinks on Thursday night, rather than ordering into the office, and ending work at four on Fridays, even if it means putting in a few hours on Saturday. Additionally, the team puts an emphasis on being able to accommodate each member’s “QOL” (quality of life) goals, a concept EY promotes throughout the company. For example, several of my team members wanted to take a longer lunch so they could go back to their hotel and work out. To make up for the lost time, they came in early each day. I decided that I really wanted to travel down to Lexington to visit friends before I left for Australia and the team was very accepting of me taking a half-day off on a Friday as long as I put in longer hours earlier that week. I have definitely enjoyed the flexibility that EY promotes and the value the company places on work-life balance.

The Columbus internship program includes more than just the work component. There are several dinners and intern events put in place to promote bonding and to make us feel welcome. One week, all the interns and several full-time staff met for dinner at a popular pizza place in Columbus. The dinner was a great way to get to know many of the current employees and to catch up with the other interns, whom I hadn’t seen since orientation. I got to connect with some of the staff that were on the same client that I am on in a few weeks. After dinner, the interns all participated in an Escape Room which was a fun end to the night (even though we were unsuccessful in our escape).

As the internship is coming to end, I am amazed at how much I have learned. While this has been an amazing opportunity, I am definitely getting ready to be out of the office and exploring the beauty of Australia!

-Amanda Whalen ’18

Student Research: The Life and Times of Chauncey Belknap Chauncey Belknap, a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, is the subject of a two-year research project by law students Lizzy Williams '17L and Jess Winn '17L.

“During those six months, he read something like 50 books, learned French, and wrote about things Holmes assigned him to read and their discussions of those readings. Every entry is about this amazing intellectual journey he is on.”

— Lizzy Williams ’17L

belknap2 Student Research: The Life and Times of Chauncey BelknapJess Winn, right, and Lizzy Williams with Belknap’s diary and other research materials.

A U.S. Supreme Court with only eight justices. A country mired in controversy over its role in international affairs. Disputes over voting rights and the minimum wage.

This could be today, but instead, this is the backdrop for the one hundred year old diary of Chauncey Belknap, a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Belknap and his diary are the focus of a research project by third-year law students Lizzy Williams and Jess Winn, who will soon publish an article on their work in the Journal of Supreme Court History.

Williams and Winn, who will graduate in May, began working on Belknap’s diary with visiting professor Todd Peppers at end of their 1L year. Belknap served as a law clerk to Justice Holmes beginning in 1915, and according to Peppers, is one of the first law clerks to be used by a Justice in the way that is common today.

“Justice Holmes was the first Justice to use clerks for more than just shuffling paper,” said Peppers. “Law clerks like Chauncey Belknap did research and wrote memos on cert petitions for cases under consideration by the Court, aiding the Justices just as law clerks do today.”

Belknap grew up in New York and attended Princeton and then Harvard Law School. He arrived in the nation’s capital in the midst of the Progressive Era. Belknap’s diary covers a six month period of his life in Washington, where he lived with other young thinkers and professionals in the famous DuPont Circle residence, the House of Truth.

The first task for Williams and Winn was to decipher the century-old document, working from a photocopy of the original. Belknap’s handwriting is difficult to read, and beyond that, much of the journal is written in shorthand.

“Luckily, we were able to search online and find someone, in Canada as it turns out, who was proficient in Pitman shorthand,” said Winn.

Once transcribed and analyzed, the diary opened a window into a unique place and time for Williams and Winn. Belknap wrote about many of the key issues of the day in his writings, including the debate on voting rights for women and labor disputes over the length of the work day. He also covered the controversial appointment of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Brandeis was named to fill an empty slot following the death of Justice Joseph Rucker Lamar, a graduate of W&L Law. Lamar’s long illness had left the Court operating with only eight justices for the better part of a year.

belknap1 Student Research: The Life and Times of Chauncey BelknapThe diary of Chauncey Belknap

Beyond the legal and political intrigue of the day, Belknap’s daily routine revealed a life unencumbered by the distractions of modern technology.

“During those six months, he read something like 50 books, learned French, and wrote about things Holmes assigned him to read and their discussions of those readings,” said Williams. “Every entry is about this amazing intellectual journey he is on.”

The cultural and social norms of the time are also revealed in many of Belknap’s entries. For example, the diary begins with the news that President Woodrow Wilson is getting remarried, and, in the minds of some, doing so too soon after the death of his first wife. Belknap relates that Justice Holmes had checked with the Chief Justice if it was appropriate for Holmes’s wife to send Wilson’s fiancé a note of congratulations and good wishes.

As a young intellectual living in Washington, Belknap lived a privileged life, full of dinner parties and other social events. Winn said it was fun to step back in time and imagine Belknap in 1915 taking a long walk along an undeveloped Potomac River.

“It’s such an interesting historical reflection,” said Winn. “Every time I look at the diary I learn something new or better understand some nuance of the era.”

For Williams and Winn, who are involved with the German Law Journal and have participated in a myriad of other activities at W&L, working on such a long term project has provided both continuity to and sometimes even a respite from the rigors of law school.

“Reading the diary was addicting,” said Winn. “I wish everyone Chauncey mentioned in his journal had a diary I could read.”

But for now they will have to set aside Belknap, who died in 1984 in New York at age 92 after a long and distinguished legal career. Williams is headed to New York where she will be an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. Winn will be heading west, closer to home, for a clerkship with Judge Rosanna Peterson in the Eastern District of Washington.

Perhaps they will keep journals.

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Discovery Takes Historic Document from Ordinary to Extraordinary This seemingly ordinary subscription list from 1776, which has long been a part of W&L Special Collections, has a fascinating connection with American independence.

In preparing for a social media post regarding the document several weeks ago, I noticed a special significance to five of the signatures on the subscription list.

— Tom Camden, Special Collections

By Tom Camden, director of Special Collections at Washington and Lee

Tucked among the hundreds of official early Washington and Lee University (formerly called Liberty Hall Academy) records housed in the Special Collections vault is one seemingly ordinary subscription list that, upon close inspection, proves to have an extraordinary association with American independence.

In May 1776, the Board of Trustees of the Timber Ridge Academy formally voted to rename the school Liberty Hall Academy in response to the patriotic fervor then sweeping the Colonies. During the school’s first months of operation as Liberty Hall Academy, the board embarked on a fundraising campaign that enjoyed considerable success, particularly in the Shenandoah Valley. The most successful effort, however, was a subscription list (in more modern terms, a pledge sheet) that was circulated in Williamsburg by Thomas Lewis and Samuel McDowell. Lewis and McDowell, trustees of the academy, were representatives from Augusta County to the Virginia General Assembly.

During the same legislative session when they circulated the subscription for Liberty Hall Academy, a related advertisement appeared in the Virginia Gazette (November 8, 1776). The advertisement announced to the public that “all the most important branches of literature necessary to prepare young gentlemen for the study of law, physick [sic] and theology, may be taught to good advantage, upon the most approved plan.” Potential patrons were advised that the school owned a “considerable library of books and the most essential parts of a mathematical apparatus.” Tuition was set at four pounds; board was to cost six pounds, 10 shillings. Firewood was available, but students were expected to provide their own candles, beds and washing. The healthful climate of the location was mentioned. In order to reassure Anglicans who might have had qualms about supporting a Presbyterian school, the advertisement declared: “the education and morals of youth being the great objects in view, those peculiarities which form the complexion of any party shall have no place in the scheme.”

Pledges were secured from 107 persons, all of whom signed the original subscription list. The list includes the distinctive signature of Thomas Jefferson, who pledged (and paid) three pounds. In all, the successful campaign raised 215 pounds, nine shillings.

The original subscription list has been well-known to university historians and scholars for some years, and I have used it often in special presentations. However, it was only recently that I made a startling discovery that takes one of Washington and Lee’s earliest documents to an extraordinary new level.

In preparing for a social media post regarding the document several weeks ago, I noticed a special significance to five of the signatures on the subscription list. In addition to Thomas Jefferson, other noted signatories included Benjamin Harrison, George Wythe, Carter Braxton and Thomas Nelson Jr. (Nelson pledged the largest amount of the more than 100 subscribers at nine pounds, 12 shillings).

What sets these individuals apart from the other 102 signatories? All five individuals who strongly supported an early investment in Liberty Hall Academy were also signers of the Declaration of Independence, arguably one of the most important documents created in the course of America’s history.

The same patriotic fervor that spawned such an extraordinary document clearly is reflected in the somewhat ordinary, routine subscription list generated for the new school on Virginia’s frontier. The early days of the institutions that evolved into Washington Academy and Washington and Lee University were often precarious ones, but simple, ordinary records like the Liberty Hall subscription list show how strong-minded trustees overcame the economic problems that continued to overshadow the institution until George Washington’s gift of 1796.

To read more about the objects in Special Collections and University Collections of Art and History, click here.

Jack Warner ’40, W&L Trustee Emeritus, Dies at 99 Jack Warner generously supported several areas of W&L.

Jonathan Westervelt “Jack” Warner, a trustee emeritus of Washington and Lee University and a member of the W&L Class of 1940, died Feb. 18, 2017. He was a few months shy of his 100th birthday.

Warner-Jack2-400x600 Jack Warner '40, W&L Trustee Emeritus, Dies at 99Jack Warner

Jack Warner generously supported several areas of W&L, including the early 1970s addition to Doremus Gym that became known as the Warner Center; the 1990s renovation of Lee Chapel and Museum; the Elizabeth and Jonathan W. Warner Scholarship; outdoor tennis facilities; and the Annual Fund. Warner was an accomplished swimmer who once held the school record in the breaststroke; he belonged to the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame. The university recognized his philanthropy by including his name among the first alumni featured on the Honored Benefactors Wall, in Washington Hall.

Jack Warner was born in Illinois on July 28, 1917, to Mildred Westervelt Warner and Herbert Warner. He was raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where his maternal grandfather’s company, Gulf States Paper, was based. He graduated from Culver Military Academy in Indiana in 1936, then earned a degree in business administration from Washington and Lee.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army (cavalry) as a commissioned officer with the MARS Task Force in the China-Burma-India Theaters of Operations.

After the service, Warner joined Gulf States Paper Corp. and was head of sales and production before being named executive vice president in 1950, president in 1957 and chairman of the board in 1959. In the latter two positions, he succeeded his mother, whose father, Herbert E. Westervelt, had invented a machine to produce folding, square-bottomed grocery bags. Warner stepped down as chairman of the board in 1994 to make way for his son, Jonathan Westervelt Warner Jr., a member of the W&L Class of 1967. The elder Warner remained a consultant with the company, which is now known as Westervelt Co.

During the more than 50 years he presided over Gulf States Paper, Jack Warner expanded it from a single factory and product to a diversified company with operations across five states. During his tenure, the company received multiple honors for water-pollution control efforts, including the National Wildlife Federation’s Whooping Crane Award. In 1970, he was Alabama’s Conservationist of the Year.

Warner was heavily involved in the Alabama community, serving as an officer or director of multiple commercial, banking, civic and philanthropic organizations. His numerous involvements and awards included positions as president and board chairman of the Alabama Chamber of Commerce, a director of the Alabama Great Southern Railway Co., and chairman of the board of the Alabama Council on Economic Education. He was a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor and was named Man of the Year by the Alabama Council of the National Management Association, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Culver Military Academy.

Warner contributed generously to a number of his favorite causes, including Washington and Lee University, Culver Military Academy, the University of Alabama (which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1976), Auburn University, the United Way and the city of Tuscaloosa.

Warner served on the W&L Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1980 and in 1983. He left the board in 1983 to protest the growing momentum to admit women. Less than 20 years later, however, at Homecoming in 2002, he announced that he’d had a change of heart and presented the university with $1 million to fund scholarships primarily for women.

Alongside his business and civic involvements, Warner enjoyed many other passions. He was an avid swimmer, tennis player and horseback rider. In the 1960s and ’70s, he ran a stable of competitive Thoroughbreds. His horse Do Right was part of the U.S. show-jumping team that won a gold medal in the 1975 Pan American Games, and his favorite horse, Tuscaloosa, was part of the U.S. show-jumping team that won the bronze medal at the 1978 world championships.

In addition, he enjoyed the acres of gardens that surrounded his home. One of his gardens even included a two-tiered brick replica of a Buddhist temple he had seen while stationed in Burma during World War II, according to a 1988 article in Alabama Magazine by his late son, David Warner.

None of Warner’s interests were as intense and enduring, however, as his love of art. His collection began just after the war with the purchase of several Audubon prints for a few hundred dollars. Over the years, he amassed a large and impressive private collection of American art that included not only paintings, but also furniture and decorative objects. His painting collection eventually included works by such artists as Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Henri, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Frederic Church, Andrew Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent.

He received the Frederic Edwin Church Award in 2010 for assembling his private art collection, part of which was displayed at his Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art from 2002 until 2011. The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art now houses the Westervelt Collection. In 2012, the Jack and Susan Warner Gallery, featuring works of the Hudson River School, opened in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Warner had a soft spot for paintings of George Washington, and he gave his alma mater the William Winstanley portrait of Washington that now hangs in W&L’s Leyburn Library. He also served as the honorary chair of the university’s 250th anniversary celebration.

Jack Warner was preceded in death by his first wife, Elizabeth Butler Warner; his son, David T. Warner; his parents; and two siblings, H. David Warner Jr. and Joan Warner VanZele. He is survived by his wife, Susan G.A. Warner; his sister, Helene Hibbard; his son, Jon Warner Jr.; three grandchildren and two stepsons.


Always on the Run Helen MacDermott, office manager for the Center for Global Learning, is an avid runner and mother of two who would rather have coffee with her mom than any celebrity on earth.

“I love air-popped popcorn, leafy sea dragons and running in the rain. I despise blue ball point pens, overripe fruit and making more than one trip to haul groceries into the house.”

What is your official job title?

Office manager, Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning

How long have you worked at W&L?

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working here since April 2014. I was part-time with Academic Technologies (ITS) and now I’m tickled pink to be the den mother for the — arguably — most innovative and visually pleasing facility on campus.

helenm-400x600 Always on the RunHelen MacDermott

What do you like best about working at W&L?

Like a small business, a smaller school like Washington and Lee has less hierarchy, which means you can actually work with (and not just for) your boss. This has opened the door to wonderful mentoring and opportunities for collaboration.

What advice do you have for students (or parents)?

Do NOT get too caught up in your romantic life. There’s waaaaay more to college than dating. Instead, take advantage of this time to become the most amazing version of yourself possible. Think of college as an incubation period, a place to develop your skills and character. You are NEVER going to have as many resources, like-minded peers, free time and opportunities as you do now, so use them wisely.

In that same vein, build yourself, not your resume. Don’t do extracurriculars to impress future employers. Focus on developing yourself as a strong, well-rounded person, and you’ll be far more memorable in interviews and in the working world.

Where did you grow up?

Bridgewater, New Jersey. And for the record, I just want to say that I suffer from the triple whammy of being female, Asian, and from the Garden State — but dammit, I can drive.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

I’m 38. Scorpio. My husband, Raymond, teaches economics and marketing at VMI, and we have two daughters, Aine (12) and Aoife (20 months).  I *love* air-popped popcorn, leafy sea dragons and running in the rain. I *despise* blue ball point pens, overripe fruit and making more than one trip to haul groceries into the house.

If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?

I’m quite happy here in Rockbridge County, actually, but I suppose a summer home at the beach would be nice.

Who most inspires you?

My buddy, Tom Green. Tom is a 65-year-old carpenter and the most soft-spoken and humble ultrarunner I know. He’s run 300+ ultras and happens to be the first runner to have ever completed The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, four 100-mile races in one calendar year. Tom was gravely injured and nearly died in a freak accident last year. After two weeks in shock trauma and another five weeks in a rehab hospital, he finally returned home. Since then, he’s made an amazing comeback and is running (and racing!) again. He’s the epitome of pure determination, grit and keeping the faith.

What book are you reading now?

“Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread” by Chuck Palahniuk

What music are you listening to these days?

Errr, the same music I was listening to in college: reggae.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

“Showgirls” (I’m kidding, I’m kidding!)

What is a website and/or blog you visit often?


Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Pretty sure average folks don’t become well-known historical figures, so I can’t say I know any with whom I can identify!

If you could have coffee with one person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?

I don’t have a cool answer, sorry. My mum. My folks live outside of Houston so I don’t see them often and I miss them terribly!

Tell me something most people don’t know about you?

I was cast as a contestant on the first season of “The Mole,” one of the first reality shows on ABC 15 YEARS AGO. The audition consisted of a three-minute monologue in which we were told to insert a significant lie about ourselves. I blathered on about being a college student (true), paying my way through college (also true) … by stripping (not true). Apparently, they loved it and I was flown to L.A. for another round of interviews and tests. We were about to begin filming when my grandmother, who helped raised me, passed away. Much to the annoyance of the directors, I refused to miss her funeral, so they cast someone else. I never did actually watch the show!

If you would like to nominate a co-worker for a Colleague Connections profile, please email Kevin Remington at kremington@wlu.edu.

BLSA Wins Small Chapter of the Year, Moot Court Team Headed to Nationals

The Washington and Lee School of Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA) traveled to the Mid-Atlantic Black Law Student’s convention this February and brought home several honors.

BLSA teams competed in both moot court and mock trial competitions while at the convention. The team of Tejkaran Bains ’17L and Caitlin Peterson ’19L placed second in moot court, earning a spot in the national competition next month in Houston. The moot court team of Kja Harper-GoPaul ’17L and Angelique Rogers ’19L were semi-finalists in the regional competition.

In addition, Tejkaran Bains was named best oralist for the competition. In all, there were 13 teams representing schools from across the mid-Atlantic region.

Also, for the second year in a row, W&L’s BLSA chapter was recognized as “small chapter of the year” by the national organization.

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

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W&L Law’s Seaman on Voter Fraud Claims

The following opinion piece by Chris Seaman, Associate Professor of Law at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Roanoke Times on February 19, 2017, and is reprinted here by permission.

seamanchris W&L Law's Seaman on Voter Fraud ClaimsChris Seaman

The Harmful Myth of Widespread Voter Fraud

The 2016 election has been thrust back into the headlines with President Trump’s unsupported claim of “massive” voter fraud and promise to conduct a “major investigation.” But academics who have studied this issue, election administrators, and even President Trump’s own lawyers already agree: There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

We have been down this road before. During the administration of President George W. Bush, the Justice Department conducted a wide ranging, five-year investigation into claims of voter fraud after the hotly contested 2000 election, but ultimately ended up with little to show for it. This inquiry did not turn up any instances of widespread conspiracies of voter fraud, nor did it find any evidence that fraud impacted congressional or statewide elections. Instead, only a few dozen individuals — out of hundreds of millions of votes cast nationwide — were charged with election-related violations, most of which involved mistakes regarding voter registration forms or voter eligibility rules.

Academic and other nonpartisan studies also have concluded that widespread voting fraud simply does not exist. In one of the most comprehensive studies of this issue, law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Justin Levitt found only 31 credible instances of voter impersonation nationwide out of over 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014. In other words, an average voter is much more likely to be struck by lightning than to have someone attempt to defraud them out of a ballot. An analysis of news reports by the Washington Post found only four documented instances of voter fraud during the 2016 election, out of 136 million votes cast nationally. (For comparison, President Trump’s narrow margin of victory states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania involved tens of thousands of votes.) Similarly, researchers at Dartmouth College recently conducted a county-by-county statistical analysis of the 2016 presidential election compared to past national elections and found no evidence of noncitizen voting, dead people voting or tampering by election officials. They concluded that “voter fraud concerns fomented … by the Trump campaign are not grounded in any observable features of the 2016 presidential election.”

State election officials, who are in perhaps the best position to investigate these sorts of claims, also agree that there is no evidence to support the White House’s allegations. And even President Trump’s own lawyers have decisively rejected the existence of alleged voter fraud. In a court filing in the Michigan recount lawsuit brought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Trump’s lawyers argued a recount was unnecessary because “all available evidence suggests that the 2016 was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”

Perpetuating the spurious myth of large-scale voting fraud harms our democratic system. False allegations of massive voter fraud have been invoked by Republican-led legislatures in states like Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and Virginia to pass strict new photo identification requirements for voting. In addition, states like Kansas, Arizona and Alabama have sought to require proof of citizenship based upon unfounded claims of extensive voting by non-citizens. Last year, a three-judge federal court found that the North Carolina legislature engaged in intentional discrimination against African-Americans when it imposed new barriers to voting, including a photo identification requirement, rejecting the state’s claim that these measures were needed to combat voter fraud. Other courts have struck down some of these laws, finding that they disproportionately impact vulnerable groups like the elderly, the poor and racial minorities, but others remain in force, disenfranchising thousands of eligible voters. Moreover, false allegations of extensive voter fraud may increase public cynicism regarding elections and elected officials, discourage citizen participation in the political process and harm the image of the United States abroad by lending support to claims of authoritarian and other non-democratic regimes that we fail to practice what we preach.

To be sure, our election system is not flawless. Studies have shown that state election officials sometimes fail to timely remove deceased people from the voting rolls, and several million people—including some senior White House officials—are still registered to vote in multiple states, even years after moving. But there is no evidence to support claims that errors in state registration databases are resulting in significant amounts of double voting or voting by dead people. Instead, our greater concern should be that over 50 million eligible voters are not even registered. We should be looking for way to make voting easier, not harder. False claims of widespread voter fraud undermine this important goal.

Chris Seaman teaches election law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and has written several articles regarding the history, enforcement, and future of the Voting Rights Act.

Washington and Lee Announces November 2016 Community Grants

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 10 grants totaling $24,736.22 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first part of its two rounds of grants for 2016-17.

The committee chose the grants from 16 proposals requesting over $96,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • The Community Closet at Christ Church, Buena Vista: Funds to help improve the living conditions of the needy in Rockbridge County
  • The Community Table of Buena Vista, Inc.: Funds to assist TCT to purchase food
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center: Purchase bitless bridles
  • Lexington Lyme Disease Support Group: To purchase educational materials regarding Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses
  • Miller’s House Museum Foundation: Establish an interpretive walking trail at Jordan’s Point
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc.: Funds will be used for food purchase and operational expenses
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association: Help provide heating fuel for at-risk neighbors
  • Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Inc.: Funds to assist with the purchase of a new handicap vehicle
  • Rockbridge Area Youth Strings (c/o Fine Arts In Rockbridge): Funds to purchase cases for existing instruments and a ¾-size double bass
  • Rockbridge Regional Library Youth Services Department: Fund the STEAM after-school program

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

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

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

It’s A Capital Deal Logan Bartlett '10 makes the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for venture capitalism.

logan-bartlett-big-350x194 It's A Capital DealLogan Bartlett ’10

Logan Bartlett, the vice president of Battery Ventures in Boston, is on the Forbes 30 Under 3o list for his work in venture capital.

Forbes noted that the 2010 Washington and Lee University graduate “has helped deploy $65 million of capital across seven deals with Battery from his perch in New York and along the Amtrak corridor to Boston, attending board meetings alongside partner Neeraj Agrawal at Pendo, Appboy and Amplitude. Startups he’s worked with have raised more than $280 million in follow-on funding.”

Logan joined Battery Ventures in 2014. Previously, he worked for Spurrier Capital Partners as an investment banking associate and at Deutsche Bank as an investment banking analyst.

Public Interest Law Careers Panel to Be Held Feb. 28

W&L will host a Public Interest Law Careers Panel on Feb. 28 at 7:15 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

The panel will feature opening remarks by Tammi Simpson, associate dean of students, followed by a panel of lawyers, including:

  • David I. Bruck, Clinical Professor of Law at W&L; Death Row Defense, Virginia Capital Case Clearing House
  • Gail Deady ’11L, Women’s Rights, Reproductive Rights & Gender Equality, ACLU of Virginia
  • Margaret Hu, Associate Professor of Law at W&L; Civil Rights, Immigration & Cybersecurity
  • J.D. King, Clinical Professor of Law at W&L; Public Defense, W&L Law Criminal Justice Clinic
  • Elaine Poon, Civil Rights & Poverty Law, Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Julie Youngman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Business Law and Adjunct Professor of Law at W&L; Environmental Law, Southern Environmental Law Center

Courtney Hauck ’18, a pre-law student and founder of the Roosevelt Institute at W&L, helped organize the event, which she hopes will allow people to take a closer look at public interest law as it relates to a variety of nontraditional legal fields.

“As a pre-law student interested in global environmental health, I wanted to create an opportunity for public service-minded students to learn more about what a law degree could help them achieve,” said Hauck.

Visit LexLink Event ID 459 to learn more and RSVP for the event.

W&L’s University Singers Celebrate the End of Their 2016 Tour With Home Performance

UnivChorus_0008_111616__-copy-2-1024x666 W&L's University Singers Celebrate the End of Their 2016 Tour With Home Performance

Join the renowned Washington and Lee University Singers as they return from their 2016 tour of the South with an evening of a cappella choral mastery on Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. in the Wilson Hall Concert Hall.

The performance will feature the choir performing a series of daunting modern Latin motets by Frank Martin, conductor Shane Lynch, and Ola Gjeilo. Then travel through the mastery of Bach in his grand motet Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf, BWV 226 before a journey home, featuring music by Mack Wilberg, Eriks Esenvalds, and John Denver.

Finally, close the program with folk songs, gospel music, and other works of Americana that are always audience favorites.

Tickets are free, but required. For ticket information, contact the Lenfest Center box office 540-458-8000.

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Registration Open for 2017 AdLib Conference

“We want students to know that they can major in any of the liberal arts subjects and not just get jobs in advertising, marketing and PR but excel in those jobs, precisely because of the academic experiences they’ve had here at W&L.”

Washington and Lee University will host its sixth annual AdLib Conference Mar. 2-3, 2017.  The conference brings alumni who work in advertising, marketing and communications together with students interested in careers in those industries.

“The conference emphasizes the power of the liberal arts experience in this industry,” said Amanda Bower, the Charles C. Holbrook, Jr. ’72 Professor of Business Administration. “We want students to know that they can major in any of the liberal arts subjects and not just get jobs in advertising, marketing and PR but excel in those jobs, precisely because of the academic experiences they’ve had here at W&L.”

Registration is now open through the W&L website for students and alumni to reserve a spot for the conference. The conference begins on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. with a reception in the Center for Global Learning.  On Friday, presenters take the stage beginning at 9:05 a.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

The conference will feature four alumni speakers to give “War Stories” on Friday morning, discussing their time in the industry and specific campaigns that have taught them valuable lessons. Gerard McKee ‘08, Group Director of Cross Media; Elizabeth Dawson ‘07, Email Marketing Manager at ThinkGeek; Swan Burrus ‘12, Strategist at OgilvyOne Worldwide; and Brooke Segodnia ‘08, Content Partner Manager at Twitter will take the Stackhouse Theater stage the morning of March 3rd to share their insights.

Along with the War Stories, additional returning alumni will participate in three panels. Breaking into the Industry: Young Alumni Panel at 11:15 a.m. will feature alumni in the advertising, marketing and PR industry who will answer questions about their experience after graduation. At 1:30 p.m., Finding Your Niche: Writing and Strategy Panel delves into the different skills that students can utilize in their professions, and at 2:30 p.m., a group of alumni will discuss digital media on the Digital Media Panel.

W&L Class of 1995 alumnus Jeffrey Buntin, Jr., President and CEO of advertising agency The Buntin Group will speak as the conference’s closing keynoter on Friday at 3:30 p.m. on March 3rd. The Buntin Group, based in Nashville, TN, is one of the top 30 independent U.S. agencies specializing in strategic branding communications.

Students and alumni can register to attend the AdLib Conference at go.wlu.edu/adlib.

Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee Wins Grant to Address Rural Hunger

“The grant focus on rural outreach is a perfect match to our local community. CKWL is thrilled to receive funding to support increased access to food and nutrition education.”

The Campus Kitchens Project, the leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste, today announced that five schools in the national Campus Kitchens network will each receive $3,000 to address rural hunger in their community. The sub-grants totaling $15,000 are sponsored by CoBank.

The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University launched in 2006 and was the tenth Campus Kitchen to join the growing national network. At Campus Kitchens across the country, students lead efforts to combat food waste and hunger by collecting surplus food from on-campus dining halls, community gardens, restaurants, and grocery stores and transforming it into healthy meals.

The $3,000 sub-grant from CoBank will support student volunteers with the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University to improve and provide additional services to three mobile food pantries, establish a food shelf in partnership with the Agriculture Business classes at Rockbridge County High School and conduct nutrition education workshops at Maury River Middle School’s afterschool enrichment program.

The 2017 cohort of five Campus Kitchens who will be part of the CoBank Rural Hunger Outreach Network are:

Elon University (CKEU) – Elon, NC
Lindsey Wilson College (CKLWC) – Columbia, KY
Saint Lawrence University (CKSLAW) – Canton, NY
Troy University (CKTROY) – Troy, AL
Washington and Lee (CKWL) – Lexington, VA

Every Campus Kitchen in the CoBank Rural Hunger Outreach Network will utilize innovative strategies to address rural hunger in their community.

“The grant focus on rural outreach is a perfect match to our local community. CKWL is thrilled to receive funding to support increased access to food and nutrition education” said Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee Coordinator Jenny Davidson.

In the last academic year, student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project recovered more than 1.3 million pounds of wasted food and served nearly 350,000 meals to those in need.

Stacey LaRiviere ’17L for the Commonwealth Jury trials for both civil and criminal cases are increasingly rare, especially for law students. But 3L Stacey LaRiviere got the chance to try a case before a jury while working for the Roanoke City Commonwealth's Attorney.

stacey Stacey LaRiviere '17L for the CommonwealthStacey LaRiviere in W&L’s new mock trail court room.

Jury trials for both civil and criminal cases are increasingly rare, as lawyers and litigants often choose settlement to avoid costly trials and unpredictable outcomes. As such, it is even more unlikely for a law student to argue a jury trial. Few have had the opportunity in the past two decades, but that is exactly what third-year law student Stacey LaRiviere got the chance to do.

LaRiviere is a graduate of The College of William and Mary, where she majored in government. A member of the Student Assembly, Stacey served as the Secretary of Public Affairs, where she lobbied the General Assembly and the local city council on issues important to the college. Named a Governor’s Fellow for the Commonwealth of Virginia, LaRiviere served for the Secretary of Public Safety. She has long been focused on a career of service to the Commonwealth through the law.

LaRiviere got her first taste of courtroom experience this fall as part of W&L’s prosecutor externship program led by Adjunct Professor and Buena Vista Commonwealth’s Attorney (CA) Chris Russell. LaRiviere spent two days a week in Roanoke City’s Commonwealth Attorney’s Office last semester.  Using her third-year practice certificate, Stacey tried misdemeanor cases, bond hearings, and preliminary hearings in felony cases in general district court, and conducted bond appeals in circuit court.

Then, late in the semester, Stacey was assigned a case involving petit larceny, third or subsequent offense, a felony charge. She had about two weeks to prepare for trial. The store where the theft occurred no longer had video evidence. Emboldened by this development, the defense attorney requested a jury trial.

“The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office learned the case was definitely going to be heard by a jury the day before the case was set,” said LaRiviere. “We were prepared for this possibility, but we figured the defense would waive jury and agree to a bench trial at the last minute, due to the nature of the evidence and the additional time and expense associated with jury trials.”

However, a pretrial motion by the defense resulted in sentences for the defendant’s prior petit larceny convictions to be redacted. A jury was empaneled and sworn, and LaRiviere presented the Commonwealth’s evidence, including eye witness accounts from the store’s loss prevention officer.  After the defendant elected to testify in her defense, LaRiviere was able to elicit self-incriminating statements from her on cross-examination. The jury returned a unanimous decision for the prosecution, taking about an hour to decide the guilt phase of the case.

“While nervous, I was thrilled to have the chance to try a jury trial under the supervision of a highly experienced and dedicated Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chrystal Smith,” said LaRiviere. “In preparation for trial, we interviewed witnesses, made a site visit, discussed voir dire, practiced openings, directs, crosses, and closings in the hope that our preparation would ultimately result in a just outcome. [Commonwealth’s Attorney] Don Caldwell offered great leadership and support during the trial preparation process and throughout the externship experience.”

LaRiviere has focused her legal education on gathering as much trial-related experience as possible. She has taken classes in evidence, criminal procedure, criminal regulation and vice, and Virginia law and procedure. In addition, she has taken a number of practice simulation classes covering appellate advocacy, trial advocacy, and advanced family law. She currently serves as Senior Articles Editor on the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Vice Chair of the Moot Court Board, and Co-Chair of the Pro Bono Board.

Upon graduation, LaRiviere will be a judicial law clerk for Rossie D. Alston, Jr., a judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals, in Manassas, Virginia. LaRiviere sees her collective law school experiences as preparation for her intended career in public service.

Courtney Hauck: Creating Opportunities for Pre-Law Students Courtney Hauck helped organize the Public Interest Law Careers panel (Feb. 28), which she hopes will allow people to take a closer look at public interest law as it relates to a variety of nontraditional legal fields.

“As a pre-law student interested in global environmental health, I wanted to create an opportunity for public service-minded students to learn more about what a law degree could help them achieve.”

image001-400x600 Courtney Hauck: Creating Opportunities for Pre-Law StudentsCourtney Hauck

Courtney Hauck ’18 is a pre-law student and founder of the Roosevelt Institute at W&L. She has helped to organize a panel for other students with an interest in law. The Public Interest Law Career panel will take place from 7:15-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 in Stackhouse Theater. Panelists include Prof. David Bruck, Death Row Defense, Virginia Capital Case Clearing House, W&L Law; Gail Deady ’11L, Women’s Rights, Reproductive Rights & Gender Equality, ACLU of Virginia; Prof. Margaret Hu, Civil Rights, Immigration & Cybersecurity, W&L Law; Prof. J.D. King, Public Defense, W&L Law Criminal Justice Clinic; Elaine Poon, Civil Rights & Poverty Law, Legal Aid Justice Center; and Prof. Julie Youngman, Environmental Law, Southern Environmental Law Center, W&L.

Please visit LexLink Event ID 459 to learn more and RSVP for the event. And to learn more about Courtney, keep reading.

What is the Roosevelt Institute? When and how did it get started at W&L?

Roosevelt Institute is a non-partisan think tank founded in the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. W&L’s chapter is one among a national network housed under this think tank. Across the country, more than 100 campuses have established Roosevelt Institute chapters to “reimagine the rules,” a phrase that captures Roosevelt’s mission to inspire young people to rethink the systemic policies and practices that influence socioeconomic and political realities in the United States. I founded W&L’s chapter during fall of my sophomore year, after meeting current and former chapter heads from different universities at a “Young People For” fellowship training in Cleveland, Ohio.

What are some of the institute’s best accomplishments so far?

I have been very proud to see Roosevelt Institute grow at a fast pace over the past year and a half. We have increased from about 20 members last fall to over 70 this semester, and more importantly, our members have brought many diverse perspectives and ideas to the table. Our chapter submitted policy proposals to the 10 Ideas national policy competition last semester, including one that I wrote to establish a national pool of funds dedicated to corroded pipeline replacement in cities like Flint, Michigan. In addition, we have partnered with the Public Interest Law Students Association to create a “Know Your Rights” series on immigration, police interactions, and protests and demonstrations, which will take place over three consecutive Thursdays starting March 16. Public Interest Law Careers, which takes place in Stackhouse on Tuesday, February 28th (after Washington Break), is our first public event. I am very excited to see our chapter grow throughout the semester.

What gave you the idea to put together the Public Interest Law Careers panel?

As a pre-law student interested in global environmental health, I wanted to create an opportunity for public service-minded students to learn more about what a law degree could help them achieve. Of course, being a lawyer isn’t the only way to serve one’s community, but as we have seen through recent actions by the ACLU and other organizations, lawyers play an integral role in protecting civil liberties in the United States. I hope that this panel will allow people to take a closer look at public interest law as it relates to a variety of nontraditional legal fields.

How did you decide who to invite to speak on the panel?

It was very difficult to decide — we have many accomplished public interest lawyers in our community. To begin, I reached out to a few lawyers in our community with whose work I was more familiar. From there, I took suggestions regarding faculty and alumni from the law school who might be interested. Overall, my goal was to gather a group of accomplished, service-minded individuals in a variety of major legal disciplines — in that, I have succeeded. Among the incredible, generous people in and around our community, and I am excited to hear from just a few of these individuals on the 28th.

What were the greatest challenges to getting this event planned and scheduled?

Honestly, the greatest challenge was narrowing down choices for the panel! Our panelists have been very gracious to volunteer time out of their busy schedules, and the W&L staff and faculty have been extremely helpful in organizing the logistics for this event. In particular, Lorri Olán in Career Development has been a fantastic help with arranging communications, marketing, and catering for the panel and reception.

What can students expect to get out of this panel?

I expect that students will gain a lot from this event, including insight into the why and how of pursuing public interest law; advice from successful lawyers in fields such as public defense, environmental law, immigration, and gender equality/LGBT rights; and opportunities to build relationships with like-minded members of the W&L community, including students, staff, and faculty from the College and Law School.


More about Courtney

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Majors: BA Chinese, BS Accounting & Business

Extracurricular involvement:

Founder and President of Roosevelt Institute
Undergraduate Hearing Advisor
Founder and President of Chinese Club
Peer tutor (Mandarin and Accounting)

Off-campus activities/involvement: I am a trained Legal Observer for the ACLU of Virginia. I also try to catch plays in Staunton when I can.

Why did you choose your major? I started studying Mandarin in sixth grade. Since then, I knew that my passion for Chinese language and culture would shape my educational and career goals. As for accounting, I had known when I entered college that I wanted a quant-heavy major to support my analysis of public policy; after taking ACCT 201 with Dr. Irani my sophomore year, I knew it was the perfect fit.

What professor has inspired you? Professor Angie Smith, my first-year philosophy professor, inspired me to see myself as not just a student, but as an actor for social justice. Her first-year seminar, Race and Justice in America, inspired me to explore ways to resolve racial disparities in the U.S. and provided me the opportunity to weigh in on topics such as strong affirmative action policies in U.S. higher education through my paper and presentation at the 2015 SSA Symposium.

What’s your personal motto? Embrace challenges and ask questions.

What’s your favorite song right now? Has been and always will be “Clair de Lune.”

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order? For fancy food, I like the Southern Inn. I recommend the scallops over rice. For everyday fare, I like Muchacho Alegre, where I order fajitas de camarones con tortillas de maíz.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? The functionality of cowboy boots.

Post-graduation plans: Potentially take time to work or pursue a post-grad fellowship, attend law school, stay in touch with college friends, and give back to W&L.

Favorite W&L memory: It’s impossible to choose just one. My favorite memories involve evenings spent discussing life and politics, drinking tea, dancing, and venturing to plays and musicals with friends. Seeing Justice Ginsburg’s talk at W&L Law School, spending summers with classmates and fellow interns in D.C., calling my mom from atop the Great Wall of China, and eating at Osteria Francescana (the world’s #1 restaurant) in Modena, Italy — these are all snapshots of the memories that have made my W&L experience so worthwhile.

Favorite class: I am working with Dr. Alexander to research the implications to public health of Paul Ryan’s tax plan. In particular, I am examining the effect of his proposed repeal of the Medical and Dental Deduction on transgender people’s access to health care, including Gender Conformity Surgery and hormonal treatments. Through this two-credit directed individual study and intended publication, I am excited to explore tax policy in greater depth, especially with regard to my interests at the intersection of gender equality and public health.

Favorite W&L event: Reading Days trips

Favorite campus landmark: The view of Lee Chapel from the Colonnade.

What’s your passion? Traveling

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I taught myself conversational Japanese in middle school and I hiked Mount Fuji in 2012.

Why did you choose W&L? It was the only campus I visited that felt like home.

In Case You Missed It! Watch Jonathan Holloway’s ODK Lecture, Followed by Panel Discussion

Jonathan_Holloway_1-600x400 In Case You Missed It! Watch Jonathan Holloway's ODK Lecture, Followed by Panel DiscussionJonathan Holloway

On Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. Jonathan Holloway’s recent ODK lecture on “The Price of Recognition: Race and the Making of the Modern University” will be shown in Stackhouse Theater, followed by a panel discussion.

Holloway, historian of post-emancipation American history and black intellectualism and dean of Yale College, was the featured speaker at Washington and Lee University’s Founders Day/Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation on Jan. 19.

After the viewing of Holloway’s recorded talk, a panel discussion will follow with panelists Marc Conner, provost; Elizabeth Knapp, professor of geology and director of the Johnson Programs; Tammi Simpson, associate dean of students and dean of juniors; Elizabeth Mugo ’19, and Iman Messado ’19.

The viewing of the lecture and panel are sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Association for Black Unity.

U.Va. Professor Deborah Johnson to Lecture on Ethics in Engineering

“Codes of ethics are not meant to be a simple set of rules that engineers are to follow blindly. They are promulgated with the intent to set expectations for others, to present the collective wisdom of engineers in a form that can broadly guide members, help socialize new members and inspire engineers to behave well and exhibit moral courage in situations where it is needed.”

Deborah-Johnson-600x400 U.Va. Professor Deborah Johnson to Lecture on Ethics in EngineeringDeborah Johnson

Deborah G. Johnson, the Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics and Emeritus, Science, Technology and Society Program in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 8. Her talk will be at 5 p.m., preceded by a reception at 4:30 p.m., in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room.

Johnson will speak on “Does Engineering Need a Code of Ethics?” Her talk is sponsored by the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics and the Physics and Engineering Department.

“A multitude of engineering organizations in the U.S. and worldwide have adopted codes of ethics and professional conduct,” said Johnson. “Yet the necessity of such codes has been challenged. Criticisms vary from claiming that codes of ethics are merely window dressing, to the claim that they lead to complacency, to the claim that they are ineffective because they lack enforcement power. Although these criticisms are worthy of attention, they fail to acknowledge that engineering codes of ethics are part of a broader strategy that engineering has adopted to clarify its role in the world and to set expectations by communicating that role to multiple audiences, including the public, employers, individual engineers and others who are affected by the work of engineers.

“Codes of ethics are not meant to be a simple set of rules that engineers are to follow blindly,” she added. “They are promulgated with the intent to set expectations for others, to present the collective wisdom of engineers in a form that can broadly guide members, help socialize new members and inspire engineers to behave well and exhibit moral courage in situations where it is needed.”

Best known for her work on computer ethics and engineering ethics, Johnson’s research examines the ethical, social and policy implications of technology, especially information technology.

In 2015, Johnson received the Weizenbaum Award from the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology and in May 2009, received an honorary degree (Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa) from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Linköping University in Sweden.

Northwestern University Professor to Speak on the Causes and Consequences of Food Insecurity

Schanzenbach-400x600 Northwestern University Professor to Speak on the Causes and Consequences of Food InsecurityDiane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, associate professor of education and social policy at Northwestern University and director of The Hamilton Project, will speak on “The Causes and Consequences of Food Insecurity” at Washington and Lee University on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater. The lecture is free and open to the public. It will be streamed live.

The Hamilton Project, launched in 2006 by a combination of leading academics, businesspeople and public policy makers, is an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution aimed at developing a strategy to address serious economic challenges.

Schanzenbach is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Much of her recent research investigates the impacts of major public policies such as the Food Stamp Program and early childhood education on the long-term outcomes of children.

Her research has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Public Economics, among other publications.

Prior to Northwestern, Schanzenbach taught at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation post-doctoral scholar in health policy research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Cornell Professor Filiz Garip to Lecture on Mexican-U.S. Migration

Filiz-Garip-400x600 Cornell Professor Filiz Garip to Lecture on Mexican-U.S. MigrationFiliz Garip

Filiz Garip, professor of sociology at Cornell University, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University as part of the Borders and Their Human Impact series. It will be on March 9 at 4:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Ruscio Center for Global Learning.

Garip will be speaking about her book “On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-U.S. Migration” (2016). The talk is free and open to the public.

“Why do Mexicans migrate to the United States? Is there a typical Mexican migrant? Beginning in the 1970s,” said Garip, “survey data indicated that the average migrant was a young, unmarried man who was poor, undereducated and in search of better employment opportunities. This is the general view that most Americans still hold of immigrants from Mexico.”

Using survey data from over 145,000 Mexicans and in-depth interviews with nearly 140 Mexicans, Garip reveals a more accurate picture of Mexico-U.S migration. “In the last 50 years there have been four primary waves: a male-dominated migration from rural areas in the 1960s and ’70s, a second migration of young men from socioeconomically more well-off families during the 1980s, a migration of women joining spouses already in the United States in the late 1980s and ’90s, and a generation of more educated, urban migrants in the late 1990s and early 2000s.” For each of these four stages, Garip examines the different reasons why people migrate and migrants’ perceptions of their opportunities in Mexico and the United States.

Her articles have been published in Population and Development Review, Demography, Social Forces and the American Journal of Sociology. She serves as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology and Sociological Science.

Borders and Their Human Impact is a two-year faculty colloquium sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The colloquium addresses the concept of borders and border crossings from a variety of perspectives that tie humanity to political, geophysical, physiological, epistemological and spiritual borders.

University of Cincinnati Classics Professor Kathleen Lynch to Give Hoyt Lecture at W&L

Kathleen-Lynch-533x400 University of Cincinnati Classics Professor Kathleen Lynch to Give Hoyt Lecture at W&LKathleen Lynch

Kathleen Lynch, associate professor of classics at the University of Cincinnati, will give the 2016-2017 Hoyt Lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 7 at 7 p.m. in Staniar Art Gallery, Wilson Hall.

She will be speaking on “The ‘End’ of the Greek Symposium?” The talk is free and open to the public. Her talk is sponsored by the Classics Hoyt Fund and the Department of Classics.

Lynch is a classical archaeologist, with a focus on ancient Greek ceramics. Having worked on archaeological projects at sites in Turkey (Gordion, Troy), Greece (Athenian Agora, Corinth, Pylos), Italy (Morgantina) and Albania (Apollonia), her research considers what ancient ceramics can tell us about their use and users.

Athenian figure-decorated pottery from Athens is her specialty, and her recent book, “The Symposium in Context” (2011), won the Archaeological Institute of America’s (AIA) 2013 James R. Wiseman Award for best publication in archaeology. The book explores the kitchen cupboards of an archaic Athenian house.

Lynch co-edited “The People of Apulia: New Evidence from Pottery for Workshops, Markets and Customs” (2014); “Drinking Cups and the Symposium at Athens in the Archaic and Classical Periods” (2014), which appeared in “Cities Called Athens”; and “Trade of Athenian Figured Pottery and the Effects of Connectivity” (2014), was in “Athenian Potters and Painters III.”

She has lectured on four AIA-sponsored cruises. Some of the topics she addressed during her Black Sea cruise include Greek colonies in the Black Sea, the Jason and the Argonauts myth and ancient views of Eastern barbarians.

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Quincy Springs IV ’02 to Give W&L Black Alumni Reunion Keynote

Quincy-Springs-IV-400x600 Quincy Springs IV '02 to Give W&L Black Alumni Reunion KeynoteQuincy Springs IV

Washington and Lee University’s Black Alumni Reunion will take place March 3-4 featuring social activities and educational opportunities. Quincy Springs IV, Washington and Lee Class of 2002, a general manager for Wal-Mart, a Chick-fil-A franchisee and a motivational speaker, will give the keynote address on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

Springs will speak on “It Costs to Care.” The keynote is free and open to the public.

While at W&L, Springs was a member of Pi Kappa Phi, a peer counselor and played basketball. He majored in philosophy and graduated cum laude from W&L. He also served in ROTC at Virginia Military Institute where he was a distinguished military graduate.

After graduation, Springs served as a field artillery officer and company commander in the U.S. Army. He served for eight years, achieving the rank of captain. Some of his awards include: the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Combat Action Badge.

Over the past three years, Springs has served the community through various programs held at his Wal-Mart store. He has organized food drives that have fed over 1,500 homeless men. Additionally, he has held back-to-school drives, where 2,500 children received book bags and school supplies. Over 700 families were fed during the holidays through partnerships with the Atlanta Falcons and various other community organizations. Springs’s commitment to the community will grow with his new role as Chick-fil-A operator in Vine City, Atlanta.

Springs is a board member of the New Leaders Council, Atlanta Beltline’s Young Leaders Council and the City of Refuge. He also serves as the vice president of membership for the Peachtree Toastmasters.

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‘Matching a Person to a Role’: Jeb Brooks ’05 The CEO of a top sales-training company says everyone is in sales.

BrooksJeb05-800x533 'Matching a Person to a Role': Jeb Brooks ’05Jeb Brooks ’05

“The biggest lesson I learned from my dad is that you need to find really talented people and trust them to do good work. It’s my job to have the overall vision and keep trying things. I’m not done making mistakes — I haven’t had all my twists and turns yet.”

Recruiters talking to high school students interested in joining the U.S. Air Force, nurses at long-term care facilities counseling families about loved ones, manufacturers providing capital equipment to oil and gas companies. To Jeb Brooks ’05, it’s all sales.

“It’s surprising the number of people who use sales in their roles,” Brooks said. “Many companies exist because people are on the front lines, communicating the value of what that organization does or makes — in essence, everything has to get sold.”

As the president and CEO of The Brooks Group, a company in Greensboro, North Carolina, that provides sales training for companies throughout North America, Brooks leads a firm of over 40 people. His team of sales trainers designs and builds sales curricula and courses for business-to-business companies in a variety of industries, including industrial equipment, healthcare and telecommunications.

“If you rounded up all of the students with undergraduate liberal arts degrees, many of them will at some point in their careers end up in sales roles,” Brooks said. “Companies train and invest in sales education for their employees, and we’re one of the firms filling this niche.”

As a student at Washington and Lee, Brooks majored in sociology and anthropology. He has always been fascinated by why people do things as individuals, groups and as a society. After moving to Phoenix after graduation to work for a human resources consulting company, Brooks decided to head back to Greensboro to work for his father’s company.

“My father was an expert in business-to-business selling,” Brooks said. “He wrote 23 books on the topic and traveled the country giving keynote speeches at national sales meetings. His business was very much personality-driven, meaning companies hired him as an individual to share his knowledge.”

Brooks began working in a marketing role for the company and continued to move his way up. But in 2006, his rise quickly accelerated when his father fell gravely ill. Brooks was in his first semester of law school at Elon University when his father passed away.

“It was no longer an option for the company to provide keynote speeches by my dad,” Brooks said. “We sat down as a family because we faced this choice — do we want to shut this thing down or grow it and transform it? And we chose to completely transform it.”

Now the head of one of the top-ranking sales training companies in the world, Brooks said it takes a great deal of personal awareness about his own strengths and skills to lead the company. He finds that he focuses on managing people and handling the firm’s legal issues, but he allows his sales trainers to be the experts on the subject matter they present.

“The biggest lesson I learned from my dad is that you need to find really talented people and trust them to do good work,” he said. “It’s my job to have the overall vision and keep trying things. I’m not done making mistakes — I haven’t had all my twists and turns yet.”

Brooks said it’s this mindset — of continuing to grow and being open to new opportunities — that is essential for students today.

“I look at a lot of resumes,” he said. “And I never look at the major, because that’s not what’s important. What really matters is matching a person to a role — a role that allows them to love what they’re doing. Not what you think you’re supposed to do; not what everyone else is doing. Why would you limit yourself like that?”

Marc Conner Named Provost of Washington and Lee University

ConnorM73-400x600 Marc Conner Named Provost of Washington and Lee UniversityMarc Conner

Washington and Lee University has named Marc C. Conner as provost. Conner, the Jo M. and James M. Ballengee Professor of English, has been serving as W&L’s interim provost since January 2016.

W&L President William C. Dudley announced Conner’s appointment, which is effective on July 1, 2017.

“I am thrilled that Marc Conner has accepted this critical position,” said Dudley. “Marc brings a powerful combination of institutional knowledge, administrative experience, academic credentials and good judgment to his role as provost. He is profoundly devoted to Washington and Lee and will work tirelessly with his faculty colleagues to advance our educational mission. I am grateful for Marc’s leadership and look forward to working closely with him on behalf of the university.”

As provost, Conner serves as the chief academic officer of the university and is a key member of the president’s senior leadership team. The provost is responsible for articulating and directing the academic mission of Washington and Lee. The three academic deans — of the College, the Williams School, and the Law School — report to the provost. The provost also oversees International Education, Information Technology, Athletics, the University Library, Institutional Effectiveness, the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Registrar’s Office. He works closely with the Office of Student Affairs to support the residential learning community of the university.

“It’s a tremendous honor to serve as provost at Washington and Lee,” Conner said. “This institution has supported me in everything I’ve wanted to do as a teacher-scholar. To have an opportunity to give back to the school, and especially to help other faculty thrive as the great teacher-scholars that define W&L, is so fulfilling. We’re at a very exciting place right now, with many major initiatives and challenges right on the horizon. I’m delighted to be able to serve the students, the faculty and the staff of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Williams School of Commerce and the School of Law, in our mission of teaching and learning.”

Conner came to W&L in 1996 as an assistant professor in English, with specializations in American and African-American literature. He created a Spring Term Abroad program to Ireland in 2000, which he has now taught eight times and which led to the creation of several courses in Modern Irish literature. He has published extensively in modern American, African-American and Irish literature, including dozens of essays and five books: “The Aesthetic Dimensions of Toni Morrison” (2000), “Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher” (2007), “The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered” (2012), “The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the 21st Century” (2016) and “Screening Modern Irish Fiction and Drama” (2017).

He is currently completing “The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison.” In addition, Conner has created two lecture series for The Great Courses: “How to Read and Understand Shakespeare” (2012) and “The Irish Identity: Independence, History and Literature” (2016).

In 2007 Conner co-founded Washington and Lee’s program in African-American Studies, which has since grown into the program in Africana Studies. He served as the program’s director from 2007-2012. In 2010, as part of Washington and Lee’s reaccreditation process, he led the Spring Term Revitalization effort, and served as director of the Spring Term for five years, guiding the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan to a successful conclusion. He has served as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees and on many university committees, including the President’s Advisory Committee, the International Education Committee, the Spring Term Coordinating Committee and the search committees that hired President Kenneth P. Ruscio and Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, Robert D. Straughan.

In the past year, Conner has led the university’s steps towards reaffirmation of accreditation and completed the revision of tenure and promotion guidelines for the faculty. Prior to being named interim provost, he was the university’s associate provost from 2013-2015. He served as chair of the English department in 2012-13.

In addition to his work in African-American studies, Conner has been a long-time advocate of diversity initiatives at Washington and Lee, serving as a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planning Committee, as co-chair of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate and as co-director of the Advanced Research Cohort Program, an immersive summer program for incoming first-year students that seeks to increase retention of underrepresented students in STEM fields through an early research experience. This past year he directed the Mellon History in the Public Sphere grant.

“As any W&L professor will tell you, the greatest joy of this school is working with our incredible students,” he stated. “As provost I’m eager to do everything I can to support our students and our teachers in seeking and providing a great liberal arts education for the 21st century.”

Scott Boyd Joins W&L’s Board of Trustees

BoydScott86_0016_020917_-copy-350x234 Scott Boyd Joins W&L’s Board of TrusteesScott Boyd ’86

Scott Boyd, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1986 with a B.S. in biology, was sworn in as a trustee of his alma mater on Feb. 10, in Lexington, Virginia.

He earned a doctorate of medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1990 and received additional training in neurological surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. Following a residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boyd returned to practice in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, where he joined Columbia Neurosurgical Associates in private practice for 19 years.

In 2015, he founded the Lexington, South Carolina, Brain and Spine Institute. He currently serves as chief of neurosurgery for Lexington Medical Center.

Boyd has served W&L as a member of the Science Advisory Board since 2013. He was a member of the Class of 1986’s 25th reunion committee and co-chaired his 30th reunion committee. While at W&L he was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.

He and his wife, Mary Morrison Chapman, are parents to Austin (USC Honors College ’15), Hugh (W&L ’17), Crawford (UVA ’19), and Anne Morrison (Hammond School).


R.T. Smith’s Poem Featured in The Best American Poetry 2017

R.T.Smith_-600x400 R.T. Smith’s Poem Featured in The Best American Poetry 2017

R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review, and the Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University, will have his poem, “Maricon,” featured in The Best American Poetry 2017.

“Maricon” was originally published in the journal Prairie Schooner in the summer edition, 2016. This marks Smith’s second appearance in The Best American Poetry series.

The subject of “Maricon” is a controversial boxing match in the 60s in which Benny “Kid Peret” was dealt a death blow by Emile Griffith. “Woven into their story,” said Smith, “is a reluctant teenaged boxer’s continuing struggle to understand blood sport, race, gender identity and personal responsibility.”

The anthology has been published annually since 1988. A guest editor is chosen each year who then selects one poem from the previous year’s poetry books and journals for addition in The Best American Poetry for that year. The 2017 guest editor is U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey. She has read from her work at W&L and been published in Shenandoah.

Former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky commented, “The series provides a vivid snapshot of what a distinguished poet finds exciting and memorable, and over the years it’s as good a comprehensive overview of contemporary poetry as there can be.”

Smith haedited 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 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.

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Remembering Artist Alvin Hollingsworth Alvin Carl Hollingsworth was a leading African-American artist whose works can be seen in W&L's Leyburn Library.

Alvin-Hollingsworth_300px Remembering Artist Alvin HollingsworthAlvin Hollingsworth

Three brightly colored lithographs depicting the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza hang in Leyburn Library behind the reference desk. They are by Alvin Carl Hollingsworth (1928-2000), who, as a youth growing up in Harlem, drew superheroes leaping from the Empire State Building and became one of the country’s first African-American comic book illustrators. Work by Hollingsworth, who was also a leading artist and educator, can be seen at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Brooklyn Museum, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture, and numerous academic, corporate and private collections.

Today, Hollingsworth is best remembered as a member of Spiral, a coalition of 16 black artists brought together by Romare Bearden and others in July 1963 to discuss ways to participate meaningfully in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Named after the Archimedean spiral that ascends outward and upward, Spiral’s purpose widened to include discussions and explorations of cultural identity, black aesthetics, and broader roles as artists in the civil rights movement. The coalition was short-lived (1963-1965), but its legacy to the African-American arts community was significant and long-lasting.

“Don Quixote” is one of many themes that Hollingsworth explored serially, which included City, Prophets, Dreams, Jazz, Dance, and others. He depicted the story’s characters and adventures in multiple paintings, murals and lithographs like those in W&L’s art collection.

However, the artworks are not simply illustrations of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes’ major work, “Don Quixote.” Hollingsworth’s print, “Dream the Impossible Dream,” actually references a modern mid-20th century interpretation of Cervantes’ work, the 1964 musical “Man of La Mancha” by Dale Wasserman. Its theme reflected the idealism of the tumultuous decade of the sixties that included the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the Vietnam War, and a search for social justice. The musical and its story resonated with Hollingsworth, as well as with other African-American leaders and artists.

These three lithographs are featured in the project “Toolkit for Interdisciplinary Teaching from University Art Collections” spearheaded by Andrea Lepage, Elizabeth Teaff, Mackenzie Brooks, and others. For more information, click here.

Ulemj “Lenny” Enkhbold: Always a Reason to Smile

“The OC has taught me so much about wilderness survival, how to use gear, what gear to use, how to lead, how to communicate, and all of that good stuff. But most importantly, I’ve learned how to smile.”

Lenny_Enkhbold-600x400 Ulemj “Lenny” Enkhbold: Always a Reason to SmileMeet Lenny Enkhbold ’17, a computer scientist with a passion for the outdoors, who isn’t afraid to have a good laugh.

When I was a wee little freshman, I walked into the Pavilion on my first day being here. It was lit. It was amazing. It was everything I had ever dreamed of. Not really, but kind of. It was Appalachian Adventure. Watching all of the zany yee-whos who were our trip leaders interact was the most amazing feeling – I had never felt more comfortable before. Finally! People who get it!

Luckily a week or so before this, I had gotten an email alerting me that James Dick was my work study supervisor. Our first conversation went so:

Me: “Uhm.. hello Mr. Di—“
James: “You can call me James.”
Me, coming from a very strict Mongolian background: (Wow, how could I possibly call this man by his first name? That’s so disrespectful.) “Oh, okay, Mr. Jam—“
James: “Just James is fine.”

I was hooked. Whatever this mythical beast called the Outing Club (OC) was, I wanted to do with every part of it. People who get together to go hiking, kayaking, underground, moongazing?? And they would be willing to wake up at 2 a.m. to drive an hour to hike for three hours to catch a sunrise? From the same sun that we would have seen had we just watched it out of our window? Everything about the OC just felt natural. There is no effort involved. Just be yourself – and smile.

I am lucky to have been randomly placed to work under James in the OC barn, this role has led to me understand how the club works from every angle: participants, equipment, food rations, leaders, and coordination between the club and the location of the trip. Having this inside position, I pretty much laughed myself into the Trip Leader and Key Staff roles. Little did the OC know that every move I’ve made was precisely calculated so that I could drive the OC van around. I mean, come on. Have you ever seen that sweet piece of van? It wasn’t so much about taking people outside as it was about driving that van. That I have probably spent weeks of my total life in. (James, if you are reading this, I miss the old dually *cough*).

All joking aside, the opportunities the Outing Club has provided for me are tremendous. Last year, I worked as an ambassador for Merrell and got to promote their brand in exchange for a direct connection into the outdoor industry. This led to a position this year as an ambassador for the National Park Service. Both of these positions are, of course, impossible without Outdoor Nation, which is a non-profit that works to reconnect millennials with nature. My job, quite literally, was to make people enjoy the outdoors. What an amazing gig!

The OC has taught me so much about wilderness survival, how to use gear, what gear to use, how to lead, how to communicate, and all of that good stuff. But most importantly, I’ve learned how to smile. As wise philosopher Anderson .Paak once said, “We all want the best of life, so let’s celebrate – while we still can.” My only hope is that I’ve been able to pass the buck forward and have inspired people the same way the OC has inspired me.

I mean, as long as we can smile, we should smile. And if we are smiling, then it cannot be all that bad. And if it is all that bad, try smiling. It works. I guarantee it.

Do you have a story about how the Outing Club has impacted your experience? There’s a place for that. Contact Lenny about getting your story posted on the Outing Club blog.



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 Lenny

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

German and Computer Science  with a minor in Philosophy

Extracurricular involvement:
OC Key Staff, App Adventure trip leader, Fiji (treasurer junior year, rush chair sophomore year), Radio show, Crux Climbing, Minks Rugby, German Club (co-president junior year), Slow Foods, Library Committee, Digital Humanities Committee

Off-campus activities/involvement:
Outdoor Nation, Merrell, National Park Service, UNRH (a digital humanities conference for undergraduates that I started with Lizzy Stanton ’17 along with 5 other undergraduates across America).

Why did you choose your major?
When I was in high school, I attended the VA Governor’s German Academy at W&L – it seemed only fitting to continue on with what first introduced me to this university. Communication with people, particularly through speech, has always fascinated me. What is a world where you cannot communicate? The next step, then, was to study computer languages. My major/minor essentially is a study of how we think, how we communicate, and how computers communicate.

What professor has inspired you?
Herr Doktor Professor Paul Youngman has taught me that people often take themselves too seriously. No matter what position I happen to find myself in life, Dr. Youngman has inspired me to always be thinking of the next step. What do I want from my life next? How do I prepare myself for this goal? What is the initial step I need to take? But most importantly, how do I enjoy my time while doing so?

What’s your personal motto?
Self-pity is for suckers. If you are able to laugh, then laugh. If you are able to make someone else laugh along with you, then even better.

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Dang!” by Mac Miller featuring Anderson .Paak.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai – always get the beef pad Thai!

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I had no idea that I would be able to learn so much out of the classroom.

Post-graduation plans:
Long term goal: fly an airplane.
Short term plan: explore natural formations.

Favorite W&L Memory:
To be quite honest, it has got to be Trip Leader Training week for Appalachian Adventure. It is almost impossible to duplicate 50 people coming together to camp for a week – waking up while laughing in the Blue Ridge Mountains only to rest your head at night on a nice hard rock with a smile on your face. It isn’t a single explicit memory, but it is the lifestyle. Simply living the dream on a mountainside.

Favorite Class:
Philosophy 310: Philosophy of Kant with Dr. Goldberg.

Favorite W&L Event:
Homecoming and Alumni Weekend. There is nothing that quite matches the atmosphere of old friends coming together.

Favorite Campus Landmark:
The Outing Club Barn! That big red barn on Route 60 is an oft-forgotten landmark of our school.

What’s your passion?
When I was sea kayaking in the Everglades, James Dick told me to look up on our final day of paddling. There were these three birds, the swallow-tailed kite, that were flying in the most majestic manner I had seen any being in. At that precise moment, I felt so much weight lift off of my shoulders and I grinned from ear to ear. I couldn’t stop grinning! My passion is to create experiences like this for other people.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I am terrified of heights.

Why did you choose W&L?
Because the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. (To be specific, if it were not the mitochondria powering each cell of my existence, then I could not have even had the possibility of choosing W&L.)

A Life of Kindness A New Scholarship Honors Lou Hodges

When Lou Hodges died in February, the W&L community mourned for an educator and proponent of social justice whose impact on the campus still looms large. But now the community can celebrate because Lou’s name is permanently memorialized at the school he served for 43 years.

Lou’s wife of nearly 62 years, Helen Hodges, along with an anonymous former student of Lou’s, have established a scholarship in his memory. The scholarship will go to a student who needs help in order to attend W&L. It’s a fitting legacy. Lou had a lifelong habit of quietly befriending and supporting people-especially students-who came across his path and needed a kind word. Now, the scholarship in his name will continue his practice.

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At the Hodges home on a recent morning, Helen looked through old photos and artifacts while discussing what she hopes will be remembered about her late husband through the W&L Scholarship. One photograph showed Lou in his academic robes, grinning, with a favorite hunting cap on his head. Handwritten letters from former students, sent after his death, shared stories and anecdotes from long ago. There’s also a copy of his 1960 doctoral dissertation on racial prejudice, which their eldest son, John Hodges, self-published in 2012.

Each item prompted a story, and with each story, Helen was reminded of another special item. Gradually, a picture emerged of a man who was deeply concerned about racial justice, who was bold to take a stand and impossible to pigeonhole, who was deeply kind but also had a rascally streak.

In the year before his father’s death, John Hodges self-published another of his father’s writings, “The Academy, The Press, Ethics.” In the opening pages of that publication, John paraphrased a quotation from his father: “It’s not ‘about’ being right; it’s certainly not ‘about’ being wrong. It is all about how we treat each other.”

“I think his whole life was all about that,” said Helen. “Lou was sort of an unofficial chaplain at W&L.” He took a special interest in his students and became a counselor and a friend to the ones who had trouble fitting in. “They saw Lou as someone who would listen.”

Now, through the Hodges Scholarship, new generations of W&L students will experience Lou Hodges’ generosity of spirit. Helen is funding the Hodges Scholarship in part with IRA charitable rollover gifts. She and W&L hope that others who were impacted by Lou will want to contribute to the scholarship.

To learn how you can support the Hodges Scholarship or to make a gift from your IRA contact Margie Lippard in the office of gift planning.

Remembering Lou Hodges

The Roanoke Times published a warm tribute to Professor Hodges, which can be read online.

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

Antioch Chamber Ensemble to Perform at W&L

AntiochChamberEnsemble600-450x400 Antioch Chamber Ensemble to Perform at W&L

The Antioch Chamber Ensemble will give a performance at Washington and Lee University on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall of Wilson Hall. Tickets are required.

The Antioch Chamber Ensemble is currently celebrating its 17th season of music-making. The ensemble performs choral works ranging from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary masterpieces.

In 2008, Antioch was awarded first-place honors in the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain. The ensemble has performed at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference and the Festival des Choeurs Laureats in France.

This will be a 90-minute performance.

Order your tickets online today at lenfest.wlu.edu or call the Lenfest box office at (540) 458-8000 for ticket information. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. and will be open 2 hours prior to performance time.


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Neil Brodie to Keynote Conference on “The Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects”

“Central to this interdisciplinary inquiry—which brings together the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art, art history, economics, ethics, law, religion and museum studies—is the issue of ethics.”

Exhibit on the Theft of Nepal’s Sacred Sculptures in Staniar Gallery Up until Mar. 17

Neil_Brodie Neil Brodie to Keynote Conference on “The Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects”Neil Brodie

Neil Brodie, senior research fellow in Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa at the University of Oxford, is the keynote speaker for the Mudd Center for Ethics’ interdisciplinary conference on “The Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects” at Washington and Lee University.

Brodie’s lecture will kick off the conference at 5 p.m. on March 2 in Stackhouse Theater. He will speak on “Controlling the Globalized Market in Cultural Object: Closing the Gap Between Law and Ethics.” His talk is free and open to the public.

Staniar Gallery is partnering with the Mudd Center to host an exhibition that is part of the conference. The show, “Remembering the Lost: Community Responses to the Theft of Nepal’s Sacred Sculptures,” will be on view in Staniar Gallery from Feb. 9-March 17.

The artist, Joy Lynn Davis, uses photos, paintings, research and interviews to document the community reaction to the theft of sacred stone sculptures from the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. She is one of the conference speakers.

JoyLynnDavis_PatanPatkoTol-600x400 Neil Brodie to Keynote Conference on “The Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects”15th Century Lakshmi Narayan, Patan, Nepal; 2013; acrylic with 23 karat gold on cotton rag paper; 40 x 30 in.

For more information about the conference and to register, please see https://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2016-2017-markets-and-morals/conference-on-the-ethics-of-acquiring-cultural-heritage-objects. Click on the free registration (for a head count only).

Brodie, an archaeologist by training, has been researching the illicit trade in cultural objects since 1997. He has worked on archaeological projects in the United Kingdom, Greece and Jordan, and he continues to work in Greece.

“International regulatory policy aimed at protecting cultural heritage seems to be floundering,” said Brodie. “Whether taken remotely by satellites or close-up with cell phones, images of looted landscapes in Syria tell the same story – widespread destruction of cultural heritage is an ever-present accompaniment to conflict and is out of control. The carefully worked out systems of legal and normative regulation developed since the middle years of the 20th century seem unable to cope, overwhelmed by the liquid reality of the twenty-first century market.”

His publications include “The Internet Market in Antiquities” (2015), which appeared in “Countering Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods: The Global Challenge of Protecting the World’s Heritage”; “Aramaic incantation Bowls in War and in Peace” (2014), in Journal of Art Crime; and “The Antiquities Market: It’s All in a Price” (2014), in Heritage and Society.

Brodie’s current research interests are cultural, criminal and economic aspects of the illicit trade in cultural objects; the failure of international public policy to suppress trade; novel regulatory solutions; and the legal and ethical contexts of scholarly engagement with illicitly traded cultural objects.

The March 3 conference on the “Ethics of Acquiring Cultural Heritage Objects” will look at the ethical and cultural heritage concerns surrounding the looting and trafficking of art objects in the Middle East, South Asia and the West.

“Central to this interdisciplinary inquiry—which brings together the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art, art history, economics, ethics, law, religion and museum studies—is the issue of ethics,” said Melissa Kerin, assistant professor of art history at W&L and co-organizer of the conference. “Conference participants will examine, from a multitude of perspectives, ethical matters related to systems and networks of trade in conflict antiquities, policies and practices of protection, rightful stewardship, repatriation, and digitally and artistically re-imaged cultural heritage sites and objects. The conference provides an opportunity to parse the many intertwined layers related to cultural heritage and its ethical treatment.”

The speakers included in the conference are:

  • Salam al Kuntar, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, Penn Cultural Heritage Center;
  • Chip Colwell, senior curator of anthropology, Denver Museum of Nature and Science;
  • James Cuno, president and CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust;
  • Joy Lynn Davis, artist, “Remembering the Lost Sculptures of Kathmandu”;
  • Domenic DiGiovanni, Port of Newark Customs and Border Protection Officer (ret.);
  • Morag Kersel, assistant professor of anthropology, DePaul University;
  • Shikha Silwal, assistant professor of economics, Washington and Lee University;
  • Erin Thompson, assistant professor of art crime, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Shenandoah Announces the Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review seeks submissions from Virginia poets for the 2017 Graybeal-Gowen Prize. 

This annual prize awards $500 to a writer born in Virginia, with current residence in Virginia or one who lived in Virginia. Current employees of the Washington and Lee community are not eligible, but students are encouraged to participate.

The submission period is Feb. 14- March 17. Shenandoah will consider up to three poems of 50 lines or less per author. The winning poem will be published in a future edition of Shenandoah.

Jess Quinlan, from Staunton, Virginia, won the 2016 contest with her poem “Wahunsenacawh.” Her work can be viewed in the current edition of Shenandoah.

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

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

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

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

Fellowships and Opportunities Fair to Be Held Feb. 13

All students are invited to stop by the Fellowships and Opportunities Fair on Feb. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the main floor of Leyburn Library to get information on fellowships and a wide variety of other opportunities, such as Fulbright, Critical Language Scholarships, Johnson Opportunity Grants, etc.

Visitors to the fair will have the opportunity to meet with fellowship faculty representatives about the application process and to talk with past student participants and applicants about their experiences.

Five Seniors Receive CFA Exam Scholarships

Five seniors, Robert Conley, Mike DeLuca, Kaitlin Krouskos, Daniel Weld and Catherine Zhu, have received scholarships to study for level one of the exam to become a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA).

As a university recognized by the CFA Institute, Washington and Lee can offer up to five scholarships each year to reduce the exam price for students from $1,400 to $350. Additionally, the CFA Institute will send scholarship recipients books on six topics, including finance, accounting and ethics.

A highly sought after designation, a CFA credential gives students a distinct advantage on the job market. This year more than 172,000 candidates sat for the CFA exams, which comprise three levels. Students must pass all three levels to become a CFA. Approximately one in eight people who start the program will become a chartered financial analyst.

Ingredients for Social Change A multi-disciplinary Community-Based Research project gave Washington and Lee University students a chance to help local organizations take a closer look at access to affordable healthy food.

“You think of [food] as something to eat and enjoy, but it is definitely bigger than that.”

— Tyra Barrett ’18

As Kyle Singerman ’17 drove the rural roads of Rockbridge County during Fall Term 2016, he began to understand a fact that had never occurred to him when he was growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland.

“Out in the country, there are really limited amounts of healthy food options,” he said. “If you live far away, are you really going to want to spend that time in the car going to the grocery store when you could just go up the street and buy a bag of Funyuns?”

While conducting research for a Washington and Lee University biology class, Singerman had experienced the concept of a “food desert,” or a geographic area that is devoid of healthy food options, such as fresh produce and unprocessed meats. It is the kind of lesson that can be taught in a classroom but is more vividly understood when students venture out for hands-on projects.

WLU1308-800x533 Ingredients for Social ChangeKyle Singerman ’17

Singerman is one of many W&L students who have, since Spring Term 2016, been participating in a Community-Based Research project through the university’s Shepherd Program — specifically, through the Community-Academic Research Alliance, which pairs W&L students with non-profit organizations that need help addressing community needs.

Students in politics, biology and economics classes have participated in three phases of the project, working with the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Live Healthy Rockbridge Kids to assess food sources in the community, map them, and crunch the data for use in future initiatives. Live Healthy Rockbridge Kids, which is housed at Rockbridge Area Community Services, is a coalition funded by Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth with the goal of preventing and reducing childhood obesity in Virginia by improving access to healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity.

“It’s been invaluable to have the students going out and doing that field work,” said Annie LePere, coordinator of Live Healthy Rockbridge Kids. “We could have done it, but it would have been difficult, and it would have taken longer. This was supposed to be a small project, but it has been able to grow because of their involvement, and I think they’ve enjoyed it and learned a lot about it.”

The idea for the project came up when LePere and Rebecca Wilder, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent and a partner in the coalition, were working on a grant application for continued funding from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. “We felt that we did not know enough about the food landscape to design any project to change it,” LePere said. So, they wrote a food source-mapping project into the application. Then, they connected with Alessandra Del Conte Dickovick in W&L’s Shepherd Program.

“Alessandra has been great in getting folks to help us with this project,” Wilder said.

In the first project phase, students in Rebecca Harris’ Spring Term class, Food Politics, created a list of all the businesses in the Rockbridge County area that sell food, including grocery stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, restaurants, farmers markets and food pantries. The class then mapped the locations, which allowed Wilder and LePere to confirm that most of those resources are clustered in Lexington and Buena Vista, leaving rural areas of Rockbridge County with few sources for nutritious food.

The second phase of the project focused on collecting more in-depth, qualitative data at grocery stores, convenience stores and dollar stores to get a more detailed look at food access. Singerman and Tyra Barrett ’18, both students in Sarah Blythe’s Fall Term class, Food for Thought, divided the list and visited each location in person. Between the two of them, they visited close to 60 stores.

WLU1959-800x533 Ingredients for Social ChangeTyra Barrett ’18

With business owners’ consent, the students filled out a one-page survey at each location that evaluated inventory and prices. The form, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate nutrition guide, was developed by researchers at Virginia Tech in collaboration with LePere and Wilder. It allowed them to record the availability of products like fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and whole-grain foods. They also documented prices whenever possible. “The second question we want to try to answer is if it is available, can you actually afford it?” LePere said.

To that end, Jonah Mackay ’17, an economics major and poverty studies minor, will do additional analysis using that pricing information. He will determine how much it would cost to purchase a predetermined selection of products, or a “market basket,” in different parts of Rockbridge County. That will help researchers drill down to locations in the county that score lowest in terms of affordable access to healthy food. Mackay plans to wrap up his work by the end of Spring Term.

Virginia Tech will work with Wilder and LePere to establish a rating system for the stores that were surveyed. The purpose of this system and the other resulting data is not to publicly broadcast where stores fell on the spectrum, but to use the information to inform the need for additional programs and actions.

For example, Wilder would like to help some store owners determine whether they can stock more nutritious items — low-salt canned beans instead of the standard version, for example — without losing sales. She recognizes that store owners cannot stock a product that does not interest buyers. Other resources include shelf signage to educates shoppers about the benefits of healthy foods, or exterior signage that promotes fresh produce instead of alcohol and cigarettes.

“What we are doing right now is a needs assessment,” Wilder said. “What does our community look like and what are the needs before we can figure out what to do moving forward?”

LePere will focus more on community awareness and education, which is why she had Barrett and Singerman work on social media for her organization and develop a pamphlet for consumers.

As is the case with all Community-Based Research projects set up through the Shepherd Program, the food desert collaboration has been beneficial for all parties involved. In this case, community partners saved considerable time and resources, and the students came away with a different outlook on food.

“It definitely gives me a different perspective,” Barrett said. “You think of it as something to eat and enjoy, but it is definitely bigger than that. Now, I’m seeing food as multidimensional.”

W&L’s Morel on American Political Thought As a Resource for Improving U.S. Race Relations

Lucas Morel, professor of politics at Washington and Lee, recently participated in a scholarly exchange with UCLA professor Melvin L. Rogers on “Starting Points,” an online journal of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri.

In the exchange, Morel and Rogers, the Scott Waugh Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at UCLA, addressed the question, “Can American political thought be a resource for improving race relations in the U.S.”?

The full exchange can be found here.

W&L’s Colón Offers Tips for Distinguishing Between Fact and Fiction in the News

“News consumers today face a flood of fake news and information. Distinguishing between fact and fiction has become increasingly challenging.”

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

You are the new gatekeeper of the news

By Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics
at Washington and Lee University

News consumers today face a flood of fake news and information. Distinguishing between fact and fiction has become increasingly challenging.

In the past, news organizations sifted through information to try to determine its validity and veracity. Being trusted for what they reported became an important part of journalists’ reputations.

But that was then.

You are part of the problem
image-20170130-29627-4zcdyf W&L's Colón Offers Tips for Distinguishing Between Fact and Fiction in the NewsJournalists like Walter Cronkite used to be gatekeepers of the news. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cronkitejfkdeath.gif#filelinks

Now the gatekeeping role that the legacy media newspapers and network television news once played falls to all of us. Today, everyone assumes the position of publisher. Technology has democratized the process of making, or making up, news.

Journalists no longer decide what goes public. Information flows unimpeded and unchecked through the internet, filling a multitude of websites, blogs and tweets.

All of it flows through social media streams and into our laptops, tablets and smartphones. Everyone who posts, or reshares, a news story on Facebook or retweets a link takes on a role once held by only a powerful few media executives. The problem that emerges today stems from the fact that most social media “publishers” fail to consider the responsibility for what they post.

It’s not that fake news is new. Thomas Jefferson complained in 1807, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” Jefferson’s comment represents just one of many views regarding news not only in the U.S. but in Europe. Fake news can be traced back Italy in 1475 when a priest made a false claim about a child’s disappearance. Even the political battle between Marc Antony and Octavian to succeed the murdered Julius Caesar engaged the use of fake news. Octavian’s use of fake news enabled him to succeed Caesar.

And it’s not that the old gatekeepers were infallible or consistently apolitical. But in today’s technological world, we’re in the midst of an informational perfect storm. The equation I might offer would be: Velocity + Volume = Volatility. All the news on the internet moves so fast, and assaults us with so much, that the outcome becomes unpredictably dangerous.

Some people who use social media check what they publish. Others repost or retweet information without reading it carefully, much less doing any due diligence for accuracy. That plays into what those who produce fake news hope to accomplish. While some believe they hope to deceive people, press critic Tom Rosenstiel asserts, “The goal of fake news is not to make people believe the lie. It is to make them doubt all news.”

Some may think that young people, with their social media savvy, might be better able to assess the information they consume.

A Stanford University study found it shocking that many of them couldn’t “evaluate the credibility of that information.” The study noted that more than 80 percent of middle schoolers saw “sponsored content” as actual news. High school students didn’t verify photos. Most college students failed to suspect potential bias in an activist group’s tweet.

Step up your game

So what are news consumers to do? How can they act as their own gatekeepers, intent on vigilance and verification like the best journalists and publishers of old?

Here’s how to begin.

#1. Check out the source. This may seem basic, but it’s easy to read headlines without paying attention to who wrote it. Writers and websites operate with their own perspective. Some want to offer a balanced view. Some advocate a point of view. Others hope to deceive you.

Know the “who” or the “what” of the source. Is the source, website, Twitter handle or blog familiar to you? Have you read them before? Read other work they have done. See if writers you trust link to them.

Read the “About” section of the writer/website. Use search engines to track the name. Sometimes such sites as Linkedin or Facebook turn up basic background information. The key is to know where they are coming from.

#2. Check out the information. Do other sources corroborate what you’re reading, viewing or hearing? Have you used verification sites such as SnopesPolitifact and FactCheck.org?

Snopes, for example, reported that some of the “2017 inauguration photos” tweeted out of Trump’s inauguration were taken weeks or years earlier. One was a photo of the Kansas Royals baseball team rally. Politifact pointed out President Donald Trump’s press secretary’s assertion the inauguration had the largest audience – period – was disputed by other measurements. And FactCheck.org noted that former President Barack Obama “falsely claimed that a treaty he signed with Russia in 2011 ‘has substantially reduced our nuclear stockpiles, both Russia and the United States.‘”

Dick Grefe, a senior reference librarian at Washington and Lee University, alerted me that two professors at the University of Washington have proposed teaching a course “Calling Bullshit: In the Age of Big Data.” The course would “focus on bullshit that comes clad in the trappings of scholarly discourse.” What’s fake isn’t limited to news.

#3. Be aware of your biases. Remember that we tend to read, listen to and watch news with our own built-in prejudices. We evaluate information based on whether it supports what we already believe. It can be easy to discount that which upsets or challenges our worldview. Reports about “confirmation bias” abound. As studies and writers have noted, we basically believe what we want to believe.

The concern journalists feel about how misleading and confusing the news can be has prompted a number of them to offer their own guides to approaching biases and fake news. Journalist and media expert Alicia Shepard offers her suggestions on how to avoid being duped. Alan Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who founded the News Literacy Project, grapples with confirmation bias head on. Steve Inskeep at NPR provides a guide to facts.

Battle your own confirmation bias by expanding the sources of information you seek. Be open to thinking about different points of view. Read widely. Read counterpoints. Watch for innovations from the media. For example, one recent study published on MarketWatch placed different news sources on the “truthiness” scale. Another, older piece on businessinsider.com  could help you identify the ideology underlining your favorite source of news.

There’s no need to close the gate, but be sure you know what’s flowing in. It matters.

W&L’s Conner and Morel to present the John Chavis Lecture in African-American Studies

Screen-Shot-2017-02-07-at-2.00.17-PM-250x350 W&L's Conner and Morel to present the John Chavis Lecture in African-American Studies“The New Territory” is co-authored by W&L’s Marc Conner and Lucas Morel

On Wednesday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Marc Conner, interim provost and Jo and James Ballengee Professor of English, and Lucas Morel, professor of ethics and politics, will present the John Chavis Lecture in African-American Studies.

Titled “The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the 21st Century,” the presentation will focus on elements of Conner’s and Morel’s co-edited volume of that title that was released this past fall. Gathering the work of 15 major Ellison scholars, the book examines the achievement and relevance of Ellison’s writing for the America of the 21st century.

John Chavis was the first African-American to attend Washington and Lee University (then Liberty Hall Academy). The Chavis lecture, created by Associate Dean of Students Tamara Futrell, honors Chavis’s memory by featuring the work of Washington and Lee faculty who are doing research in the fields of African-American Studies.

The lecture is sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and is part of the University’s celebration and commemoration of Black History Month. The lecture and reception following are free and open to the public.

Tessa Horan’s Passion for the Environment Meet Tessa Horan '18, a pre-med, self-proclaimed "tree-hugger" with big plans for making the university - and the world - a little greener.

As I think about my plans and goals for myself, SEAL, CCL, and the world, I am comforted by the knowledge that we can make a difference.”

Tessa_Horan-600x400 Tessa Horan's Passion for the EnvironmentMeet Tessa Horan ’18, a pre-med, self-proclaimed “tree-hugger,” with big plans for making the University – and the world – a little greener.

Tree-hugger. Nature-lover. Environmentalist. Climate activist. Sustainability advocate. Good steward.

Many labels are used to describe the aspect of my life that I would summarize like this: I care about all of creation, and I want everyone to give love and respect to all life.

This conviction is rooted in the love of nature I learned in childhood, which grew into a passion for environmental protection, then budded a commitment to sustainable living, and finally bloomed activism for global change.

It has led me to my present roles as VP of the W&L Student Environmental Action League (SEAL) and leader of the Lexington chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and my involvement with these two organizations has deeply shaped my W&L experience.

When I entered college, I was seeking ways for my budding environmentalism to bloom. SEAL gave me a way. Just a couple of weeks after starting my freshmen classes, I traveled to NYC with a group of SEAL members to participate in the People’s Climate March, which is still one of my favorite memories from my time at W&L. Sophomore year, I stepped up as secretary of SEAL and enthusiastically worked alongside my friends to create a university policy proposal for event sustainability, and to petition for the installation of solar panels with the third-year housing project. While the event policy proposal was received well by the administration and is helping to create real change on campus, the solar panel petition was rejected.

For me, these two projects embodied two opposite but equally important lessons that I learned that year: The hard work of a small group of people has the power to change an entire institution, but all the hard work of a group is sometimes not enough to change anything. When the truth of that second lesson tempts me to give up, I remember the equal truth of that first lesson. Failure is always a possibility when you try something – but it’s a certainty when you don’t try anything.

Those same two lessons have recurred in my work with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which has been one of the most formative and gratifying experiences of my life. I learned about CCL at the end of freshman year, and I was sold on it almost immediately. They won over my mind with the economic and environmental logic of their Carbon Fee & Dividend proposal (learn about it at citizensclimatelobby.org), and they won over my heart with the beauty of their nonpartisan, respect-based philosophy and their caring, positive community. I was eager to start a chapter and share the ideas I had discovered – but it proved more challenging than I expected. I experienced a great deal of failure and disappointment during that first year as I realized that CCL was much harder to sell to other people than to myself. Yet, with the undying support of a few close friends and family members (shout-out to Sequoya, Kim, Dylan, and my parents!), I persisted.

I believe my hard work is beginning to pay off – there has been at least one new face at every CCL meeting this year, and we have made real contributions to the national political advocacy for carbon pricing legislation.

As I think about my plans and goals for myself, SEAL, CCL, and the world, I am comforted by the knowledge that we can make a difference – and failure isn’t always the worst thing that can happen. In words more eloquent than my own, “Nobody made a greater mistake than [s]he who did nothing because [s]he could only do a little.” – Edmund Burke

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 Tessa

Bluffton, Indiana

Environmental Studies and pre-med

Extracurricular involvement:
Vice president of SEAL; leader of CCL Lexington; small group leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Off-campus activities/involvement:
Volunteer at Rockbridge Area Health Center; campus ministry team at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Why did you choose your major?
Environmental Studies allows me to pursue my interests through an interdisciplinary approach – I love the variety and flexibility available with this major.

What faculty or staff member has inspired you?
So many! I am especially grateful to Kim Hodge for her support of my environmental work.

What’s your personal motto?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world – indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Photograph” by Ed Sheeran

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
The Bistro – Napoleon Eggplant Portabella

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I wish I had known that W&L would become my home. It took me a while to feel like I belonged, and at times I thought I never would. Having that hope would have helped me through my first year.

Post-graduation plans:
I plan to take a gap year before pursuing medical school and a master’s degree in public health.

Favorite W&L memory:
What makes my memories special are the people in them. Whether we’re eating dinner, watching movies, going to dances, hiking, playing games, going to concerts … I cherish every moment spent with the friends I love.

Favorite class:
Richmond Term! It’s a spring term program for pre-med students. I shadowed a urologist, an obstetrician, an orthopedic surgeon, and a pediatrician (all W&L alums!) for four days each, and it was a blast.

Favorite W&L event:
I love all the theater and music productions! My favorite has probably been “Spamalot.”

Favorite campus landmark:
Woods Creek/Cadaver Bridge – what a beautiful view

What’s your passion?
Serving others and serving God

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I play French horn in the Wind Ensemble and piano in my free time.

Why did you choose W&L?
W&L offered the programs that I wanted, and I knew the small size and engaged professors would provide me with abundant academic opportunities, while the financial aid would provide me with greater flexibility in extracurricular and personal opportunities.

Win-Win Giving with the IRA Charitable Rollover Dr. Robert (Bob) Holt '67 honors former professors with his 50th reunion gift

Dr_Holt_350x350 Win-Win Giving with the IRA Charitable RolloverDr. Robert (Bob) Holt ’67 with his wife, Cathy

Dr. Robert (Bob) L. Holt ’67 adeptly leveraged the IRA Charitable Rollover provision to establish an endowment on the occasion of his Class of 1967 50th Reunion that also honors two admired W&L mentors, the late Chemistry Professor Keith Shillington and History Professor and friend Ted DeLaney. 

The Dr. Robert L. Holt ’67 Endowment for Student Learning Experiences in the Sciences will enable deserving W&L undergraduate students studying the sciences or interested in health professions to pursue summer research and internships with a W&L faculty mentor, a faculty mentor at another university, or a physician or medical professional in a hospital or research center.

Dr. Holt is funding the Holt Endowment through the IRA Charitable Rollover tax provision. The IRA Charitable Rollover allows individuals age 70 ½ and over to give annually up to $100,000 from their Traditional or Roth IRA to Washington and Lee. The IRA distribution is excluded from the donor’s taxable income and qualifies as the IRA required minimum distribution.

When asked why the IRA Charitable Rollover is so attractive to him, Dr. Holt explains, “I think the simple fact that the timing is perfect. It had not dawned on me that the IRA required minimum distribution would start in synchrony with my 50th Reunion. Because I am still working, I am not strapped for cash nor need the IRA income. So this is an opportunity for me to benefit the University and to take advantage of a tax benefit as well. I am pleased with this opportunity. It’s a win-win.”

Dr. Holt’s tax-savvy gift to his alma mater counts in his 50th Reunion giving totals, qualifies for the Shillington challenge match established by the late Dr. E. Darracott Vaughan, Jr. ’61 and his wife Anne Vaughan, and honors mentors and friends who have made a difference in his life.

After graduating with a B.A. from W&L, Dr. Holt earned his DMD and PhD in microbiology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and is a specialist in dental periodontics and implantology. He runs a thriving West Palm Beach practice and is an adjunct professor at UAB School of Dentistry. Dr. Holt believes the foundation of his successful career was laid in his W&L chemistry classes with Prof. Shillington: “Dr. Shillington was forceful and drove me to put forth extra effort. He did that by not giving me any slack. The future success in my career afterwards was a result of his strident efforts to put pressure on me to excel. After I left W&L, I enjoyed success in dental school, but I would not have had the fortitude nor the dedication without such a tough coach.”

Dr. Holt also pays tribute through his gift to History Professor Ted DeLaney, whom he met when he was a student and when Prof. DeLaney worked as Curator in the Department of Biology. Over the years, they have become close friends. Of Prof. DeLaney, Dr. Holt says, “I admire him and his accomplishments and the positive changes he has facilitated in the people and attitudes around him. When I was there, W&L was all male and all white, and it has changed dramatically in a very good way.”

Dr. Holt and his wife Cathy have bought a home in Lexington, where he consults in area dental practices. The Holt Endowment reflects their shared affection for Lexington and the friends they have made there and their desire to help deserving young people develop into good adults. Dr. Holt observes, “It sometimes takes a little more effort. I think the University is in a perfect position to define those students and to help them.”

Story by Margie Lippard, associate director of gift planning

To learn more about how you can take advantage of an IRA Charitable Rollover contact the office of gift planning or download the IRA Charitable Rollover summary.

Learn More About the IRA Charitable Rollover

To learn more about how you can take advantage of an IRA Charitable Rollover contact the office of gift planning or download the IRA Charitable Rollover summary.

The Alumni Affairs Office is Busy!

The busiest time of the year? Sure seems like it!

NTNlunch-350x263 The Alumni Affairs Office is Busy!John McCardell, ’71, vice Chancellor of Sewanee, joined the Nashville chapter for lunch on Nov. 1, 2016. Left to right McCardell, Dallas Hagewood Wilt, Trustee Emeritus ’90, Jimmy Gallivan ’51, Trustee Emeritus, Beau Dudley 74, 79L, Trustee Emeritus and Executive Director. of Alumni Affairs, Chapter President John Allgood ’07, and Trustee Clay Jackson ’76

If you walked into the Hotchkiss Alumni House you might think you were in a beehive it’s so busy! Here is just a bit of what we’re up to.

You’d think with wintry, cold weather, this time of year would be a slow one for our alumni chapters, but no! Almost 30 chapters have had or will have Presidents’ Day events, including Richmond, Washington, DC, Tallahassee, Baton Rouge, Houston, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Memphis.

Speaking of presidents, we are also taking our new one on the road to meet alumni. President Will Dudley is planning to visit nine chapters in the coming months, with more in the works. And, of course, winter and spring mean Alumni Fancy Dress! Three are scheduled this year in Richmond, Dallas and New York. Be sure to get your tickets early.

With all that’s going on, chances are good there is a W&L alumni event happening near you! For a full listing of upcoming chapter events, check out our website.

Black Alumni Reunion
The Alumni Affairs office is also getting ready to host the Black Alumni Reunion on campus March 3-4, 2017! The weekend is set to be a great one with a keynote address by Quincy Springs, IV ’02, a welcome from President Will Dudley, an admissions and diversity session and the Black Ball. Visit our website for registration information and the full schedule of events. For more information about Quincy and the keynote address, click here.

Alumni Weekend
And last, but certainly not least, May 11- 14 is the biggest weekend of the year, Alumni Weekend! Alumni classes ending in 2s and 7s, be sure to watch your mail and email – Alumni Weekend registration materials will go out later in February.

W&L’s Christopher Bruner Delivers Keynote Address in London

DSC_4991-232x350 W&L's Christopher Bruner Delivers Keynote Address in LondonChristopher Bruner

Christopher Bruner, the William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law at Washington and Lee, delivered the keynote address at a conference titled “International Financial Services and Small States” on January 30, 2017.  He also participated in a closing reflections panel on January 31.

Hosted by the global law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, and co-sponsored by the Centre for Small States at Queen Mary University of London, the Caribbean Export Development Agency, and Fran Hendy Attorneys, the conference focused on international financial centers in small jurisdictions, the international tax reform agenda and its impact on such centers, and potential opportunities for such centers.  Participants included public officials; representatives of multilateral organizations, including the OECD and the Commonwealth; consultants; and lawyers and economists from both academia and the private sector.

Bruner’s keynote address presented the argument developed in his recently released book, Re-Imagining Offshore Finance: Market-Dominant Small Jurisdictions in a Globalizing Financial World (OUP 2016).  In the book, he advances a new theoretical framework to refine the analysis of small jurisdictions active in cross-border finance and direct that analysis toward more productive inquiries, proposing a new concept better capturing the characteristics, competitive strategies, and market roles of those achieving global dominance in the marketplace – the “market-dominant small jurisdiction” (MDSJ). Professor Bruner identifies the central features giving rise to such jurisdictions’ competitive strengths – some reflecting historical, cultural, and geographic circumstances, while others reflect development strategies pursued in light of those circumstances.

Through this lens, Bruner evaluates a range of small jurisdictions that have achieved global dominance in specialized areas of cross-border finance, including Bermuda (insurance), Dubai (Islamic finance), Singapore (wealth management), Hong Kong (Mainland finance), Switzerland (cross-border banking), and Delaware (business entity organization).  He further tests the MDSJ concept’s explanatory power through a broader comparative analysis, and he concludes that the MDSJs’ significance will likely continue to grow – as will the need for a more effective means of theorizing their roles in cross-border finance and the global dynamics generated by their ascendance.

Read more about Professor Bruner’s scholarship here.

Former Ambassador to Nicaragua to Speak at Law School Dr. Francisco Fiallos, Nicaragua's former Ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs, will present on international law and global issues.

nicaraguacols Former Ambassador to Nicaragua to Speak at Law School

On Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 3:00 PM in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Dr. Francisco Fiallos, Nicaragua’s former Ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs, will present on international law and global issues at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

The presentation is sponsored by the Latin American Law Students Association and the Transnational Law Institute. Prof. Mark Drumbl will moderate the discussion. For more information, contact Tamra Harris at harris.t@law.wlu.edu.

Chip Mahan ’73 Embodies UNCW Seahawk’s Spirit His award honors his outstanding professional achievement and personal commitment to community engagement.

live-oak_main-350x237 Chip Mahan '73 Embodies UNCW Seahawk's SpiritJames “Chip” Mahan III ’73

James “Chip” Mahan III, a 1973 graduate of Washington and Lee University, was named the 2017 Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington during its homecoming.

Chip, the founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Live Oak Bank, received the award for his outstanding professional achievement and personal commitment to community engagement.

His résumé includes serving as CEO of S1 Corp., which became the first internet bank and grew into a $234 million software and services provider. Earlier in his career, he launched Cardinal Bancshares, was chairman and CEO of Citizens Union National Bank & Trust Co., and formed an investment group that purchased Citizens Union.

In the Wilmington area, Chip is noted for his numerous humanitarian and community activities. In 2014, he received the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award for Outstanding Stewardship for creating a superior workplace environment, while preserving the longleaf pines and live oaks growing on the site.

W&L, VMI Host Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ginsburg’s visit was a year in the making and came 20 years after she penned the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, the landmark case that struck down VMI’s male-only admissions policy.

“Her contributions to social justice and gender equality have been profound. Her promotion of gender equality rights — as a skilled and strategic litigator, as a pioneering teacher and mentor, and as a careful and visionary jurist — has been life-changing for generations of women who came after her.”

— Johanna Bond, associate dean, W&L School of Law

A joint effort between Washington and Lee University School of Law and Virginia Military Institute on Wednesday brought Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Lexington, where she addressed an audience of thousands in the morning, and had law students lining up three hours in advance for a private Q&A session in the afternoon.

During both events, the 83-year-old associate justice balanced comments about American jurisprudence and her lengthy, transformative legal career with charming anecdotes about her personal life, ultimately reinforcing her lifelong message that men and women of all political and cultural stripes can have a profound impact on the world around them.

“I would say this to all young lawyers, men as well as women,” Ginsburg told the law students. “Whatever you do in the law, do in addition something you are passionate about, whether it is gender equality or the environment, discrimination or free speech — do something outside yourself that will make things a little better for people who are less fortunate than you are.”

Ginsburg’s visit was a year in the making and came 20 years after she penned the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, the landmark case that struck down VMI’s male-only admissions policy. At VMI’s 3,800-capacity Cameron Hall, which was nearly full on Wednesday morning, Ginsburg recalled that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s lone dissenting opinion in the case opened with the declaration that admitting women would destroy VMI.

“I knew it wouldn’t. It would make VMI a better place,” Ginsburg told the crowd, which erupted in applause.

Today, VMI’s student body is about 11 percent female. The VMI community seemed to enjoy Ginsburg’s talk, said school spokesman Stewart MacInnis on Thursday. “Women cadets, especially, say they appreciated Justice Ginsburg’s remarks and the impact she has had on their lives. Several of them told me they didn’t really understand until this event the controversy surrounding the decision in the societal context of the latter half of the 20th century.”

One of the most poignant moments of the morning came when Ginsburg told the story of a VMI pin she wore on her pewter-colored jacket. Shortly after the case was decided, she said, a VMI graduate mailed the pin to her with a letter explaining that the pins were given to the mothers of all VMI graduates. His mother had passed away, and he wanted Ginsburg to have the pin.

Ginsburg read from the letter: “In an abstract way, you will be mother to the first graduating class of VMI women … Be sure to wear it proudly any time, but especially if you are ever invited to VMI.”

The woman affectionately nicknamed “RBG” by fans can relate to being one of few women in a class of men. Of her time at Harvard Law School, where she was only one of nine female students in a class of about 500, she said, “you felt you were constantly on display. If you failed or didn’t perform well, you felt you were failing not only for yourself, but for all women.”

Ginsburg was anything but a failure there, making the Harvard Law Review at a time when she was also supporting her husband through cancer treatments and helping to raise their toddler daughter. Despite the challenges, she said, “there was a balance to my life that many students didn’t have. Each part of my life, I thought, was a respite from the other.”

After lunch at Lee House, the W&L president’s residence, Ginsburg held a private Q&A in the Millhiser Moot Court Room at the W&L Law School. She was accompanied, as she had been at VMI, by her two longtime biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy Williams, both Georgetown Law professors.

About 140 students and faculty filled the courtroom while more than 200 watched a livestream of the session in nearby classrooms. Students had submitted questions in advance, and faculty selected 15 to pose their questions to Justice Ginsburg. Topics included diversity in the legal community, international law, the media’s interpretation of Supreme Court decisions, and the qualities she hopes to see in the next Supreme Court justice. The last question came just one day after President Donald Trump nominated federal judge Neil Gorsuch for the seat left vacant after Scalia’s death last year.

“I’d say it takes a readiness to work really hard – this is the hardest job I’ve ever had – it takes a tremendous amount of reading, and then thinking and writing,” she said. “And if you are part of a collegial court, [it takes] a willingness to listen to your colleagues, because on the Supreme Court if you are writing for the court, you are not writing for yourself, you are writing for others. So you have to present the views of the consensus, not what you might do alone if you were queen. So collegiality is a very, very important part of the way the court works — and a sense of humor really helps.”

Throughout the day, Ginsburg talked about her famous friendship with Scalia, who usually disagreed with her on an ideological basis. Professionally, she said, he made her a better judge because he helped her to identify the weak spots in her arguments. Personally, they bonded over their love of family and the opera. “I miss him very much,” she said. “Without him, the court is a paler place because he brought so much zest to our discussions.”

At the law school, students were impressed to be in the presence of a Supreme Court justice. Ginsburg’s work with the Association of American Law Schools and American Bar Association played a role in making the school coeducational in the 1970s.

“I admire Justice Ginsburg because she has always broken through glass ceilings,” said third-year law student Tejkaran Bains. “We both come from immigrant families. Justice Ginsburg was one of only nine women on her class. I am the only Sikh person in my law school and the only person who wears a turban. It was so inspiring and surreal to see Justice Ginsburg.”

Rebecca Varghese, also a third-year law student, said she was most impressed by Ginsburg’s comments about disagreeing in a manner that is at once direct and civil. Varghese said that’s important in this age of polarization in both the political and legal spheres. “This adversarial system can isolate other viewpoints, and I think her message of advocating inclusiveness while still remaining appropriately assertive was an apt takeaway for me.”

To watch the Q&A with Justice Ginsburg at the Washington and Lee School of Law, click here.

More from the Mind of RBG

On the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950s: “We were straying from our most basic values, and that is to write, think, and speak as you believe, and not as a big-brother government tells you to.”

On her daily workout: Her personal trainer, a member of the Army Reserves who also trains two other Supreme Court justices, “puts her through the paces” for an hour. She does 20 push-ups (not the so-called “girl push-ups,” but she does take a quick break after 10), weight-lifting and “something called a plank.”

On the gift she received from VMI on Wednesday, a crystal block with a cadet engraved in the center: “This will be placed on a shelf just behind my desk, and I will be very proud to put it there.” Washington and Lee University presented the justice with a Jefferson cup.

On Cornell University, where she earned her undergraduate degree and met her late husband, Martin Ginsburg: “Cornell was a preferred school for daughters.” It was thought that “if she can’t find her man here, she’s hopeless … In fact, I did find my man there, and he was extraordinary for the ’50s because he cared that I had a brain. He was my biggest booster. He thought my work was at least as important as his.”

On the U.S. Constitution, a tattered copy of which she carries around in her hefty purse: The opening words, “We the People,” referred to “white, property-owning men, and that was it. Of course, people were then held in human bondage – they were not part of ‘We the People.’ Native Americans were not part of ‘We the People.’ And half of the population, women, were not part of the political constituency. So I say the genius of the Constitution is that, over the course now of much more than 200 years, this notion of who belongs in ‘We the People’ has become ever more expansive. So it is the inclusiveness of ‘We the People’ today in contrast to what it was. I think the Founding Fathers may have had an idea of what it someday may have become, but they were held back by the limitations of their own time.”

On the most memorable New Year’s Eve ever spent with Scalia: “We started this tradition of celebrating every New Year’s together. Sometimes it was at the Scalias’, but much more often it was at my house because my husband was such an excellent cook. And it would usually be that Scalia would hunt something — usually it was Bambi. But one year … it wasn’t Bambi, so we couldn’t make venison. It was a wild boar! And Marty worked for quite some time to find an appropriate recipe for wild boar, but he succeeded.”

Meet the Johnsons: Harry Lustig ’17

“I came to W&L for the education, and I received so much more. W&L fuels the desire for a lifetime of integrity, honor, leadership, and learning.”

DSCN1064-600x400 Meet the Johnsons: Harry Lustig ’17Meet Harry Lustig ‘17, a scholar-explorer who’s hiked everywhere from the Blue Ridge to Alaska.

Q: How did you first hear about the Johnson Scholarship?

I first read about the scholarship on the University’s website and later heard more details during my first college visit in high school. I learned as much as I could about the scholarship because I knew that I would not be able to attend W&L without it.

Q: Were you considering other colleges when you applied to W&L?

I wanted to be in Virginia, so I was seriously considering the University of Virginia as well.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose W&L?  

Washington and Lee was always my first choice, so the decision was rather easy once awarded the scholarship. The University’s rich history and its iconic columns were impressive; however, it was the students, faculty, and administrators I met on the very first visit that made me want to return. The “let’s get down to work” attitude solidified my feeling that W&L was right for me. When I further explored the direction of my academic path, it made perfect sense to combine environmental studies with geology and business administration – something that would have been near impossible at a larger university. I knew that the academic and extracurricular diversity at W&L would make for an ideal blend of growth opportunities for me.

Q: How has the Johnson affected your views on leadership and integrity – or on academics?

I came to W&L for the education, and I received so much more. W&L fuels the desire for a lifetime of integrity, honor, leadership, and learning. W&L’s mission is not fulfilled unless it captures this essence within its students and uses all its resources to guide the direction of their lives. There was no one class, no one professor, no one club that told me to lead my life in one way. It was the seemingly effortless combination of viewpoints, experiences, and relationships that created the growth environment that is characteristic of W&L.

Q: What is your favorite story about your W&L experience – if you had to pick one

The summer after my first year, a buddy and I received W&L’s Kendrick Scholarship, which funds outdoor trips involving introspection and exploration. We used the money to fund a cross-country road trip to hike the 210-mile John Muir Trail in the High Sierras of California. I’ll carry that experience with me forever, and we have the Kendrick Fund to thank!

DSCN1065-600x400 Meet the Johnsons: Harry Lustig ’17Harry Lustig on the John Muir Trail

Q: Do you have a mentor on campus? Faculty, staff, or another student?

My “all-purpose” mentor would have to be James Dick, W&L’s Director of Outdoor Education. You get to know someone very well after hiking in the wilderness for extended Outing Club trips! James has always been supportive, intuitive, and uplifting. Not every University is blessed with someone as spirited and genuine as James. His “zaniness” is contagious and his impact on the students is unbounded. James is not only my mentor; he is a true friend.

Q: What extra-curricular are you involved in right now that you are extra passionate about? Club, sports, off-campus organizations, service organization, work study?

I have had the unique opportunity to help develop and manage a leadership program for the University called the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program. The program is founded on the idea that there is no cookie cutter leader – different leadership strategies work for different people in different situations. The program is designed to facilitate the development of personal awareness and practical leadership skills through experiential and service-learning initiatives. It was also a natural fit for me to become involved in the Outing Club. Through the club, I have led pre-orientation trips for first-year students, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and explored many western National Parks. As a participant and a Key Staff, I have been able to camp, hike, paddle, and raft all around the Appalachian Mountains.

Q: What is your favorite campus tradition or piece of history?

I smile when friends from other schools talk about our traditions here at W&L. Some scoff at Fancy Dress, Mock Convention, and the speaking tradition, calling them lame or overdone. But, these are the things we W&L students have all come to cherish… it is our own not-so-secret society that can take the best from the “old-school” traditions and dovetail them with present sensibilities.  

Q: If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to “first day on campus” you?

Prioritize friends, family, and experiences. Get out there as much as possible, and do cool things with new people. In James Dick’s words, “Enjoy college. It goes fast!” Above all else, be grateful for it all.

Q: If someone asked you “why choose W&L” – what is the one reason you would tell them?

Opportunities are everywhere, and if you are conscious of your commitments, they will help you develop into your best self in a place where you will always feel at home.

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 Harry

Virginia Beach, VA

Business Administration and Geology – with an Environmental Studies minor

Extracurricular involvement:
Key Staff, Outing Club
– Team Manager, LEAD Program
– Appalachian Adventure Pre-O Trip Leader
– Venture Club Member

Off-Campus activities/involvement:
Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician
– Frequent hiking treks, rafting trips, and surfing/snowboarding adventures
– Extended Outing Club trips to Peru, Utah, and Arizona

Why did you choose your major?
When it came time to choose my major, I realized that almost every class I had taken out of personal interest fit the requirements for the Business, Geology, and Environmental Studies tracks. The decision was easy!

What professor has inspired you?
I met Dr. Lisa Greer during a campus visit my Senior year in high school. She invited me for a tour of the geology department, and her enthusiasm for her field work sparked my interest. Since then, Dr. Greer has been my valued academic advisor, and I even had the chance to conduct coral research with her in Belize. I remain grateful for her continued guidance and support.

What’s your personal motto?
“Get out there”

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Get Down On It” by Kool & the Gang. It has been my morning alarm tone since high school, and it starts every day on a rockin’ note!

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Blue Phoenix Café, hands down. You can’t go wrong with any menu item, and their commitment to their ingredients, customers, and community is unparalleled. Get on over there.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
It’s near impossible to take advantage of every opportunity at W&L in four years, but make a plan and choose your activities wisely. Allow time for participation across departments, and fit in time for at least a few crazy adventures per term. And yes, you do have time.

Post-Graduation Plans:

Following a capstone Outing Club trek in Alaska, I will begin a position in investment banking in Richmond, VA. In the future, I will not be bound to geography or discipline, but I will continue to pursue passions in environmental work and sustainable resource development.

Favorite W&L Memory:
Coordinating Outing Club sunrise-sunset hikes in the Spring and at the start of each exam week. I’ll always remember soaking in the rays of first light while whipping up some mountain-top pancakes with good friends.

Favorite Class:
GEOL 105B: Coral Reefs – Past, Present, and Future. Swim, dive, study, repeat daily for two weeks in Belize. This was fieldwork in heaven with great people.

Favorite W&L Event:
As a participant my first year and a leader in subsequent years, the Pre-Orientation Appalachian Adventure hiking trips set the stage for the school year in the best way possible – with muddy hiking boots, clear minds, and lots and lots of zany memories with new friends. Can’t beat it.

Favorite Campus Landmark:

The Amphitheater – a constant reminder of the first warm spring days when students come out from hibernation and study under the sun.

What’s your passion?
The Outdoors. 80s Hits. Classic Rock. Mountain & Water Sports. Good Food. A Good Adventure… Combine for maximum result.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I danced for the W&L Dance Company my first year. I had attempted to encourage some friends to try out for the Dance Company with me, but they all backed out last minute. After some uncomfortable spins and painful twirls, I shockingly made the Company. I learned new skills and made some lifelong friendships along the way. As a complete newbie, it was one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had at W&L, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Why did you choose W&L?
Location & Feel. As a wee boy scout, I had ventured up into the Blue Ridge Mountains to hike quite a bit, and I fell in love with the mountains around Lexington. When I toured W&L, I learned about the Outing Club, academic rigor, and the student life, and I knew it was the place for me.

France, Knapp Appointed to New Posts at W&L

Washington and Lee University has announced new appointments in the administration.

  • Marcia France, associate dean of the College and the John T. Herwick M.D. Professor of Chemistry, will become associate provost.
  • Elizabeth Knapp, associate provost and professor of geology, will transition to a full-time role as director of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity.

Washington and Lee Interim Provost Marc Conner announced the appointments, which are effective July 1.

francem-263x350 France, Knapp Appointed to New Posts at W&LMarcia France

France began her career at W&L in 1994. She holds an S.B. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S. in chemistry from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. She helped develop and serves as co-director of W&L’s partnership with the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, which provides a study-abroad opportunity for W&L students studying science and preparing to enter a health profession. She also created and teaches the Science of Cooking course in Italy. As associate dean of the College, France oversees W&L’s first-year seminar program, chairs the Futures of STEM Pedagogy Committee, and serves on the International Education Committee. She also coordinates undergraduate and graduate fellowship applications for students.

As associate provost, France will lead a number of university-wide initiatives, including student summer opportunities and the Summer Research Scholars program. She will co-chair, along with the director of Human Resources, the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC), the university’s central committee on diversity and inclusiveness. She will continue to support and grow STEM projects, and take a leading role in curricular reform, student projects and faculty initiatives.

“I am honored to be invited to serve W&L as associate provost,” said France. “I have truly enjoyed my time as associate dean of the College, and I am looking forward to expanding my role to support all three divisions of the university. I am excited to work with Marc and other colleagues across the university to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible programs and opportunities for our students and faculty as we look to the future.”

“Marcia has been so effective as associate dean of the College. Now she has an opportunity to broaden that administrative work in a university-wide context in the provost’s office,” said Conner. “I’m very excited to be able to work with her in many important areas of academic affairs. There is a lot of important work ahead, and I’m confident Marcia will be a great addition to the office.”

knappe-263x350 France, Knapp Appointed to New Posts at W&LElizabeth Knapp

A 1990 graduate of Washington and Lee, Knapp returned to her alma mater as assistant professor of geology in 1997 after receiving her Ph.D. in environmental science from the University of Virginia. She teaches courses in geochemistry, hydrology and biogeochemistry. She has also taught courses on the geology of Hawaii and the geology of the Pyrenees. Her research has focused on low-temperature aqueous geochemistry, geochemical evolution and paleoclimate, aquifer redox chemistry, and iron geochemistry.

In addition to her teaching and research in the Geology Department, she served as associate dean of the College from 2006 to 2010, as associate provost from 2011 to 2013 and 2016 to the present, and as senior assistant to former President Kenneth P. Ruscio from 2013 to 2016. She has been director of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity since 2013.

Knapp now serves as chair of the Community Engagement and Service Learning Advisory Committee, the University Sustainability Committee, the History of African-Americans Working Group, and co-chair of UCICC. She is a member of the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement Committee, the Environmental Studies Program Advisory Committee, the Healthy Campus Culture Committee, and the STEM Pedagogy Working Group.

In her new role, Knapp will focus on the Johnson Program and the 160 or so students who have won the university’s major scholarship competition. She will continue to administer the Johnson endowment, which helps each Johnson Scholar conduct special summer projects and research, and will enhance the program so that it can realize even greater potential. She will continue to chair the University Sustainability Committee and will lead the task force for the selection of the Quality Enhancement Plan, an important element in Washington and Lee’s reaffirmation of accreditation. She will also teach one to two geology courses per year.

“I am grateful to have served the university in many capacities over the years,” said Knapp. “I look forward to the opportunity to enhance the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, to lead additional campus-wide initiatives, and to continue in my role as a faculty member.”

“Elizabeth has played a significant role in W&L’s administration for a decade now. Her experience and skills are widely recognized,” said Conner. “She’s been a key figure in the dean’s office, the provost’s office, and the president’s office. This new role recognizes her unique talents and will enable her to continue to strengthen the Johnson Program. The QEP selection is of immense importance to the university, and her abilities to reach the entire university community will be a great asset in that project.”

Is a Charitable Gift Annuity Right for You?

Photo_PG_BenCummings_400x600-233x350 Is a Charitable Gift Annuity Right for You?Ben Cummings ’67 ’70L

Ben Cummings ’67, ’70L is honoring his 50th reunion with a generous gift benefiting the Class of 1967 Scholarship. Recently Ben spoke with W&L about his gift and why using a charitable gift annuity was a good choice for him

Ben Cummings on the advantages of using the charitable gift annuity:
The charitable gift annuity option was attractive to me in particular because I had a number of stocks that I had accumulated over the years. They had appreciated quite a bit in value, so the annuity was a mechanism by which I could save some taxes and make the tax savings part of the gift, to make the gift a little larger. Secondly, I like the idea of having some income come back. It brings back good memories to see a little check come in four times a year with the name W&L on it.

On philanthropy to W&L:
This is the largest single philanthropic gift I’ve made so far. I think philanthropy is important, and I’m fortunate now to be able to do this in my retirement years. I don’t need everything I’ve accumulated over all these years. The annuity approach was effective for me right now, but for others it might be cash or another strategy. But, at this stage in our lives, whether it’s cash or something else, I think my contemporaries should be thinking about giving something meaningful back, particularly when so many of us from W&L have been successful in life. Think back to what got us to where we are now. For most of us, W&L was where it began.

Charitable Gift Annuities Defined
A charitable gift annuity is a gift vehicle that falls in the category of planned giving. It is a contract between a donor and a non-profit organization, whereby the donor transfers cash or property to the organization in exchange for a partial tax deduction and a lifetime stream of annual income from the charity. When the donor passes away, the charity retains the gift. Importantly, no capital gains taxes are due at transfer of appreciated assets to the nonprofit organization.

The charitable gift annuity is just one option within a menu of gift vehicles that can provide a donor with lifetime income while reducing tax liability. To learn more about charitable gift annuities or other life-income gift vehicles, contact W&L’s office of gift planning today or call 540-458-8902.

Photo_PG_BenCummings_400x600-233x350 Is a Charitable Gift Annuity Right for You?Ben Cummings ’67 ’70L

Ben Cummings ’67, ’70L is honoring his 50th reunion with a generous gift benefiting the Class of 1967 Scholarship. Recently Ben spoke with W&L about his gift and why using a charitable gift annuity was a good choice for him.

Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Caroline Holliday ’18

Holliday-1_light-235x350 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Caroline Holliday '18Caroline Holliday ’18

Overall, if I have to give any advice to someone considering this program, it’s this: don’t be afraid to do something different.

I picked up my life in picturesque Lexington, VA with its one-way streets and free parking and moved to the hip suburbs of Arlington, VA – a popular area for W&L students to move to after college, just a short metro ride into downtown DC. I traded three apartment-mates for six kids, a mammoth St. Bernard, and a chilly basement apartment. I switched out my intermediate accounting textbook and cozy carrel in Leyburn for a new city and an audit internship, all of this right in the middle of junior year. Sounds crazy? It’s worth it. Let me explain why.

While everyone else is screaming at their computers trying to weave through the web advisor woes and figure out how many times they are going to have to walk back to third-year housing that day, I have had the opportunity to do something that not many W&L students get to do right in the middle of junior year: explore a new, unfamiliar city and have an invaluable internship experience.

Holliday-2 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Caroline Holliday '18Students in DC

First of all: D.C. Yes, move here. This city is filled with free museums, foodie-heaven nooks of town, crazy metro rides, and endless things to do. In just a few weeks, I’ve watched Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March, and March for Life; been to countless museums, eaten at too many delectable restaurants, explored up-and-coming parts of town, and even found running trails nestled in the middle of it all. Sorry I got distracted; you want to hear about the actual reason I am here – the internship.

Well, my internship is with Ernst & Young – one of the “big four” accounting firms, and it is in the assurance practice (fancy heading for EY’s audit practice). The total internship is seven weeks long, including two weeks of orientation and audit training, followed by five weeks working on two different audit clients. This year, there are two other W&L students interning in EY’s audit practice. Robyn Cleary works in the McLean office with me, and Amanda Whalen works in the Columbus office in Ohio.

The first part of the internship included a local office orientation day, two days of “Welcome to EY” and, finally, five days of audit training. The local office orientation was simply a day to introduce us to the McLean office and get all of the technical things out of the way – parking, entry badges, etc. Next, Welcome to EY was where we learned more at EY as a whole, set up our work computers, and learned how to use all of the time-entry and expense systems. The last part of training included a five-day session on EY’s audit methodology and audit practice in general, guided by two current auditors. Finally, on Friday we were sent out to our first clients.

My two clients are a large aerospace and defense contractor and a consulting company. My first client, the aerospace and defense contractor, has been especially unique because of the security clearance I have to go through; I feel like a big-shot every time I flash my badge to get into the compound. To get to this client, I drive out to Maryland, which actually is not as horrific as it sounds (about a 30-minute commute, which you will find is pretty reasonable for the DC area). I work with an incredible team that has about six W&L grads on it currently. The audit team is fun, spunky, social and very hard-working.

My main responsibilities include editing and creating workpapers for the current year, doing competitor analyses, documenting what information has been received from the client, and other random intern tasks. Also, because during busy season everyone stays in the office until about ten at night, I am in charge of the daily dinner orders and pick up. As a side note, interns are not allowed to work more than 40-hours every week, so I haven’t had to worry about working those crazy hours. Another thing I have found is that the teams are usually pretty flexible; in fact, one week my team let me work longer hours during the week and take Friday completely off. Although I am enjoying my time on this client, I only have one more week before I move onto my second client – the consulting company.

From my experience so far, this internship has been the perfect taste of what it looks like to be an auditor, especially during busy season. If you are nervous because you haven’t taken audit yet: don’t be. Especially since I had not taken audit in a classroom setting, the work was initially intimidating. However, I quickly learned that EY trains you in everything you need to know and the teams are incredibly open to helping you, instructing you, and answering questions. Plus, you learn in a much more tangible and applicable way in a real-world setting than in the classroom.

Also, to give a little more insight, we have had a few intern events so far. We have done ice skating and dinner, a volunteer event for special Olympics, and, up next on the agenda, is a Capitals game. As you can imagine, there are fewer winter interns than the typical summer amount, so it has been a smaller, more close-knit group. While I got to know the other interns well during training, everyone is at different client sites now. Therefore, the intern events have been a great way to reconnect after work.

Overall, if I have to give any advice to someone considering this program, it’s this: don’t be afraid to do something different. You get to live in a new city (a test run for the real world), meet so many new people, have an invaluable internship experience, and have a study abroad semester in Australia to look forward to the entire time. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the stressful process of securing a summer internship. I’d say it’s a win-win. Scared to leave W&L for a semester? Don’t be. I’ve found that branching out and doing something original and uncharted has stretched me and grown me to be a better student, friend, and an individual.

-Caroline Holliday ’18