Feature Stories Campus Events

Inside the NYC District Attorney’s Office with Frances Coy ’18

Coy-Frances_edit-233x350 Inside the NYC District Attorney's Office with Frances Coy '18Frances Coy ’18

I think a misconception with accounting is that it is always just crunching numbers, which is definitely not the case.

Q. Where did you complete your internship?

This past summer I interned at the New York City District Attorney’s office in the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigation Bureau.

Q. What did an average day for you look like?

I really enjoyed my internship, because there was never an “average” day. At the beginning of the summer, all of the interns were paired with an investigator who they worked closely with throughout the summer. On some days, I helped my investigator organize and sort through the financial statements of an individual in a case he was working on. Other days, I went to the courtroom and watched a trial of a specific case. I also sat in on multiple meetings with assistant district attorneys and other investigators. It was exciting to hear their perspectives on a case.

Q. What did you enjoy most about your internship?

I think a misconception with accounting is that it is always just crunching numbers, which is definitely not the case. At the DA’s office, I got a good sense of how law relates to finance. I thought it was really interesting being able to see how the two intermingle.

Q. How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

During spring term of my junior year, I took Anatomy of a Fraud with Professor Hess. It was the perfect preparation for my summer internship, because I learned all about fraud in general, the motives behind committing fraud, and the quantitative aspect. I valued being able to use my knowledge from that class in a real-world setting.

Q. What skills did you learn while there?

During my internship, attention to detail and being methodical was important when entering and organizing data. My investigator and others at the DA are expert witnesses, and when going to the grand jury they have to be confident the information is accurate.

Q. How will these skills be used in your future career? Has the internship influenced your future career choices?

I think attention to detail and use of accounting in varied business and legal situations was enlightening and will be very useful going forward. I am excited for my future career path, and my internship at the DA’s office was further confirmation of this. I am currently in the process of figuring out my next steps, but I hope to become a Certified Public Accountant one day.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

This internship was definitely out of my comfort zone. Not only did I learn about how both investigators and prosecutors gather evidence for white-collar crimes, but also how that information is used to convict a criminal.

A Message Regarding the Commission on Institutional History and Community

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley

I have been gratified to receive enthusiastic messages of support from many members of the Washington and Lee community in response to the appointment of a Commission on Institutional History and Community. Running through them all is a deep devotion to the university and an understanding of the critical importance of this work.

I am delighted to report that Brian Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law, has agreed to chair the commission. Professor Murchison has been a member of the W&L faculty since 1982. His teaching and scholarship focus on administrative law, mass media law, jurisprudence, torts, and contemporary problems in law and journalism. He has served in numerous other capacities in the Law School, including interim dean, director of the Frances Lewis Law Center, and supervising attorney in the Black Lung Legal Clinic. In addition to his active participation on numerous university and Law School committees, Professor Murchison has taught several undergraduate classes, most recently a Spring Term course on the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution.

Joining Professor Murchison on the commission:

Ted DeLaney ’85, Associate Professor of History
Melissa R. Kerin, Associate Professor of Art History

Elizabeth Mugo ’19, Irmo, S.C., Executive Committee Vice President
Heeth Varnedoe ’19, Thomasville, Ga., Junior Class Representative to the Executive Committee
Daniele San Roman ’19L, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., Law Strategic Planning Task Force

Thomas Camden ’76, Head of Special Collections & Archives, University Library
Mary Main, Executive Director of Human Resources
Trenya Mason ’05L, Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs

Cynthia Cheatham ’07, Washington, D.C., Alumni Board Member
Mike McGarry ’87, Charlotte, N.C., Alumni Board President
Phil Norwood ’69, Charlotte, N.C., Rector Emeritus

I have asked this commission to lead us in an examination of how our history — and the ways that we teach, discuss and represent it — shapes our community. One of its first tasks will be to refine the scope of the work, determining how to involve interested community members and gathering input on the important questions that we need to examine. One such question is how we can best present our physical campus to take full advantage of its educational potential in a manner that is consistent with our core values.

The commission will create various opportunities to engage in conversation with all corners of the community. It will also meet with existing groups whose ongoing work relates to some of these issues, including the Working Group on the History of African-Americans at W&L, the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate, and the University Collections of Art and History Advisory Committee.

Please send comments and suggestions to historycommission@wlu.edu so that they are available for the entire commission to review. The commission will keep the community apprised of its work through a website that will be established in the next few days.

This commission and its work will set a national example by demonstrating how the divisive issues confronting us can be addressed thoughtfully and effectively. That is what a university should do, and it is especially what Washington and Lee should do. I am grateful to the members of the commission for this important service and look forward to the conversations ahead.

Legal Delegation from Ukraine Visits W&L Law

ukrainiandelegation Legal Delegation from Ukraine Visits W&L LawUSAID Delegation from Ukraine

The USAID New Justice Program, in support of positive changes in the Ukrainian legal education system, sponsored a visit by a group of Ukrainian policymakers and legal educators to the U.S. to study how legal education operates in a robust democracy.

W&L was one of three law schools the delegation visited while in the U.S. Other stops included Georgetown Law Center and the University of Virginia School of Law.

The USAID program in Ukraine broadly supports the judiciary and government in the effort to create an independent, accountable, and transparent justice system that upholds the rule of law and fights corruption. Prof. Speedy Rice, who helped organize the visit, says that strengthening legal education is a key part of this mission.

“Globalization and free market economies are continuing to grow and seek compatible political and economic systems to promote that growth,” said Rice. “The USAID New Justice program has been at the forefront of recognizing that legal education reform must accompany legal and judicial reform for sustainable development.”

At W&L Law, the delegation heard from a variety of faculty, students and administrators about the operation of the law school, with a strong emphasis on the internal and external mechanisms for quality assurance of the program of legal education. The group also discussed trends and innovation in legal education, including W&L’s own national leadership in experiential and practice-based training.

In addition, the delegation learned how the University’s honor system impacts legal education at W&L and contributes to the formation of professional identify and ethical law practice. The school’s efforts to prepare students for a global legal economy was also a key topic of discussion.

According to the USAID project description, the instructional methodologies and core curricula in Ukrainian law schools are still largely unchanged from the Soviet era, leaving law graduates underprepared for modern law practice. In addition, Ukraine’s early free market economy that followed independence enabled large-scale commercialization of higher education, leading to a market surplus of law schools and students.

The USAID hopes that legal education reform in Ukraine will lead to an improvement in the professional knowledge, expertise, and values of those entering the legal profession, which in turn will strengthen the justice system and promote public trust over the long term.

W&L’s Martin Davies Talks Economics in Papua New Guinea

daviesm W&L’s Martin Davies Talks Economics in Papua New GuineaProfessor Martin Davies

Martin Davies, Associate Professor of Economics at W&L, gave the keynote address at the Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Papua New Guinea Annual Conference in Lae, PNG on August 22. His talk was titled “Policy in Papua New Guinea: Recent Shocks, New Directions” and addressed the recent state of the Papua New Guinea economy.

Highlights of Davies’ keynote address were posted in an article titled “Apec to deliver trade opportunities” in The National on August 29. The National is the top-selling newspaper in Papua New Guinea, headquartered in Port Moresby.

While currently on leave from W&L, Davies is Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Papua New Guina (UPNG) and a Visiting Fellow at the Developing Policy Center at the Australian National University (ANU). He is involved in the ANU-UPNG partnership, which has a focus on faculty strengthening, collaborative research and outreach, and faculty/student exchanges in economics and public policy.

Davies is also hosting a weekly segment on National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Papua New Guinea’s DABAI Show titled “Understanding the Economy.” It will be broadcast nationwide on Tuesdays from 7:10-7:50 p.m. EST. The show welcomes callers as Davies discusses how the economy works and how it impacts daily lives. Callers from the U.S. are welcome to join the conversation by dialing +657 325 3339.

Davies received his B.A. from Australian National University, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. from Oxford University. He currently focuses his research on the macroeconomics of developing countries.

Building Valuable Relationships at the Entrepreneurship Summit

The relationships I’ve built with W&L’s entrepreneurs at the Summit have evolved into a peer group I now turn to for advice.

Okelley-Carol-350x308 Building Valuable Relationships at the Entrepreneurship SummitCarol O’Kelley ’91

Traveling to my first Entrepreneurship Summit at W&L, I looked forward to an agenda packed with information-loaded sessions on topics ranging from fundraising to scaling. I quickly realized that as helpful as the sessions were, an even greater learning opportunity came from hearing the experiences of the other entrepreneurs.

Running a company is certainly rewarding, but it can also be lonely work. The relationships I’ve built with W&L’s entrepreneurs at the Summit have evolved into a peer group I now turn to for advice. Not only can I count on their experience and counsel, I know we share a common value system based on our W&L experiences.

Technology allows us to stay in touch throughout the year, but I look forward to reconnecting in-person at the Summit each fall, as well as expanding the circle with newcomers. I’m always amazed by how much there is to learn not only from my fellow alumni, as well as from the students in the Connolly Entrepreneurship Program, who have unique perspectives on everything from marketing to collaboration.

Carol O’Kelley ’91
CEO, Salesfusion

‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’ Through numerous clubs, her classwork and her peers, JoAnn Michel '18 has found a place to grow at W&L.

“Today, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in several multicultural student organizations, such as Multicultural Students Association, Student Association for Black Unity, and more.”

7b-800x533 'Bloom Where You're Planted'JoAnne Michel

I could go on about the many wonderful things that have come together to create my W&L experience thus far: the top-notch academics, an alumni network that is both vast and accessible, the special bonds that I have forged with several deans and professors. I’ve been able to sit down with brilliant scholars, speakers, politicians and celebrities — many of whom are also proud alums. I have seen firsthand that the W&L name and crest carry the influence of an institution that attracts excellence and is anchored by its traditions. I was thrilled to learn that I had been accepted into the class of 2018, but I was also a little apprehensive to have been planted here. Many of the traditions in which Washington and Lee takes so much pride were not created to accommodate me. As time went on, I realized that the only way I could truly bloom was if I learned to accommodate myself.

At first, I was unsure of how to deal with certain aspects of W&L’s academic and social atmospheres. I quickly became aware that my fields of study were not initially considered “diverse;” it was not uncommon for me to be the only person of color in the room. Too often, I was afraid to vocalize my ideas during class discussions because they seemed so out-of-place. At one point, I decided not to suppress my unique perspectives, but to put them to use. My writing assignments became conduits for deeper discussion, with topics ranging from “the presence of the post-race narrative in American literature” to my own experiences as a black student at Washington and Lee. When the idea for a French club was introduced my sophomore year, I saw an opportunity to lend more visibility to multiple Francophone countries and their respective cultures, and not just France itself.

There was a time when neither women nor people of color were represented on this campus at all. When they were admitted, each group took action — not as guests, but as full members of this institution. Today, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in several multicultural student organizations, such as Multicultural Students Association, Student Association for Black Unity, and more.  The members of each of these groups have something in common: Their persistence and presence on campus have changed the dynamic of the entire university. I can only hope that through my major, my writing, and my work with the Francophone Student Organization, I have done the same.

With the endless support and guidance of family, faculty, and friends, I have found a way to transform Washington and Lee University into My W&L. I was worried that by coming here, I would give up the chance to connect to my own identity and background. I had been planted, but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to grow. As my third year comes to an end, I know that I have bloomed. I have learned more about myself and how my identity enhances my position as a student at this school. In doing so, I have worked to educate my peers on how academic and cultural diversity are crucial to our success as a university, and I have also learned so much from them. Many of W&L’s issues result from a tenuous, long-standing history that is difficult to confront. My presence at Washington and Lee presented me with both the challenge and purpose to demand visibility. I am glad to have fulfilled my purpose here because I know that in making room for myself, I have also made room for others like me.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

A little more about JoAnn

Alexandria, Virginia

Major: French
Creative Writing

Extracurricular involvement:
– Francophone Student Organization
– QuestBridge Scholars Chapter
– Student Association for Black Unity (SABU)
– W&L Choir

Off-campus activities/involvement:
– Current College Mentor with the Prepory Coaching Group
– 2016 Intern for the Alexandria-Caen Sister Cities Committee
– BRYCE (Bright Resilient Youth Committed to Enrichment) Project Alum

Why did you choose your major?
I have always loved French, having grown up in Francophone culture. I grew up speaking English, but both of my parents are native French speakers. I took my first French class in 6th grade, and by 10th grade I knew that I wanted to continue studying it in college, if given the chance. While I was choosing through QuestBridge’s partner colleges, I did extra research on each school’s Romance Language course offerings and potential language majors. Now that I’m on the other side of the French BA, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have found a more perfect fit.

What professor has inspired you?
This is a definite tie between my advisors, Professor Domnica Radulescu and Professor Deborah Miranda.

What’s your personal motto?
Bloom where you’re planted.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I try to get Sweet Things ice cream at least once every semester. My go-to is cookie dough, but I usually pair it with either coffee or sweet cream.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I’m from the city, so I really wish someone had warned me about the outdoorsy culture that is Lexington. Before W&L, my limited interactions with nature were very few and far between. My idea of caving was going on a guided Luray Caverns tour, and hiking meant a quick drive to Great Falls. I could not have been more wrong.

Post-graduation plans:
Right now, the plan is to apply for as many programs as I can find, including grad school, TFA, TAPIF, and more. I’m also lucky to have studied both English and French, because there’s so much I can do with them.

Favorite W&L Memory:
At this point, my favorite memory would be going on the 2017 Alternative Break Service Trip to Birmingham, Alabama with the Nabors Service League.

Favorite class:
“African Feminisms” with Professor Tallie. (He inspires me, too!)

Favorite W&L event:
The SABU Black Ball

Favorite campus landmark:
The Colonnade — especially after a fresh snow.

What’s your passion?
I have realized a passion for cultural learning that has only deepened since I arrived at W&L. I grew up in a community that was full of people from so many different countries and walks of life, and I love learning about who they are and where they’ve been.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I absolutely love spicy food. The hotter, the better — and that’s probably not hot enough.

Why did you choose W&L?
Thanks to the QuestBridge scholarship, W&L chose me first. When I got here, I saw that I could be useful. I found work that I could do, and conversations that I could start. That’s why I chose it back.

Harvard Professor Danielle Allen to Address Opening Convocation

“Allen is one of the premiere intellectuals in the U.S., and her work on social and racial justice has been exceptionally insightful. I can’t imagine a better speaker to commence this year of inquiry and interpretation.”

** Due to inclement weather, Fall Convocation will be held indoors at the Center for Leadership and Ethics at Virginia Military Institute.**

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, will address Washington and Lee University’s 2017 Fall Convocation at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Allen’s talk is titled “Democracy 101: We Hold These Truths…”

Allen_2-Photo-by-Laura-Rose-400x600 Harvard Professor Danielle Allen to Address Opening ConvocationDanielle Allen – Photo by Laura Rose

Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of “Why Plato Wrote (2010), “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality” (2014), “Education and Equality” 2016), and “Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.” (forthcoming 2017).

She is the co-editor of the award-winning “Education, Justice, and Democracy” (2013, with Rob Reich) and “From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age” (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a chair of the Mellon Foundation board, past chair of the Pulitzer Prize board, and a member of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs advisory board, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Allen’s talk will kick off a yearlong series, “Washington and Lee: Education and History,” during which the university will bring over a dozen intellectuals, scholars and writers to campus to talk about history, how educational institutions interact with history, and what a university’s responsibilities are to history.

“This is an immensely exciting and timely visit for W&L,” said Marc Conner, Washington and Lee’s provost. “Allen is one of the premiere intellectuals in the U.S., and her work on social and racial justice has been exceptionally insightful. I can’t imagine a better speaker to commence this year of inquiry and interpretation. She is a scholar of democratic citizenship, and that is surely among the most important concepts we are grappling with today.”

As part of Washington and Lee’s Community Discussion program, every first-year student will read Allen’s book, “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.” The evening before Allen’s address, nearly 50 faculty will meet with first-years in small discussion seminars to talk about the book, its layers of meaning, its relevance to our nation, and especially its relevance to our own community at Washington and Lee.

“‘Our Declaration’ is a tour de force,” said Conner, “offering a close reading of the meanings, the production and the influence of what Ralph Ellison described as the founding document of the U.S. principles of freedom and equality. Allen asks, ‘What does the Declaration have to say for our current time and place? How is the Declaration continuing to be relevant today?’

“I love this first-year reading effort,” Conner continued. “It gives every entering student a common intellectual experience, a touchstone that they can talk about and engage with. I like that one of their initial experiences at our university is a rich intellectual exchange about a book and its powerful ideas.”

Fall Convocation is the traditional opening of Washington and Lee’s academic year. This year will mark the university’s 269th academic year and the 169th year of the School of Law. The convocation, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Center for Leadership and Ethics at Virginia Military Institute due to inclement weather.

The convocation address will be streamed live online at https://livestream.com/wlu/fall-convocation-2017.

Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the College

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work alongside such talented and forward-thinking students, staff, and faculty, and I consider it a privilege to play a small role in supporting their efforts.”

Meredith-McCoy-600x400 Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the CollegeMeredith McCoy

Meredith McCoy has joined Washington and Lee University as an associate dean of the college, effective Aug. 21.

McCoy serves as the college’s liaison to manifold departments and university offices and has primary responsibilities for college facilities, budgets, compliance, foreign language teaching assistants, and staff.

“Meredith brings skills in student support to a complex role that also requires expertise in managing complex projects and large budgets,” said Suzanne Keen, dean of the college. “She will join Associate Dean Gwyn E. Campbell and the other deans and faculty on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement Committee, and we are delighted that she will be part of the team.”

McCoy holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Iowa, as well a Ph.D. in education from UCLA. Her professional background includes 15 years at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where she served as director of student affairs and most recently adjunct professor for the department of medicine. Prior to her time at UCLA, McCoy worked at the University of Iowa as a project manager for the Carver College of Medicine.

McCoy is affiliated with a number of professional activities on a national and community level, including serving as a reviewer for the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and as a former college preparation program volunteer for the Hearts of Los Angeles (HOLA).

“This is certainly an energetic and important time in the university’s trajectory to join the community,” said McCoy. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work alongside such talented and forward-thinking students, staff, and faculty, and I consider it a privilege to play a small role in supporting their efforts.”

Related //

VIDEO: Packing for Appalachian Adventure Check in with head sherpas as they pack for Appalachian Adventure, one of W&L's Leading Edge pre-orientation programs for first-year students.

This week, many members of the Washington and Lee Class of 2021 have set out on pre-orientation adventures that allow them to start making friends and memories before the official start of the school year. At W&L, we call these programs The Leading Edge.

There are three Leading Edge program tracks. Appalachian Adventure takes students on a week-long trek on the beautiful Appalachian Trail. Volunteer Venture provides them with service-learning experiences in Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, West Virginia; Greensboro, North Carolina; Lexington, Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. Sustainability Leadership introduces participants to sustainability issues on campus and in the tiny town of Fries, Virginia.

To read more about The Leading Edge, please click here.

Planning and executing these trips requires a lot of late-summer teamwork. We hung out with trip leaders in the Outing Club barn as they packed for Appalachian Adventure.

Marketing in Motion Pictures Daisy Norwood-Kelly '18 worked in marketing research for Paramount Pictures over the summer.

“W&L has given me the confidence to work in a challenging environment.”

DKinternship-400x600 Marketing in Motion PicturesDaisy Norwood-Kelly ’18

Majors: Strategic Communication, Chinese
Hometown: East Hampton, NY

Where did you intern this summer?

I interned at Paramount Pictures. I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship set aside for Strategic Communication majors which helped pay for housing while I was living in Los Angeles.

Tell us a little bit about that organization.

Paramount Pictures, which was founded in 1912, is America’s oldest-running Hollywood movie studio. Paramount has released movies such as “Forrest Gump,” “Interstellar,” “The Godfather” and, more recently, “Arrival.”

Describe your job there.

During my time at Paramount, I worked with their Market Research department to get more granular insights into audiences through surveys and screenings – what ideas/characters/stories they like, what they don’t like, what they want to see more or less of. This information shapes the marketing strategy and can even ultimately change the movie itself.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

For the last month, I worked on a millennial moviegoers survey to provide insight into what millennials want to see and what we can do to get them into the theaters. It’s been a mostly independent project, and not without a few hiccups along the way, but it has been extremely interesting to see how their perceptions, tastes and preferences alter how they make decisions about movies.

Who did you meet, such as a source, a story subject or a mentor, that made the most vivid impression on you – and why?

During my time at Paramount, they organized a number of intern alumni panels (people who interned at Paramount and then went on to do cool stuff) for us to attend. One alum, Eric Fleishmann, told us how he had left Paramount and scraped and dreamed until, at the age of 27, he had his own film financing company and was killing it! It just reminded me that only really talented, creative and brave people get this internship (100 out of 10,000 applicants) and I can be just as successful as any of those who have come before me.

When did you feel the most challenged and how did you meet that challenge?

I think the hardest challenge was when I became the team leader for our Intern Project. Each summer, interns are split up into groups to create something for Paramount. This summer, we had to make a three-minute short video about our experiences. When I was elected team leader, I was secretly nervous. My experiences as a leader have either been fairly laissez faire or wild dictator, and I did not want to repeat those. I have been challenged to keep calm, cool and collected under pressure, make sure everyone has their voice heard and ensure our project is the best that it can be. From the positive feedback I’ve received from my team and the quality of our project so far, I believe that I’ve risen to the occasion and impressed myself.

Did anything about the location of your internship really excite you, such as the food, architecture, outdoors, etc.?

I’m a movie buff, so when I accepted an internship at Paramount, I thought it might be like getting to see how the sausage is made. Despite everything I’ve seen and done during my internship, it has only reaffirmed my love of movies to bring people together and to push the envelope culturally and technologically.

Will this internship impact the direction of your career in any way?

Since working at Paramount, I’ve realized that I am capable of a lot more in the marketing field than strictly creative. I also have the power to be analytical and decisive about what kind of creative campaigns will work best in the current market. I never thought that market research was going to interest me in the way that it has, and I see a lot of area for growth in this field. While it hasn’t thrown my career path totally off-course, I will say that it’s added another road to explore.

How did W&L help to prepare you for this opportunity?

W&L was a huge help in getting this internship, especially because I reached out to a WLU alum who worked at Paramount to learn more about the industry so I was more prepared when it came to applying. Mostly, W&L has given me the confidence to work in a challenging environment.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

One cool achievement of my internship this summer has been winning the Paramount Intern Video Project contest with some of my colleagues. The project was to create a three-minute video about our experiences working at Paramount. It was a pretty loose assignment and we ran with it! You can watch our video, “Mission INTERNpossible,” here.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Barton Myers Talks About George Washington and Robert E. Lee With L.A. Times

“I think there are strong similarities in terms of their backgrounds. They were both Virginians. Both men had served in the United States armed forces. Both men were recognized as great military figures and great battlefield commanders during their own time.”

Barton Myers, Associate Professor of History at Washington and Lee University, shared his views on the differences and similarities between George Washington and Robert E. Lee in a recent interview with the L.A. Times. You can read the entire interview here.

In addition, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star quoted Myers in a recent article about Robert E. Lee and issues related to confederate statues, and Myers was featured in a  Snopes article that reviews the post-Civil War lives of both Jefferson Davis and Lee.

Related //,

W&L’s Schatten Talks House Flipping in Recent WalletHub Article

Jeff Schatten, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Washington and Lee University, was interviewed in a recent WalletHub article that explains the best places to flip houses in 2017.

Read the full article here.

W&L’s Bell Weighs in On Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality on WalletHub

Melina Bell, Professor of Philosophy and Law at Washington and Lee University, discusses “2017’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality in a recent WalletHub article.

You can read the article at WalletHub.

W&L’s Alexander Discusses Chance Conversation with Dick Gregory on WCPO.com

The following opinion piece by Brian Alexander, Assistant Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared on WCPO.com on August 22, 2017, and is reprinted here by permission.

Op-ed: What Dick Gregory taught me in a chance conversation

Brian Alexander is a Cincinnati native, a 1988 graduate of St. Xavier High School, and is now a professor of politics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

It’s not often that you board a flight and walk away grateful that the person beside you talked the whole time.

On a flight to Chicago in 2013, I got seated next to a man who introduced himself as Dick Gregory. I didn’t recognize him by sight, but I certainly knew the comedian-cum-activist by name and reputation, and I was thrilled at the chance to meet him.

Among the many great stories that filled the hours of our flight, one in particular spoke to me about individual courage and integrity. It was something like this.

Gregory was a struggling young, black comedian in Chicago in the late ’50s, early ’60s. Somehow, through an act of fortune, he landed a gig at the Playboy Club. A Time magazine reporter, there to report on someone else, became so impressed with Gregory’s performance that he featured him instead.

image001%202_1503347103264_64606085_ver1.0_400_300 W&L’s Alexander Discusses Chance Conversation with Dick Gregory on WCPO.com

Author Brian Alexander and Dick Gregory met by chance on a flight.

As Gregory told me, a few days after the Time story, he got a call from a producer at the Jack Paar Show who wanted him to be on the show. (Back in the days of three-network television, Jack Paar was the gold standard for those in show business, with millions of nightly viewers.) The producer said, “I’m from the Jack Paar show and we’d like to have you on our program.”

And Gregory told me that he said, “I’m not going to be on your program,” and hung up.

So, a little later, the producer called back and said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Gregory, but this is not a prank. I’m from the Jack Paar Show, and we’d like you to be on our show.” Again, Gregory goes, “I know it’s not a prank. I’m not going to be on your show,” and he hung up. (He has great story-telling cadence while he’s telling all of this, including the gesture of putting the receiver back on the phone.)

Finally, the next day he gets a call. It’s Jack Paar himself. Paar explains that they are serious and would like to fly him to New York and have him do his comedy routine on the show.

Gregory said, “Mr. Paar, I’m not going to be on your show. Let me tell you why. Whenever you have a white comedian on, after their routine you invite them over to the sofa to have a conversation. But when you have a black comedian on you never invite them over to the sofa. They do their routine and then they’re off the show. So, no. I’m not going to be on your program.”

Think about this for a second.

Gregory is, at this point, relatively poor, a black man living in ’60s Chicago, struggling to make it in show business. He gets invited to the Jack Paar Show, that time period’s equivalent of Saturday Night Live.

And he says no. Because of what he thinks is right. To stand up for what he believes in. At the potential sacrifice of all the personal fame and success that could (and did) follow.

Gregory told me that there was a pause on the line and then Paar said, “I see your point, Mr. Gregory. If I invite you to the sofa after the routine will you be on my show?” Gregory told him yes, and in 1961 he became the first black comedian to sit for an interview on the Jack Paar Show.

To television-viewing America, it wouldn’t have mattered if Dick Gregory never appeared on Jack Paar. The producers could easily find someone else. But for Gregory, it was everything.

And for the rest of us, too, this story is everything. It struck me, while Gregory was leaning over into my seat recounting this event, how minor acts of great personal courage can help change the world.

A Message from President Dudley Regarding Institutional History and Community

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley

When I accepted the presidency of Washington and Lee, I immediately and eagerly set out to learn about the history of the university. I read as much as I could. I’m still reading. My approach stems from intellectual curiosity and professional necessity. You cannot lead an institution that you do not understand, and you cannot understand an institution that is nearly 270 years old without being well informed about its past — especially its pivotal moments and figures.

The tragic events of Charlottesville, which I addressed in my message to the campus community on Aug. 14, remind us that knowing our history is also a civic obligation. Ignorance is irresponsible and dangerous. When I urged us to “embrace our ignorance” in my Commencement address on May 25, the point was not that we should allow ourselves to persist in partial or superficial understanding, but rather that we should be mindful of the most important things we do not yet know, in order that we might be spurred to examine them more deeply.

The basic facts of the unique association of our university with Robert E. Lee are fairly straightforward and well-known to those familiar with W&L. Lee became the president of Washington College in 1865, only months after the end of the Civil War. As president, Lee took a small, classical college on the verge of extinction and set it on a course to become a modern university by introducing curricular innovations that included the addition of the Law School and undergraduate courses in the natural sciences, mathematics, foreign languages, journalism and business. He also established a tradition of student self-governance that remains essential to the university today. Our name was changed to Washington and Lee University immediately following his death in 1870, in recognition of his service to the college.

Of course, Lee’s tenure at Washington College cannot and should not be reduced to such a simple story. And the five years he spent in Lexington, important as they were, represent but one period in his life. Lee was also a Confederate general, a slave owner, a superintendent of West Point, a distinguished veteran of the Mexican-American War, and an Army engineer who helped preserve the port of St. Louis. I list those designations not in the belief that they yield self-evident conclusions, but rather as starting points for the full and critical examination of history that it is our role, as an educational institution, to encourage and undertake.

In this moment, we should do what we have always done best. We should teach, and we should learn. We should educate ourselves and others more fully about the history of our university and our namesakes. We should engage together in a critical analysis that goes beyond the caricatures of one-dimensional heroes and villains to understand who we have been, who we are, and who we can become.

Robert E. Lee died nearly a century and a half ago. Today, we are among the preeminent liberal arts institutions in the country. Washington and Lee has positively and profoundly affected the lives of generations of students, faculty and staff. I am fortunate and proud to be here.

I am especially grateful for our alumni, who — no matter their age, or profession, or perspective — are exceptionally thoughtful, respectful and deeply concerned with what is best for W&L. In recent weeks, I have heard from many of them, from all over the country, as well as from many members of our campus community. Nearly every single person emphasizes that our history, in all of its dimensions, deserves and needs to be more widely and fully known. I agree.

Yesterday, at our annual Town Hall Meeting, I announced the creation of a Commission on Institutional History and Community, which will be composed of students, faculty, staff and alumni, to lead us in an examination of how our history — and the ways that we teach, discuss and represent it — shapes our community. The commission’s work will include studying how our physical campus, a significant portion of which is a National Historic Landmark, can be presented in ways that take full advantage of its educational potential and are consistent with our core values. I am confident that Washington and Lee will set a national example for how this work should be done, and that our own community will be better and stronger for having done it.

The Office of the Provost is also planning a year-long academic series entitled “Washington and Lee: Education and History.” This series will give the entire community opportunities to attend lectures and participate in dialogues that will deepen our understanding of ourselves and what we do as a university in 21st-century America. Many of these events have been planned for months, and we are adding others to further enrich what will be a robust program. We will livestream as many of the talks as possible and will support alumni who would like to organize viewings and discussions in their local areas.

Washington and Lee will continue to be guided by our motto — non incautus futuri — and steadfast in our mission. We provide an education that prepares students to think critically, act with integrity, and participate as engaged citizens in a global and diverse society. This mission, which we all take pride in serving, makes it incumbent upon us to create and sustain an increasingly diverse and inclusive campus that reflects the world in which we live. This is difficult work, but our shared commitment to Washington and Lee will sustain our resolve to accomplish it. I am honored to join you in working together on behalf of our university.

Scenes from the Eclipse Members of the W&L community gathered on the Front Lawn on Monday to watch the solar eclipse.

Faculty and staff, along with a number of students who had already returned to campus, gathered on the Front Lawn to watch the spectacular solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Many thanks to the Physics and Engineering Department for sharing their solar telescopes, solar binoculars and eclipse-viewing glasses with the crowd. In particular, a big shout-out goes to laboratory technician Chris Compton for organizing the event.

This party had everything: a dog in solar glasses, homemade eclipse-viewing contraptions, crescent-shaped shadows projected through trees and old-school metal colanders, and lots of friends and colleagues greeting each other at the end of summer.

To recap the fun, check out this video, complete with time-lapse and drone footage, by Jim Goodwin, Shelby Mack and Steve Mammarella of the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

University Town Hall Meeting, August 23

There will be a community breakfast and town hall meeting to set the stage for the coming academic year on Wednesday, August 22, at 9 a.m. in the Evans Dining Hall. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.

Caitlin Peterson ‘19L Elected Delegate for ABA Student Division

caitlinpeterson1 Caitlin Peterson ‘19L Elected Delegate for ABA Student DivisionCaitlin Peterson ’19L

Washington and Lee University School of Law second-year law student Caitlin Peterson has been elected as national delegate for the American Bar Association Law Student Division. Specifically, Caitlin will serve as ABA Delegate of Diversity and Inclusion for the 2017-18 academic year.

As one of three student delegates to represent the student division at the ABA House of Delegates meetings, Caitlin will occupy one of the most important and prestigious positions a law student can hold in the ABA.

The Delegate for Diversity and Inclusion ensures that the backgrounds and viewpoints of all law students are brought to the attention of the ABA. In addition, Caitlin will chair the student division’s diversity committee, oversee a grant fund, and work with the Law Student Division chair to execute the division’s policy agenda, among other responsibilities.

Caitlin, who attended the ABA Annual Meeting this August in New York, is already hard at work in her position. She is drafting a resolution to encourage diversity in the legal profession to present for voting by the ABA and is also advocating on behalf of the Law Student Division for the creation of a Mental Health Day in order to highlight resources available within the legal profession to address mental health issues.

In addition, Caitlin is planning to get involved with the Law Student Podcast, which addresses legal issues important to law students across the nation through interviews with prominent attorneys and experts.

“I am honored and humbled to have been elected to this position,” said Caitlin. “I ran for this position because of all the different diverse law students I knew at Washington and Lee and across the nation, and I really wanted to help make a positive impact in their law school lives and careers.”

Caitlin’s position with the ABA adds to an already busy schedule for her 2L year. She also will serve as project manager for W&L’s Pro Bono Board and as vice president and moot court coordinator for the Black Law Students Association.

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Student Sleuths Seek Clues in Indian Painting University Collections teamed up with the Art History and Chemistry departments at W&L to examine a tiny painting surrounded by mystery.

UR1993.5.127_1-576x768 Student Sleuths Seek Clues in Indian PaintingPainting of an Indian Prince

By Patricia A. Hobbs, Associate Director, University Collections of Art and History
Melissa Kerin, Associate Professor of Art History

During Fall Term 2016, Melissa Kerin and her students in the Court Art of India class made a simple visit to University Collections of Art and History (UCAH). But that visit would end up blooming into an interdisciplinary project that incorporated both art and science, and resulted in a clearer attribution of one of the collection’s lesser-known pieces.

It involved a small painting (8.5″ by 6″) on paper initially identified as an image of an Indian prince, and dating from the Mughal imperial period of India, which could mean anywhere between 1526 and 1857. This piece was one of two that the students in Kerin’s class looked at carefully during their first visit to the collections. Both pieces were part of a gift to W&L made by Elizabeth Otey Watson, wife of alumnus William Clark Watson ’29, who was employed by Standard Oil Company. They lived abroad in Canton, Bangkok, and Taiwan for 18 years prior to returning to Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1965. During their time overseas, the couple amassed a collection of Asian art and furnishings, much of which Mrs. Watson later gifted and bequeathed to Washington and Lee.  She also established the Watson Pavilion in her husband’s memory.

Initially armed with magnifying glasses and gloves, the students examined the paintings that were framed under glass and speculated about dates they may have been created, which ranged widely between the 18th and 20th centuries. Sparked by the students’ enthusiasm, Pat Hobbs, UCAH associate director and curator of art and history, offered to dismantle the works from their frames and make them available the following week. A second meeting was set up and subsequent examination revealed more details and generated more questions.

This was when students and professor alike began focusing on one of the two paintings: that of a turbaned man in profile, clad in white robes and sitting regally in the center of the composition. Questions about the painting’s pigments and authenticity quickly surfaced. One student, Kalady Osowski ’19, who had taken the Science in Art class with chemistry professor Erich Uffelman, suggested we invite Professor Uffelman to look at the painting using his world-class equipment.

Hobbs and Kerin met with Uffelman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Jelena Samonina-Kosicka, W&L student Mike Sullivan and JMU student Madison Whitesell. They examined the work using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF), a stereo microscope, Ultraviolet-Induced Visible Fluorescence and Infrared Imaging.

These methods revealed important yet minute details not easily seen by the naked eye. They were able to see the steady and masterful lines of the underpainting, which differed little from the final visible form. In addition to mineral-based pigments, there was a lavish use of gold for the figure and the background. Kerin later shared that “to study this painting’s pigment composition and line work offered students unparalleled exposure to the mechanics of this painting practice.”

The students faced the image one last time on their final exam, as they proffered opinions about the identification of the sitter, as well as the possible date of the painting, based on stylistic analysis and their recent findings of their chemical analysis. There is now a consensus that this painting is indeed an original piece, not a 20th-century copy, and it can be tentatively dated to the  late 18th century. It features the portrait of a Rajput, not Mughal, nobleman. As there is no information about where it was originally painted, there are still a number of unanswered questions about the kingdom from which this Rajput nobleman hailed.

Research on this painting will continue, and Kerin plans to share the images and information with colleagues in the field to get their expert opinions, as well. W&L’s University Collections of Art and History will benefit from this scientific, historical and curatorial information as it makes its collections increasingly available to various classes. This is one of three paintings that comprise our collection of Indian art.

Accounting Alumni Profile: Inga Wells ’16

I was never just an accounting student at W&L, buried in a stack of 10ks for homework every night. I was able to go from my cost accounting class to my lighting design class to a seminar on Jane Austen.

Wells-Inga-400x600 Accounting Alumni Profile: Inga Wells '16Inga Wells ’16

Q. Please describe your current role and responsibilities.

I am currently an analyst in the Financial Sponsors Group at Deutsche Bank. Our group’s clients are all private equity firms. We help them with financing and acquisitions of portfolio companies, in addition to a variety of other transactions. I spend a lot of my time working on financial models and coordinating with other teams within the investment bank. Because we could essentially deal with any industry, I have had the chance to work with companies in a variety of industries including consumer, industrials, and healthcare.

Q. Why did you originally choose to pursue an accounting degree?

I chose W&L in part because of the Williams School. While not completely sure which career in business I would ultimately pursue, I knew that accounting would provide me with a strong technical base. As often seems to happen at W&L, eventually I was hooked on the business and accounting major thanks to influential professors such as Dean Straughan, Professor Oliver, Professor Schwartz, and countless others.

Q. How has the accounting material you studied at W&L benefited you in your current position?

We use accounting every day at the bank. Coming up to speed at a new job is enough of a challenge, but as accounting is at the core of every financial model we build having context when starting on the desk last fall went a long way.

Q. What’s one skill that you think has played a significant role in your success thus far?

Although it seems odd to some to have an undergraduate business program at a liberal arts college, I think the combination is unbeatable. I was never just an accounting student at W&L, buried in a stack of 10ks for homework every night. I was able to go from my cost accounting class to my lighting design class to a seminar on Jane Austen. That ability to switch mindsets throughout the day creates a more holistic view. Not every real life problem is black and white and as cliché as it sounds, W&L really prepares you to synthesize between the qualitative and the quantitative.

Q. What is your favorite W&L memory?

My freshman year I took a corporate social responsibility class during spring term with Professors Oliver and Straughan. Not only was the class and experience itself notable, but even more was the doors it opened. From there I became interested in Student Consulting, found lifelong mentors in the professors, and still count some of the other students in my class among my closest friends. Not to mention a lasting love for soft ice, a quintessential Copenhagen dessert.

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Ryan Decker ‘09L Helps Empower Entrepreneurs with Airbnb’s Legal Team

ryandecker Ryan Decker ‘09L Helps Empower Entrepreneurs with Airbnb’s Legal TeamRyan Decker ’09L

Whether you want to experience the local flare of London, spend a few nights in a castle in Ireland, find a room for a night in Nashville or take a cooking class in your hometown, Airbnb can accommodate your wish. The 11-year-old company has experienced phenomenal growth by connecting hosts and guests with its four million online listings.

Paying for your stay or experience is also easy using the company’s website. “Payments are a key part of the Airbnb platform,” said Ryan Decker ‘09L, who serves as payments counsel at the San Francisco-based company. “We have a large payment infrastructure” that keeps up with transactions in 190 countries. Decker has been with the company since July 2015 and also provides strategic counsel on commercial partnerships, such as with PayPal, payment processors and banks, as well as product development and legal compliance.

In order to move money in and out of Airbnb’s platform, Decker has to understand financial rules and regulations around the world. He provides product counsel advice to Airbnb regarding legal implications of consumer-facing elements throughout every step of the payment process.

He calls this the “fun stuff” because he gets to dive deeply into the product teams to push out new and interesting features.

His path to Airbnb included work as an associate with the firm Paul Hastings in Washington, D.C., where he was part of the antitrust group, specializing in litigation and merger control matters. After he transferred to the firm’s San Francisco office, he began working with clients on payments issues.

His first stop after law school, however, was not the traditional clerkship or junior role in a large firm. As a third-year student, he had been part of the school’s Liberia practicum. For the fall semester after graduation, he became a Law Fellow for the program, serving four months in the African nation. “I was drawn to the unique challenges of the legal system in Liberia,” he recalls.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a scrappy recent law graduate trying to make a difference,” he said.

His job was two-fold. He coordinated and taught classes for students at the University of Liberia School of Law under the direction of W&L professor Speedy Rice, who was based in the U.S. He also facilitated a program under a United Nations grant that helped provide access to magistrate judges for detained individuals in the country’s main prison in Monrovia. Prior to the grant, many of those individuals who couldn’t afford bail had to wait in jail while their cases “floundered.”

“I helped start and build the program and managed the U.N. funds,” said Decker. With the assistance of 12 Liberian law students, the program identified the detained individuals, set up the dockets, and assisted the prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.

“It really helped me learn how to get things done and to work creatively,” said Decker. He also had to work with other U.N. agencies that shared common goals but often could be challenging to work with.

After the fellowship and almost six years at Paul Hastings, Decker now finds himself working in a job that allows him to delve deeper into a topic he truly enjoys. The opportunity with Airbnb was there because of the growth of the company. “They developed a large payment infrastructure. Every transaction has a payment component. That is core to Airbnb’s product.”

He likes to think of the company as “empowering entrepreneurs to utilize their underutilized resources and talents.” The company lists homes all over the world – some are second homes, some are rooms in the host’s primary residence. Some people list their home just a couple of times a year when they are on vacation, he said.

Recently added to the company’s offerings are “experiences.” An experience could be in your own hometown or across the world. Want to walk the Hollywood hills, learn to surf or explore a city with a local photographer? Airbnb offers those and many more experiences.

Also new he said is the launch of more flexible payments – where guests can pay half the cost of a stay up front and the other half just prior to the trip. “Payments functionality has to support new business ventures such as that,” Decker said. “It can be complex to manage.”

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest, Decker decided to attend W&L Law School for several reasons, including its location on the East Coast, putting him near his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, where he hoped to work. He also said his decision was based “on the feeling” he got from the school’s environment. “It is smaller and more focused both socially and academically.” When he met some of the other admitted students, he felt they shared the same values. “Professors were a tight-knit group. They were intellectually smart and interested in furthering legal education and getting to know students.”

While at W&L, he served as an editor of the Law Review and was an honor advocate, helping both undergraduates and law students accused of an honor or conduct violations prepare and present their cases to the Executive Committee, Student Judicial Council or Student-Faculty Hearing Board.

In class and while working with Prof. Rice on the Liberia practicum, Decker learned that Rice “maneuvered through NGOs and local government with ease.” He took several classes from Prof. Lyman Johnson, who Decker said “challenged students to think creatively and find solutions that were both practical and creative.” Prof. Sam Calhoun was good at challenging first-year students. “He was demanding but had the right level of rigor and caring. He taught us how to study and be prepared – bringing out the inner law student.”

Married to wife Danielle and expecting their first child, Decker is motivated by Airbnb’s mission of allowing anyone to belong anywhere. “Through our platform, we facilitate going deep in the culture and truly living in a city.” He also values the company’s ability to empower individuals to generate revenue, which often helps them stay in their homes or provide financial flexibility.

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There’s No Place Like (a New) Home After spending Spring Term in Ethiopia, Jack Kaelin '19 is in Austin, Texas, helping refugees find a place to call home. 

“W&L wants its students to go out and engage the world. I think experiences like this one really demonstrate the university’s dedication to its mission statement. Opportunities are endless at W&L, and professors and staff really invest themselves in your future and want to see you succeed.”

John-Kaelin-edit-738x533 There's No Place Like (a New) HomeAfter spending Spring Term in Ethiopia, Jack Kaelin ’19 is in Austin, Texas, helping refugees find a place to call home.

Hometown: Wilton, Connecticut
Major: Global Politics
Minors: Poverty and Human Capability Studies, Africana Studies

Q. What did you do this summer?

I did a Shepherd internship this summer working in Texas at Caritas of Austin, one of Austin’s major social work organizations. I worked mostly with client case managers in the refugee resettlement and permanent supportive housing departments. These departments help provide case management, stable housing, social service assistance, rent subsidies, and a host of other services to support housing clients from the local Austin area and refugee clients from all over the world.

Q. How did you like Austin?

Austin is a place unlike any I have ever been to before. It is an incredibly diverse city in the middle of Texas filled with murals, coffee shops and live music. More and more people move in every day, so things never seem to slow down. It also has a number of community and cultural events open to the public which is always exciting. I have really enjoyed the chance to work in such a lively setting.

Q. What did an average day for you look like?

I switched off every other day working on refugee resettlement and supportive housing, and no one day was entirely routine in either department. Both required a good deal of hands-on work with clients, and that work varied tremendously. In refugee resettlement, work with clients covers the entire spectrum of resettlement – picking the clients up from the airport on their first day in America, administering their intake the following day, helping to file their paperwork for social services, following up with social services, and providing general guidance and support during our clients’ first six months in the US. In supportive housing, tasks might include support during resident inspections and, more recently, interviewing some clients as part of a management performance assessment.

Q. If you could choose one part of your experience that was the most rewarding and fulfilling, what would it be?

Working with people from all over the world and from all walks of life was incredibly rewarding. Every client I have worked with has had something to teach me, and those lessons have ranged from travel advice to how to stay resilient when your whole world has been turned sideways. I have always made an effort to read and learn about refugee-related issues, but actually working with the clients themselves has made a much greater impact on me.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

I think it is easy to get cynical in social work. Individual circumstances or structural challenges oftentimes make it very easy for things to not go your way, and it gets difficult trying to figure out who or what to blame. In those situations, I have had to remind myself how important it is to stay positive, to celebrate success, and to keep faith in people.

Q. Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what did they teach you?

Many of the case managers who do this work year-round were incredible mentors over the past two months. They were instrumental in teaching me how to work more effectively with clients from incredibly different backgrounds than mine, how to build trust when you are stranger, how to discover what you have in common, and how to prove you genuinely care. They also helped me reevaluate what success looks like and how to judge progress for different clients.

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

I think W&L more so than other schools encourages us as students to take pride in our work. You know your professors, and they know what you’re capable of, so we work diligently to only submit work that we are proud of. I think that experience was helpful in social work because one of its caveats is that your quality of work has bigger implications than just a performance assessment. It has a fairly immediate impact on someone’s life. If you cannot put the effort in to learn about and navigate the social service office, your client might not have SNAP benefits for a month. If you act indifferent to your clients opening up to you, they may not trust you or any other employee moving forward. Good work creates good outcomes for the clients we serve and care about. At W&L, I will appreciate the experience we get committing ourselves to our success because it might have a future impact on other people.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

I would love the chance to continue studying refugee-related issues. This coming fall semester, I will have the chance to visit a refugee camp in Uganda, so I am hoping that experience will add some additional perspective.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

Ultimately, W&L wants its students to go out and engage the world. I think experiences like this one really demonstrate the university’s dedication to its mission statement. Opportunities are endless at W&L, and professors and staff really invest themselves in your future and want to see you succeed.

Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word:


Jack would like you to know that he is “incredibly thankful for the support of the Shepherd Program and its donors for making this experience possible.”

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Speaking with Confidence Julia Poppenberg '19 spent the summer as a translator in Guatemala, helping doctors and patients alike and learning to "talk strong."

“Thank you Surgicorps International and Washington and Lee University for giving me the opportunity to give back and talk strong.”

IMG_3072-4-800x533 Speaking with ConfidenceJulia Poppenberg ’19 spent the summer in Guatemala, helping doctors and patients alike, and learning to “talk strong.”

Hometown: Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Majors: Accounting & Business Administration and Spanish

Q. What did you do this summer?

This summer I was given the opportunity to do an international trip with Surgicorps International. Surgicorps provides access to medical needs in areas where it is not easily obtained. Although I am not studying to be a doctor, I applied as a volunteer to help translate between American doctors and Spanish-speaking doctors and patients.

Q. Where were you located for this opportunity?

Antigua, Guatemala. Each building in this beautiful city is a bright color with a unique door.

Q. What does an average day for you look like?

I would spend from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day at the hospital. While there, I would translate between American doctors and nurses and Guatemalan doctors, nurses, and patients in the pre-operation, post-operation, and operation rooms.

Q. If you can choose one part of your experience that has been the most rewarding and fulfilling, what would it be?

Speaking Spanish allowed me to comfort the patients who were scared and in pain before and after surgery, and allowed the doctors to do the medical procedures to help them.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

I was faced with a 15-year-old mother who was terrified as her sleeping son coughed up blood after his clef lift repair. I was faced with a 4-year-old, shrunken orphan whose mother had the Zika virus when she was pregnant. I was faced with an 11-year-old girl who cried when she woke up from the pain of her surgery and the loss of her brother the day before.

Q. Who has served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?

My roommate on the trip, Amelia Hare, who had been on three trips with Surgicorps beforehand, taught me the medical terms I needed to know, but also showed me the comfort in communication.

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

The communication skills and my improved ability to speak Spanish were both valuable assets on my trips. Because of this trip, I will speak Spanish more often and with more confidence.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

This experience solidified my pursuit of a Fulbright in Mexico or the Teaching for America program as well as a career path that includes Spanish.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

Washington and Lee is teaching me how to give back by giving me the opportunity to give. Without the Johnson Opportunity Grant or my education at Washington and Lee, I would not have been able to have this opportunity.

Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word:


Q. What advice helped you during this opportunity?

A Guatemalan woman told me, “Whether you talk in English or Spanish, talk strong.” So it was for her that I talked strong to the 16-year-old mother who watched her son cough up blood after his cleft palette repair, the tiny orphan whose mother had Zika when she was pregnant with him, the girl who cried in the recovery room from the pain of her surgery and the loss of her brother the day before.

Thank you Surgicorps International and Washington and Lee University for giving me the opportunity to give back and talk strong.


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 Message from the Vice-President of Student Affairs

I love this time of year! After a couple of months of relative quiet on campus, students are trickling back on to campus. The football team arrived last week, and this week soccer, volleyball and field hockey will join them. Our Pre-Orientation trip leaders, Resident Advisers and Community Assistants arrive next week to begin their training. On their heels we will welcome almost half of the Class of 2021 as they join us to begin the Leading Edge Pre-Orientation experiences. Joseph Monninger in Eternal on the Water wrote that “few places mix together the young and the old as well as colleges do,” I truly believe that and feel so fortunate to be one of the old ones who is a part of that mix.

While we eagerly anticipate the year ahead, the incidents in Charlottesville last weekend are a solemn reminder that these are challenging times. In his message to the community on Monday, President Dudley spoke eloquently about our institutional values and the type of community that we are committed to maintaining here at Washington and Lee.

Knowing that you might have questions about our approach to safety and security, you will see that I have placed that information at the beginning of this message. We will also be working to facilitate conversations and to support our students as they grapple with difficult issues as part of a community. We believe that is a critical part of their education.

Safety and Security

The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is always a top priority. We have and will continue to evaluate our security and emergency plans in light of the events in Charlottesville, making changes as appropriate, and we continue to work very closely with our local/county/state law enforcement partners to prepare possible responses to any concerns that arise.

We have a number of emergency communications tools and resources on campus, including our General Alerts text notification system, to which all students are automatically subscribed. Parents may sign up to receive these text alerts at go.wlu.edu/general-alerts. We also offer a mobile safety app called LiveSafe. In the coming days and weeks, during welcome events and orientation activities, we will address safety and security related issues. Our Public Safety Liaison Program, which began several years ago, matches a public safety officer with every residential area on campus. These officers work to develop relationships and serve as resources for their designated areas.

We are committed to student safety and will be reminding the community in a message at the beginning of the year how we can all be a part of those efforts. If your child ever feels unsafe on campus, s/he should call Public Safety at 458-8999, dial 911 from off-campus, or use the Live Safe app.

Class Dean Structure

Each class has a designated student affairs dean who serves as the point person for that class. The dean assignments are:

Jason Rodocker, First Years
jrodocker@wlu.edu 540-458-8753

Megan Hobbs, Sophomores
mhobbs@wlu.edu 540-458-4408
For Fall Term Dave Leonard (dleonard@wlu.edu 540-458-8752) will be the primary contact for sophomores while Dean Hobbs is on family leave.

Tammi Simpson, Juniors
tsimpson@wlu.edu 540-458-4111

Tammy Futrell, Seniors
tfutrell@wlu.edu 540-458-8766

If your student has concerns, please encourage her or him to reach out to the appropriate class dean. The class deans can also be the first point of contact for you if there are significant issues. Dean Dave Leonard and I will be working closely with the class deans to provide additional support.
In the event of an emergency after hours or on the weekends, please contact Washington and Lee Public Safety at 540-458-8999. They can quickly contact Student Health and Counseling on-call staff or the student affairs dean who is on call.

Career and Professional Development

Career and Professional Development (CaPD) is offering three career exploration trips for students during Reading Days, October 12th-13th. Each trip offers students the opportunity to visit with alumni working in various industries to learn about different career paths, tips for entry, and internship and job opportunities. The application deadline for all trips is September 17, 2017. Space is very limited – students should apply as soon as possible!

The Economics trip to Washington, D.C. is geared towards students interested in majoring in economics or those who have already declared economics as a major. We will visit federal agencies, public interest groups, lobbying firms, not-for-profits, media outlets and think tanks, including The Brookings Institute, The Federal Reserve, the National Economic Council at the White House Executive Office Building, Economists, Inc., Berkeley Research Group, No Kid Hungry and the Heritage Foundation. In addition to learning about careers, this trip is a great way to begin networking with W&L alumni. For more information and application details, students should login to LexLink using their W&L credentials. Search JOB ID 6044. If students are unable to login, students must submit a resume and brief statement no more than 150 words answering why do you want to go on this trip and what do you hope to gain from the experience to Lauren Jensen at ljensen@wlu.edu.

The Energy and the Environment trip to Washington, D.C. is for students from any major. Students will have the opportunity to network with alumni, get leads on internships and jobs, and enjoy two full days of site visits to firms in various industries (research, engineering, environment/conservation, government, finance, and more relating to energy and the environment). Students should login to LexLink using their W&L credentials. Search JOB ID 5996. If students are unable to login, students must submit a resume to Molly Steele at msteele@wlu.edu.

The Exploring Careers in NYC trip will take students to New York, New York. This trip is geared towards humanities majors in any class. We will be visiting alumni and employers in a variety of fields including publications, museums, public service jobs, advertising, PR, non-profit, start-ups and more. Past visits have included: Palladium Consulting, Saatchi & Saatchi, Hearst, Men’s Health, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, American Red Cross, AT Kearney, BlackRock, Marcus & Millichap, and Grey Advertising. This will be a great opportunity for students to explore whether a particular career may be a good fit, the type of positions available in these industries, and how to best position oneself as a qualified candidate. Perhaps even more importantly, it will be a great way to begin networking with W&L alumni. For more information and application details, students should login to LexLink using their W&L credentials. Search JOB ID 6020. If students are unable to login, students must submit a resume to John Jensen at jensenj@wlu.edu.

CaPD offers a number of programs and opportunities throughout the year for students in all classes. You can follow them on Facebook @wlucareerdevelopment and Instagram or Twitter @wlucareers.

63rd Annual Parents and Family Weekend

Online registration for P&FW is now open at http://go.wlu.edu/pfw-registration. You can find more information about the weekend, including the schedule of events, at http://go.wlu.edu/pfw. The deadline to register for the weekend is Friday, September 22.

Many parents take advantage of Habitat Hotel, a fund-raising effort by our student Habitat for Humanity Chapter that expects to raise approximately $20,000 this fall for the construction of a Habitat House in Lexington. Faculty and staff open their homes to families for the weekend and families make a donation to the local Habitat chapter in exchange. If you would like to make a reservation or ask a question about Habitat Hotel, contact Thomas Thagard ‘18 or Owen Brannigan ‘18 at habitat@mail.wlu.edu.

Sustainability Initiatives and Education

At Washington and Lee the Office of Sustainability resides within Student Affairs. The program is built around our students’ interests in sustainability efforts on campus. We have a student-led and student-run Compost Crew that collects food waste from our dining halls, a Sustainability Internship program, the Sustainability-themed residential house, and the Sustainability Leadership pre-orientation trip. In addition to these programs, we grow food for the dining halls and Campus Kitchen in our Campus Garden, work on energy savings initiatives, help with recycling and other waste reduction programs, assist with student research projects, and partner with academic and administrative offices across campus. For more information about these initiatives, please visit http://gogreen.wlu.edu or contact Kim Hodge, Director of Sustainability Initiatives and Education at (540) 458-4041 or hodgek@wlu.edu.

Residential Life

All students residing on campus have a member of the Residential Life staff (Resident Advisers for first-years and Community Assistants for upper-division students) assigned to them who serves as a live-in resource. RAs and CAs are trained to help their residents with academic, social, and facilities-related concerns and will refer students to appropriate resources if necessary. Two RAs/CAs serve in on-call rotations and remain available to any student in need on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The Residential Life staff also coordinate activities and community programs for their residents and send regular notices of other campus events.

All residence hall dates and deadlines for the 2017-2018 academic year can be found on our website.

Sexual Assault Prevention

W&L takes the issue of sexual assault seriously. We have been engaged in prevention efforts for many years. We will continue to focus on bystander intervention and will provide training on that for all incoming undergraduate and law students this fall.. We will again provide training and programming to foster greater awareness of the resources available on and off campus and of the policy and procedures in place at the University to address complaints of sexual misconduct.

Student Health and Counseling Services

The Student Health Center (SHC) is located on the lower floor of Davis Hall, with our main entrance on Early-Fielding Way, the alley that runs between Washington St. and Lee Ave. We provide primary healthcare services for all full-time students during the academic year, including outpatient visits and overnight care in a 7 bed infirmary. When undergraduate classes are in session, the SHC is open with a nurse on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The SHC is closed for clinical services during Thanksgiving and Winter breaks and during the summer. The Physician and Physician Assistant have office hours by appointment Monday through Friday, and are available on call whenever undergraduate or law classes are in session. Students may seek evaluation and treatment of minor illness or injury from the nurse on a walk-in basis 24/7. Laboratory, radiology and emergency medical services beyond the scope of care at the SHC are available at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, located a mile from campus. Some surgical and specialist physician services are available in Lexington, and more advanced care is available in nearby communities such as Fishersville, Charlottesville or Roanoke.

Counseling and psychiatric services are available to all students on a confidential basis at the University Counseling Center (UCC), located in the Early-Fielding University Center. A psychiatrist and three professional counselors work with students on a wide range of topics including anxiety, depression, concerns with relationships, academic problems, sexuality issues, eating disorders, incidents of sexual assault, and substance abuse. The UCC is open 8:30 AM-5 PM weekdays for scheduled appointments, and the 11 o’clock hour is reserved each day for urgent counseling needs. A counselor is on-call 24/7 when classes are in session, and the counselor on call can be reached nights and weekends when the UCC is closed by contacting the nurse at the SHC. The UCC is closed for clinical services during Thanksgiving and Winter breaks and during the summer. Emergency mental health services are available at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital or through the Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline for the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board (1-855-222-2046).

By University policy, all students are required on an annual basis to provide evidence of U.S.-based, ACA compliant health insurance coverage to supplement the medical care provided by the University. This coverage may be in the form of an individual policy, inclusion in a family policy, or enrollment in a student health insurance plan offered through the University. All international students are required to enroll in the student health insurance plan offered through the University. All full-time students must complete an on-line health insurance enrollment or waiver request annually. Students may contact the SHC or visit our Student Health Insurance web site for enrollment information and assistance in filing claims for coverage under the student health insurance plan offered through the University.

An annual student health fee assures access to Student Health & Counseling (SH&C) for all full-time students, and also serves to pre-pay the co-payment and/or deductible that insurance plans typically require at the time of a medical visit. Students will be asked to bring their health insurance card each time that they come for a visit. The SHC bills health insurance companies for office visits, and will accept insurance payments as payment in full for such services. Other covered services such as certain procedures, preventive services and immunizations may be billed to insurance, as well. Some services and medications dispensed by the SHC cannot be billed to insurance, and payment may be made by cash, check or billing to a student’s University account. A receipt will be provided for all such payments that may be submitted by the student to health insurance or flexible spending plans for consideration.

As always, if I can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at sevans@wlu.edu or 540-458-8754.

What a Trip For many students at Washington and Lee, the Outing Club is about more than outdoor adventure — it’s about finding a place that feels a little bit like home.

OC-Barn-detail-800x533 What a TripThis wall inside the Outing Club barn at W&l serves as a memory board for students and alumni who have explored the outdoors with the club.

Inside the Outing Club barn at Washington and Lee stands a wall that has, for many students, become a rite of passage.

It isn’t the popular climbing wall; instead, this is a long expanse of white wall inked with the kinds of inside jokes and memories that are born when people forge friendships through daylong hikes or overnight adventures.

“We found the trail … finally!”

“19 degrees at night … snores all around.”

“Shot Class V rapids and peed my wetsuit. Gnarly!”

The wall, which is now more black, blue and red than white, is a perfect illustration of how the Outing Club has evolved since it was formed decades ago. What started with a few outdoorsy students and a couple of backpacks is now a rich, multilayered community that enfolds students of all backgrounds, interests and personalities.

Membership in the club comprises more than 50 percent of the student body. Whether they are male or female, Greek or independent, left-brained or right-brained, these students share at least one passion:  the Outing Club.

“The Outing Club can serve students in whatever way fits them, whether it’s a way to push their boundaries, relieve stress, get off campus, or meet new people,” said Diana Banks ’17, a member of the Outing Club Key Staff. “It puts students together in an environment that’s entirely outside of the academic world, and erases all of the usual social constructs that keep people from trying things they want to try or saying things they want to say. It makes it easy to just have a good time.”

James Dick, director of outdoor education at W&L, traces the Outing Club’s roots back to an informal group of outdoor enthusiasts who loosely organized themselves in the ’60s or ’70s. In the late ’80s, Kirk Follo (now a W&L instructor emeritus of German and Italian) became the Outing Club adviser and shepherded the program for many years. Nick Tatar ’96 was the first Outing Club director, serving in that role from 1997 until 2002, when Dick came on board.

Dick-800x533 What a TripJames Dick, director of outdoor education at W&L

In the late ’90s, the Outing Club House, located in Davidson Park, became a residential option for students. For several years, the club stored its gear in the basement and the attic — until it came time to install a sprinkler system, and the fire marshal said the clutter had to go. Fortunately, by then Washington and Lee had acquired the Peniel Farm, west of town on Route 60, which included a large horse barn. The Outing Club moved the gear to what members affectionately call “the OC barn,” and the combination of ample space and a secluded location fueled interest in the club. The Outing Club House still exists as a residential option.

Five years later, the stalls of the red OC barn are stuffed not with horses and hay, but with all manner of outdoor adventure equipment — stand-up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks, whitewater rafts, paddles and life vests, tents, climbing gear, campfire cooking equipment, and much more. One stall is home to the Blue Bike shop, which is run by two student employees. Through that program, members of the campus community can borrow bikes to get around campus and town. The barn also has a full workshop for repairs and building projects.

With help from Outing Club members, Dick used that workshop to build a new climbing wall inside the barn. At 500 square feet, the wall is many times larger than the small bouldering wall once located in the basement of the OC House. The climbing wall, which has been extended several times with help from university carpenters, is used for practice by the Crux Climbing Team. Dick, who teaches several PE classes each term, also uses it to teach climbing techniques, and there are open climbing hours.

Folks off campus have recently begun to take note of Washington and Lee’s outdoor offerings. The university is regularly listed among the Best Adventure Campuses in Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, and was recently named one of 10 Best Colleges for People Who Love the Great Outdoors by Money magazine. Those plaudits owe to its proximity to the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and natural attractions such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail, as well as to the eight-mile network of on-campus trails.

Another big factor is the Outing Club itself. If a student wants to kayak down the Maury River, paddleboard on Carvins Cove near Roanoke, or go backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, they need only pay the $40 fee, which covers all four years at W&L, then visit the OC barn to check out the equipment. Faculty and staff don’t have to pay the fee.

Prior to the beginning of each academic year, the Outing Club offers what is hands-down the most popular pre-orientation trip for first-year students, Appalachian Adventure. It is a weeklong trek on the Appalachian Trail that is led by upper-division students. The trip is so popular, in fact, that this August there will be 18 different groups and nearly 200 people doing Appalachian Adventure, with experience levels ranging from beginners to experts.

Banks, who called Appalachian Adventure “the big ticket,” said, “App Adventure helps you make those easy connections with your peers and upperclassmen who already love going outside, are psyched to tell you where to go, what to do, and how to get the gear you need to make it all happen.”

During breaks, the club offers a number of other trips: whitewater rafting down the Gauley River in West Virginia, backpacking the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, hang gliding in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, sea kayaking through the Florida Everglades, or rock climbing at Red Rocks in Nevada. Other trips allow students to go caving or scuba diving.

AppAdventure-800x533 What a TripStudents on the Appalachian Adventure pre-orientation trip, the most popular pre-o option for first-year students.

During the school year, students can hop an Outing Club van for a quick trip to one of the many picturesque locations within short driving distance of campus. These excursions, which have increased significantly over the past few years, include climbing, hiking, fishing, biking and paddling. Doing a sunrise hike on House Mountain is practically a necessity for any W&L student.

Dick is assisted in the OC barn by work-study students who help visitors with equipment check-outs, keep equipment clean and in good working order, and complete any other tasks their director has scribbled on the chore list for the day. It doesn’t take much coaxing, though, to get students to show up at the barn; in fact, Dick said, it is not unusual on a warm Friday or Sunday evening to find students hanging out at the barn, barbecuing on the grill and relaxing.

Lenny Enkhbold ’17 is another student who found a home with the Outing Club. A member of the Key Staff, Enkhbold says the club actually changed his whole attitude. “The OC has taught me so much about wilderness survival, how to use gear, what gear to use, how to lead, how to communicate, and all of that good stuff,” he said. “But most importantly, I’ve learned how to smile.”

Over the years, so many students have been a part of the Outing Club that it has a huge alumni fan club. Dick credits those alumni with helping to shape the club into what it is today.

“It’s all owed to their efforts,” he said. “The program they dearly loved is still crushing it!”

Although he is often teased about having the best job on campus, Dick puts in long hours. Comments like those from Banks, Enkhbold and other adoring students confirm that Dick and the Outing Club are making a big impact at W&L.

“Over the years, we have worked really hard so that it doesn’t matter who you are, there is a community of fun, zany people here,” Dick said. “I think the Outing Club connects people who would have never connected on campus and provides an anchor for some who have not found their niche. Everybody needs a community; they need to find that sense of belonging.”

Maybe that’s all best summed up in another note on the barn wall: “Stay here as long as you can.”

picnic-at-OC-800x533 What a TripMembers of W&L’s Outing Club practice outdoor cooking techniques at the Outing Club barn.

To read more about Campus Recreation opportunities at Washington and Lee, including club sports and intramurals, click here.

Step Away from the Books Washington and Lee students are on the move thanks to a robust collection of club sports, intramurals and exercise classes.

skiclub-800x533 Step Away from the Books(l-r) Hannah Powell ’18, Emily Cole ’18, Michelle Dreimann ’19 and Mia Harvey ’19, all members of the Skiing and Snowboarding Club at W&L.

Michelle Dreimann ’19 attended Stratton Mountain School, in Vermont, specifically to focus her high school years on both academics and competitive skiing. She was determined to find a college where she could keep pursuing her passion for powder while working toward a future career in business.

Knowing that, some might be surprised that Dreimann chose Washington and Lee University over the University of Denver. But a major factor in her decision — besides academics — was the knowledge that although W&L did not already have a skiing club, it did have a robust Campus Recreation Program that would allow her to start her own.

Two years later, Dreimann is president of W&L’s Skiing and Snowboarding Club, which has 250 members.

“It has given me such a variety of people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, and it’s given me such a broad network of people I can reach out to,” she said.

There is no question that Washington and Lee has a strong varsity athletics program. Dreimann’s experience, however, underscores the value of W&L’s array of recreational opportunities such as club and intramural sports, group exercise classes, and outdoors programs, not to mention a well-outfitted fitness center. Not only do these features draw prospective students, but they also they keep them healthy and happy while they’re enrolled.

“The Recreation Program in general provides stress relief and an opportunity to take a break and step away from the books,” said Ray Ellington, director of Campus Recreation, “as well as a chance to meet and socialize with people they may not see on a regular basis.”

Over the past decade, Washington and Lee’s campus recreation options have grown exponentially. Sixty to 70 percent of the student body is involved in sports clubs or intramurals, and the number of clubs has tripled. More members of the campus community are taking advantage of the fitness center than ever before, and the number of group exercise classes offered is about five times the number available when the program first began.

In addition, the Outing Club, which technically falls under Student Affairs but is unquestionably a major part of the university’s recreational offerings, attracts hundreds of new members in the first month of each academic year (see sidebar). And new additions to campus, including the natatorium and a disc golf course, round out a thriving set of offerings.

The health of these programs has been a driving force in Washington and Lee’s decision to completely renovate Doremus Gym and the Warner Center. When the Warner Center was constructed in 1972, the school had 400 undergraduates and 11 varsity sports; today, it has nearly 1,900 undergraduates and 23 varsity sports. Both the athletic program and campus recreation make the best possible use of the facility, but Athletics Director Jan Hathorn said the Warner Center is bursting at the seams.

“What we do in this building is sort of its own little minor miracle,” Hathorn said.

Fun and Games

Walker Tiller ’17 spent a spring Sunday on Buffalo Creek with W&L President Will Dudley, who had told the wluLex team in an interview that learning how to fly-fish was on his bucket list. Tiller, president of the W&L Fly-Fishing Club, said he and fellow club members Gordon McAlister ’17 and Lendon Hall ’17 were happy to share their enthusiasm for a hobby that has enriched their time at Washington and Lee.

flyfish-400x600 Step Away from the BooksWalker Tiller ’17 (left) and Lesesne Phillips ’18L show off a big catch during the annual W&L and VMI Fly-Fishing Tournament. Tiller is president of the W&L Fly-Fishing Club.

A native of western South Carolina, Tiller has been fly-fishing since he was 8 years old. “The outdoors has been a big part of my life, so when I found out there was a fly-fishing club at W&L, I was excited to get involved,” he said.

The six-year-old club is one of nearly 30 sports clubs at W&L; a decade ago, there were fewer than 10. Other clubs include badminton, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, eventing (an equestrian sport), golf, ice hockey, ping pong, racquetball, rock climbing and much more. A couple of new clubs, including water polo, are in the works.

The fly-fishing club has 82 members, about 30 of whom are active. They go on two big fishing trips each year, in addition to hosting smaller events such as casting lessons. Every spring, they hold a tournament with VMI, an event that helped the club earn sponsorship from Trout Unlimited and the sunglasses company Costa del Mar. The club has also collected supplies for Project Healing Waters, a nonprofit that uses fly-fishing for physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled, active-military personnel and veterans.

“We’ve had a lot of success the past few years, and it’s just a great club on campus,” said Tiller. “The social circle at W&L mainly revolves around Greek organizations, so having the opportunity to meet different people on the water has been a great part of the club and has made my circle of friends wider.”

If a specific type of club does not exist at W&L, Ellington encourages students to set up a meeting with him to get the ball rolling. He helps students determine whether the university has the facilities needed, and whether the activity is safe and fits within W&L’s mission. The next steps involve gauging interest and discussing funding. Overall, Ellington said, “the process itself is relatively simple. I’m pretty flexible. We want students to be able to do stuff in a healthy way to blow off steam.”

As in Dreimann’s case, many students who start a sports club find themselves leading the club and helping to shape its future. The Skiing and Snowboarding Club has some members who race and others who ski for fun. They have designed and sold T-shirts to raise money, arranged discount lift tickets at local ski resorts, and secured sponsorship — and matching club apparel — from Patagonia.

Athletic Department personnel were “extremely supportive” during every step of her journey, Dreimann said. “It’s really just a matter of making a meeting with the right person. Overall, the community here is very supportive. Everyone just wants to help you do what you want to do.”

Although she is only a rising junior, Dreimann has already selected an incoming first-year student to take over as president of the Skiing and Snowboarding Club when she graduates.

Whether students are casting a line or carving one through the snow, they tend to find that participation in club sports at W&L offers more benefits than exercising and socializing. “They are learning skills like accounting, balancing a budget, and fundraising,” Ellington said. “The president has to get the paperwork in on time and make sure members of the club are following through on what’s required, so these clubs also encourage leadership skills.”

NewRiverGorge-800x533 Step Away from the BooksParrish Preston ’17, a member of the Crux Climbing Team, practices his skills at New River Gorge.

A Competitive Spirit

For those with a more competitive spirit, Washington and Lee is home to six intramural leagues. Fall Term brings soccer, flag football and handball, while volleyball, basketball and ultimate Frisbee are played during Winter Term. With up to 20 teams per league, that translates to hundreds of games each year.

Darby Lundquist ‘17 served as a referee and supervisor for intramurals since she was a first-year. She enjoyed the work-study position because it exposed her to many different people on campus. As a member of the varsity basketball team, Lundquist appreciated that intramurals allow students to compete in a sport they love, but with far less stress.

“There are so many people who play intramurals, and they are good but they don’t have time or they don’t think they want to be dedicated to a sport,” she said. “Some just play for fun and others do take it seriously — we get a good mix.

“I don’t know if intramurals are something that’s really advertised on campus tours, but they should be, because a lot of people really enjoy it,” she said. “Resident advisers make a point to tell first-year halls about it. It is part of your identity, and it also keeps people in shape.”

Focus on Fitness

When college tour season is in full swing, it is not unusual to see groups of prospective students and their parents traipsing through the fitness center. Those who are used to hitting the gym on a regular basis may take it for granted, but director Chris Schall never does.

“As far as I know, every tour group comes through the fitness center. It’s a hub and it’s worth showing off,” Schall said. “I even had an amateur weightlifter say that he came to W&L because of the fitness center.”

Schall keeps statistics that show during an average week in 2011, the fitness center had 2,000 to 2,500 visits. Today, the weekly average is about 3,000 visits — and those are just the folks who remember to scrawl their name on the sign-in sheet at the front desk. The 10,000-square-foot facility is open to students, staff, faculty, family members and guests.

Although the fitness center is already well outfitted, the increase in usage means it could benefit from some additional features. Those include more open floor space for stretching, core exercises and dynamic warm-ups; updated equipment; and more (and quieter) weightlifting platforms. Since there is always a waitlist for lockers, larger locker rooms are also on the wish list for the facility. Those changes and others are being considered as the university finalizes plans for the Warner Center renovation.

Schall said these improvements would better serve both varsity athletes and the community as a whole. “Our athletes work really hard, and they are some of the leaders of our student body,” he said. “But if we can better serve them, hopefully it will make it better for the general student body, as well.”

fitness-center-800x533 Step Away from the BooksThe W&L Fitness Center is a popular spot to work up a sweat.

Another area that has seen significant growth is group fitness. What started with a handful of classes 10 years ago has jumped to 30 to 35 classes per week during winter, the busiest season for indoor exercise. These classes include such offerings as boot camp, group cycling, yoga and Pilates. Sticking with newer fitness trends, the college also offers TRX, a combination of yoga and Pilates called PiYo, and a dance workout called WERQ. Instructors are all certified.

Of course, if a treadmill or exercise studio holds little appeal on a nice day, eight miles of walking and running trails, including the Woods Creek trail, beckon from the back section of campus. The new third-year housing community, The Village, has put more students on campus — and placed them closer to that network of trails.

“It’s serving a really great purpose and getting used more than ever,” Hathorn said.

The completion of W&L’s new natatorium may make it possible to offer additional classes in the future. Although nothing is set in stone, Kami Gardner, aquatics director and swim coach, said the new pool would be ideal for water aerobics classes. The pool is also used for scuba lessons, as well as canoeing and kayak classes, and it may end up hosting fun student activities such as a swimming-and-movie night.

“It’s all in the works,” Gardner said, “and it’s all really exciting.”

The same can be said for the entire Campus Recreation Program at W&L, which continues to evolve. As it is, Ellington said, W&L’s program beats out those of many schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, the group he most often uses as a measuring stick for campus rec. Those schools average far fewer sports clubs, intramural events and group exercise classes than Washington and Lee.

On the day of Commencement, Diana Banks ’17 looked back at what campus recreation meant to her during her four years of college: “All of the recreation opportunities, with the exception of intramurals, have been front and center in my college experience, especially given that climbing became a club-like sport at the beginning of my first year. I think these things are important for all students to consider — not just for the variety and depth of activities offered, but also for how they are received and utilized by the students.”

For prospective students, campus recreation is increasingly eye-catching. Ellington said the Admissions staff forwards him emails every week from students and parents with specific questions about how they can pursue a variety of interests when they get to W&L.

“I think within the last decade there has become a better understanding that those opportunities sway students in their college decisions,” Ellington said. “Prospective students wonder, what am I going to be able to do outside the classroom? What is my experience going to be?”

Sunset-hike-800x533 Step Away from the BooksLandon Courville ’19 and Liz Todd ’19 watch the sunset from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Leyburn Library’s Author Talk Series Kicks Off Sept. 21

The Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series, presented by the Leyburn University Library at Washington and Lee University, will begin this academic year with a talk by W&L Associate Professor of History Barton Myers and Brian McKnight, a history professor at U.Va.-Wise, on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 5 p.m.

The authors will discuss their newest book, “The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War,” in the Book Nook on the main floor of Leyburn Library.

Barton_Myers-350x233 Leyburn Library's Author Talk Series Kicks Off Sept. 21Barton Myers

Providing new interpretations of the long-misconstrued aspect of warfare, the authors go beyond the conventional battlefield to examine the stories of irregular combatants across all theaters of the Civil War, bringing geographic breadth to what is often treated as local and regional history. “Guerrilla Hunters” shows that instances of unorthodox combat, once thought isolated and infrequent, were numerous, and many clashes defy easy categorization.

“Working alongside Brian McKnight on this book has been a true joy,” Myers said. “Rarely does one find a collaborator who is equally passionate about the same set of scholarly issues and yet can display excellent editorial judgment and solid gentlemanly criticism without losing sight of the end goal, a groundbreaking scholarly product.”

At the end of the talk, Myers and McKnight will field audience questions. Hard copies of the book will be available for purchase.

The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

Talks are sponsored by the library’s Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Endowment. This fund was created in 1988 to support the varied activities of the university’s Special Collections and Archives, including book signings. All books published by W&L faculty are housed in the library’s Special Collections and Archives.

W&L Alumna and Oxford Professor of New Testament Studies to Lecture at W&L

Jennifer Strawbridge

The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Strawbridge ’01, associate professor in New Testament Studies at the University of Oxford and Caird Fellow in Theology at Mansfield College, will hold a reception at 5:30 p.m. Washington and Lee University on Sept. 20 and will lecture at 6 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

Her talk is titled “Skulls and Scripture: Reception of the Sacred” and is co-sponsored by W&L’s Department of Religion, the Center for International Education and the Howerton Religion Fund.

Strawbridge received the inaugural Society for Biblical Literature – de Gruyter Prize for Biblical Studies and Reception History in 2014. The award recognized the best unpublished dissertation or first monograph in biblical studies and led to her first book, “The Pauline Effect”, which focuses on early Christian use of the Pauline epistles in the first three centuries CE. She has also published a number of articles, including recent articles on the resurrection of the body (“New Testament Studies”) and the magical use of a New Testament text in the ancient world (“Vigiliae Christianae”).

At Oxford, Strawbridge teaches courses in New Testament Studies and early Christianity, which coincides with her own areas of research. She is also engaged in an interdisciplinary cluster focused on relics (the remains of holy people) and the dating of holy objects such as the bones of John the Baptist, pieces of the cross and, most recently, early edition copy of the Qu’ran.

W&L’s Strong Offers Historical Perspective On Presidential Approval Rating

“Trump hasn’t hit 50% to date. He could be the first president in the history of polling to never earn the support of a majority of Americans.”

The following opinion piece by Bob Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in USA Today on August 10, 2017, and is reprinted here by permission.

Trump approval rating: So low it has to go up? Don’t bet on it.


Last week the Quinnipiac Poll put President Trump’s job approval rating at 33%. Gallup had it at 36% this week, as did a new CBS News poll. These are historically low numbers for the end of a president’s first six months in office.

Since the mid-1940s pollsters have tracked presidential approval with standard questions posed to significant samples of American adults. We have reliable numbers for more than 70 years and for 13 occupants of the Oval Office.

Approval numbers rise and fall, but a few patterns persist. For example, first terms are better than second terms. All the presidents after Franklin D. Roosevelt who served more than four years had a better average approval number in the period before election to a second term than in the period after. The drops were very small for Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, but significant for six others.

Every modern president before Trump had at least one approval number above 50%; and, with the exception of John F. Kennedy, all of them eventually earned an approval number below 50%. According to Gallup, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s low was 48%; the others dipped into the 30s or 20s.

Over time, presidential job approval tends to decline, often from a high point earned at inauguration when the voters who preferred another candidate give the victor a new look.

Though decline is the norm, it is not universal. In terms of public approval, there are two categories of recent presidents: “sliders” and “risers.”

The sliders (by far the larger group) achieve their highest approval rating on arrival in the White House or sometime during their first year in office. Then they fall. That pattern describes Kennedy, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Four of our recent leaders — Eisenhower, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton — are risers who earned their highest approval number sometime after their first year in office.

Trump, thus far, is highly unusual because he has never had a Gallup job approval number above 50%. He began his administration with approval in the high 40s and has since slipped into the mid-30s. If he continues to be a slider, he will be the first president in the history of national polling to never earn the support of a majority of Americans — a remarkable distinction.

And why do approval numbers slide? Low approval is often accompanied by one or more of the following conditions: weak economic performance, unpopular overseas conflicts, and/or solid evidence of high-level scandal.

Carter reached a low point after oil shocks and inflation created economic hardship and uncertainty. Truman, Johnson and W. Bush suffered for KoreaVietnam and Iraq, respectively. Nixon got his lowest numbers at the height of Watergate revelations.

Low numbers are easy to explain.

The unusual thing about Trump is that he has earned low approval at a time when economic metrics are good, when our Middle East military commitments have diminished, and when no proof has yet emerged that there are actual witches in the “witch hunt” over Russia. What will happen if bad news arrives in the Trump Oval Office?

Odds are that Trump’s low numbers will go lower, but we can’t count out the possibility that he will be a riser. What accounts for presidential approval going up? In many cases, the uplifting factors are the opposites of the causes of decline.

When the country comes out of a recession and the economy feels like it is getting better, presidents get higher approval numbers. This happened for Reagan after the deep recession early in his first term and for Clinton throughout much of the 1990s.

Though the long-term effects of overseas conflict on presidential approval are often negative, at the outset of a crisis the public tends to support their leader. The two Bush presidents shot up in public appeal when the U.S. fought the first war against Saddam Hussein and when the country was attacked on 9/11. Even a foreign policy disaster —the Bay of Pigs for Kennedy or the taking of hostages in Iran for Carter — can cause Americans to temporarily rally round an embattled commander in chief.

Scandals that damage, but don’t destroy, a presidency — Reagan’s Iran-Contra or Clinton’s impeachment — often end with modest improvement in public approval.

Will the Trump presidency see better economic numbers, an overseas crisis that does not become a controversial conflict, or favorable resolution of current investigations? Perhaps. But a more likely prediction is that Trump, like most presidents, will experience a decline from his initial approval numbers.

That would raise an awkward question: how low can Trump go when his current job approval is weaker than any we have ever seen six months into a new administration?

How do you move downstairs when you already live in the basement?

Robert Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University.

W&L’s Grajzl Discusses “Courts and the Economy” in the Pocket Economics Podcast

“Courts are an absolutely essential part of an economy’s landscape. They secure property rights, they enforce contracts and they contribute to sustainable commercial activity.”

Peter Grajzl, the Ehrick Kilner Haight Sr. Associate Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University, examines “Courts and the Economy” for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a recent Pocket Economics podcast.

You can hear his talk online at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Accounting Alumni Profile: Alex Castelli ’86

Castelli-Alex-530x400 Accounting Alumni Profile: Alex Castelli '86Alex Castelli ’86

I am always amazed at the quality of the students at W&L who are well spoken, interactive, ambitious and excited about the future. I am excited to see how the university continues to evolve and respond to the changing demands of students and employers.

Q. Please describe your current role and responsibilities.

I am an audit partner at CohnReznick LLP, a national accounting, tax and advisory firm. I lead the firm’s Emerging Industries Practice which includes technology, life sciences, renewable energy and health care in addition to serving as the engagement partner on several clients primarily in the technology and life sciences industries.

Q. Why did you originally choose to pursue an accounting degree?

At the time, accounting appeared to be the clearest path to finding a job and not having to go to business or law school. As I learned more about the profession, I enjoyed the problem solving aspect of the profession and the client interaction. Filling the role of trusted advisor and working closely with entrepreneurs and helping them look for solutions to grow their businesses has been very exciting and rewarding. I have also found that accounting is a profession where you are constantly learning and exposed to new ideas and business practices. The accounting profession, like most businesses, is undergoing significant changes due to technology and regulation which keeps it interesting and challenging.

Q. How has the accounting material you studied at W&L benefited you in your current position?

Since I am still in public accounting, it goes without saying that my accounting classes laid the foundation for my current position. However, the diversity of courses that I took at W&L, both within the Williams School and in other areas, provided me with a much broader outlook and understanding as I progressed in my career. Learning how to view issues more broadly and communicate with clients are valuable skills that I was first exposed to while at W&L.

Q. What’s one skill that you think has played a significant role in your success thus far?

The ability to deal with different personalities and stay focused on the end goal or objective. Understanding and appreciating people’s strengths and weaknesses and learning how to maximize those strengths so that they are effective, contributing members of the team.

Q. What is your favorite W&L memory?

The time spent with friends. The comradery among the students and the laid-back environment outside the classroom.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I return to W&L annually to recruit students for CohnReznick and I am always amazed at the quality of the students at W&L who are well spoken, interactive, ambitious and excited about the future. I am excited to see how the university continues to evolve and respond to the changing demands of students and employers.

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Focus on the Environment Ellen Kanzinger's summer internship allowed her to work on films for the nonprofit GroundTruth Project in Boston, Massachusetts.

“This internship allowed me to explore a long-form style of journalism that focused on producing a single story over 10 weeks. I am now more interested in pursuing future in-depth visual stories that combine different media in order to really explore the complexities of a story.”

— Ellen Kanzinger ’18

EMK-9594-800x533 Focus on the EnvironmentEllen Kanzinger ’18 on assignment at the Scituate Lighthouse in Massachusetts.

Majors: Journalism and Studio Art

Where did you intern this summer? The GroundTruth Project in Boston, Massachusetts. I received the Todd Smith Fellowship from the journalism department to support this internship.

Tell us a little bit about that organization.

The GroundTruth Project is a non-profit media organization committed to developing young and upcoming journalists through in-depth multimedia projects. GTP reporting focuses on environmental and human rights issues around the world.

Describe your job there.

This summer I am working with the GTP film team on a variety of projects. Part of my job is to assist editors on the post-production of a few short films. But the internship also provided for a lot of flexibility to work on a project of my own. Kylee Sapp ’18 and I did a lot of research on environmental issues in the area and spearheaded a project that we were interested in. Because GroundTruth’s mission is to get journalists into the communities they are reporting on, we have spent a lot of time traveling up and down Massachusetts’ coast to meet with various sources. We made it up to Newburyport and Gloucester, and later spent some time down in Woods Hole and Groton, Connecticut.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

Since GTP focuses on in-depth projects, I only worked on two stories during my time here. But Kylee and I were able to really dig deep into a story about the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of Cape Cod. Designated toward the end of President Obama’s term, the monument protects about 4,900 square miles of ocean from all commercial extractive activities, including commercial fishing.

This has caused a lot of controversy because many in the fishing community feel the president overstepped his authority and did not provide enough time for public comment on the area. However, many scientists and conservationists have been advocating for increased protection of marine resources for environmental and scientific reasons. President Trump recently ordered a review of a number of national monuments around the country to determine if the designations fell within the legality of the Antiquities Act. We talked to people all over the area who had a personal and professional stake in the monument designation. The final project includes several components, including a written piece, video and photographs.

Who did you meet, such as a source, a story subject or a mentor, that made the most vivid impression on you – and why?

In reporting on the monument and how it will affect the New England fishing industry, we met a lobsterman out of Boston Harbor who has been catching lobster for about 60 years. He took us out one morning so we could see what an average day for him looked like. We left the dock at six in the morning and spent the next eight hours documenting the lobstermen as they pulled in trap after trap. By the end of the day, they hauled in more than 250 traps and caught 158 lobsters.

The captain of the boat spent the entire trip walking us through what they were doing and various aspects of the fishing industry. I was struck most by how open and honest he was with us about his job and the struggles he faces on the water. It served as a reminder about how important it is to report the story to the best of my ability by getting out into the community and talking to the people these issues affect.

When did you feel the most challenged and how did you meet that challenge?

The biggest challenge for me was the scope of the project. Most of the reporting I had done in the past was on local stories that I turned around in a couple of days. With this project, I had to find sources who could help inform my story in an area where I had no previous contacts. I also had to think about how to represent the story visually through video and photographs, especially since the area we were talking about is in the Atlantic Ocean, 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Luckily, the GroundTruth team was supportive of our project and everyone had suggestions on people to talk to or ways to structure the story. Once Kylee and I broke the story down, we were able to work through sources and research piece-by-piece.

What did you like most about the location of your internship?

I’ve never lived in a city before, so I was excited to be in a place like Boston for the summer. I love history and have done the Freedom Trail multiple times. I also went to a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Really, I was just excited to be in a place with so many things to do and different restaurants to try. I think I am finally getting used to the public transportation system in Boston.

Will this internship impact the direction of your career in any way?

In the past, my journalism experience has been geared toward the daily production of news. I spent the summer after my freshman year as a photojournalist with my hometown newspaper. But this internship allowed me to explore a long-form style of journalism that focused on producing a single story over 10 weeks. I am now more interested in pursuing future in-depth visual stories that combine different media in order to really explore the complexities of a story.

How did W&L help to prepare you for this opportunity?

The journalism department at W&L requires students to take 72 credits outside of the major. So while I learned a lot from my journalism professors, such as how to interview your subject or file a FOIA request, I’ve also had the opportunity to explore areas of interest outside of my major. My liberal arts education has heightened my curiosity for learning about and experiencing new ideas to better inform my thoughts.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Accounting Student Profile: Jane Chiavelli ’18

IMG_7587-600x400 Accounting Student Profile: Jane Chiavelli '18Jane Chiavelli ’18

When there were moments I didn’t believe I was good enough to apply for leadership positions, others gave me the confidence that I was capable of being a quality leader and that I could make a difference during my time at W&L.

Q. Why did you originally choose to pursue an accounting degree?

I chose to be an accounting major because I liked the blend of using numbers and different concepts. I also liked how accounting gives you a foundation for all things business-related – you can really do anything with the major!

Q. What’s one skill that you think has played a significant role in your success thus far?

I think my ability to ask for help has helped me be successful at W&L and in the accounting major thus far. I’ve learned quickly that it’s okay not to understand something right away or that you’re never going to know everything, even as a leader! I’m lucky to go to a place like W&L with intelligent and caring students, professors, and alumni, so leveraging my W&L network when I need help or assistance with an assignment or issue has helped me tremendously.

Q. Outside of your accounting courses, what are you involved with (groups, organizations, athletics, etc.)?

I am captain of the Varsity Equestrian Team, president of Beta Alpha Psi, and president of Delta Society. I am also a lead class agent and a member of Money Matters and the Athletics Strategic Planning Task Force.

Q. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned at W&L?

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned at W&L is to get to know and learn from your peers! The reason I am in many of the organizations and leadership positions at W&L is because older students encouraged me to do so. When there were moments I didn’t believe I was good enough to apply for leadership positions, others gave me the confidence that I was capable of being a quality leader and that I could make a difference during my time at W&L.

Q. What are your goals after graduation?

I am planning on pursuing my masters in accounting after I graduate so I can sit for the CPA exam. I will be an intern at PwC in Charlotte next summer in their Assurance practice, and I want to pursue a career in audit long term.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I have loved taking classes with everyone in the accounting department! In particular, I am really lucky to have such strong and confident woman accounting professors at W&L who have been amazing mentors and role models.

A Message Regarding the Violence in Charlottesville

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley

I do not normally issue statements to reaffirm the values that are self-evident in the work we all do together every day at Washington and Lee. But there is nothing normal about the racist violence perpetrated in Charlottesville this past weekend. White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups descended on the city, conducted a torch-lit march on the Grounds of the University of Virginia on Friday night, and clashed with anti-racist counter protestors on the downtown streets on Saturday, causing numerous injuries and one death. Our hearts go out to the families of the woman who was killed, of those who were injured, and of the two Virginia State Police officers who died in the helicopter crash in Albemarle County.

I was born in Charlottesville; both of my parents worked at U.Va., and they continue to live there today. I could not be more personally appalled at the hateful displays of white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideology in the city that means so much to me. This abhorrent bigotry has no place in America. It stands in direct opposition to the values upon which our country was built and that we hold dear at Washington and Lee.

On Sunday, I wrote to U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan to express solidarity and support for the University of Virginia community and the residents of Charlottesville. We admire and share their commitment to condemning racism, hatred and violence, while also defending the rights to freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.

W&L and Lexington have a complex history with regard to the Confederate symbols and figures around which these hateful groups are rallying. Lee, our former president and one of our namesakes, has become a particularly polarizing figure. This gives us a special obligation to be absolutely clear about what we stand for as an institution. We value the essential contributions of both George Washington and Robert E. Lee to making the university what it is today. An explanation of the history of our name is available on our website. We also remain steadfastly and actively committed to creating an increasingly diverse and inclusive community, built on the common values of civility, integrity and respect. These values – W&L’s institutional values – are antithetical to the vile ideologies that we saw on full display in Charlottesville this past weekend, and they call us to speak out in opposition when confronted with such detestable behavior.

Our academic year will begin in a few short weeks with faculty-led, first-year student discussions of “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality,” by Harvard political theorist Danielle Allen, who will give our Convocation address on Sept. 6. These will be the first of many opportunities for discussion of the past weekend’s events, as well as steps we can take to strengthen our own community. I look forward to the work ahead.

Watch Solar Eclipse from W&L Lawn Join other members of the university community for this fascinating event.

754921main_Sun-Moon-650-350x350 Watch Solar Eclipse from W&L LawnSolar Eclipse

On Monday, Aug. 21, the U.S. will experience the first total eclipse since 1979 (and the first time a total eclipse has been visible from coast to coast since 1918). For an excellent view of this moment in history, members of the W&L community are invited to join Chris Compton, laboratory technician in the physics and engineering department, on the university’s Front Lawn.

The event is scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 p.m., with maximum coverage (about 88 percent) set to happen about 2:4o p.m. Keep your fingers crossed for a clear sky!

Compton will have a couple of telescopes set up, plus some viewing glasses. If you have your own viewing glasses, please bring them.

Please read these tips from NASA on how to watch the eclipse safely.

This event will be cancelled in the event of rain or heavy cloud cover.

Adding Up the Research Anukriti Shrestha '19 has found an intersection of mathematics, computer science and research — all in the heart of Lexington.

“Summer research is important because it gives students an opportunity to pursue an area of interest and achieve greater understanding through in-depth analysis without any other distractions.”

Anukriti-Shrestha-800x533 Adding Up the ResearchAnukriti Shrestha ’19 has found an intersection of mathematics, computer science and research all in the heart of Lexington.

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Major: Integrated Engineering – Chemistry and Mathematics

Q. What are you doing this summer?

I’m working with Professor Dresden in the Mathematics Department, along with two other students, Prakriti Panthi and Eric Zhang. We’re looking at different degrees of polynomials that have roots in the form of continued fractions with common tails.

Q. What does an average day for you look like?

We usually meet Professor Dresden in the morning to discuss our findings and talk about what we should focus on next. After this meeting, I usually work in the library or at home. Our tasks vary from day to day. We work with different kinds of mathematical codes and try to find examples that support the theorem we’re trying to prove.

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

Mathematical coding. We use the software Mathematica for a lot of our calculations, and it’s been quite a learning process to figure out and understand complex codes. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s really fun to put data into the code and watch it generate equations and numbers.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Mathematica can get frustrating at times because something as small as a semicolon can cause the code to stop working. There are also days when you simply don’t get the answer you’re looking for even after spending hours working on it.

Q. Have you had any mentors during this time?

Professor Dresden has been an amazing mentor this summer. He encourages us to think out of the box and guides us as we explore areas of math that are new to us. He’s also extremely supportive and has taught us that it’s okay to be wrong, and that it takes multiple attempts to get things right. He encourages us to be persistent and to not give up.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

Definitely. I’m planning to go to grad school and this experience has made me realize that I would like to continue doing research in the years to come. It has also reaffirmed my decision to be a math major.

Q. How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

The small class sizes have taught me to never be afraid to ask questions when in doubt, which has helped me greatly. The wide variety of classes that I have taken over two years has taught me to be open-minded and to analyze problems from various perspectives. It has also taught me to work independently, but not to be afraid to ask for help when needed. The mathematics and computer science classes that I took have definitely helped me with coding, as well as typing up mathematical proofs.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

Summer research is important because it gives students an opportunity to pursue an area of interest and achieve greater understanding through in-depth analysis without any other distractions. You don’t have to worry about other classes or extracurricular activities and can focus on a single subject. Working with a professor also helps a student understand the work that goes behind writing a paper and to be a part of that work. Understanding how research works is also important for students who plan to go to graduate school.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Portrait of a Doctor Dr. George J. Dover '68 was recognized by Johns Hopkins University for his contributions to the field of sickle-cell disease

George-Dover Portrait of a DoctorDr. George J. Dover ’68

A portrait of Dr. George J. Dover, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1968, joined a gallery of 300 individuals associated with The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins University schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. Painted by Lisa Egeli, George’s likeness was unveiled during the 2017 Biennial Meeting and Reunion Weekend, where he was recognized as an influential member of the Johns Hopkins Medicine family.

George, a University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is a world-renowned expert in the biology and treatment of sickle-cell disease (SCD). His research helped define the genetics of fetal hemoglobin production in normal and SCD individuals.

After graduating from W&L, he earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University and completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology, before joining the Johns Hopkins faculty.

From 1996 to 2016, he served as the director of the Department of Pediatrics, the Given Foundation Professor of Pediatrics, pediatrician in chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and director of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

During his two-decade tenure, he recruited new academic division directors for all of the specialty divisions, raised departmental National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding from $6 million to $30 million, and expanded the reach of Johns Hopkins pediatrics to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, in St. Petersburg, Florida. He also oversaw a $125 million capital campaign to raise funds for the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center building, which opened in 2012.

The author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications, as well as author or co-author of more than 26 book chapters in the fields of pediatric hematology and genetics, George has been a consultant on numerous NIH grants and is active in federal government advisory committees. He was the chairman of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) hematology study section and of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board for the NIH Comprehensive Sickle Cell Centers. He also served as a board member of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. He received the George J. Stuart Award for Outstanding Clinical Teaching, given by the senior medical students at Johns Hopkins; the Alexander Schaffer Award for Outstanding Teaching of the Harriet Lane Pediatric Residents; and the MERIT Research Award from the NHLBI.

A Year in Review Celebrating University Advancement's 2016-17 achievements

In the July issue of Generally Speaking, University Advancement announced that the Annual Fund reached a record of $10,560,113 and benefited from the participation of more than 51 percent of undergraduate alumni. The 2016-2017 results represent a 2.4 percent increase over 2015-2016 and include record amounts given by undergraduate alumni, law alumni and parents. Overall, W&L received $37,234,582 in new gifts and pledges, representing an increase over last year’s results of more than $9 million.

Dennis Cross, vice president for university advancement, noted that fundraising is just one aspect of the division’s mission to connect, involve, and gain the support of alumni, parents, and friends. In addition, University Advancement works to tell the University’s story and to communicate current information about the life of the University to prospective students, members of the campus community, alumni and campus visitors. Cross highlighted several additional accomplishments within University Advancement in 2016-2017:

Alumni Affairs supported 67 chapters in the United States and England in staging 295 events. Nearly 500 volunteers are engaged in the work of their alumni chapters. Eight presidential events were held in chapters with 2 featuring former president, Ken Ruscio, and 6 introducing new president, Will Dudley. Spring Alumni Weekend attracted 646 alumni back to campus and 548 alumni registered for Young Alumni Weekend in the fall. Again, the Five-Star Festival for alumni who graduated from W&L more than 50 years ago was well received by alumni in the fall and included the 55th, 60th and 65th reunion classes. Additionally, the Office of Special Programs offered numerous travel and on campus life-long learning opportunities to alumni, parents and friends.

Law School Advancement coordinated 15 law alumni events across the country. Law Alumni Weekend attracted several hundred alumni and guests, many of whom contributed to the reunion class gift of $4.8 million. The record Law Annual Fund result of $1.581 million surpassed the amount called for in the Law School’s strategic transition plan – four years ahead of schedule.

In addition to three issues of the Alumni Magazine and two issues of the Law School Newsletter, Communications and Public Affairs (C/PA) produced monthly issues of the electronic newsletter Generally Speaking received by more than 24,000 alumni, parents, and friends. Reflective of the importance of mobile technology, 51 percent of those who opened Generally Speaking did so on a mobile device. Communications continued to make its communication outlets accessible to all, including those with disabilities. Eight students continued the popular wluLex, a student social media team covering all aspects of campus and community life. Followers of wlunews and wluLex include 14,918 followers on Facebook, 11,698 on Twitter, 10,362 on Instagram. wluLex has 2,229 followers on Snapchat.

Reflecting the importance of video in the University’s communications, there were 33 Livestreamed events, viewed by 11,592; 2,190 subscribers to W&L’s YouTube page; and 113 live video sports broadcasts, viewed by 30,805.

In addition, C/PA partnered closely with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid to update communications strategies and recruitment materials. It also created a comprehensive strategic communications plan to further support the work the department does to enhance and extend the reputation of the university among key audiences and influencers.

Lee Chapel & Museum welcomed 39,699 visitors from the United States and throughout the world. The museum featured a special exhibit on “The Rockbridge Rifles,” a local militia unit that was founded in 1859. The exhibit highlighted the Rockbridge Rifles’ flag, on loan from the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, which has been recently restored with funds from three generous Washington and Lee alumni. More than 2,100 visitors enjoyed the University collections of ceramics and paintings housed in the Reeves Center and Watson Pavilion. The collection was also used to teach a Museum Studies course, “Washington and the Art of Leadership,” a political science course taught in conjunction with the history department, as well as guest lectures for a number of disciplines including art, history, chemistry and economics. The Watson Pavilion also had a special exhibition of World War I toby jugs (pitchers made in the likeness of WWI notables such as King George V and Woodrow Wilson). Since March the Reeves Center has undergone an extensive renovation and will re-open to the university community and the public in September.

Finally, in addition to supporting the university’s on and off-campus events, the Office of Special Events oversaw the University’s two campus guest houses, Morris and Belfield.

The Call of the Wildebeest Jack Miller '19 has spent his summer in the bush of South Africa, learning about wildlife and conservation - and having a few close calls in the field.

“I have always been interested in conservation, but seeing the hands-on work required to do so was exciting. There was never a dull moment and this is something I would love to do in the future.”

Jack-and-the-Antelope_close-800x533 The Call of the WildebeestJack Miller ’19 on location with a captured wildebeest

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Major: Economics (pre-vet track)

Q. What are you doing this summer?

Through the Africa Conservation Experience (ACE), I shadowed a wildlife veterinarian in the Limpopo province of South Africa while also working with a wildlife capture team.

Q. What does an average day for you look like?

It is hard to say what an average day looks like because there are so many different things that can happen on any given day. There isn’t much routine out in the bush. Some days I am with the veterinarian darting different antelope and buffalo species in order to either relocate them or administer medical treatment. Other days, I am with the capture team literally chasing these wild animals on foot in order to herd them onto a transportation truck for relocation. Usually, things never go according to plan, and more often than not, anything that can go wrong tends to go wrong when working with wild animals.

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

The most interesting thing I did in South Africa was mass capture. This is when a game farmer has populations of antelope that have become too high and the capture team comes in to remove certain amounts of each species population to relocate them or sell them to a different farm owner. The simplest way to describe this process is “controlled chaos.” In order to move the animals, we make a temporary “boma,” which is basically a corral that acts as a funnel to herd the animals onto Jurassic Park-styled transportation trucks. Then, a helicopter herds the animals into the boma and we then chase them on foot to herd them into the trucks. Chasing antelope in the boma was bar far the coolest thing I have ever done. It’s extremely dangerous, as most of the antelope species have large horns. Yet, it’s a truly exhilarating and unique experience to be running side-by-side with wildebeest, zebra, and all sorts of other antelope.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

I felt that I was adequately prepared for the work that I was doing, but nothing prepared me for a few life threatening situations. I went face-to-face with a hyena in the middle of the night, almost got trampled by buffalo, and was jumped over by some kudu (which is a type of antelope species). You can’t learn how to deal with those situations until they actually happen. And when they do happen, you must be very alert and ready to act or else you could end up severely injured, if not dead.

Q. Have you had any mentors during this time?

Dr. Louw Grobler was a great mentor during my experience. He is very knowledgeable about the medicine involved and how they work on each different antelope species. He is great to be around and we became very close friends. Another person who served as a mentor was Simon Riekert. He was the leader of the capture team and has a lot of experience working with wildlife animals. He knows their behavior well and taught me a lot about how to handle wild animals based on their behavior. It is easy to see that both men have an intense passion for wildlife and will do anything in their power to help save an animal, no matter how large or small.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

This experience has definitely engendered in me a desire to do conservation work in the future. I have always been interested in conservation, but seeing the hands-on work required to do so was exciting. There was never a dull moment and this is something I would love to do in the future.

Q. How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

The liberal arts education that W&L provides helped me to keep an open mind during my entire time in South Africa, and that made the experience so much more enjoyable. There were times when I was uncomfortable and situations were life-threatening, but being able to adapt to these circumstances and be open-minded made all the more difference in getting the most out of my experience.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

I think that this kind of experience is truly eye-opening and provides a unique perspective into a completely different world. Working in an area where literally everything in the bushveld wants to kill you (even the trees) and where the nearest hospital is 2.5 hours away is a true testament to the desire to work with and support wildlife. The work involved is challenging, but that makes it all the more rewarding in the end.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Learning to Lobby Jason Renner ’19 interned this summer for two lobbying firms in Washington, D.C.

“This experience has been great for my future. My time in this city has helped me realize that I would be very comfortable working in public policy as a career.”

Renner-2-copy-800x533 Learning to LobbyJason Renner ’19 attends a a legislation rally on the Hill.

Jason Renner ’19
Hometown: Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Major: Politics, with a focus on the American national government
Minor: Film Studies

Q: Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity?
As a part of the Washington Term Program, I was able to jump start my summer intern experience in D.C. with the McManus Group, a health care lobbying firm. I spent six weeks in that office before I then transferred over to Polaris Consulting LLC, another lobbying firm, where I spent the remainder of my summer interning.

Both a Johnson Opportunity Grant and the John Warner Public Service Award made this summer opportunity possible. Without the funding from W&L, I don’t know if I would have been able to intern in D.C. for the whole summer. I’m grateful for the scholarships that were granted to me, and I hope to pay it forward by hiring W&L student interns in the future.

Q: What has been your favorite aspect of living and working in D.C.?
Interning and living in the greater D.C. area has been a phenomenal experience. Seeing both our nation’s history and policy up close and personal has challenged all of what I have learned about politics throughout my schooling.

Q: What does an average day for you look like?
Most of my days begin at 6:30 a.m. so I can quickly squeeze in an hour of exercise before getting ready for work. I then use the city’s metro system to commute to work, and am usually in my firm’s office from 9-5. Most days include researching relevant policy issues and tracking the congressional progress on those issues. Some days also included attending congressional hearings, policy briefings or forum events to learn more about specific legislation/policy. A lot of my work focused on writing memo reports on the various pieces of information I was covering for my office. Since I interned with lobbying firms, occasionally my evenings included attending fundraising events for various representatives or senators hosted by company clients.

Q: If you can choose just one part of your experience that has been the most rewarding and fulfilling, what would it be?
The most rewarding experience has been my ability to see the lobbying world more closely than I thought I could. I’ve attended meeting between clients and members of Congress, gone to personal fundraising dinners for members and even handled PAC money that came through the firm. While I knew this happened behind the daily office scene of the job, I was glad I could see it for myself.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
For me, that was learning how be succinct in my memo reports on the various hearings, briefings and presentations I covered. Writing was crucial in both my internships, as I had to be able to convey a lot of information clearly in only a few pages. I believe my writing has improved overall as a result of my internship experiences.

Q: Who has served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?
I had great mentors in both of my offices, but my closest mentor was a fellow alum who worked at Polaris Consulting, Victoria Bell ’14. She was always incredibly kind to me, always quick to answer any question I had while also offering to help me experience whatever I wanted to on the job. She was easy to work with and made my experience that much better. She has further proven to me the amazing qualities that all W&L alumni possess, which is that they consistently go out of their way to help current and future alumni.

Q: What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?
Professors who have challenged me on my writing style at W&L helped me the most on the job this summer. W&L prepared me to write fluidly and clearly for professional audiences. Also, I will be bringing back my networking skills to campus. I made the most of my summer in D.C. by trying to connect with alumni living in the area. I feel confident in my ability to network now, and I hope to continue to connect with more alumni in the future.

Q: Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?
This experience has been great for my future. My time in this city has helped me realize that I would be very comfortable working in public policy as a career. However, I hope to spend next summer interning in a different field so I can try to experience something new. I’d like to sample a few professional career options while I still have the chance to see what best suits me.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
This type of experience is crucial for W&L students, I believe. It’s important that each W&L student has a professional opportunity like the one I have had because it helps students learn more about themselves. Students can learn what career they’d like to pursue, whether they should get a graduate degree and how to become financially independent and successful — all from interning with a company of interest. My experience has helped me grow, and I owe the alumni in both of my offices for the great opportunity.

Q: Describe your summer adventure in one word:

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 Focus on Future Professionals Alumni Wali and Wendy Bacdayan created scholarships to benefit students in business, nursing and allied health.

Bacdayan-1 A Focus on Future ProfessionalsThe Bacdayan family

Wali Bacdayan and Dr. Wendy Bacdayan established two scholarships at Northwestern State University of Louisiana to benefit students pursuing careers in nursing and allied health, and in business.

Wali, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1992, and Wendy, who graduated in 1994, created the Bacdayan Family First-Generation Scholarship in Nursing and Allied Health and the Bacdayan Family First-Generation Scholarship in Business to honor Wali’s father, Dr. Andrew Bacdayan, who was an economics professor at NSU.

Each scholarship was created with a $60,000 contribution that will be matched by the Board of Regents, to be fulfilled at $100,000.

The NSU website noted that the couple selected the fields because of their own careers. Wali is a co-founder and partner in a private equity investment firm, Incline Equity Partners, which manages roughly $1.4 billion in assets and acquires manufacturing, distribution and outsourced services companies valued between $50 million and $200 million. Wendy is a pediatrician in private practice in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, in suburban Pittsburgh.

“Both my parents and my wife’s parents always viewed education as a means to pursue greater opportunities for themselves as well as for their children,” Wali said. “For my parents, it was the avenue that brought them to the U.S. from the Philippines. I’ve seen how a college education can change the lives of not only the recipient of it, but it can change the lives of their families for generations to come.”

The couple’s generosity has extended to their alma mater, as well, committing funds to scholarships, the Annual Fund and the Wilson Field Project.

Chasing History’s Mysteries This summer, Allison Jue '20 dove into the books to learn more about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and the second Earl of Essex.

“I still intend to major in music and pursue pre-med, but this experience has reminded me how much I enjoy literature and writing, and it encouraged me to continue cultivating these pastimes in my experience here at W&L, even if I can’t fit it in as a major.”

— Allison Jue ’20

jue-800x533 Chasing History's MysteriesAllison Jue

Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona
Major: Music

Q: What are you doing for the summer?

This summer I am working with Professor Dobin in the English Department for eight weeks. I am contributing to his project on the second Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux. Essex had a very tumultuous relationship with Queen Elizabeth I at the end of her reign, which ended with his execution after he led a rebellion through the city of London. The project is a literary collection of more than 500 works that have been created on Essex, including poetry, fiction, biographies, YouTube videos and more. Each item has an entry on a timeline containing analysis on how the relationship between Elizabeth and Essex is portrayed, whether the author has a gender bias, and how historically accurate the work is. I’ve been able to focus on what interested me, which ended up being biographies on Elizabeth and children’s histories.

Q: Where is your work taking place and what do you like best about that location?

I am staying on campus. My work is flexible, though, so I can work wherever I want. I just bring my computer and the book I am currently reading, and can pick the spot on (or off) campus where I want to work that day. Some of the places I have worked include the library, the Center for Global Learning, and Pronto coffee shop. The best thing about having a variable work location was being able to work outside and enjoy the summer weather!

Q: What does an average day for you look like?

On an average day, I will pack my backpack with my laptop and a couple of books I am analyzing and walk to campus to work in whatever location suits me that day. I’ll spend my day either reading and taking notes, or reviewing my notes and writing up my analysis on the book and its portrayal of the Essex story.

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

The most interesting thing I have learned while working on this project is how much variation exists in the perception of Elizabeth I’s personality in the biographies written about her. I knew that no biography was entirely impartial (that would make for an extremely dull read), but I didn’t realize how many different versions of Elizabeth could be produced by the facts and personal accounts surrounding her life. Especially interesting is how many distinct adaptations there are on the potential impact of Elizabeth’s age and vanity on her decision-making during the end of her reign.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?

The biggest challenge I faced was sorting through a biography written in 1791 by Charles Ashburton, which I read via a digital copy online. The challenging part about this read was that it written in the style of old English texts, where the s’s are written in a long fashion and look a lot like f’s. Consequently, Essex looked like Effex, and I had to consistently remind myself as I read that f’s were s’s (most of the time) and had to occasionally stop and decipher some words.

Q: Have you had any mentors during this time?

Yes, my mentor has been Professor Dobin. I took his Shakespeare class in the fall, which helped me to develop my writing and analysis skills at the collegiate level, and piqued my interest in the Elizabethan Era of English history. This class was where Professor Dobin first told me about the project, and I was immediately intrigued! He has also been a great mentor throughout the summer, helping me to find books that fit my interests and giving me ways to improve the articulation of my ideas in writing.

Q: Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

Definitely. I still intend to major in music and pursue pre-med, but this experience has reminded me how much I enjoy literature and writing, and it encouraged me to continue cultivating these pastimes in my experience here at W&L, even if I can’t fit it in as a major. I hope to participate in another English-related program next summer and make sure that literature remains a component of my academic experience as an undergrad.

Q: How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

W&L creates an academic community that is tightly knit and welcoming but also has lofty expectations for its students. I have been able to make connections with faculty and students during my freshman year that would not have been available to me at a larger institution. The high standards and independence I experienced in my classes have helped me to develop a discipline and work ethic that have been crucial this summer.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

It enables them to explore interests that comply with and go beyond their majors. It allows students to use the skills and information they have learned in their classes and apply them to real world projects. W&L students are able to take on a lot more responsibility for research projects than is offered at many other undergraduate universities.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Three Distinguished Alumni to receive awards at Young Alumni Weekend

Washington and Lee University is proud to announce this year’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award winners. The recipients will each receive their awards during Young Alumni Weekend, September 15 – 17, 2017. There is still plenty of time to register for the weekend if you haven’t already.

Bovay_headshotweb Three Distinguished Alumni to receive awards at Young Alumni WeekendJohn Bovay ’07

John Bovay ‘07

A mathematics and politics major, John graduated magna cum laude and was a senior class representative to the Executive Committee and a leader in the Outing Club and Nabors Service League. John earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis in 2014. John is now an Assistant Professor of agricultural economics and food policy at the University of Connecticut, where he teaches a class on sustainable agribusiness management. His research topics include the interactions between regulations and private standards in the context of food production practices and food product attributes, with particular attention to food safety, animal welfare, and labeling of food made using genetic engineering; analysis of voting on regulations that affect agriculture; the economics of food waste; and economic and environmental implications of expanded production of food in the Northeast to serve local markets. Before joining UConn, John worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service in Washington, D.C.; before graduate school, he was an economics research associate at Abt Associates in Bethesda, Maryland.

Hartung_Headshotweb Three Distinguished Alumni to receive awards at Young Alumni WeekendKaylee Hartung ’07

Kaylee Hartung ‘07

A journalism & mass communication and politics major, Kaylee graduated cum laude and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma at W&L. Kaylee joined CNN as a news correspondent in April 2017. Prior to her move to join CNN in Atlanta, she reported for ESPN, where she worked live events, regularly appeared on SportsCenter and contributed to the network’s coverage of the College Football Playoffs, the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments and the College World Series. During her five years with ESPN, she earned two Lone Star Emmys and contributed to SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Before ESPN, Kaylee spent five years in the CBS News Washington bureau as an associate producer for Face the Nation and assistant to the program’s then-host Bob Schieffer. She also produced, photographed and edited her own reports for CBSNews.com.

Rain_headshotweb Three Distinguished Alumni to receive awards at Young Alumni WeekendRob Rain ’07

Rob Rain ‘07

An English and history major, Rob graduated magna cum laude, played football, and served as the President of the Executive Committee. Rob is currently the President of the Industrial Division of Johnson Development Associates, a real estate development firm headquarted in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is responsible for the sourcing, development, and management of Johnson Development’s industrial projects. Prior to joining Johnson Development, he worked in Private Equity at WJ Partners in Spartanburg, SC, where he served as an Operating Manager for portfolio companies, and at EnCap Investments in Houston, TX, where he worked on the Upstream Investment Staff. Rob also spent four years as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. He led infantry units in Iraq and Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star with Valor for actions in multiple enemy engagements in Afghanistan. After completing his time in the military, Rob received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Dargan McMaster Rain ’08, have stayed active with W&L as chapter volunteers in Spartanburg and reunion class committees. Rob and Dargan have two girls and look forward to welcoming another baby in September of this year.

If the Shoe Fits As head of brand communications for Adidas, Alegra O’Hare ’94 advises young women to 'break barriers.'

OHare-Alegra-color-800x533 If the Shoe FitsAlegra O’Hare ’94

Selling sneakers in today’s global markets involves more than pretty displays in stores. For Alegra O’Hare ’94, vice president of global brand communications for adidas, “there is a quantity of risk involved. We try to challenge ourselves and break the status quo.”

In 2016, that meant partnering with Alexander Wang during New York Fashion Week to promote products on social media that customers could purchase from trucks strategically placed around the city. “We flipped retail on its head,” O’Hare said. The trucks sold out, with lines of people still waiting to make a purchase.

In 2017, it meant working with the family of Frank Sinatra to launch a campaign for Adidas Originals to the singer’s iconic tune, “My Way.” The campaign, “Original is Never Finished,” helped the brand win four Cannes Lions awards for beautifully produced, buzzworthy advertising and become the best-selling sneaker in the United States.

O’Hare joined adidas in 2007 in Italy, and later took on more responsibility with the south European market. In 2014, she moved to the company’s headquarters in Germany to lead communications, including content creation, media, public relations, and social and digital platforms. Her staff of 52 works in Germany, with O’Hare spending 60-70 percent of her time traveling to Shanghai, South America, Europe and other parts of the world.

O’Hare and her staff launch about 80 campaigns per season, with two seasons a year. They are responsible for creative development, reviewing and finalizing campaigns, production, providing merchant tools, media buys and roll-out.

With a degree in psychology from Washington and Lee, O’Hare decided after a couple of internships in the field that she wanted to pursue a different career path and tried an internship in marketing and advertising. Her first job was with Sara Lee personal products, where she started as a marketing assistant and worked up to a position in brand and product marketing. She then worked for Danish luxury AV company Bang and Olufsen, then an Italian watch company in Milan, and finally, VF Brands, where she was marketing manager for the jeans division.

She believes that studying psychology, especially consumer behavior and analysis, has helped advance her career. “Psychology is definitely useful in influencing consumers,” she said.

O’Hare grew up in Chicago— and yes, she is related to the O’Hare of the city’s airport — but she is quick to point out that she gets no perks from the family tie. Half Italian and half American, she lived in the city’s North Side. When it was time to select a college, O’Hare decided she wanted to experience a small, liberal arts college in a beautiful part of America. “I fell in love with W&L,” she said. She also liked the university’s history and its proximity to Washington, D.C.

Ad-Week-293x350 If the Shoe FitsAlegra O’Hare ’94 was named an MVP of the sports marketing world.

O’Hare is making a name for herself in the consumer brands world. AdWeek recently named her one of 35 “most powerful women in sports winning over the next generation of fans” in its second annual list of the MVPs of the sports marketing world. She said the recognition was “unexpected and empowering,” especially in a male-dominated industry. “It is great to see all 34 other women who are able to bring forth leadership and a point of view. There is more work to do. We have a duty to represent women.”

One way O’Hare does that is by participating in adidas’ women’s mentoring circle. As one of the program’s leaders, she meets periodically with 20 women for round-table discussions about the company and how to steer through the politics of corporate life. “The circles give women the opportunity to talk more freely and share commonalities,” she said.

Diversity and inclusion are hot topics for today’s young people, she said. Sustainability also is important to them, as well as to the company, which makes sneakers from recycled ocean debris.

Her advice to young women is to be more demanding, such as asking for a raise or more leadership opportunities — not waiting for things to just happen. She wants young women to break barriers. Too often, women are waiting to achieve perfection in one area before taking on new challenges, she said. She pointed out that often women are raised to think that way, while men are not.

As O’Hare and adidas continue to break barriers, she looks toward a post-digital age. “Companies are either playing catch-up or thinking beyond. We’re thinking about integrated retail and digital experiences,” she said. A few weeks ago, for instance, the company put up posters with a Chatbox number. New York City consumers could text to buy a product directly, and it was delivered to them by bike messengers. “It had never been done,” she said.

That type of innovation keeps her motivated. “I get to work with a fantastic team and to leave a lasting legacy for the company.”

By Royal Decree A Bible in the Special Collections vault turned out to be the 1642 New Testament that belonged to France’s King Louis XIII.

“The gift of Louis XIII’s New Testament is yet another example of the wonderful support of Washington and Lee’s dedicated alumni.”

— Tom Camden, director of Special Collections

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Anyone who has heard me talk about my work in Special Collections knows that I use the word “discovery” a lot. The 1642 Greek edition of the New Testament that is the feature of this article is one of those serendipitous discoveries made early in my tenure as director of Special Collections, in spring 2013.

While pulling material from the vault in preparation for a guest lecture for Dr. Genelle Gertz’s class on “The Bible as Literature,” I wanted to select an early Bible that would illustrate a vellum, or skin, binding. As I made my way down the vault aisle devoted to folio (oversized volumes), a large, intricately stamped volume caught my eye. Because it was the binding that most interested me, I added the piece to my cart without reviewing the contents.

Upon closer inspection and about five minutes before the class arrived I made a startling discovery. On the beautifully engraved title page were two completely intact red wax seals, one at the top and another at the bottom, denoting ownership by someone who had obviously been of some importance and some means. Having given myself little time to research the crests evident in the wax seals, I was resigned to admitting to my students that I did not know the provenance of the mysterious piece.

However, a quick glance at a tiny dealer’s printed note pasted onto the endpaper opposite the title page revealed the secret: Washington and Lee’s 1642 copy of the New Testament in Greek had been the personal property of France’s King Louis XIII. The excitement generated by this discovery made for a wonderful classroom discussion, and the interest in the piece has now grown to almost cult status on campus.

Louis XIII ascended to the throne shortly before his ninth birthday (after the assassination of his father, Henry IV) and ruled as King of France from 1610 until his death in 1643. His mother, Marie de Medici, acted as regent during his minority, and his lifelong best friend and advisor was the influential Cardinal Richelieu.

Subsequent study of Washington and Lee’s sumptuous volume by students interested in textual analysis tells us that the work was printed under deed of Cardinal Mazarin at the Royal Press at the Louvre in Paris on high-quality paper handmade specifically for the king. Nearly every page of the book bears the royal watermark. There is no indication of how many copies were printed in 1642, one year before the king’s death, but we can assume that the print run was very limited.

Washington and Lee acquired this magnificent volume in December 2005 as a gift of James L. Green, Washington and Lee Law Class of 1984. The Greek New Testament was one of a number of rare volumes generously bequeathed to Special Collections that year by Green. In a September 2014 letter to me, Green explained that he built most of the collection while he was an undergraduate at Penn State, adding more books later based on the date of printing. It eventually evolved into a collection of Latin and Greek classics; Green assured me in his letter that “eventually more books will get to you.”

The gift of Louis XIII’s New Testament is yet another example of the wonderful support of Washington and Lee’s dedicated alumni. The crowning touch was the full restoration of the Bible (including a beautiful linen box) undertaken in spring 2017 and fully funded by the parent of a 2017 graduate. Full restoration ensures that future generations of Washington and Lee students will be able to enjoy this Special Collections jewel.

Watch Tom Camden handle and discuss the King Louis XIII Bible in this video.

W&L’s Rush Weighs in On Russia Sanctions

“What you see the president doing in this case is trying to maintain a powerful image in foreign affairs.”

Mark Rush, Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law and director of the Center for International Education at Washington and Lee University, talked to USA Today about sanctions against Russia in a recent story titled, “Facing veto override on Russia sanctions, Trump’s signing statement raises constitutional issues.”

Read his interview online at USA Today.

W&L’s Sustainability Efforts Earn Silver Rating

Silver W&L’s Sustainability Efforts Earn Silver RatingSTARS Silver

Six years ago, Washington and Lee University took its first steps toward establishing the university’s Energy Education Program by hiring two energy specialists. Since then, W&L has implemented multiple steps to decrease its carbon footprint. These efforts have not gone unrecognized–and most recently the university increased its sustainability rating from a bronze to a silver in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

The STARS system is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. W&L originally earned a bronze STARS rating in 2011 after a report was submitted by W&L students in an environmental studies class. This year’s report was compiled by dozens of W&L faculty, staff, and students.

According to its mission statement, STARS is designed to: “Provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education that will enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements. In an effort to create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability and stronger, more diverse campus community.”

In 2015, W&L hired a campus garden manager and further efforts were taken to earn the campus’s place on a sustainability scale. Dining services began purchasing its produce from the campus garden at 90 percent of the market rate. The garden also benefits the greater Lexington community through produce donations to the community food bank. Additionally, flowers grown in the garden are donated to Rockbridge Area Hospice.

Students are eager to invest their time and energy into greener efforts, as well.

“When I started the office of sustainability three years ago, we started with three interns. We now have 14,” said Kimberly Hodge, director of sustainability initiatives and education.  “Likewise, the compost crew had five people. We now have close to 20.”

Looking ahead, Hodge hopes to see increased sustainability efforts, and there has been movement to better incorporate sustainability into the academic curriculum. The university has also adopted a resolution to include sustainability initiatives in its strategic plan.

After completing this year’s STARS report, Hodge is working on possible steps to help Washington and Lee reach a gold rating in 2019, such as continuing to “green” campus vehicles, tracking and reducing water use, and continuing to reduce W&L’s greenhouse gas emissions and investing in additional alternative energy.

Sustainability Through the Years

  • 2011: The Energy Education Program started; W&L hires two energy specialists
  • 2012: Solar installations on the parking deck, law school, and Leyburn Library come online
  • 2013: University sustainability committee completes a self-study of W&L’s sustainability efforts
  • 2014: The Office of Sustainability is created, as well as a position for the director of sustainability
  • 2015: W&L hires the campus garden coordinator (now campus garden manager), who partners with dining services to provide fresh produce from the garden, and increases composting capacity through a new compost system

Advanced Research Cohort Program Marks Second Successful Year Twelve Class of 2021 students visited W&L for a five-week Advanced Research Cohort program that allowed them to dabble in STEM projects and establish quality relationships.

ARC-800x533 Advanced Research Cohort Program Marks Second Successful YearParticipants in W&L’s 2017 Advanced Research Cohort program with program advisors. Back row (l-r): Matt Dodson ’20 (RA for the program), Caleb Pena, Kionte Burnette, Anna Jepsen ’19 (RA for the program), Provost Marc Connor, Freddie Marx, Grace Sullivan, Meredith Culhane, Jeronimo Reyes, Asst. Provost Marcia France, Dean Megan Hobbs. Front row (l-r): Elyssa McMaster, Christina Munoz, Alexis Feidler, Anthony Lorson, Amalia Nafal, Hayley Culbertson.

A dozen members of Washington and Lee University’s Class of 2021 spent five weeks on campus this summer as part of the Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) Program. The program, which was piloted during summer 2016, gave a diverse group of students the chance to work with faculty and current students on existing research, develop and execute their own STEM-related projects, and build relationships with each other and the W&L community that will endure throughout their college careers.

The ARC program, which started with the seed of an idea from biology professor Helen I’Anson, focuses on incoming students who already have a strong interest in science, technology, engineering and math. This year’s program built on the success of the inaugural year, adding longer stretches of time in the laboratory and fine-tuning enrichment programs in leadership and career development.

Each of the 12 students was assigned a professor/mentor and was able to assist that professor on her or his current research project. That included working with summer research assistants in the laboratory for both full and half-days. The ARC students also broke into small groups to develop their own STEM-related projects.

This year’s projects included a 3D-printed model of Lee Chapel, for which students used a drone to take hundreds of pictures and generate a virtual model. Another group wrote the computer code for a robot that can move around without running into objects. A third team used piezoelectric transducers in shoe inserts to turn mechanical energy into electrical energy, while a fourth made a virtual reality simulation of a Mars mission in the hopes that it might someday turn into a full video game.

Megan Hobbs, assistant dean of students and dean of sophomores, joined the ARC students to talk about leadership development and self-awareness, while Assistant Director for STEM Programs Molly Steele organized professional development events with alumni speakers. Steele also worked with the participants to establish their own resumes, curriculum vitae and LinkedIn profiles.

There was plenty of time for fun, as well, with the group going for hikes, visiting Charlottesville and taking part in some of Lexington’s Independence Day celebrations. “Based on my interactions with the students, they really enjoyed it,” I’Anson said. “My feeling is that it went as well as the first year, if not better.”

I’Anson said more faculty volunteered to help this year, as did many of the students who participated in the 2016 ARC program.

“We had a majority of them stay on to do summer research this summer, so I think that definitely shows that they developed a kinship with the labs,” she said. “Most of them were in labs that they had worked with over their ARC program, and they were really excited to get the new students in and make them feel welcome. So they are paying it forward already.”

The following is a list of 2017 ARC program participants, along with their hometown and the professor they assisted with summer research this year:

Freddie Marx of Greensboro, North Carolina, assisted with Associate Professor Carrie Finch-Smith’s mathematics research.
Grace Sullivan of Wantagh, New York, did research with biology assistant professor Gregg Whitworth.
Meredith Culhane of South Weymouth, Massachusetts, worked in Assistant Professor Kyle Friend’s chemistry/biochemistry lab.
Anthony Lorson of Linden, Pennsylvania, did research with Professor Wythe Whiting in psychology and neuroscience.
Elyssa McMaster of Roanoke, Virginia, helped in Professor Joel Kuehner’s physics & engineering lab.
Haley Culberston of Kingsport, Tennessee, worked in Associate Professor Nadia Ayoub’s biology lab.
Kionte Burnette of Salem, Virginia, assisted in Associate Professor Carrie Finch-Smith’s mathematics research.
Alexis Feidler of Spring Mills, Pennsylvania, did research with biology and neuroscience assistant professor Sarah Blythe.
Cristina Munoz-Robles of Gardnerville, Nevada, helped biology and environmental sciences professor Bill Hamilton.
Jeronimo Reyes of Pomona, California, helped with Professor Paul Cabe’s biology research.
Caleb Pena of Saint Cloud, Florida, worked with Assistant Professor Natalia Toporikova in biology and neuroscience.
Amalia Nafal of Miami, Florida, assisted Associate Professor Sara Sprenkle in computer science.

Read more about the ARC program: https://columns.wlu.edu/wl-launches-advanced-research-cohort-arc-pilot/

The Sound of Music Professor Chris Dobbins and Ben Whedon ’18 are reviving a forgotten musical score for its 21st-century premiere by the W&L Orchestra.

“This will be a unique experience for the students. There’s enough meat in the score that it will challenge them, but also places where they can sit back and enjoy the experience.”

— Assistant Professor Chris Dobbins

Whedon-and-Dobbins-800x533 The Sound of MusicBen Whedon ’18 and Professor Chris Dobbins in Wilson Concert Hall.

In 1920, the American composer John Alden Carpenter wrote “A Pilgrim Vision” to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ voyage to America. It had only three performances: two by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and one by the New York Philharmonic. Then the score sat essentially forgotten in the archives of the Library of Congress — until last year, when Chris Dobbins, assistant professor of music at Washington and Lee University, became involved with Unearthing America’s Musical Treasures, a project spearheaded by the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA).

“About a year ago CODA started an initiative in conjunction with the Library of Congress, which involved digging through boxes and boxes of music,” said Dobbins. “Some of it was catalogued and some of it wasn’t, but we were searching for rare music by lesser-known American composers that hadn’t been performed or was rarely performed. The goal is to make the pieces playable for a modern orchestra. We also want to perform them and make a recording of those performances, as well as parts of the scores, freely available on the CODA and Library of Congress websites.”

Dobbins settled on “A Pilgrim Vision,” which was written for a 42-piece orchestra and runs for a bit over nine minutes. The first step was to enter the score into Finale, a music-notation software program. That task fell to summer research scholar Ben Whedon ’18, who is minoring in music (his double major is accounting and business administration and European history).

The process was anything but straightforward. “It wouldn’t have been so bad other than this guy’s particular compositional techniques,” said Whedon. “Carpenter is very clear in his score about what he wants to see. For example, he’ll have articulations of accent marks over almost every note, which almost doubles the time it takes to enter the material. I’ve spent more than four weeks in a cubicle, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at a computer, just inputting all of this data.”

Although Whedon plays the piano and sings with the University Singers, he found parts of the score unfamiliar. “Some of it is dated,” he explained. “Some of the notations are for instruments that I’ve never had any experience with, and there’s stuff that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that I’ve had to decipher by spending a decent amount of time Googling.”

Carpenter-pdf-263x350 The Sound of MusicA page from “A Pilgrim Vision” by John Alden Carpenter

Carpenter’s shorthand includes not using use the appropriate key signature for the French horn parts and relying on accidentals (sharps or flats) for every single note. “I don’t know the historical context behind why that would be,” Dobbins said. “Maybe it was laziness on his part. Maybe he was a horn player, and it was easier for him to write it this way.”

Once Whedon finishes the grunt work of entering the score into Finale, he and Dobbins can begin deciphering some of what they call the “funky” shorthand. Are the extra beats in a particular measure for two parts, or is it a massive notation violation, or is it just the way composers wrote it out back in 1920?

“A lot of questions could be answered if we could look at specific instrumental parts,” said Dobbins. “But there isn’t a set of parts extant for this piece — this is all that we have. The parts created for the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Symphony are lost to time, and no one can find them. A lot of composers use shorthand in their scores like Carpenter did, but it’s easy to see what they wanted when you take a look at the parts that are written out. We don’t have that luxury — that’s what makes this like a detective story.”

What story does the music tell? Whedon says a few sections imply various stages of the journey. An organ part at the beginning conjures up a final church service, a turbulent section refers to a stormy sea, and the fanfare of horns signifies the group’s arrival. “It’s not a symphonic poem,” said Whedon. “Carpenter didn’t leave specific notes as to what he was thinking, so a lot of this story is other people’s interpretation.” He says the music reminds him of the score to Disney’s “Fantasia.” “It sounds a bit like the music that accompanies cartoons. I do enjoy what I’m hearing, even if it’s just the computerized playback version out of Finale.”

Whedon’s last day is Aug. 15, and he plans on having a completed score ready, with all the instrument parts extracted and all the page turns synchronized. Dobbins will turn the material over to the Mary Washington University orchestra, which will play it through to see if he and Whedon need to iron out any other sections. Then it will be ready for the W&L Orchestra to rehearse and perform in March 2018.

“This will be a unique experience for the students,” said Dobbins. “There’s enough meat in the score that it will challenge them, but also places where they can sit back and enjoy the experience. Because they don’t get much of an opportunity to play in a large orchestra here, it will be a good experience for them to do that. We’ll be bringing in area musicians to fill out all the sections, for a total of 80 musicians. Just the string section will be nearly 50, not to mention all the brass and percussion. We will blow the roof off the Wilson Concert Hall.”

He added, “It’s not often these days that you can’t listen to a recording of a piece you’re going to play. This hasn’t been performed in almost 100 years, so it’s going to be brand new for everyone.”