Feature Stories Campus Events

Robert M. Couch ’78, ’82L to Deliver Powell Distinguished Lecture

rcouchweb-350x347 Robert M. Couch '78, '82L to Deliver Powell Distinguished LectureRobert Couch ’78, ’82L

Robert M. Couch ’78, ’82L, counsel at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, will deliver the fifteenth annual Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 6, at 5:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

In addition to Powell, Couch also clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom ’25 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. His law practice has focused on mortgage lenders and investors; affordable housing; regulatory matters involving HUD, Ginnie Mae, FHA and other government-sponsored enterprise matters; and governmental affairs.

Couch served as a Commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission until September of 2014. He previously served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from June 2007 to November 2008. In that role, he acted as the chief legal advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and other principal staff, providing advice on federal laws, regulations and policies affecting HUD programs.

Prior to his position with HUD, Couch served as President of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). He also served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Task Force on the Status of Puerto Rico in 2008.

The students at Washington and Lee University School of Law founded the Lewis Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series in 2002 in honor of Justice Powell ’29A, ’31L, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972.  Justice Powell’s judicial legacy was defined by a respect for both sides in a dispute and a desire to craft judicial opinions that struck a middle ground.  The student-run lecture series features nationally prominent speakers who embody Powell’s spirit in their life and work.

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Powell Archives at W&L Law Turns 25

powellshot Powell Archives at W&L Law Turns 25Justice Lewis F. Powell

Washington and Lee University School of Law is home to the papers of Supreme Court Justice and W&L alumnus Lewis F. Powell ’29, ’31L. Twenty-five years ago, on April 2-4, 1992, ceremonies, dinners and an academic symposium marked the dedication of the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Archives, and of the addition to the law building known as the Powell Wing.

In the intervening quarter century, the law school has hosted countless researchers visiting the archives. The Powell Papers have formed the basis of many books and articles, and contributed to hundreds more. Several documentary films have also used these materials. John Jacob has served as archivist since its establishment.

In 35 years of practice at the Richmond firm of Hunton & Williams, Powell became both its chief rainmaker and leader in pro bono work. One of seven W&L Law graduates to lead the American Bar Association, Powell’s legacy as ABA president is most evident in the creation of the Legal Services Program and the Constitutional amendment on presidential succession.

Appointed by President Nixon, Powell served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1972-1987. Most closely associated with the Bakke decision, Justice Powell’s ability as a consensus builder made him a powerful swing vote on the Court.

In December 1989, Justice Powell announced his intention to leave his personal and professional papers to the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Construction on a new wing of the law school began in 1990 and included areas to house his papers and facilitate their use by researchers. The new facilities were dedicated on April 4, 1992.

Justice Powell and dozens of his family members, personal friends and professional associates were in attendance. Distinguished speakers included Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Judges J. Harvie Wilkinson and Robert Merhige, Powell clerk and biographer John C. Jeffries, former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton and civil rights legend Oliver Hill. Academics presenting at the symposium included Scot Powe, Jean Love, Sanford Levinson and Catharine Wells.

bezansonpowellrehnquistjopowell_powellarchivesdedication_april41992 Powell Archives at W&L Law Turns 25Dean Randall Bezanson, Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Josephine R. Powell at Dedication of the Lewis F. Powell Jr Archives.

Read more about the archives here.

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Staniar Gallery Exhibition Opens with Curator’s Lecture

NewCodex-600x400 Staniar Gallery Exhibition Opens with Curator's Lecture“New Codex Oaxaca: Immigration and Cultural Memory”

Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery presents “New Codex Oaxaca: Immigration and Cultural Memory,” a traveling exhibition which explores the impact of immigration to the U.S. through artworks made by those who are left behind and often separated from their loved ones.

The exhibition will be on view April 24 – May 26, with a curator’s lecture and reception on April 26 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.

In 2010, artist and curator Marietta Bernstoff began working with citizens of the San Francisco Tanivet, a small town in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, to make art as a way of exploring the effects of migration on their small rural community. The project continues to grow and over 40 artists have contributed textiles, photographs, engravings and other ephemera representing the immigration experience.

The traveling exhibition addresses important questions about the immigration experience: What are the implications for the state of Oaxaca, which has seen over one million inhabitants immigrate to the United States? What is happening to their land in Mexico and the family they left behind? How do we keep traditions alive within another culture? Has immigration changed the way we see ourselves as a culture?

Bernstoff is a curator at the Social and Public Art Resource Center in Venice, California, and founder of the MAMAZ (Mujeres Artistas y el Maiz) Collective, a group of women artists in Mexico and the U.S.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call (540) 458-8861.

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L.A. Theatre Works “Judgment at Nuremberg” presented by Lenfest Center for the Arts and W&L Class of ’64

LA_NUREMBERG-LATW_logo_stripe-593x768 L.A. Theatre Works “Judgment at Nuremberg” presented by Lenfest Center for the Arts and W&L Class of ’64L.A. Theatre Works

The Lenfest Center for the Arts presents “Judgment at Nuremberg” by the L.A. Theatre Works (LATW), a one-night performance in the Lenfest’s Keller Theater on April 25 at 7:30 p.m.

“Judgment at Nuremberg” is sponsored in part by the W&L Class of ’64 Performing Arts Fund. Tickets are required.

LATW is touring the stage adaptation of the Academy Award-winning film in honor of the 75th anniversary of World War II. A live radio theater-style production, “Judgment at Nuremberg” is a gripping and complex drama that questions the fundamentals of social justice, morality, politics and the pressures of society.

A radio theater company, LATW brings theater to audiences nationwide and beyond through live performance series in Los Angeles and national tours, national weekly Public Radio series, Audio Theatre Collection available in libraries and to the public and national educational outreach programs.

“Judgment at Nuremberg” tells the story of the Nuremberg trials, the 1945-1949 military tribunals carried out by Allied forces to prosecute those responsible for war crimes against Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped and those considered inferior to the Aryan race.

Set in the backdrop of a building Cold War, “Judgment at Nuremberg’s” characters finds itself locked in a high-stakes game of shifting alliances and political conflict as they explore their memories of the Holocaust.

Order your tickets online today at wlu.edu/lenfest-center 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.

Harrison Westgarth Awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Brazil

“Over the past two years, I have spent my summers in neuroscience research labs and learned a number of techniques pertinent to the field of genetic analysis—all necessary and translatable skills for conducting research on the Zika virus.”

Harrison_Westgarth-600x400 Harrison Westgarth Awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to BrazilHarrison Westgarth

Washington and Lee University senior Harrison Westgarth, of McKinney, Texas, has been awarded a Fulbright study/research grant to Brazil. His project is “Development of an Animal Model of Direct and Congenital Zika Virus Transmission.”

As a Fulbright scholar, Westgarth hopes to “develop and characterize a wildtype animal model of Zika virus infection and the mechanism that allows for vertical, cross-placental transmission to fetuses of pregnant infected mothers.”

He will work in the lab of Drs. Amilcar Tanuri and Loraine Campanati, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who are working on establishing an animal model of Zika virus infection that exhibits both adult and congenital infections that can be used for pathogenesis studies and antiviral testing.

As a rising sophomore, Westgarth shadowed an orthopedic surgeon, which confirmed his desire to enter the medical field. The next summer, he discovered his interest in medical research by working in a lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

“My studies and my recent research underscore my ability to conduct this project to fruition,” Westgarth said. “Over the past two years, I have spent my summers in neuroscience research labs and learned a number of techniques pertinent to the field of genetic analysis—all necessary and translatable skills for conducting research on the Zika virus.”

“Harrison is an excellent scholar who has availed himself of all the opportunities of W&L’s liberal arts education where he focused on his biology major in preparation for medical school and also got involved in music and athletics. He is truly a well-rounded individual,” said Maryanne Simurda, professor of biology, W&L.

“He is very much aware of the world, especially South America,” Simurda continued. “His language studies started in Spanish, and he spent a brief time in Argentina volunteering in medical outreach. And then because of his desire to work in Brazil, he came back and learned Portuguese. For his Fulbright proposal he will be doing biomedical research on the Zika virus, so it is especially appropriate that he will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the center of the Zika outbreak.”

Westgarth plans to become involved in the local community by working with a local swim team or a swim lesson program. He also will offer violin lessons to community members or try to establish a music education program in the area.

“Knowledge gleaned from the research itself is important not only to the Brazilian government but also to the larger international community,” Westgarth said. “This project will bridge Brazilian and American research endeavors to begin solving an existing problem and provide tools needed to combat Zika.”

A biology and Spanish double major at W&L, he works as a tutor and liaison for a Rockbridge County family and serves as the in/out of school tutoring coordinator on ESOL’s executive board. He is the captain of the varsity swim team; is editor in chief of Pluma, the W&L Spanish literature magazine; and is president of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Westgarth is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Honor Society and the W&L Honor Roll and Dean’s List. He also is an Atlantis Project fellow (La Plata, Argentina) and a W&L scholar-athlete.

“Harrison is one of the rare students who very clearly connects his talent and passion for his majors to his activities outside of class,” said Ellen Mayock, Ernest Williams II Professor of Romance Languages. “One key example is his work with ESOL, for which Harrison has served as a tutor to a Honduran family for almost three years now. In my near-15 years of advising ESOL, I have never seen one of our volunteers develop such a close relationship with both the student and family. Harrison is now part of the ESOL Leadership team as in-school coordinator, but he continues to work with this family.”

Mayock added, “Harrison has also translated (English-Spanish) many official documents for the Rockbridge Area Health Center, which helped the center to get state certification. He is truly dedicated, caring and intuitive, and he brings these qualities to all he does.

John Dannehl Awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Spain

“My desire to pursue an ETA owes itself to the amazing opportunities I have had to both learn and teach through a multicultural lens, both in Spain and the United States.”

John_Dannehl-600x400 John Dannehl Awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to SpainJohn Dannehl

Washington and Lee University senior John Dannehl, of Atlanta, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Spain. He will be working in the La Rioja region of Spain.

“My desire to pursue an ETA owes itself to the amazing opportunities I have had to both learn and teach through a multicultural lens, both in Spain and the United States,” Dannehl said.

“The ETA in Spain will allow me to continue my lifelong passion of engaging in the rich diversity of Spanish life,” he continued, “becoming part of a community that will foster my personal growth through linguistic and cultural exchanges while teaching abroad.”

He has lived in Spain twice, as an exchange student in the small Mediterranean town of Segorbe and then as a mentor and English tutor in the Atlantic port city of Cádiz.

Dannehl has worked with professors and high school students at the University of Cádiz. His favorite experience was sharing opinions and engaging in cross-cultural interaction with not only Spaniards but also students from other European countries who were learning Spanish.

“By living in the diverse framework of Spanish culture, I learned that one of the best methods of teaching and transferring ideas is through active listening,” Dannehl said. “Through learning and working with passionate high school students in Segorbe and Cádiz, I realized that teaching should be centered on a conversation, one that appeals to the strengths and concerns of the individual.”

“John’s deep knowledge of the Spanish culture and his work experience with different universities in Spain and the U.S. makes him not only worthy of a Fulbright but demonstrates that he is an extraordinary model of a well-rounded global citizen,” said Antonio Reyes, associate professor of Spanish at W&L.

A geology and Spanish double major, Dannehl is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Outing Club, W&L’s chapter of American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Alexander Hamilton Society. He is a tutor for W&L’s ESOL program, is certified as a wilderness first responder, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was on the Honor Roll and Dean’s List.

Dannehl conducted geologic research at the University of Minnesota for the Keck Geology Consortium and LacCore in 2016. He also was a student researcher during this academic year in the geology department, completing his geology thesis and then presenting it at the 2017 Geological Society of America Regional Conference. Also during this academic year, Dannehl has been a technology and learning specialist for Global Discovery Laboratories. He was also a translator, teacher and technical coordinator at Centro Superior de Lenguas Modernas de la Universidad de Cádiz in summer 2016.

“My time outside the classroom will be spent working on engaging the public in the form of a video blog about recent Spanish history, specifically the repercussions of the Franco dictatorship, on Spanish culture and politics in the 21st century,” Dannehl said. “I also would like to travel throughout different regions of Spain and gain a deepened insight into the nuances of the Franco dictatorship and the peoples’ thoughts on Spain’s young democracy.”

“I can’t envision anyone more capable and deserving of receiving a Fulbright. John exudes what a W&L Fulbright should be,” said Dick Kuettner, director of Global Discovery Laboratories at W&L. “If asked to describe him with descriptive adjectives, I would have to say serious, studious, motivated, disciplined and productive. I taught him language for two semesters and language acquisition theory and methodologies for one. His level of expectation for himself was as it should be for someone with vision – superior. John will be an excellent representative of W&L and the USA.”

From Army Ranger to Chick-fil-A Owner Quincy Springs ’02 didn't think college was in his future — until he spent a summer at W&L.

“When you’re in a position of leadership, it’s incumbent upon you to make that experience be the best it possibly can be.”

Quincy Springs ’02

Quincy-Springs-02-800x533 From Army Ranger to Chick-fil-A OwnerQuincy Springs ’02

In March, Quincy Springs ’02, standing on the stage of Washington and Lee University’s Stackhouse Theater as the keynote speaker for Black Reunion Weekend, said, “I’m not really supposed to be here.”

The 2002 graduate explained that his introduction to W&L came through W&L’s Futures Program, which recruited minority students, usually from northern Virginia.

“For some reason, W&L decided to open the program up to my area,” said Springs, who grew up in Buchanan, Virginia. “So Suzy Thompson [now associate director of Special Programs] came down to James River High School, about 25 miles south of Lexington, and invited me to try the program out. My school had about 100 students, and most of them don’t go on to college, at least not to a place like W&L. Even my mom didn’t think I would be going to college. But from that summer program, I got a taste of what W&L was like and the possibilities that might be available to me.”

What hooked him was a talk by the Hon. Bill Hill ’74. “He was on the Board of Trustees at the time and came to campus to speak to the students in the Futures Program,” said Springs. “I’d never seen a black man like that in my entire life. I didn’t think they existed. I hung on his every word. I immediately identified with him, and said to myself, ‘I want to be like him.’ ”

At W&L, Springs thought he would focus on business administration. “Up to that point in my life, I had no examples of successful black men that I could look to. Period. I thought it was very attractive to consider myself as a businessman who would carry a briefcase, wear a suit and talk on the phone. I had every intention of coming here and spending most of my time in the C-school. But I sat down in Professor Lad Sessions’ class, and there was a discussion on whether animals could think or feel. I wanted more of that, so I ended up taking philosophy class after philosophy class.”

Springs credits a host of W&L faculty and staff for the support system they provided. “My philosophy professors were phenomenal — Professor Sessions and I talked regularly. Other important people were professor Ted DeLaney ’85, Harry Pemberton, Larry Stewart and Barry Machado. I also had strong connections with the staff — Brenda Hartless, Vera Merchant, Nadine Staton, Iska King and Melvin Davis. They all looked out for me.”

As well as serving as a peer counselor and president of the Interfraternity Council and playing varsity basketball, Springs served in the ROTC at Virginia Military Institute.

Hours after graduating with a degree in philosophy, cum laude, he was commissioned into the Army and went on to graduate from the Army Ranger School. His postings — “the duffle bag shuffle,” he calls it — took him to Korea and Afghanistan, where he trained 800 Afghan solders in techniques to eradicate poppy. He was involved in several firefights with the Taliban, which he compared to the “Twilight Zone.” “When it’s over you can’t just sit back and say, ‘Whew, I’m glad that’s over,’ because you know you’re going to be facing it again and again. I admit, I was scared.”

After eight years of service, Springs left the military at the rank of captain. Some of his awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Combat Action Badge.

Three months later, he joined Walmart, which was recruiting junior officers from the military for its manager-training program. He started out as a general manager of a store in Howell Mill, in Atlanta, then was hand-picked to take over the management of a store in Vine City, on the west side of Atlanta.

“This was an area rich in the civil rights movement,” said Springs. “However, it is now a dilapidated neighborhood, with a considerable amount of poverty. It used to be a food desert before the Walmart was built.”

Springs worked hard to repair past wounds. “Walmart invests in its communities, and I wanted to take it to another level, “ he explained. “I wanted to go into the community and establish a relationship right away. Some of the things I was able to do through partnerships with other organizations was feed 1,500 homeless people and provide 2,500 book bags and other school supplies to kids who needed them. We also fed over 700 families over the holidays, and we’ve gone into the communities and done neighborhood improvement projects. We made over 1,000 sandwiches for homeless women and have given out $30,000 in community grants to local organizations. We’ve made our presence felt. In addition to that, we hired people from the community.”

He points to two moments that explain his commitment to others. The first is from his Ranger training program, when he was rowing a Zodiac through the swamps of Florida. “It’s the coxswain that calls out the orders for rowing,” recalled Springs. “There I was, strapped into this boat, and the left side of my body was in pain because I had worked so hard rowing all day. I was determined to learn how to be the coxswain because I wanted the next time I was on one of those Zodiacs to be better than what I had gone through. When you’re in a position of leadership, it’s incumbent upon you to make that experience be the best it possibly can be.”

He also remembers reading a book in which a little boy playing the piano is upset because he is struggling to play the music. “The boy tells his teacher, I can feel the music in me, I just can’t make my hands go right,” said Springs. “That describes what I want to do — to help people make their hands go right. Whatever talents are in them, to help channel that to a good outcome. That’s part of my disposition, and that’s what I’ve tried to do whenever I’m in a leadership role.”

In January 2016, Springs stepped down from his Walmart job to begin his next venture, as an franchise owner and operator of a Chick-fil-A, located right next to the Vine City Walmart he used to manage. He attributes his career trajectory to his philosophy major. “Pemberton said, ‘It’s not what you can do with philosophy that counts, it’s what philosophy does with you. And the thing is, I majored in philosophy, but I was an Army Ranger. I majored in philosophy, but I worked for Kinder Morgan, an energy company. I majored in philosophy, but I ran a Walmart. I majored in philosophy, but now I have the opportunity to run a Chick-fil-A, a billion-dollar company. What Pemberton said rings true — look how philosophy has shaped my life.”

Almost 15 years after he graduated, Springs was thrilled to be on the Stackhouse Theater stage, just like the man he admired as a high school student, who was now in the audience listening to him. “The place that showed me what was possible is where I’m now giving a speech. It’s come full circle for me.”

The Art of Philanthropy Eileen Small ’15 Supports Printmaking at W&L with an Endowed Fund

Eileen-Small-HS-350x233 The Art of PhilanthropyEileen Small ’15

Every once in a while someone comes along who reminds us that philanthropy is both profoundly creative and simpler than we think. For Eileen Small ’15, being a philanthropist is as simple as taking the ideas you have for how things could be better and doing something about them. But even before that was her philanthropic strategy, it was a life approach.

At W&L, Eileen was one of those students who embodied the growth of arts that has occurred on campus over the last few decades. She double majored in theater and studio art and minored in dance. Her undergraduate career included both acting and production roles in the prestigious Bentley musicals, as well as off-campus experiences at the Moscow Art Theater School and Rhode Island School of Design. During her junior year she founded (540) Productions and began producing musical theater in Rockbridge County.

Despite her impressive resume, Eileen’s own narrative of her W&L experience is notably down to earth. For her, college progressed by getting an idea, trying it and then pushing it further — or if it failed, taking it in a different direction. The humble printmaking enclave within the art department was where that took place.

“After the first woodcut I ever made, I said ‘I’m never doing that again!’” Eileen laughs. “It’s so hard!” But, the medium grew on her. Creating woodcuts was tedious, but the immediacy of the resulting print was gratifying. Woodcuts became a way for Eileen to conjure a fanciful vision of the industrial structures of her youth in west Texas, where both her parents worked in the petroleum industry and where wind energy farms, power plants and the mechanical structures of the oil and gas industry were ubiquitous in the landscape.

“At first, my vision dictated the medium of woodcut, but then I started getting into it,” says Eileen. Art instructor Leigh Ann Beavers was key to Eileen’s maturation as a printmaker. “The way Leigh Ann coaches is great. Once you work on a block she says it’s great, but then she pushes you to think outside the box. You would think it was finished, but it was just the jumping off place.” In her senior year, Eileen made a gigantic woodcut that she worked on for four months.

16783426453_f4ae0be8e7_o-350x233 The Art of PhilanthropyArtist Vincent Valdez critiques Eileen Small’s senior art project in Wilson Hall.

Although fine arts have come a long way at W&L in recent years, studio art is still a fairly small department. Eileen worked in the art studio with the same small group of art majors for four years. In their senior year, five of them learned about the Southern Graphics Council International Conference — a week-long gathering of printmakers being held that year in Knoxville, Tennessee. While some other departments at W&L have dedicated funds for sending students to conferences, the art department did not.

With the guidance of Professor Beavers, Eileen and her classmates held art sales and sold Christmas and greeting cards to raise funds. When they got there, it was an “earth shattering experience” to spend an entire week with working artists, said Eileen. “Before that conference, I hadn’t met people doing that kind of work outside of W&L.” The conference provided an overview of the world of modern printmaking, with presentations and demonstrations by artists from all over the world. “It was amazing to see the work that people are doing right now, and see the ways in which it was all moving in the same direction, and then to think about how our work could be moving in that direction too.”

Today, Eileen’s professional focus has gravitated to the performing arts. During a summer internship with the Broadway-based Telsey + Company casting firm, she fell in love with the art of casting for theatrical productions. “It’s like painting a picture, but with people,” Eileen says. Now she is focused on casting for television and film with Arvold Casting, based in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Although she is not professionally immersed in printmaking, the learning experience Eileen had with printmaking at W&L stayed with her. “I had those pre-professional experiences in theater at W&L — but there wasn’t anything set up like that in art, especially printmaking. I didn’t want other art students to have to work as hard for things necessary for their careers — the types of things other departments have the means to do.”

“I had those pre-professional experiences in theater at W&L — but there wasn’t anything set up like that in art, especially printmaking. I didn’t want other art students to have to work as hard for things necessary for their careers — the types of things other departments have the means to do.”
Eileen Small ’15

Eileen sat down with her dad about a year ago and they began talking about what could be done. The Small family has a strong philanthropic streak and Eileen’s parents, Jamie ’81 and Alison Small, have supported causes at W&L as diverse as creating a first-year seminar class to providing bikes for students to have a sustainable form of transportation around Lexington.

Eileen’s conversation with her dad resulted in a creative, philanthropic solution to a problem. The Eileen A. Small Endowment for Printmaking was created at W&L in October of 2016. Eileen’s gift represents W&L’s first dedicated endowment for printmaking. The endowment will support printmaking students in pre-professional experiences that will bring them into contact with practicing artists. For example, the endowment could send art students to professional conferences and to visit special exhibits or artists’ studios.

Like her parents, Eileen’s philanthropy is passionate and hands-on. “This is what I know and what I am excited about,” she says. “I know the department head really well who manages the fund, and I’m still in touch with some of the students there.” But at some point, she realizes those individuals will move on, and others will take their place. Her goal is to stay in touch with the department over time and continue working with the next head on how her endowment can continue to benefit printmaking students. As she speaks about the future, her voice holds both confidence and curiosity. “I hope to grow the endowment. I’m excited to see what it will turn into. I would love for students to be able to do even more with it — whole summer experiences or going abroad.”

After all, this is just the jumping off place.

Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Charlotte Braverman ’18

braverman-350x263 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Charlotte Braverman '18Students in the Internship and Study Abroad Program kayak in Sydney.

The past month has been an exciting one as we’ve settled into Sydney and started to explore our new home for the next few months. The city is vibrant and dynamic, with something for everyone and with so much to see and learn about I wonder how we’ll fit it all into the next three months. Perhaps the neatest thing about Sydney is its seamless blending of a highly developed urban center and vast expanses of protected coastal land to hike and explore.

For the outdoorsy and adventurous, you don’t have to travel far before finding yourself in the middle of the Blue Mountains. On our first weekend in Sydney, we traveled out to the small town of Katoomba to see the Three Sisters, an ancient rock formation where we were met by an indigenous ranger who educated us about Aboriginal culture. He showed us a variety of authentic artifacts including a boomerang and a didgeridoo, a type of Aboriginal instrument. Our adventure to the Blue Mountains also included a trip to the Featherdale Wildlife Park to get a close-up view of some of Australia’s most iconic critters including kangaroos, koalas, and crocodiles.

This past Saturday, the group headed to Macquarie Beach to learn to surf. After being briefed on safety measures and taught the proper way to stand up on the board, we headed for the water where

everyone was able to successfully catch a wave. The next day, a few of us enjoyed an afternoon kayaking around Rose Bay. After a week of torrential rain, the clouds parted and made way for one of the prettiest days we’ve seen in Sydney since we arrived. The bay afforded an awesome view of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House but the highlight was seeing little penguins swimming around our kayaks.

Rich with culture and history, Sydney is home to a large number of interesting museums and cultural attractions and a rainy Saturday afternoon seemed as good a day as any to get a quick lesson on the history of Australia. Our first stop was the Hyde Park Barracks Museum to learn a bit more about Australia’s first settlers followed by the Museum of Contemporary Art. Later that week, after meandering around the picturesque Circular Quay, we made our way to the Sydney Opera House to enjoy a performance of La Bohème. The unique architecture of the Opera House is unmistakably Sydney and the view across the harbor at sunset was stunning.

braverman3-350x263 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Charlotte Braverman '18Charlotte Braverman ’18 surfing in Sydney.

In addition to all of the fun we’ve been having outside of the classroom, we’ve also gotten acclimated to Sydney student life which contrasts quite starkly with that at W&L. The big urban campus really couldn’t be more different from the pastoral rolling hills and classic red brick buildings in Lex and the bigger class sizes have definitely been a change. Fortunately, the University places a high emphasis on learning to work effectively in teams which offers a great way to get to know other USyd students. Claiming over 53,000 students, the University of Sydney is big and diverse with students from all over the world. Through peer groups in my Marketing and Organizational Behavior classes, I have had the opportunity to work with students from China, Japan, England and Australia and it has been especially neat to hear the international viewpoints many fellow students bring to class discussion in our smaller tutorials. I’ve found the presence of such a broad range of perspectives greatly enriches the learning process especially in my courses that explore business within the context of an increasingly global economy.

With midterms approaching, we’re buckling down and studying for exams but still remembering to take advantage of all of the cool things to do in Sydney. Tonight we’re off to a Socceroos match, Australia’s national soccer team and this weekend Amanda and Caroline depart for a camping trip in the Outback so stay tuned for more adventures!

-Charlotte Braverman ’18

Aly Colón to Lead Online Discussion Sponsored by LACOL

Aly-Colon-150x150 Aly Colón to Lead Online Discussion Sponsored by LACOLAly Colón

News consumers today face a flood of fake news and alternative information. Washington and Lee University students, faculty, staff and alumni are encouraged to participate in this timely online meet-up with Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Ethics in Journalism at W&L, to explore forces of change in the new media landscape as we become responsible for deciding how we filter what’s news and what’s not.

In this 1.5 hour session on April 4 at 3 p.m., Professor Colón will frame the conversation with historical examples and point to emerging trends in the digital age of news where Velocity + Volume = Volatility. As an ethical agent of journalism, how can you cultivate a mindset of open inquiry and deepen your capacities to handle challenging or uncomfortable views, especially in online settings?

The session will be interactive with ample opportunity for questions and discussion with participants in the web forum.

This discussion is sponsored by the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL). The event is a fully online, interactive web conference via Zoom. Register online at LACOL.net.

Career Paths: McNair Nichols ’17L

mcnairnichols-400x600 Career Paths: McNair Nichols '17LMcNair Nichols ’17L

McNair Nichols ‘17L was born and raised in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He graduated from Wheaton College (Illinois) with a B.A. in History. Here at W&L Law, he served as the Editor in Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review and was also active in the Federalist Society, Kirgis Fellows Program, Powell Board, and Sports Czars.

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

I am incredibly excited to begin work at the Washington, D.C. office of K&L Gates LLP. I anticipate doing regulatory or enforcement work.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a law firm?

I had my eyes set on landing at a firm in Washington, D.C. I craved the collaborative atmosphere that is a hallmark of law firms, and I look forward to working in that team-oriented environment.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

My primary objective was to find a large law firm with a powerhouse office in D.C. Beyond that, I sought a firm that would give me access to high-profile cases and top-notch attorneys as colleagues. K&L Gates is a perfect fit.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?

Receiving valuable input from W&L’s incredible faculty and discussing this career path with my fellow students confirmed my choice. W&L’s Office of Career Strategy was also instrumental in the process. Additionally, experiencing K&L firsthand during their summer program reaffirmed my excitement about beginning my career in a law firm.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?

To me, the most worthwhile classes are the ones that expand the scope of your legal knowledge. Rather than focusing exclusively on one area of law, I found it useful to diversify the range of courses that I took. Although I am primarily interested in regulatory and government enforcement work, I found courses such as Close Business Arrangements, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Federal Income Tax to be worthwhile. I’d pick Securities Regulation as my favorite upper level course.

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W&L’s Community Grants Committee will evaluate proposals in May 2017

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Spring 2017 proposal evaluation schedule. Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Spring 2017 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2017.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the university’s fiscal year. The university will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2016-17 cycle.

During the first round of the 2016-17 evaluations held in November, 2016, 16 organizations submitted proposals for a total of over $96,000 in requests. The university made $24,736.22 in grants to 10 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • The Community Closet at Christ Church, Buena Vista
  • The Community Table of Buena Vista Inc.
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Lexington Lyme Disease Support Group
  • Miller’s House Museum Foundation
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry Inc.
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association
  • Rockbridge Area Transportation System Inc.
  • Rockbridge Area Youth Strings (c/o Fine Arts In Rockbridge)
  • Rockbridge Regional Library Youth Services Department

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address:

http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. 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.
Secretary of the University
Chair, Community Grants Committee
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450


“The Smiling Miler”: Robyn O’Brien ’93 The avid runner talks about her motivation in a profile on the Runner's World website.

Robyn-OBrien-93-blog-1 “The Smiling Miler”: Robyn O’Brien ’93Robyn O’Brien ’93

Eating well goes hand in hand with physical exercise. Robyn O’Brien, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1993, does both, but she’s better known as a leading voice in food-industry reform, the author of “The Unhealthy Truth” (2009), and a frequent commenter on food allergies, politics and financials.

However, she’s an avid runner, too, and on the Runners’s World website, she talks about her motivation.

“When I run, I have my most unbridled thoughts,” she said. “It’s a brainstorming session, as well as a time to process any issues that may be presenting in my work as a food analyst and activist.”

She started running in middle school, and it was her high school track coach who called her “The Smiling Miler” because of the joy she took in racing. Running has been part of the most important moments in her life — she ran on the day she graduated from college, the day she got married, and the day of her first interview with CNN.

Thirty-three years after her first run, she said, “Now I’m a parent, and every single day is filled with curve balls. But your happiness depends on how you handle it all. It’s kind of like the oxygen masks on airplanes. If you don’t take good care of yourself, you’re not in a healthy mental or physical place to take care of your family.”


University Town Hall Meeting

There will be a town hall meeting to discuss the university’s strategic planning process and 2017-18 budget on Thursday, March 30, at 10 a.m. in the Hillel Multipurpose Room (note the change in location). Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.


From Volunteering to Mountaineering Whether they were doing service work in Birmingham, touring firms in NYC, or climbing an ice-encrusted mountain in New Hampshire, Washington and Lee students made the most of Washington Break.

“I will cherish the memories we made and the virtue of the work we did for the rest of my life.”

— Walker Brand ’18, on an Engineering Community Development trip to Belize

ice_climb2-800x533 From Volunteering to MountaineeringBethany Reitsma ’20 scales an icy cliff at Mount Washington in New Hampshire during an adventurous Washington Break.

Some W&L students spent Washington Break in helmets and hiking boots while others donned power suits and well-shined shoes. No matter what they wore, they made the most of their vacations from classes and homework. This year, students took off for service trips, learning tours and outdoor adventures, forming new bonds with fellow Generals and new relationships with the world outside of Lexington.

Here’s a round-up of seven different Washington Break trips, along with some photos snapped by students and university photographer Kevin Remington.

Nabors Service League

birmingham-800x533 From Volunteering to MountaineeringA volunteer group from W&L’s Nabors Service League poses at the home of an alumna who served up a traditional Southern BBQ dinner.

The Nabors Service League, a student-run community service organization, took 15 students to Birmingham, Alabama. There, they worked with Impact Alabama, a non-profit dedicated to connecting volunteers with community organizations that need help to bring about change, and A+ College Ready, which helps to prepare promising high school students for college. Throughout the trip, the Lexington group stayed with Washington and Lee alumni or parents of current students.

For Impact Alabama, the W&L students performed free eye screenings for children, ultimately visiting 16 day cares and screening 900 children. If a screen turned up a potential vision problem, that family was connected with an organization that provides access to medical care. For A+ College Ready, 13 students from W&L did about 78 hours of administrative work. They also went into 24 local classrooms and taught about 480 4th– and 5th-grade students how to read and write in binary as part of the non-profit’s new computer science initiative.

“When we weren’t working, we spent a lot of time with our host families,” said Lorena Hernandez Barcena ’19. “We had a different dinner every night with a different alumni host. Some of them took us out to dinner at a restaurant, and some of them invited us over to their home and cooked for us. The Nabors (of Nabors Service League) also took us out to an escape room, which was incredibly fun! We split into two groups and only one group (mine) made it out in time. The other group was very close to finishing, though. We also had the opportunity to visit the Civil Rights Institute, which is incredibly thorough and impactful. Finally, we met with Stephen Black, the founder of Impact Alabama, and we had a very interesting conversation with him.”

Bonner Program

bonner-800x533 From Volunteering to MountaineeringBonner Program students pose for a group shot in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they spent Washington Break volunteering. Not pictured: Peyton Powers

The Bonner Program, a leadership development program, sent nine first-year students to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they worked with agencies that address homelessness. The group worked with several community organizations during the stay in Charlotte, including Lifespan Enrichment Center, a facility for developmentally disabled adults that offers programs such as arts and crafts, horticulture and music. They also spent an afternoon playing board games and making cookies and lemonade with residents of McReesh Place, an affordable housing center.

Working with disabled adults “was a really important experience for everyone because it is a population that not everyone gets a chance to work with and is not comfortable with,” said Peyton Powers ’18. “It helped develop a deeper sense of what it is like to work with that community.” In fact, the group did not work with children at all during this year’s trip, which is different from years past. “It is kind of rare, but it was also cool because if anything, it showed all the opportunities that are available to work with the adult population. It is important to continue to follow up with people throughout their life and work with adult people.”

AdMarComm

A group of 14 students interested in the fields of advertising, marketing and communications traveled to New York to experience the fast-paced world of the industries. During the AdMarComm trip, they visited 16 different advertising, marketing, communications and public relations agencies, including the Facebook headquarters in NY. Most of the locations included visits with alumni working in the field. The group stayed on-the-go each day from early in the morning until late evening.

“Visiting Jeff Hamill at Hearst provided our group with a great opportunity to learn about how media companies like Hearst have adapted to our changing media landscape,” said Adit Ahmed ’19. “Mr. Hamill established Hearst as a company that is on the frontier of adapting to the modern age, with its combination of native advertising and integrated media content that stretches across platforms. Not only was the visit informative, but being able to hear from Hamill from the top of Hearst Tower was one of the coolest experiences I could’ve gotten on the trip … In addition, meeting with alums at firms like Distillery, McCann and Grey provided me with a strong understanding of the fiscal, written and artistic interests that drive W&L alums to the advertising space. It was great to see the ways that W&L students excel in this realm of media, whether it is on the programmatic or creative side of things.”

Investment Trip

Twenty-six students traveled to New York for a whirlwind four-day tour of investment-related firms. Between Tuesday and Friday, the Washington and Lee group visited 18 different firms and met with 76 alumni. The firms represented the following industries: investment banking, real estate, accounting, hedge funds, sales and trading, corporate finance and consulting. Students were impressed by the number of different career paths presented to them during the trip, as well as by how many W&L alumni can be found in these industries.

“This was an extremely engaging and interesting experience that crammed a lot of knowledge about a complex industry into just a couple of days,” said Miller Townes ’19. “If you are considering investment banking at all, I would recommend attending this trip as it gives you a very hands-on and thorough explanation of what exactly iBanking is and all that it entails. It also offers exposure to consulting and accounting firms. My favorite part of the trip was hearing all of the alumni speak about their path from Washington and Lee to their respective companies. They speak so highly of how their experience at Washington and Lee prepared them for their current jobs and allows them to create opportunities for current W&L students.”

Florida Everglades

The Outing Club sponsors this annual adventure to the Florida Everglades. Sixteen students spent a week exploring the marshes and mangroves of these huge natural wetlands. Participants set up base camp on a main island, then took daily guided sea kayaking trips to other areas of the national park. Although the trip is intended mostly for relaxation and adventure, participants always get to learn a bit about interesting plant and animal life.

“I wanted to do something cool outside and I didn’t really feel like going home,” said Haley Stern ’20. “I just felt like I needed a break from school. We just chilled out and experienced the incredible biodiversity there. I learned a lot about the wildlife and the plant life. We saw dolphins, sea turtles, alligators, and a variety of fish. It wasn’t like any formal lesson but I felt like I did learn a lot about a new natural area and interacting with people.”

Engineering in Belize

Eight students with W&L’s Engineering Community Development club traveled to Belmopan, Belize to build a bio-sand water filter for a local high school. The students spent a week working with a local organization called Belize BaseCamp, which matches missionaries and volunteers with jobs. The W&L group worked on the site of a former church that is being turned into a high school. They built a bio-sand filter, which uses natural materials and beneficial bacteria to mimic how the earth itself filters water when it rains. This is the second such filter that W&L students have built in Belize; W&L groups have also built bio-sand filters in Guatemala.

“The trip to Belize was incredible for two major reasons,” said Walker Brand ’18. “One, our work down there has the potential to positively affect the lives of an entire village for years to come, and two, the group of students that went on the trip were a blast to hang out and collaborate with. I will cherish the memories we made and the virtue of the work we did for the rest of my life.”

Climbing Mount Washington

Seven students left the unseasonably warm temperatures of Lexington and headed north to climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire. They spent their break stretching their legs and testing their mettle on the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. The adventure included lots of hiking in the snow and ice, as well as scaling a 140-foot ice-covered cliff. For this trip, the students hired a guide and rented equipment. Although Mount Washington is notorious for having extreme weather conditions that shift dramatically and quickly, the W&L group lucked out on this trip. They had record-high temperatures on the day they summited, and the worst setback they encountered was a blister.

“As an outdoorsman in general, it’s really cool to share my love of the outdoors with other people,” said Matthew Rickert ’18. “There were some struggles to get people to the top, but once we got to the top everyone was thrilled to be there, the energy was back and everybody had a sense of accomplishment.”

W&L’s Smitka Talks About NAFTA on NPR’s Marketplace

Mike Smitka, Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University, talked to NPR’s Marketplace about NAFTA and auto parts.

Read his interview on WUWM.

Journalism W&L’s Swasy on How Journalists Use Twitter

“We will question authority. We will seek the truth. And we will teach future journalists how to wear out their shoes and use Twitter or whatever gadget proves useful in our mission.”

Alecia Swasy, Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism at Washington and Lee University and author of “How Journalists Use Twitter: The changing landscape of U.S. newsrooms,” talks about her new book on the Poynter Institute’s website.

You can read the full essay below or on poynter.org.

I studied how journalists used Twitter for two years. Here’s what I learned

By Alecia Swasy • March 22, 2017 • Reprinted by permission

Twitter reflects the good, the bad and just plain ugly reality of social media these days. For academics, journalists and voters, there’s never been a more crucial time to talk about the impact these social media platforms have on factual journalism and being watchdogs of the powerful.

It’s in vogue to attack the messenger for the message. We are called liars. We are called “nasty people.” We are told to shut up.

So, what else is new? What administration has loved the press? Washington Post editor Marty Baron recently told the Code Media conference: “We’re not at war with the administration, we’re at work. We’re doing our jobs.”

We work to get the facts. And as academics, we work to teach future journalists the key principles of news gathering. With the advent of Twitter and other social media, it’s important to teach critical thinking so all can ask: Who is setting the news agenda?

I didn’t set out to become a Twitter scholar. Indeed, I made fun of it like most journalists did when it was launched in 2006. I warned my students about the danger of bogus information spreading through these new platforms. But grad school is full of surprises and I found myself on a team partnered with metro papers to measure readers’ reactions during each of the 2012 presidential debates.

It was comforting to see how citizens picked up on the same topics as the journalists in the room. When Mitt Romney said he would cut spending to PBS, the Big Bird tweets went off the charts.

By election night, we all watched as Tom Brokaw came back from a commercial break and apologized for an earlier remark. He likened voters to schizophrenics. A viewer quickly tweeted that he shouldn’t make light of a serious illness.

My generation of reporters rarely heard from readers, except an occasional letter or phone calls, which were often ignored for the sake of deadline. But this was a turning point — the election where the audience pushed back instantly.

I had my dissertation topic and spent about two years researching and interviewing 50 journalists at four metropolitan papers — The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, The Tampa Bay Times and Atlanta Journal Constitution.

I wanted to explore how this new information distillery was shaping newsroom habits. And I wanted to know if it can do anything to boost readership or revenues in a time of shrinking newspaper budgets.

This is something that all news organizations are still struggling with – how to get readers back from grazing on Google and Facebook to real news sites. News organizations can no longer be passive. They must distribute the news wherever you go, whenever you want it.

According to Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans get some news from social media platforms. Facebook is the leader by a wide margin. Forty-four percent of the general population gets news on Facebook.

The early days of Twitter made editors twitch. Sorting fake information from facts would take a lot time. And photojournalists wisely warned about altered images getting passed off as documentary photography.

Editors also worried about how their staffs would use Twitter. The editors I interviewed all had stories of the fellas in the sports department drinking a few cold ones while watching a ballgame and tweeting their expletives about the pitcher.

But all 50 journalists said reluctance gave way to acceptance as the early adopters showed how Twitter could help in newsgathering. Journalists are quite competitive so they began friendly battles to see who could build the biggest number of followers. By the way, it’s usually those guys in sports!

Other themes emerged about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of Twitter. One early advantage: Twitter allows the 24/7 monitoring of reporters’ beats. A reporter’s nighty ritual now includes one last check of Twitter before nodding off. Good thing the night news editor at the Denver Post made that last check the night of the Aurora movie theater massacre.

It was well past the print edition deadline, so the Post’s first 24 hours of coverage was all digital – their reporters tweeted, shot their own photos and video in the field. The new rule was: If you don’t have it on Twitter first, it’s not a scoop. The Pulitzer judges noted the extensive digital coverage when awarding the prize for breaking news to the Post.

Twitter gives print journalists a chance to beat TV news cameras to breaking news. Reporters, photographers and editors in all departments are now instant weather and traffic reporters. The entertainment reporter in Atlanta now describes herself as “a fry cook at Waffle House. I do it all.”

One of the most interesting things I found was Twitter’s emergence as the new phone directory. Consider the decline of landline telephones, and the subsequent death of the community white pages. A school reporter in Dallas used Twitter to find students and parents by searching key words on the latest buzz in the schoolyard. As she said: If families do have a landline, teenagers won’t answer it, but they’re on Twitter chatting about what’s going on.

Indeed, she used Twitter to track down the news about a Dallas teacher being fired because she once posed for Playboy. The reporter also used Twitter to confirm the teacher’s identity — and to find her.

One of the troubling trends in Twitter use is using the 140-character message to interview sources. Reporters argue that it’s easier for people to reply via tweets, even while at meetings, versus answering a phone call. I get that. But what do we sacrifice when we don’t look a person in the eye when they answer our questions?

And a lot of public officials have their flacks respond to reporters. Yes, Twitter can be a great tool to find people, but you need to wear out your shoes knocking on doors.

My research also showed the social and economic capital gains for journalists and the news organizations. In journalism, reporters build their social capital by breaking news in their communities. That translates into more readers, which attracts more advertisers, meaning gains in economic capital.

For reporters, Twitter expands their readership to an entire globe that was once limited to geographic circulation boundaries. The best example of this came from the Tampa Bay Times and Craig Pittman, one of the country’s top environmental reporters. His presence on Twitter got the attention of the editors of Slate, who asked him to do a month-long blog. It also helped him land a book contract on news of the weird in Florida.

Pittman is the master of finding bizarre news at the intersection of humidity, stupidity and exotic animals in Florida.

Take the time the Pasco County sheriff tried to lasso a runaway kangaroo. The constable Tasered the hopper, but the critter stood his ground. Undaunted, a brave spectator jumped in and tackled the varmint. Craig added: “You know, that was the same week the Tallahassee cops Tasered a llama.” Nothing but readers there!

Another social capital gain for reporters is apparent with millennials. They use Twitter to “curate their own brand.” When I worked as a journalist, the curation of brands was something Procter & Gamble did to sell more Pringles or Pampers.

Millennials have witnessed the massive downsizing of their newsrooms and view themselves as independent contractors who are in charge of their own marketing, much like corporate America curates their brands. One reporter said:

“I love working here…But there are no guarantees. I don’t know whether the paper will be here in five years.” Her Twitter account and website will travel with her wherever she works.

Turning social capital into economic capital is far more elusive for the news organizations. All of the senior executives and publishers I interviewed agreed that Twitter builds ties to the community and helps readers understand who is behind the news: Journalists are real people. We’re your neighbors.

Translating Twitter use into actual profits is far more elusive. Indeed, only the Tampa Bay Times offered one story to show success. Every Sunday morning, the Times social media manager tweets out all the deals and coupons in that day’s paper.

Single copy, or rack or retail sales, shoot up 2 to 7 percent on Sundays when they tweet the deals. Keep in mind that the Times sells about 370,000 papers every Sunday.

As a journalist and professor, the most important finding from the 50 interviews had nothing to do with revenues. To a person, regardless of job title, each one emphasized that the main thing that will attract readers is producing credible content.

Twitter is just a new gadget in our tool box. It has expanded our reach, but it has also fueled the flood of propaganda masquerading as news. It has amplified the political discourse, sometimes in very ugly ways.

But it can be a useful addition to old-fashioned dogged reporting. Consider the Washington Post’s coverage of Trump’s charitable donations. Reporter David Fahrenthold recently shared his experience in two Post articles. He contacted more than 300 charities. A reader tipped him off to the oil painting of the candidate, which Trump purchased with his foundation’s money.

You see, readers do want credible information. One tipster even volunteered to send Fahrenthold a photo of the painting, which was displayed at a Trump resort in Miami. When the reporter started his campaign coverage, his Twitter following was 4,700. It grew to more than 60,000 and its still growing.

And he keeps breaking news. The day after the painting story broke, Fahrenthold received a video in the mail. It was Access Hollywood footage of Trump bragging about molesting women. It became the most read story in the Post’s history. The reporter received death threats and was labeled “a nasty man.”

The pros like him will continue to do the work and to serve the public as the watchdog of the powerful. We will question authority. We will seek the truth. And we will teach future journalists how to wear out their shoes and use Twitter or whatever gadget proves useful in our mission. And we will not shut up.

Alecia Swasy is the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism at Washington & Lee University. She is the author of “How Journalists Use Twitter: The changing landscape of U.S. newsrooms.”

W&L’s Strong Offers Historical Perspective on Lying in the White House

“Long before Donald Trump arrived in Washington, our nation had presidents who lied. Lying in the White House is so common that there are discernible categories of presidential fabrication.”

The following opinion piece by Bob Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in The Roanoke Times on March 26, 2017, and is reprinted here by permission.

Strong: Liar-in-chief

By Robert A. Strong | Strong is the Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University and is currently completing a book on the presidency of George H.W. Bush

Long before Donald Trump arrived in Washington, our nation had presidents who lied. Lying in the White House is so common that there are discernible categories of presidential fabrication.

First, there is the venerable national security lie; the kind we expect our leaders to tell. Dwight Eisenhower forcefully denied that the U.S. flew spy planes over Soviet territory when he knew we did. The Carter administration publicly stated that there was no planning for a military mission to release the hostages held in Tehran.

Obviously, Americans were disappointed when a U-2 plane was shot down over the Soviet Union and when the hostage rescue mission in Iran failed, but they never faulted the folks who lied to our enemies in support of those operations.

Then there are the personal lies.

Jack Kennedy was asked in the 1960 campaign if he had Addison’s disease. He said no, knowing full well his response was false. Bill Clinton, in his most remembered remark, wagged his finger and denied having sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

These were deeply disappointing public performances, but both Kennedy and Clinton were able to maintain popular support despite their false statements about health and marital indiscretions.

Richard Nixon was different. His denial of knowledge about the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up was not lying about private matters. It was lying about dirty political tricks and illegal efforts to hide them from investigation. Nixon committed impeachable offenses and resigned with a permanently damaged reputation.

Lying by itself may not end a presidency; but committing crimes and lying about them can.

Even before politicians arrive in the White House, running for office can produce problems with the truth. When Ronald Reagan promised to simultaneously cut taxes, raise defense spending and balance the budget, his principal opponent called that Voodoo economics.

The famous comment by George H. W. Bush was probably a slur against practitioners of Voodoo. But we don’t usually call claims like the one Reagan made lying. We call it campaigning. Even so, campaign language can sometimes venture so far from reality that it looks a lot like lying.

Reagan presents another example of presidential predicaments with veracity.

During the Iran-Contra scandal Reagan said that he never approved arms sales to Iran for the purpose of getting Iranian help in freeing hostages held in Lebanon. He said this repeatedly until evidence made it perfectly clear that his administration had done exactly that.

Reagan’s televised apology contained the claim that he still thought he had not traded arms for hostages. If the president was not lying to the American people, he was lying to himself. Self-delusion may be an occupational hazard for politicians.

All of this brings us to Donald Trump, already the most fantastic liar ever to occupy the Oval Office. Trump lies about everything. He talks about terrorist attacks in Sweden that no one in Sweden managed to notice. He blames Obama for the bugging of Trump Tower without any actual evidence that the surveillance took place or that the former president ordered it. He claims a bigger victory in the electoral college than any president since Reagan — a statement so patently false that a ten-year-old could prove its inaccuracy in a matter of minutes.

Trump says that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in 2016 and that all of them were for Hillary Clinton. He says the U.S. crime rate is sky high when a cursory glance at reliable trend lines shows a sustained and substantial long term decline.

Donald Trump practices every known form of presidential fabrication. He exaggerates, he obfuscates, he deludes, he makes things up and he believes things made up by others. Thus far, Trump has paid no substantial price for his troubles with the truth. His lies may actually have pleased his supporters and deflected his critics.

But one issue should give Trump and his associates pause. The president and his administration have provided Nixonian denials of any untoward communications or coordination with the Russians who hacked the election. There has already been one trusted advisor forced into resignation and another forced into recusal by conversations with a Russian diplomat. Additional Russian-related accusations dribble from anonymous sources.

Is this a Watergate in the making?

If Donald Trump knows about campaign conversations with Russians about their activities to disrupt the election and has falsely claimed that those conversations never took place, that might be a lie too far; even for the most accomplished political fabricator in American presidential history.


W&L’s Connelly Writes About the Presidential Selection Process

“The presidential selection process has for decades been a grand, national accident waiting to happen.”

This article was originally published on The Hill and is reprinted here with permission. Read the original article.

Bring back the party bosses: Media moguls
replaced smoke-filled rooms

By William F. Connelly, Jr., Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University

It finally happened.

Since the 1970s McGovern-Frazier presidential nominating process reforms, we have, every four years, “reformed the reforms” making the process progressively more “open and democratic” in hopes of finally slaying the dragon of “party bosses in the smoke-filled rooms.” At long last we have succeeded — with Donald Trump the result of this democratized nomination process. Congratulations. We are now reaping the whirlwind of majoritarian populist reforms.

Woodrow Wilson may be celebrating, while James Madison is disheartened.

The presidential selection process has for decades been a grand, national accident waiting to happen. Indeed, it almost happened in 1992 with Ross Perot. Recall the soft demagoguery of “I’m Ross.  You’re the Boss.” While discussing complex policy conundrums, Perot frequently insisted “It’s just that simple,” promising to get under the hood to solve our nation’s problems with alacrity.

Perot, who ran as a largely self-funded third party candidate beholden to no one, effectively nominated himself on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” At one point during the general election, Perot led Republican President George H. W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton. Yet Perot – dubbed “a paranoid little ferret” by humor columnist Dave Barry – ultimately incinerated his own candidacy with his quirky penchant for conspiracy theories. Easy come, easy go.

Perot owed his candidacy to the media bosses, rather than to any party bosses. “I was his New Hampshire,” Larry King boasted. Similarly, today Donald Trump’s outsider populist candidacy owes little to the Republican “establishment.” To the contrary, most GOP governors, senators, and House members did their best to stop Trump, as witness the dearth of elected officials at Trump’s Cleveland nominating convention.

Similarly, Republican donors and “#NeverTrump” conservative intellectuals did their darnedest to derail his candidacy; but to no avail. Trump’s outsider populism defeated more than just the other sixteen GOP candidates. Similarly, Bernie Sanders came close to Hillary Clinton, in spite of the best efforts of establishment figures like DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Democrats’ undemocratic “superdelegates” reform largely helped save Hillary in the end.

As political theorist Herbert Storing noted, “The few never sleep, while the many are rarely truly awake.” Our presidential selection process reforms traded one set of elites for another; media bosses replacing party bosses, with the new process seemingly more intent on entertaining than enlightening voters — all in the pursuit of ratings and viewership. Televised “presidential debates,” for example, place a premium on outrage, goading gladiatorial candidates into demeaning mud wrestling matches. The advantage goes to celebrity candidates.

In an age of celebrity candidates, we find ourselves with an “apprentice” president utterly lacking relevant experience. And it shows. Trump may be the ultimate “unintended consequence of reform.” What’s next, a “Saturday Night Live” comedian for president in 2020?

Our media-driven presidential primary process produced a disconnect between the qualities needed to run for president and the virtues needed to serve as president; disconnecting campaigning and governing yields tweeting taking the place of cabinet level deliberations. The Donald may be ideal for filling a voracious 24/7 cable news vacuum. Thank you, CNN, FOX and MSNBC!

Who needs a cabinet or a West Wing filled with serious policy mavens, when a president can watch cable TV talk shows, then emote into his twitter feed? Reality has been replaced by a media-created in-the-moment mediality. Is it any wonder that we find ourselves debating “fake news” today?

Ironically, if the current Progressive Wilsonian “direct democracy” process is purportedly so democratic, how did it result in nominating the two least popular major-party candidates in polling history? Party regulars, Madison might remind us, especially those who actually know the candidates and can exercise serious “peer review,” may ultimately be better judges of candidate character and competence, and less likely to fall prey to populist demagoguery.

Is a media-dominated outsider populist primary process an adequate substitute for a party-oriented republican process capable of exercising a deliberative judgment on whether a particular candidate is ill-suited by character and temperament to be President of the United States? Or, as political scientist Jim Ceaser has argued, perhaps we need a “mixed system” which requires candidates to appeal to popular sentiment and to pass peer review muster with party professionals, especially elected officials with whom presidents need to work. The media bosses have failed us with their faux populism.

We need to relearn the value of Madisonian republicanism. Let’s reform the reforms to make the process more deliberative and less democratic. Bring back the party bosses. The general election is sufficiently democratic to allow us to pass judgment on their nomination choices.

William F. Connelly, Jr. is the John K. Boardman Politics Professor at Washington and Lee University.

W&L’s Melissa Kerin Talks About the Hidden World of Stolen Art and Artifacts

“Anything that you see in a museum or in a collection could have a dubious provenance. We need to begin to ask questions around who is entitled to own this stuff.”

Melissa Kerin, Assistant Professor of Art History, talked to WMRA’s Jessie Knadler about the Staniar Gallery’s recent exhibit by artist and researcher Joy Lyn Davis.

Listen to her interview on WMRA.org.

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Scholarly Panel to Celebrate Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration at W&L Five W&L faculty members are featured in a new book from Cambridge Press about the NSA surveillance scandal that grew out of Edward Snowden’s now infamous disclosures.

nsaimage-800x533 Scholarly Panel to Celebrate Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration at W&L

On Tuesday, April 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the Ruscio Center for Global Learning, faculty from across the University will gather for a panel discussion celebrating Washington and Lee’s commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and collaborative research.

The event recognizes Washington and Lee faculty contributions to a new book from Cambridge University Press focused on the NSA surveillance scandal that grew out of Edward Snowden’s now infamous disclosures of U.S. spying programs. W&L Law professor Russell Miller contributed to and edited the volume, which includes essays from four other W&L faculty members: Roger Crocket (German/Russian), Sarah Horowitz (History), and law professors Joshua Fairfield and Margaret Hu.

“This is a unique opportunity to celebrate W&L’s campus-wide commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and our deep expertise in this particular and important area of study and inquiry,” says Miller. “Bringing this many W&L professors together in a book published by Cambridge Press represents one of W&L’s most successful interdisciplinary collaborations in some years.  The book proves that we are smarter and more insightful when we are working together across our diverse disciplines to tackle tough questions.”

The book, titled “Privacy and Power: A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair,” examines U.S. and European views on privacy. During the event, W&L faculty will discuss their contributions to the project and how their unique disciplinary perspective helped illuminate this multidimensional and transnational issue.

A reception will follow the panel discussion. The event is sponsored by the German Law Journal, the Provost’s Office, and the Center for International Education. All are welcome to attend.

About Privacy and Power

“Privacy and Power: A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair” documents and engages with the dramatic differences that opened up between Americans and Europeans around issues such as privacy and intelligence-gathering in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance programs.

According to Miller, Edward Snowden’s leaks exposed fundamental differences in the ways Americans and Europeans approach the issues of privacy and intelligence gathering.

“The American perspective is that Europeans should “grow up”, while Europeans think the Americans should learn to “obey the law,” says Miller.

Featuring chapters from leading commentators, scholars and practitioners from both sides of the Atlantic, including the W&L contributors, the book documents and explains these differences of opinion and analysis.

The book opens with a collection of chapters acknowledging that Snowden’s revelations require a rethinking of the prevailing theories concerning privacy and intelligence gathering, explaining the differences and uncertainty regarding those aspects. A range of experts reflect on the law and policy of the NSA-Affair, documenting its fundamentally transnational dimension from the point of view of domestic and international legal regimes. The final chapters explain the dramatic transatlantic differences that emerged from the NSA-Affair with a collection of comparative cultural commentary.

The book is available for purchase online from Cambridge University Press at http://go.wlu.edu/powerandprivacy.

Tammi Hellwig Named Director of Community-Based Learning at Washington and Lee University

hellwig-tammi-234x350 Tammi Hellwig Named Director of Community-Based Learning at Washington and Lee UniversityTammi Hellwig

Tammi M. Hellwig has been named the director of Community-Based Learning at Washington and Lee University. W&L Provost Marc Conner announced the appointment, which is effective July 1.

Hellwig will be returning to W&L in her new role.  She was previously assistant dean for clinic and externship administration and professor of practice at the Washington and Lee School of Law, where she oversaw clinical program budgets, developed and maintained externship opportunities, oversaw externship adjunct professors, and taught in the experiential program.

Hellwig now serves as the chief deputy clerk for the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, where she manages operational and administrative functions of the Clerk’s Office. She holds a B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, and a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

In this new leadership role, Hellwig will chair the Community Engagement/Service Learning (CE/SL) Advisory Committee. She will work closely with the provost, as well as the academic deans, Student Affairs staff and others throughout the university to coordinate, support and lead W&L’s many programs and initiatives in community-based learning.

Her role will include:

  • Articulating a common vision for community-based learning at W&L;
  • Enhancing the overall quality of our programs and helping students and faculty realize the opportunities presented;
  • Developing and sustaining relationships with community partners and coordinating outreach efforts from all W&L programs;
  • Defining and strengthening community engagement practices and protocols and establishing training opportunities for students and faculty;
  • Developing an assessment practice and common learning objectives for student experiences;
  • Coordinating with the Student Affairs division on community service and community-based engagement;
  • Working with the provost on development and grant writing;
  • Supporting law school programming and working closely with law faculty and students and programs in community-based efforts.

“I am honored to be returning to W&L and to have been selected for this position,” said Hellwig,  “It is exciting that W&L is emphasizing this engaging aspect of its curriculum. I look forward to being an integral part of what is already a vibrant initiative, and to enhancing community-based learning for the students, faculty and the community.”

“This is an exciting position, one that is clearly articulated in the strategic thinking that has been going on throughout academic affairs for the past year and more,” said Conner. “We have a wide range of community engagement programs and initiatives at Washington and Lee, and through her work in this role, Tammi will enhance their efforts and harmonize their work, making these programs even more effective learning opportunities for our students, while strengthening our relationships with our community partners.”

W&L Junior Awarded Davis Projects for Peace Grant

“If, through this program, we can motivate the students to continue their academic trajectory and make them realize that they can study STEM, then I am willing to put in all my effort to start making the difference.”

Angel__Vela-600x400 W&L Junior Awarded Davis Projects for Peace GrantAngel Vela de la Garza Evia ’18

Angel Vela de la Garza Evia ’18, a student at Washington and Lee University, has won a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant that will allow him to conduct a three-phased STEM-related project — STEMito — for primary school students in his home city of Monterrey, Mexico.

The first phase of the STEMito project will consist of redesigning, refurbishing and equipping a public-school classroom to become a STEM center. The second phase will involve building a STEM curriculum and training the school’s teachers so they can use the newly equipped room to its full potential. The project will culminate in a month-long summer program for the school’s students, with each of the four weeks concentrating on one of the letters of STEM.

“The goal of STEMito is to expose students at the primary level to a wide variety of STEM topics in a way that they have never experienced them before,” explained Vela de la Garza Evia. “By doing so, we want to increase the curiosity and motivation that the students have towards learning STEM-related topics. In addition, our goal is to train teachers on new materials and learning methodologies related to STEM so that they can implement them in their classrooms throughout the academic year.”

The project is a perfect fit for Vela de la Garza Evia, who is a Bonner scholar and is studying chemistry and engineering. “This project combines my passion to serve with my interest in sharing what I learn in my own classes,” he said.

“STEMito is an inspiring project,” said Mark Rush, director of international education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law. “Angel will return to his home to encourage primary school students in Escuela Eduardo Caballero Escamilla to learn more about and consider careers in the STEM fields.”

Vela de la Garza Evia will collaborate with students from Universidad de Monterrey, American School Foundation of Mexico High school and faculty.

“The program combines Angel’s curriculum of study with his profound desire to assist children in a school that does not receive government funding,” said Rush. “Accordingly, working with the students and his collaborators, Angel will offer what could be a life-changing experience for these children as he opens their eyes to the mystery and beauty of the STEM fields.”

For Vela de la Garza Evia, the grant represents an opportunity to make a positive impact in his country. “We will show students the wide array of pursuable options that are out there, that otherwise they would have never known existed,” he said. “If, through this program, we can motivate the students to continue their academic trajectory and make them realize that they can study STEM, then I am willing to put in all my effort to start making the difference.”

As a partner school of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, Washington and Lee University is eligible to receive Davis Projects for Peace grants. The program is funded by the late Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who established it on her 100th birthday in 2007 as a way to challenge young people to plant seeds of peace throughout the world with innovative projects. At least one Washington and Lee student has won a Davis grant each year since the award’s inception.

Q&A with Executive-in-Residence Sandy Whann ‘86

“There’s not a greater joy than seeing people enjoy your product – that’s what gets me in there every day.”

Sandy Whann ’86, president of Leidenheimer Baking Company in New Orleans, is the Williams School Executive-in-Residence. In addition to speaking on “Contemplating Relevance: Thoughts on Life and Business from a New Orleans Baker,” he will spend several days on campus meeting with students, visiting classes and providing one-on-one career mentoring in the Career Development Office.

Hear Whann speak March 27 at 5 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room.

What brought you to W&L in the 1980s?

Some very close friends of my parents and some of their children had gone to W&L, so I learned about it from them when I started the college-search process. There were also a couple of guys I respected from my high school who went there as well, and when they came home from W&L they were always saying such wonderful things about their experience there.

How did your time at W&L prepare you for your career?

I had some very devoted professors who pointed me in the right direction in order to prepare me to enter my family company. They helped arrange an internship between my junior and senior years with another W&L family in my industry. For years after college, they continued to follow up and check on me. I remember my accounting professor, Lyn Wheeler, would send me every article related to bakeries that he ever found for 20 years after I graduated and even came to see me in New Orleans when he was in town for a conference. It was just that kind of follow up and care and concern that really made W&L so special.

What have W&L connections meant to you and your career?

There’s actually quite a unique group of baking families who have gone to W&L that are in a variety of different types of baking businesses in the U.S. It’s always fun to see them and compare notes. I would say a rich history of bakers at W&L that perhaps no one but me knows about.

How were you impacted by a liberal arts education?

I think that you learn the intricacies and details of most businesses through hands-on, day to day exposure and involvement. I think what separates, or can distinguish, a really good manager is the ability to articulate his or vision and his or her plan, and that takes communication and clear thinking. The liberal arts education certainly helped prepare me across the board for many of the challenges that I have faced. As I’m hiring both managers and line employees, I’m looking for many of those same standards that W&L holds so near and dear: civility, ethical behavior, generosity of spirit, attitude – all of those things that I’d like to think pervade W&L. That’s a pretty strong list of characteristics for new hires.

What are you looking forward to about being back on campus?

Interacting with the students. I’ve had the good fortune to meet a number of them, and I find them curious and intelligent, they ask good questions, they’re funny, and I’m looking forward to hopefully bringing some of my stories of real-life experience to their classrooms. And maybe help illustrate how some of the things they’ve touched on with their professors have actually affected me.

What do you hope students will take away from your talk?

What I hope the takeaway for students will be is an understanding of how everything that is so unique to W&L – the foundation of the school – has continued to be bedrock for me. It’s influenced everything about my life, from my family to my business. There’s not a part of my life that has not been influenced, and when you ask me about relevance it brings to mind a sort of eternal timelessness, which is the way I view W&L and the foundation of life there. And I don’t think it’s innocent or naïve to think that because I know I’m not the only one who’s had that same experience.

Is there anything else you’d like students to know?

I think that the manufacturing industry is one that most W&L students don’t think about entering. It’s not what they would consider to be a cutting-edge or innovative sector of the economy, but it’s a very rewarding one. There’s great satisfaction in playing a role in seeing a product made and go out the door, to see something that you’ve influenced, where you can help control and affect the quality. Maybe hearing some of the things I have to say will broaden some of their searches either for internships or after graduation, to consider something in the manufacturing industry or even the food manufacturing industry – it’s a wonderful business. There’s not a greater joy than seeing people enjoy your product – that’s what gets me in there every day.

Thriving at Home and Abroad: Karishma Patel ’18 Karishma Patel '18 loves finding the intersections of technology and business - while studying abroad in Madrid.

“I knew I couldn’t go wrong choosing a school that invests so much in its students and does its best to shape students to be intellectual, passionate and well-rounded.”

Karishma_Patel-Madrid-1024x768 Thriving at Home and Abroad: Karishma Patel '18Meet Karishma Patel ’18, who loves finding the intersections of technology and business – while studying abroad in Madrid.

Q. Where are you right now and what are you doing?

Right now, I am studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. I’m taking five classes, most of which are outside of my usual coursework: two art classes, one cinema class, one Spanish language class and one business class. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity, and I really encourage everyone to study abroad if they have the chance. Studying abroad has pushed me out of my comfort zone and given me experiences that range from awe-inspiring (skiing in the Swiss Alps) to slightly tragic (cancelling an expensive train ticket to Barcelona without a full refund) to downright confusing (traveling for five hours in a car with only native Spanish speakers). Living in Madrid has taught me a lot about myself and my capabilities. It has helped me to improve my Spanish (though it’s still a work in progress), and has allowed me to gain amazing cultural experiences in Spain, as well as in other European countries. I’m already dreading the thought of having to say goodbye to this beautiful city in just two months.

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

I wish I had a more interesting story to tell, but I first heard about the Johnson Scholarship through a pamphlet I received in the mail. I owe a lot of gratitude to my dad, who encouraged me to apply!

Q. Were you considering any other colleges when you applied for the scholarship?

By the time I applied for the Johnson, I already had started the process of applying to 12 other colleges. I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted my ideal college to look like. As a result, I applied to all sorts of schools, varying in size, location, majors and so on. By the time it came down to actually choosing a college, I was deciding between Boston College, University of Denver and Washington and Lee.

Q. Why did you ultimately choose W&L?

Visiting the campus during Johnson Weekend helped me realize how much I liked having a small campus and small class sizes. I was also impressed with the students I met, who all seemed to be lively and welcoming, but also independent and passionate about their respective areas of study. I knew after that weekend that attending Washington and Lee would be challenging, but rewarding.

When I received my Johnson letter in the mail, I recall being stunned. I honestly did not expect to receive the scholarship and I was so shocked to realize that Washington and Lee was suddenly a serious contender. In addition to the financial advantage of being a Johnson Scholar, I honestly saw myself being able to thrive at a school like Washington and Lee.

Q. How has Johnson affected your views on leadership and integrity — or on academics?

Being awarded a Johnson has been such an honor. Knowing how powerful the Johnson Scholarship is motivates me daily to continue to work hard and follow my passions. That being said, my views on leadership and integrity come more from the W&L community than directly from the Johnson. My peers are the ones that inspire me to be a leader, to be intellectual, and to maintain my values. I see students on campus embodying these important characteristics regardless of their scholarship status. For me, the Johnson just serves as an extra reminder to be the best that I can be.

Q. What is your favorite story about your W&L experience — if you had to pick one?

My favorite W&L experience was hiking Sharp Top Mountain for a sunrise hike. As a Coloradoan, I love to hike, but I had never done a sunrise hike before! The whole experience was so incredible. From getting lost on the drive up, to hiking in the dark using our phone flashlights, to sitting at the top during the sunrise, I felt so happy and stress-free. There is something magical about watching the sunrise with great friends surrounding you. That experience taught me to really appreciate the small moments in life and to be present in the moment, because no matter how stressful life gets, there are always things to smile about!

Q. Do you have a mentor on campus?

I admire my Business Administration advisor, Dr. Shay. There have been many times that I have gone to his office for a quick visit and left over two hours later! I am grateful to have an advisor that makes time to talk to me, even though he has countless other responsibilities. Aside from being comfortable going to Dr. Shay with my questions and concerns, I also appreciate that he is constantly challenging me to be better. Often, I leave Dr. Shay’s office with a list of tasks that I need to accomplish. Once, Dr. Shay even gave me a list of alumni and challenged me to introduce myself to as many of them as possible at the Entrepreneurship Summit. Having an advisor that cares enough to understand my passions and my interests has been an invaluable addition to my undergraduate career at Washington and Lee.

Q. What extra-curricular activity are you involved in right now that you are extra passionate about?

Just last term, I started working as a teaching assistant for the Computer Science department. When Dr. Lambert first asked me to take on the position, I was honored, but also extremely nervous! I was unsure of my ability to help other students understand key concepts and write successful code. Every Tuesday, I would run from my last class of the day to the lab. Though I always left the lab exhausted, being a TA helped me to renew my passion for computer science, improve my ability to explain difficult ideas, and grow as a programmer. By the last class of the term, I realized that although I wasn’t always able to figure out how to help students, I was completely capable of taking on the role of a TA. When I return to Lexington after my term abroad, I hope to resume working as a TA!

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

Get involved! Don’t be afraid to apply for extracurricular activities and don’t be afraid to explore your interests!

As a freshman, I was only involved in one extracurricular activity. I spent far too much time focusing on my classes, and not enough time doing other things that made me happy. I think college is a delicate balance between exploring your passions in class and exploring the things that make you happy outside of class. Since adding more extracurriculars to my schedule, I have found myself busier, but also happier! For example, volunteering at Campus Kitchen or Habitat for Humanity is my way of letting go of the stresses that come with classes. Joining more clubs hasn’t made my workload easier, but it helps me remember that life is about more than just my studies in the classroom.

Q. If someone asked you “why choose W&L,” what is the one reason you would give them?

Opportunities. Washington and Lee is incredible at providing its students with a wealth of resources and opportunities to explore their passions. Regardless of whether you are a Johnson Scholar, I feel that Washington and Lee does a really good job of helping students achieve their goals. Advisors, professors, the Career Development Center, and even peers are constantly working to help you follow your passions. For me, being a student at Washington and Lee has given me a means to attend conferences, secure internships, and pursue projects that are meaningful to me.

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 Karishma

Hometown:
Highlands Ranch, CO

Majors:
Business Administration & Computer Science

Extracurricular involvement:
Teaching Assistant for Introductory Computer Science Classes
– Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity
– Phi Beta Kappa
– General Development Initiative (GenDev)
– English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Why did you choose your major?
Since high school, I knew that I was interested in business. I knew that I wanted to pursue a major in a business field in college, so the business administration major was an easy decision. Regarding computer science, I had taken a class in high school and I was pretty awful at it. My sophomore year of college, I decided to give it a try once more, and I actually enjoyed it a lot! I love that my computer science classes force me to think in a completely different way than my business classes.

What professor has inspired you?
Dr. Jeffrey Shay, my Business Administration advisor

What’s your personal motto?
Don’t let fear or discomfort stop you from taking risks and trying new things.

What’s your favorite song right now?
Inspired by the fact that I’m currently studying abroad in Spain: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Definitely Napa Thai. I always order spicy pad Thai with vegetables and tofu.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Sometimes you’ll try your best and things still won’t work out, but that’s okay! Don’t stop trying!

Post-graduation plans:
I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to end up after graduation, but I’d like to pursue a career at the intersection of business and computer science. Eventually, I would consider grad school, but I don’t have any set plans yet.

Favorite W&L memory:
Sunrise hikes with friends!

Favorite class:
Probably either “Decision Making Under Pressure,” a business class, or “Ethics of War,” a philosophy class.

Favorite W&L event:
Mock Convention

Favorite campus landmark:
Colonnade. Not a creative answer, but still my favorite campus landmark!

What’s your passion?
The intersection of business and technology

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m a HUGE Broncos fan!

Why did you choose W&L?
I knew I couldn’t go wrong choosing a school that invests so much in its students and does its best to shape students to be intellectual, passionate and well-rounded.

Career Paths: Chi Ewusi ’17L

chiewusi-400x600 Career Paths: Chi Ewusi '17LChi Ewusi ’17L

Chi Ewusi ’17L hails from all over but most recently lived in the Philadelphia suburbs before coming to law school. Before pursuing a legal education, she worked as a writer and a dancer for several years, and she graduated from the University of Phoenix with a B.A. in English. At W&L Law, she served as the Executive Editor of the German Law Journal and the Law News.

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

After graduation, I will be working for Kirkland and Ellis, in their Houston, TX office. I’ll be doing primarily private equity and capital markets work.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a law firm?

I knew that I wanted to spend at least a few years at a firm and get that experience.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

Size and location were prerequisites for sure. I wanted a firm large enough in both numbers and office locations to handle large deals.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?

Going into law school, I knew that I would aim to pursue employment at a large law firm. My biggest fears were whether I could handle it and whether taking that path would prevent me from pursuing my other legal interests. Talking with my professors helped confirmed my career choice, as well as taking on interesting assignments that combined my love of corporate and international law.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a law firm job?

I think it depends on what kind of work you’ll be doing, but generally, some corporate and business classes would be useful. Classes like Close Business Arrangements (CBA) and Federal Income Tax provide a good foundation. Because I’m specifically doing securities and private equity work, I’ve found Securities Regulation, Secured Transactions, and Cross Borders Transactions to be particularly helpful as well.

Can you describe your job search process?

I was fortunate to receive an offer from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (where I spent my 2L summer), but I knew I did not want to start my career in D.C. Through talking to alums in Texas and following business journals/blogs, I found out that Kirkland & Ellis was expanding in that region. I forwarded my resume, visited the Houston office in August, and received an offer a couple of days later to join my preferred practice area in my preferred market.

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Career Paths: Mikail Clark ’17L

mikail Career Paths: Mikail Clark '17LMikail Clark ’17L

Mikail Clark ’17L, a native of Washington, D.C., holds an MBA and two bachelor’s degrees from Liberty University. At W&L, Mikail is a Burks Fellow and the Advancement Editor of the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. After graduation, Mikail plans to take the West Virginia bar and practice there. In addition to practicing law, Mikail would like to start his own tax and accounting business, and one day, he hopes to delve into real estate investing. 

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

After graduation, I will join the Charleston, WV office of Spilman, Thomas, and Battle, PLLC. My practice will be evenly split between corporate transactional and litigation defense work.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a law firm?

Although I was not certain that I wanted to work in a law firm, I had a strong inclination that I would do so, particularly at the beginning of my career.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

During my search, I knew that if possible, I wanted to land at a mid-size firm because I believed that they generally strike the appropriate balance between giving attorneys a diverse workload and permitting them to have sufficient time for family life and civic activities. As I was open to living anywhere, I really did not care about the location of the firms to which I applied.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?

Recently, I was excited to learn that one of the memoranda I wrote while working as a summer associate at the firm was heavily used in a successful summary judgment motion. When notifying the client, the partner gave credit to me for the favorable decision. That confirmed my choices of career and law firm.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?

Of course, I recommend that students determine the bar exam(s) for which they will likely sit and to take classes that cover the subjects that will be tested on the bar exam(s). Further, I recommend that students take Close Business Arrangments (CBA), so that they can obtain at least a cursory understanding of how business organizations operate, and Sales, so that they can have at least a foundational understanding of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), negotiable instruments, and commercial paper. Otherwise, the classes that students should take totally depends on their preferred practice area.

Can you describe your job search process?

During my initial summer job search, I cast an wide net and applied to various law firms, public sector organizations, corporations, and NPOs using our jobs database Symplicity (which has since been replaced by SCORE) and other common job search websites such as Indeed, Monster, and USA Jobs. Ultimately, I landed several interviews, mostly through the Office of Career Strategy (OCS), and obtained a few offers, from which I chose Spilman. I spent my entire 1L summer at Spilman and had a great time. After spending part of my 2L summer at Spilman, I happily accepted an position with the firm in October.

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W&L Professor George Bent Discusses His New Book at Library Author Talk Series

“Street corners, guild halls, government offices and confraternity centers contained paintings that made the city of Florence a visual jewel at precisely the time of its emergence as an international cultural leader.”

The Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series, at Washington and Lee University, presents George Bent, the Sidney Gause Childress Professor of Art at W&L, on April 5 at 5 p.m. in the Book Nook on the main floor of Leyburn Library.

BentG-400x600 W&L Professor George Bent Discusses His New Book at Library Author Talk SeriesGeorge Bent

He will be discussing his new book, “Public Painting and Visual Culture in Early Republican Florence” (2017). The talk is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

“Street corners, guild halls, government offices and confraternity centers contained paintings that made the city of Florence a visual jewel at precisely the time of its emergence as an international cultural leader,” said Bent. “This book considers the paintings that were made specifically for consideration by lay viewers, as well as the way they could have been interpreted by audiences who approached them with very specific perspectives.

“Their belief in the power of images, their understanding of the persuasiveness of pictures and their acceptance of the utterly vital role that art could play as a propagator of civic, corporate and even individual identity made lay viewers keenly aware of the paintings in their midst,” Bent continued. “Those pictures affirmed the piety of people for whom they were made in an age of social and political upheaval, as the city experimented with an imperfect form of republicanism that often failed to adhere to its declared aspirations.

Bent is the author of “Monastic Art in Lorenzo Monaco’s Florence: Painting and Patronage in Santa Maria degli Angeli, 1300-1415” (2006); “Early Renaissance Art” (2002); and “Gothic Art” (ed., 2002).

Bent, a member of the W&L faculty since 1993, is a member of College Art Association, Renaissance Society of America, Italian Art Society and International Center of Medieval Art. He earned his B.A. from Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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W&L Hosts Joint Reading and Talk on Ecological Approaches to Poetry

A joint reading and talk on ecological approaches to poetry with Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street will be held at Washington and Lee University on April 3 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale and refreshments will be offered. The event is co-sponsored by Environmental Studies at W&L and the dean of the college.

Ann_Fisher-Wirth-400x600 W&L Hosts Joint Reading and Talk on Ecological Approaches to PoetryAnn Fisher-Wirth

Fisher-Wirth’s fourth book of poems is “Dream Cabinet” (2012). With Street, she coedited “Ecopoetry Anthology” (2013), which is a comprehensive collection of American poetry about nature and the environment, stressing the relationship of people to the other-than-human world.

Her current project is a collaborative poetry and photography manuscript called “Mississippi” with the acclaimed photographer Maude Schuyler Clay (2017).

Fisher-Wirth, who teaches and directs the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded residencies at The Mesa Refuge; Djerassi Resident Artists Program; Hedgebrook; and CAMAC/Centre d’Art in Marnay, France.

She is a Fellow 2015-2018 of the Black Earth Institute, the recipient of a senior Fulbright to Switzerland and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair award to Sweden and past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.

Laura-Gray_Street_2-600x400 W&L Hosts Joint Reading and Talk on Ecological Approaches to PoetryLaura-Gray Street

Street is the author of “Pigment and Fume” (2014) and co-editor with Fisher-Wirth of the Ecopoetry Anthology (2013).

She has been the recipient of poetry prizes from The Greensboro Review; the Dana Awards; the Southern Women Writers Conference; Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing; and Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments.

Street’s work has been published in the Colorado Review, Poecology, Poetry Daily, Hawk and Handsaw, Gargoyle and Shenandoah. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Artist House at St. Mary’s College in Maryland and the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, where Street was the Garland Distinguished Fellow.

She is an associate professor of English and directs the Creative Writing Program at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Shenandoah Editor R.T. Smith Publishes Sixth Collection of Stories

“These stories are music itself, voiced by unlikely balladeers. To read them is to hear the songs of fallen angels.”

Rod_Smith-400x600 Shenandoah Editor R.T. Smith Publishes Sixth Collection of StoriesR.T. Smith

R.T. Smith, Shenandoah editor and Washington and Lee University writer in residence, has published his sixth collection of stories, “Doves in Flight.”

He said, “The book takes its title from a vintage model Gibson guitar with inlaid doves which almost seem to fly off the instrument.” The stories have been previously published in a variety of journals, including Southern Review, Missouri Review, Florida Review and Fugue.

Characters in the 13 stories, which are set in western Virginia and often involve an element of the fantastic, include a religious TV knife show host, a gamecock-loving girl, a famous figure skater, the Jack of beanstalk fame, a teenager who vanishes from Natural Bridge, a 19th-century Appalachian version of Rumpelstiltskin and Satan himself.

Novelist Cary Holliday has written about Smith’s book, “These stories are music itself, voiced by unlikely balladeers. To read them is to hear the songs of fallen angels.”

Smith was raised in Georgia and North Carolina and served as writer in residence at Auburn University before moving to Lexington. He teaches courses in the W&L English Department and has also taught poetry writing at Virginia Military Institute. He has twice received a Library of Virginia Book of the Year Award.

Smith’s earlier volumes of stories are “Sherburne,” “Chinquapins,” “Faith,” “The Calaboose Epistles” and “Uke Rivers Delivers.” His work has also appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South and this year’s edition of Best American Poetry.

In 2006, he was one of three recipients of the National Magazine Award for Fiction. Smith recently served as the Coffey Distinguished Professor of Writing at Appalachian State University.

“Doves in Flight” is available in local bookstores and may be ordered from either Louisiana Literature Press at Southeastern Louisiana University or Amazon.

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My W&L: MK Moran ‘19 MK Moran's work with the LGBTQ Resource Center at Washington and Lee is impacting student perspectives.

“I want to make sure that all students feel welcome here, no matter their identity. We want to ensure that they feel welcome and that they feel that they will be heard and represented on campus.”

Mary-Kate-Moran-600x400 My W&L: MK Moran ‘19Meet MK Moran ‘19, whose work with the LGBTQ Resource Center is impacting student perspectives

When I first toured W&L, as a recently out-and-proud baby queer, I had reservations about my ability to fit into the community.  I set a specific goal for that day: I had to identify at least one sign of an LGBTQ+ presence on campus.  While I admit I had some degree of doubt that I would encounter anything that would fulfill that goal, I was optimistic, because I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated so many other aspects of W&L.  I thought that W&L had potential to be my home for the next four years, but I was still worried that this important part of my life would not be welcome here.  However, that afternoon, when I walked into the psychology class that I was sitting in on, I saw a student with rainbow pins on their backpack, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  If in this single class I could find LGBTQ+ representation, there must be a community of some sort here, I figured.  This one encounter, and the old LGBTQ+ resource center, the Hill House, gave me faith enough that I could make myself – my whole self – home here.

That following fall, when I arrived at W&L, I was surprised to find that, while that community did exist, it was very small and very quiet.  I got to know everyone involved and the LGBTQ+ coordinator, Rallie Snowden, very well, very quickly, as the community was just that small.  Starting the second semester of my first year, I began to actively work to help vocalize the LGBTQ+ presence in an effort not only to educate, but to try to reach any and all students who may benefit from it.  

The first project that I became very involved with was the Equality Gala in March, in which I debuted my interest in visual marketing and design.  Suddenly, my art appeared around campus, advertising this queer event that not only emphasized our presence as a community, but this notion of “Come as you are” that we try to preach on campus.

Later that semester, Rallie offered me a marketing position for my sophomore year, and I excitedly accepted.  Since the beginning of this year, I have been able to produce many pieces of visual advertisement for LGBTQ+ events and activities on campus in order to not only reach students who may benefit from them, but to also give a persistent public voice on campus for my LGBTQ+ peers.  I am so thankful for this opportunity as a chance to use my passion for art in a way that benefits the LGBTQ+ community as a whole and challenges the notion of homogeneity on our campus.

In my work for Rallie and with Generals’ Unity, I continue to come back to my first day on this campus.  I, as do the other LGBTQ+ peer counselors and members of Generals’ Unity, want to make sure that all students feel welcome here, no matter their identity. We want to ensure that they feel welcome and that they feel that they will be heard and represented on campus.  Every time one of my flyers or posters go up in Commons or online, I think back to two of my past selves – the self that was scared to come here and the self that was unhappy with the initial state of the LGBTQ+ community here – and, while I wish the community that we have developed now could have been available for both of them, I am so pleased with and proud of where we are now and the trajectory we have set for years to come.

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 MK

Hometown:
Richmond, VA

Majors:
Sociology Major with a Latin American and Caribbean Studies Minor.

Extracurricular involvement:
– LGBTQ+ Peer Counselor
– W&L Eventing Club
– Generals’ Unity
– Gender Action Group.

With a few friends, I started a creative writing club called Work in Progress, and I have a work study under Rallie Snowden in which I manage the marketing for LGBTQ+ events on campus.

Off-campus activities/involvement:
I volunteer with the United States Pony Club and at local equine veterinary clinics.

Why did you choose your major?
I chose sociology as my major, because I want to pursue a career in social work.

What professor has inspired you?
Professor Barnett has inspired me in terms of my career path, academic endeavors, and continued study of Spanish.

What’s your personal motto?
I don’t have one single motto that I choose to live by, but currently I keep coming back to the phrase “So now what?” to remind myself to process the here and now but to continue to move forward as well.

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Ashes and Wine” by A Fine Frenzy

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I love Kind Roots, especially their smoothies.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Before coming to W&L, I wish I had known that, while every moment passes, every moment is valuable and important, and that those moments go by very quickly.

Post-graduation plans:
As of now, I’m planning on getting a masters in social work after undergrad.

Favorite W&L memory:
Last year’s Equality Gala

Favorite class:
I don’t think I could pick a single favorite class, but Spanish 240 with Professor Barnett came to change the way I live and the way I look at life. I really owe that to the way Professor Barnett teaches and the literature that we read.

Favorite W&L event:
My favorite W&L event is the Equality Gala that we host every year in March.

Favorite campus landmark:
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center, of course!

What’s your passion?  
I have defined my life by an endless pursuit to spread kindness and compassion, to work to relieve pain and suffering, and to listen and advocate for the voices frequently silenced.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? When I came into W&L, I thought that I wanted to be a STEM major and pursue a career as a veterinarian – both things that have changed now.

Why did you choose W&L?
I chose to come to W&L because I was very attracted to the idea of a small, liberal arts university.

Lee Chapel and Museum Presents Lee Family Day

family_day_2-600x400 Lee Chapel and Museum Presents Lee Family DayLee Family Day

Lee Chapel and Museum will present Lee Family Day on April 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lee Chapel and Museum on the campus of Washington and Lee University.

The Lee Family Day will show the importance of both family and the family of Robert E. Lee. It is free and open to the public.

There are many stations to learn about the wife, seven children and extended family of Lee.

Activities include a portrayal if Mildred Lee, family tours and museum activities, jewelry making inspired by the Lee daughters, the construction of Lee Chapel, stories of travel and postcard making and Lee family pets.

If you plan on coming, please register with Lee Chapel at (540) 458-8768.

family_day_1-600x400 Lee Chapel and Museum Presents Lee Family DayLee Family Day

Five W&L Alumni Win National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowships For the 2017 competition, NSF received over 13,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers.

Five Washington and Lee University alumni have received pre-doctoral graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition, one student received an honorable mention.

Eric Schwen ’15 graduated from W&L with a major in physics and was one of three valedictorians. He is working on his Ph.D. at Cornell University, focusing on condensed matter physics.

While at W&L, he was a Johnson Scholar and used his Johnson Opportunity Grant to travel to Madrid and Paris to attend physics conferences. He won a Goldwater Scholarship his junior year and published “A Two-State Stochastic Model for Nanoparticle Self-Assembly: Theory, Computer Simulations and Applications” and “Cooperative Sequential-Adsorption Model in Two Dimensions with Experimental Applications for Ionic Self-Assembly of Nanoparticles” with professors Dan and Irina Mazilu.

Joy Putney ’16, a physics-engineering and biology double major, is pursuing a Ph.D. in quantitative biosciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“My research will answer some of the questions at the interface of neuroscience and biomechanics using invertebrate models, which will have significant broader impact on society and human health,” she said. “Understanding principles of nervous system function has been highlighted by President Barack Obama as a major research goal through the BRAIN initiative. Invertebrates are an excellent model system to extract underlying principles of nervous system function due to the relative simplicity of their nervous systems compared to higher order animals. Increasing our knowledge of motor control and encoding mechanisms used to accomplish behaviors will enable the design of better brain-machine interfaces and neuroprostheses that use a mechanistic understanding of how the nervous system functions. This has the potential to transform how we treat neural disorders and replace lost biological functions.”

While at W&L, Putney used her Johnson Opportunity Grant to travel to the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, in Auckland, New Zealand, to conduct research in the Gastrointestinal Lab. There, she used experimental data and simulations to investigate the regulation of the stomach and small intestines.

Gabriella Kitch ’16 earned her B.S. in geology, with a minor in environmental studies. While at W&L, she held an internship with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Science Center in Richmond, Virginia, as a part of a program led by biology professor Robert Humston. The following summer, she attended an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan, where she measured mercury concentrations in a small watershed. That project became her honors thesis, “Terrestrial Mercury Cycling in Northern Michigan: Honeysuckle Creek Watershed and Burt Lake.”

Before starting at Northwestern University, Kitch assisted a lab member in taking water samples from rivers and estuaries in the Canadian Archipelago. At Northwestern, where Kitch is pursuing a Ph.D. in geochemistry, she is using non-traditional stable isotope systems, such as calcium isotopes, to look at surface ocean changes during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). “The PETM (~56 million years ago) was a period of geologically rapid climate change caused by a large carbon release and therefore may have implications for understanding how the earth system will react to anthropogenic climate change,” she said.

Randl Dent ’15 majored in psychology and sociology and was part of professor Megan Fulcher’s Gender Development Lab, where she designed and implemented a study that examined the influence gendered toys have on gendered play, as well as efficacy for gendered skills and tasks in children who were 4- to 7-years old.

She is working on her Ph.D. in health psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. “My master’s thesis, on which my NSF grant was based, examines the impact of feature-based bias on help-seeking behaviors in Black students,” she said. “In the first study, I will be examining how Black students’ mental healthcare utilization may differ based on their Afrocentric features (i.e., features that signify African descent, such as darker skin and eye colors, wider nose, thicker lips, coarse hair). In the second study, I will be using an experimental design to examine whether Black students would prefer to see a counselor whose Afrocentric features are most similar to their own. It is my hope that my research will increase the public’s awareness of feature-based bias and its impact on help-seeking behaviors in Black students. Awareness is a critical first step in providing supportive outlets to Black students. In the long term, I hope that findings will also provide the foundation for future intervention research focusing on improving Black students’ help-seeking behaviors, which will ultimately reduce the pervasive educational and health disparities.”

James Biemiller ’15 is a Ph.D. student in geological sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. He double majored in geology and physics and completed a senior thesis in geology with professor Dave Harbor, “Plucking as a Mechanism of Fluvial Erosion on Mars.” He won a Goldwater scholarship his junior year. Additional W&L summer research experiences included a project on 3-D photogrammetry with professor Chris Connors and a project on uplift-erosion dynamics in Argentina with professors Dave Harbor and Jeff Rahl.

“My graduate research focuses on active tectonics and fault dynamics, particularly on low-angle normal faults,” he said. “I use geophysical data and numerical models to monitor and simulate stresses on faults in the earth to better understand their potential to rupture in large earthquakes.”

Melina

Melina Knabe ’17 received an honorable mention from the NSF. In 2016, the neuroscience major and philosophy minor won a research grant from the Virginia Academy of Science to fund her senior thesis research project, “Language Translates to Executive Functions: Investigating the Bilingual Advantage in Inhibitory Control.”

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. For the 2017 competition, NSF received over 13,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers.


U.S. Marine Liaison to Japan Self Defense Forces to Speak

Col._Chris_Goff-488x400 U.S. Marine Liaison to Japan Self Defense Forces to SpeakCol. Chris Goff

Colonel Chris Goff, U.S. Marine liaison to the Japan Self Defense Forces, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on March 28 at 7 p.m. in the atrium of the Ruscio Center for Global Learning at W&L.

The title of his lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “Japan and East Asian Security Challenges.” It is sponsored by East Asian Languages and Literature and East Asian Studies.

“Since the end of the World War II, the U.S.-Japan Alliance has underwritten the postwar Rules Based International System (RBIS) in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region,” Goff said. “Both this system and the Alliance are facing unprecedented pressures and challenges from China, an unpredictable North Korea and a declining Russia in what was once projected to be the Asian Century.

“As the largest and most dynamic region in the world, the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region continues to hold both opportunities and security challenges for the Alliance. Understanding Japan and the Alliance has never been more important for America than today. A vital question we must answer is: Are the U.S. and Japan capable of continuing to be effective in the region and maintaining security and stability in the years to come?”

Goff, a 1988 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he is also a graduate of military courses and colleges including the U.S. Army’s Infantry Mortar Leader Course, Airborne School, the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Command and General Staff College and the Japan Ministry of Defense National Institute for Defense Studies.

He served in the Persian Gulf War and was selected to become the Marine Corps’ first Japan, North-East Asia Foreign Area Officer in 1989. Joining the U.S. Pacific Command in 2010, Goff served as chief, Southeast Asia policy division and chief of strategic plans.

Goff assumed his current position as the Marine Forces Pacific liaison officer to the JGSDF in 2013. He most recently served as director of operations, CJ-3, for Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq, from June to December 2016.

Personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal; Bronze Star Medal; the Taiwan Badge of Honor, awarded by the Taiwan Minister of Defense; and the Combat Action Ribbon with gold star.

Virginia Festival of the Book Showcases W&L’s Talents

Three members of the Washington and Lee community will see their literary work highlighted this week at the Virginia Festival of the Book, in Charlottesville.

First up is Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Romance Languages at W&L. She makes her appearance on Friday, March 24, at 4 p.m., in the session “Fiction: Exploring Others and Ourselves.” Domnica has published three novels, “Country of Red Azaleas,” “Black Sea Twilight” and “Train to Trieste.”

On Sunday, the session “ ‘Speaking in Faces’: Virginia’s Typographical Treasures Published” will include Bonnie Bernstein, who is married to Hank Dobin, professor of English at W&L. Along with Lucas Czarnecki and David Shields, Bonnie will talk about the type-specimen book of Virginia’s largest public collection of metal and wood type holdings. Furthermore, Yolanda Merrill, who retired from W&L as a humanities librarian, is in charge of binding the book.

The Virginia Festival of the Book is a popular program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The VFH’s founding president, Rob Vaughan, is a member of the W&L Class of 1966. Last year the university gave him an honorary degree for his distinguished career in service of the humanities. Vaughan is retiring this year after 43 years with VFH.


At Home in LaLa Land Marquita Robinson ’10 loves the uncertainty of life as a sitcom writer for “New Girl.”

Marquita-Robinson-800x533 At Home in LaLa LandMarquita Robinson ’10 (left) on the set of “New Girl.” An episode she wrote aired Feb. 9.

“My advisor, Bob de Maria [professor emeritus of journalism and mass communications], was my main cheerleader, and although I took some of his classes, it was time spent just talking to him in his office that had the most influence on me.”

In the seven years since Marquita Robinson graduated from Washington and Lee University, she has had 11 jobs and internships. In most professions, that would indicate a problem, but for Robinson, it’s all a part of making it in show biz.

Currently a staff writer for the Emmy-nominated FOX comedy show “New Girl,” Robinson thrives on the demands and uncertainty of working and living in Los Angeles. Sometimes, “the faucet turns off; even gifted people can hit a rough patch,” she said of the profession she chose.

Show business is not a place for people who want stability, she said. “You often get rejected. It’s not good for sensitive people.”

But for someone like Robinson, who organized the comedy skit group Wednesday Night Live at W&L, working on a comedy TV show or movie is a dream come true. “I knew when I was a freshman at W&L that I wanted to go to film school,” she said.

After graduating with a double major in theater and journalism and mass communications, Robinson entered the prestigious film school at the University of Southern California. While some people skip this step and plunge right into interviews and auditions, Robinson wanted to take time to understand the business.

With no contacts in Los Angeles, Robinson said film school gave her a chance to learn about how the business works, from contracts to the creative development side. Another advantage was that after graduation she had a built-in network of people who knew her and her capabilities and talents. She believes that in one year she has learned what it takes most to acquire through years of on-the-job experience.

Film school is also an “insanely expensive” risk, Robinson said. “It’s a high bar to set for yourself. Many graduates never hit the career points they want.”

Robinson didn’t go directly from film school to a job with a television show or movie. She first worked for a talent-management company to further develop her connections in Los Angeles. There, she learned about managing writers, directors, show creators and others connected to the world she aspired to join. “It was a small company, but a good place to be,” she said.

Her next stops included working as a writer’s assistant on the show “Lucky Seven,” until it was cancelled after six months. “I learned how a writers’ room operates,” she said of the experience. She later was a researcher for “@Midnight,” a live-comedy show that relied on trending topics on social media to create games. “I got to click on what you’re not supposed to click on at work,” she laughed.

She worked for two feature writers on the movie “Barbershop 3” and was a show runner’s assistant for the ABC comedy “Black-ish.” Her connections scored her a writing spot on “Survivor’s Remorse,” a Starz show produced by LeBron James, about a professional basketball player who moves his family to Atlanta.

On the “New Girl” staff, Robinson’s daily activities depend on what stage of development the script is in. She might be the keeper of the script or main writer, or she might be reading and helping to rewrite another writer’s script. “The writer has to find the balance between what’s really funny and what’s important for a character’s emotional arc,” she explained. The show follows the story of Jess, a quirky teacher, who moves in with three men after a bad break-up.

There are brainstorming sessions, production meetings and table readings, where “we’re learning how the story and jokes work.” Some days are spent writing alone or rewriting with a group of writers. When the script is ready, Robinson can spend a week on set to produce her own episode and make any last-minute adjustments to the script.

Because her father was in the Air Force, Robinson lived in many areas of the country and world, including upstate New York, where she was born, Okinawa and the Azores. Her father retired in Oklahoma City, where her immediate family now lives. She chose Washington and Lee based on an interview with an alumnus in Oklahoma City and “because it wasn’t in Oklahoma!” During the interview, she was especially impressed with the university’s Honor System.

“My advisor, Bob de Maria [professor emeritus of journalism and mass communications] was my main cheerleader, and although I took some of his classes, it was time spent just talking to him in his office that had the most influence on me,” she noted. Owen Collins, professor of theater, and the rest of the Theater Department played influential roles and led her on the path to follow her passion. She wrote her theater honors thesis on directing and creative management.

She also had internships in New York City, at Embassy Row and with the Food Network and celebrity chef Bobby Flay. While studying abroad in England with the theater department, she immersed herself in British television, which led to some teasing from her fellow travelers but added to her bank of knowledge when she arrived in Los Angeles.

In addition to organizing Wednesday Night Live, Robinson worked as a resident assistant, was involved in numerous multicultural clubs and was president of the Ladies Club and the film society. She acted in shows, sang in the chorus and musicals and directed productions.

Reflecting on her trajectory from W&L to the writers’ room of an Emmy-nominated TV show, Robinson says working for television is both her job and her hobby. She wants to keep working in the industry and dreams of creating her own show and characters who reflect people like herself and push the boundaries of the types of people represented on television.

Phi Beta Kappa Initiates New Members during 2017 Convocation

pbk-group-1024x683 Phi Beta Kappa Initiates New Members during 2017 ConvocationNew Phi Beta Kappa initiates

The Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Washington and Lee University welcomed 49 members of the junior and senior classes and seven graduates from the Class of 2016 into the prestigious honor society at the Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati Convocation on Sunday, March 19. All of the inductees were accepted into Phi Beta Kappa based on their exceptional academic achievements.

William M. (Bill) Tsutsui, president and professor of history at Hendrix College, gave the convocation address, “The Liberal Arts in an Age of Extremes.”

The chapter inducted as an honorary member Roger Jeans, Elizabeth Lewis Otey Professor of History Emeritus at W&L, in recognition of his longstanding commitment to scholarship and publication.

The chapter gave Henry C. Patrick III and Kathryn K. Osowski the Phi Beta Kappa J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award, which goes to the student(s) with the highest cumulative scholastic average through the end of the fall term of his or her sophomore year.

The award honors J. Brown Goehring, a retired W&L professor of chemistry who, during his 38-year career at W&L, spent 22 years as secretary/treasurer of the University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

This year’s initiates are:

Class of 2016

  • Davis W. Bateman
  • Jacob M. Berman
  • Kevin B. Ortiz
  • Mary K. Sands
  • Mary Elizabeth Smith
  • David S. Zekan
  • Conan Y. Zhao

Class of 2017

  • Charles R. Baker
  • Diana V. Banks
  • Olivia K. Brown
  • Daniel J. Claroni
  • John M. Crum
  • John Z. Dannehl
  • Arianna I. Dial
  • Ellie A. Gorman
  • Dalton L. Greenwood
  • Phillip S. Harmon
  • Conley K. Hurst
  • Polina O. Kyriushko
  • Laura E. Lavette
  • Sydney P. Lundquist
  • Patrick A. Ozark
  • Kathryn S. Sarfert
  • Elizabeth S. Schmitz
  • Cole W. Schott
  • Cody A. Solomon
  • Shaun M. Soman
  • Eleni K. Timas
  • Anna C. Todd
  • Gerrit A. Van Someren
  • Emily A. Webb
  • Clare E. Wilkinson

Class of 2018

  • Gillenhaal J. Beck
  • Alice Elisabeth M. Bradford
  • Thomas S. Caldwell
  • Stephanie R. Chung
  • Hayden P. Combs
  • Raymond E. Cox
  • Dana E. Droz
  • Luke M. Farley
  • Max S. Garrett
  • Nicholas K. George
  • Ralston C. Hartness
  • Lauren C. Hoffman
  • Shlomo Honig
  • Teresa M. Horan
  • Maren R. Lundgren
  • Rebecca E. Melkerson
  • Karishma D. Patel
  • Emily E. Perszyk
  • Ram H. Raval
  • Kassie A. Scott
  • Mallory E. Stephenson
  • Yuwei Wang
  • Julia M. Wilson
  • Joseph R. Zoeller

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Its motto is “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

W&L Law Symposium Explores the Power of Big Data Algorithms March 30 event will explore how big data tools can be used to isolate, analyze, and discriminate against individuals based on race, gender, religion, health status, and other data characteristics.

bigdatagraphiclarge-800x533 W&L Law Symposium Explores the Power of Big Data Algorithms

In the digital age, most people have become used to the idea that their personal data is more widely available on the internet—part of the economic exchange that enables more personalized shopping experiences and efficient communication with friends and family.

But what happens when companies, or the government, start analyzing that data to develop rules and procedures that might impact our daily lives in less desirable ways? An upcoming symposium at Washington and Lee University School of Law will examine this thorny issue, exploring the legal and ethical implications of big data analysis and algorithmic-derived discrimination.

The symposium, titled “Big Data Discrimination: Understanding Algorithmic Power,” is scheduled for Thursday, March 30 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee. The event, hosted by the W&L Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, is free and open to the public.

Symposium organizers point to recent reports showing how big data tools and algorithmic-driven decision making protocols can be used to isolate, analyze, and discriminate against individuals based on race, gender, religion, likely voting habits, residency, consumer behaviors, health status, and other data characteristics. W&L Law Prof. Margaret Hu, who is helping organize the symposium, has studied the government use of database screening and digital watch listing systems to create “blacklists” of individuals based on suspicious data.

“Big data tools can now be used to prevent individuals from working and voting—for example, through the ‘No Work List’ and the ‘No Vote List’—and can also be used to nominate individuals for the No Fly List and even the Kill List,” says Hu.

Featured speakers at the symposium include a number of top scholars in the data privacy field in addition to analysts from the Data & Society Research Institute, an organization in New York City focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development, and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a DC-based think tank that promotes responsible data privacy policies. W&L Law and FPF launched a unique strategic partnership in 2015 to enhance privacy scholarship and incubate tomorrow’s privacy lawyers.

The symposium will feature three panel discussions covering big data ethics in research methods, an explanation of big data discrimination, and the impact of big data-centered and algorithmic-centered power. The event will also feature a keynote address by Prof. Charlton McIlwain of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University. McIlwain will speak on the intersection of race and digital media, particularly as it impacts the “Information Society” and politics.

McIlwain’s scholarship includes “Racial Formation Online: Representation, Inequality & the Political Economy of the Web,” and he is currently working on a book project, titled “Digital Movement: Black Politics, Organizing & Activism on the Web,” which traces the roots and charts the development of racial justice networks online since the 1990s. He co-authored the book “Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns,” which was selected by the American Political Science Association for the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award.

Participants will gather the evening before the symposium for a discussion with Christopher Wolf ‘80L, Of Counsel at Hogan Lovells and founder of FPF, and Jules Polonetsky, CEO of FPF. MSNBC has called Wolf “a pioneer in Internet law” based on his early involvement in legal cases involving technology agreements, copyright, domain names, jurisdiction and, perhaps most of all, privacy. In 1998, a high-profile victory in a pro bono case against the government for its violation of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act brought Wolf to national attention as a privacy lawyer after his almost-two decades as a litigator in complex commercial and technology cases. Wolf was the editor and lead author of the first Practicing Law Institute (PLI) treatise on privacy law and is a frequent author and speaker on privacy and data security issues.

Polonetsky served as Chief Privacy Officer at AOL and at DoubleClick, and as Consumer Affairs Commissioner for New York City. He is a regular speaker at privacy and technology events and has testified or presented before Congressional committees and the Federal Trade Commission. His scholarship on data and privacy has appeared in the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, the Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Journal of Law & Technology, among other journals.

chrisandjules W&L Law Symposium Explores the Power of Big Data AlgorithmsChristopher Wolf and Jules Polonetsky

More information about the symposium, including a comprehensive schedule, can be found online at go.wlu.edu/bigdatapower.

The symposium is cosponsored by the Provost’s Office, Washington and Lee University; Class of 1960 Institute for Honor; Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law; Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University; Washington and Lee Black Law Students Association; Future of Privacy Forum; and the Data & Society Research Institute.

Related //

Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Batsheva Honig ‘17 A passion for asking questions has led Batsheva Honig ‘17 from America to Argentina to study women’s health in both countries.

“SSA fabulously blends the liberal arts tradition by allowing students to attend a talk in biology, then history, then arts and back again.”

Batsheva_Honig-800x533 Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Batsheva Honig ‘17Meet Batsheva Honig ‘17, whose passion for asking questions has led her from America to Argentina to study women’s health in both countries

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference where Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students present their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Through the conference, students, faculty and staff alike have the opportunity to explore new topics and discuss new ideas. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, creative performances, or various other methods.

Even though SSA has ended, you can still enjoy these stories about the many interesting projects and performances being presented by the students.

Motivations to Use Psychological Therapies: A Cross Cultural Comparison

Q. Can you describe your project?

For this study, I looked at the motivations for young women to use psychological therapies in both the U.S. and in Argentina. I am interested in analyzing the personal and norm-based motivations to use therapy. I am proposing a model wherein stigma acts as a moderator between the relationship of motivation and openness to psychological therapies as seen cross-culturally.

Q. What about the topic made you explore it?

During Winter Term of 2016, I studied abroad in Argentina. While there, I was given the incredible opportunity to conduct my own research on a topic of my choice. After living in Buenos Aires for three months, I became fascinated with the common use and language surrounding psychological therapies there. Interestingly enough, Argentina is the world leader in the number of psychologists per habitants. This number is heavily concentrated in the city of Buenos Aires, where there are 83 people per one psychologist. The study I conducted in Argentina was an exploratory study that was qualitative in nature. When I returned to the U.S., I wanted to continue my work to better understand the role of culture in the acceptance of mental health services such as 
psychological therapy.

Q. What was the most interesting thing you have learned while working on this project?

It is very interesting how culture colors our understanding of the world. Even in creating the survey for this project, I had to be mindful of the wording I chose because some words take on very different significance in different cultures.

For example, in Argentina, the language of mental health and illness is very different as compared to the U.S. Even in legal government documents, the word “mental disorder” is not used, but rather “mental illness.” This language signifies that a person is more than their pathology and that mental health is in a constant state of change and we should not define people with labels that can be limiting and stigmatizing. This is done to place emphasis on providing people with the help they need while also respecting their rights as individuals.

I also was fascinated by the notion that therapy, in Argentina, is not seen as a service exclusively for individuals with a diagnosed mental illness. Rather, therapy is seen as tool of reflection and introspection to enhance one’s quality of life.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Surprisingly, getting participants from Argentina. In the previous study I conducted there, I was able to get 70 participants in two weeks. It has been a much slower process this time around.

Q. What insight – or insights – did you gain during the research period?

It was incredibly rewarding to take ownership of an idea that was my own, develop a research question, execute a plan and carry out the assignment objectives. I am thankful for the help and support of W&L, my professors and my contacts here and in Argentina.

Q. What is your favorite part of creating, researching, or developing this project?
The research possibilities are truly endless. There is so much yet to be explored and so much research to be expounded upon. My favorite part is understanding what research is currently being conducted and where the field could benefit from more work.

Q. What does SSA mean to you?
To me, SAA is a forum where my peers and I have the opportunity to present our work and engage with one another. Ultimately, this is a time to be proud of the fruits of our hard work, take pride in our accomplishments and be enriched by sharing our knowledge with one another.

Q. Why is SSA – considering science, society, and arts together – important to this campus?
SSA embodies the value of a liberal arts education. It is a forum that fabulously blends the liberal arts tradition by allowing students to attend a talk in biology, then history, then arts and back again. My experience at W&L has definitely been enhanced by the presence of SSA. It is uplifting to attend a conference with so much diversity of topics and student engagement.

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A little more about Batsheva

Hometown:
West Bloomfield, Michigan

Major:
Psychology Major and Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor

Extracurricular involvement:
Bonner Scholar
– Burish Intern
– Hospice Patient Care Volunteer
– College Access
First-Year Orientation Committee Leadership Team
– LIFE Peer Health Educator

Off-campus activities/involvement:
Community Based Research (CBR)
Shepherd Internship
Summer Research Scholar

Why did you choose your major?
I love asking questions. I think I always have. Psychology allows me to ask questions and then run studies to find the answers!

What professor has inspired you?
Professor Fiona Watson and her love of the neuron captured my attention from day one. The Communications in Animals Biology that I took with her was among my very first classes at W&L. I think there is something magical about being in the presence of someone who truly loves what they do and it shows. She inspired and motivated me to seek out a career path that I am passionate about as well.

What’s your personal motto?
Everything for a reason.

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Anything” by 2Cellos

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Matsumoto Sushi, hands down. I usually order sushi, sushi and more sushi, followed by matcha ice cream for dessert.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
It is okay to not know all the answers. Along those same lines, it is also okay to take your time when making a multitude of decisions so that you can do the necessary leg work in order to gather pertinent facts, draw on experiences, and digest all that information. It is also important to consider your gut instincts and the advice of knowledgeable people you trust when making these decisions.

Post-graduation plans:
Elrod Fellowship followed by grad school

Favorite W&L memory:  
Definitely sledding down the hill behind Leyburn on the first snow day of freshman year. I don’t think any of us had the proper winter gear. The laughter and hot cocoa that followed made up for any frozen toes (and/or other body parts) we may have endured.

Favorite class:
This is such a hard question because I have a few. I would say that it is a three-way tie between Brain and Behavior with Professor Tyler Lorig; Health Economics with Professor Tim Diette; and Stereotypes, Prejudice and Discrimination with Professor Julie Woodzicka.

Favorite W&L event:
Paint Like Pollock – hosted by Arts League

Favorite campus landmark:
When I am able to get outside the science center, I like to go to the back-campus trails. I have fond memories of exploring and getting lost with friends. It is really beautiful and relaxing to be surrounded by nature.

What’s your passion?
Being continually engaged as a contributing member in my community means a great deal to me. In my leisure time, I enjoy reading and creating photo memories on Shutterfly.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I like watching subtitled foreign films. One of my favorites is “Amélie.”

Why did you choose W&L?
I ultimately chose W&L because I wanted an experience that would stay with me beyond the four years I actually spent on campus. W&L’s traditions and strong alumni connections make for life-long ties with a world-wide community of individuals who are hard-working, smart, generous, thoughtful, and mindful of impacting the world around us and beyond.

Hannah Falchuk and ‘the Power of Conversation’ Hannah Falchuk's passion for journalism has her reporting both in New York City and local Rockbridge.

“SSA gives students a chance to become the professors. It gives us the opportunity to choose our favorite projects or endeavors and share them with the campus in a very public, professional way.”

Hannah_Falchuk-1024x683 Hannah Falchuk and 'the Power of Conversation'Meet Hannah Falchuk ‘18, whose passion for journalism has her reporting both in New York City and local Rockbridge

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference where Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students present their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Through the conference, students, faculty and staff alike have the opportunity to explore new topics and discuss new ideas. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, creative performances, or various other methods.

Even though SSA has ended, you can still enjoy these stories about the many interesting projects and performances being presented by the students.

Dignity in Housing: Lessons from NYC to Natural Bridge

Q. Can you describe your project?

My presentation will blend two of my biggest experiences in college so far: working as a Shepherd intern in homeless outreach in New York City and volunteering at the Manor at Natural Bridge through Campus Kitchen. I have learned in both places that figuring out the best way to address homelessness sometimes begins with addressing poverty and mental illness.

I use some of the writers I’ve studied in my Poverty, Dignity, and Human Rights class with Professor Pickett to help explain some of my biggest points. In talking about human rights, our class has realized that one of the only ways to appropriately or effectively be helpful is to first have conversations with those affected by a situation. While talking about a problem doesn’t give you its solution, it’s the best way we can start to find one.

Q. What about the topic made you explore it?

My Shepherd internship in New York threw me into an environment that was so obviously different from what I had known before, but I could say the same thing about Natural Bridge, where the poverty rate is significantly higher than that of Lexington.

Q. What was the most interesting thing you have learned while working on this project?

When we are pressed in certain ways, we will all respond similarly. I had the rare opportunity in New York to hear people talk about how tired they were of being homeless or of living someplace where they didn’t want to be. In Natural Bridge, the voices of some residents sometimes sound like echoes from the summer.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Conveying the conditions of the assisted living center is tough. First-time volunteers are usually surprised by the conditions of the facility, and it’s something that I’m not able to share through photographs.

Q. What insight – or insights – did you gain during the research period?

The internship in homeless outreach during the summer of 2016 was bookended by my volunteering during the school years before and after. That gave me the opportunity to have some “ah-ha” moments both then and now. One of those was recognizing the power of conversation, whether it comes through a motivational interviewing formula that encourages a person to quickly feel comfortable or through casual conversations that stretch across a year.

Both here and in New York, I continually remind myself that the purpose of engaging in conversation should not be to expand my repertoire of stories. Even after I have heard the story, it’s still not about me. I have learned to be more aware of how I am listening and why a person is sharing with me.

Q. What is your favorite part of creating, researching, or developing this project?

I’m not living in Natural Bridge in the same way that I was in New York, but I have become a regular volunteer at the assisted living center to the degree that both the residents and the staff members know I will return. Establishing that level of credibility takes time, but it has made me realize some of my bigger commitments in college.

Q. What does SSA mean to you?

SSA gives students a chance to become the professors. We don’t send our research papers to our friends after we’ve handed them in to professors, but SSA gives us the opportunity to choose our favorite projects or endeavors and share them with the campus in a very public, professional way.

Q. Why is SSA – considering science, society, and arts together – important to this campus?

Even at a liberal arts school, we sometimes get bogged down in what subjects or clubs are “ours.” I found that the farther I’ve gone into studying society, the more I understand the necessity of arts and the insight of science.

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 Hannah

Hometown:
Hockessin, Delaware

Majors:
Politics Major, Poverty and Human Capability Studies and Mass Communications Minors

Extracurricular involvement:
Sustainability House CA
– Compost Crew
– Outing Club
– Rockbridge Report (Tuesday broadcast)

Off-campus activities/involvement:
I went on two engineering trip to Fries, Virginia, and participated in the Washington Term program. I go to Natural Bridge with Campus Kitchen and occasionally help at an organic farm in Goshen.

Why did you choose your major?
Politics combines the history of groups, the economics of society, and the philosophy of power. I chose politics, philosophy and poverty because the three disciplines inform each other in study and define each other in practice.

What professor or staff member has inspired you?
Professors Kelly Brotzman, Stuart Gray, and Afshad Irani have each challenged me to follow my motivation while keeping an awareness of what more I have yet to find. Mark Craney is inspirational for always offering his encouragement and enthusiasm.

What’s your personal motto?
“This is water.” David Foster Wallace reminded college students that wherever you are, be aware and there.

What’s your favorite song right now?
Lorde’s newest singles

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Tacos at Mano Taqueria. They use ingredients from local farms and write jokes on chalkboards.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Be purposeful in how you spend your time, some of the time. Hike early.

Post-graduation plans:
Whatever puts me on the best track to becoming a full-fledged journalist.

Favorite W&L memory:
Going to the Spring Term Dr. Dog concert at the outdoor Lime Kiln Theater with one of my best friends. We had never even listened to them before, but I still remember how they sounded live.

Favorite class:
Introductory courses to political philosophy and reporting

Favorite W&L event:
Any play in the Johnson Theater. It lets you feel as if you’re onstage with the actors.

Favorite campus landmark:
I’m going to give an off-campus landmark: the spring at Brushy Hills, with the best water after trail running.

What’s your passion?
Finding creative ways to write about what we all experience.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I go to a bluegrass jam in town on Wednesday mornings.

Why did you choose W&L?
The strong academics and tailored attention W&L provides are unbeatable, and — although I did fall in love with New York City — I knew that I would gain a completely different set of insights from going to school in a rural setting.

Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Matthew Rickert ‘18 Matthew Rickert ‘18: avid outdoorsman by day, corporate fraud analyst by night

“W&L is a campus with a plethora of interests and ideas. We have students interested in everything, and not just their major. This means that people want to share what they know and others want to learn something that they wouldn’t be able to take a class on.”

Matthew_Rickert-800x533 Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Matthew Rickert ‘18Meet Matthew Rickert ‘18, an avid outdoorsman by day, corporate fraud analyst by night

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference where Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students present their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Through the conference, students, faculty and staff alike have the opportunity to explore new topics and discuss new ideas. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, creative performances, or various other methods.

Even though SSA has ended, you can still enjoy these stories about the many interesting projects and performances being presented by the students.

Norfolk Southern: Behaviors and Events Related to Fraud Risks

Q. Can you describe your project?

This project came out of “The Anatomy of Fraud” class that I took during Spring Term 2017. The overall goal of the project was to produce a memo in the style of an auditor. One of the first items that auditors look at is the qualitative factors that might lead to fraud; they assess the risks so that they may understand where misstatements are likely to occur. This project does exactly that for Norfolk Southern, a long-term rail company that I worked for during the summer of 2017.

Q. What about the topic made you explore it?

I was interested in learning more about the company that I would be working for. Additionally, I was interested in furthering my understanding of the career that I wish to pursue, as an auditor.

Q. What was the most interesting thing you have learned while working on this project?

The Code of Ethics for Norfolk Southern (NS) is rather lengthy. Coming in at 64 pages, this code provides the ethics backbone for NS. That being said, 64 pages was almost too much material. The time and energy it takes to read through the entire code was larger than what a reasonable employee would want or have time to do. A long code seems like a great idea, covering all the bases, but longer codes will not be read as intensely.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Understanding the train industry was one of my bigger challenges. Whenever an auditor is looking at a company it is important that they understand how the corporation functions and operates. As a person who had never spent time looking at trains, taking the time to understand the varying expenses as well as taking a more in-depth look at where there sources of revenue came from created challenges.

Q. What insight – or insights – did you gain during the research period?

Anyone can commit fraud. Companies that have been around for over 100 are still at risk. The reality of the world is that pressure and motivation to commit fraud will always exist. It is society’s expectations and the innate goodwill of people that prevents the collapse of the market, and when that fails we developed a profession to catch rule breakers.

Q. What is your favorite part of creating, researching, or developing this project?

Creating the Fraud Heat Map. This three-colored square shows likelihood of fraud on the y-axis and significance of fraud on the x-axis. Creating this added a lot to the paper, giving it a greater degree of readability and bringing the entire paper together.

Q. What does SSA mean to you?

SSA is a look into what it means to be human. Science is how we have built civilization, it is what drives us forward and provides us with the necessary motivations to be more. Society is what makes civilization function, it is the law and order that keeps humanity functioning. Art is what makes civilization unique, it is the beauty and culture present in all cultures.

Q. Why is SSA – considering science, society, and arts together – important to this campus?

W&L is a campus with a plethora of interests and ideas. We have students interested in everything, and not just their major. This means that people want to share what they know and others want to learn something that they wouldn’t be able to take a class on. SSA provides W&L students with an outlet for all of the ideas bouncing around in our heads.

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A little more about Matthew

Hometown:
Cincinnati, Ohio

Majors:
Public Accounting and U.S. History

Extracurricular involvement:
Outing Club Key Staff
– Crux Climbing Team Captain
LEAD Management Team (Team Manager)
– LEAD Banquet Committee
– Alpha Phi Omega President
Compost Crew Chief
University Sustainability Committee
Venture Club Events Director
– WLUR DJ and Music Reviewer
– JAG Member
– College Access Mentor
– Sigma Nu Member

Off-campus activities/involvement:
Avid Outdoorsman and Chef

Why did you choose your major?
As I began to tour colleges, the concept of a career began to form. My dad has always been a big influence on me and he had a piece of advice for me: “You have to like what you do and it has to give you the lifestyle that you want to live.” There are a lot of things that I would like to do, but the capacity for me to pay for travel, medical expenses, a future child’s college, would not be as complete as I would want. On the other end of the spectrum I looked at extremely high-paying professions, and it seemed to me that I would have to give up too much of what I enjoyed to be a part of those careers. In the end I found that accounting provided me with an enjoyable skill, a puzzle waiting to be solved, and the pay necessary to provide a family with the lifestyle that I feel they will deserve.

I have also always been interested in history. There was a time when my brother and I would listen to a cassette of Jeff Shaara’s book “Gods and Generals.” I have always been surrounded by history. Today, that inspiration is an item that provides me with an outlet for research, writing and storytelling. To me, understanding the story of who we are and where we came from is so unique and wonderful that it has become an indispensable part of who I am.

What professor has inspired you?
There have been a lot of professors to inspire me. They include James Dick, a mentor in adventure; Professor Hess, a mentor in accounting; Dean Hobbs, a mentor in leadership; and Professor Myers, a mentor in history. It’s terribly hard for me to pick one, as they have all contributed to my college experiences and impacted my life. That’s part of what makes W&L so special — it is a place where every professor cares about you and what you are doing.

What’s your personal motto?
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on a map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” Aldo Leopold

What’s your favorite song right now?
Wolf” by Jami Lynn

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Blue Phoenix, by and large. When I go, I typically change it up, but you can’t go wrong with the Harvest Moon Wrap.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Recently I’ve been discovering the areas beyond Lexington (Waynesboro, Staunton, Roanoke, etc.). It’s been nice to explore these areas and see the cities of western Virginia.

Post-graduation plans:
I’ll most likely be working for Ernst & Young out of their Richmond office.

Favorite W&L memory
I’d have to say my trip on the Kendrick Scholarship to the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness near Tofte, Minnesota. I spent a week and a half paddling through the back country, exploring the lakes of the region and finding solace in the quiet.

Favorite class:
I really enjoyed Environmental Poetry, but The Anatomy of Fraud, and Reconstruction, are right up there.

Favorite W&L event:
I always enjoy the Outing Club’s first event or open barn. The excitement and camaraderie is incredible.

Favorite campus landmark:
The back campus gazebo. The views from there are incredible, it’s a great spot to relax and enjoy a breath of fresh air.

What’s your passion?
The outdoors and their exploration. Going out to discover what I am missing, what is there, finding that spot on the map that I don’t know about. We often times become too caught up in the hubbub of the world and don’t take the necessary steps to push outside of our comfort zone. The wilderness is a place where I can relax.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
This is a bit of a twist on the question, but most people assume that I am a Boy Scout when I am not. A lot of people make that assumption.

Why did you choose W&L?
When I was touring colleges a lot of places just felt wrong. They were too city, too symmetrical, too uptight, too rigid. W&L felt right. There were places to explore, a sense of constant growth, the garden beds had a few weeds. Additionally, I was looking for a college with a liberal arts experience as well as a quality business school. I was looking for a community, a place where people trust each other and want to help everyone. W&L seemed to fit everything I was looking for and certainly has lived up to its billing.

Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Andrew Mah ‘18 Meet Andrew Mah ‘18, an accomplished mathematician who found an unlikely passion - spiders!

“SSA is important because it brings together everyone from every major and field. This is an amazing opportunity to experience other majors.”

Andrew_Mah-800x533 Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Andrew Mah ‘18Meet Andrew Mah ‘18, an accomplished mathematician who found an unlikely passion – spiders!

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference where Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students present their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Through the conference, students, faculty and staff alike have the opportunity to explore new topics and discuss new ideas. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, creative performances, or various other methods.

Even though SSA has ended, you can still enjoy these stories about the many interesting projects and performances being presented by the students.

Do RTA-clade spiders possess the same suite of silk genes as orb-web weaving spiders?


Q. Can you describe your project?

We are working to investigate the evolution of web design in spiders. The orb web, the archetypal wagon-wheel web design, was thought to be the pinnacle of web design. However, recent evidence suggests that some spiders are moving away from the orb web, or abandoning web construction altogether. These analyses, though, were based on research that heavily sampled one spider group specifically. We are working to sample more underrepresented groups so that we can add to our knowledge of the silk systems of more understudied spider groups. We hope that this should further our understanding of spider silk systems and how they have evolved over time.

Q. What about the topic made you explore it?

The idea that we can look at gene sequences now to understand events that happened millions of years ago is amazing! And spider silk is so interesting, as well. It has a tensile strength stronger than Kevlar and steel.

Q. What was the most interesting thing you have learned while working on this project?

Spiders can produce up to seven functionally distinct types of silk, each of which has unique biochemical and physical properties.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Understanding the nuances of this project requires a pretty solid understanding of genetics and evolution. However, I started this project as a First-Year having never taken genetics. So the scramble to learn enough to actually understand the project was a huge struggle.

Q. What insight – or insights – did you gain during the research period?

I’ve learned how to think more scientifically and how to handle setbacks.

Q. What is your favorite part of creating, researching, or developing this project?

This project topic was something I got to choose myself, so I’m really in love with that. Research-wise, I’m so excited to finally have some results to share!

Q. What does SSA mean to you?

It means coming together to share all of our accomplishments, whether in the sciences or humanities. It’s about sharing and even more, celebrating the work that’s been done on campus.

Q. Why is SSA – considering science, society, and arts together – important to this campus?

It’s important because it brings together everyone from every major and field. So often, we get sucked into just our majors and people in similar majors. This is an amazing opportunity to break out of this and experience other majors.

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 Andrew

Hometown:
Radford, Virginia

Majors:
Neuroscience and Math

Extracurricular involvement:
– General’s Unity
Peer Tutor Program

Off-campus activities/involvement:
I’m currently working with the Rockbridge County school system to start a math enrichment program for interested elementary school students, gifted or not. Math so often gets a bad reputation, when it can actually be a really fun and exciting subject. My goal for this program is to introduce students early on to the elegant and fun sides of math. We try to have hands-on lessons and as many games as possible, so that kids can see that math can be an exciting subject, something beyond multiplication tables and adding drills.

Why did you choose your major?
I chose neuroscience because I’ve always just been so fascinated with the brain. The fact that all our emotions, all our experiences, our entire personality, can be boiled down to the interactions between some cells is just so crazy.

I chose mathematics after taking some upper-level math classes, and being exposed to the elegant logic underlying math. It’s a highly structured, interconnected field. I absolutely love finding these connections and their implications.

What professor has inspired you?
My research advisor, Dr. Nadia Ayoub. She’s been my research mentor since my first year and she’s really helped me discover my passion for research. Going into her lab, I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to go into medicine or research. But after my first summer there, after I got to experience research firsthand, I absolutely fell in love with it.

What’s your personal motto?
“Just keep moving forward”

What’s your favorite song right now?
Lorde’s “Green Light.” I’ve been a fan of hers since high school so I’m so pumped for her new music!

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai! It’s a toss-up between chicken pad Thai or chicken drunken noodles. Spicy, of course.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Listen to criticism from professors! A professor’s critique is in no way a critique of you as a person. Listen to what they have to say and learn from it. That’s what we’re here for and that’s how we become better students and people in general.

Post-graduation plans:
I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience. I hope to perform research and teach at the university level.

Favorite W&L memory:
My sophomore year, I attended the Mathematical Association of America’s annual conference. We got to go to some amazing talks and dominate in Math Jeopardy.

Favorite class:
Geometric Topology with Professor McRae. No class has as consistently blown my mind or made me think so deeply about the universe.

Favorite W&L event:
My favorite event has to be seeing Laverne Cox speak my first year.

Favorite campus landmark:
A familiar answer, but the Colonnade. It’s just so classic.

What’s your passion?
I’m really passionate about combining mathematical models and neuroscience to study neurodegenerative diseases. I’ve seen firsthand what diseases like Alzheimer’s can do to a person, and I want to work to help develop more efficient diagnoses and treatments.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
Nobody ever guesses that I’m actually really good with kids.

Why did you choose W&L?
I wanted a small, liberal arts education with a strong neuroscience program. The fact that it’s an hour and a half from my hometown was certainly a selling point for my parents!

W&L to Host Reception Honoring Rhodes Scholar Paqui Toscano

toscano-paqui-1024x683 W&L to Host Reception Honoring Rhodes Scholar Paqui ToscanoPaqui Toscano is W&L’s 16th Rhodes Scholar

Washington and Lee will host a reception in honor of Paqui Toscano, the university’s 16th Rhodes Scholar, on Friday, March 17, from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Elrod Commons Living Room. All members of the university community are invited to attend.

Toscano, a classics and English double major from Kettering, Ohio, was one of 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen this year. The scholarships, valued at between $50,000 to $200,000, fully fund two to four years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. They are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, personal energy, ambition for impact, ability to work with others, a commitment to making a strong difference for good in the world, concern for the welfare of others, consciousness of inequities and potential for leadership.

Toscano, a Johnson Scholar at Washington and Lee, is proficient in Latin and Ancient Greek and plans to pursue a master’s in English and a master’s in Greek and/or Latin languages and literature at Oxford. After completing his studies in the U.K., he plans to return to the U.S. to complete a doctorate in English with a specialty in early-modern poetry, and pursue a career as a professor, scholar and disability-rights advocate.

ABA President Linda Klein ‘83L to Open Exhibit at W&L Law

LindaKlein_Headshot-1-400x600 ABA President Linda Klein ‘83L to Open Exhibit at W&L LawABA President Linda Klein ’83L

UPDATE: Note change in time for exhibit opening to 4:00 pm.

American Bar Association president Linda Klein will speak at Washington and Lee University School of Law this month to open the Lawyers without Rights exhibit visiting the school through mid-April.

The Lawyers without Rights exhibit provides a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich and during the Holocaust. The exhibit is jointly sponsored by the ABA and the German Federal Bar.

Klein will speak at the opening reception on March 20 at 4:00 p.m. in the Moot Court Lobby, Sydney Lewis Hall. W&L history professor Sarah Horowitz will also offer remarks. This event kicks off a month-long discussion series focused on the exhibit. A complete schedule is available online.

Klein is in the midst of her one-year term as ABA president. Her chief initiative as president has been to improve access to justice and provide legal assistance for the nation’s veterans. She has also launched two civic initiatives: one that mobilizes ABA resources to promote voting and another that supports the rights of all children to a quality education.

Klein is the seventh W&L Law alumnus to lead the ABA. Most recently, Robert J. Grey ‘76L served as ABA president in 2004-05. A partner at Hunton & Williams and executive director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Grey received the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence award in 2014.

Klein is managing shareholder of the Georgia offices of Baker Donelson. Her practice concentrates on litigation, alternative dispute resolution and counseling business owners. Among her numerous awards and recognitions, Klein was the recipient of the ABA’s 2010 Fellows Outstanding State Chair Award and was honored with the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the State Bar of Georgia, which recognizes Georgia attorneys for their achievements in promoting diversity in the legal profession. In 2015, she received the State Bar of Georgia’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Daily Reports first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Yolanda Yang ‘18 Meet Yolanda Yang ‘18, who has traveled to China and back to discover the true purpose of cinematic censorship. Yang and study partner Savannah Kimble ’18 conducted research on this project in 2017 under the auspices of a grant from the Endeavor Foundation.

“SSA is a unique class for all of us to learn some interesting knowledge that we haven’t had a chance to learn before.”

yolanda-yang-800x533 Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Yolanda Yang ‘18

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference where Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students present their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Through the conference, students, faculty and staff alike have the opportunity to explore new topics and discuss new ideas. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, creative performances, or various other methods.

Even though SSA has ended, you can still enjoy these stories about the many interesting projects and performances being presented by the students.

Cultures in Transition: Chinese Cinematic Experience

Q: Can you describe your project?

By comparing movies shown in Chinese cinemas and their original versions shown in the U.S., we have proven that several films are censored by the Chinese authorized institution, SARFT. We summarized main types of censorship and tried to discover the possible reasons behind them. Besides, we also interviewed local Chinese people and professors in Beijing, collecting their views of the movie censorship policies; thus, by observing how the policies have influenced people’s lives currently we could possibly predict the changes of the policies in the future.

Q: What about the topic made you explore it?

During our freshman year, Savannah Kimble ’18 and I went to see “Kingsman: The Secret Service” at the Lexington theater. Some time later, I chatted with one of my friends back in China, and he told me that he watched the Kingsman movie in a Chinese theater, but the famous “church massacre” scene was cut (almost four minutes long). I brought it up to Savannah, and both of us thought that this was an interesting point of cultural difference, and months later that conversation inspired us to a good project that combines many of our interests (politics, literature, psychology, culture and film).

Q: What was the most interesting thing you have learned while working on this project?

I found it was very interesting that so many Chinese elements were thrown in Hollywood movies. It’s fascinating to think about Chinese economic development leading Hollywood to cater to Chinese audiences. It’s also interesting for me to see how foreign film directors choose to depict Chinese culture in their works

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?

We planned to study the political reason behind the censorship, but in reality, we found that the movies we chose and had access to limited our ability to look closely at political aspects. What’s more, some Chinese versions of some movies we initially expected to be censored — such as “Titanic” and “Transformers” — were not censored at all. As a result, our findings were less centered around censorship than we expected. However, even the fact that the government does not censor as much as was expected provides interesting insight into political and cultural changes due to globalization.

Q. What insight — or insights — did you gain during the research period?

We proved that film clipping is common; we learned about the shift in Chinese cultural values over the years and censors becoming more lenient; we found the growth of Chinese economy reflected on global film industry; and we realized that film industry has grown into an important business in China by a fast speed.

More details will be provided at my presentation!

Q: What is your favorite part of creating, researching, or developing this project?

Personally, it was very exciting to introduce Savannah to my home and my homeland. It was the first time I brought my American friend back home, and it gave me a chance to consider my cultural identity again with a more comprehensive and mature view. I am so glad that I could have this special experience with my very best friend.

Q: What does SSA mean to you?

It provides me a broad platform to present my project and findings to a larger audience, and it gives me the chance to encounter and communicate with people who share similar interests and ideas with me. I am looking forward to showing my project and sharing my culture with W&L community.

Q. Why is SSA — considering science, society, and arts together — important to this campus?

SSA is a precious opportunity for the W&L community members to interact and share with one another. I think it’s especially eye-opening and inspiring to see our peers’ work. In some respects, SSA is a unique class for all of us to learn some interesting knowledge that we haven’t had a chance to learn before.

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 Yolanda

Hometown:
Tianjin, China

Majors:
Politics and Psychology

Extracurricular involvement:
Active Minds
– AEI W&L Chapter
– Alpha Delta Pi
– Citizens’ Climate Lobby
– Contact Committee
– First-Year Leadership Council
– First-Year Orientation Committee
– Gilliam Scholar
– Multicultural Students Association
– Peer Tutor
– Tour Guide at Lee Chapel and museum

Off-campus activities/involvement:
– Volunteering as English teacher in Zacatecas, Mexico
– Interning at the Lugar Center during Washington Term
– Studying abroad through DIS in Copenhagen

Why did you choose your major?
I always wanted to study politics so I started taking politics classes right away and loved all the classes I have taken. During sophomore year, I took Dr. Woozicka’s introduction to social psychology, and fell in love with the new world I found in psychology. I decided to be a politics and psychology double major because I love both subjects.

What professor has inspired you?
The fair answer would be every professor I’ve ever had, because all W&L professors are so knowledgeable and approachable. Specifically, my advisor Professor Rebecca Harris inspires me a lot. I took American Government class with her my freshman year. Many office hour talks ignited my enthusiasm for politics. Professor Harris’s open-mindedness has always encouraged me to challenge myself further.

What’s your personal motto?
Be yourself, everyone else has already been taken.

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Final Song” by MØ. Or give me Taylor Swift, anytime.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Haywood’s and Taps. I get shrimp and grits at Haywood’s and the burger and fries from Taps.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
First, you could always try a little harder than “your best”, because otherwise you would never know you could do so much! Second, it does get cold here! Virginia is way more southern politically than geographically.

Post-graduation plans:
Finding a job related to international relations issues (ideally China-U.S. relations), contributing my strengths to promote further cultural awareness and cooperation between the two nations I see as homes.

Favorite W&L memory:
Walking/jogging at back campus around sunset time; or reading on the colonnade

Favorite class:
Washington Term. It was full of challenge with both class and an internship going on at the same time, but it was full of fun. I get to meet some amazing people at my internship and had a great time bonding with my friends and Professor Connelly! D.C. is also such an awesome city, and Washington Term made me want to live there in the future.

Favorite W&L event:
Mock Convention and Fancy Dress

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

What’s your passion?
Traveling and meeting new friends

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I love writing in Chinese and I’ve published some writings. I would have been a Chinese literature major if I didn’t come to the U.S.! But now I have already started to forget my Chinese!

Why did you choose W&L?
It feels like home to me and I couldn’t see myself ending up anywhere else. I knew I would be both happy and successful here. Also, the General really is one of the coolest mascots.

W&L Hosts 13th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in Academe Highlights include live performances, including “Exile is My Home” by W&L professor Domnica Radulescu.

Exile-is-my-Home W&L Hosts 13th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in Academe“Exile is My Home,” 2016 NYC production.

Washington and Lee University will welcome visitors from around the world to its 13th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in Academe on March 30.

This year’s symposium, “Home, Borders and the Immigrant Experience in Theater and the Performing Arts,” was organized by Domnica Radulescu, founding director of the symposium and the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Comparative Literature at W&L.

“This year’s symposium is particularly important and relevant given the current issues of immigration, as it addresses precisely how theater, film and the performing arts are responding to such urgent problems of our time,” said Radulescu.

The conference will feature live performances and lectures, including a pared-down version of Radulescu’s play “Exile is My Home: A Sci-fi Immigrant Fairy Tale.” The award-winning production appeared on the New York stage off, off Broadway last spring.

All events will take place in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons and are free and open to the public.

11:30 a.m.
Welcoming address: Marc Connor, Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English and provost of W&L.
Opening remarks: Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Comparative Literature.

11:50 a.m.
“Rhinoceros” and “Ficelle.” Short scenes by Eugene Ionesco and Matei Visniec, performed by students in French 342.

12-1 p.m.
“African Migration in the Mind of Italy: ‘Noise in the Waters.’ ” Tom Simpson, associate professor of Italian, Northwestern University.

The presentation discusses the 2010 Italian play “Rumore di acque” (“Noise in the Waters”), which dramatizes not only the ongoing tragedy of those who die at sea in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean from the shores of Africa into Italy, but also the grotesque ways people in the ex-colonial powers rationalize and normalize their own culpability.

1:30-2:30 p.m.
“New Romanian Cinema: Crossing National Borders Through Irony and Reflexivity.” Dominique Nasta, professor of film studies, Université Libre de Bruxelles.

A bright spot on the map of world cinema, Romania somehow unexpectedly produced one of the few coherent New Waves, having garnered important international recognition during the last 10 years. Essential films by Cristian Mungiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Cristi Puiu or Radu Muntean set forth a new way of confronting historical or ideological facts and moral dilemmas and led to a rhetorical reshaping of the grammar of cinema.

3-4 p.m.
“Re-performed Traditions and the Immigrant Experience: The Indian Theater of Roots in the United States.” Sabina Maria Draga Alexandru, associate professor of American studies, University of Bucharest.

The talk will examine some of the uses of the aesthetics of traditional Indian theater, derived from the Natya Sastra and adapted to the requirements of modern times, in stagings of theater of roots plays in the U.S. for the benefit of U.S.-located South Asian communities.

4:15-5 p.m.
“Precarious Temporalities: Neoliberalism, Sexual Citizenship and the Global Deportation Regime.” Rachel Lewis, assistant professor in the Women and Gender Studies Program, George Mason University.

Lewis will discuss how feminist and queer refugee narratives across a variety of media platforms, including photography, painting and performance art, recast migrant precarity as a question of temporality, along with the ways in which immigrant re-appropriations of temporality through performance can facilitate refugee healing and resistance.

5-6 p.m.
“Vulnerable Bodies in Transformation.” A selection of readings from the performance series, “The Goddess Diaries.” Carol Campbell, George Mason University.

Campbell will discusses the theoretical framework around gender issues and perform selections from her work that includes true stories of fiercely courageous women.

7:30 p.m.
“Exile Is My Home: A Sci-fi Immigrant Fairy Tale.” By Domnica Radulescu. Directed by Andreas Robertz. Performed by Nikaury Rodriguez, Florinda Ruiz, Mirandy Rodriguez, Mario Golden, A.B. Lugo, Vivienne Jurado and David van Leesteen. Music composed by Alexander Tanson.

Domnica_Radulescu-350x228 W&L Hosts 13th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in AcademeDomnica Radulescu

“Exile Is My Home” won the 2016 HOLA Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast Award. This performance is in collaboration with OneHeart Productions in New York City and is supported with funds from the dean of the College at Washington and Lee University.

The Symposium has been supported by funds from the Office of the Dean of the College, by the Center for Global Learning and the Mellon Foundation as part of the “Borders and Their Human Impact” series. Generous funding was also provided by the Glasgow Endowment for the Arts and the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington and Lee University.

“Exile is My Home”

Exile-poster-270x350 W&L Hosts 13th National Symposium of Theater and Performance Arts in Academe

Billed as a “sci-fi immigrant tale,” “Exile is My Home” is the story of Mina and Lina, a refugee couple from the Balkans traveling through the galaxy in search of a planet to call home.

“The play combines absurdist comedy, irony and suspense to raise consciousness about the current international refugee crisis and the complexity of issues related to it,” said playwright Domnica Radulescu.

“I would describe it as a tragic-comic play with a lot of dark humor. It’s an intergalactic story, with fairy tale motifs and constant references to wars and genocides, but the main theme is about the wrenching search for home. Where does one belong? Where is home? It can be many places and also nowhere, and that great confusion is the constant tension that moves the action of the play.”

A review by RG Magazine described the work as “playful and creative, but also painfully true to the realities faced by millions every day. A place called home is what we are searching for, not just for the play’s main characters, but for all of us as well. ‘Exile is my Home’ emanates a powerful story with a creative edge.”

For the March 30 staging, the play will feature all but one member of the original cast, whose role will be filled by Florinda Ruiz, visiting associate professor of writing at W&L. In addition, the production will feature the original music and will include video clips from the New York City production. You can read an interview with Radulescu on the New York Theater Review website.

Radulescu, who has written, edited or co-authored 13 books, has also written and directed numerous plays. A full production of “Naturalized Woman: A Quilting, Surrealist Project about Immigrant Women” was staged for the first time at the Thespis Theater Festival, off off Broadway, in New York City, in 2012. Her plays “The Town with Very Nice People” and “Exile Is My Home” received second prize (2013) and, respectively, Honorable Mention (2014) from the Jane Chambers Playwriting Competition. Radulescu directed both “4:48. Psychosis” by Sarah Kane and “Nine Parts of Desire” by Heather Raffo at Cluj National Theater, Romania, in 2008.

 

Radulescu joined the W&L faculty in 1992. In addition to teaching courses in French language and literature and in Italian Renaissance literature, she is the co-founder of W&L’s Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She received the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

W&L Executive-in-Residence Sandy Whann ’86 to Speak on Contemplating Relevance

Read a Q&A with Executive-in-Residence Sandy Whann.

Whann-400x600 W&L Executive-in-Residence Sandy Whann ’86 to Speak on Contemplating RelevanceSandy Whann ’86

Sandy Whann, president of Leidenheimer Baking Company in New Orleans, will give a public talk at Washington and Lee University on March 27 at 5 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room. He will speak on “Contemplating Relevance: Thoughts on Life and Business from a New Orleans Baker.” The event is free and open to the public.

As the W&L Williams School Executive-in-Residence, Whann will spend several days on campus meeting with students, visiting classes and providing one-on-one career mentoring in the Career Development Office.

Whann is the fourth generation of his family to operate the bakery that was founded in 1896 by his great-grandfather. Leidenheimer Baking Company services primarily restaurants and po-boy shops with traditional New Orleans French bread products. It is known as an invaluable contributor to New Orleans’ unique food culture.

A New Orleans native, Whann graduated from W&L in 1986 with a degree in business administration where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society. He joined his father in the family business after internships with Sunbeam Bakery and Mrs. Baird’s Bakeries. In 2002, Whann received the “Rising Star” award from Baking and Snack Magazine.

Leidenheimer’s reputation for excellence in baking has led to distribution in over two dozen states and the opportunity to work on customized baking projects with a number of multi-unit restaurant concepts. In 2000, he launched Wild Flour Breads, which specializes in artisan breads, with New Orleans chef Susan Spicer.

Whann has been active on numerous boards and committees, including serving as chairman of the board of directors of the Independent Bakers Association and development chairman of the Bureau of Governmental Research. He was also an integral part of a New Orleans Chamber of Commerce committee which developed a specific curriculum for training food manufacturing workers.

In 2010, Whann was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame and in 2013 he was recognized by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation with the Bryan Klotz Outstanding Philanthropy Award. He lives in New Orleans with his wife and two children.

For those who cannot attend, Whann’s talk will be livestreamed: https://livestream.com/wlu/sandy-whann.

Stanford Professor Robert Reich to Speak on Role of Philanthropic Foundations

Rob_Reich_high_rez_photo-400x600 Stanford Professor Robert Reich to Speak on Role of Philanthropic FoundationsRobert Reich

Robert Reich, professor of political science at Stanford University, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 30 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

His talk, “Repugnant to the Whole Idea of a Democratic Society?: On the Role of Philanthropic Foundations,” is free and open to the public.

“Philanthropic foundations represent the institutional codification and promotion of plutocratic voices in democratic societies. With low accountability, donor-directed preferences in perpetuity and generous tax subsidies, they are institutional oddities,” said Reich. “What, if anything, confers democratic legitimacy on foundations?

“I will first discuss why foundations might be a threat to democratic governance and then defend a particular mode of operation that offers redemption,” he continued. “I argue that foundations can play an important discovery role in democracy, a mechanism for experimentation in social policy over a long time horizon.”

His current research focuses on the relationship among philanthropy, democracy and justice with two book manuscripts unpublished on the topic, “Just Giving: Toward a Political Theory of Philanthropy” plus “Philanthropy in Democratic Societies” (eds.) published in the fall 2016.

Reich also has courtesy appointments in philosophy and at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford. He is the faculty director of the Center for Ethics in Society and faculty co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review). He also is the co-director of the Digital Civil Society Lab.

Other publications include “Repugnant to the Whole Idea of Democracy? On the Role of Foundations in Democratic Societies” (2016), in PS: Political Science and Politics; “Occupy the Future” (co-ed., 2013); and “Education, Justice, and Democracy” (co-ed., 2013).

He is a board member of GiveWell.org, a nonprofit dedicated to finding giving opportunities through in-depth analysis and the magazine Boston Review.

Reich’s lecture is the last talk in the year-long series on Markets and Morals and is sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. For more information about this series, see: https://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2016-2017-markets-and-morals.

W&L to Host Southeastern Composers League 2017 Forum

SonoKlect, Washington and Lee University’s new music series, will host the Southeastern Composers League 2017 Forum on March 24 and 25. Twenty-nine composers from around the Southeast will spend two days in Lexington presenting their original works.

The concerts are on March 24 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on March 25 at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. All concerts are in Concert Hall, Wilson Hall, and are free and open to the public. Each concert is approximately one-hour long, and each composer will be in attendance for questions. There will be a reception following the final concert on Saturday night.

The Southeastern Composers League is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the country. Each year, members gather on a Southern campus for a forum to discuss the art and craft of making music, to catch up on the past year’s events and, primarily, to hear each other’s music performed.

A wide range of musical styles and genres will be represented. This year, many of the performers come from W&L’s Music Department. The University Wind Ensemble and W&L‘s vocal groups, Cantatrici and the Men’s Glee Club, will appear alongside soloists and chamber ensembles.

Special guests, from Hillsdale College, include soprano Kristi Matson, clarinetist Andrew Sprung, percussionist Stacey Jones-Garrison and pianist Brad Blackham. Additional performers from W&L include Gregory Parker, Shuko Watanabe, Julia Goudimova, Jamie McArdle, Anna Billias and Ting-Ting Yen.

The League is comprised of composers from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Learn more at: southeasterncomposersleague.org.

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Lee Chapel Spring Lecture to Feature Author Jeff Shaara

Jeff_Shaara_2015_credit_Olivia_Cowden-400x600 Lee Chapel Spring Lecture to Feature Author Jeff ShaaraJeff Shaara (photo credit: Olivia Cowden)

The Lee Chapel Spring Lecture will feature Jeff Shaara, The New York Times bestselling author of war novels, on March 23 from 7-8 p.m. in Lee Chapel Auditorium, Washington and Lee University.

Shaara will speak on “A Storyteller’s View of the First World War” which is based on his book, “To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War” (2005). The talk is free and open to the public.

There will be a book signing in the museum shop following the lecture from 8 to 8:45. Shaara will be signing “To the Last Man” on the first World War and “Fateful Lighting” on the American Civil War.

Also on campus the same day is an exhibit at W&L’s Watson Pavilion, open from 5-6:45 p.m., that ties into Shaara’s lecture. “Mementos of the Great War: Toby Jugs Commemorating Allied Leaders of World War I” features ceramic jugs made in the likenesses of famous World War I figures. It also is free and open to the public.

Shaara is the author of “Gods and Generals” (1998) and “The Last Full Measure” (2000) — two novels that completed the Civil War trilogy that began with the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Killer Angels” (1987), written by his father, Michael Shaara.

Shaara’s World War II series includes “The Rising Tide” (2008) and “No Less than Victory” (2011). In 2012, Shaara returned to the Civil War with “A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh (the Civil War in the West)” (2013) and “The Fateful Lightning” (2016). His latest book, to be released in May 2017, is “The Frozen Hours,” a novel of the Korean War.

Shaara is a two-time recipient of the American Library Association’s William Young Boyd Award for Excellence in Military Fiction for Gods and Generals” and To The Last Man.”

He has also received The Lincoln Forum’s Richard Nelson Current award, the Bell I. Wiley award from the New York Civil War Round Table and the Distinguished Author Award from the General Nathan Bedford Forrest Historical Society.

For more information on Jeff Shaara, please visit www.prhspeakers.com.

W&L Senior Art Show on Exhibit at Staniar Gallery A reception for the artists will be on March 30 at 4 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s atrium.

senior-artists-800x533 W&L Senior Art Show on Exhibit at Staniar Gallery2017 senior artists (l-r) Wilson Miller, Olivia Sisson, Jack Blair, Alice Cannon, Amirah Ndam Njoya and Matthew Barton.

Six Washington and Lee University studio art students will present their senior thesis work in an exhibition at Staniar Gallery that runs from March 27-April 7. A reception for the artists will be on March 30 at 4 p.m. in Wilson Hall’s atrium and is open to the public.

Each spring, Staniar Gallery showcases work by the Art Department’s graduating studio majors in an exhibition that is the culmination of a yearlong thesis project to be presented in a professional setting.

This year’s show features a variety of media. Matthew Barton explores his family’s history in a series pairing historical images of regional rivers with his own photographs. Jack Blair’s colorful collages are inspired by street art and graffiti. Alice Cannon’s postcard-sized paintings depict views of her native state of Florida that tourists don’t visit.

In her large-scale paintings, Amirah Ndam Njoya focuses on portraiture, assimilating the colorful patterns of fabrics from her home in Cameroon. Wilson Miller will present his works on paper that examine the life cycle of tree leaves. Olivia Sisson’s prints, drawings and collages are informed by her lifelong affinity for collecting objects for the purpose of empirical observation.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call (540) 458-8861.

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Generalprobe to Perform in the Ruscio Center for Global Learning

Generalprobe, the German student language drama group at Washington and Lee University, will perform two one-act comedies written and directed by the students, on March 19 and March 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Center for Global Learning.  Admission is free and open to the public.

This is how the student authors describe their plays:

“Sheriff Scherehände,” (Sheriff Scissorhands), follows the escapades of a sheriff in the German Wild West. Not only has our sheriff lost his town to a bandit and his assistant, Bruno, but also his pride and integrity as a defender of the innocent against criminal scum.

Will the sheriff be able to retake his town from the bandit and Bruno? Will he reclaim his self-worth, or will he be destined to wander the arid deserts of Saxony pathetically for the rest of his days?

The second play is “Romance, heartbreak, baking and breaking news.” In this play, the glory that is Washington and Lee student tradition melds bombastically with the German language and the rapid-fire, nonsensical humor of college students. Throughout the course of the performance, important, possibly existential questions are raised, and answered, through the medium of theatre.

Life’s largest quandaries are discussed. What happens when someone walks through the center columns of Graham-Lees… and survives with his grades intact? What do you do if you find a dead Cadaver? How would you react to the president streaking the colonnade? You may not know, and, in all honestly, neither do we, but you can guarantee that our answers to these questions will make you question why you didn’t think of our answer.

SABU Looks Back at Eventful Black History Month In February and early March, performances, panel discussions, film screenings and lectures put the focus on black history and the black experience at Washington and Lee.

“I think nationally we’ve seen a lot of movements for people to want to be involved and want to engage. That has pushed people to want to hear different perspectives, and has also created more visibility of groups on our campus that have been trying to gain visibility.”

— Elizabeth Mugo ’19

BHM-800x533 SABU Looks Back at Eventful Black History MonthThe cast of “Hidden Black Girl Magic: A Tribute to African-American Women.”

On a Sunday afternoon in late February, W&L’s Stackhouse Theater played host to seven “guests” with extraordinary stories to tell. From America’s first black Army nurse, Susie Taylor, to political activist Angela Davis, the characters who crossed the stage were all African-American women who made a major mark on history, even if their names do not appear in most textbooks.

The spoken-word performance, “Hidden Black Girl Magic: A Tribute to African-American Women,” was the brainchild of Sasha Edwards, a first-year student from Mississippi. During a meeting of the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU) in January, Edwards tossed out the idea as one way to celebrate Black History Month on campus.

Edwards wrote the short play and asked seven friends to dress up and portray the characters. She served as the narrator, introducing each woman as she appeared on stage for a five-minute monologue about her life and work. The “time machine” produced the following characters: Susie Taylor (portrayed by Cloy Onyango ’20), Josephine Baker (Baridapdoo Wiwuga ‘20), Daisy Bates (Alexus McGriff ‘18), Billie Holiday (Ramonah Gibson ’20), Fannie Lou Hamer (Joelle Simeu ’20), Shirley Chisolm (Elizabeth Mugo ’19) and Angela Davis (Demoriya Phillips ’19).

“I wanted the actors to take on the characters’ personality and have the audience really feel like they were making a new acquaintance or a new friend,” Edwards said, “and I wanted people who don’t normally come to mind when you think about black history.”

Edwards, who acted in plays and worked behind the scenes in theater during high school, was both excited and nervous to pull off her first event as a W&L student. “I feel like I’d be determined enough to do this at any school, but it wouldn’t be as easy as it is here,” she said.

Student Affairs staff members and work study students pitched in to help, so the play was ultimately enhanced by photos projected on a screen behind the characters – not to mention a time-warp graphic and sound effect in between characters. Billie Holiday was even able to “sing” one of her tunes on stage.

“Hidden Black Girl Magic” was just one of several events on campus in February and early March that celebrated Black History Month. SABU co-leaders Truth Iyiewuare ’18 and Elizabeth Mugo ’19 said many of those ideas sprang from the same SABU brainstorming meeting, and this year saw more involvement than in years past. They suspect that better planning and marketing, as well as the current political climate, contributed to greater participation.

“I think nationally we’ve seen a lot of movements for people to want to be involved and want to engage,” Mugo said. “That has pushed people to want to hear different perspectives, and has also created more visibility of groups on our campus that have been trying to gain visibility.”

On Feb. 12, in response to an idea from Ramonah Gibson ’20, SABU and the African Society hosted a discussion about black hair at Hillel House. The purpose of the event was to address people’s curiosity about black hair with demonstrations, presentations and conversations. It included a 13-person panel made up of men and women with different hairstyles.

Gibson said she attended an all-white high school, where questions about her hair got old. “At least here, other people are having these questions asked of them, too. I thought, wouldn’t this be a cool event? Why don’t we actually pull it off?”

As a result, the multipurpose room at Hillel was packed with students of all ages, races and backgrounds. Several stations were set up around the room, and guests rotated through the stations to talk about different black hairstyles. At each station, a W&L student modeled the featured style. The hosts also invited a guest black hairstylist from Roanoke.

“Even the black students on campus learned things they didn’t know,” Gibson said.

Other Black History Month events at W&L included a Black Poetry Night, when everyone was invited to the Commons Living Room to read a favorite selection by a black poet. The films “Moonlight” and “Loving” were both screened, and the university hosted two lectures. In early March, a Black Lives Matter panel discussion drew a large crowd and lively discussion.

After the annual John Chavis Lecture in African-American Studies, Greek and Residential Life Coordinator Chris Moore hosted a Chavis House program focused on chicken and waffles, an iconic (and delicious) food combination that traces its roots back to the Harlem Renaissance.

Associate Dean of Students and Dean of Juniors Tammi Simpson, who is also the advisor for SABU, said student involvement this year made for one of the most eventful and successful Black History Month celebrations she has seen at W&L.

“There’s just an energy that seems to be taking place,” she said, “and W&L can create an environment of support and provide the resources that allow students to be so creative. It’s wonderful to see it come together.”

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Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Dana Gary ‘18

Scholasticism’s theme of personal growth through a combination of artistic, spiritual, and intellectual discoveries is particularly relevant to the mission of SSA.”

dana-gary-1024x683 Science, Society and the Arts Presents: Dana Gary ‘18Dana Gary, whose first EP is recorded, produced and publicized by a student-run record label, will present songs at SSA.

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference where Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students present their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Through the conference, students, faculty and staff alike have the opportunity to explore new topics and discuss new ideas. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, creative performances, or various other methods.

Even though SSA has ended, you can still enjoy these stories about the many interesting projects and performances being presented by the students.

FUDG Records Presents: Dana Gary 

Q: Can you describe your project?

With the birth of Friday Underground last year came the birth of Friday Underground Records, an entirely student-run independent record label dedicated to promoting other student artists on campus. I was lucky enough to be chosen by the other members of the FUDG records team to produce our next EP of original songs. Austin Frank and I have produced, recorded, and promoted this album together over the past two months, and we will be presenting songs at Science, Society and the Arts from the EP entitled “Scholasticism.” I can’t wait. 

Q: What about the topic made you explore it?

The subject of the EP is the college experience in all its strangeness, especially here in Lexington. I felt I owed it to this place – and to myself – to remember all that it did both for and against me. In the music, I allude to the incredible intellectual and emotional overhaul I have experienced at the loving hand of all the course texts, mentors, friends and physical spaces. It was important to me to document how this specific place affected my art and my thought processes, and I believe the EP’s theme of personal growth through a combination of artistic, spiritual, and intellectual discoveries is particularly relevant to the mission of SSA.

Q: What was the most interesting thing you have learned while working on this project?

I learned how fortunate I am to be a musician in the 21st century where music technology is just mindbogglingly helpful. During our sessions, I’ll sit next to the computer spouting ridiculously vague commentary at Austin, and within 5 to 10 minutes he’s extracted the sound directly from the conceptual music in my head. Watching him work his tech magic amazes me every time.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Recording is a loooong and tedious process, and it doesn’t get any easier when you’re setting up and tearing down equipment for every session as you hop around various practice rooms throughout Wilson Hall. Occasionally we’d get what we thought was a perfect take, only to listen back to it and realize we could faintly hear a pianist practicing down the hall or the soft whirring of Austin’s computer fan. But that’s just part of the fun of learning as you go along.

Q: What insight – or insights – did you gain during the research period?

I learned Lexington is hard to define even through the medium of music, which has limitless potential for ambiguity and mood. It is a slippery place, and it doesn’t like you thinking that you might know something it doesn’t.

Q: What is your favorite part of creating, researching or developing this project?

I cherish the DIY-ness of this project. Austin and I play almost every instrument on every track. We set up makeshift studios in reserved rooms and recorded all of this in our free time. We met up during the day between classes to mix songs. We stayed up until 2 a.m. talking about plans and tiny adjustments to the sound. With Caleigh Well’s help, we produced a Kickstarter page, raising over $3,000 in under a month, $1,000 more than our original goal. We receive the full blow of every frustration, every triumph, every compliment, every criticism. W&L students have complete ownership over FUDG Records’ projects, and I’m beginning to understand just how lucky I am to have so much at stake in something as important as student art.

Q: What does SSA mean to you?

SSA is a celebration of the substantial accomplishments of my peers. This is when we officially applaud the people who unconsciously inspire me every day.

Q: Why is SSA – considering science, society, and arts together – important to this campus?

As a campus that thrives off making connections that illuminate the way the world works, members of our community have the capability and the responsibility to familiarize themselves with everything. In connecting even the most seemingly disparate things, we also connect the most seemingly disparate people. An appreciation for all fields of study leads to an appreciation for all people in all fields of study. Receiving a liberal arts education means developing an empathetic intellect, and compassion-driven academia not only benefits our campus but our global society as well.

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 Dana

Hometown:
Nashville, TN

Major:
English Major, Music and Film Double Minor

Extracurricular involvement:
– 
Member of the founding team of Friday Underground, W&L’s student-run venue and coffeeshop
– Artistic Director for Friday Underground Records
Peer Counselor
– Musical Director for General Admission
University Singers, Tenor I
ODK National Leadership Honor Society
– Appeared in six W&L theatrical productions (and hopefully more to come)

Why did you choose your major?
The very first class I registered for at W&L was a class on 18th century British literature where we read Gothic novels and drew comparisons to modern horror films. I was an absolute goner after that.

What professor has inspired you?
You’re making me pick just one? Cruel. Well, keeping the latest FUDG records project in mind, I’ll say Professor Lesley Wheeler. She taught me to take ownership of the way I interact with poetry. Her course on modern American poetry from 1900-1950 was 12 consecutive weeks of life-affirming verses and energizing class discussions that have absolutely leaked into my more recent songs.

What’s your personal motto?
“A thorn grows next to the rose as its witness. I am that thorn for whom simply to be is an act of praise. Near the rose, no shame.” – Rumi

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Hideaway” by Jacob Collier

A friend showed it to me last semester and it reawakened my appetite for music. Jacob Collier has this marvelous way of making innovative sounds feel familiar.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
My wedding will be at Napa Thai. Instead of rice, well-wishers will throw pad Thai at me and my betrothed.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
No one peaks in their first year.

Post-graduation plans:
Now taking suggestions: garyd18@mail.wlu.edu

Favorite W&L memory:
Singing in cathedrals, bars, and coves across Ireland with the University Singers.

Favorite class:
That first Brit lit class with Professor Jess Keiser. It would be almost impossible to top the wide-eyed wonder of a high schooler experiencing their first fun college class. I loved my studies so much that they felt indulgent at times. I still feel that way about many of my classes.

Favorite W&L event:
Anytime there’s jazz music at Friday Underground.

Favorite campus landmark:
I’m a sucker for Lee Chapel, especially on winter nights when the lights are on inside and it looks so warm.

What’s your passion?
I really, really, really love to sing.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I have no idea what I am doing.

Why did you choose W&L?
I could tell it was old, and I suspected because it was so old it had something very important to teach me. (I was right.)

W&L Law’s James Moliterno Receives the Virginia State Bar Leadership in Education Award

moliternojuse-400x600 W&L Law's James Moliterno Receives the Virginia State Bar Leadership in Education AwardJames E. Moliterno

James E. Moliterno, the Vincent Bradford Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and an international expert on legal ethics, has been named the recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia.

Moliterno has spent his career as a legal educator seeking ways to infuse experiential learning into legal education. He played a leadership role in developing W&L’s innovative practice-based curriculum, and prior to joining W&L, he was the architect of William and Mary law school’s award winning ethics, skills, and professionalism program.

Moliterno is an acknowledged international expert in legal ethics and professionalism, and has traveled throughout the world to help countries develop ethics policies and training programs. He participated in the USAID Rule of Law project in Serbia to establish legal skills training programs, and has worked with lawyers and judges in Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Japan, Indonesia, and China on ethics training.

“Professor Moliterno’s passion for improving the legal profession broadly and the ethical administration of law by lawyers and judges know no geographical bounds,” said Brant Hellwig, dean and professor of law at W&L. “I have admired and indeed have often been amazed at his unbridled passion not only for teaching students substantive law, but for doing so in a manner that will allow them to effectively and efficiently serve their clients in a professional and ethical manner.”

The awards Moliterno has received span his career. He was awarded the inaugural American Bar Association Gambrell Professionalism Award in 1991 for the best law school program for the teaching of ethics and professionalism. In 2012 he received the Rebuilding Justice Award from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.

The Rakes award was established in 2012 to honor former Virginia State Bar president and founder of the Section on the Education of Lawyers, William R. Rakes, a senior partner with the Roanoke firm of Gentry Locke.

The award, which is underwritten by Gentry Locke, is to be presented in June at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

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The Ruscio Center for Global Learning

In 2014, the University broke ground on the Ruscio Center for Global Learning, a 26,000-square-foot facility that would house several language departments, classrooms, instructional labs and public spaces to encourage student and faculty interaction. Newly opened in 2016, the CGL is a statement about 21st century education. It is our commitment to moving in new academic and technological directions as we work with our faculty and our students to blaze trails we cannot even imagine yet.


Laura Beth Lavette: Welcoming First-Years with Open Arms Meet Laura Beth Lavette ‘17, a senior with a passion for introducing first-year students to W&L.

“Our community is not limited to the confines of campus. Instead, our affection for each other and this school is limitless, extending across the nation and across generations.”

Laura-Beth-Lavette-600x400 Laura Beth Lavette: Welcoming First-Years with Open ArmsMeet Laura Beth Lavette ‘17, a graduating senior with a passion for introducing First Years to W&L

First-Year Olympics, perspective tours, carnival night, ThinkFast game events – as a First Year, the days and hours of Orientation Week come and go in a blur. You’re trying to soak in endless amounts of information and remember countless new names while quickly being ushered from one event to the next and propelled from one “hall bonding” activity to another. Despite the fast pace and packed schedule, W&L’s Orientation Week is unique in that it promotes the fostering of friendships, introduces students to the surrounding Lexington community, and connects First Years to upperclassmen who can offer invaluable advice.

As a freshman, I was unaware of how much effort was invested in making our “O-week” experience the best it could possibly be. The duties of the First-Year Orientation Committee (FYOC) do not end on the first day of classes. In fact, FYOC is composed of a highly involved group of students who work year-round to plan and prepare for the incoming freshmen. With well over 100 members this past year, we organized everything from the Freshman Facebook page to the swing-dancing lessons on campfire night.

During my transition from a First-Year student to a member of FYOC, my enthusiasm for our student body and Lexington’s welcoming community reached novel heights. This newfound enthusiasm pushed me to apply for a more rigorous and involved position in hopes of finding my niche in college. And that I did. As a general co-chair of FYOC, I had the opportunity to become engaged in every detail of the First-Year experience, which reaches far beyond Orientation Week. For two years, I was able to develop leadership, organizational, and communicative skills that I plan to carry with me through the rest of my life endeavors.  

As a graduating senior, I do not think my time and energy at this school could have been spent more effectively. Orientation week is a pivotal moment in college students’ lives: You develop your first friendships, choose your first classes, and finally get to explore what it means to be independent. As I became more actively involved in FYOC over the years, rising from a member to co-chair, my appreciation for our school and its traditions seemed to grow infinitely. W&L is a home to so many students and faculty, a place that welcomes each new freshman with open arms. And although I am leaving the comfort of the only school I have known for the past four years, my experiences in FYOC have confirmed that our community is not limited to the confines of campus. Instead, our affection for each other and this school is limitless, extending across the nation and across generations.

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 Laura Beth

Hometown:
Birmingham, Alabama

Majors:
Biochemistry

Minors:
Poverty Studies

Extracurricular involvement:
– Student Health Committee
– General Co-Chair of First-Year Orientation Committee
– FeelGood Member
– Kappa Alpha Theta Member
– Student Contact for Promise Committee
– Student Affairs Intern Work Study
– W&L Research Assistant
– Co-Founder of Little Generals

Why did you choose your major?
While a biochemistry major encourages my investigative and analytical side, a poverty minor has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and explore the abstract components of social science.

What professor has inspired you?
Professor Pickett. He knows how to challenge me both inside and outside of the classroom, pushing me to reach my full potential.

What’s your personal motto?
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

What’s your favorite song right now?
Chasing Clouds” by MÖWE

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Sushi Matsumoto, can’t go wrong with sushi!

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Take classes that are different…you never know where you’ll find your passions.

Post-graduation plans:
Medical school

Favorite W&L memory:
When my housemates and I spent hours on end at the local antique shop, carefully picking a compilation of knick-knacks to scatter throughout our “home” for the next two years.

Favorite class:
“Science in Art: Technical Examination of 17th Century Dutch Paintings,” a class that traveled to the Netherlands for Spring Term to study the scientific component of art preservation.

Favorite W&L event:
Parent’s Weekend, something that I think is truly unique and reflects W&L’s close-knit community and welcoming culture.

Favorite campus landmark:
Gilliam Dorm Ruins (RIP), where I spent my freshman days and where I met some of my closest friends.

What’s your passion?
Running, something I can do anywhere, at any time, with nearly anyone.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m addicted to the show “MasterChef.”

Why did you choose W&L?
Even though I always knew I wanted to attend a smaller liberal arts school, when I stepped onto W&L’s campus I was lucky enough to get “the feeling,” something that every prospective student hopes to experience when they find the perfect fit. I had to come here.

John R. Farmer ’61: Distinguished Citizen The award goes to to those who whose professional and humanitarian contributions and accomplishments are worthy of celebration.

John-Farmer-blog-800x533 John R. Farmer ’61: Distinguished CitizenJohn Farmer ’61. Photo by Rikki Ward.

John F. Farmer, who graduated from Washington and Lee in 1961, received the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award from The Commonwealth Club, in San Francisco, during its gala on March 3.

The Commonwealth Club presents the award to those who exemplify the ideals and values that have guided the organization for over a century, and whose professional and humanitarian contributions and accomplishments are worthy of celebration. The award also recognizes the qualities that make an individual’s life worthy of admiration: generosity, the ability to inspire, and their desire to make a difference in the world.

“In our current societal environment, the club’s role as a platform for free and open, non-partisan and well-informed debate is front and center,” said Dr. Gloria C. Duffy, president and CEO of the club. “We are thrilled to celebrate these distinguished citizens, each of whom is shaping our future in the Bay Area and beyond. Our annual gala is a celebration of these Distinguished Citizens who embody the goals and values of the club, as well as an opportunity to gather our community and our devoted network of supporters.”

John, who is the former chairman of The Commonwealth Club and a former general partner at Goldman Sachs, has spent his entire business and professional career in the investment banking and securities industry.

He has focused his public service endeavors on private education. While living in London, he spent 13 years as a trustee of The American School in London, serving 11 of those as chair of the board. He has also served as a trustee at W&L for 10 years and chaired the university’s successful capital campaign For the Rising Generation. He serves on the board of trustees of Occidental College, Los Angeles.

John and his wife, Tawna, have four children and eight grandchildren, and live in Tiburon, California.


Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Robyn Cleary ’18

“What time is it…..wait, no, what day is it….and where the heck are we?” My experience with the first two weeks of the Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program (SISAP) can be summed up in those three short questions. As my first two weeks abroad come to a close and I begin to settle down into Sydney student life, I am thankful for the opportunity to pause and reflect on the many adventures that have occurred these past two weeks.

My adventures in Australia officially began after surviving twenty-two and half hours in the air, and arriving to the Gilligan’s Hostel in Cairns, Australia. Cairns is an amazing tropical town – often referred to as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – located in North Queensland. It was here that the eight Washington and Lee Students participating in the SISAP met up for orientation with the Global Academic Ventures (GAV) Team. While some of us would have preferred to go to bed straight away, to combat jet lag, the GAV team insisted we stay awake and suggested we explore Cairns.

Over the next few days, the eight of us got to go on a variety of unbelievable adventures. While the trip out to the Great Barrier Reef was choppy to say the least, the views of the Australian coastline and mountains were indescribable. “It looks like a scene out of Jurassic Park,” said Amanda Whalen ‘18. Once we arrived to our first of three scenic locations in the Great Barrier Reef, three W&L students – Caroline Holliday ‘18, Sam Taylor ‘18, and John Bozeman ‘18 – took the opportunity to scuba dive, while others, myself included, chose to snorkel. Our group saw all sorts of animals, from sea turtles to blacktip reef sharks, and my personal favorite – many species of parrot fish. The next day, we set out on another adventure to hike and swim in waterfalls in the Daintree Rainforest. As someone who is terrified of heights, the bumpy, curvy mountain road that our tour guide drove to our first site was nerve-wracking. That said, the drive was well worth it, as the views of the rainforest and the surrounding mountains were again indescribable. On noticing how high up into the mountains we were, Charlotte Braverman ’18 aptly remarked, “We’re literally driving in a cloud.” One of the highlights of this adventure, besides enjoying the beauty of the many waterfalls, was when we saw a platypus swimming in the wild.

Day four in Australia began our adventures in Sydney. While many of us were tired of traveling and lugging around suitcases, we were all very excited to check into our permanent accommodations. Set up apartment style, our apartments are super centralized, allowing for a ten-minute walk to the University of Sydney, a fifteen-minute walk to the mall – which includes many grocery stores, chemists, and a food court, and a twelve-minute walk to the train station. That same evening, we had dinner at Darling Harbor – where Josh Malm ‘18 took the opportunity to try Kangaroo for the first time – before traveling into downtown Sydney to experience the Mardi Gras parade. In Sydney, Mardi Gras hosts one of the largest LGBT pride parades in the world. I had an awesome time enjoying the many floats, and celebrating pride with the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. On Day five, we took a tour of The Rocks – the most historic district in Sydney and where the first European settlers lived in Australia – as well as a tour of the University of Sydney.

As it is Australia’s oldest university, hosts the largest library in the Southern Hemisphere, and is called home by roughly 53,000 students, the University of Sydney in some ways shares many similarities with Washington and Lee, and in other ways is vastly different. The Monday of my first day of classes served as an overall humbling experience. I got lost for forty-five minutes simply trying to find where to pick up my student ID, but eventually through the help of some kind students, I made it to the International Student Lounge, where I was relieved to look around and see many other confused faces. While many students may complain about the lack of anonymity found on W&L’s campus, I already miss being able to recognize and chat with everyone on my way to class.

The University of Sydney structures their courses very differently from W&L – with students attending lectures with hundreds of students in large theatre style classrooms, and then attending tutorials, workshops, or laboratories with smaller groups of students lead by a tutor. During the first week of the term, no tutorials, workshops, or laboratories were hosted, so I can only provide my perspective on how lectures are run. In my Art History, Econometrics, and Cross-Cultural Management courses, a professor or guest lecturer would stand and speak for up to two hours on a specific topic. There was not much dialogue between students and lecturers, except for a few questions at the end. This is because more questions are answered in tutorials, workshops, or laboratories or online through blackboard question forums. This is a much different format from the lectures at W&L, in which most professors will often stop for questions and instigate open dialogues with students. Additionally, in my experience at W&L, the majority of professors set many assignments throughout the term which collectively are of equal weight to or outweigh the final exam’s grade. Based on my assigned syllabi and discussions with other SISAP W&L students, the University of Sydney places much more weight on final exam grades and expects students to undertake a lot more unsupervised and independent work. Both structures have their advantages and disadvantages, but it is a difference so significant, I thought it best to point out.

A unique aspect of the Sydney study abroad program not only allows students to find and experience Winter Internships in the US or elsewhere, but also to intern with Australian companies in Sydney. This past week, I officially started working with Stone and Chalk – a relatively new Sydney based non-profit fintech (financial services technology) hub that assists nearly one-hundred independent fintech startups to commercialize and scale up. I will be working with the Events Manager to assist with the logistical and administrative duties that arise from hosting a wide variety of events from Pitch Fests to Master Classes and everything in between. With only thirteen full-time employees, Stone and Chalk is a new and growing startup itself. I’m excited to be able to not only compare working in Australia versus working in the US, but also working for a smaller and rapidly developing company versus a larger and more well-developed company.

While I could write so much more about our experiences in Australia already, including our trip the Blue Mountains – specifically to see the Three Sisters – and riding the steepest passenger railway in the world (backwards and in the dark!), as well as our meet-up dinner with Professor Irani in Newtown, there will be many more blogs to come. I would love to talk about my experiences with anyone who is interested in studying abroad in Australia, and would highly recommend the trip to all accounting majors! If you would like to learn more about our adventures in real time, be sure to check out our facebook group, SISAP@W&L.

-Robyn Cleary ’18

Bren Flanigan, World Ambassador Bren Flanigan ’16 shares his economic skills and American culture as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Flanigan-1-800x533 Bren Flanigan, World AmbassadorBren Flanigan ’16 at Maison des Jeunes (House of Youth) Park in Natitingou wearing an outfit made of traditional Beninese fabric.

“W&L really makes each student an excellent ambassador of American culture. We can talk about almost anything given our liberal arts background, and our campus environment instills in us an adaptability and ambition that we can use to go anywhere in the world and share our skills and knowledge.”

— Bren Flanigan ’16

The night Bren Flanigan ’16 woke up with a mouse on his neck is one he won’t soon forget.

It was near the end of a temporary stay with a host family in Benin, Africa. He screamed in shock, and his host mother came running with a flashlight. When she saw the intruder, she expressed what she and other members of the family were thinking: “He just wants to see you one more time before you leave.”

As a new Peace Corps volunteer assigned as a community economic advisor to Benin, Flanigan became immersed in the French language and Beninese culture by living the first three months with a family in a small village of 1,000 people. He became very attached to his large host family — a husband, four wives and 20 children. They felt the same about him, and have kept in touch since he moved to his permanent, two-year assignment in Natitingou, the largest city in northern Benin.

Flanigan asked for an urban assignment, partly to counter the usual impression of Africa as just villages — a concept he learned more about in a W&L class, Africa and the Western imagination. Unlike the host family’s village, which had a pump for water, little electricity and no toilet, his city life includes ATMs, toilets, restaurants, running water and electricity.

His goals as a Peace Corps volunteer are to share information about American culture and life with the Beninese people; to share his economic and technical skills as a volunteer; and to share Beninese culture with friends, family and others back in the United States.

In Natitingou, Flanigan works with three organizations that are overseen by the same person. An international non-governmental organization promotes use of the Western African cereal grain fonio. Native to the region, it can be transformed into a powder and is used in popular local dishes to combat malnutrition. The five staff members work with 200 fonio producers in 10 villages.

A connected business focuses on marketing and selling fonio. Since everyone has a smart phone, part of the marketing involves social media and apps. As Flanigan becomes acclimated to the business’ processes, he will advise them on accounting practices.

The third organization is an orphanage for teens ages 18-19. About 30 are housed in a nearby building. Flanigan plans to organize an English club for them, since all students in Benin study English. He also wants to use his Peace Corps skills to teach them how to start businesses.

Flanigan-21-800x533 Bren Flanigan, World AmbassadorBren Flanigan ’16 with his host family.

In April, Flanigan will travel to Senegal for a two-week global conference on malaria. “I will be one of 80 Peace Corps volunteers representing every African country to attend this conference focusing on the prevention and treatment of malaria, ” he said. “I’ll be presenting on what Benin is currently doing, and will spend the rest of my time learning new techniques that I can then bring back to Benin and help officials implement.”

Flanigan is no newcomer to international travel. Encouraged by his parents, he has visited 24 countries since 2006. He has lived on three continents and studied abroad twice. In 2014, he spent the summer working at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia. Even in the U.S., his recent summers have focused on international relations: In 2015, he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C., and in 2016, he spent the summer working for the Department of Public Information at the United Nations in New York City.

“I became totally immersed in international relations and learned how aid diplomacy works at the highest levels of government during those assignments,” he said. At the U.N., he gave a speech before the U.N. ambassadors from Mexico, Greece and Portugal and about 45 other diplomats. He spoke about combating xenophobia and empowering youth to support the protection of refugees.

Flanigan came to Washington and Lee from Carthage, Missouri, primarily because he knew of the university’s outstanding reputation in liberal arts. He continues to be proud of his choice and takes everything he learned with him around the world.

“W&L really makes each student an excellent ambassador of American culture. We can talk about almost anything given our liberal arts background, and our campus environment instills in us an adaptability and ambition that we can use to go anywhere in the world and share our skills and knowledge,” he said.

Some classes and professors stand out for Flanigan. Seth Cantey’s capstone course in Middle Eastern politics “changed my thinking process about how to interpret conflicts and diplomatic challenges to the U.S.” He said the course looked at where conflicts originated and how they influence culture today.

Looking at war and peace through an economic lens was the focus of a course taught by Shikha Silwal, assistant professor of economics. Flanigan said understanding the topic can help governments make more informed policy decisions.

After taking global politics with Tyler Dickovick, professor of politics, during his first year at W&L, Flanigan spent many hours learning from him about his own Peace Corps experiences. An expert on African politics, Dickovick advised Flanigan about how to use his skills to be an effective Peace Corps volunteer. “Hearing about professor Dickovick’s service as a volunteer launched me on a trajectory to join the ranks of Peace Corps myself.”

Outside of class, Flanigan was assistant head hearing advisor, helping students accused of honor violations to present their cases, and supervising other hearing advisors. He served as president of the Student Recruitment Committee and gave tours to prospective students and Johnson Scholar finalists. He also was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

As he looks to the future, Flanigan said his Peace Corps experience is vital. “This is what I want to do the rest of my life — to work in diplomacy. Therefore, it is vital to understand the relationships between the United States and other countries, at the highest level of government but most importantly, at a grassroots level of cultural exchange.”

Michael Magoline ’89 to Speak on Experience as an Orthopaedic Surgeon in a War Zone

Magoline__Photo-260x350 Michael Magoline '89 to Speak on Experience as an Orthopaedic Surgeon in a War ZoneMichael Magoline

Michael Magoline, an orthopaedic surgeon, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University as part of the Borders and Their Human Impact series. It will be on March 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Ruscio Center for Global Learning.

Magoline will speak on “From Lexington to Afghanistan, My Tribute to Washington and Lee.” His talk is free and open to the public.

“This discussion focuses on how my education and experience at Washington and Lee profoundly shaped my life and career,” said Magoline, “from dealing with the adversity of operating in a war zone far away from home, to treating patients from all walks of society. The lessons I learned in Lexington prepared me for life’s many challenges. This talk highlights my experience in Afghanistan as an orthopaedic surgeon and the education at W&L that I fell back on to help guide me during a difficult time.”

A member of the W&L Class of 1989, Magoline graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and served his fellowship in arthroscopic surgery and sports medicine at Orthopaedic Research of Virginia.

He served in the U.S. Army and was a flight surgeon for the 159th Group 18th Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He served active duty in Afghanistan in 2004.

Magoline specializes in sports medicine and total joint replacement surgery with an interest in arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgery and shoulder, knee and elbow reconstruction surgery.

He has earned numerous honors and awards and has authored and co-authored a number of research papers and presentations. He is a member of several state and national medical societies. He is a former associate team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers and has been a physician since 1993. He currently is the physician for St. Vincent–St. Mary High School.

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.

W&L Repertory Dance Company to Perform March 17, 18 and 19

“Bringing together professional guest artists, faculty and current students creates a beautiful synergy. A palpable force of teaching and learning is created. This artistic process enables a shared experience through collaboration.”

The Washington and Lee University’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Film Studies presents the W&L Repertory Dance Company’s winter concert in a program of multifaceted dance works created by nationally renowned choreographers.

Performances will be March 17-18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 19 at 2 p.m. in the Keller Theater, Lenfest Center for the Arts. Tickets are required.

This concert of seven works contains the work of four guest-artist residencies that occurred throughout the year. Choreographers Charlotte Boye-Christenson, Autumn Belk, Sarah Jacobs and Faith Levine each spent three days on campus offering master classes and then giving their work to W&L dance students to prepare for the winter concert.

Boye-Christensen’s work, “Key,” is a tribute to Glenn Gould, one of the most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century.

Pix_for_WL_Repertory_Dance_Company-400x600 W&L Repertory Dance Company to Perform March 17, 18 and 19W&L Repertory Dance Company

Belk’s dance, “Coiffure,” was inspired by the 1923 book “Art and Fundamentals of Hairdressing,” in which three women ponder the significance of hairstyles in the 1920s as they lounge on a luxurious settee and flip through the latest Vogue.

Of the two works set by Jacobs, “Bulbous Bouffant” is a humorous gestural trio inspired by The Vestibules’ sound score of the same name. Choreographed using one movement per word, abstract and comic gestures highlight rhythmic vocal play. She describes her second piece, “Dear Willy,” asa playful and theatrical group work that both capitalizes on and unravels the romantic tropes of Motown music and Hollywood film.”

Levine’s work, “Disjecta,” provides a window to the internal politics of the contemporary art world.

Elliot Emadian ’17, who will attend an M.F.A. dance program this fall, will perform a solo he created last summer at the American Dance Festival.  Based on interviews conducted with dancers and personal experience, his work looks closely at gender stereotypes and uses comedy to teach broader lessons in acceptance.

The evening wraps up with a new work-in-progress by Artistic Director Jenefer Davies. “La fenêtre” focuses on café culture as a center of political, social and cultural life. It explores the dynamics of conversation and debate and the blurring of the distinctions of class and social status.

On curating this performance, Davies said, “Bringing together professional guest artists, faculty and current students creates a beautiful synergy. A palpable force of teaching and learning is created. This artistic process enables a shared experience through collaboration.”

Tickets are required and can be purchased at the Lenfest Center box office (540) 458-8000 or online at:

https://www.wlu.edu/lenfest-center/current-season/wandl-repertory-dance-company-winter-dance-concert

W&L’s Swasy to Discuss Her Book on How Journalists Use Twitter

“Twitter started as a plaything where friends could share pictures of their Kung Pao chicken dinner, but the social media platform has become a major force in setting the agenda in 24/7 digital news cycle. That’s both exciting and terrifying.”

The Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series, presented by the Leyburn Library at Washington and Lee University, presents Alecia Swasy, the Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism at W&L on March 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Book Nook on the main floor of the library.

She will be discussing her new book, “How Journalists Use Twitter: The Changing Landscape of U.S. Newsrooms” (2016).  The talk is free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided.

The book examines how leading reporters and editors at four major metropolitan newspapers are embracing Twitter as a key tool in their daily routines and how the social media platform influences coverage.

It builds on social media research by analyzing newsroom work through the lens of four different communications theories—diffusion of innovation, boundary, social capital and agenda-setting theories.

SwasyAlecia_0006_110116___copy-350x234 W&L's Swasy to Discuss Her Book on How Journalists Use TwitterAlecia Swasy

Swasy also taught business journalism at the University of Illinois and continues to work with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Her professional experience include assistant managing editor/equities at Dow Jones & Co.; The Virginian-Pilot, where she was deputy managing editor for sections; The St. Petersburg Times (now The Tampa Bay Times), where she was assistant managing editor and business editor; and staff writer for The Wall St. Journal.

Swasy’s work includes “A Little Birdie Told Me: Factors that Influence the Diffusion of Twitter in Newsrooms” (2016), in Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media; “Who do you trust? Comparing the Credibility of Citizen and Traditional Journalists,” (eds., 2015), in Newspaper Research Jourrnal; and “Co-Viewing, Tweeting and Facebooking the 2012 Presidential Debates,” (eds., 2015), in Electronic News.

“Twitter started as a plaything where friends could share pictures of their Kung Pao chicken dinner, but the social media platform has become a major force in setting the agenda in 24/7 digital news cycle,” said Swasy. “That’s both exciting and terrifying.”

The Jazz Ambassadors, U.S. Army’s Official Touring Big Band, to Perform at W&L

Jazz_Ambassadors-600x400 The Jazz Ambassadors, U.S. Army’s Official Touring Big Band, to Perform at W&LJazz Ambassadors

The Lenfest Center for the Arts at Washington and Lee University presents the Jazz Ambassadors: the United States Army’s Official Touring Big Band for a one-night engagement on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Keller Theater.

Formed in 1969, the Jazz Ambassadors of Washington, D.C., has performed in 50 states and all over the world. Comprised of the military’s finest practitioners of jazz and swing, this 20-member jazz ensemble’s notable performances include concerts at international jazz festivals in Montreux, Switzerland; Newport, Rhode Island; Toronto, Canada; Brussels, Belgium; and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands.

Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts and the Dave Brubeck All-Star Quintet are just a few of the outstanding jazz artists who have shared the stage with the Jazz Ambassadors. The band has been featured in joint concerts with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Pops, the Colorado Pops Orchestra and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are specially arranged to highlight the group’s creative talents and gifted soloists. Contemporary jazz, big band swing, Latin, bebop, standards, vocals, popular tunes, Dixieland jazz and patriotic classics are just a sample of the repertoire.

Tickets are free, but required. Call the Lenfest Center box office at 458-8000 to reserve your tickets. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 9- 11 a.m. and 1- 3 p.m. and 2 hours prior to each ticketed performance.

Related //,

Quirky Ceramics Tell Fascinating Tales A new exhibit, “Mementos of the Great War: Toby Jugs Commemorating Allied Leaders of World War I,” is open to the public in the Watson Pavilion at Washington and Lee University through December 2017.

Toby_Jug_of_Wilson-511x768-1 Quirky Ceramics Tell Fascinating TalesWoodrow Wilson Toby Jug

In 1918, to celebrate the United States’ entrance into World War I a year earlier, the A. J. Wilkinson Pottery issued a Toby jug modeled after Woodrow Wilson. Dressed as Uncle Sam, Wilson sits on a biplane, “giving,” as one British advertisement suggested, “the idea that he is sending it over to the Front to join us in our One Great Cause.” To ensure that the sentiments represented by the jug are clear, “Welcome Uncle Sam!” is emblazoned around the base.

The jug joined 11 others that had been produced by Wilkinson to commemorate allied English and French military and civilian leaders of World War I. The jugs were designed by Francis Carruthers Gould, a popular political cartoonist of the time, and were retailed by Soane & Smith Ltd., a high-end ceramics and glass dealer in London.

The first jug, depicting Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, appeared in January 1915. Others were put into production as new figures gained prominence. A twelfth jug depicting Winston Churchill as the First Lord of the Admiralty (a position he held from 1911 to 1915) was not produced until 1941. The reason for the delay of more than two decades is thought to have been Churchill’s connection to the disastrous defeat at Gallipoli. The design was revived and put into production after Churchill became Prime Minister.

The jugs were issued in limited editions of from 250 to 1,000 (Kitchener got only 250 while King George V got 1,000), and were advertised as an investment; Soane & Smith somewhat self-servingly asked “we quite realize that economy is the order of the day, but what is a good investment but economy in its finest form? Why not, therefore, procure your set before the prices increase still further?” The jugs were also donated to charitable auctions and raffles raising money for the war effort; one jug depicting Admiral Jellicoe made £296.

The full set of jugs, on loan from W&L alumnus Bruce C. Perkins, is featured in the exhibit “Mementos of the Great War: Toby Jugs Commemorating the Allied Leaders of World War I.” Perkins loaned the jugs to W&L to help mark the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s entrance into WWI. The exhibit will be on display in the Watson Pavilion through December 2017.

For more information about the exhibit, click here.

Jeffrey Rosen to Speak on Justice Brandeis and Privacy in the Age of Google and Facebook

ROSEN_CEO007-600x400 Jeffrey Rosen to Speak on Justice Brandeis and Privacy in the Age of Google and FacebookJeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and professor of law at George Washington University, will give a public talk on Justice Louis Brandeis at Washington and Lee University on March 20 at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

He will speak on “The Curse of Bigness: What Would Brandeis Say about Privacy in the Age of Google and Facebook.” The talk is free and open to the public.

Rosen’s talk will draw upon his recent biography of Brandeis, “Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet” (2016), and Brandeis’ extensive writing on privacy in the digital age. Brandeis called for a more robust protection of privacy rights in the article he wrote with Samuel Warren in the Harvard Law Review, “The Right to Privacy,” where they outlined the right to be left alone.

Brandeis regarded the government as the protector of privacy against incursions by media and other corporate entities. Brandeis also challenged the power of corporations more generally in his famous book, “Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It” (1914). Rosen will discuss how “the border that surrounds our right to privacy has been transformed by technology” and how Brandeis might apply his progressive-era thinking to contemporary privacy issues.

Rosen is senior nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor to The Atlantic and his work frequently appears in major news publications.

He has appeared as a guest on National Public Radio, was a staff writer at the New Yorker, was commentator on legal affairs for The New Republic before joining The Atlantic and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. He also has testified before Congressional committees on campaign finance, data mining and electronic surveillance, and the Fourth Amendment.

The Chicago Tribune named Rosen one of the 10-best magazine journalists in America, and the Los Angeles Times called him the nation’s most widely read and influential legal commentator.

In addition to Rosen’s book on Brandeis, his publications include “Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change” (2013), co-ed.; “The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America” (2007); and “The Most Democratic Branch: How the Courts Serve America” (2006).

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.

William M. Tsutsui, President of Hendrix College, to Address W&L’s Phi Beta Kappa Convocation

The Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Washington and Lee University will induct new members into the prestigious honor society at the Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati Convocation on Sunday, March 19 at 3 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

The convocation will recognize and honor 49 members of the junior and senior classes and seven graduates from the Class of 2016, all of whom were accepted into Phi Beta Kappa based on their exceptional academic achievements. It will be streamed live.

Tsutsui_headshot4x6-400x600 William M. Tsutsui, President of Hendrix College, to Address W&L’s Phi Beta Kappa ConvocationWilliam Tsutsui

The keynote speaker will be William M. (Bill) Tsutsui, president and professor of history at Hendrix College. He will speak on “The Liberal Arts in an Age of Extremes.” The convocation is free and open to the public.

Tsutsui is an author and a specialist in modern Japanese business and economic history. Prior to joining Hendrix College in 2014 as its 11th president, he served as dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University from 2010 to 2014.

Tsutsui spent 17 years at the University of Kansas, where he served as acting director of KU’s Center for East Asian Studies, chair of the department of history, founding executive director of the Confucius Institute at KU and associate dean for international studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Tsutsui is the author or editor of eight books, including “Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization” (2010); “Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters” (2004); and “Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in 20th-Century Japan” (2001).

He has received Fulbright, American Council of Learned Societies and Marshall fellowships, as well as the John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2000 and the William Rockhill Nelson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2005.

His teaching and research focus on the business, environmental and cultural history of 20th-century Japan. He holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton universities.

The Phi Beta Kappa chapter will induct as an honorary member W&L’s Emeritus Professor Roger Jeans, the Elizabeth Lewis Otey Professor of History Emeritus, in recognition of his longstanding commitment to scholarship and publication.

At the convocation, the chapter will announce the winner of the Phi Beta Kappa J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award. The award goes to the student with the highest cumulative scholastic average through the end of the fall term of his or her sophomore year.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Its motto is “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

Class of 2016

  • Davis W. Bateman
  • Jacob M. Berman
  • Kevin B. Ortiz
  • Mary K. Sands
  • Mary Elizabeth Smith
  • David S. Zekan
  • Conan Y. Zhao

Class of 2017

  • Charles R. Baker
  • Diana V. Banks
  • Olivia K. Brown
  • Daniel J. Claroni
  • John M. Crum
  • John Z. Dannehl
  • Arianna I. Dial
  • Ellie A. Gorman
  • Dalton L. Greenwood
  • Phillip S. Harmon
  • Conley K. Hurst
  • Polina O. Kyriushko
  • Laura E. Lavette
  • Sydney P. Lundquist
  • Patrick A. Ozark
  • Kathryn S. Sarfert
  • Elizabeth S. Schmitz
  • Cole W. Schott
  • Cody A. Solomon
  • Shaun M. Soman
  • Eleni K. Timas
  • Anna C. Todd
  • Gerrit A. Van Someren
  • Emily A. Webb
  • Clare E. Wilkinson

Class of 2018

  • Gillenhaal J. Beck
  • Alice Elisabeth M. Bradford
  • Thomas S. Caldwell
  • Stephanie R. Chung
  • Hayden P. Combs
  • Raymond E. Cox
  • Dana E. Droz
  • Luke M. Farley
  • Max S. Garrett
  • Nicholas K. George
  • Ralston C. Hartness
  • Lauren C. Hoffman
  • Shlomo Honig
  • Teresa M. Horan
  • Maren R. Lundgren
  • Rebecca E. Melkerson
  • Karishma D. Patel
  • Emily E. Perszyk
  • Ram H. Raval
  • Kassie A. Scott
  • Mallory E. Stephenson
  • Yuwei Wang
  • Julia M. Wilson
  • Joseph R. Zoeller

University Singers to Perform at Carnegie Hall April 1 The group was chosen to perform, along with only three other choirs from around the nation, after a highly competitive selection process.

“There are so many opportunities that we have in the University Singers that other people in a choir at a small liberal arts school would never even dream of, and I attribute those opportunities to the hard work of Dr. Lynch.”

— Jake Burnett ’17

UnivSingersPerf_0011_022817_-1-800x533 University Singers to Perform at Carnegie Hall April 1W&L University Singers

Washington and Lee University has had a strong choral tradition since its first group, the Men’s Glee Club, was established in the 19th century. But W&L choirs have not always competed on a national level. Now, thanks to hard work and solid leadership, that is beginning to change.

On April 1, the Washington and Lee University Singers will take the stage for the Collegiate Choral Showcase at Carnegie Hall in New York. Earning the invitation was a highly competitive process, and the W&L group is one of only four collegiate choirs from around the country that were chosen.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment for our University Singers,” said W&L Provost Marc Conner. “It’s a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of Director Shane Lynch and all of the students involved. I’m delighted to see this recognition of the tremendous performing arts programs at Washington and Lee.”

The Carnegie Hall news came about the same time Lynch, W&L’s director of choral activities, received word that the University Singers had been selected to perform at the American Choral Director Association’s National Conference. Because they could not do both, Lynch said, they selected the invitation that came first. But having to make the choice was “a great problem to have,” he said.

To vie for a spot in the Collegiate Choral Showcase, Lynch submitted several years’ worth of recordings of the University Singers, including a couple of songs per year. He also had to submit a sample program for the concert, which will include about eight songs per group.

Judges want to know that a group has the ability to sing a number of different songs well and that the quality of the choir has been sustained over the course of several years despite the annual turnover that is inevitable in any college choir. University Singers has 52 members, and about 40 to 50 percent graduate each year.

Lynch has been the director of choral activities at W&L since 2009. In 2013, the University Singers were invited to sing at the Virginia Music Educators Association’s state conference. “That was the first time a W&L ensemble had ever been accepted to perform at VMEA,” he said. “That was a huge step forward with blind peer review of the ensemble. It put us onto a little bit of equal footing with other Virginia schools that are more known for their music programs.”

The following year, the group sang a featured performance at the National Cathedral, which Lynch said was “another step up.”

“What has been fun about it from my end is that each class, and each iteration of the choir, has tried to rise to meet the challenge,” he said. “And then the next class is [asking] what do we have to do to meet the next one? It’s nice to see how we have been able to keep moving up the ladder to more exciting performances and options.”

Jake Burnett, a senior music major and member of University Singers, said being part of a group that is constantly striving to improve has been inspiring.

“When I first arrived at Washington and Lee and I joined the Men’s Glee Club, I had no idea what I was in for with the choral program. I just thought I was going to do a little bit of singing and it would be a good time,” Burnett said. “Little did I know that the University Singers would grow over my four years to become a professional-quality choral group. In addition to being filled with people whom I am blessed to call my choir family, we get to make beautiful music together for four hours every week, travel for a week together on tour sharing that music, and receive such honors as a standing invitation to sing at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., being accepted (and turning down the offer) to sing at a national choral conference, and sing a full solo set in Carnegie Hall.

“There are so many opportunities that we have in the University Singers that other people in a choir at a small liberal arts school would never even dream of, and I attribute those opportunities to the hard work of Dr. Lynch. He has built up the choral program over the last eight years and turned it into something worth broadcasting to the world. We can’t thank him enough for that.”

The University Singers will be in fine company on the Perelman Stage in the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. The other three choirs that will perform that evening are the University of Louisville Cardinal Singers, the University of Washington Chamber Singers and the University of Washington Chorale.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Top Media Lawyer Lee Levine to Speak at W&L Law

leelevine-800x533 Top Media Lawyer Lee Levine to Speak at W&L LawLee Levine

Lee Levine, renowned media lawyer and Supreme Court advocate, will visit W&L Law this month to speak on media law issues. He will give a talk titled “Reporter’s Privilege and the First Amendment.”

Levine will deliver his talk as the guest speaker in Prof. Brian Murchison’s Mass Media Law class on March 20 at noon in classroom A, Sydney Lewis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Graduating from Yale Law School in 1979, Levine made partner at Ross, Dixon & Masback in 1987, where he stayed until founding his own firm, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, in 1997. His new firm has grown to be the premier media law firm in the past 20 years.

Levine has argued before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He argued Bartnicki v. Vopper, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the press is not liable for a source’s illegal acquisition of information. In the landmark antitrust case United States v. Microsoft Corp., Levine won The New York Times the right to access pretrial depositions. He represented the estate of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in Ventura v. Kyle, defending the estate from Jesse Ventura’s defamation claim.

Levine is also the author of “The Progeny: Justice William J. Brennan’s Fight to Preserve the Legacy of New York Times v. Sullivan,” a 2014 book examining the landmark case establishing the malice standard for defamation claims from public officials, as well as cases that followed that decision.

Related //

Lawyers without Rights Exhibit and Event Series Coming to W&L The exhibit provides a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich and during the Holocaust.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R99542_München_Judenverfolgung_Michael_Siegel Lawyers without Rights Exhibit and Event Series Coming to W&LAttorney Dr. Michael Siegel complained to police on behalf of a client whose property was destroyed by Nazi Stormtroopers. He was beaten and then paraded through Munich with the sign around his neck: “I shall never again complain to the police.”

From March 20 through mid-April, the American Bar Association’s Lawyers without Rights exhibit will be on display at Washington and Lee School of Law. In conjunction with the visit, W&L will hold a series of discussions and film screenings exploring the issues surrounding the exhibit.

The Lawyers without Rights exhibit provides a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich and during the Holocaust. The exhibit is jointly sponsored by the ABA and the German Federal Bar.

An event series consisting of lectures, panel discussions and movie screenings, titled “Lawyering in Dark Times: Courage and Cowardice at the Bar” will run concurrently with the exhibition.

W&L law professor Russell Miller is coordinating the visit of the exhibit as well as the discussion series. “Lawyers are a fundamental part of civic life and the integrity of the rule of law,” said Miller.  “Unfortunately, the bar’s power means they can contribute to the erosion of those values, too.  The horrors of the National Socialist regime in Germany offer poignant examples — and warnings — of both.  Those seem like useful lessons for all lawyers for all times, but especially in these tumultuous times in our civic life.”

Below is a listing of the events in the series. All events are free and open to the public.

UPDATE: Note change in time for exhibit opening to 4:00 pm.

Monday, March 20

Opening Reception and Remarks
Moot Court Lobby – 4:00 PM

Sarah Horowitz
Associate Professor of History
W&L University

Linda Klein ’83L
President, American Bar Association
Managing Shareholder, Baker Donelson Beraman Caldwell & Berkowitz
W&L Law Alumnus

Thursday, March 23

Film Screening and Discussion
Lewis Hall Classroom C – 7:30 PM

“The People vs. Fritz Bauer”

Monday, March 27

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Peggy Fiebig (W&L Law LLM)
Press Secretary – Berlin Justice Minister Dirk Behrendt
“Lawyers without Rights” Team of Curators

“The Origin of Lawyers without Rights”

Friday, March 31

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Prof. Mark Drumbl
Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law & Director, Transnational Law Institute
W&L Law

“The Kapo on Film: Tragic Perpetrators and Imperfect Victims”

Monday, April 3

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:30 PM

Panel Discussion: The Lawyer as Hero

Prof. Jon Shapiro
Prof. J.D. King
Prof. Margaret Hu

Friday, April 7

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Prof. Christoph Safferling
University Erlangen-Nürenberg
Co-Author of the Rosenburg Report

“A Comprehensive Assessment of the National Socialist Legacy of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice”

Friday, April 14

Reception and Discussion
Lewis Hall, Classroom E – 5:00 PM

Ginna Anderson
Senior Counsel – ABA Center for Human Rights

“American Bar Association’ Justice Defenders Program”

Related //

Disney Animation Studio’s Head of Effects Animation to Give Keynote Speech for SSA

“SSA is an exciting and inspiring celebration of our students that reminds us as faculty of the truly exceptional students with whom we get to work.”

Marlon West, head of effects animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios, will give the keynote address for Washington and Lee University’s Science, Society and the Arts on March 17 in Evans Hall. The keynote luncheon will begin at 12 p.m., with remarks at 1 p.m. The SSA and luncheon are open to the W&L community. Space is limited, and registration is required to attend the lunch and West’s talk (https://www.wlu.edu/ssa/keynote).

Marlon-West-600x400 Disney Animation Studio’s Head of Effects Animation to Give Keynote Speech for SSAMarlon West

West has had an extraordinary career in both 2D- and computer-graphics animation, including serving as head of effects animation on “Frozen,” which received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and “Moana,” which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and won the award for “Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in an Animated Production” at the International Animated Film Society’s 44th Annie Awards.

West also worked on two Academy Award-winning short films: “Feast,” for which West served as head of effects animation, and “Paperman.” Additional credits include head of effects on “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and “Home on the Range,” effects animation supervisor on “The Princess and the Frog,” visual effects supervisor on “Winnie the Pooh” (2011) and assistant effects supervisor on the “Rhapsody in Blue” sequence of Fantasia (2000).

West started his career at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1993 as an effects animator on The Lion King, where his task was to add the dust-cloud effects to the famous wildebeest stampede scene. He went on to work on effects animation in numerous features including “Pocahontas,” “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Hercules,” “Mulan,” “Tarzan” and “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

West is also a music fan and has worked as a DJ in various venues and styles. A native of St. Louis, he now resides with his daughter and thousands of CDs and records in Glendale, California.

“Our keynote speaker is the perfect embodiment of the W&L Science, Society, and the Arts event,” said Julie Knudson, director of academic technologies and member of the 2017 SSA committee. “Marlon West’s extraordinary career in 2D- and computer-graphics animation combines the art of film, the science of computer animation, and the social aspects of storytelling.”

W&L’s Science, Society and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference involving undergraduates and law students in the presentation of their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic-conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows or creative performances. The 2017 conference will be held March 16 and 17.

Original work is presented as part of one of many panels, as a poster at one of the four sessions, as a performance of dance, theater or music, or as a display of visual art such as drawings, painting, or photography. Additionally, students, faculty, and staff can take part in one of 25-plus book and film colloquia.

“Every two years Washington and Lee University takes the better part of two days in the spring to recognize original works by students during the Science, Society and the Arts Conference,” said Matt Tuchler, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the 2017 SSA committee. “SSA provides an opportunity for all our students to come together and share with the W&L community what excites and inspires them as scholars and artists.

“It is an exciting and inspiring celebration of our students that reminds us as faculty of the truly exceptional students with whom we get to work,” Tuchler added. “This year is made even more special by the incredibly generous outright and planned gifts from Drs. Herbert ’50 and Betty Lou Lubs. This gift will both assure that SSA continues into the future and supports the Lubs’ belief in the important role of SSA in helping foster creative and critical thinking among the student body.”

For a complete schedule of the 2017 SSA conference, visit https://ssa.sched.com.

Building a Boutique Business Sisters Chloe Burch '14 and Neely Burch '13, who have been named to the Forbes' 30 Under 30 list, raised $1.25 million in seed funding to build their collection of leather handbags and shoes.

Burch-800x533 Building a Boutique BusinessChloe Burch ’14 and Neely Burch ’13 working on their handbag and shoe business in their New York City apartment.

The Forbes website has named Neely and Chloe Burch, both graduates of Washington and Lee University, to its list of 30 under 30 in Retail and Ecommerce.

The sisters, who are the nieces of the fashion superstar Tory Burch, have raised $1.25 million in seed funding to build their collection of leather handbags and shoes —which they will sell directly to customers through Neely and Chloe, bypassing the traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

After graduation, both sisters entered the fashion industry. Neely visited college campuses across the country in a vintage Airstream trailer that she transformed into a pop-up boutique. Chloe earned her stripes working at J. Crew as a merchant.

The business caters to the young working woman, and shoppers can customize their purchase with gold-leaf monograms, tassels or luggage tags. Last fall, their products made a big splash in Vogue Magazine, which called their bags affordable and chic.

As they note on their website: “We believe that great design stirs our emotional connection to a product. The mark of luxury is not its price or a logo — it is the inherent beauty, quality and usefulness of something special and worth keeping. Luxury should never be out of reach.”


U.Va. Professor Nair to Speak at W&L on Early Modern Muslim Interpretation of Hinduism

Shankar_Nair U.Va. Professor Nair to Speak at W&L on Early Modern Muslim Interpretation of HinduismShankar Nair

Shankar Nair, assistant professor in the University of Virginia’s Departments of Religious Studies and Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 14 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Nair will be speaking on “An Iranian Philosopher Roams India: Making Sense of an Early Modern Muslim Interpretation of Hinduism.” His talk is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by W&L’s Religion Department and The Howerton Religion Fund.

“During the height of the South Asian Mughal Empire (16th-17th century C.E.), Muslim nobles facilitated the translation of numerous Hindu Sanskrit texts into the Persian language,” said Nair. “While this translation movement had long been attributed to the reputedly liberal, tolerant and enlightened personal inclinations of the Mughal emperors, scholars in recent decades have re-evaluated the phenomenon, arguing instead that practical socio-political considerations and quotidian cultural processes best explain the nature of the translation movement. What such analyses lack, however, is a sustained consideration of how the Islamic — and, in particular, Sufi — worldview(s) of the nobles in question shapes the inner workings of, and motivations behind, the movement.

“In this talk, I take up one such translator from the Mughal period: in this case, a traveler from Safavid Iran, the famous Muslim philosopher Mir Findiriski (d. 1640/1),” Nair continued. “Through a consideration of the ‘Muntakhab-i Jug Basisht,’ Findiriski’s Persian rendition of the Sanskrit ‘Laghu-Yoga-Vasistha,’ I aim to reflect on the manner in which Sufi thought and metaphysics informed the very process of translation itself.”

Nair’s general field of interest is the religious and intellectual history of the Indian subcontinent, particularly as it relates to broader traditions of Sufism and Islamic philosophy, Qur’anic exegesis, and Hindu philosophy and theology (especially Advaita Vedanta and other forms of Hindu non-dualism).

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W&L Students’ Work Featured in Southwest VA Photography Competition Wilson Miller ’17 Awarded Best in Show at Regional Photography Exhibition

Photography-Students-600x400 W&L Students’ Work Featured in Southwest VA Photography CompetitionL to R: Kiki Spiezio ’18, Suzanna Mayer ‘18, Ellen Kanzinger ’18 and Wilson Miller ‘17

The work of four Washington and Lee University photography students was accepted in the 2017 Southwest Virginia Juried Student Photography Competition at the Radford University Art Museum Downtown.

The photographs of Ellen Kanzinger ’18, Suzanna Mayer ‘18, Wilson Miller ‘17 and Kiki Spiezio ’18 were included in the exhibition. Two of the students also won awards for their work. Miller received Best in Show for his photograph “South Glade Street 3” and Honorable Mention for “South Glade Street 2.” Mayer won First Place College Digital for “Midnight Web” and Honorable Mention for “Enveloped.”

Miller_SouthGladeStreet3-600x400 W&L Students’ Work Featured in Southwest VA Photography CompetitionWilson Miller’s “South Glade Street 3”

“We are thrilled to have the talents of our Washington and Lee photography students on display in this exhibition,” said Christa Bowden, associate professor of art. “We often see their dedication to the medium in our photography classes, but it is wonderful for them to have the opportunity to share their work with a larger audience outside the W&L community.”

MayerS-5-600x400 W&L Students’ Work Featured in Southwest VA Photography CompetitionSuzanna Mayer’s “Midnight Web”

The competition received more than 200 submissions and included work by students from colleges, universities and high schools throughout southwest Virginia. Entry was open to current undergraduates and high school students who were taking photography courses as part of their studies. Images were entered into one of three categories: College analog, college digital and high school.

W&L’s Gavaler on the Semantics of Fascism

The following opinion piece by Chris Gavaler, assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Mar. 5 2017 edition of the Roanoke Times and is reprinted here by permission.

Are We Living in Nazi Germany?

By Chris Gavaler

It is of course ridiculous to call the current Republican Party “fascist.” Fascism is a historically and geographically specific phenomenon limited to the party of Mussolini in Italy of the 1920s and ’30s. As typically used, the term also encompasses Nazi Germany and other European regimes of the 20th century.

More generally, the word may be applied to any government that exercises an absolute authority of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s campaign and election were embraced by some white supremacists, and hate crimes against non-white Christians have risen in its wake. Also, common of fascist governments, Trump employed rebirth myth rhetoric, promising a return to a golden age of nationalistic greatness. Though he campaigned on a populist, anti-establishment platform in which he criticized his opponent for ties with and an inability to control Wall Street interests, his transition into government saw an overt collusion of government and business leadership, with multiple corporate executives receiving prominent positions in his cabinet in a somewhat rushed and under-vetted process. His popularity also aligned with and further strengthened the ultra-conservative Tea Party branch of the Republican party, drawing some alt-right extremists into positions of power.

As president, however, Donald Trump does not hold “absolute power,” because the Constitution guarantees a check on authority by dividing government into three, self-regulating branches. Currently, the Republican Party controls only the White House and both houses of Congress, leaving the Supreme Court evenly divided.

Because the previous Republican Senate refused to vote on President Obama’s nominee last March, the current Republican Senate is now in the position of securing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. If accomplished, only then will Republicans control all three branches of the federal government and, through district gerrymandering that legally protects Republican seats, control of a majority of state legislatures that promises them continuing and unchallenged control of the House of Representatives.

While it is an exaggeration to call such Republican control “absolute,” the party’s level of dominance does appear to contradict the founders’ Constitutional intentions. But Republican power is not completely unchecked. Public outcry did prevent the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte from dismantling the Office of House Ethics — even though that itself suggest the ruling party’s inability to regulate itself within long-standing democratic norms.

Still, we should not be tempted to call the Republican government “fascist.” It is merely extreme right-wing in policy, belligerently nationalistic in tone, and business-colluding in practice, with a grip on authority that only approaches absolute.

Donald Trump is also no fascist dictator. When Adolf Hitler assumed the office of Fuhrer in 1934, it was with the approval of 90 percent of German voters. President Trump enters the White House with a 37 percent approval rating, the lowest of any President-elect in U.S. history and the same as George W. Bush during his unfortunate second term. Moreover, when Adolf Hitler ran for president in 1932, he received 37 percent of the popular vote, while Trump received 46 percent.

The future of American democracy rests safely in a president who, because of our founders’ anti-democratic fears of mob rule, was appointed by the Electoral College despite his opponent winning the popular vote by a margin of 2 percent.

Sometimes democracy needs the hand of an elitist minority to steer it through rough waters. We now may look to a leader who embodies capitalism in all of its excesses, a business tycoon who lost $910,000,000 in a single year and declared bankruptcy six times, an epicure who we trust when he assures us that he never commits but merely brags of committing sexual assault, despite allegations by over a dozen so-called victims, including one of his ex-wives. Even America’s evangelical leaders have coalesced around the moral model that he and his former erotic nude model First Lady provides our Christian nation.

As we continue to regain our financial footing after the Great Recession triggered by the last Republican administration, and as we continue to fight the battles of the middle east also begun by that same administration, it is reassuring to know that the Republican Party is once again here to aid all of America with job-creating tax cuts for the wealthy and a foreign policy of nuanced, war-mongering diplomacy.

We should take no action against Congress as it enacts extremist right-wing policies that a majority of Americans oppose. Health insurance, Social Security, abortion rights, anti-bigotry laws, environmental protection, Wall Street regulation — all can be stripped away in the coming months without lasting damage to the underlying principles of democracy. This nation is built upon bedrock. Even if Donald Trump were a tyrant and Republican control of government a fascist coup, we will always remain America proudly in name.

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W&L Helps Girl Scouts See the World — in Lexington For World Thinking Day, W&L's foreign language teaching assistants led local Girl Scouts in a variety of internationally themed activities.

IMG_0585-800x533 W&L Helps Girl Scouts See the World — in LexingtonEkaterina Tsvetkova ’20, Lucia Cespedes ’17, Mengsu Kong, Michiko Nakada, Nao Okada ’17, Imad Baazizi ’17, Camille Bouillon ’17 and Anna Jerusalem ’17.

Every February, Girl Scouts all over the globe celebrate World Thinking Day, an occasion that is meant to promote global awareness and connect girls to the cultures of the world with special activities. This year, as in years past, Washington and Lee University’s Center for International Education got in on the fun, sending a group of foreign language teaching assistants and students to spend time with about 45 local Girl Scouts ages 5-12.

Lexington’s World Thinking Day event took place on Feb. 11 at R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church. There, the W&L students and FLTAs set up seven separate stations for internationally themed activities, and the girls, parents and scout leaders rotated through the stations for hours of fun and learning.

Michiko Nakada and Nao Okada ’17 showed girls the art of origami, teaching them how to make origami hearts out of colorful paper. Camille Bouillon ’17 showed guests how to make crepes, and everybody enjoyed sampling the fruit of their labor (with tasty fillings, of course). Imad Baazizi ’17 showed girls how to write their names in Arabic, while Lucía Cespedes ’17 got them on their feet for a traditional Argentinian dance. With Mengsu Kong, scouts cut colored paper into the shape of the Chinese letter for spring. Ekaterina Tsvetkova ’20 showed them how to make bracelets for Baba Marta, a Bulgarian holiday that celebrates the coming of spring, and Anna Jerusalem ’17 supplied the materials and instruction for painting eggs.

“It was a great pleasure for me to work with these motivated and open-minded young women and to see how eager and interested they are in learning new skills,” Jerusalem said.

While W&L classes are never taught by foreign language teaching assistants, they do assist during classes. They also conduct language tables over lunch or dinner, where students can practice speaking the languages they are studying, and they spend time developing cultural events on campus and in the community.

Girl Scout leader Amy Swisher said Washington and Lee international students and staff have participated in the World Thinking Day event a number of times in the past, and it is always a big hit with the girls. This year, she said, the scouts “were really excited and had a lot of fun.”

“At the very end [of meetings] we always do a friendship circle,” she said. “We get in a big circle and cross arms right over left, then do a friendship squeeze, passing the squeeze all the way around the circle. We included the W&L guests in the circle this year and they thought it was really fun.”

Amy Richwine, international student advisor and associate director of the Center for International Education, provided photos of the event (see slideshow below).

“It is a good thing that we do for our community,” Richwine said, “and I just like to support the Girl Scouts because I was a Girl Scout.”

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Spreading the Love of W&L: Ashley Faulkner ‘18

“Through FYOC and the University Ambassadors, I can be there for a prospective student’s first steps on campus and then again for their first week as students.”

Ashley-Faulkner-600x400 Spreading the Love of W&L: Ashley Faulkner ‘18Meet Ashley Faulkner ‘18, a University Ambassador with a passion for showing others why she loves W&L


Throughout my time at Washington and Lee, I have found myself a part of various organizations with a common theme: the student experience. Mainly in leadership roles with the University Ambassadors and the First Year Orientation Committee, I have discovered a passion for showcasing what makes W&L so special. The opportunity to highlight campus resources and create programming for students has been one of my most rewarding experiences on campus.

When a prospective student comes to campus, one of the first people they meet is the University Ambassador guiding their tour. I love that through this position I get to meet future Generals and lead them through our beautiful campus. This isn’t a job that I take lightly. My campus tour played a huge role in my decision to apply and, as a University Ambassador, I know I need to provide potential students and families with an enriching experience.

One important aspect of being on leadership for the University Ambassadors is being aware of how campus is evolving. We want our members to be informed on different topics that are important to families deciding on a college, and we work to make the tour experience better and better. This means knowing what new opportunities are available to students and figuring out the best way to feature all that’s available. It is a great feeling to see a tour around campus full of people completely engaged by their University Ambassador and taken in by the school. It is extremely rewarding to know that I have played a small role in creating that experience even if I am not giving that tour.

As I became more involved on campus, I realized I didn’t want to stop with first impressions of W&L. I wanted to find a way to continue to make an impact on the student experience. The First Year Orientation Committee does just that. Through these groups, I can be there for a prospective student’s first steps on campus and then again for their first week as students.

FYOC combines the work of over 130 students to implement programming for Orientation Week. During my time as Co-Chair, I have gotten to work on and see the development of fantastic events, from the Community Carnival to the First Year Olympics. The transition to college can be stressful and our goal is to make that time easier and informative, while still being fun. Several committees work all year to match students with University Bigs, coordinate social media groups, plan tours of important campus resources, and so much more. We are committed to making students feel welcome and at home here. I believe that their first week should be full of incredible memories they will never forget.

My involvement with both University Ambassadors and FYOC has improved my work in both organizations. It has shown me my passion for W&L and taught me what is important about the student experience. The skills I have gained in both are priceless, whether that be responsibility, communication, or the opportunity to work with faculty. But ultimately, I am thankful to be able to share the university I love in new ways and to learn more as I go. My student experience would not have been the same without these amazing organizations.

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 Ashley

Hometown:
Morgantown, West Virginia

Majors:
Strategic Communication and Politics (American Government)

Extracurricular involvement:
– First Year Orientation Committee, Co-Chair
– University Ambassadors (Tour Guide), Vice President of Communication
– Pi Beta Phi Honor Society, Vice President of Member Development
– Public Relations Student Society of America, Vice President and Founding Member
– Cheerleading

Off-campus activities/involvement:
I took the course, Principles of Public Relations last semester. For the course, I got to work with the YMCA’s after school program, helping with their promotional efforts. It was a great experience going to the schools and meeting the children. I love that I could take a course that allowed me to get involved in the community, and put what I have learned into action.

Why did you choose your major?
I came to W&L wanting to major in politics and Strategic Communications. The classes I have taken in the C-School and the Journalism Department have complemented each other and allowed for me to cement my interests. I am interested in doing communications work for the government. I worked for the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office this past summer for my communication’s internship and it gave me great inspiration for how I could use both my passions.

What professor has inspired you?
Professor Strong is my politics adviser and I am in my second course with him. I took the 2016 elections seminar that he taught this past fall. He is great to discuss politics with and is extremely helpful when it comes to bouncing off paper ideas. His courses have allowed me to investigate specific times of history that I am interested in and connect them to present political issues.

What’s your personal motto?
I have two mottos. The first is “Smile because you are worth it.” I used to tell this to my roommate in the mornings because she wasn’t a morning person. I like to believe that it is best to look on the bright side and smiling is an easy way to brighten up your own, or someone else’s, day. My second motto is “Never be ashamed of a scar, it means you are stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” I had many surgeries when I was younger. However, instead of looking at any diagnosis as a barrier, I consider my scars a part of me. Each experience has played a role in defining the person I have become. I am proud of all I have accomplished, not in spite of my scars, but because of the person they have shaped me in to.

What’s your favorite song right now?
This is a super hard question for me. I tend to listen to a song 100 times and then move on. As a general rule, I am always a fan of Taylor Swift.  I am into songs that are fun to sing along to.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
If it is any given night in Lexington, my favorite place to go is The Palms. I 10 out of 10 recommend the fish tacos, and the fries are fantastic. However, the Southern Inn holds a special place in my heart. I went there with my parents when I visited campus for the first time. I give campus tours and I joke on them that the Southern Inn’s fried chicken played a role in me applying Early Decision to W&L.

Post-graduation plans:
Right now, I am planning to go to law school. I am doing the prep work involved with that. It is funny because it feels like just yesterday that I was looking at colleges and now I’m starting that process all over again. I want to work for the government in some form, ideally in communication or press relations.

Favorite W&L memory:
I went to Italy for the Science of Cooking class during Spring Term my first year. It was an incredible experience to learn through a different lens, plus eat tons of amazing food.

Favorite class:
I am extremely thankful that I took the 2016 Elections Seminar this past fall. It is rare to get to dive into a topic as it unfolds. We discussed the candidates and the issues in a constructive and impactful way. We looked at historical context and dug deeper into specific topics that we found interesting. I wrote a paper comparing elections during the television revolution and the current social media revolution.

Favorite W&L event:
Mock Convention is such an iconic W&L event that I will always cherish. I vividly remember the balloons dropping, while my friends and I sang “God Bless the USA” along with Lee Greenwood. I remember feeling such pride for the University and for all my peers for the great accomplishment they had just completed. With so much of the student body involved, I felt very connected to everyone in that moment.

Favorite campus landmark:
I must go with the popular answer of the Colonnade. I think it is gorgeous in every season. There is a sense of home that I feel when I walk across it.

What’s your passion?
It is hard to describe, but I have found it through the activities I participate in and the leadership positions I have. My passion is student involvement and engagement. I love being busy and I love being involved in organizations that allow me to make others feel a part of campus. Whether that is introducing a potential student to W&L on a campus tour or getting upperclassmen excited to help with O-Week in FYOC.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I have a type of muscular dystrophy called Myotonia Congenita and two summers ago I leg pressed 600 pounds.

Why did you choose W&L?
I am from Morgantown, West Virginia which is the home of West Virginia University. The entire town is the college campus, down to the people who will park in our yard for Mountaineer football games. Up until my senior year I thought I would go to WVU. However, I decided to expand my search away from home. I planned a visit to W&L and when I came and saw campus for the first time, it clicked. When I closed my eyes, W&L fit what a college was supposed to look and feel like. These initial feelings were confirmed when I went on my campus tour and I learned about the courses, spring term abroad opportunities and amazing activities I could get involved in.

Meet the Johnsons: Shlomo Honig ’18 Meet Shlomo Honig ‘18, whose day consists of analyzing rocks, protecting the environment, and ultimate frisbee

“It is both humbling and inspiring to be immersed in an environment with so much to teach and offer to the mind, body and soul.”

Shlomo-Honig-600x400 Meet the Johnsons: Shlomo Honig ’18Meet Shlomo Honig ‘18, whose day consists of analyzing rocks, protecting the environment, and ultimate frisbee

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

My sister was a First Year at W&L when I was going through the application process, so I was already somewhat familiar with the Johnson Scholarship and its prestigious reputation for bringing in top students who are ready to be leaders on campus and in the community.

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

I was also considering Miami University, University of Michigan, and Case Western Reserve University.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose W&L?

Really, the people. Everyone from the professors and students to the cafeteria workers and campus security played a large role in my decision. I felt that I could thrive here and that my peers and professors would help me develop into a well-rounded and capable individual by the end of my undergraduate studies. Coming from Michigan, the less harsh winters and amazing mountains were also a bonus.

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

The Johnson has certainly helped me realize that leadership is something embodied in your actions. I also think the Johnson has changed the way I view education. Since freshman year, I have put far less emphasis on knowing every textbook detail, instead focusing on what I learn from my interactions with peers and professors, both during and outside of class. While I enjoy the exceptional education and intellectual experiences, the personal growth fostered along the way will help me achieve knowledge and perspective beyond my own expectations (which were pretty demanding to start with). It is both humbling and inspiring to be immersed in an environment with so much to teach and offer to the mind, body and soul. I feel it is my duty to carry that forward and make a meaningful difference, as well as to impart that sense of duty to others.

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

During February Break my sophomore year, I went hiking on Mount Pleasant with a few close friends, and we camped overnight at the peak. Even though there was a torrential downpour, sub-zero temperatures, a nearby tornado warning, and near 60 mph winds, I wouldn’t have traded that trip for anything. Though the conditions were far from ideal, our tight knit group decided to stargaze at a truly mesmerizing night sky. It was a perfectly clear night and there were thousands of stars that we could see. I’m also convinced I saw my first “shooting star,” which made the experience even better.

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

Probably Kim Hodge. She’s an incredible person who balances a million things at once but will always drop what she’s doing if I ever need to talk about courses, work study, career aspirations, or the meaning of life. Washington and Lee would be a lesser awesome without her.  

Q: What extra-curricular are you involved in right now that you are extra passionate about?

I think Hillel and Ultimate Frisbee are at the top of that list right now. I have been involved with Hillel since I was a First Year, and I enjoy being a member of the Hillel Student Board, which allows me to play a significant part in a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making Hillel a great experience for a lot of students, Jewish or not. The Ultimate Frisbee club started this year, and although we often play on Saturday mornings, it has become a worthwhile part of my schedule because I can work off some steam from the previous week and clear my head.

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

I’m not sure if it’s technically a tradition or not, but I’ve made a point of walking the Colonnade as much as I can. As a geologist, I would say that the best history in the area is the nature and the surrounding mountains. As a student, I think it’s fascinating to consider how long Washington and Lee has existed and how different things must have been back then.

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

I would probably tell my past self to never pass up an opportunity to learn a new skill or do something with which you are unfamiliar.

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

Living in an unpredictable world with increasingly interdisciplinary work and unfathomable technological advancements still to come within our lifetimes, it is imperative to establish a well-rounded foundation to prepare yourself to become a lifelong learner and active contributor to society. The students and professors at Washington and Lee, as well as the surrounding community, provide such an environment to hone skills and explore diverse passions that will ultimately help you define who you are as a scholar and, more importantly, as an individual.

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 Shlomo

Hometown:
West Bloomfield, Michigan

Majors:
Geology, environmental studies, pre-med

Extracurricular involvement:
– Hillel
– FYOC
– Ultimate Frisbee
– Racquet Sports Club
– Geology peer tutor
– SEAL
– The Outing Club

Off-campus activities/involvement:
– Tutoring
– Invasive Species Cleanup
– Camping

Why did you choose your major?
I love learning about nature and better understanding why things work the way they do. I was raised to embrace and develop my talents and abilities to help others and repair the world we live in. I also really enjoy the outdoors.

What professor has inspired you?
There are a few remarkable professors I really admire and seek out: Kim Hodge, Chris Connors and Leah Green

What’s your personal motto?
I don’t think I really have one, but if I did it probably would be along the lines of that ancient Chinese proverb, to paraphrase, “fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

What’s your favorite song right now?
That’s a tough one. It’s probably a tie between “Let it Burn” by Magic Giant and “Carter and Cash” by Tor Miller.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Blue Sky. I highly recommend their tuna melt and four-cheese focaccia.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I wish I would have known the 60 percent of items I brought up that I didn’t actually need.

Post-graduation plans:
I am still at a crossroad as to my post-graduate plans. I plan to either attend graduate school for geology or environmental science (with a path to a Ph.D), or medical school – they all really appeal to me, so for now I’m still undecided.

Favorite W&L memory:
Snow-day shenanigans

Favorite class:
Another tie: Petroleum Geology and Geophysics with Chris Connors or Intro to Environmental Studies with Leah Green

Favorite W&L event:
Mock Convention

Favorite campus landmark:
The back campus gazebo

What’s your passion?
Two things: 1) Anything competitive, and 2) Learning random neat facts

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I bowled competitively in high school and I am a second degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Why did you choose W&L?
The people. I definitely didn’t anticipate I’d feel so welcomed and at home when I visited.

MacArthur Fellow Jeff Weeks to Speak on “The Shape of Space”

“When we look out on a clear night, the universe seems infinite. Yet this infinity might be an illusion.”

Jeff_Weeks MacArthur Fellow Jeff Weeks to Speak on “The Shape of Space”Jeff Weeks

MacArthur Fellow Jeff Weeks, a geometer, cosmologist and educator, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 8 at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater at Elrod Commons.

Weeks will speak about “The Shape of Space.” It is free and open to middle and high school students, W&L students and faculty, and all members of the greater Lexington community.

About his talk, Weeks said, “When we look out on a clear night, the universe seems infinite. Yet this infinity might be an illusion. During the first half of the presentation, I will use computer games to introduce the concept of a multi connected universe. Then we’ll look at interactive 3D graphics that will take the viewer on a tour of several possible shapes for space. Finally, we’ll see how satellite data provide tantalizing clues to the true shape of our universe. The only prerequisites for this talk are curiosity and imagination.”

Weeks won his fellowship for his contributions to our understanding of the shape of the universe. In 2007, he won the American Mathematics Society’s (AMS) Levi L. Conant Prize for his paper, “The Poincaré Dodecahedral Space and the Mystery of the Missing Fluctuations,” which was published in the Notices of the AMS (2004).

Weeks is particularly interested in using topology to understand the spatial universe. His book “The Shape of Space: How to Visualize Surfaces and Three-dimensional Manifolds” explores the geometry and topology of low-dimensional manifolds (1985). The second edition (2002), explains some of his work in applying the material to cosmology.

He has taught at Stockton State College, Ithaca College and Middlebury College, but has spent much of his time as a free-lance mathematician.

W&L Hosts Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing News Media

Three nationally acclaimed journalists will participate in a discussion of the challenges facing the news media in covering the Trump administration during a panel discussion on March 9 at 5 p.m. at the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the Washington and Lee University campus.

The panel, titled “Alternative Facts and the Search for the Truth: Journalism in the Age of Trump,” is free and open to the public.It will be live streamed.

The participants include:

OliviaNuzzi-150x150 W&L Hosts Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing News MediaOlivia Nuzzi

Olivia Nuzzi, the Washington correspondent for New York Magazine, covers the Trump administration and Congress. She formerly worked for The Daily Beast, where she covered politics and Trump’s presidential campaign. She also has written for GQ, Esquire, Politico Magazine and The Washington Post.

RosieGray-150x150 W&L Hosts Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing News MediaRosie Gray

Rosie Gray writes about U.S. politics and global affairs for The AtlanticGray formerly worked for BuzzFeed News, where she covered two presidential campaigns and foreign policy. Before that, she worked for the Village Voice, where she wrote about politics and other news.

Mike-Hudson-headshot-150x150 W&L Hosts Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing News MediaMichael Hudson ’85

Michael Hudson is a senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. A member of the Class of 1985 at W&L, Hudson is a former Wall Street Journal staff reporter. He also worked as a reporter, writer and editor on ICIJ’s “Panama Papers” investigation, which exposed how a law firm based in Panama had helped kings, prime ministers, drug barons and others set up offshore companies. Hudson is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club Award and three George Polk Awards. He is the author of “The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America—and Spawned a Global Crisis” (2011).

GregoryPaul-125x150 W&L Hosts Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing News MediaPaul Gregory

Associate Professor Paul Gregory is head of W&L’s Department of Philosophy. Gregory’s research focuses on the justification of naturalized approaches to philosophical questions. He is the author of “Quine’s Naturalism” (2011) and is working on a textbook about introductory and intermediate symbolic logic.

locy_spot-150x150 W&L Hosts Panel Discussion on Challenges Facing News MediaToni Locy

Professor Toni Locy is head of W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. As a journalist, she covered legal issues for some of the nation’s largest news organizations, including The Washington PostUSA TodayThe BostonGlobe and The Associated Press. She is author of “Covering America’s Courts: A Clash of Rights” (2013).

The event is sponsored by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, along with the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Byron Seward ’70: High Tech Farmer Byron Seward '70 won the 2017 Delta High Cotton Award for his efforts in producing a quality fiber economically and in an environmentally responsible manner.

Byron-Seward-jpg Byron Seward ’70: High Tech FarmerByron Seward ’70 in his office in Louise, Mississippi. He uses MobileStar virtual dashboards that allow him to remotely monitor all of the equipment on his farm.

Byron Seward, a 1970 graduate of Washington and Lee University, farms over 20,000 acres, with his son, Darrington, near his office in Louise, Mississippi. What’s unusual is that he’s checking in on his farm from his office computer, using long-distance monitoring to manage his 300 fields of cotton, soybeans and corn.

“We like the remote display access that allows us to see, in real time, where all our equipment is, how it’s operating, what the yield is, and an extensive array of data that we can use to analyze every factor that influences crop performance and yield,” said Byron in an interview with The Delta Farm Press. “With this technology, there are no secrets — we can see where all of our equipment is, and how it’s operating.”

His attention to detail on production, efficiency and conservation earned him the 2017 Delta High Cotton Award presented by Farm Press and The Cotton Foundation for his efforts to produce a quality fiber economically and in an environmentally responsible manner.

“Byron and Darrington are some of the most efficient and innovative farmers I’ve encountered anywhere,” said Peter Peerbolte, a veteran agricultural marketer who nominated Byron for the award. “They are on the cutting edge of technology — and they use that technology to great benefit when it comes to stewardship of the land.”

When Byron graduated from W&L, he entered the Army and worked as a systems analyst, which gave him a leg up in what he calls the “brave, new world of digital farming.”

After his service, Byron, too, became a farmer like his father and grandfather before him. His approach, however, was a bit different. Early on, he began using variable-rate fertilizer applications, which gave him greater control over the amount of nutrients he applied to his crops.

Over the years, it’s not just the precise application of fertilizer, seed and herbicides that Byron has perfected. He also uses variable-rate application systems for plant growth regulators, defoliants and irrigation. In addition, he rotates crops and has experimented with the spacing between rows of planted crops.

Still, it isn’t easy.

“Farmers I talk to find themselves in a difficult situation, one in which it’s getting tougher to hang on,” Byron said. “We need some relief from these low [commodity] prices and high input costs to make it easier to invest in new technology.”


New Exhibit at W&L’s Watson Pavilion Depicts World War I Allied Leaders

Toby_Jug_of_Wilson-400x600 New Exhibit at W&L’s Watson Pavilion Depicts World War I Allied LeadersToby Jug

A new exhibit, “Mementos of the Great War: Toby Jugs Commemorating Allied Leaders of World War I,” is open to the public in the Watson Pavilion at Washington and Lee University through December 2017.

The exhibit also will be open on March 23 from 5-6:45 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. Lee Chapel Spring Lecture by Jeff Shaara, bestselling author of war novels. He will speak on “A Storyteller’s View of the First World War.”

Bruce C. Perkins, past president of the American Ceramic Circle, loaned the Toby Jugs to W&L to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s entrance into World War I.

To muster support for the war effort, 11 Toby Jugs, designed by British cartoonist Francis Carruthers Gould, were issued between 1915 and 1919. Two and a half decades later, a 12th World War I Toby Jug was added to the collection. They were produced by A. J. Wilkinson of Staffordshire, England.

The jugs depict some of the most important Allied military and political leaders of the era including U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, General Marshal Foch of France and Winston Churchill of Great Britain.

The first Toby Jug issued in this series portrays a senior British army officer who was responsible for recruitment. His image was well known throughout Britain from recruiting posters with his likeness and the slogan, “Your country needs you!” He is shown holding a jug inscribed “Bitter for the Kaiser,” referring to a type of British beer, suggesting Britain would defeat Germany.

The Watson Pavilion is located on the north end of the W&L campus behind the Reeves Center. The exhibit is on view from Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Roy Matthews ’54 Used His IRA to Help History Professors at W&L Roy Matthews's career in academia helped him understand the challenges faced by professors in the humanities--and how he could help.

Roy Matthews’s shaky start at W&L did not hint at his future career as a successful university professor. During a recent telephone conversation from his home in Washington, D.C. he described his journey from struggling during his first term at W&L to being a history scholar and author. He also talked about his decision to support the W&L History Department, where his journey began, through his IRA.

“You come into a school like W&L, and you’re pretty raw and probably not very sophisticated in some ways – although you probably think you are,” he recalls. “I nearly failed out my first term. Then I made the dean’s list the second term and the honor roll from there on out. I learned how to study.”

The studying worked. After graduating from W&L in 1954 with a degree in history, Roy earned an M.A. from Duke and a Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill. He ultimately spent 31 years at Michigan State University, teaching in the Department of Humanities and later the Department of History.

Roy had a fruitful career as an educator, and of course, he published. In academic circles he is best known as co-author of the award-winning, two-volume textbook “The Western Humanities.” His two titles perhaps of most interest to W&L audiences are “Ending with a Flourish: A Collection of Essays Celebrating William A. Jenks,” which Roy co-edited with retired W&L history professor Holt Merchant ’61, and most recently “Gittin’ Through: A Southern Town During World War II.”

During his years in Michigan, Roy kept the W&L fires burning. He worked as an alumni admissions volunteer, interviewing potential W&L students and making presentations at local high schools during college nights to tell them about a little school in Lexington, Virginia.

After retiring, Roy and his wife, LeeAnn, relocated to Washington, D.C., in 2001. Back on the East Coast and closer to Lexington, Roy deepened his involvement with W&L. He began serving as a class agent. Even with classmates he had lost touch with after college, Roy found that the W&L connection remained. “I just get on the phone sometimes and call some guys I know or they send me an email. You pick up right where you left off.”

One of the fruits of Roy’s continually evolving relationship with W&L is the Roy T. Matthews ’54 Endowment for History. He established it in 2013 to support students and faculty in the History Department. During his years at MSU, he observed that while the sciences benefited from large grants, budgets in liberal arts departments were always modest. More than once during his career, in order to go to an academic conference, Roy had to plead with a department chair for help to pay for a plane ticket, a hotel room, or some part of the cost. Travel and research, Roy knew, were an area where a relatively small gift could make a big impact.

For that reason, he decided to establish a fund to support the new generation of teacher-scholars who are following in the footsteps of Adams, Desha, Dickey, Fishwick, Jenks, Johnson, Leyburn, Pusey, Reigel, Starling, Stephenson, Turner, Welch and many others who prepared him and his classmates for an unknown future.

When he has the time, Roy drives from Washington to Richmond, Virginia, to join seven or eight members of the Class of 1954 who get together for a monthly luncheon at the Westminster Canterbury retirement center. The continued importance of W&L in the lives of these octogenarians is striking, but Roy explains it so easily that it’s clear he has thought of it often since 1954.

“Those four years are the most formative years of any person’s life, even more so than high school. You are thrown into an academic environment where you are challenged. You work hard, and you can see the results of your efforts. You have professors there who encourage you, and they keep raising the bar every time they encourage you. They are pushing you and you don’t even know that – you don’t always understand that at that stage in your life.

“At our 25th reunion, we were sitting around in a room in one of the motels. We asked ourselves what was unique about W&L. Many of these men who were at the height of their careers said that W&L gave them a confidence to go on to the next level in their lives. And that confidence was not in some kind of a know-it-all way, but a confidence that you could keep doing better, that you have the training now to move on to law school or medical school or business, or whatever choice you made at that stage of your life.”

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Matthews_Roy_800x533-350x233 Roy Matthews '54 Used His IRA to Help History Professors at W&LRoy Matthews ’54

To fund his endowment, Roy Matthews ’54 designated W&L as the beneficiary of his IRA upon his death. A couple years after setting up the paperwork, he felt compelled to try to fund the endowment during his lifetime. He didn’t like leaving to his wife and family the logistical work of finalizing the funding after his death. And, he wanted the endowment to benefit the History Department sooner rather than later. But, there was a matter of taxes.

“I wanted to go ahead and fund it, but I would have to pay taxes on it,” Roy said. “When I learned I could roll over my IRA funds for a charitable distribution that removed the major road block.” In 2016, Roy took advantage of the IRA charitable rollover provision that Congress had just permanently authorized the year before, and he was able to fund the entire endowment handily.

This academic year the Roy T. Matthews ’54 Endowment for History began contributing funding to the History Department at W&L.   

To follow in Roy’s footsteps and designate W&L as a beneficiary of your IRA in your estate plans, or to take advantage of the IRA Charitable Rollover and see the results of your giving now, contact W&L’s office of gift planning at 540-458-8902.  

U.Va. Philosophy Professor to Give Keynote for Mudd Undergraduate Ethics Conference

cover-tomrom-ahktar-a U.Va. Philosophy Professor to Give Keynote for Mudd Undergraduate Ethics ConferenceSahar Akhtar

Sahar Akhtar, assistant professor in the department of philosophy at the University of Virginia, is the keynote speaker for the Mudd Undergraduate Conference in Ethics. Her lecture is March 11 at 4:30 p.m. in the Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Akhtar will be speaking on “Why Religious and Racial Immigration Bans are Wrong.” The keynote and conference are free and open to the public.

It is the only open undergraduate conference in the country solely dedicated to the academic study of ethical issues. All accepted speakers will not only have the opportunity to present their papers at the conference, but also to have them published in the The Mudd Journal of Ethics.

Akhtar’s research interests are in political philosophy, especially global political philosophy, and bioethics. At U.Va., she regularly teaches courses on “Genes, Justice, and Nature” and “Animals and Ethics.”

Her publications in the field of bioethics include “Animal Welfare and Animal Pain,” in “The Oxford Handbook on Ethics and Animals” (2012).

Prior to teaching at U.Va., she was a postdoctoral research associate in the political theory project at Brown University. She received a Ph.D. in economics at George Mason University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Duke.

Each spring the Mudd Center sponsors the Undergraduate Conference in Ethics featuring papers that will be published in that year’s journal. The Mudd Journal of Ethics is a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes undergraduate work on a wide range of topics in ethics.

Jill Geisler to Give Keynote at W&L’s 63rd Institute in Media Ethics

“Core to my teaching are two beliefs. The most important thing leaders do is help others succeed and life’s too short to work with jerks.”

mwv38Frg-350x350 Jill Geisler to Give Keynote at W&L's 63rd Institute in Media EthicsJill Geisler

Jill Geisler, the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago, will deliver the keynote address at Washington and Lee University’s 63rd Institute in Media Ethics on March 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. It will be streamed live.

She will speak on “Truth and Trust: Lead from Where You Are.” Her talk is free and open to the public. The institute is funded by the Knight Program in Media Ethics and is co-sponsored by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Geisler is known internationally as a teacher and coach of leaders in media. Previously, she spent 16 years guiding the leadership and management programs of the Poynter Institute. “Core to my teaching are two beliefs,” she said. “The most important thing leaders do is help others succeed and life’s too short to work with jerks.”

She is the author of “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know” (2012) and writes a monthly management column for the Columbia Journalism Review. Geisler also produces two podcasts: “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age” and “What Great Bosses Know.”

Geisler’s first career was in broadcast journalism. In the 1970s, she became one of the first women TV news directors in the U.S. and built a strong and successful newsroom culture over her 25-year newsroom tenure. She holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. in leadership and liberal studies from Duquesne University.

In Good Company: W&L Joins Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning

“W&L’s creative spirit aligns beautifully with LACOL’s goals for multi-campus investigations into digitally enhanced teaching and learning for our students.”

LACOL-Logo-350x350 In Good Company: W&L Joins Liberal Arts Consortium for Online LearningLACOL

Washington and Lee is one of the newest members of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL). The consortium, which was founded in 2014, is a partnership of: Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Carleton College, Haverford College, Pomona College, Swarthmore College, Vassar College, Washington and Lee University and Williams College. The group is focused on exploring the future of teaching and learning in a networked world to support its partners’ missions as residential liberal arts institutions.

“Being accepted into the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning opens up tremendous opportunities for W&L,” said Provost Marc Conner. “It gives our faculty and students a chance to collaborate with peers at similar institutions to enhance teaching and learning, to share our own imaginative uses of technology, and to learn from our partner colleges’ experiences.”

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to join together in collaboration with so many wonderful colleagues at Washington and Lee,” said LACOL’s director, Elizabeth Evans. “Already, connections are sparking up with faculty, librarians and technologists along several interesting lines of work. W&L’s creative spirit aligns beautifully with LACOL’s goals for multi-campus investigations into digitally enhanced teaching and learning for our students.”

LACOL’s partnership objectives are centered around collaboration, sharing, experimenting and connecting. “One of the things that excites me most,” said Conner, “is that the group is not focused on online learning as a means of providing remedial education, finding cost-savings or developing MOOCs. Rather, it provides a framework for creative collaboration that allows our students and faculty to explore new uses of technology to enhance the liberal arts experience in unique and innovative ways.”

W&L’s Julie Knudson, director of academic technologies, and Paul Youngman ‘87, professor of German, have been involved in initial projects with LACOL partners. “It’s always beneficial to work with people from other schools and to learn how they are meeting similar challenges, to discover research commonalities and to combine resources for mutual benefit,” they said. “We also look forward to working on projects in the field of digital humanities, which is an area of strength for W&L.”

Marcia France on Chemistry, Cooking and Culture This associate dean of the college is interested in green chemistry, playing the flute and teaching her Science of Cooking class in Italy

mfrance-1-800x533 Marcia France on Chemistry, Cooking and CultureMarcia France

“Challenge yourself. Take advantage of all the opportunities W&L has to offer. When there’s a speaker on campus, go and fully engage. Think of a question you could ask, and then ask it. Study abroad. Go to a country you’ve never been to before, learn a new language, and engage with the people. Pursue activities that interest you, on campus and in your community. Sit down with your friends and talk about something that’s happened in the world recently.”

Your research involves green chemistry. What is that?
My research focuses on developing better methodologies for carrying out organic transformations. In particular, I am interested in developing greener reactions that would result in more efficient chemical syntheses that produce less waste. The research could help produce various types of pharmaceutical compounds in a more environmentally friendly way. Recently, I have been thinking about moving my scholarship in a completely different direction related to my longstanding interest in the science of cooking, focusing on the intersection of the science, history and culture of food. Many food production traditions and methodologies developed over generations because they worked to create a product people enjoyed, without the practitioners understanding the underlying science. Yet, when examined closely, many of these practices make sense from a scientific viewpoint.

Your Science of Cooking course is your favorite class to teach. What do you love about it?
I also love teaching organic chemistry, don’t get me wrong. It’s what I was trained to do, and that is my passion, but the Science of Cooking class gives me a chance to explore something completely different and work with non-major students. I’m meeting students I would never have met otherwise. And I’m not going to lie; we go to Italy! And we eat really well! I would probably enjoy organic chemistry even more if I did that in Italy, too. When you teach abroad, you get to interact with the students, outside as well as inside the classroom. I love that part. And every time we go, I learn something new, too.

You helped start the W&L-University of St Andrews exchange program, which allows science and pre-med students to study in Scotland and receive W&L credit. What prompted you to start this?
It goes back to my love of being abroad. As an undergraduate, I never had the chance to study abroad, although I really wanted to. It’s so difficult for science students to find opportunities to do that. Very few science majors have the ability to take a complex, upper-level science course in a foreign language, so it often restricts them to English-speaking countries. The U.K. and most other English-speaking countries approach chemistry education very differently in terms of class sequencing, so there’s no one-to-one correspondence between a class you would have in the states and a class you would have over there. Another issue is that a lot of American med schools won’t accept credits for pre-med core courses from abroad. I wanted to find a way to let my students have the opportunity that I wasn’t able to have. That’s why I really wanted to be involved in creating that program. W&L now has this built-in, tailor-made program for our science students. It’s definitely something that’s unique.

What is the coolest activity you’ve done with a class?
One of the students in my 2016 Spring Term class took the initiative (months in advance) to book a reservation at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Although not officially part of the course, most of the class chose to go. We enjoyed one of the most amazing meals of my life — a nine-course tasting menu in our own private room. Chef Massimo Bottura came out a couple times and had a fairly long conversation with us. A month later, the restaurant was named number one in the world!

A hallmark of a W&L education is the close interactions between faculty and students. How have you seen this in action?
One thing is just having students over for dinner. I don’t know that that happens at a lot of other universities. The former program coordinator [from IES Siena, our partner organization] for my 2015 Spring Term class was recently at W&L to give a couple talks. We took that as an opportunity to have a class reunion at my house, complete with lasagna prepared with our cooking instructor’s recipe. The classroom — you can get that at any school. But, as I walk around the lab teaching, I chat with the students about their classes, what they’re doing that weekend, or what sports teams they’re on. I know them as people, not just as students.

What do W&L students bring to the classroom?
The idea of the liberal arts. Some of the most creative ideas emerge from taking the way something is done or conceptualized in one field and applying it in another. That’s the strength of the liberal arts. At W&L, there is this convergence of really bright students who are interested in so many different things. They bring so many perspectives. We have the diversity of an organic chemistry student who is double-majoring in economics. Some of my students are passionate about music and some are athletic stars. It’s a unique environment where students combine so many of their interests in the classroom.

As associate dean of the College, part of your job is connecting students to national fellowships and mentoring them through the entire application process. What advice do you have for students looking at fellowship opportunities?
Take full advantage of your W&L education. That starts on day one. You want to be cultivating the types of qualities that will make you a good applicant. I once heard someone say that it’s not about being a Rhodes Scholar, it’s about being the kind of person who could win a Rhodes scholarship. So challenge yourself. Take advantage of all the opportunities W&L has to offer. When there’s a speaker on campus, go and fully engage. Think of a question you could ask, and then ask it. Study abroad. Go to a country you’ve never been to before, learn a new language, and engage with the people. Pursue activities that interest you, on campus and in your community. Sit down with your friends and talk about something that’s happened in the world recently. W&L is great for the well-rounded student who’s involved in many different things. But find where your passion is and work on the focus as well, developing intellectually in a small area as well as some of those broader areas. Start that early and keep working on it. Then start that application process early, because you can always tell a last-minute application.

Why is Midnight Breakfast your favorite W&L tradition?
It’s just so much fun, and a huge stress relief for students. It’s finals week. They’ve been studying heavily for exams, and then they come through the dining hall late at night, and professors and staff are there serving them smoothies and waffles. I love being out there and serving them. I always want to be assigned to a station where I get to interact with the students. Even if it’s 11:30 at night, those smiles on their faces when I hand them a smoothie is totally worth it. They’re really grateful, and I think they find it so fun to have professors and deans out there serving them in this role reversal. It’s this nice study break that they really deserve. Even if it’s the middle of finals, everybody’s happy to be at Midnight Breakfast.

When did you play in Carnegie Hall?
I’ve played the flute since fourth grade. While getting my master’s, I played in the Yale band, which performed in Carnegie Hall. We also marched in the first George Bush’s inaugural parade. Then, of course, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world with the W&L Wind Ensemble: Japan, China, Egypt, Russia, Costa Rica — all kinds of cool places.

Do you have a favorite place to travel?
There are two places that are most near and dear to my heart because I’ve spent so much time in them. Definitely St Andrews, because I spent a sabbatical and several summers there. It’s almost become like a second home. I’ve also spent five months collectively in Siena, Italy. I’ve gone from being a tourist to having a sense of belonging. I have friends I look forward to seeing whenever I go back to St Andrews or Italy, so those are two places that I love.

Do you speak any other languages?
I speak French fairly well. As an undergraduate, I lived in a French-speaking house for four years, and then I did a sabbatical in 2011 in Paris. I’ve really been trying to keep up my French. Here at W&L, I try to go to the French table in the dining hall as often as I can. I did take two years of Japanese at W&L. I also took two years of German in college. And I’ve been working on Italian on my own for the Science of Cooking class.

More about Dean France

Marcia France: Associate Dean of the College /John T. Herwick, M.D. Professor of Chemistry. She becomes Associate Provost on July 1.

Courses: Organic Chemistry I and II, Advanced Organic Chemistry, Science of Cooking in Italy

Hobbies: Playing flute and piccolo, traveling abroad, cooking, reading

Little-known fun fact: I’ve played flute in Carnegie Hall, and I’ve worked with two Nobel laureates.

Favorite W&L tradition: Midnight Breakfast