Feature Stories Campus Events

Poet Stephen Cushman To Speak on the Journals of Lewis and Clark

Cushman_Portrait_2-400x600 Poet Stephen Cushman To Speak on the Journals of Lewis and ClarkStephen Cushman

Professor, poet and author Stephen Cushman, the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on May 8 at 7 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room 101.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Lewis and Clark’s Unbeatable Read.” He will talk about the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, of which there are various editions. Cushman is an expert on these journals.

Cushman is the author of five collections of poetry, two books of criticism and two books about the Civil War, including “The Red List” (2014); “Belligerent Muse: Five Civil War Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War” (2014); “Riffraff” (2011); and “Heart Island” (2006). Forthcoming is “Hothead” in 2018.

He won the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2015; was a fellow with the Virginia Center for the Humanities; and was a Fulbright lecturer in Greece.

Cushman was a general editor of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics in 2012. He received his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

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Smiles for Miles Brett Becker '18 and the W&L Pre-Dental Club teamed up with Rockbridge Area Health Center to distribute dental supplies to more than 700 local children.

Dental-Club-3883-800x533 Smiles for MilesVolunteers, including Dr. Stu Fargiano of Rockbridge Area Health Center (in maroon shirt), Brett Becker ’18 (in navy T-shirt) and other members of W&L’s Pre-Dental Club, pack dental supplies into bags for distribution through the Backpack Program at the Campus Kitchen at W&L.

It’s hard not to smile in the presence of Brett Becker, a Washington and Lee University junior with an easygoing personality and a genuine enthusiasm for helping others. Now, the founder of W&L’s Pre-Dental Club is working to spread that goodwill to the local community at large.

Last month, Becker and the rest of the Pre-Dental Club helped distribute dental supplies to more than 700 children through the Backpack Program at the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee (CKWL). The project was a joint effort led by Becker and Dr. Stu Fargiano, dental director at the Rockbridge Area Health Center.

“I saw Campus Kitchen in the newspaper and Brett was volunteering here,” Fargiano said, “so that’s when we came up with the idea to pack the bags. It was both of us figuring out a neat way to make this happen.”

Rockbridge Area Health Center provides medical, dental and behavioral health care to citizens of Rockbridge County and surrounding jurisdictions, including to those who are Medicaid recipients or are uninsured. Its staff of 40 includes two dentists, one hygienist and four dental assistants, and it offers a sliding scale fee for patients who cannot afford dental care. In addition, RAHC has a mobile dental clinic that goes out to county and city schools.

Fargiano, who has worked with the Virginia Department of Health and the state Department of Corrections, said dental care contributes in countless ways to quality of life. Poor oral health can affect a person’s success in school, and ultimately in life. “It’s amazing how many people come here just to get their teeth fixed so they can go on a job interview,” he said.

The Backpack Program is an outreach effort that sends local kids home every weekend with a sack full of healthy snacks. The goal is to bridge the weekend food gap experienced by many children who are eligible for free or reduced lunches on school days. Students and employees at Washington and Lee, along with community volunteers, pack the bags and deliver them to schools on Thursdays.

The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee has been in the news several times over the past few months. The program recently turned 10 years old, hosted a successful 5th annual Souper Bowl fundraiser, and won two grants.

When Fargiano read about CKWL in a Rockbridge News-Gazette article, the seed of an idea was planted. He and Becker had met at the 2016 Rockbridge Bull and Oyster Festival, and they developed a friendship around their mutual interest in dentistry. Becker began volunteering at RAHC in January 2017, so Fargiano approached him about connecting with CKWL.

Fargiano also shared the idea with Susan Sheridan, CEO of the RAHC. She approved the request to order enough dental supplies for about 715 bags. That included toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. The bags also contained a card for a new pediatrician at RAHC and a flyer for the health center.

Becker divided the supplies into individual plastic bags. “He was incredible,” Fargiano said. “He was here over four hours. We gave him the whole conference room, and by the time the day had gone by a bunch of other people had stopped what they were doing to help him.”

On March 29, Becker and Fargiano were joined by Dr. Fargiano’s wife, Christina; members of the Pre-Dental Club; and club advisor Fred LaRiviere, an associate professor of chemistry at W&L. The group met at the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee to place the dental kits inside the Backpack Program bags. The supplies were then distributed to students, along with their snacks for the weekend.

Whether he is volunteering at RAHC, helping out at a mobile dental clinic or interning with dentistry professionals, Becker said, he always believes strongly in the positive impact of a healthy smile. He said this project felt particularly satisfying because it was fairly easy to execute and will have an immediate effect on local kids.

“It is incredibly rewarding knowing that we can have such a positive impact on the local community’s oral hygiene,” he said.

W&L Magazine, Winter/Spring 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 1

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winter-spring-mag-cover-2017-400x600 W&L Magazine, Winter/Spring 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 1Winter/Spring 2017

In This Issue:

  • All Hands on Deadline
  • Civility in An Uncivil Election
  • Journalism Under Siege: Fake News and Alternate Facts
  • One Weekend in Washington: An Inauguration and a Protest

2 – By the Numbers

  • A Big Splash: Pool Stats

3 – Speak

  • Letters to the Editor

4 – Along the Colonnade

  • Celebrating a Rhodes Scholar
  • Reconnecting with a former student
  • New administrative appointments
  • Welcoming a new trustee
  • Honoring MLK

9 – Generals’ Report

  • Strength in Numbers: Men’s XC Goes to Nationals

10 – Lewis Hall Notes

  • W&L, VMI Host Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

22 – Alumni Profiles

  • David Chester ’78’s Excellent Adventures
  • From Craft to Career: Noelani Love ’05

24 – Milestones

  • Alumni president’s message
  • “Reflecting Forward”
  • Alumni news and photos
  • The Annual Report

Corey Guen ’17: At Home in a ‘Stellar Community’ Guen splits his time between hiking the mountains of Rockbridge and traveling the world.

“Beyond the unparalleled opportunity the Johnson Scholarship afforded me, I was struck by the sheer wealth of opportunities W&L students seemed to have, on campus and off.”

Corey_Guen-1024x683 Corey Guen ’17: At Home in a 'Stellar Community'Corey Guen ’17

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

I heard about the Johnson Scholarship from a friend and high school tennis teammate, who was a member of the Class of 2015. I must’ve also heard from my mom, who was so on top of my college applications that she had a spreadsheet with at least 20 schools and their various deadlines and attributes, and notes about what I might like at each school. So if I haven’t said it enough in the past four years, here’s a very public THANK YOU MOM! I never would’ve gotten anything in on time without your help and support.  

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

I was considering a few other schools of the same ilk, particularly Davidson and Carleton colleges. Since arriving and living my life at W&L, I tell people constantly that I absolutely made the right decision, and can’t imagine life had I gone to one of those schools.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose W&L?

The scholarship made it an easy choice. Nowhere else was I going to find the combination of affordability through the Johnson Scholarship and a stellar community to call home for the next four years.  

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

The Johnson Scholarship made it possible for me to attend this institution, so I owe to it everything I have gained from Washington and Lee. The values the school holds dear are tangible from the first weeks spent on campus through to graduation, and the community has continually impressed me in every way possible. Students and faculty alike have amazed me with their ability to discuss complicated and controversial issues with grace and eloquence, a quality sorely missing from our nation’s public discourse. Students earn their grades, and consistently invest their time in pursuits that motivate them, not just to add to resumes. That total commitment to not only improving oneself, but actively adding to the diversity and excellence of the community at large, is what sets W&L students apart.  

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

I consider my inability to choose from so many to be one of the great privileges of my life. I, my friends and classmates have had so many extraordinary experiences at Washington and Lee. I think the feeling is best summed up in a conversation I had with several App Adventure trip leaders one evening during training week. Upon returning to campus, I had completed half a year abroad, studying at the University of Otago in New Zealand and Donghua University in Shanghai, China, so naturally I had many stories to share. As we caught each other up on our summers, I realized nowhere else but W&L could hopping around the Eastern Hemisphere seem almost pedestrian. Yet sitting there, listening to stories of archeological digs in Athens, or hikes down the Inca Trail, or time spent as an EMT, my life-defining experiences were just keeping pace with my peers. Rather than diminish my experiences, it made me marvel at the capability and drive of my friends, proud of everyone for accomplishing so much at such a young age.

Q: Do you have a mentor on campus?

James Dick, god of the outdoors and the world’s most genuinely enthusiastic man! I was fortunate to get a work study placement at the Outing Club Barn, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve been his employee, his student, his trip participant, his climbing partner and probably a bunch of other things, but he always has a smile on his face and an attitude that’s positive to an infectious degree. James is one of Washington and Lee’s greatest resources, and I’m lucky I had so many chances to interact with and learn from him.  

Q: What extracurricular are you involved in right now that you are extra-passionate about?

If my previous answer wasn’t indicative enough, the Outing Club has been a consistent presence in my W&L career. I firmly believe everyone on campus, students and faculty alike, should set aside a weekend to take a trip with the Outing Club. We have a ton of gear, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and zany leaders and a beautiful backyard to explore. Get outside!

Q: What is your favorite campus tradition or piece of history?
It might be minor, but I love that all undergraduates refuse to pass between the columns in the Graham-Lees archway. I’ve never seen a law student adhere, but meaningless superstitions and a little belief make life more fun and interesting.  

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

Make the most of your time. I would tell that to any freshman, not just myself. Four years seems like a long time until you’re sitting here, typing advice and wondering what happened to it all. Do something you hadn’t thought about before, even if you feel entrenched in the things you already do. I picked up rugby my senior year at the urging of some friends, and had an amazing time learning a new sport and feeling like a part of a team. Beating Christopher Newport University in the state tournament was incredible, and I never would’ve experienced that camaraderie without stepping far outside my comfort zone.

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

You can do anything you want. If you always dreamed of studying something, going to some place, W&L is better than any other school at giving you the resources and skills to realize those goals. Watching other students do the same is inspiring, and the excitement of mutual achievement drives me to keep doing what I do.   

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 Corey

Hometown:
Exeter, New Hampshire

Majors:
Economics, East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese), Shepherd Minor

Extracurricular involvement:
Outing Club Staff
– Traveller Employee
Kathekon member
Venture Club member
Appalachian Adventure Trip Leader

Off-campus activities/involvement:
– Afterschool program at Lylburn Downing Middle School through Campus Kitchen
– SPCA volunteer

Why did you choose your major?  
I came to W&L intending to major in economics, and I told my parents if they would stop making me go to Chinese classes after school in middle school, that I would pick Chinese back up in college. It has been far more enjoyable this time around! The Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor was the only thing I picked up solely on the recommendation of friends and through some excellent experiences my freshman year.

What professor has inspired you?
Professor Howard Pickett in the Shepherd Program helped me discover an area of study I hadn’t thought about before, and after four years it’s been central to my time at Washington and Lee. His courses are uniquely challenging and enlightening, and though I’ve had many outstanding professors during my time at W&L, his lectures still stand out in my mind.

What’s your personal motto?
“Seek the joy of being alive,” the motto from my childhood summer camp, immortalized in ink on my right forearm.

What’s your favorite song right now?
I’m entirely unashamed to admit my favorite song at the moment is “Kelly Price” by Migos and Travis Scott. It may have no deeper meaning to speak of, but no one floats over a beat like Quavo.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
If it’s an occasion, I’ve never had a bad experience with anything at the Red Hen. If it’s more casual, a pulled pork sandwich from Foothill Momma’s always does the trick.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
You will meet lots of people with amazing interests you didn’t even know existed; trying new things is a great way to learn about other people as well as yourself.

Post-graduation plans:
I wish I had a more concrete answer at this point, but I hope to combine two of the three focal points of my W&L academics: either Chinese and economics or economics and poverty. That could mean being a political risk consultant focused on East Asia, or something more entrepreneurial like Venture for America.

Favorite W&L memory:
I’ve summited McAfee’s Knob twice for the sunrise as an App Adventure trip leader, and both times it’s been awe-inspiring. Sharing that with new students is always special, and it serves as a deep breath before jumping back into a year of classes.

Favorite class:
Professor Eastwood’s Neighborhoods, Culture and Poverty was a fantastic class I took my sophomore year. Part seminar, part lab, we eventually got to use census data and crime statistics to examine a topic and city of our choosing, using ArcGIS and Stata to create cool map overlays. Rarely have I felt I produced such an in-depth piece of work that I was proud to show off, and the readings were consistently thought-provoking. I have to give a nod to Professor Casey’s Economics of Tropical Seascapes during Spring Term, though. The week in Belize climbing Mayan temples, snorkeling and surveying tourists was incredible.

Favorite W&L event:
To echo fellow Johnson Scholar Harry Lustig, App Adventure holds a special place in my heart. My freshman trip sparked a passion for hiking that brought me all over the world, and the subsequent trips I led introduced me to some of my favorite people on campus.

Favorite campus landmark:
Can anything really compare to the Colonnade? The image is so iconic, especially at night with the statue lit up. It was my first impression of W&L, one of great history and beauty, and one I won’t forget.

What’s your passion?
Hiking, which is perhaps the favorite gift W&L has given me. Before arriving on campus, I’d never camped before. Now, I’ve hiked hundreds of miles, caught sunrises on mountaintops on three continents, bought all my own gear and introduced other students to the joys of walking in nature. It’s calming, simple, easy, and brought me to places that have literally left me speechless.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I love video games that are meant for kids, especially anything made by Nintendo. I never wanted the more adult game systems as a kid, I was content with a Gameboy and a Gamecube until the insecurities of adolescence convinced me an Xbox was cooler. Now that I’m older and far more comfortable liking what I like, I’m a proud Nintendo fan for life.

Why did you choose W&L?
Beyond the unparalleled opportunity the Johnson Scholarship afforded me, I was struck by the sheer wealth of opportunities W&L students seemed to have, on campus and off. Now that I’m nearing graduation, I truly believe we are privileged to attend an institution that gives its students so many incredible chances to study, explore and grow. There’s little else I could ask for from my four years at W&L, and every moment I take to reminisce is full of appreciation.

Law Commencement 2017

socialpromodisplaygrad17-1024x576 Law Commencement 2017Follow Law Graduation Online!

The 162nd commencement ceremony for the Washington and Lee University School of Law will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. on the Front Lawn of the main campus.

The Honors and Awards ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5, at 3:30 p.m. in Evans Dining Hall.

Read about our graduation speaker William Hill ’74 ’77L.

The graduation ceremony will be broadcast live on the Web at livestream.com/wlu/law-2017.

Full Commencement Schedule.

Solar-Enabled Products Win W&L’s 7th Annual Business Plan Competition Three student teams took home a total of $7,000 in W&L's annual Business Plan Competition.

business-plan-800x533 Solar-Enabled Products Win W&L's 7th Annual Business Plan Competition

Three student teams took home a total of $7,000 in cash prizes following Washington and Lee University’s 7th Annual Business Plan Competition on April 7-8, with the grand prize going to a team that wants to develop and market solar-enabled products to the outdoor recreation industry.

The teams that compete in the competition each year are made up of students in Professor Jeff Shay’s senior capstone Entrepreneurship course (BUS 399). Three teams that competed were in Shay’s Fall Term class; the rest took the class during Winter Term.

The event began on the evening of Friday, April 7, when teams sat down with guest alumni judges for one-on-one coaching/mentoring sessions in a speed-dating-like atmosphere. Students then incorporated that feedback before giving final presentations to an entire panel of judges on Saturday morning.

All of the judges have extensive experience in areas such as entrepreneurship, banking, law, venture capital and private equity. This year’s panel consisted of Alan Gibson ’70, Ben Grigsby ’72, Robert Jones ’77, Tim Lavelle ’79, Dillon Myers ’14, Sam Perkins ’80, ‘83L and Elizabeth Yarbrough ’92. The judges score each team’s plan and presentation in three areas: written plan, presentation and viability. After the final team presented on Saturday, the judges deliberated for one hour before selecting the top three teams.

The winning teams were:

First Place: Summit Surge

Team members: Diana Banks ’17, Harry Lustig ’17 and Jack Jones ’17

Description: Summit Surge, LLC will design and sell solar-enabled products for the growing outdoor recreation industry. These products will allow outdoor explorers to charge their electronic devices off the grid without detracting from their experience. Summit Surge’s products will be functional, reliable and efficient. Its first offering will be an adaptable and durable top compartment (known as a “lid”) for a hiking backpack outfitted with lightweight solar panels. This will enable hikers to charge their devices right from their backpacks. The backpack lid will be sold online to end users, to retailers, and potentially to the military after two to three years of operation. Surge Lid will then act as a springboard for other solar products in the outdoor recreation industry.

Prize: $4,000

Second Place: Mell Cosmetic Club

Team members: Laney Fay ’17, Lindsay Hanau ’17, Margaret Morgan ’17, Elizabeth Walton ’17

Description: Mell Cosmetic Club, LLC is an online makeup retailer that simplifies the purchasing process through a need-based, automated delivery schedule. Mell will provide customers with a user-friendly online platform that features a range of cosmetic products and an automated delivery schedule. The company will partner with major makeup brands to offer a diverse selection of products that will attract consumers who are looking for quality cosmetics without the hassle that often comes with shopping.

Prize: $2,000

Third Place: CARVE

Team members: Kade Kenlon ’17, Ashley Oakes ’17, Logan Vorwerk ’17, Riley Wilson ’17

Description: CARVE is a boutique fitness studio located in Boston that offers a total body workout with a focus on the use of alpine ski simulators. The workout combines ski simulation with core, leg and upper-body conditioning. CARVE plans to expand nationally, and functions as a Limited Liability Company. The company will build a lifestyle brand dedicated to providing consumers an unparalleled fitness experience. CARVE seeks to capitalize on the momentum of the boutique fitness trend by creating a consumer experience that stands out from others in the market.

Prize: $1,000

W&L’s Music Department Presents the Marlbrook Chamber Ensemble Concert

marlbrook2KRR822964-600x400 W&L’s Music Department Presents the Marlbrook Chamber Ensemble ConcertMarlbrook Chamber Ensemble

The Washington and Lee University’s Music Department presents the Marlbrook Chamber Ensemble playing “A Love Triangle,” featuring Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, at 3 p.m. on May 7 in the Wilson Concert Hall at Washington and Lee University.

The ensemble consists of Jaime McArdle, violinist; Julia Goudimova, cellist; Timothy Gaylard, pianist; and guest pianist Ting-Ting Yen, all of whom are on the music faculty at W&L.

The first half of the program will feature Robert Schumann’s Trio No. 3 in G minor, Op. 110 with Yen at the piano. The second half will include two works — a piano trio arrangement of Clara Schumann’s song “Liebst du um Schönheit,” and Johannes Brahms’ Trio in C, Op. 87. Gaylard will be the pianist in these works.

A reception in Lykes Atrium of Wilson Hall will be held immediately following the concert. The concert is free and no tickets are required. Visit www.wlu.edu/lenfest-center for more information.

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Pianist Jonathan Chapman Cook to Perform Beethoven Sonatas

Jonathanatthepiano-600x400 Pianist Jonathan Chapman Cook to Perform Beethoven SonatasJonathan Chapman Cook

Washington and Lee University Department of Music presents Jonathan Chapman Cook in a piano recital of four sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven on April 28 at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall, Lenfest Center. It is free and open to the public.

Cook is a Lexington-based composer and pianist who has been studying and performing classical repertoire since the age of 13. He also is an improviser, organist and teacher.

As a pianist, he has been a guest artist at the University of Michigan, W&L, the Garth Newel Music Center and Western Michigan University. He has premiered works by Byron Petty, lecturer in music at W&L, and he performed concertos conducted by W&L’s Shane Lynch.

He is in the process of becoming a crossover artist into the world of electronic music and plans for this to be his final major classical performance in the foreseeable future.

The recital will open with “Grand sonata pathétique,” followed by two lesser-known sonatas, Op. 14 No. 1 and Op. 26, and will conclude with Sonata in E-flat, Op. 81a, “Les adieux” (the farewell).

Cook received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance, and has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

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Global Service: Bringing the World to W&L Students

Splat! Thud! Their laughter filling the air during a spontaneous snowball fight this past winter, the participants epitomized the special camaraderie of the international and domestic students who live and thrive in W&L’s Global Service House.

“It was really exciting, because a lot of us had never played in snow before,” said Sofia Sequeira ’15, a native Costa Rican and the house’s resident adviser. “It really made us bond and become close friends.”

The facility opened in fall 2012 and houses 17 students–approximately 60 percent international students and 40 percent domestic students. This year, for the first time, most of them are sophomores. Previously, the building housed students from different classes. To make the house feel more like a home, and to build long-lasting bonds among the students, W&L decided to limit the residents to sophomores and juniors. “It’s a great experience,” said Sequeira.

The students also share a common interest in internationalism and community service. When Larry Boetsch ’69, director of the Center for International Education, was researching the University’s Global Learning Initiative, he discovered that a high percentage of international students volunteer in the local community.

At the same time, Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee (CKWL) was looking for a permanent home. CKWL combats hunger and promotes nutrition by reusing food that would otherwise go to waste. Boetsch and Harlan Beckley, professor emeritus of religion and founder of the Shepherd Poverty Program, hatched a plan to convert the International House into the Global Service House for students with a common interest in internationalism and service, including volunteering for CKWL.

Boetsch was concerned that setting special conditions for living in the house would quash student interest. Last year and this year, however, he received twice as many applications as he could accommodate. “I think next year we’ll have even more,” said Boetsch, “so it’s been a great success.”

He continued, “What satisfies me the most is that the students themselves have really taken the initiative to make this work. They’re a terrific group of students, and they understand exactly what we are trying to do. We haven’t set any rules or guidelines with regards to the way the house functions; the students have done it on their own. So they are responsible for its success.”

The experience of living there is as illuminating for domestic students as it is for international students. “I have learned more about the cultures of other students and about the world than I ever thought I could without actually leaving the United States,” said Maya Epelbaum ’16, who’s from New Jersey.

“My housemate, Mohammed, and I have had many discussions about the differences in our cultures,” said Trevin Ivory ’16, from Oklahoma City, Okla. Mohammed Adudayyeh ’16 is a Palestinian from the West Bank. “He’s Muslim and I’m Christian, so we’ve talked about the differences between our two religions.

“I lived in a dorm last year, and three or four of us would hang out together, but never this many people at one time,” continued Ivory. “It’s very nice here because you feel you can talk to anyone. We all know each other and we all like each other, so it’s a very fun time. It also allows me to interact with people I wouldn’t normally be able to, such as students from Brazil or Germany.”

The students have introduced each other to their personal volunteer projects, although the main emphasis of volunteering is CKWL. “A lot of students are really committed to community service, and they invite other students to their activities, such as volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, recycling or tutoring children in Lexington,” said Sequeira. For example, Emmanuel Abebrese ’16, a native of Ghana, who graduated from a high school in northern Virginia, has involved his fellow students plus the Student Association for International Learning (SAIL) in collecting books and school supplies for a school in Ghana.

The international student population at W&L, which numbers between 115 and 125 at any one time, distinguishes itself from those on other campuses because 98 percent of the students are four-year degree candidates, according to Boetsch. “On most college campuses, a large percentage of international students are exchange students staying for a term or for a year. Our international students are fully fledged Washington and Lee citizens,” he said.

The facility is, in fact, a tangible manifestation of W&L’s Global Learning Strategy. “The students in the Global Service House today are a special group,” said Boetsch. “Honestly, I think it is an achievement of which we should be very proud and something which, in terms of the whole global learning initiative, is absolutely essential.”


Three W&L Students Selected for New Oxford Study Abroad Program

“We were very fortunate to have three outstanding applicants, all of whom were accepted and are looking forward to spending next year at Oxford, in residence at Mansfield College.”

Oxford-Students-600x400 Three W&L Students Selected for New Oxford Study Abroad ProgramKenta Sayama, Mohini Tangri and Ben Fleenor

In early 2016, Washington and Lee University signed a memorandum of understanding with Oxford University’s Mansfield College that would allow W&L students to study at the university in the U.K. beginning in 2017-2018. Now, three students – Ben Fleenor, Mohini Tangri and Kenta Sayama – are preparing to pack their bags and spend their junior year there, studying a broad range of subjects across the humanities and social sciences, while taking in the sights and sounds of Oxford.

“We were very fortunate to have three outstanding applicants, all of whom were accepted and are looking forward to spending next year at Oxford, in residence at Mansfield College,” said Mark Rush, director of international education at Washington and Lee.

While the three students intend to study a wide variety of subjects, all expressed interest in Oxford’s new human rights institute. They are also looking forward to experiencing the tutorial style of teaching.

“While one important aspect of global education is exposing students to different cultures and different people, it is also about exposing them to different educational models,” said Rush. “The tutorial system at Oxford will broaden and deepen their exposure to different pedagogical structures, which will be a great addition to their educational experience.”

Hear the students talk about their upcoming year:

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Ward Briggs ’67 to Address W&L’s Friends of the Library Annual Meeting

“James Dickey believed that poems were made of many elements. If you ask him if he works from experience, a real poet would have to say that you must define experience, because experience is anything and everything that has ever impinged on your imagination.”

Ward W. Briggs ’67, the Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics and Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Humanities, emeritus, at the University of South Carolina, will be the speaker at the annual meeting of Washington and Lee University’s Friends of the Library on May 13 at 1:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Briggs will speak on “James Dickey and ‘Life’: How Poems Are Made.” The talk is free and open to the public.

“James Dickey believed that poems were made of many elements. If you ask him if he works from experience, a real poet would have to say that you must define experience, because experience is anything and everything that has ever impinged on your imagination,” Briggs said. “This talk will focus on how the poet gathers impressions from a variety of sources—literary, artistic, musical and especially photographic (three at least from Life magazine) in three of James Dickey’s greatest poems.”

Ward_Briggs-600x400 Ward Briggs '67 to Address W&L's Friends of the Library Annual MeetingWard W. Briggs

Briggs, a member of the Class of 1967 at W&L, retired from the University of South Carolina in 2011 but continues to teach in the Honors College there. His research interests are Virgil, Roman poetry and the history of American classical scholarship.

He edited the journal Vergilius for 10 years and is the author or editor of 10 books and numerous articles and reviews. He was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, and is working on a biography of Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, the founder of the modern American study of classical antiquity.

Briggs received his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After Briggs met Dickey in 1963 at W&L, they began a multi-decade relationship, and after Dickey’s death, Briggs began his large collection of Dickey materials which he gave to W&L in 2014. The donation consisted of first-edition novels and poetry to film posters from “Deliverance,” the movie based on Dickey’s 1970 novel. The Dickey collection also includes copies of foreign language versions of “Deliverance.”

U.Va. Prof. James W. Ceaser to Speak at W&L on the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

ceasersquare-1-400x600 U.Va. Prof. James W. Ceaser to Speak at W&L on the First 100 Days of the Trump PresidencyJames W. Ceaser

James W. Ceaser, the Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia (U.Va.) and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on May 3 at 5:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

He will speak on “The First 100 Days: Reflections on the Trump Presidency.” His talk is free and open to the public.

He has written books on American politics and American political thought, including “Defying the Odds: The 2016 Elections and American Politics” (co-author, 2017); “Behind Enemy Lines” (co-author, 2016); and “Designing a Polity: America’s Constitution in Theory and Practice” (2010).

Ceaser directs the Program for Constitution and Democracy at U.Va. where he has taught since 1976. His work regularly appears in The Weekly Standard and the Claremont Review of Books, among other places.

From 2008 to 2014, Ceaser served as the presidential appointment to the National Archives Commission. He served as the academic chairman of the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History since its inception in 2004 and received the 2015 Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom from the Bradley Foundation for his vigorous defense of due-process rights on campus.

Ceaser has held visiting professorships at Harvard University, University of Florence, the University of Basel, Oxford University, the University of Bordeaux and the University of Rennes. He is a frequent contributor to the popular press, and he often comments on American politics for the Voice of America.

Overcoming Tourette Syndrome Larry Barber ’71, an award-winning Hollywood writer and producer, uses his talents to publish a book on Tourette Syndrome.

Barber-1-in-Mexico-800x533 Overcoming Tourette SyndromeLarry Barber ’71 continues to write every day, but mostly for his personal use. He enjoys creating Haibun, a combination of prose and Japanese Haiku poetry.

“We all have limitations — hidden or not. Some are emotional. People with disabilities are often shunned by society. If they were better understood, they would be seen as paragons of strength.”

Larry Barber ’71 always felt drawn to language and even compelled to write. Now retired after 20 years as an award-winning writer and producer for Hollywood films and television shows, Barber turned to a different kind of writing — compiling the stories of fellow Tourette Syndrome sufferers.

That book was a long time coming for Barber. A journalism major, he spent 10 years writing brochures, speeches and articles for an insurance company and later a public relations firm. But he always felt the urge to do more with his writing.

His dream was to write scripts for television and film. Joining forces with his brother, Paul, who had graduated from the University of California at Irvine with an MFA degree in theater, Barber took on the challenge. The brothers wrote a script on spec for “Cagney & Lacey,” a popular police drama starring Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as female New York City detectives.

“At that time, TV shows would accept freelance scripts,” Barber said. Still, it was hard work for the brothers to teach themselves script writing, and even more challenging to get someone to actually read it. However, their script was one of just a few accepted and produced for broadcast that year.

That fortuitous break led to more scripts for “Cagney & Lacey.” Eventually, the pair wrote for many other hit shows, including “X-Files,” “Nash Bridges,” “The Commish,” “Seven Days,” “Profiler,” “21 Jump Street,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and others. Barber wrote and produced Gene Rodenberry’s “Andromeda,” which was among the highest-rated television shows in syndication. For five years, he wrote films for Warner Brothers — “none of which were produced, but not uncommon in the business,” he noted. Those scripts included a lot of political material — the rise and fall of J. Edgar Hoover, the Black Panthers, Cesar Chavez. He considers himself fortunate to write scripts for Francis Coppola, Oliver Stone, Michael Mann and Quincy Jones.

“I loved working in Hollywood,” said Barber, who now lives with his wife, also a writer, in the seaside community of Ventura, California, which he prefers to the gridlock of Los Angeles.

Two episodes of “21 Jump Street,” about the civil war in El Salvador, including the U.S. involvement and the refugee crisis, earned him an Imagen Award, given for positive portrayal of Latinos in the media. Public service announcements at the end of each show, narrated by Peter Gabriel and Bono, inspired 4,000 people to join Amnesty International. Those two shows were especially significant to Barber, who is of Guatemalan descent and fluent in Spanish.

Three years ago, Barber and his fellow “X-Files” writers won a Writer’s Guild Award for one of the 101 Best Written TV Series.

Although he likes writing drama, especially “cop shows,” he has been fascinated with science fiction since he was a boy. “I read good literature, but always have a sci-fi book at my side,” he laughed.

Becoming a producer was “a natural progression for a staff writer,” he said. “Gaining more experience leads to more responsibility.” As a producer, he was more involved in casting, post-production, working on-set, working with special effects and supervising the writing staff. “It was wonderful to solve problems and challenges.”

Born in New York City, Barber grew up in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, where he was living at the time he enrolled at W&L. He still visits his Guatemalan family often. “I have a foot in both worlds,” he said. “I love the culture and the people of Latin America.”

Coming from Costa Rica to W&L, which was the alma mater of his high school English teacher, was like coming to a foreign country for Barber. “It was not easy to assimilate.” Self-described as shy, he didn’t join a fraternity, cutting off much in the way of social life for him. “I took comfort in my classes, the professors and the beauty of the campus,” he said. He also worked on-air and behind the scenes for the campus radio station.

He remembers Professor Dabney Stuart, who taught English. “He was a poet and was very kind. I liked the way he taught.”

As well as writing, another large part of Barber’s life has been his 40-years-practice of Buddhism. He recently spent 2 1/2 years studying at Zen Center of Los Angeles, which helped him face his own battle with Tourette’s. “I like the idea of interconnectedness of all things,” he said. “In Zen, one’s ego is an illusion based on your belief of yourself.” Thinking back to his days when his Tourette’s was more severe, he said that belief in oneself can be distorted or wrong — children often take cues from the outside world to form their self-image. “I learned to be compassionate to myself,” he said.

Barber-book-cover-234x350 Overcoming Tourette SyndromeFrom there, Barber developed the idea of his book as a way to give a voice to fellow Touretters. Last year, he self-published a book on Amazon titled “An Unlikely Strength: Tourette Syndrome and the Search for Happiness in 60 Voices.” Starting with his own struggles with the syndrome, a disease characterized by involuntary tics and vocalizations, he collected the stories of 60 others who have Tourette’s. Barber’s symptoms mostly receded by age 13, but he continues to have mild symptoms. He hopes his book, which includes many resources, will help people understand the struggle that Tourette’s places on the lives of those who are afflicted.

He interviewed people from all walks of life — an airline pilot, musicians, dancers, a physicist, a firefighter, a pro wrestler — and allows their voices to shine through. He discovered they were filled with strength, courage, sadness, but most of all, were striving to find happiness. “Despite their disability, they found a way to lead constructive lives,” he said in the chapter about his own journey. “Through those conversations, taught by their honesty and generosity, I was learning about myself.”

He added, “We all have limitations — hidden or not. Some are emotional. People with disabilities are often shunned by society. If they were better understood, they would be seen as paragons of strength.

“It’s how we live within our own hearts that matters,” he concluded. “As Touretters, as humans, we stand in need of alms of our own kindness.”


Civility and Opinion in a Polarized America Tyler Grant ’12, a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia School of Law, is a regular editorial contributor to several national publications.

IMG_0443.PNG-2-800x533 Civility and Opinion in a Polarized AmericaTyler Grant ’12

“Unifying rhetoric seems to have escaped the American temperament as we have limped out of a brutal campaign. The country seems on a course for a deeper divide than ever before.”

These words, written by Tyler Grant ’12 in a Nov. 27, 2016, editorial on the U.S. political website The Hill, foreshadowed the deep chasm that has formed between American liberals and conservatives since President Donald Trump took the oath of office in January. Having published in National Review, The Hill, and Daily Caller to name a few,  Grant has found himself with plenty of opportunities to analyze developments in D.C. with the kind of civil, level-headed approach he said he picked up as a student at Washington and Lee.

Grant majored in Chinese and politics at W&L, knowing that he wanted to do something “globally oriented, whether it was in business or foreign policy.” But a constitutional law class with professor Lucas Morel opened his eyes to the possibility of studying law.

“He really sparked my interests,” he said. “Professor Morel is a man that I really respect. He is an absolute intellectual titan, a great Christian man, and a legend at W&L. He inspired me to go to law school.”

After a Fulbright fellowship in Taiwan, where he taught English at an elementary school, Grant attended the University of Virginia School of Law. He interned at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Puerto Rico and now, having earned his law degree, is an associate at the law firm Clifford Chance in New York.

Grant began writing for The Blaze in May 2015 and began publishing in The Hill in August 2016, but not before he submitted several articles without success. That’s when he realized that he needed to be more proactive than reactive in his approach. He now reads the news with an eye for issues that have only just begun to percolate, but might be coming to a full boil around the time he will submit an editorial.

“You have to be a little ahead of the curve, thinking what is the next thing, and commenting on the next thing,” he said.

As a result of his new formula, he soon became a formal contributor to The Hill. As a regular, he submits an article about once every two weeks. So far, his pieces have included “White Americans Need to Be Part of the Race Discussion,” “How Did We End Up With a Commander in Tweet?” and “Trump and Taiwan: Breaking from Convention is Progress.”

More recently, he published two articles with the Daily Caller entitled “Give a Golf Clap for Less Governing” and “The Conservative Case Against the Death Penalty.” He also wrote an article featured in the National Review entitled “International Exchange Programs Bolster Foreign Policy.”

It is not always immediately obvious from reading the titles of Grant’s pieces — or even the pieces themselves — where he falls on the political spectrum. In fact, he was president of the College Republicans at Washington and Lee, but his opinions do not break down along party lines. He said that he tries to stay well-rounded in his understanding of current events, and that he enjoys probing the gray areas of political arguments.

“It is easy in this [current political] environment to be extremely polarized,” he said, “but I don’t think people, in their heart of hearts, are actually like that.”

Grant noted that it is difficult these days to find the truth on any issue, because “everything has a slant on it, as if everything is written as an opinion piece.” His solution is to devour as many news sources as possible, not just those that are likely to confirm his own leaning. His typical reading each day includes The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He reads The New Yorker “to see how urban wealthy people view things” and the Drudge Report to see a far-right-leaning perspective. If he has time, he throws The Economist into that mix.

Grant credits his time at Washington and Lee, more than any other learning experience he has had, with teaching him the importance of civility. He carries that lesson into all of his writing projects and political discussions.

“At W&L, it was unheard of to beat up on someone in class who disagreed with you,” he said. “It just wasn’t a thing at W&L because people respected each other. The way a disagreement went about resolving itself was in a polite, respectful, civilized manner, and not who can shout loudest in their respective echo chamber and see who can hear them.”

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W&L Adopts MyinTuition, a Fast, Free Tool to Help Students and Parents Estimate College Costs

“We see MyinTuition as particularly useful for families early in their college search, especially to differentiate the ‘sticker price’ of a private college from what their family will actually pay, after financial aid.”

It is a rite for any parent with a child approaching college. Their children are bright high school sophomores and juniors so they search for the best schools. Some look at the costs and recoil, thinking that the price is more than they can afford.

In 2013, Wellesley College introduced a fast, user-friendly tool that has given families a more accurate way to gauge costs while factoring in financial aid. Williams College and University of Virginia adopted Wellesley’s tool in 2015. Since then, applications at Wellesley, Williams, and U.Va are up, with about 90% of that increase coming from students planning to apply for financial aid.

MyinTuition has proved so successful that starting today, 12 more schools, including Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., are adopting the tool. This broader reach means that thousands of other parents and their children may pursue education paths that they might have otherwise ignored for fear that the costs were out of reach. The tool is made available on each of the college’s websites, as well as on myintuition.org.

The 15 schools that offer MyinTuition are:

  • Amherst College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Carleton College
  • Columbia University
  • Colorado College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Pomona College
  • Rice University
  • University of Virginia
  • Vassar College
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College

MyinTuition was driven by the knowledge that too few students apply to top-notch schools because they assume they cannot afford them. Since a high-quality college education is an important pathway to upward economic mobility in the United States, this is a critical issue across the country.

In 2011, the federal government mandated that colleges and universities offer a “net price calculator” to provide prospective students with an estimate of the cost of enrollment and financial aid possibilities. These often ask parents to answer a dizzying array of questions with detailed information about family finances, including information from tax returns.

MyinTuition does not intimidate. It informs parents through a user-friendly process that asks six basic financial questions in order to provide personalized estimates of what it would cost a family to send their child to a particular college.

“Families look at the price and walk away without thinking about financial aid possibilities because the assumption is that the cost is too high,” said Phillip B. Levine, an economics professor at Wellesley College who developed MyinTuition along with Wellesley’s Katharine Corman. With MyinTuition, parents and prospective students can look closer and see a clearer picture of what a college education will cost them at a top school. “They might see that they don’t have to walk away,” explained Levine. “Their son or daughter can go to the school that is the best fit for them, regardless of the sticker price.”

It takes the average user about three minutes to complete and gives parents a breakdown of the estimated costs paid by the family, work-study, and loan estimates, in addition to grant assistance provided by the institution.

“This helps bring more students from low and moderate income families into the stream of students flowing into the top schools in this country,” said Levine. “It takes down a formidable barrier.”

In doing so, MyinTuition can help colleges diversify their student enrollments. “We see MyinTuition as particularly useful for families early in their college search, especially to differentiate the ‘sticker price’ of a private college from what their family will actually pay, after financial aid,” said Sally Stone Richmond, vice president for admissions and financial aid at Washington and Lee. “Just like an admissions profile offers students a sense of the academic qualities a college seeks, MyinTuition gives families a means of understanding their potential financial expectations prior to applying.”

“As a key part of our efforts to promote Washington and Lee’s affordability, we are pleased to include MyinTuition as a secure, efficient, informative tool for prospective students and families to estimate their expected college costs,” said James Kaster, Washington and Lee’s director of financial aid.

More than 125,000 estimates have been provided at Wellesley, Williams and the University of Virginia so far.

According to Joy St. John, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Wellesley, where all applications are up this year by 17 percent, MyinTuition helps schools fulfill their commitments to access, affordability, and transparency around college costs. “We want even more students and families to realize that top colleges are within reach for any qualified student, regardless of their financial situation,” she said.


14th Annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar Kicks Off with Lecture by Author Lauren Groff

“Lauren Groff is a writer of rare gifts, and ‘Fates and Furies’ is an unabashedly ambitious novel that delivers—with comedy, tragedy, well-deployed erudition and unmistakable glimmers of brilliance throughout.”

Lauren_Groff_c_Megan_Brown_high_res-400x600 14th Annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar Kicks Off with Lecture by Author Lauren GroffLauren Groff

Lauren Groff, author of the National Book Award finalist “Fates and Furies” (2015), will present the keynote address at Washington and Lee University’s 14th Annual Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar Fates and Furies: “Secrets within a Marriage,” on April 21, at 4:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

The title of Groff’s talk is “The Anxiety of Influence: The Literary Roots of ‘Fates and Furies.’” It is free and open to the public.

Among its many recognitions, “Fates and Furies” was selected as the 2015 Book of the Year by Amazon.com and President Barack Obama.

Groff also is the author of “Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories” (2016); “Arcadia” (2011), which was a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award; and “The Monsters of Templeton” (2008) which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers.

The New York Times Sunday Book Review said, “Lauren Groff is a writer of rare gifts, and ‘Fates and Furies’ is an unabashedly ambitious novel that delivers—with comedy, tragedy, well-deployed erudition and unmistakable glimmers of brilliance throughout.”

Her work has appeared in journals including the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Tin House, One Story, McSweeney’s and Ploughshares, and in the anthologies 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and three editions of the Best American Short Stories.

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PLC Spring Weekend More Popular Than Ever Seventy-two families attended the on-campus weekend for leadership supporters of the Parents Fund

One sign that the 2017 PLC Spring Weekend was a smash hit: parents concluded the weekend asking “How soon can we book our hotel rooms for next year?”

The two-day event, held March 31 – April 1, is a special on-campus weekend for members of the Parents Leadership Council (PLC), who contribute leadership gifts to W&L’s Parents Fund. Missy Witherow, senior director of development for parent giving, reported that attendees were particularly excited for their first opportunity to meet and interact with President Dudley.

During his keynote address on Saturday morning, Dudley shared vignettes from his first few months on campus and discussed W&L’s upcoming strategic planning process, which he had announced to the campus community just days earlier. In what is emerging as his signature style, Dudley conducted much of his presentation in Q&A format and appeared relaxed while taking questions from the audience.

PLC-4717-350x234 PLC Spring Weekend More Popular Than EverPLC members toured the Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning during the PLC Spring Weekend.

Other highlights of the weekend included student-led tours of W&L’s new Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning, which opened at the tail end of the last school year. PLC members saw students and faculty in action in the center’s famously high-tech, interactive classroom spaces. A Friday afternoon student-faculty panel titled “Student Opportunities: Research, Internships, Projects” was particularly useful for parents of first-year students, as presenters offered insights on topics such as how to make the best use of career development and when to start pursuing summer research.

One consistent draw of the PLC Spring Weekend is the opportunity for parents to interact with senior members of W&L’s administration. The Saturday morning panel, titled “The Washington and Lee Experience: Questions with the Senior Administration” did not disappoint. Sidney Evans, vice president for student affairs, walked parents through the university’s response to a recent off-campus fire. Sally Richmond, vice president for admissions and financial aid fielded questions, such as “What is the role of special talents in the admissions process?”

After the panel discussion, Tres Mullis, executive director of development, and Jan Hathorn, director of athletics, presented artists renderings of the new indoor athletics and recreation facility, for which fundraising is ongoing, and discussed details of the project. At the end of the weekend, one of the couples in attendance committed the first major gift from a PLC family for the facility.

For more information about the PLC or parent giving please contact Missy Witherow, senior director of development for parent giving.


The Great Robot Race Physics and engineering students at Washington and Lee put their creations to the test in the final week of Winter Term.

The-maze-800x533 The Great Robot RaceThe maze

Who will rescue Princess Peach? That was the challenge put to students in the Physics and Engineering Department at Washington and Lee University for their final project.

Moataz Khalifa, visiting assistant professor of physics and engineering, and Kacie D’Alessandro, assistant professor of physics and engineering, invited the public to a competition where they could cheer on the robots that the students in the Introduction to Engineering and Electronics classes had designed.

D’Alessandro’s students in her Intro to Engineering class designed the chassis to hold the electronic components built by Khalifa’s students. The process presented some real-life challenges. “There was some frustration and a lot of question marks at the beginning, but a wonderful learning opportunity,” said Khalifa. “They had to figure out amongst themselves how to make compromises when the design of the chassis interfered with the fit of the electronics.”

Bob-Bot-800x533 The Great Robot RacePrepping the robot to run the maze.

While the engineering students worked on building the robot’s body, using W&L’s 3-D printers in the IQ Center, the electronics students refined their knowledge of analog and digital electronics, including the design, construction and measurement of circuits and programmable logic devices.

“This competition is my way of testing whether the students have learned what I wanted them to learn, and the same applies to Kacie’s students” said Khalifa. “The first challenge, which they knew about, was to have their robot navigate a maze — the robot, using sensors, had to make decisions on whether the path before it was open or not. For the second day of the competition, we presented the students with three challenges to see if they could make modifications to the software and hardware on the fly.”

For those challenges, the robots had to pick up a plastic figurine of Princess Peach (a character in Nintendo’s Mario franchise), then carry her past two physical barriers and up and over a ramp.

“I think they all did phenomenally well,” said Khalifa.

Judge their efforts yourself.

Career Paths – Christian Addison ’17L

christianaddison Career Paths - Christian Addison '17LChristian Addison ’17L

Christian Addison ’17L, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Military Institute.  After graduation, Christian will enter the JAG Corps for the United States Air Force. After his service in the military, he hopes to pursue his dream of becoming a sports agent throughout the National Football League.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG?

I have known that I wanted to join the military since I was a child.  This interest is what led me to follow in the footsteps of my great-grandfather (’24), grandfather (’54), father (’82), and brother (’11) to attend VMI for my undergraduate degree.  Throughout my time and training at VMI, I felt that I could best serve my country by representing fellow service members in a legal capacity.

Describe the application and interview process for JAG.

There are several routes by which someone can pursue a career as a JAG.  I pursued JAG through the military’s educational delay program.  Essentially, this means that the Air Force allowed me to defer my active-duty commitment for three years in order to attain my legal degree.

The application process for JAG differs slightly between each branch.  For the Air Force, you complete a written application, followed by a scheduled interview with the Staff Judge Advocate at the nearest Air Force Base.  Your written application, along with the review from your interview, are then forwarded to a selection board.  For the Air Force, this board meets every February.

I will find out where I will be stationed once I receive a passing score on any state bar exam.  In relation to the work I will be doing, I will pursue the litigation route in the JAG Corps, which will primarily focus around military justice issues.

In what ways has your experience at W&L Law prepared you for JAG? 

I benefited most from the third-year curriculum during my time here at Washington and Lee.  The various clinics and practicums I took this past year enabled me to feel comfortable in the courtroom.  In particular, the Global Corruption Practicum has afforded me, along with a few others, the opportunity to travel to Fiji at the end of April to meet with the UN to discuss the impact that corruption has throughout the world.  The experience I will gain by dealing with other countries will serve me well in my career with the military.

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Career Paths: Jenna Lorence ’17L

jennalorence Career Paths: Jenna Lorence '17LJenna Lorence ’17L

Jenna Lorence grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and received her B.A. in Government from Patrick Henry College. She is the Chair of the Moot Court Board, a Lead Online Editor on the Law Review, and a member of the Federalist Society. She will join K&L Gates after graduation.

When I came to law school, I wasn’t planning on working for a law firm. I imagined that I would likely go into non-profit work. However, I also knew that I wanted to stay in the Washington, D.C. area where I grew up, so when OCS (Office of Career Strategy) started sending us information about law firms who were hiring in the D.C. area, I decided to apply. My search was limited to the DC area only, so I interviewed with six firms and went on three call back interviews. My mentors encouraged me to use that time to interview the firms and figure out if they would be a good fit for me.

I realized as I visited the different firms that I had been too focused on subject area of the law, but instead needed to look for the type of job where I could excel. I found that as a summer associate at K&L Gates. Each day involved putting together legal puzzles, interacting and working with smart people, and a hands on, mentorship approach to training law students and young lawyers.

I was grateful that I had taken some of the basic business law classes at W&L, but I was even more grateful for the intense writing training W&L professors had given me. When asked to put together memos and documents for partners, I had the tools I needed to produce quality work.

W&L’s alumni network also was an amazing tool for me as I worked at K&L. The other W&L alumni at the firm quickly took me under their wing and were always willing to offer advice or help. After my summer at K&L Gates, I was happy to accept an offer to work in its D.C. office starting this September. During the summer I did projects in the public policy and government enforcement practice groups, and I will find out what practice area I’ll be in sometime this summer.

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Art on the Walls In his new book, Professor George Bent explores the cultural messages of Italian paintings from the Proto-Renaissance period.

BentGeorge-1-800x533 Art on the WallsGeorge Bent, the Sidney Gause Childress Professor in the Arts

Q: Ciao bello. You entered Oberlin intending to major in history. What happened?

Halfway through my college career, I got a phone call from my parents. My mother is a musician and my father was a captain of industry, and they said, “We notice that you have been taking a steady diet of history and politics and economics. But if you don’t take a class in art or music, we’re going to pull you out of college.” I thought to myself, “I guess they’re pretty serious about this liberal arts stuff.”

So, I looked at the course catalogue, and the only class that really appealed to me was taught by a famously good lecturer, William Hood — he’s a very close friend and a mentor to me to this day. It was Northern Renaissance Art. With that one class, my world changed. I realized that these images are portals into the past. I could actually see the people I was reading about, which helped me understand the things they were concerned about. Up to then, I’d just been imagining what the past looked like, but now I had something tangible to go on. It was transformative and a perfect match with my love of history.

Q: Your last book is a perfect example of art illuminating history. Where did the idea for “Public Painting and Visual Culture in Early Republican Florence” originate?

I was finishing up a project on monastic art at the end of the early 14th century, focusing on the work of Lorenzo Monaco and paintings for monks in specific Florentine institution. I was in Italy one summer looking at a painting of “The Coronation of the Virgin Mary” by a painter named Jacopo di Cione. At first blush, it looks absolutely typical of the period. But I began to realize it was different. That all of these figures at its base were squashed into same panel instead of spread out over three panels, as would have been typical for an altarpiece. That was interesting. Then, instead of being gold, this lower part of the panel was painted using gilt silver, which is exceptionally rare for the period. It’s really stupid to put silver in a painting, because, as you know, it will tarnish and ultimately ruin an image.

So I began to wonder, “Why silver? What’s the message?” The more I dug into this picture, the more I realized this wasn’t created for a church. It was for a government office, the city mint. At the time, Florence had a dual currency — gold florins for big-ticket items and silver coins for daily purchases. The painting of the “Coronation” was produced in 1373 at a moment of crisis in Florence, when the Florentine silver currency was being devalued and the government was worried about a possible depression. It’s essentially a plug for Florentine silver.

I began to realize that there were all these other paintings in Florence that have nothing to do with altars, which is what you usually think of when you think of early Renaissance paintings. There were pictures on street corners, in guildhalls, offices, confraternities, nave walls. I started to think about what regular people were seeing as they walked down the streets. Not the priests at the altar, not the aristocrats in their private chapels, but people like you and me. I got really excited about the messages behind these images for common people.

Q: What were the paintings telling you?

Florence is a pretty small city, only two miles by two miles, but it’s jam-packed with art. So literally, on almost every street corner, there were images that people encountered every day. They were also placed in very specific settings for very specific reasons. Street-corner Madonnas were present not just to be seen, but to also see you. And if she can see you, you’d better be on your best behavior.

Part of the theory behind the art of this period is that paintings work on people, they can influence your behavior. In an age before either streetlights or public-funded police departments, you really needed your city to be safe at night. So officials would mount tabernacles on the street corner and light a torch underneath them so that at those intersections, the Virgin Mary was looking down on you, making sure that you were behaving. Pickpockets and prostitution were two issues the government worried about most, but they weren’t the only ones. Almost literally every single street corner you can imagine in Florence would have some kind of image looking down on you to maintain a little law and order in the city.

To this day, some of these images still exist in street tabernacles. There’s also a modern-day equivalent — every time you see a sign that says “this area is under video surveillance” you’re being asked to react the same way people did to street Madonnas in the 14th century. You don’t necessarily know where the camera is or if it even works — but that’s not the point. It works because the mere thought or fear that someone might be watching you influences your behavior and compels you to stop yourself from performing some crime. It’s embedded into our culture and has been for a long time.

Q: How much of your research makes its way into your classes?

When it works well, the teacher-scholar model is spectacular because your research informs your teaching, but then your teaching can inform your scholarship. I’ve been fortunate here at W&L in that regard. I’ve had students who have not just forced me to think more deeply about a topic, but who’ve actually helped me come up with some solutions to some pretty vexing problems.

Frequently, I’ll set up a seminar that touches on my next project, the topic that I want to explore. Students can get in on a new area of research at the ground floor, and that’s pretty exciting. The trade-off is that this requires us to consider themes and subjects that have not been examined in depth in English, so they have to dig deeply to find information and interpretations that will be useful for us. But that’s never really deterred anyone in class. These students are so thoughtful, so smart and so creative that they do more than just add to conversations: they help me move in the scholarly directions that I want and need to go. It happened just this past semester; repeatedly, in fact.

Q: What are your summer research students working on?

I’m working on a digital humanities project — thank you Mellon Foundation! — that just got underway and is going to be a longstanding project. I will employ students 12 months a year as we begin to reconstruct the city of Florence the way it looked in 1492. We will be stitching in the images that were originally on the walls of buildings, attach documents to them, add music, and hopefully create a virtual-reality experience. I’ve got what I consider a dream team of students. Two are going to Florence this summer. If you’ve got a little bit of Italian, maybe some German or Latin, if you take a DH class and my course on Italian Renaissance art, there’s your ticket to being on my team. That’s one of the conceptual things that I love about this place: at other institutions, cuts are being made to the arts. At W&L, we’re adding money to the arts. We’re requiring students to take the arts because we recognize their importance in forming a liberally educated person.

Q: As well as introducing students to your favorite subject, what do you want them to walk away knowing?

I take great pride in emphasizing the importance of writing well. Not just writing correctly, but writing well. There’s a difference. My students write a draft that I review and that undergoes a peer review. In seminar, I ask students to do short- and long-writing assignments. They also present material, so they’ve got to be able to articulate their ideas verbally, which I think is very important for them to succeed in the work world.

I also want students to envision the world as an interconnected matrix. I really believe that you can’t really understand a culture, broadly speaking, or a complicated problem, more specifically, unless you’re looking at it from multiple perspectives. Context is all-important. I teach in a multidisciplinary way, whether it be a straight art history class or my Medieval and Renaissance Studies course. I’m always trying to get people to see that there’s a lot going on at the same time, and it’s all interrelated.

Q: I understand you performed in “Spamalot,” the 2015 Bentley Musical.

I did a lot of theater in high school and some in college, but I dropped it because I was busy doing other things. Ever since 2007, I’ve tried to do something every year, whether it be Dancing with Professors (a fundraiser) or a play. It’s really fun, but as well as being time-consuming, I found that trying to sing, dance, remember my lines and act all at the same time is pretty stressful. Oh, and it gets a lot harder to do both physically and mentally as the years march by, so I might be at the end of my theatrical career. Plus, I’m not sure students really need to see their professors in tights.

More about Bent

Courses
Medieval Art in Southern Europe
Medieval Art in Northern Europe
Gothic Art in Northern Europe
Northern Renaissance Art
Medieval Art in Italy
Italian Renaissance Art
Early Renaissance Art in Florence
The High Renaissance in Italy
Approaches to Art History

Publications
“Public Painting and Visual Culture in Early Republican Florence” (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
“Monastic Art in Lorenzo Monaco’s Florence: Painting and Patronage in Santa Maria degli Angeli, 1300-1415” (Lewiston, New York, 2006)
“Early Renaissance Art” (Boulder, 2002)

A genuine General: Jordan LaPointe ‘17 LaPointe, who says his personal motto is "being genuine goes a long way," is a world traveler, professional debater, and Johnson Scholar.

“Many Johnson scholars, including me, have grown in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined when we first came to W&L.”

Jordan_LaPointe-1024x683 A genuine General: Jordan LaPointe ‘17Jordan LaPointe ’17


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

I heard about the W&L Johnson Scholarship from one of my close friends in high school who had applied. If it wasn’t for that friend, I probably wouldn’t have given the school a closer look and applied for the scholarship, despite being a Virginia resident.

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

Like most students in my area, I was deeply invested in going to the University of Virginia, but I was also considering UCLA and Berkeley.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose W&L?

I had to weigh my practical and personal interests in coming to my decision, and it just so happened that W&L struck the right balance for me.

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

The Johnson has shown me how much excellence must come from within if one wishes to maximize the positive influence that they exert upon their environment. The Johnson Program does an excellent job of giving its scholars enough personal space to develop on their own and figure out what areas they excel in, then offers them the tools to hone those interests to their heart’s content. Because of that, many Johnson scholars, including me, have grown in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined when we first came to W&L.

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

One of my favorite experiences was interning with Professor Kuettner and the foreign language department during the summer after my sophomore year. It was interesting to experience Lexington without all of the students from W&L and VMI. The town was quieter than usual, with good weather and an abundance of outdoor activities. It was a lot of fun interacting with the local residents as well as with the other W&L summer scholars, each engaged in their own unique research or project.

Q: Do you have a mentor on campus?

Professor Ikeda has been guiding me since I was a first-year student, showing me all the opportunities available through the East Asian Languages and Literatures department if I decided to test my limits and put myself out there. Because of her, I’ve done incredible things like taking part in an international student conference representing W&L and studying abroad in Japan for an entire year.

Q: What extracurricular are you involved in right now that you are extra-passionate about?

Since I’ve been at W&L, I’ve been involved with the Mock Trial team. I didn’t have the opportunity to do Mock Trial in high school, so when I came to Washington and Lee, I thought it would be a good chance for me to explore and develop new skills. After three years of active involvement, from all of the weekends traveling across the East Coast to the sleepless nights going over case materials, I haven’t regretted it once.

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

The Honor System

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

Pack enough clothes for your App-Adventure pre-O trip; it’s five days, not two….

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

The opportunity for immense personal growth

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 Jordan

Hometown:
Ashburn, Virginia

Majors:
Japanese, Global Politics

Extracurricular involvement:
– Mock Trial
– Traveller

Why did you choose your major?
I had an interest in Japanese language and culture since I was a child, and when I came to W&L I finally saw an opportunity to explore that interest more deeply, eventually turning into a major. In respect to my interest in politics, I decided that it was important to understand how different societies operate, both internally and with each other, and how that affects their legal systems if I wanted to pursue a career in law.

What professor has inspired you?
Seth Cantey and Janet Ikeda

What’s your personal motto?
“Being genuine goes a long way.”

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Stand Tall” by Childish Gambino

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Pure Eats. A burger, onion rings, and a doughnut on the side.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
How essential a hammock is.

Post-graduation plans:
Doing a couple of years of teaching in Japan while preparing for law school.

Favorite W&L memory:
Tubing down the Maury during Spring Term.

Favorite class:
East Asian Cinema

Favorite W&L event:
Fancy Dress

Favorite campus landmark:
The Tea Room in Watson Pavilion

What’s your passion?
Listening to music

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m really good at karaoke

Why did you choose W&L?
I saw an opportunity to balance the economic freedom that the Johnson scholarship granted with my academic and career interests in a unique environment. I still maintain that there is no school like W&L, and I greatly appreciate the unique opportunities for growth that my time here has offered.

Historian and Author Jon Kukla to Lecture at W&L Kukla will speak on “Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty.”

B-Jon-Kukla-263x350 Historian and Author Jon Kukla to Lecture at W&LJon Kukla

Jon Kukla, historian and author, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hillel House Multipurpose Room. A book signing will follow.

He will speak on “Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty.” The talk is free, open to the public and sponsored by the W&L Department of History.

Kukla directed research and publishing at the Library of Virginia in the 1970s and 1980s, and directed the Historic New Orleans Collection in the 1990s. From 2000 to 2007, he directed Red Hill, the Patrick Henry National Memorial in Charlotte County, Virginia.

Kukla’s most recent books are “Mr. Jefferson’s Women” (2007) and “A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America” (2003). Both were Book-of-the-Month and History Book Club selections.

His next book, “Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty,” to be released Aug. 1, is a comprehensive biography that illuminates both Henry’s and Virginia’s prominence in the American Revolution and the founding of the Republic.

Peter S. Onuf, author and Thomas Jefferson Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of Virginia, said, “Jon Kukla restores Patrick Henry to the front rank of American Revolutionary patriots. ‘Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty’ is a magnificent achievement, the best biography by far of the great orator and statesman who played such a crucial role in shaping the course of Revolutionary Virginia’s history.”

Kukla received research fellowships at the British Museum, the Virginia Historical Society and the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. He has been a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and in 2006, was elected into membership in the American Antiquarian Society. He lives and writes in Richmond, Virginia.

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Jack Sharman ’83: Legal Eagle in Birmingham Jackson Sharman '83 served as special counsel for the impeachment proceedings against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Jack-Sharmon-400x600 Jack Sharman ’83: Legal Eagle in BirminghamJack Sharmon ’83

In July 2016, the Alabama House Judiciary Committee named attorney Jackson Sharman, a 1983 graduate of Washington and Lee University, as special counsel for the impeachment proceedings against Gov. Robert Bentley.

On April 7, Jack, who is a partner with the Birmingham firm Lightfoot Franklin White LLC, released his final report, a day after the Ethics Commission forwarded four charges to the DA’s office, including one count of the ethics law and three counts of the campaign finance law.

The AL.com website wrote, “Sharman [said] a pattern of the governor’s abuse of his power, motivated by his desire to hide the recordings [sexually explicit phone calls between Bentley and Rebekah Mason, his top political adviser] from the public and protect his reputation, was the most significant finding in the report.”

Bentley resigned April 10 with a plea agreement on two misdemeanor charges: failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use.

Jackson is a veteran of high-profile investigations. In the 1990s, he served as Special Counsel to the House Financial Services Committee for the Whitewater investigation that probed the real estate investments by Bill and Hillary Clinton and associates.


W&L Visiting Lecturer to Speak on “Time, Technology, and the History of Ancient Science”

webster_-209x350 W&L Visiting Lecturer to Speak on “Time, Technology, and the History of Ancient Science”Colin Webster

Colin Webster, assistant professor of Classics at the University of California, Davis, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on April 27 at 5 p.m. in Hillel House, Room 101.

He will speak on “Time, Technology, and the History of Ancient Science.” The talk is free and open to the public.

“My talk will explore the history of Greek astronomy as a history of technology, examining the tools, time devices and instruments that were used by the ancient Greeks to measure, model and conceptualize the heavens,” Webster explained. “It will investigate how technologies that expose new data do not simply access a new set of information, they propose new theories about the world, positing that the phenomena under investigation can sustain novel sets of characteristics. In so doing, these technologies often infiltrate conceptual models about the ‘explananda’ themselves, so that the tools with which we view the world end up becoming the very things we see.”

Webster is the author of articles, chapters and reviews, including “The Soundscape of Ancient Medicine,” in “Sound and the Ancient Senses” (eds., 2017); “Review: Patients and Healers in the High Roman Empire,” by Ido Israelowich, Tel Aviv University, in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2016); and “Heuristic Medicine: The Methodists and Metalepsis,” in Isis (2015).

His research and teaching interests include ancient science and medicine, and ancient philosophy.

Webster received his B.A. from the University of King’s College, his M.A. from Dalhousie University (both in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

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Eleni Timas ‘17: Swept up in Science Meet Eleni Timas ‘17, a chemical engineering major who has been swept up studying tornadoes.

“I saw the opportunity to synthesize the material I was learning in both classes, and thought analyzing weather conditions with fluid mechanics techniques was an interesting application.”     

Eleni_Timas-1024x683 Eleni Timas ‘17: Swept up in ScienceMeet Eleni Timas ‘17, a chemical engineering major who has been swept up in studying tornadoes.

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 presented by the students.

Tornado Analysis with Fluid Mechanic Techniques

Q. Can you describe your project?

The way humans approach a particular day or a particular series of days is based on several different factors, one of which is the weather. It may influence our mood, our planned activities and even our choice of clothing. When the weather becomes extreme, like in the case of tornadoes, its influence on these circumstances becomes increasingly greater. Tornadoes can affect the state of one’s home, the safety of loved ones and, in some cases, an entire community’s future. For this reason, the ability to understand, analyze and predict a tornado is vitally important. Fluid mechanics allows scientists to investigate conditions that indicate a tornado’s formation, while also predicting its path and the damage it will likely cause. My analysis will look in particular at the Mulhall, Oklahoma tornado of May 3, 1999. I investigated the event using concepts of vorticity, deformation, streamline functions and pressure fields used in fluid mechanics research.

Q. What about the topic made you explore it?

At the time, I was taking both fluid mechanics and math methods for physics and engineering. In math methods we were discussing how vector fields could be used to describe wind patterns in tornadoes, while in fluid mechanics we were learning how vector fields can be used to understand pressure gradients, and how a differential fluid element may be deformed in a particular vector field. I saw the opportunity to synthesize the material I was learning in both classes, and thought analyzing weather conditions with fluid mechanics techniques was an interesting application.      

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

Prior to this investigation, I did not know the underlying driving mechanisms of a tornado. The pressure changes, just as much as the temperature changes, produce the violent winds we associate with tornadoes. Learning about these different features shaped the analysis techniques I applied to the system in both a macro scale, looking at the bulk rotation of the tornado, and a micro scale, in quantifying the rotation of a differential fluid element within the tornado.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

I decided to analyze a particular tornado, the Mulhall, Oklahoma tornado, rather than examine tornadoes in a general way. I wanted the parameters of the model for example, the height, width and wind speed of the tornado at different elevations to be as realistic as possible. It took several iterations to achieve this while maintaining the properties that govern the structure of a tornado.

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

In many science classes, we are working with a model that closely describes what we observe in real life, but may not be exactly accurate. To account for these inconsistencies, we make assumptions about the system to make the model more applicable. Applying these assumptions out of the classroom to a real-world example really indicated their influence in a tangible way.  

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

I plan to attend graduate school after W&L and become an engineer. By nature, I enjoy mathematical problem solving, and applying what I know to systems I have not considered before. This project challenged me to do that, and it was a process I enjoyed very much!   

Q. What does SSA mean to you?

This is my second time presenting at SSA, and I felt the same about it then as I do now excited! This excitement is caused by the flow of interesting topics, experiments and overall knowledge that is passed from person to person in each of these SSA session. Personally, I like hearing and learning about topics that have required a lot of time, research and interest on behalf of the presenters. It gives a glimpse into a world that I’m unfamiliar with and allows me to share in their excitement, their research, and their interests that I previously would not have experienced.

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

Washington and Lee prides itself on giving students a liberal arts foundation while also challenging students in their field of study. I think SSA is a celebration of that. We get to showcase topics that we care about and dedicated a lot of time to perfecting. Through sharing this work we are stimulating conversation and building bridges across interests and different departments.

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 Eleni

Hometown:
Middlefield, Ohio

Major:
Chemistry-Engineering

Extracurricular involvement:
Introductory Physics Lab Teacher’s Assistant
– Chemistry Chair for Women in Technology and Science
– Design Build Fly Member
– WLUR DJ
– Sigma Pi Sigma Co-President

Why did you choose your major?
I love chemistry and math, and chemical engineering is the perfect combination of the two.  I know it is a major that will lead me to a career where I will always be challenged and learning something new.

What professor has inspired you?  
Dr. Kuehner and Dr. Uffelman

What’s your personal motto?
“Let us not hurry so in our pace of living that we lose sight of the art of living.” – Sir Francis Bacon

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Stay Gold” by First Aid Kit

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Blue Sky! I always get the Blue Sky Sandwich with dill cream cheese and the black bean salad.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
How often I would end up eating meals and taking naps in my science library carrel.

Post-graduation plans:  
Attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in chemical engineering

Favorite W&L memory:
Backpacking the Dolly Sods with my housemates, Clare and Stephanie

Favorite class:  
Introduction to Particle Physics with Dr. Irina Mazilu. We went to Switzerland and toured CERN. That’s something I never thought I would be able to do!

Favorite W&L event:
Fancy Dress

Favorite campus landmark:  
The Colonnade

What’s your passion?
Encouraging people to reach their full academic potential, which is why I enjoy being a TA and WITS chair so much.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’ve been playing the harp since I was in the second grade.

Why did you choose W&L?  
I wanted to go to a school where I could ask questions in class and be called on by name, and where I could stop by a professor’s office and talk about the course or a shared interest of ours. I also wanted a school where, on the off chance I left the science building, I would be surrounded by a beautiful campus. W&L offered me all of that and more.

W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2017 Reunion Celebration

Several hundred Washington and Lee law school alumni and guests returned for this year’s reunion celebration, held April 7-9 in Lexington.

During the awards ceremony on Saturday, Dean Brant Hellwig announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Related: Law Alumni Weekend Photo Gallery

Robert M. Couch ’78, ‘82L received the Outstanding Law Alumnus award for exceptional achievements in his career and unselfish service to his community and his alma mater.

Couch practices law with Bradley Arant in Birmingham, AL. His practice focuses on mortgage lenders and investors; affordable housing; regulatory matters involving HUD, Ginnie Mae, FHA, and other government–sponsored enterprise matters; and governmental affairs. He is Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent rated and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Banking and Finance Law.

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.

Prior to his government service, Couch was President and Chief Executive Officer of New South Federal Savings Bank in Birmingham, at the time the largest thrift in Alabama. He also served as General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer of First Commercial Bancshares. An active member of the mortgage banking industry, Couch is a former Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. He has also served as President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama.  Couch is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a Certified Mortgage Banker (master certificate).

At W&L, Couch has served as president of the Law Council, as Chapter Law Liaison, on law lchool campaign committee, on several reunion committees, and as a host for law alumni events. His commitment to public service and to his community is apparent from the many volunteer leadership positions he has held, including serving on the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Board of Directors and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama, Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission, Society of Certified Mortgage Bankers, Fannie Mae National Advisory Council, Board of Trustees for the Home Builders Institute, Board of Directors for the Lakeshore Foundation, Board of Directors for the Real Estate Roundtable, Thrift Industry Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board, President and member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Leadership Birmingham, Chairman and member of the Planning Commission of the City of Mountain Brook, and Director for Lender Technologies.

Couch graduated cum laude from W&L in 1978. In 1982 he graduated summa cum laude from the law school where he received the John W. Davis Prize, served as Lead Articles Editor of the Law Review and inducted into Order of the Coif. After law school, Couch clerked for the Honorable John M. Wisdom for the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

Amy King Condaras 02L received the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond assisting the Law School. In the 15 years since she graduated from the Law School, Condaras has served W&L as Law Class Agent, a Law Firm Liaison, and a reunion committee member.

A native of Charleston, WV, Condaras practices law with Spilman Thomas & Battle in her hometown, where she is vice chair of the corporate department, co-chair of the banking and finance practice group, and co-chair of the public finance practice group. Condaras is recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Layers for Business for Corporate/Commercial Banking & Finance, included in The Best Lawyers in America, Banking and Finance Law and Commercial Finance Law, listed in WV Super Lawyers Rising Stars for Bonds/Government Finance, recognized by WV Executive as a “Young Gun,” and was named a Next 40 under 40 winner by The State Journal.

Condaras received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting, cum laude from the University of Richmond in 1996. Prior to attending W&L Law, she worked as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, in Richmond. While at W&L, Condaras was a member of the Law Review, Women’s Law Student Organization, and Phi Delta Phi. She practiced with Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte before returning to West Virginia. In 2009 Amy served as the official spokesperson and goodwill ambassador for the state of West Virginia after winning that state’s “Come Home to West Virginia” contest.

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W&L Law Releases 2016 Graduate Employment Report

Washington and Lee University School of Law has released a report on employment rates for its class of 2016.

Data from the Office of Career Strategy show another year of strong performance in employment over previous years. The report measures employment 10 months after graduation.

According to the report, 84 percent of the class of 2016 has secured a full-time job that either requires bar passage or for which a J.D. degree is an advantage. The overall employment rate for the class including all employment types and graduate school is over 90 percent.

“We are really proud of and happy for the members of the class of 2016,” said Cliff Jarrett ‘91L, assistant dean for career strategy. “They significantly outperformed the national average in passing their bar exams and did a great job of utilizing the W&L network and resources to find meaningful, interesting and fulfilling work. Our alumni were an invaluable asset to this class and I appreciate their continued support to our students and recent graduates on the career front.”

The employment report, available online, was prepared in accordance with requirements of the American Bar Association and includes summary data about the employment status of the 95 graduates in the class of 2016.

The report shows graduates working in a diverse range of jobs. 42 percent are heading to law firms, and nearly a quarter of those will be working for “Big Law,” typically firms with over 500 lawyers. 8 percent are working in government, 8 percent in business or industry, and 8 percent in public interest jobs such as legal aid offices.

Related: Law students discuss their career paths.

One particular area of strength for W&L Law has always been placement in federal and state clerkships, and this remains the case for the class of 2016. 21 percent of those employed are clerking, including placements in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and federal district courts in Alabama, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. as well as state courts in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

These 95 graduates are employed in 22 states and one foreign country, Nigeria. The top geographic areas for employment are Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York, followed by Florida, North Carolina and Alabama.

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Career Paths: Carl Krausnick ’17L

carlkrausnick Career Paths:  Carl Krausnick '17LCarl Krausnick ’17L

Carl Krausnick is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to enrolling at W&L, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where he studied Philosophy and Art History. At W&L, Carl has served as his Student Bar Association class president for three years. As a 2L he was selected to be a Kirgis Fellow, and he has served on the Powell Board the past two years.

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

After graduation I’ll be working for Glankler Brown back home in Memphis, Tennessee. Last summer I worked there assisting both the litigation and transactional attorneys.

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

When I entered law school I knew that I wanted to work for a firm. Interning for a firm in college crystalized that goal.

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

As a 1L, I considered seeking out jobs in different locations such as Nashville or DC. Ultimately I spent that summer in Memphis working for a firm and a judge and knew that I wanted to end up back there, as home is home and the legal community there is excellent.

Based on my experience, I decided that a mid-size firm was the best fit for me. So, Glankler Brown was a perfect fit based on both its size and location, and I thoroughly enjoyed my previous summer with the firm.

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

Once I knew I wanted to return to Memphis I simply needed to find a job there. Fortunately, I had a great opportunity last summer and it paid off. While the job search is stressful, the faculty and administration do a great job guiding students toward their individual goals.

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

With the benefit of hindsight, I would have taken more transactional courses. But, overall, W&L does an excellent job structuring a curriculum that forces students to engage in legal areas they may not have otherwise sought out on their own. Many students enter law school dead set on working in a specific practice area but end up falling in love with that area’s diametric opposite. In addition to the classes, the school offers a variety of competitions in both transactional and litigation areas that give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a simulated legal environment.

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Statement from the Admissions Office Regarding Admissions Tours

In response to questions that have arisen regarding the student-led campus admissions tours, we want to clarify the current situation and address any confusion that exists regarding the tour route.

First, Lee Chapel was never removed from the campus tour. Nor would it ever be.

Throughout the year, members of the admissions office staff have had discussions with student leaders of the University Ambassadors, our 80-member cadre of volunteer student guides, about the tour and how it can best complement the overall campus visit experience for prospective students and families.

Our discussions have focused on how to show the campus as fully as possible while reinforcing priorities that we know prospective students have: the academic rigor for which the university is well known; the highly personalized nature of the student experience; and the Honor System. The route itself is central to this mission. We weave the message about the centrality of the Honor System throughout the tour — not by simply talking about it, but by showing its impact throughout campus.

In February, our conversations with the University Ambassadors included a suggestion that guides walk through or stop in front of Lee Chapel, rather than seating tour groups inside for a 10-minute discussion, as is the custom of many of our Ambassadors. This suggestion was translated, inaccurately, into an instruction not to enter the space. We regret that this was the way some interpreted the message, since this was not our intent. Rather, our goal was to allow time for tours to visit more spaces on campus in an effort to meet the expressed interests of our prospective students while still highlighting our history and its connections to the Honor System.

Our thinking on the optimal tour route has continued to evolve since those discussions in February, thanks to input from ambassadors and feedback from visitors. Beginning in Spring Term, tours will enter Lee Chapel before proceeding into Washington Hall, where guides can tell the story of how a student’s career begins and ends on the Front Campus and emphasize the ways in which the University’s core values are represented in those spaces.

As we seek to enroll the most qualified and talented group of entering students, all of our interactions with prospective students and families are crucial. We especially value the role that the University Ambassadors play and are delighted to have a collaborative relationship with the students who comprise this group. We regret the confusion surrounding the evolution of our campus visit experience and will continue to work with our University Ambassadors to develop a tour that showcases the academic rigor, unique spaces and vibrant Honor System that make Washington and Lee so distinctive.


Career Paths: Jess Winn ’17L

jesswinn Career Paths: Jess Winn '17LJess Winn ’17L

Jessica Winn is originally from Newberg, Oregon and studied Political Science at Carnegie Mellon University. At Washington and Lee, she is involved in Law Review, German Law Journal, Law Ambassadors, WLSO, ACS, and PILSA. With her law degree, she hopes to make our legal systems more accessible and transparent by means of practice or policy.

During the 2017-2018 term, I will be clerking for U.S. District Judge Rosanna Peterson in the Eastern District of Washington. We’ll review and the judge will decide a large number of procedural motions. I will research and prepare memos for her upcoming cases. I will also help to draft sections of opinions for the court.

I’m particularly looking forward to this clerkship because I will get the chance to work with a woman who also followed a non-traditional path to the law and who, in her legal career, has demonstrated excellence in practice and as a professor. Judge Peterson worked for a number of years before attending law school, she practiced in Spokane for seventeen years before taking the bench, and she taught for ten of those years at Gonzaga University School of Law. Learning from Judge Peterson’s experiences practicing law, teaching law, and serving as a judge will be invaluable.

I’m also excited to serve as a judicial term clerk because I know that the work will expose me to a wide variety of legal issues and refine my research and writing skills. I’m looking forward to looking at cases not from one side or the other, but from the middle. Seeing different issues and arguments, becoming a more confident writer and researcher, and reflecting upon my clerkship will help make me a better attorney in the future.

After this clerkship, I hope to clerk with a Federal Circuit Court judge or perhaps with a state Supreme Court justice. Ultimately, I’m interested in doing some kind of public interest law, being involved in policy-making, and—maybe one day—teaching. At this point, the world is full of possibilities: I could pursue being a public defender, get involved in appellate advocacy work, do immigration or environmental law, or start a solo general practice. Whatever I do, this clerkship will provide such an important foundation for the way I look at the law.

If you’re interested in clerking for a federal judge, my advice is to take Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure (and be dedicated about it!), to jump with both feet into the application process, to double- and triple-check your resume and cover letter for errors, and to talk with friends, family, and faculty about your clerkship search. Remember that your professors can be your greatest advocates. I was having coffee with a professor in October of my 2L year and, in the course of talking about the clerkship applications process, he suggested I apply to clerk for Judge Peterson. After I submitted my application, he and two of my other professors personally called the Judge and spoke with her about me. While I know the Judge would not have hired me if I had not submitted a strong application, I am also absolutely sure that those phone calls were powerful demonstrations of confidence on behalf of my professors that likely helped make her hiring decision easier.

Career Paths: Tamra Harris ’17L

tamraharris Career Paths: Tamra Harris '17LTamra Harris ’17L

Tamra Harris is originally from Tremonton, Utah and obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from Weber State University. During law school, Tamra enjoyed training for marathons and competing in mock trial and moot court competitions.

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

After graduation, I will be working in the litigation department of Miller & Martin’s Chattanooga office. I anticipate specializing in business litigation as well as general litigation including telecommunications, construction, and product liability cases. I hope to work on appellate cases as well.

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

I knew before law school that I wanted to work in private practice. I began working in law firms when I was in high school and continued throughout college and until I began law school in 2014. I love the team structure—working through different aspects of the litigation process. Law firms are mini communities, and it’s even better when you truly enjoy spending time with your colleagues.

Even though I knew I would end up in a firm, I split both of my summers. I spent half of my first summer with a judge in Washington, DC and half of my second summer volunteering at the Human Rights Commission in Nicaragua. I would encourage all students to take this opportunity to observe different legal careers, even if you know where you want to land. Diverse experiences will provide perspective in whatever career you eventually choose.

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

Location was one of the biggest factors in my career search. I love being outdoors, and I love being part of a strong community. Chattanooga fulfills both with its breathtaking scenery and tight-knit community. Miller & Martin has about 150 lawyers throughout its three offices. For me, this size is small enough that I will know most of my colleagues and large enough that I will continually have challenging and interesting work.

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

I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was in the sixth grade. The only question was where? My summer experiences showed me that I can fulfill my passion of being an attorney while also holding on to other aspects of my life. Miller & Martin values family and community involvement. During my summer internships, I saw attorneys leaving the office at a decent hour to spend time with their families, and we even spent a day at a local summer school tutoring children. The fact that this is not only allowed, but encouraged, is huge for me. I feel so fortunate to have found a place where I can engage in interesting and challenging work but will also be able to live my life.

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

While I will likely begin my career in general litigation, I would like to eventually specialize in business litigation. To that end, I spent much of my second and third year of law school focusing on corporate classes and practicums, such as securities regulation, taxation, closely held businesses, publicly held businesses, international business transactions, the mergers and acquisitions practicum, and the business planning practicum. For me, these classes and practicums were necessary to give me a basic understanding of corporate law. To pick up the litigation end, I competed in as many mock trial and moot court competitions as possible and worked in the advanced administrative litigation black lung clinic. These combined have given me the foundation I need to follow my practice goals.

Can you describe your job search process?

I relied on W&L Law’s on-campus interview program. A professor reached out to me initially alerting me to this specific firm, and I know she eventually played a role in my obtaining a callback interview by recommending me to the interviewer (a former student of hers). It is crucial to use your connections. W&L Law has incredible resources for career placement, including alumni who are eager to hire W&L Law graduates and professors who have numerous contacts that they are willing to use. It truly is a team effort.

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Career Paths: Mitchell Diles ’17L

mitchelldiles Career Paths: Mitchell Diles '17LMitchell Diles ’17L

Mitchell Diles ‘17L, from Cleveland, Ohio, is an alumnus of Case Western Reserve University. For the past year, Mitchell has served as a law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office and is the Symposium Editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review. After graduation, he will clerk for the Honorable Robert J. Humphreys of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?

I will be clerking for the Honorable Robert J. Humphreys of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I anticipate that my responsibilities will primarily include reviewing cases, drafting memos and opinions, and performing significant amounts of legal research.

Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?  

During my undergraduate career at Case Western Reserve University, I took multiple classes with a professor who served as a federal law clerk following her legal education. When she learned that I would be attending law school, she encouraged me to consider serving as a law clerk and emphasized the many benefits of such an experience. You could say that clerking has been on my mind for a number of years. Also, I had the privilege of serving as a summer intern for a federal magistrate judge in Richmond, Virginia, which confirmed my desire to obtain a post-graduate clerkship.

How did you secure this clerkship?

With an early interest in clerking, I occasionally met with members of the clerkship committee to learn more about the application process. After learning of an opening with Judge Humphreys, I carefully prepared my application, interviewed on two separate occasions, and received an offer before the start of my final year. Speaking with multiple classmates who served as summer interns for Judge Humphreys was also extremely beneficial.

Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?

In addition to the required first year courses, I strategically selected various elective courses during my second and third years that will prove particularly helpful during my clerkship. Specifically, I completed courses in Virginia Law & Procedure, Criminal Procedure, and Trail Advocacy. Combined, these courses have provided me with the necessary background to comprehend many of the issues that the Court of Appeals of Virginia reviews on appeal. Regarding experiences, my time as a member of the Washington and Lee Law Review has been invaluable in improving my legal research and writing skills.

How is clerking linked to your career objectives?

I know that my clerkship with Judge Humphreys will make me a better lawyer. For two years, I will have the opportunity to perfect my legal research and writing skills, tackle complex legal issues, and observe both good and bad appellate advocacy. It is an invaluable opportunity that many law firms and practitioners also value.

What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?

As Judge Humphreys explained to me, he views himself as a mentor to his clerks. I am very much looking forward to building a strong relationship with Judge Humphreys and his chambers staff, and developing in both a personal and professional capacity. I also look forward to contemplating some of the complex legal issues taken up by the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the many learning opportunities that I will have throughout my two years.

Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Samuel Taylor ’18

Taylor4-263x350 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Samuel Taylor '18Samuel Taylor ’18

Now that we have lived in Sydney for over a month, I can tell you that there is no way to see it all. Although our small Washington and Lee group has made an effort to do as much as possible, we have barely scratched the surface of what Sydney has to offer. There really is something for everyone here, and the range of things to do is countless. Sydney offers a huge, international urban scene while simultaneously providing plenty of green spaces to roam. With tons of beaches and hiking trails a short train ride away, the city never feels too overcrowded or stifling.

I begin to realize just how quickly our time here will go, I have begun taking every opportunity to check something off of my bucket list. Our group’s excursions so far have included numerous trips to Manly and Bondi Beach, as well as a trip to one of Sydney’s northern beaches for surf lessons. In early March we made it up to tropical Cairns to snorkel and dive at the Great Barrier Reef. We have tried many of the restaurants in The Rocks, a famous historic district on the Sydney Harbor waterfront. Just yesterday, a few of us rented a boat for a few hours and enjoyed gorgeous views of Sydney from the water.

When studying abroad for four months, things are bound to go wrong. A few weekends ago, John Bozeman and I decided to take a trip up to Byron Bay. We booked a flight to the Gold Coast, where we would then rent a car and drive down to Byron Bay.

As we were flying into the Gold Coast, the woman next to us on the plane asked us about our trip. We explained our plan to drive down the coast, and she immediately seemed confused. She explained that a huge cyclone had just hit, and some of the worst flooding in over a decade had shut down a majority of the roads in Queensland. Concerned at the news, we decided to try and find a way down anyways. We rented a car and acquainted ourselves with being on the left side of the road. Then we drove for about 45 minutes until we rounded a corner and the road promptly disappeared into a lake. We turned around and tried another road, but unfortunately the same was true. After some time, and a lot of frustration, we drove north to Surfer’s Paradise and stayed in a hostel. The next day brought no good news so we spent the day there and ended up flying back that night.

Although the trip was not a complete success, the experience was entertaining and the mishaps were revealing of how things can go wrong. We learned that we should probably do a quick Google search on the current news of a destination, like what the weather might be doing. We are taking this lesson to heart as we plan our next trips to Melbourne and Tasmania.

As part of the program, I am taking classes at the University of Sydney as well as interning at a start-up in Sydney’s Central Business District. The opportunity to work and study has revealed a great deal about Australian work and student life. The workplace here is less formal than in the United States, and rarely if at all do people use anything other than first names on the job. University life is particularly interesting, especially in the way it contrasts with W&L. The University of Sydney boasts an enrollment of over 50,000 students, and this is clear in both the physical size of the school and the structure of classes. Most classes at the institution are structured as a once-a-week lecture and a supplementary breakout session called a tutorial. The tutorials offer students the chance to experience the small classroom setting, and this is where questions are asked and material is applied to case studies.

Studying abroad in Australia has not only allowed me to travel and visit incredible places; it has also given me the opportunity to experience an extensive international university environment as well as work in an Australian start-up. I look forward to the next few months here in Australia, and we’ll keep you up-to-date with our adventures Down Under.

-Samuel Taylor ’18

Alumnus and Former Trustee William Hill to Deliver Law School Commencement Address

Hill_William_WBHIL_CropHiRes-1-400x600 Alumnus and Former Trustee William Hill to Deliver Law School Commencement AddressWilliam B. Hill, Jr

William B. Hill, an alumnus of Washington and Lee and a partner with the law firm Polsinelli in Atlanta, will deliver this year’s commencement address during the graduation exercises at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 6 beginning at 10 a.m. The event is open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available at the commencement website.

Hill earned his B.A. in 1974 from Washington and Lee and his J.D. in 1977 from Washington and Lee University School of Law.  He has served the school as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Law Council and as secretary, treasurer, vice president and president of the Atlanta Alumni Chapter. In addition, Hill has lectured during Alumni College and the University’s Summer Scholars Program.

Following his graduation from W&L Law, Hill went to work for the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. He spent 13 years there, including six years as Director of the Criminal Division and two years as Deputy Attorney General.  He was the youngest division director in the history of the Georgia Attorney General’s office, and the first African-American attorney to represent the State of Georgia in oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, where he argued the case Burger v. Kemp.

In 1990, he was appointed as a judge to the state court of Fulton County and later served on the superior court of Fulton County. Following his time on the bench, he entered private practice with the law firm Paul Hastings, where he spent nine years before joining Ashe & Rafuse in 2004. That firm merged with Polsinelli in 2013.

“William Hill is renowned for his accomplishments and legacy of service to the legal profession, the state of Georgia and W&L,” said Law Dean Brant Hellwig. “We are honored to have him as our commencement speaker, and we hope all our  graduates pursue their professional and civic life with the same degree of passion and uncompromising dedication.”

At Polsinelli, an Am Law 100 firm with approximately 800 attorneys in 20 offices, Hill concentrates his practice on commercial and complex litigation, with a particular emphasis on business torts, business divorces, internal investigations, contract disputes and ADR and early case resolution.

He has served Georgia on the State Judicial Nominating Commission, the Northern District of Georgia’s Bar Council, the State Bar of Georgia’s Committee on Standards of the Profession, the Georgia Chief Justice’s Commission on Dispute Resolution, and the Northern District Federal Disciplinary Committee.

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Four Distinguished Alumni will receive awards at Alumni Weekend

Washington and Lee University is proud to announce this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners. The recipients will each receive their awards at the Generals Assembly during Alumni Weekend, May 11 – 14, 2017. There is still plenty of time to register for the weekend if you haven’t already.

Priddy_web Four Distinguished Alumni will receive awards at Alumni WeekendBob Priddy ’67

Bob Priddy ‘67

A history major, Bob was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma and was business manager for the Ring-tum Phi. After serving three years as a Supply Corps Officer in the Navy, Bob worked 13 years in fundraising at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond and Nichols School in Buffalo, NY. In 1983, he changed careers and became an investment advisor, working 19 years for Alex Brown & Sons, eight years for SunTrust and now with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow since April 2010.

Bob and his wife, Barbara, sent their three children to W&L: Brackett ’00, Caroline (Habenicht) ’02, and Kendall (Smith-Harrison) ’05.

Bob is a devoted alumnus, serving as a singularly successful class agent since 2005. Under his leadership, the Class of 1967 set a record by winning the Richmond Trophy, given for the highest participation rate, ten years in a row and reaching over 82% participation! Bob served on his 25th Reunion Committee and co-chaired the 40th, 45th and 50th Committees. Bob has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Richmond since 1983, serving as president of the club 2011-2012. He is also active at First Presbyterian Church and has served as a deacon, an elder and a member of the Care & Concern team.

Wildrick_web Four Distinguished Alumni will receive awards at Alumni WeekendBill Wildrick ‘67

Bill Wildrick ‘67

A math major, member of Pi Kappa Alpha and ODK, Bill Wildrick retired in September, 2005 as the “oldest Navy SEAL in uniform” after a career that included a tour in Vietnam, 24 years in the reserves, and a return to active duty for nine years to serve as deputy commander for the total SEAL force and to help reorganize the reserves. In 2005, he transitioned to the civilian world as a support contractor specializing in maritime special operations, command and control processes, training, and education. He served as an adjunct faculty member of Joint Special Operations University and lectured on naval special warfare and maritime operations to joint special operations educational programs for the Services’ staff colleges, war colleges, and fellowship programs.

Married for 44 years, Bill and his wife, Ginger, have three children: two sons, Tad and Austin, and a daughter, Ashley, and four grandchildren, three boys and a girl. Since retiring in 2012, he has spent most of his time chasing the grandchildren, working out, doing volunteer work with his Rotary club, and traveling.

Bacdayan_web Four Distinguished Alumni will receive awards at Alumni WeekendWali Bacdayan ‘92

Wali Bacdayan ‘92

As a student, Wali was a member of Sigma Chi, a dorm counselor and co-chaired the Student Recruitment Committee. He graduated summa cum laude with majors in economics and mathematics. He also has an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University. Wali was a financial analyst in the Acquisition and Private Finance Group of Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., where he focused on private debt equity financings for middle market companies. In 1997 he joined PNC Equity Partners.

Wali is a founding partner of Incline Equity Partners and is responsible for all aspects of investment management including sourcing and executing new investments, and managing existing portfolio company performance.

Wali and his wife, Wendy Neel Bacdayan ’94, have three sons, Ben, William and Charlie, and live in Pittsburgh. Wali has been very active with W&L, co-charing his 20th and 25th reunion committees, volunteering as a class agent, serving as Pittsburgh Chapter President, conducting alumni admission interviews, and judging the Williams School Business Plan Competition on campus.

Rothwell_web Four Distinguished Alumni will receive awards at Alumni WeekendDevon McAllister Rothwell ‘92

Devon McAllister Rothwell ‘92

Devon was a founding member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and served as President during her third year. Devon played lacrosse and served as captain for two years. Devon was a passionate member of Kathekon and graduated cum laude with a degree in history.

Since graduation, Devon has remained involved with W&L. Between 1999-2003, Devon served on the Alumni Board. Devon has been active in her alumni chapter, as an evangelist to potential candidates and a mentor to graduating students. She has been a member of her 15th, 20th, and 25th reunion committees.

Soon after graduation, Devon joined Conde Nast in New York. Since that time, she has held increasingly responsible roles at the company in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She will celebrate her 25th Anniversary with Conde Nast in June. Devon is currently vice president of the West Coast, supporting all brands and business assets for the company.

Devon lives in Mill Valley, California with her husband, Troy, and their two children; daughter Quinn (14) and son Tyler (12).


On the Origin of One of W&L’s Most Valuable Books Washington and Lee University owns a first edition of one of the most important — and controversial — books ever written.

Today, we continue our ongoing series of feature articles about interesting and important items in the university’s Department of Special Collections and Collections of Art and History. To peruse previous articles, click here.

By Tom Camden
Head of Special Collections at W&L

“On the Origin of Species” (or more completely, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” or “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”), by Charles Darwin was published on November 2, 1859. The book was priced at 15 shillings with a first printing of 1,250 copies. After deducting presentation and review copies and the five copies required for Stationers’ Hall copyright (the British equivalent to our Library of Congress), there were only 1,170 copies for sale, and all available copies were sold immediately. During Darwin’s lifetime, the book went through six editions, with cumulative changes and revisions that dealt with counter-arguments raised.

Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” is widely regarded as one of the most important  and controversial  books ever written. Indeed, there is scarcely an area of human endeavor that has not been impacted by Darwin’s theory, the terms “Darwinism” and “Darwinian” now an integral part of the modern lexicon. Because of the importance of the book, a census of the surviving copies of the first edition was begun in 2009, on the 150th anniversary of the publication.

The census project was undertaken by the Huntington Library, in conjunction with Cambridge University and under the auspices of the website Darwin Online. A representative of the project contacted Washington and Lee University’s Special Collections in November 2013, informing me that Washington and Lee owned a “true” first-edition of Darwin’s landmark work, and requesting a full physical description with vital details about Washington and Lee’s copy.

Washington and Lee University’s copy of “On the Origin of Species,” while in excellent condition, nevertheless bears a stamp on the inside front board (across an ownership bookplate) which states “Withdrawn 18 July 1927” from the Ilkley Public Library. It was purchased either that year or in 1928 by a Washington and Lee biology professor and given to the University Library.

Ilkley is an ancient spa town in Yorkshire, England, and it is known that Charles Darwin was undergoing hydropathic treatment at Wells House spa in Ilkley while waiting for his book to come out in 1859. It was thought that he might have presented W&L’s copy to the public library there in person, but further research has proven that story unlikely. Darwin was given only one advance copy, and it is in Cambridge University Library with his annotations. All other presentation copies were sent directly to the recipients from the publisher.

Regardless of the disappointing provenance, Washington and Lee owns a very fine, “true” first edition of a landmark work. It is housed in the Special Collections vault. A similar copy, which had been rediscovered sitting on a bookcase in the guest bathroom of the vendor’s home in London, was sold at Christie’s Auction House in London on Nov. 24, 2009  150 years to the day after the seminal work of scientific literature was first published. That copy fetched $200,000. Of the 1,250 original copies published, fewer than 300 have been located, either in institutions or private hands.

A Translator, Not an Interpreter Professor Jeff Barnett publishes a translation of Cuban poetry.

Barnett-bk-cv-234x350 A Translator, Not an Interpreter“Flocks”/“Rebaños,” translated by Jeff Barnett. The bilingual edition was officially launched at Havans’s International book fair in February.

Jeff Barnett, professor of Spanish and head of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program at Washington and Lee University, has partnered once again with Cubanabooks for his latest work of translation, “Flocks”/“Rebaños” (2017) by Zurelyz López-Amaya.

Although Barnett has worked on translations of other Latin American authors, most recently Uva de Aragón’s “The Memory of Silence”/“Memoria del silencio” (Cubanabooks, 2014) and Carlos Fuentes’ “Litany of an Orchid”/“Letanía de una orquídea” (Exchanges, 2015), this marks his first book-length translation of a poetic work.

“López Amaya is a new voice in Spanish-American literature,” said Barnett. “She was first published in 2010, and I didn’t know anything about her until the editor of Cubanabooks brought her to my attention. After I finished reading ‘Flocks,’ I said, ‘Wait a minute, am I understanding what she’s saying?’ ”

Barnett chose to translate López-Amaya’s poetry because “I thought it was cleverly done. This is a bittersweet love affair with Cuba. It’s a blunt indictment of the system — an attack on the Castro regime — but at the same time displays a nationalistic pride. There’s plenty of literature that attacks Castro, but what was different and enticed me is that this was someone who clearly and deeply loves Cuba but hates what it has become.”

Barnett noted, “Western civilization has always put an emphasis on the pastor of the flock. But here, it’s the flock, not the shepherd, that’s important — it’s the people. Zurelys’ work questions who are we as a flock when we are without a shepherd. It becomes a not-so-thinly veiled metaphor for the allegory for what it’s like to be in a flock when the shepherd has abandoned us, and we are roaming freely. How do I maintain my identity in the flock, how do I recapture that, how do I move the flock along, and what is good for the flock?”

As he started working on “Flocks,” Barnett wrestled with López-Amaya’s “deep imagism,” which was new to him. Her volume consists mostly of prose poetry, with some free verse. Her topics, seemingly mundane objects, such as her desk chair, her garden, a bird that visits her feeder every day, “celebrate the ordinary in order to show us that nothing is insignificant,” said Barnett. “Zurelys’ work is not a lament or an eulogy for Cuba, but is a longing to recognize and recover all that is good.”

Working with poetry was “a whole new ball game for me as a translator,” Barnett said. “With prose, you can navigate through long sentences without people ever hearing your voice. You always have to be true to the author’s voice — the translator should never be an interpreter. With Zurelys’ poetry, I had to be very careful how far I led readers to where I think she wants them to be without hitting them over the head with it.”

As satisfying as this project was, Barnett is looking forward to his next project, which he describes as the opposite end of the spectrum from “Flocks.” This summer he’ll start work on translating another book by Uva de Aragón, about a female Cuban-American detective. “Spanish-American literature has a long tradition of detective fiction, but this is the first one I know of where a female protagonist plays the lead role of detective,” said Barnett. “ ‘Flocks’ took a long time to translate because I had to fight for every word, every line. It was rewarding, but in a different way than translating prose. In a novel, you get to know the characters as they evolve and take on their own life and, after a while, they seemingly tell you what to say.”

Senator Mark Warner to Visit W&L, Speak with Students from W&L and VMI

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., will speak to students from Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute in Lexington on Thursday, April 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Washington and Lee’s Stackhouse Theater.

Warner will be introduced by Rossella Gabriele, a sophomore at W&L who will be interning for the senator this summer. Warner will speak briefly, then will take questions from the audience. The talk and following question-and-answer session are open to public.

In Her Natural Habitat As director of Iowa State University's conservation camp, Jennifer Schieltz ’08 follows the lives of elk, deer, moose, bears, wolves and mountain lions.

Schieltz-2-800x533 In Her Natural HabitatJenny Schieltz ’08 doing field research on the impact of cattle on large wild mammals in Kenya.

Jennifer Schieltz ’08 knew soon after graduating from Washington and Lee University that she wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology and do field work outdoors. Her dream was to work with large mammals in Africa.

That dream came true during a six-year span as she worked toward a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University. For five years, she spent three to six months a year in central Kenya studying the impact of cattle on wild mammals.

“I love nature and the outdoors, and I like to figure out answers to questions and problems,” she said. “I look at a field site and it is beautiful, but I also want to know how it works.” Schieltz not only lived her dream during her Ph.D. program, she continues to live it — in the U.S. this time — in her new job teaching and directing a field research center for Iowa State University.

While pursuing her doctorate, Schieltz taught courses for both Princeton and Columbia University undergraduates at Princeton’s Mpala Research Center in Kenya, but her research took her to nearby Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The 90,000-acre property is home to a successful beef cattle program while also serving as the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa. A habitat for zebras, antelopes, warthogs, Cape buffalos and three of the world’s last remaining northern white rhino, it also supports a high density of predators.

Although there was a fence enclosing the perimeter of the property, the wild animals roamed freely within. Cattle were sorted into herds of 100-150 animals and were protected from predators during the day by herders. At night, they were enclosed in circular corrals called bomas — originally thorny plants arranged to keep cattle in — now made of adjustable metal fencing.

Her thesis looked at the balance between the wild species and the cattle. “Cattle grazing affects the grass; sometimes that can improve the quality of the grass, which is beneficial to small animals like gazelles and warthogs,” she said. “It could also lead to competition with other species, such as Cape buffalos, which need to eat more grass.”

After graduation from W&L, Schieltz joined the lab of Guy ’86 and Kim Caldwell at the University of Alabama. During her two years there, she helped the researchers in their work to advance cures for Parkinson’s Disease. She learned a lot from the association but ultimately decided that she wanted to pursue field work rather than lab-based research.

Employed by Iowa State since early March, Schieltz is looking forward to classroom teaching in the fall. Until then, she is tackling the second half of her hybrid job — managing the university’s Rod and Connie French Conservation Camp, located about 50 miles west of Missoula, Montanna, surrounded by the Lolo National Forest. Formerly a resort and hunting lodge, the camp was donated to the university’s foundation by the Frenches and is being developed into a permanent research center for Iowa State students.

Until students arrive in June, she is getting the camp ready, including converting guest rooms into bunk rooms and a restaurant into a dining hall, as well as carving out space for classroom lectures and a possible lab.

“Since this will be the first summer, we’re learning how to use the space and working on logistical things, like hiring a cook,” said Schieltz.

She will visit the facility for the first time in April, when she also plans to meet officials from the National Park Service, the Montana Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Montana — with whom she wants to partner on student projects.

The three courses offered at the camp in 2017 include one she will teach on field ecology. The courses will include a few lectures, but “then we’ll take the students out into the forest as much as possible,” Schieltz said. Each student will learn to form a hypothesis, test it through field work and then present their work to others.

Students will mount cameras to photograph and observe the behavior of such animals as elk, deer, moose, bears, wolves and mountain lions. At nearby Fish Creek, students will monitor habitat for endangered trout species. “There is no better way to learn the material and gain some great practical skills that hands-on in the field,” said Schieltz.

Schieltz’s interest in field research was evident during her undergraduate days. She worked with biology professors John Knox and Larry Hurd, doing summer research on plant and arthropod species diversity. Her independent research project senior year with David Marsh, professor of biology, involved capturing, marking and releasing red-backed salamanders, which she found “all over back campus — under logs and leaves.”

An A. Paul Knight Internship in Conservation took her to The Flat Ranch preserve in Idaho, a 1,600-acre cattle ranch that serves as the hub for a community-based conservation effort to restore and protect the biodiversity of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

There she educated visitors about the ranch’s heritage and The Nature Conservancy’s programs to protect and restore wildlife habitats. She also helped manage the ranch, leading to her interest in the balance between cattle and wildlife sharing the same habitat that she explored in more depth in Kenya.

On campus, Schieltz was an editor of the Journal of Science, volunteered as a peer tutor in biology and French, was a founding member of the Polo Club and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Schieltz said, “I loved W&L because of how well you get to know your professors and how much they care about your future.” She still keeps in touch with many of them. The university prepared her for opportunities in all disciplines and “taught students how to talk to a variety of people and understand different perspectives.”

She continues to be fascinated by the natural world and enjoys talking to others — especially kids — about science. She has done outreach to schools, and one of her fondest memories of her time in Kenya was working on the Kids Twiga Tally. “We brought nearly 100 Kenyan school children from both rural and urban, rich and poor schools to the Mpala Research Center to help us count giraffes (twiga in Swahili) by taking photos of them and using new software that can identify individuals based on their unique coat patterns.”

To Schieltz, finding the right balance — “to protect nature and make livelihoods for people,” continues to be her mission and her passion.

Career Paths: Andrea Marshall ’17L

andreamarshall Career Paths: Andrea Marshall '17LAndrea Marshall ’17L

Andrea Marshall is a third-year law student originally from the New York City area. She graduated with a degree in Political Science from Columbia University. At W&L Law, she is a Law Ambassador, a Managing Online Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, and a Senior Articles Editor for the German Law Journal. Andrea is interested in environmental and international law and will be working for the Sierra Club as a Legal Fellow in Washington, DC after graduation.

What made you pursue this particular career path?

My interest in environmental law and public interest started during my 1L summer. I worked for an international environmental non-profit in New York City called Pure Earth. They worked on small pollution remediation projects all over the world, and I was impressed by the positive impact this small non-profit could have on major pollution problems. I was also struck by the diversity of issues within environmental law. There is always something new to learn.

How did you learn about the position?

I learned about the Sierra Club Fellowship position through the Equal Justice Works (EJW) Conference and Career Fair held in Arlington, Virginia last October. I applied and was selected to interview. I knew the Sierra Club to be an incredible organization that fights for issues I am passionate about (plus it made an appearance in my 1L Administrative Law casebook, so I knew it was a big deal). The Sierra Club has chapters and offices throughout the United States and has played a big role in helping to pass some of the major environmental statutes such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.

Did you have any summer job experiences that pointed you in this direction?

As mentioned previously, my 1L summer sent me down the environmental law path, but a subsequent externship with the Environmental Protection Agency through the W&L Law DC Program solidified my interest and desire to be a part of this field. I worked in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, specifically in the Pesticides and Tanks Branch. That branch dealt with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. I was able to do research, write memos, help edit and draft briefs, and attend meetings with senior attorneys in the agency. I also interacted with “water” lawyers and “air” lawyers working on other statutes, and was constantly impressed by the depth of knowledge in the agency and the attorneys’ dedication. Although not in the environmental field, my 2L summer as an intern for the Peace Corps General Counsel in DC helped me develop litigation skills, as I was tasked with drafting document production requests, interrogatories, and a memorandum in support of a summary judgment motion.

Can you describe the application and selection process?

The application process for the position was through EJW. It is useful to start preparing resumes and cover letters in August because the deadline usually hits at the end of September for these positions. Once all of my materials were submitted, I waited to hear whether I would be granted an interview. The first interview happened with the managing attorney during the career fair and—while it was intimidating as it took place in a very large hotel conference room with hundreds of other people around—I enjoyed speaking with the attorney and learning more about the position and the Sierra Club in general. A few weeks after my first interview, I was contacted by the Sierra Club to come in for a longer second interview with two other attorneys, and a few weeks after that I was offered the position. One nice part about the EJW process is that our Office of Career Strategy is very involved and was instrumental in helping me prep my materials and interview answers.

What classes or experiences at W&L Law do you think will be helpful to you in this position?

The most helpful classes for me were Environmental Law during my 2L year and Administrative Law during 1L year. I also think my experience writing and editing on journals, as well as doing research for my Law Review note helped me greatly and gave me the necessary skills for this position.

Do you know what kind of work you will be doing and where you will be based? 

While the exact work I will be doing is still up in the air, I know I will likely be working on issues of climate change, and I suspect we will be busy this coming year. I am taking the New York bar, but I will be based out of Washington, DC.

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Seventy-seven Members of W&L Class of 2020 Inducted into Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society

Seventy-seven Washington and Lee University Class of 2020 students were inducted into Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society at a ceremony held March 31 in Lee Chapel.

To be eligible for Phi Eta Sigma, a student must be in the top 20 percent of the class at the end of his or her first term. Founded in 1923 at the University of Illinois, Phi Eta Sigma is the nation’s oldest and largest honor society for first-year students in all disciplines.

The society’s mission is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning.

“Given our depth of student talent and academic rigor, these students have demonstrated exceptional achievement,” said Jason Rodocker, associate dean of students and dean for first-year experience and adviser to the W&L chapter of Phi Eta Sigma. “Many Phi Eta Sigma inductees will obtain further academic accolades, including graduate fellowships.”

The W&L Class of 2020 Phi Eta Sigma initiates are:

Everette G. Allen IV

William T. Barham

George B. Barker

Brie R. Belz

Hudson C. Bennett

Lee F. Bernstein

Harris M. Billings

Steven A. Black

Laura E. Bruce

Rosalie C. Bull

Parker B. Catlett

Daniel S. Clark

Sean T. Clark

Will H. Clark

Robert C. Cooley

Charlie M. Cope

Emma M. Derr

Nolan L. Durfee

Emma Ernst

Elyse N. Ferris

Ethan H. Fischer

Lauren D. Fredericks

Kathryn J. Gerbo

Colby C. Gilley

Collin R. Glatz

Sofia Gutierrez Cuadra

Kassondra N. Hall

Sarah N. Hall

Kiely U. Hartigan

Emily D. Hershgordon

Tori E. Hester

Katherine R. Ingram

Chantal Iosso

Jack S. Johnson

Allison J. Jue

Brianna A. Karpowich

Abigail E. Keller

Nguyen K. Kieu

Jiwon Kim

Tiffany Ko

Stevan A. Kriss

Eliot L. Layson

Maxwell A. Lehman

Allie R. Lefkowitz

Sarah E. Leonard

Hanxiao Li

Griffin Link

Ruinan Liu

Kara G. Lough

Chase W. Major

Nicholas B. Mauer

Rose M. Maxwell

Gillian M. McConnell

Margot C. McConnell

Ryan S. Monson

Abigail K. Nason

Jared M. Nickodem

Prakriti Panthi

Brian C. Peccie

Timothy S. Pierce

Samuel H. Pumphrey

Bethany R. Reitsma

Tyler S. Royston

Katherine P. Rurka

Eva A. Sarkes

William R. Schirmer

Anne L. Shannon

Lawson D. Smith

Layne K. Smith

Peyton J. Smith

Tanner J. Smith

Christopher B. Surran

Mitchell C. Thomas

John S. Warner III

Andrew D. Whicker

Hannah M. Witherell

Matthew O. Withers

The Big Gift W&L’s 25th and 50th reunion classes consider their legacies as the milestone weekend approaches.

“What makes the 25th and 50th reunion gifts special is the opportunity for the classes to decide what their collective legacy is going to be to W&L,” says Jessica Cohen, W&L’s 25th reunion gift officer, who has overseen the 25th reunion gift campaign since 2006. She’s right — each class goes through a yearlong process of identifying and building their legacy.

Reunion-Tent-Early-Evening-350x233 The Big GiftAlumni weekend will be held May 11-14, 2017.

The tradition of organized reunion gift campaigns began at W&L in 1986, when the classes of 1936 and 1961 were celebrating their 50th and 25th reunions. Today, gifts and payments made on reunion pledges are essential to W&L, accounting for about 65 percent of the total that undergraduate alumni give each year. Much of that giving supports the Annual Fund.

Gifts that alumni make in their 25th and 50th reunions, however, are different in that the classes decide on an area outside of the Annual Fund that they will focus on collectively. That’s where the legacy comes into play. These large reunion gifts often are instrumental in seeing a new building built or an endowment named.

This year, for the first time in at least a decade, both classes in the big reunion years — Class of 1992 and Class of 1967 — will be focusing their class gifts on students. It’s not only the gift area that brings character to the class gifts, though. The classes themselves, with their distinct personalities and different stages of life, always make the big reunions and the fundraising that surrounds them exciting.

Bob Priddy ’67, co-chair of the 50th Reunion Committee, was excited and somewhat surprised at the level of enthusiasm generated when a committee of class members met on campus in November 2016 to discuss their gift. Classmates, some of whom had been only acquaintances in college, became energized reminiscing with each other about W&L and what the school had done for them.

“As we discussed what the university and its students need and how we could make a difference, it became clear that offering scholarship support is a major need for students,” says Priddy. The cause is personal for this particular class. “Many of us came to W&L from public schools,” says co-chair Mac Holladay ’67. “Our families went the extra mile to see that we got the very best education. While W&L was all white and all male in 1963, we did represent a wide spectrum of socio-economic realities. When we came together 25 years ago, there was clear consensus that we wanted to do what we could to see that young men and women were given a similar chance to enjoy the privilege of attending W&L.” At their 25th reunion, the class created the Class of 1967 Scholarship. Now they intend to add $1 million to the scholarship in honor of their 50th reunion. If they succeed, theirs will be the largest class-funded scholarship at W&L today.

Student-Interview-350x233 The Big GiftStudents participate in mock interviews on campus with alumni. To be competitive, they must have real-world experience upon graduation, says Caroline Wight Donaldson ’92.

Similarly, the Class of 1992 25th Reunion Committee thought hard about a number of different areas before deciding on a student-focused gift. They created the Class of 1992 Summer Opportunities Fund, with a $500,000 goal. It will support students in summer pursuits that further their academic and professional interests. “The world has changed a lot since our time in Lexington,” comments co-chair Caroline Wight Donaldson ’92. “Real-world experience is no longer a ‘nice to have’ when finding your first job after college — it’s a requirement.” Like their fellow alumni from 1967, the Class of 1992 leaders felt it was important to support students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford these experiences. “We want students to find summer opportunities that further their academic and professional interests, without worrying about how they will cover their expenses,” says Donaldson.

While the classes in the two big reunions have similarities in the student focus of their reunion gifts, like all the 25th and 50th reunion classes before them, their journey leading up to Alumni Weekend is very different.

The 25th reunion is a high-energy, focused fundraising effort. The finish line — Alumni Weekend — creates a sense of urgency; typically 45 percent of the reunion gift is committed in the eight weeks preceding the big weekend. During an assembly in Lee Chapel on Saturday morning, the reunion co-chairs for each class present their gifts to the president. This can make for an intense final week; competitive donors have been known to up their pledges in the final days in order to hit the goal or break a record.

Although reunions are by nature backward-looking, the 25th reunion has a way of propelling each class forward in their relationship with W&L. Donaldson hopes that beyond the fun and reconnecting nature of the 25th reunion, it also will cause the class to “remember how much we took away from our time in Lexington — and to collectively recommit to W&L for the next 25 years and beyond.”

Co-chair Wali Bacdayan ’92 points out that though the class graduated in an era before the proliferation of communication technology, their gift speaks directly to the very different future that today’s and tomorrow’s W&L students must navigate. “The career and academic opportunities that I see students pursuing today seem far more impressive and unique than anything I can remember was available when I was at W&L,” he says. Support for summer opportunities is a need that didn’t exist in 1992, and the class is proud to meet it. “The impact of our gift will be personal and direct for individual students, across what we hope will be many classes to come,” continues Bacdayan.

If the 25th reunion is a lively salsa, the 50th reunion is a long waltz. “Many alumni start thinking about their 50th reunion as soon as the 45th passes,” says Ronni Gardner, the longtime W&L development officer who staffs the 50th reunion. W&L follows the typical practice of beginning to count gifts toward the 50th reunion in the five years leading up to it. “Sometimes it makes financial sense for the donor to make their gift before their 50th reunion year. We always want to be conscious of what is best for the donor, so we don’t ask them to delay their gift just because they want it to count in celebration of their 50th reunion.”

Many alumni approaching their 50th reunion have started individual scholarships or developed their own philanthropic passions at the university. For this reason, the 50th reunion class’s overall gift, in addition to including gifts to the Annual Fund and to a chosen project, usually includes a high ratio of gifts that classmates choose to make to other areas of campus. Planned gifts play a starring role, on average accounting for 47 percent of the 50th reunion gift. These can be personal and complex gifts, worked out between the donor and the university individually, sometimes over years.

This year’s 50th reunion class is unusual in that a high percentage of its members are the steady, consistent supporters that college administrators dream of. For the past decade they have swept W&L’s awards for the class with the highest percentage of members participating in the Annual Fund. Their participation rate has been known to top out at more than 80 percent. (By comparison, W&L’s overall alumni participation rate — among the highest of any college or university in the nation— claims 54.7 percent as its highest point ever.)

50th-Reunionists-on-front-lawn-350x233 The Big GiftMany alumni approaching their 50th reunion have started individual scholarships or developed their own philanthropic passions at the university.

“Though many in our class may not have the resources for large annual gifts, we have been consistent in supporting the Annual Fund,” says Priddy, who has served as longtime class agent. That consistency is one reason the fundraising prognosis for their class scholarship is encouraging, for modest but consistent annual donors become stars in the planned giving arena. “We have learned how some can make significant gifts way beyond what we may have thought possible, and this will help the endowment continue to grow,” says Priddy.

While all reunions are nostalgic and reflective, the interplay of past and present surrounding the 50th reunion is perhaps sharpest. The perspective of 50th reunionists is a reminder of how small each one of us is, and yet how important our actions are. “In so many ways the Class of 1967 was innocent and protected when we came to W&L,” says Holladay. “We were both insulated and isolated in Lexington during those years. Many of us went on to military service immediately after graduation and saw a world we never knew existed. The global reality came quickly to us, and now it is a part of everyone’s life. This country needs committed and well-educated citizens, and our class believes that in some small way we can help one student at a time.”

In the end, that’s a fine legacy to leave.

The 25th & 50th Reunion Gifts

Chronology of the 25th Reunion Gift

1986: The Class of 1961 makes the first 25th reunion gift to W&L.

1990: The Class of 1965 makes a 25th reunion gift of $211,706 (the earliest 25th reunion gift for which W&L has intact records.)

1998: The Class of 1973 surpasses the $1 million mark with their 25th reunion gift.

2013: The Class of 1988 surpasses the $2 million mark with their 25th reunion gift.

2014: The Class of 1989 sets a record for the all-time largest 25th reunion gift of $2,250,000.


This Year’s 25th Reunion Gift
Class of 1992

Total Reunion Gift Goal:
$1.81 million. This includes:

  • $500,000 for the Annual Fund
  • $500,000 for the Class of 1992 Summer Opportunities Fund
  • Gifts to other areas of the university.

Co-chairs:
Wali Bacdayan ’92
Caroline Wight Donaldson ’92

The last five 25th reunion classes have each made gifts of at least $1.5 million. If the Class of 1992 hits its goal, it will take the fourth-largest gift record away from the Class of 1991.

How to Give:
25th reunion pledges can be made online at support.wlu.edu/25threunionpledge


Chronology of the 50th Reunion Gift

1979: The Class of 1929 makes the first recorded 50th reunion gift to establish a class scholarship. The class goal was $50,000.

1986: The Class of 1936 formally begins the 50th reunion gift tradition at W&L with a $350,000 gift.

1988: The Class of 1938 surpasses the $1 million mark with their 50th reunion gift.

1990: The Class of 1940 surpasses the $2 million mark with their 50th reunion gift.

2014: The Class of 1964 sets a record for the all-time largest 50th reunion gift of $8,828,845.


This Year’s 50th Reunion Gift
Class of 1967

Total Reunion Gift Goal:
$1.16 million. This includes:

  • $1 million for the Class of 1967 Scholarship
  • $160,000 for the Annual Fund

Co-chairs:
Mac Holladay ’67
Bob Priddy ’67

Record to Set:
If the Class of 1967 reaches its $1 million goal for its scholarship, it will have the largest class scholarship at W&L.

The class is well-poised to have the third largest 50th reunion gift total ever.

How to Give:
50th reunion pledges can be made online at http://support.wlu.edu/reunionpledge


W&L Community Invited to Submit Ideas for Quality Enhancement Plan The QEP is an exciting and important part of Washington and Lee University’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“The QEP affirms the centrality of student learning at the heart of our mission and also acknowledges that, in keeping with our motto of Non Incautus Futuri, W&L refuses to rest on its laurels.”

This spring, Washington and Lee is looking to every corner of its community, including students, faculty and staff, for a grand idea that will help to direct the future of learning at the university.

KRP7378-1-400x600 W&L Community Invited to Submit Ideas for Quality Enhancement PlanW&L Community Invited to Submit Ideas for QEP

As part of W&L’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), it must imagine, identify and implement a sweeping initiative known as the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Associate Provost Elizabeth Knapp is leading the QEP committee, and its initial goal is to receive as many proposals as possible by May 1.

“It is a great time for our campus to be reflecting about ways to improve,” Knapp said. “And my hope is that while we will choose a single project, there will be lots of other really good ideas that we will also want to think about how we can put in our curriculum and student life overall.”

The accreditation process rolls around every 10 years, and this will be the second time since SACS began requiring a QEP that Washington and Lee has traveled this path. The last time, in 2007, the effort resulted in the Renewed Spring Term Initiative, an immensely popular part of the W&L curriculum that remains in place today.

To peruse the details of QEPs from 13 different colleges and universities, visit W&L’s QEP website. Other SACS-accredited colleges and universities have implemented programs on a wide range of topics, including writing, research, student-faculty engagement, ethics and information literacy, to name a few.

To date, the W&L QEP committee has received about 20 ideas relating to areas such as international education and civil discourse. Knapp said the group hopes the submissions will continue to roll in, however, and that they will touch on a wide variety of topics. The committee would like to see involvement from all groups on campus, including students — in fact, several students have already submitted ideas.

To contribute, one need only click the green “submit now” button on the QEP website and follow the instructions on the form, which will require a plan title and a short description (up to 250 words). In addition, ideas can be left in drop boxes placed in the Elrod Commons Living Room and the Brief Stop at the Law School.

The committee plans to narrow down the list of proposals to about a dozen by fall 2017. During that first round of culling, no names will be associated with the ideas. By December 2017, the top three proposals will be selected and presented to President Will Dudley and Provost Marc Conner, who will lead the charge on selecting the best one. The next steps will involve fully developing and implementing the proposal.

KRP7435-15-600x400 W&L Community Invited to Submit Ideas for Quality Enhancement PlanW&L Community Invited to Submit Ideas for QEP

“It is something you are supposed to implement over a five-year period, and it needs to be very measurable,” Knapp said. “We need to be able to make sure that we are assessing that the goals we set out for the program are something that we can realize over time.”

In a recent email to the entire university, Provost Marc Conner described the QEP as an opportunity to imagine the future of Washington and Lee with a plan that will improve upon the university’s already excellent undergraduate experience.

“The QEP affirms the centrality of student learning at the heart of our mission,” he said, “and also acknowledges that, in keeping with our motto of Non Incautus Futuri, W&L refuses to rest on its laurels.”

— Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

2017 LEAD Banquet Recognizes Leadership Across Campus

“The LEAD Banquet continues to bring together members of our community in celebration of the meaningful work happening across campus.”

The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Banquet was held Sunday, April 2 at Washington and Lee University and was an evening of celebration. Many individual and student accomplishments that were completed within the past year were recognized.

“The LEAD Banquet continues to bring together members of our community in celebration of the meaningful work happening across campus,” said Megan Hobbs, assistant dean of students and dean of sophomores.

“It’s a time to showcase the efforts and impact of our dedicated campus leaders, and it’s a time to thank advisors and students alike for their commitment to student engagement, personal development and continued mentorship. The true spirit of the Washington and Lee experience lies within the influence made by our students, and the banquet reminds us of all that goes on, on an annual basis.

“I would also like to publicly recognize the senior LEAD Banquet Committee members: Kaitlin Krouskos, Catherine Fonvielle, George Park and Prakhar Naithani. Each of them have been thoughtful about new marketing, communication and implementation strategies — all of which have increased awareness of our efforts and attendance at the event each year.”

LEAD-Awards-600x400 2017 LEAD Banquet Recognizes Leadership Across Campus2017 LEAD Award Winners

The LEAD Banquet awards and 2017 recipients are:

Nabors Service League McLaughlin Award for Volunteerism: Austin Frank ’17

Recognizing a student who demonstrates a commitment to their community through innovate service.

Best Service Event: ESOL Holiday Party

Recognizing the campus group or specific event that proved to be impactful by engaging and educating a significant number of volunteers and created a meaningful difference for the population served – whether locally or in another community.

Excellence in Artistic Event Management (Lenfest Center for the Arts): Hermione Wang ’18

Excellence in Artistic Event Management (Lenfest Center for the Arts): Joe Reilly ’17

Outstanding Philanthropic Effort: Chi Omega

Recognizing the student organization/chapter whose philanthropic efforts have made the most impact on our campus while supporting a local/national/global cause. The most funds raised per capita and the most innovative way of raising those funds is a factor in selection.

Outstanding Peer Counselor: Michael Sullivan ’18

Outstanding Peer Counselor: Gabriella Miggins ’19

Outstanding Residential Adviser (New): Liz Todd ’19

Outstanding Residential Adviser (Returning): Diana Banks ’17

Distinguished Summer Work: Clare Wilkinson ’17

Recognizing a student’s summer work experience/research that best exemplifies Washington and Lee’s values of service, leadership and character.

Emerging Leader of the Year: Grace Smith ’20

Recognizing a student that is passionate about leadership education and its practice. This student should bring innovative ideas to the table and exude a high level of commitment to empowering other student leaders.

Christopher Noland Student Activities Leadership Award: Madeleine Boireau ’17

Recognizing a student whose leadership has been most impactful during the past academic year.

Greek Man of the Year: Owen Brannigan ’18

Recognizing a Greek man making the greatest and most positive impact on the fraternity and sorority system during the past academic year.

Greek Woman of the Year: Jane Chiavelli ’18

Recognizing a Greek woman making the greatest and most positive impact on the fraternity and sorority system during the past academic year.

The G. Holbrook Barber Scholarship Award: Arthur Love ’18 

Honoring a rising senior (current junior) who manifests superior qualities of helpfulness and friendliness to fellow students, public spirit, scholarship and personal character.

The G. Holbrook Barber Scholarship Award: Michael Sullivan ’18

Honoring a rising senior (current junior) who manifests superior qualities of helpfulness and friendliness to fellow students, public spirit, scholarship and personal character.

The Decade Award: Mohini Tangri ’19

Recognizing a rising junior (current sophomore) who has shown involvement and leadership within the W&L academic and extracurricular communities and who has furthered discussions of women’s issues on campus and beyond.

The Edward Lee Pinney Prize: Kassie Scott ’18

Awarded by the Student Affairs Committee to an undergraduate student who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to personal scholarship and to the nurturing of intellectual life at Washington and Lee.

Anece F. McCloud Excellence in Diversity: Elliot Emadian ’17

Recognizing a senior undergraduate student whose efforts have done the most to bring a greater awareness and competence of diversity on campus.

Best Event of the Year: Fancy Dress

Recognizing the event that best impacted Washington and Lee during the current academic year.

Not Unmindful of a Sustainable Future Award: Reid Calhoun ’17

Recognizing a student who leads sustainability efforts either for the W&L campus or for our global community.

Not Unmindful of a Sustainable Future Award: Tessa Horan ’18

Recognizing a student who leads sustainability efforts either for the W&L campus or for our global community.

Greenest Group Award: Compost Crew

Recognizing the student organization or student-led event that has made an impact towards sustainability related efforts either on the W&L campus or in our global community.

Adviser of the Year: Erich Uffelman

Recognizing a campus adviser who goes above and beyond in their efforts to support student initiatives, foster relationships and provide opportunities for new experiences.

John W. Elrod General of the Year: Noelle Rutland ’17

Recognizing a student who has brought the most depth and breadth to the university during the past academic year.

Best Student Organization (Americus White Award): Student Association for Black Unity

Recognizing the student organization that has shown excellence in leadership, management and programmatic efforts. Allocation of funds is a factor in selection.

The Frank J. Gilliam Award: Austin Frank ’17

Recognizing a student who has made the greatest contribution to the Division of Student Affairs.

Larry Stuart Memorial Award: Ralston Hartness ’18

Recognizing a student who exemplifies Public Safety Senior Sergeant Larry Stuart’s character and commitment to the community.

The Alexander Thomas Boehling ’10 Memorial Award: Diana Banks ’17

Honoring a senior for his or her campus leadership.

Best Student Composition of the Year: Elliot Emadian ’17

The Third Generation Student Achievement Award: Kitanna Hiromasa ’19

The Third Generation Student Achievement Award: David Salchert ’19


W&L Law Students Win National Uvaldo Herrera Moot Court Competition

uhmootcourt W&L Law Students Win National Uvaldo Herrera Moot Court CompetitionTamra Harris, Rosy Baeza and Maressa Cuenca, far right.

The Washington and Lee School of Law team of Rosy Baeza, Tamra Harris, and Maressa Cuenca was named National Champions at the Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition conducted by the Hispanic National Bar Association.

The team, all third-year law students and members of the school’s Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA), competed against teams from 30 other law schools. In addition to their overall victory, Tamra Harris was named first place oralist in the preliminary rounds of the competition. This is the first time W&L has sent a team to this competition.

The law firm of Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher wrote the competition problem, which focused on whether the ruling in Johnson v. United States invalidating the Armed Career Criminal Act’s residual clause as unconstitutionally vague also applied to the identically worded residual clause in the United States Sentencing Guidelines with retroactive effect.

Professors Tim MacDonnell and Dan Evans coached the students in preparation for the competition, and Professors J.D. King and Jon Shapiro provided guidance on the sentencing issue that served as the subject of the competition.

The competition took place at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Miami. The judges of the final round included Albert Diaz of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Eva Guzman of the Supreme Court of Texas, and Adalberto Jordan of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In winning the competition, the students brought home a $14,000 scholarship award for the school.

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