Feature Stories Campus Events

Oh, the Places They Went! Whether doing research on campus or traveling across the world for internships and projects, W&L students made the most of summer 2017. In the new year, we invite you to take a look back at everything they accomplished.

FullSizeRender-800x533 Oh, the Places They Went!Bryan D’Ostroph ’19 poses in Peru.

As 2017 draws to a close and winter settles over Lexington and the Washington and Lee campus, our imaginations are lured back to summer break and all the exciting and educational experiences that occurred for our students.

When summer classes ended, dozens of students continued their education with research projects on campus and beyond, while others worked at internships in their fields of interest. They traveled to China, Vietnam, Rwanda, South Korea, Greece, England, Hollywood and Capitol Hill, among many other places. They studied Chinese folk singing, hydroelectric power, and historical artifacts surrounding a turn-of-the-century murder. They reported big stories through print and broadcast journalism, opened a store in Cameroon, built a STEM center for children in Mexico, and shadowed doctors in Thailand and Ecuador.

In the new year, we invite you to take a look back at all the spectacular places they visited, the inspirational people they met, and the challenging experiences that will prepare them for careers after graduation.

Click here to see a round-up of all our student profiles from summer 2017.

IMG_5372-800x533 Oh, the Places They Went!Yoko Koyama ’19 (left) and Maren Lundgren ’19 flank a group of children who are showing off musical instruments they made in a camp activity organized by Koyama and Lundgren.

Connecting the Dots of the Liberal Arts Monica Musgrave '18 is already double-majoring, but that didn't stop her from spending six-weeks in England studying two completely different subjects.

“Opportunities like this enable students like myself, who are interested in subjects outside of their intentional studies, to explore academic spheres that they’re interested in despite not specializing in them, enabling them to have a fuller academic experience during their time in higher education.”

FullSizeRender-Monica-Musgrave-1-800x533 Connecting the Dots of the Liberal ArtsMonica Musgrave ’18 is already double-majoring, but that didn’t stop her from spending six-weeks in England studying two completely different subjects

Majors: Politics and Spanish
Minor: Poverty and Human Capabilities
Hometown: Clayton, NC

Q. What did you do this summer?

I participated in the Virginia Program at Oxford (VPO), a six-week summer program designed to teach students from six different colleges and universities in Virginia about the history and literature of Renaissance England. It’s an interdisciplinary program open to students of all majors, which is what initially caught my eye.

Q. Where did this opportunity take place? 

The program is carried out at St. Anne’s College of Oxford University in Oxford, England. I was able to visit London a couple days before I came to St. Anne’s, but I can definitely say that I much prefer Oxford; it’s much more homey. My favorite part of Oxford, however, was the University Parks where I go running. There’s a lot of open green space that backs up against a river that’s peaceful to follow along. If you keep going beyond the river, you end up in fields and farmland, and sometimes I’ll run into cows and horses on my route!

IMG_2415-Monica-Musgrave-e1504193935795-400x600 Connecting the Dots of the Liberal ArtsMonica with the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford, and one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

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

A normal day in the program started with a hearty English breakfast (I’m a massive fan of the beans!) and then lecture at 9:30 a.m. from world-renowned English Renaissance scholars. After lectures, we had tea and coffee and time for discussion. I usually went on a run after this, finishing with time to make it to lunch at 1 p.m. Then I spent the afternoon reading for my tutorial courses held on Fridays, with particular emphasis on the topic I was writing about that week, either English or history. Some afternoons, I was a little less studious, and I headed into town to explore — my favorite place downtown was the Ashmolean museum, the first public museum in the world! After dinner at 7 p.m., I either got back to my studies or headed to the pub for a pint with friends.

Q. What was the most rewarding part of your experience?

For me, the most rewarding part of this program was the fact that I was able to exhaustively study subjects I wouldn’t have time for at W&L. Since I’m planning to graduate with two majors and a minor, there isn’t often room in my schedule to pursue other subjects I’m interested in, like English and history. Being able to immerse myself in those two subjects wholeheartedly was immensely satisfying, particularly in regard to the literature-focused portion of the program. If I could pick up a third major, it would certainly be English.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

The biggest challenge I faced in this program is the fact that I had to gear up again for academics. Prior to the start of the program, I had been in Spain working as an au pair, so to switch into the rigorous study mode necessary for the kind of work I wanted to produce was definitely a difficult transition from poolside afternoons in Madrid, where I took care of two girls while helping them with their middle school-level homework.

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 that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during my time at W&L, in traditional liberal arts fashion, is that everything is connected. W&L has done a really fantastic job at integrating its students in the interdisciplinary world, through various means such as the courses it offers, the speakers it hosts, or the discussions it often holds. In instilling this appreciation for learning outside of one’s major(s), I have really been able to fully take advantage of the opportunity VPO has placed before me, and given me a different perspective from which to undertake all that I’ve learned. This distinct approach helped me to wholly embrace the program and bring back a deep understanding of a period in history of which I had previously been largely unfamiliar.

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

While I’m not going to return to W&L to pick up a major in English or history, my experience with VPO has enabled me to make more and more connections with my other studies. While learning about the history of the monarchy during Renaissance England, I am able to analyze the power dynamics through the political lens given to me by my politics major whilst comparing them to their contemporary monarchs in Spain, of whom I have learned of through my Spanish major. Through VPO, I’ve been able to add further to my web of knowledge of the world to complement my directed studies at W&L.

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

Primarily, opportunities like these enable students like myself, who are interested in subjects outside of their intentional studies, to explore academic spheres that they’re interested in despite not specializing in them, enabling them to have a fuller academic experience during their time in higher education. Beyond this, the ability to go abroad and experience different cultures is important in creating the worldly and mindful students W&L endeavors to cultivate.

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.

The Year in Photos A selection of our favorite W&L photos from 2017

As another year draws to a close, we take a look back at some highlights of 2017 on the Washington and Lee University campus and beyond! Photos by University Photographer Kevin Remington (unless otherwise noted).

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Keen Named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College

Suzanne_Keen-400x600 Keen Named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Hamilton CollegeSuzanne Keen

Suzanne Keen, dean of the College and Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has been named vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York. She will begin her new role on July 1, 2018.

W&L Provost Marc Conner said Keen will remain in her current position through the current academic year. The process for hiring her replacement will be announced this winter.

“It is difficult to adequately express how important Suzanne Keen has been to W&L since her arrival in 1995,” said Conner. “She has been one of the great teachers of the university, a gifted and passionate educator who has taught thousands of students the joys and challenges of great literature. In her roles as chair of the English Department and on many important university-wide committees, she has been a leader and an eloquent voice of reason and commitment in everything she has done.”

Keen, who was acting chair of the Department of English from 2003 to 2004, and chair from 2010 to 2012, teaches courses in British fiction and postcolonial literature and a number of first-year and upper-level seminars. She has published widely on the topic of narrative empathy, and authored several books, including a textbook on narrative form and a volume of poetry. In 2008 she received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV), one of 12 awarded state-wide.

She served as interim dean of the College in 2012-2013 before assuming the position permanently in 2013. In that role, she hired dozens of faculty, with an emphasis on improving faculty diversity and cultivating a younger generation of campus leaders; created Teacher-Scholar Development Cohorts; added Arabic language instruction and Experiential, Global Learning and Perspectives course designations; carried out strategic planning for the College; advocated for the future of STEM pedagogy; and launched W&L’s Digital Humanities Initiative.

In her new role at Hamilton, Keen will serve as the chief academic officer and as the primary voice of the faculty on the president’s senior leadership team.

“While I have had the privilege of working with Suzanne for only one year, it is clear to me that she has had an enormous impact on W&L during her tenure at the university,” said W&L President William C. Dudley. “Suzanne’s passion for her students, the faculty, and teaching are evident in everything she does. She will be a great asset to both the faculty and the senior leadership at Hamilton.”

“I have been forged as a faculty member and senior administrator at W&L,” said Keen. “I am proud to have been part of a faculty so accomplished and so dedicated to our teaching mission. I have witnessed wonderful development in both the quality and diversity of our students since 1995, and the hardest part of this departure involves leaving my W&L teaching behind. My sweetest memories take place in the Payne Hall seminar room.”

More information about Keen’s appointment is available on the Hamilton College website.

Related //,

W&L Law Student Contributes to Report on Juvenile Detention Center

holllieweb-270x350 W&L Law Student Contributes to Report on Juvenile Detention CenterHollie Webb ’18L

Washington and Lee law student Hollie Webb ‘18L offered her experience representing unaccompanied youth immigrants for a recent media report on conditions at a regional juvenile detention center.

Webb is a student attorney in W&L’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, directed by law professor David Baluarte. Both Webb and Baluarte offered insight into an investigation of the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton, Virginia. A WMRA report on conditions at the center centered on a class action lawsuit alleging that roughly 30 juvenile immigrants faced brutal and inhumane treatment while confined at the center.

Webb and Baluarte explained how unaccompanied juveniles often flee to the U.S. to escape violence in their home countries. And once detained, it can be very difficult for these children to get asylum and begin to recover from their experiences.

“They’re running from terrible situations that most people can’t imagine…the kinds of violence and things that they’ve been through and seen, it would be comparable to a soldier coming back from a war,” Webb said in the report.

The full report, available online at wmra.org, also features W&L poetry and Spanish professor Seth Michelson, who works with children at the detention center.

No Such Thing as a Typical Day As a geology summer research assistant in Crete, Greece, no two days were the same for Chantal Iosso '20.

“This experience will probably lead me to do more research in the future, likely with some of the skills I’ve acquired this summer.”

— Chantal Iosso ’20

Hometown: Falls Church, Virginia
Majors: Geology and Environmental Studies

Q: What did you do for the summer?

My summer opportunity involved a total of 10 weeks of work with Professor Jeffrey Rahl in the Geology Department. First, we spent two weeks in Crete collecting 12 samples of peridotites and serpentinites from the uppermost unit. These rocks used to be part of the floor of an ocean that closed as the African plate subducted beneath the island. For the other eight weeks, back in Lexington, I analyzed the crystallographic preferred orientation of minerals in these samples, which will provide more information about the deformation history of the uppermost unit. This research was funded by a Mellon Grant and the R. Preston Hawkins IV Geology Award.

Q: What was your favorite part of working in Greece?

It’s difficult to pick what I liked best. The island is beautiful: beaches that lead to crystal clear water, dramatic topography with gorges and mountains, clear blue skies. On a more academic note, it was amazing to see such a variety of rock types in such a small area, all telling the story of plate movements and terrain millions of years ago. On the first day, we drove through four different units right next to each other which tracked the closing of an ancient ocean.

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

One of the best things about this research was that there wasn’t really an average day; I did a huge variety of different things. While we were in the field in Crete, the typical day started with data logging from the previous day at breakfast. Then we’d consult our maps, hop in the van, and drive to an outcrop.

Once we arrived, we used our hammers and chisels to extract samples, and we used our hand lenses to try to identify whether the sample was sufficient for our needs. If it was, we’d take some photos, jot down the orientation of the sample, and bag it. Then we’d go back to the maps and the van, and lather, rinse, repeat until dinner, which usually involved gyros and some fantastic sunset views over beautiful blue water.

Back in Lexington, I spent a few days slicing the rocks into chips on the rock saw. While waiting for the chips to be processed and polished, I read articles and got ready to interpret my samples. Once my samples returned, I’d use the scanning electron microscope and electron backscatter diffraction technique to analyze them.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?

The rocks I am studying are part of an ophiolitic complex, or section of ocean floor that has been emplaced on land, on Crete. Outcroppings of this complex are relatively rare. Additionally, the papers that we were using to guide us to the outcroppings often didn’t have roads marked on the map, and the road map didn’t have outcroppings marked, so trying to find the roads to the outcroppings proved a challenge.

Another problem: The rocks I’m studying, peridotites, easily weather at the earth’s surface and can undergo serpentinization, which uses up the minerals of interest. This meant that once we found the outcrop, we had to search for a relatively unaffected sample. There were some days that we spent more than eight hours searching and only gathered one or two samples. However, we did manage to get a few good samples that will provide interesting data. Having succeeded despite the difficulty makes the results even more rewarding.

Q: Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what was the best thing they taught you?

Professor Rahl also taught my introductory geology class, so between that and this summer’s research, most of what I know about geology comes from him. This summer in particular I learned a lot about mineral identification and lab tools, such as the EBSD, from him.

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

As a sophomore, I’m not entirely sure where I will be headed three years from now, but this summer’s experience provided useful insight in geology research. This experience will probably lead me to do more research in the future, likely with some of the skills I acquired this summer.

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

In-depth research over the summer adds dimension to a specific subcategory of geology that even an advanced class can’t provide. The amount of background reading and the hands-on elements result in more learning, which results in more questions and then even more learning. And of course, working close to a professor is extremely educational. Going to Crete doesn’t hurt either!

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.

William H. Fishback Jr. ’56, Member Emeritus of Washington and Lee’s Board of Trustees, Dies at 83 Fishback was a member of the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2010.

Scans-8-400x600 William H. Fishback Jr. ’56, Member Emeritus of Washington and Lee’s Board of Trustees, Dies at 83William H. Fishback Jr.

William H. Fishback Jr., a member of the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2010, died on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was 83. He graduated from Washington and Lee in 1956 with a degree in journalism.

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Fishback grew up in Savannah, Georgia. He was a reporter and editor with the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch from 1956 to 1966, when he joined the administration of President Edgar F. Shannon Jr. (W&L Class of 1939) at the University of Virginia and embarked upon a distinguished career there. He served as UVA’s chief public relations officer for 25 years, becoming associate vice president of University Relations; a special adviser to President John T. Casteen III; and a special consultant to the university’s first billion-dollar campaign. He retired from the administration in 1995 but continued at UVA as a senior lecturer, conducting courses in newswriting and advising the staffs of the student publications. He retired from the UVA faculty in 2008.

Also at UVA, Fishback served on the founding boards of the Center for Politics and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. He belonged to the Raven Society, the oldest and most prestigious honorary society at UVA, and received its Raven Award in 2004 for his scholarly pursuits and his dedication to the ideals of UVA.

While a student at W&L, Fishback was a dormitory counselor, the president of Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity, a member of Sigma Delta Chi (Society of Professional Journalists), a member of the Ring-tum Phi staff, and senior class secretary.

Fishback served Washington and Lee as a trustee, as a class agent, as chairman of the Communications Advisory Board, and as a member of the 250th Anniversary Commission. In 1993, along with his wife, Sara, he established the Fishback Program for Visiting Writers in memory of his parents, Margaret Haggin Haupt Fishback and William Hunter Fishback. The program brings outstanding writers to W&L to meet with students and give public lectures.

Fishback also was a former member of the board of trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, the oversight board for the Washington National Cathedral and its schools. He had been a senior warden and member of the vestry of St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville, and served on various committees of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. His other board service included the Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce, the Charlottesville/University Symphony, the Tuesday Evening Concert Series and Madison House. He also belonged to Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L.

Fishback is survived by Sara Fishback, his wife of 61 years; a brother, John Randolph Fishback; three children, William Praleau Fishback ’82 (Christine), Jean Fishback Elwood (James) and Sara Fishback Bissett (Peter); and four grandchildren, Will, John and Robert Elwood and Laura Bissett.

A private service will be held at the University of Virginia columbarium. A memorial service will take place on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at 11:00 a.m., at St. Paul’s Memorial Church, 1700 University Ave., Charlottesville.

In the Belly of the Beast Skyler T. Zunk ’19 was an intern at the White House's Office of Political Affairs.

Skyler-Zunk-800x533 In the Belly of the BeastSkyler T. Zunk ’19

“It was incredibly eye-opening to meet and acquaint myself with some of the some of the smartest, most dedicated civil servants in the entire world.”

Skyler T. Zunk ’19
Hometown: Moseley, Virginia
Major: American Politics

Q: Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity:
I had the privilege to intern in the White House Office of Political Affairs this past summer. I worked under the regional political director for the Midwest region facilitating research and projects to help fulfill the president’s agenda. It was incredibly eye-opening to meet and acquaint myself with some of the smartest, most dedicated civil servants in the entire world — their devotion to our nation and its continued success was truly inspiring and encouraged me to work harder every day.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of D.C?
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was quite a change in pace compared to Lexington and my hometown. Though city life required a bit of adjustment, I most enjoyed being in the “belly of the beast,” in the center of the country’s attention. Seeing events transpire during the workday and then returning home to hear the media coverage of these same happenings quickly put into perspective the consequential work of all those surrounding me.

Q: What did an average day look like?
The Office of Political Affairs is truly the intersection of politics and policy. Accordingly, my day to day consisted of preparing regional research briefs on national, state and local topics that affected policy and the president’s agenda. On numerous occasions throughout the summer, I attended White House events, such as the Made in America Product Showcase, the Congressional Picnic, and a speaker series inclusive of counselor to the President KellyAnne Conway and Secretary Ben Carson. Every day at the White House was a great day, but no two days were exactly alike.

Q: Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what did they teach you?
Like every W&L student, I am blessed with an expansive alumni network, especially in Washington, D.C. I had the opportunity to meet several notable alumni, several of whom provided me with exceptional advice on how to navigate D.C careers, life after W&L, as well as how to be a better intern. I’m incredibly thankful for the time and guidance of Professor Bill Connelly, Andrew Olmem ’96 ‘01L, Riley Barnes ’09 and Mr. Rich Spence ’91, among the several others who took the time to launch me in the direction I want to go.

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?
In Washington, as at W&L, the importance of relationships is paramount. Washington and Lee thrives because of the relationships students are able to build between themselves, their professors, and the community at large. Washington, D.C. is a big city, but in many ways, it is a small town where people matter and relationships rule.

Q: Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?
If anything, this experience invigorated my passion for American government and the importance of public service. I have a better idea of how graduate programs can help in different capacities (law, business, policy), but I will likely work for a couple of years prior to any graduate school programs.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
It is important for all students to intern or work for government at some level because it helps to put into context the challenges we face as a nation and personalizes the efforts by those in the legislature and the executive to improve our country. It is easy to stand back and commentate, commiserate and criticize the political battles of the day; it is another thing to roll up one’s sleeves and try to make meaningful change. When you are up close, you learn that most everyone in government believes they are doing what is best for the nation; the disagreements come when deciding how to make America great.

Q: What kind of funding helped make this experience possible?
Johnson Opportunity Grant, John Warner Public Service Award

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

Art Goldsmith on Race, Interdisciplinarity and Jerry Garcia Economics professor Art Goldmsith was recently interviewed by the American Economic Association.

“Our family motto is, you are not here to critique how other people live, but instead to learn from them and see where it takes you.”

Art Goldmsith, Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee, was recently interviewed by the American Economic Association.

An Economist Who Has Learned to Challenge Convention
By Sarah Jackson

GoldsmithArt_102108_0501-350x234 Art Goldsmith on Race, Interdisciplinarity and Jerry GarciaArt Goldsmith

Art Goldsmith is a closet sociologist. At least that’s what his daughter tells him. The Washington & Lee labor economist has for many years used psychology, sociology, and history in his research and teaching in addition to economics. He finds the boundaries between most of the social sciences to be artificial and problematic.

“When I teach economics and conduct research, I draw on insights that can help me get a richer understanding of the questions we are exploring, I don’t worry about the discipline credited with advancing those ideas,” Goldsmith says.

Often those questions involve issues of race and the labor market. Goldsmith, who grew up as the son of working-class Jewish immigrants outside Washington, DC, was drawn to studying questions of race because of his father, who imbued in Goldsmith a structural understanding of the extreme poverty in the low-income black neighborhoods near where the family lived in the 1950s.

“My dad’s explanation, at the time, was that black Americans faced even more discrimination than Jews and immigrants,” he said.

Along with his older brother, Goldsmith was the first in his family to go to college. As immigrants, his parents saw the world as not always just and fair. “They believed education was the best hope for a better life.”

Goldsmith says his parents taught him and his two brothers that “in a world in which Jews were stereotyped, in many ways the best thing we could do was acquire enough formal schooling that would overcome any negative stereotypes we would face.”

But when he got to graduate school and began studying economics, Goldsmith said his father’s view of race and poverty contradicted the conventional view being taught at prestigious graduate programs at the time—namely, that the poor are poor because they “failed to have the foresight or talent to acquire sufficient human capital—education—to succeed,” he said. And that “African American communities were somehow dysfunctional or flawed because youth did not acquire enough schooling.”

“I learned this, but I was skeptical about it. I kept thinking why would parents or kids not want to obtain the attributes that would increase chances for success?”

After joining the economics faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he met his colleague William “Sandy” Darity, whom Goldsmith admired for his commitment to reading widely beyond economics and his willingness to critique conventional beliefs in economics. Shortly thereafter Goldsmith followed suit and began challenging standard explanations for racial gaps in life outcomes.

He and Darity began to collaborate on papers with a focus on issues of race and socioeconomic mobility. The pair used insights from other disciplines, examining, for example, the social and psychological consequences of unemployment, arguing that joblessness had both economic and emotional costs.

Goldsmith’s work went on to challenge some of the prevailing stereotypes about African Americans and the labor market. For instance, the relatively high rate of unemployment blacks experience could be due to prior discrimination that led to joblessness, which subsequently caused emotional strains, making them less attractive workers to potential employers. Moreover, employers might adhere to this perspective even though jobless African Americans may be more resilient to the emotional consequences than whites. His current work focuses on the role of the family in explaining life course outcomes.

While he likes economics for its analytical structure and the associated hypotheses, these are also the same things that can get the profession into trouble. “It can be very stuck in a set of conventions or standard stories,” he said. “These things have generally been helpful, but young scholars should be encouraged to think of these as stories and always be willing to think very carefully, and challenge them when necessary.” Especially around race, these stories can be very stigmatizing and at times racist, he says.

If you want to tell a story where you are racializing things, you need to begin with a hypothesis that is grounded in a reasonable explanation for why there might be a difference in racial outcomes. This is very important since race is a social construct. I’m opposed to the notion of simply saying “in this study we controlled for race.’”

Goldsmith tries to teach in ways that honor the important insights from other disciplines, not as a way of undermining economics, but as a way of enriching it.

Economics students, he says, will always get plenty of formal modeling experience, but they don’t always get enough practice engaging in critical thinking. He uses his class time and mentoring with students to help them tackle tough topics and engage in deep thinking and listening.

Goldsmith tries to pass on those principles to his own children. “Our family motto is, you are not here to critique how other people live, but instead to learn from them and see where it takes you.”

Proust Questionnaire

A salon and parlor game of the 19th century, made most famous by Marcel Proust’s answers, the Proust Questionnaire (adapted here) gets to the heart of things….

What’s on your nightstand? The NewYorker.

What is an ideal day? Swimming in the ocean, playing a little golf, listening to some music, doing some social science.

What historical figure do you most identify with? Martin Luther King, Jr. Just because of his focus on social justice and because my kids hold my feet to the fire on that on a daily basis.

What trait do you most deplore in other people? False confidence.

What trait do you most admire in the people? Curiosity and self-reflection, and a willingness to recognize the error in your ways.

What is your greatest extravagance? I raised my kids about a third of their lives on the Gold Coast of Australia.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising two young adults who are now doing meaningful work. They are respectful, loving people who are out there enriching the world, as opposed to only drawing things from it. My wife was a huge partner in that.

Who’s your favorite hero of fiction, movies, or music? Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. What I like most about his music was that it changed all the time. It wasn’t set in its way. That flexibility is a good thing to carry into your work.

Mountain or beach vacation? Beach

Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman? Keynes

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Get through graduate school.

W&L’s Michelmore Discusses the Evolution of Tax Policy on PRI’s The Takeaway History professor Molly Michelmore discusses the evolution of tax policy in America, and how Republicans became the party of tax cuts.

molly_michelmore_spot W&L's Michelmore Discusses the Evolution of Tax Policy on PRI's The TakeawayMolly Michelmore

Molly Michelmore, associate professor of history at Washington & Lee University and the author of “Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Limits of American Liberalism,” discusses the evolution of tax policy in America, and how Republicans became the party of tax cuts on The Takeaway from Public Radio International.

Listen to Michelmore’s interview online at WNYC.org.

Related //,

W&L’s Gavaler Discusses ‘The Genre Effect’ with The Guardian Chris Gavaler discussed the paper he co-authored with professor Dan Johnson, The Genre Effect, with The Guardian.

“I was paradoxically pleased by the results…In an ideal world, there would be no bias. But if it exists, and it does, it’s useful to expose it.”

JohnsonDan-150x150 W&L's Gavaler Discusses 'The Genre Effect' with The GuardianDan Johnson

Washington and Lee University professor Chris Gavaler discussed the paper he co-authored with professor Dan Johnson, The Genre Effect (published in the journal Scientific Study of Literature), with The Guardian. Gavaler is assistant professor of English and Johnson is associate professor of psychology.Read the story online: Science fiction triggers ‘poorer reading’, study finds.

gavaler_spot-150x150 W&L's Gavaler Discusses 'The Genre Effect' with The GuardianChris Gavaler

Jen Hickey: Driven to Succeed in Dining Services Meet our new dining services director, Jen Hickey, who loves the Philadelphia Eagles, going for long drives with her husband, and her job at W&L.

jen_hickey-800x533 Jen Hickey: Driven to Succeed in Dining ServicesIn her time off, Dining Services director Jen Hickey likes to go for long drives with her husband. “We just pick a road we haven’t been on and drive to see what we find,” she said.

What is your official job title?
Director of Dining Services

How long have you worked at W&L?
One month

What do you like best about working at W&L?
Everything the people, the community, and what I actually do!

What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
Love what you do. As people we spend almost more time at our jobs (or in our studies/class) than we do with our family and friends. To not love what we spend so much time doing is truly a shame. It’s a life not lived.

Where did you grow up?
Hmm … not such an easy question. I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I lived in Rutherford, New Jersey when I was two through my freshman year of high school. My sophomore year and start of junior year were in Clearwater, Florida, and I finished up high school in Gray, Georgia (right outside of Macon).

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
I got remarried this summer and have two boys (and three new kids, who are all wonderful but are out on their own). Of our two youngest, one is a first-year student at Champlain College in Vermont and the other is a sophomore at James River High School. I like to cook and bake, read, and listen to music (preferably live music  pubs are great for local music). I also like to travel (but only if I can spend time with the folks who actually live there so I can really experience the culture) and just go for drives  you never know what you will find!

If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
Honestly, I’m not sure I’d be anywhere but where I am now. We just purchased a home that sits on four acres looking out into the mountains in Buchanan. It’s exactly what we wanted.

What book are you reading now?
“Tower of Dawn” by Sarah J. Mass. Now that I’m done with my master’s degree, I really enjoy reading for fun. My favorite fun genre is fantasy, typically young adult. As an added bonus, I got to chat about them with some of the youth from our church back home, and even with some student workers from my previous positions.

What music are you listening to these days?
It completely depends on my mood, but I usually listen to contemporary Christian, 70s (especially with a little funk in there) and country (the newer, less twangy kind).

What is your favorite film of all time?
This is another one that depends on my mood. I’m a huge Marvel and Star Wars fan (OK, maybe not all of these movies). I typically like action, but can absolutely be a sap, too. Then, of course, anything that has music or dancing in it. I definitely can’t resist a musical!

A website and/or blog you visit often?
Bleedinggreennation.com. I’m an Eagles fan! Although a close second would be CNN (for the articles more than broadcast).

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Honestly, I have no idea. I really don’t think in this way and while I could have looked at a list of historical figures and picked one that would work, I’d rather just be honest.

If you could have coffee with one person (living or deceased), who would it be and why?
First, I wouldn’t have coffee … I’m all for hot chocolate. But honestly, this is another one where I just don’t think this way. I can’t come up with anyone, and I think it’s because I really just try to spend time with the people who are important to me as often as possible.

Tell me something most people don’t know about you?
I’m really an introvert. My job requires me to be an extrovert, but I recharge by curling up with a book, vegging at home with my family or going exploring with my husband (we just pick a road we haven’t been on and drive to see what we find).

What inspired you to work in the food industry?
I caught the food bug early on. I’m one of those weird people who like structured chaos, and this industry provides that every day! There is always a lot going on, with new situations every day depending on who is here both working and as a guest, but it’s still the same everyday.

What was your first job in the food industry?
I worked part-time at both McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken during my sophomore year in high school.

What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate?
Either ostrich or rabbit tacos, both of which I ate before knowing what they were. Both were delicious! Although back when I had ostrich, I didn’t realize it was actually a wonderfully lean red meat. I figured it would be more like chicken.

If you could only eat three dishes for the rest of your life, what would you want them to be?
Steak, mashed potatoes and milk (I know milk is not technically a food, but I’m not sure I could live without it!)

What food would you be thrilled to never see again?
Calamari the kind that actually look like little squids. And I’d be happy to never have sweet potatoes again. I’ve tried them lots of different ways and haven’t found one that makes me like them.

W&L Law’s Rice Internationally Recognized for Global Anti-Corruption Work

speedyrice-350x342 W&L Law's Rice Internationally Recognized for Global Anti-Corruption WorkProf. Speedy Rice

Washington and Lee law professor Thomas H. Speedy Rice was one of six individuals and organizations honored at the International Anti-Corruption Excellence (ACE) Awards held at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), Switzerland on Dec. 8.

The ACE awards acknowledge outstanding contributions towards the prevention of and the fight against corruption around the world. The winners were from China, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, the U.S. and India.

Rice was recognized for his work to fight global corruption by The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center (ROLACC Doha), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, The Emir of the State of Qatar, in support of The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and its anti-corruption mandates, specifically, the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Rice received the acknowledgement in the category of Anti-Corruption Academic Research and Education, sharing in the honor with Chinese professor Xiumei Wang. Rice has made significant contributions to the growth of knowledge in anti-corruption through education-related work, training instructors to teach anti-corruption, and has been actively engaged in the educational efforts of the UNCAC through the UNODC Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD) and been a principle coordinator of global educational workshops.

Rice was unable to attend the awards ceremony. His former student, Minjae Lee ‘13L, who currently works at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, accepted the award on his behalf.

minjaeleeaward-307x350 W&L Law's Rice Internationally Recognized for Global Anti-Corruption WorkMinjae Lee ’13L Receives Award for Prof. Rice.

Rice teaches a number of practice-based international law courses at W&L, including the Criminal Tribunals Practicum, which works with defense teams in the International Criminal Court and elsewhere. He also teaches the Global Corruption and Good Governance Practicum, which engages students in problem-based learning concerning the comprehensive nature of the UNCAC and other multi-national and domestic anti-corruption instruments.

Students in the class regularly travel abroad to present research and findings at international conferences. Last year, six law students traveled to Albania for an anti-corruption conference they helped organize and more recently, this year’s class traveled to academic anti-corruption workshops in Kharkiv and Kyiv, Ukraine. Two student’s from the class, third-year students Katie Shield and Taylor Rafaly, also participated in an Integrity and Ethics Expert Group Meeting put on by the UNDOC and the European Public Law Organization in Sounion, Greece.

W&L Magazine, Fall 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 3

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Fall-Magazine-2017-400x600 W&L Magazine, Fall 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 3Fall Magazine 2017

In This Issue:


What We Lost
Reflecting on the Vietnam War

Celebrating W&L’s 27th President
Will Dudley makes it official.

What a University Should Do
The Commission on Institutional History and Community begins its work.

By the Book
Blaine Brownell ’65 pens an updated history.

Something Old, Something New
The Colonnade restoration is complete.


3 Columns
26 Office Hours
Rebecca Benefiel, Associate Professor of Classics
28 Lives of Consequence
Kelly Douma ’16
John Maass ’87
32 Alumni
48 Chronicles

Researching Beyond the Library The best place to research your thesis? Some would say the library, but for Jacqueline Moruzzi '18 that place is the Cambridge University's Medieval Studies Summer Program.

“I am continually impressed by my peers at Washington and Lee. Experiences like this are important for W&L students as they afford them the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership abilities and academic excellence in a more global learning environment.”

IMG_6724-Jackie-Moruzzi-800x533 Researching Beyond the LibraryThe best place to research your thesis? Some would say the library, but for Jacqueline Moruzzi ’18 that place is Cambridge University’s Medieval Studies Summer Program.

Majors: English, Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Minor: French
Hometown: Yardley, PA

Q. Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity.

This summer, I attended Cambridge University’s Medieval Studies Summer Program, which served as a wonderful research opportunity for my Medieval and Renaissance Studies thesis. For two weeks, I attended both morning and evening lectures in addition to my four classes, and took advantage of the English faculty library. I felt so lucky to meet fellow students from around the world and have the opportunity to learn from some of today’s greatest medieval historians.

Q. What did you like most about the location?

I’m not sure there is one aspect of Cambridge, England, that I could identify as my favorite. It is a fascinating town that is rich in history and so aesthetically pleasing: The river Cam runs through the colleges, which are architecturally stunning. I loved being surrounded by so many historical buildings churches that have been in use for over a thousand years, ruins, colleges built by famous kings and queens… it’s all quite spectacular.

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

After breakfast at my host college, Selwyn, I attended the morning lecture, followed by my first class. I spent my first break in the library doing research, then headed to my second class. The afternoon was free until dinner, a sit-down meal served in the college dining hall, which afforded a great opportunity to meet other attendees. Dinner was followed by the evening lecture.

Q. What was the most rewarding and fulfilling part of your experience?

I absolutely loved having the opportunity to have classes and lectures with such respected, intelligent and fascinating historians. Both their expertise and passion for the material were evident in each session/class.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Balancing the preparatory reading with my busy schedule before the program started was a challenge. Luckily, my internship required an hour train ride so I had two hours per day to work on it!

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

My parents have been incredibly wonderful; not only did they encourage me when I was first pursuing the opportunity but also when I was trying to balance the preparatory work, my internship, and a part-time job.

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 am hopeful that my experience has empowered me with information that will allow me to contribute thoughtfully to class discussion.

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

This program has provided me with invaluable information for my thesis and only increased my interest in the subjects I studied while in Cambridge, such as the Black Death.

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

I am continually impressed by my peers at Washington and Lee. Experiences like this are important for W&L students as they afford them the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership abilities and academic excellence in a more global learning environment.

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.

What We Lost: Remembering Vietnam 50 Years Later W&L alumni look back at the Vietnam War and how it changed them.

Vietnam-opening-spread-800x533 What We Lost: Remembering Vietnam 50 Years LaterWalter “Buddy” Nicklin’s training company photo

Three dozen members of the Class of 1967 crowded the stage in Stackhouse Theater on Alumni Weekend this past April. As the audience looked on, retired Navy SEAL Bill Wildrick ’67 thanked each man on stage for his service, presented him with a black-and-gold pin, and gave him a crisp salute.

The occasion commemorated much more than a 50th class reunion for these alumni — it marked a half-century since they were forced to face a future they could not have anticipated as happy-go-lucky teenagers.

“I went to Vietnam as a 22-year-old boy,” said Jim Oram ’67, “and came home as a 24-year-old man. I was a completely different person.”

The United States’ official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Vietnam stretches from 2012 to 2025. Although W&L does not have detailed records of the number of alumni who served, many classes that have already celebrated a 50th reunion, and some that have yet to reach that mark, are likely to include Vietnam veterans.

Dr. William Sledge ’67, a psychiatrist who studied the effects of imprisonment on Air Force POWs during and after Vietnam, took part in a panel discussion with other veterans that preceded the pinning ceremony at W&L in April. Later, he noted that while some veterans still prefer to leave their stories untold, many have grown increasingly comfortable reminiscing as the decades have passed, particularly with their families and one another.

“I think that when you get older, it doesn’t matter whether you have been in a war or not, you start thinking about your life in a different way,” he said. “You particularly want to tell your family about it, you want to revisit it … so you remember stuff, and you value the opportunity to let people listen to it.”

‘What the Hell was Happening’

In the mid-1960s, the conflict in Vietnam was a topic on the nightly news and in classrooms at W&L, but not at parties or on the football field. As Mac Holladay ’67 put it, “I think people were aware. The build-up had started, but it had not reached a fever pitch yet. We just didn’t know very much about it because we were all concentrating on our studies and going on about the future.”

There were a few exceptions: In the basement of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house every night, Alex Jones ’68 and Barry Crosby ’68 used to watch Walter Cronkite deliver the “CBS Evening News.” “Barry and I shared something that not many other people in my fraternity at the time seemed to,” Jones said, “which was a concern and interest in what the hell was happening in Vietnam.”

As the situation escalated, however, plenty of students began to feel anxious. Many had already planned to attend graduate school, get married, or both, which could result in a temporary deferment prior to the draft lottery of 1969; those who hadn’t considered those options began to regard them with greater interest. Still others had medical deferments, and there were a few conscientious objectors.

A percentage of each class joined the ROTC at W&L, including Oram, who followed the advice his father gave him as they drove to Lexington for his freshman year. Participating in ROTC allowed Oram to be commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduation, but that was still no guarantee of safety during Vietnam. He ended up as an Army Ranger commanding a company in the 101st Airborne Division, otherwise known as the “Screaming Eagles.”

In another effort to prevent being drafted and sent straight to the rice paddies as infantrymen, some students applied for officer training programs. Jones, Holladay and Wildrick were accepted to Navy Officer Candidate School, after which Jones became a naval officer, and Holladay became a search-and-rescue pilot. Wildrick, who stood out as a swimmer and runner at W&L, became a Sea Air Land commando before most people had ever heard of a Navy SEAL. (He retired in 2005 as the last active-duty SEAL platoon officer who served in Vietnam.)

Bruce Rider ’66 went through Air Force Officer Training School (OTS), but not before facing a dilemma: He had already started classes at Princeton Theological Seminary when he got the call about his application to OTS. Most of his fellow students at Princeton wanted to stay safely ensconced there, but every generation of Rider’s family, dating back to the Revolutionary War, had served in the military.

“I felt an obligation to be part of the family tradition to serve in the military,” he said. “I did not want to start a career in the ministry just to avoid service.”

It is estimated that 25 percent of the forces in Vietnam were drafted, and that included some W&L alumni. One of those men was Walter “Buddy” Nicklin ’67, who considers himself fortunate because he was sent to Europe to work as a chaplain’s assistant and never made it to Vietnam. On the occasion of his 50th W&L reunion, he wrote an essay for the May 5, 2017, edition of The New York Times, recounting the personal anxiety and moral questioning that the draft created for him.

Barry Crosby, the young man who sat in the glow of that fraternity house TV with Jones as they watched the news, was not so fortunate. Jones was on a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin when he found out that Crosby had been killed. He was one of 18 W&L alumni who died in Vietnam.

“Whenever I go anywhere near the Vietnam Monument in Washington, I always visit his name,” Jones said. “It was a personal loss that, I think, a lot of the people who knew Barry felt very powerfully.”

Cultural Divide

The Vietnam War was a frustrating and difficult one to fight, in an inhospitable climate with unfamiliar terrain. The cultural divide between Americans and Vietnamese made it harder to distinguish friend from foe. Guerrilla warfare made for a particularly deadly and dirty fight.

Washington and Lee alumni were among the men who put their lives in danger for a war that sometimes felt pointless. They went on intelligence-gathering missions, set up ambushes, marched through jungles pocked with punji pits, and watched comrades impaled on sharpened, feces-covered stakes. They dodged bullets, rescued airmen from downed planes, and had their Jeeps blown up by kids with C-4 explosive.

That’s merely a sampling of the tales they tell, which are usually short on the most troubling details. Of course, it does not begin to encompass the memories that will stay buried in gray matter for the rest of their lives.

Oram starkly summed up the reason so many veterans have kept mum about their service: “There are some things that are too scary to even recall and try to talk about. Some of us might have done stuff we’re not very proud of. When you are secretly scared to death and you are a ranger commando, you aren’t going to tell anybody.”

When these soldiers came home, it was not to the victory parades and hero worship with which World War II veterans were met — it was to a country that was deeply divided over the war, and that offered few support systems. Veterans were alternately spit upon, goaded into fistfights, and ignored.

“Vietnam was full of ambiguity and misunderstanding, and a lot of conflict in the general culture about whether we should be fighting this kind of war,” said Sledge, the psychiatrist. “We didn’t win it, we lost it. And a lot of people lost their lives. There is a bitter sense of loss and ineptitude on our part and on the part of politicians.”

As a result of his experience as an Air Force intelligence officer, Rider went legally blind within a year of coming home. Other fallout from the war included a lost job and a failed marriage, and he remembers feeling incredibly alone.

“This is hard to conceptualize, but something died inside of me,” he said. Although he was proud of his service, he said, “There was this part that was just dark and angry and resentful.”

Most veterans had to come to terms with the U.S. government’s handling of the war, and solidify their own opinions about it, which sometimes changed drastically after they came home. Holladay, who now suffers from peripheral neuropathy and COPD as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange, decided within the last decade to read everything he could find about the war. “I have learned a lot, and I certainly understand that we were misled and lied to, and that if there was a way to win, we did not do that,” he said. “We didn’t try to do that, I don’t believe.”

Some vets also harbor feelings of guilt for reasons they may or may not be able to articulate. “I can tell you that goes all the way up to guys who won the Medal of Honor but feel guilty because they survived and the other guys didn’t,” Oram said. “Others feel guilty because they didn’t get into combat. I’m in the middle: I did what I did and I survived, and I feel guilty that I couldn’t do more.

“That is a common thread that goes all the way back to the beginning of mankind. The only ones who don’t feel guilty are the ones who got killed, and that’s just because they can’t.”

A Desire to Serve

No matter their military branch, service experience, or political leaning, most of the alumni veterans interviewed for this article said that the war, as difficult as it was, spit them out as better people than they had been when they went in. They seem to share a lifelong desire to serve their communities and their country.

Holladay, haunted by an image of naked, hungry children picking over a garbage dump in Indonesia, remembers thinking, “If I can get home safely, I want to try and make sure nobody in my hometown of Memphis is ever looking for something to eat.” He devoted his entire career to community and economic development not only in Memphis, but also across the nation.

Sledge continued his research with POWs and became one of the first psychiatrists to publish on what is now known as post-traumatic growth. Rider is involved in multiple civic activities, including veterans’ organizations, fraternal groups, the historical society, and his local library. Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Wildrick became an instructor who helped to set up reserve SEAL support commands on the East and West coasts, providing the closest link between active and reserve forces in the 30-year history of the Naval Special Warfare Reserve.

Oram has served on the board of directors for the child services organization that arranged his own adoption when he was a baby. He is also an elected supervisor in his township, and is involved in the local veterans’ organization and other nonprofits. “I realize even more, now that I’ve started talking about Vietnam, that my whole life has been building toward this crescendo of service,” he said.

Some of these veterans recognize that if it had not been for the war, they may never have been exposed to diversity. “We are all created equal,” Holladay said. “I relied on people of all colors and shapes and attitudes during my five years of service, and it certainly changed my outlook on diversity and the world.”

“I think the war was a good experience in terms of exposing me to things I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to, and it also politicized me,” Nicklin said. “When I was at W&L, I was more interested in poetry and personal experiences and beautiful sunsets, not really politics. I thought politics was kind of a waste of time and for silly people, but the Vietnam War and being drafted made me understand that politics is always what society is all about.”

Washington and Lee has worked with alumni to create opportunities for Vietnam-era graduates to return to campus and reconnect over their shared experiences. In 2009, the university held a well-attended Alumni College program titled “Vietnam: A Retrospective.” This year’s Alumni Weekend panel discussion, which featured Holladay, Sledge and Oram, along with historian and author George Herring, brought veterans together to reminisce about both the war years and their W&L careers.

“I thought one of the things that was wonderful about our seminar was the opportunity to hear different perspectives and see the interest that we all have in those different perspectives of all the people who served,” Holladay said. “It was personal for each one of us.”

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The Alumni Magazine welcomes additional memories from W&L alumni about the Vietnam War Era, and may publish some of those comments in a future issue or on the website. Whether you went to Vietnam or not — and for any reason — we are interested in hearing about your experience. Please email us at magazine@wlu.edu.

Eight Days in May

Student_Demonstration-400x600 What We Lost: Remembering Vietnam 50 Years LaterStudents picket along the Colonnade in May 1970 during “Eight Days in May.”

During the Vietnam Era, college campuses across the country became hot spots of political unrest. Although W&L was not completely insulated from this, its campus did remain relatively quiet — until May 1970. On May 4, Ohio National Guard members shot four unarmed students during a protest of the Vietnam War at Kent State University. Nationwide, campus protests exploded in size and intensity. At W&L, the shootings sparked a week of rallies, meetings and debates remembered today as “Eight Days in May.”

Tuesday, May 5: From 400 to 500 students gather on the lawn in front of Lee Chapel for a rally. Some suggest boycotting classes or calling for the university to close. President Robert E.R. Huntley ’50, ’57L leaves his Law School class to address the crowd, warning against violence and encouraging those with opposing opinions to share them civilly with one another. He receives a standing ovation. That night, the SEC adopts a resolution to call attention to activities planned for the next day, “Freedom Day.”

Wednesday, May 6: While many students attend classes as usual, 30 to 40 picket on the Colonnade for two hours. About 200 students travel to a rally in Charlottesville. The student body president, Marvin “Swede” Henberg ’70, calls for a student assembly on May 8.

Thursday, May 7: Concerned students meet with Huntley to request relief from academic schedules to participate in the student movement. About 100 students gather in the Cockpit, as the University Center tavern was known, for an open forum. This results in a resolution to close the university for the year so students will be free to participate in national events. The faculty declines to cancel classes but allows students to submit a request in writing and receive an incomplete grade until Sept. 30, when the “I” will be replaced by an “F” if work is not completed.

Friday, May 8: About 900 students meet in front of Lee Chapel, where Henberg presents the resolution and invites discussion. The vote is postponed until Monday.

Student_strike2-600x400 What We Lost: Remembering Vietnam 50 Years LaterStudents gather on the lawn during “Eight Days in May” 1970 to hear student body president Marvin “Swede” Henberg ’70.

Saturday, May 9: Reunion Weekend (and the annual Alumni Association meeting) takes place. Many students travel to Washington for large demonstrations, while others, half-dressed and unshaven, hang around in tents they’ve pitched on campus. Students and alumni engage in constructive discussions about the war, and alumni praise Huntley for his handling of the previous week’s unrest.

Sunday, May 10: Students hold a memorial service in the University Center (now Evans Hall) for the four students killed at Kent State. The SEC endorses the resolution to close W&L but wants students to be able to continue classes if they wish. Debate continues into the evening.

Monday, May 11: Some 78 percent of the student body votes to cancel classes, retroactive to May 6 and through Fall Term. Faculty gather that evening, and many express sympathy for the student viewpoint. Some support university closure, but Huntley refuses, citing obligations to the trustees and university charter to keep the school open. Instead, faculty reiterate their action of May 7, saying students who wish to take incomplete grades must inform them in writing by May 21. Upset students boycott classes.

Tuesday, May 12: Students hold an assembly on the Front Lawn at 8:45 a.m. and read a statement condemning the faculty motion. Huntley holds a student assembly at noon, during which he assures students that ‘lack of agreement” from the faculty and administration does not equal a lack of concern. “I must say I believe you have succeeded in bringing this student body into a sense of community, a sense of willingness to talk, a sense of willingness to share deep conviction, a sense of dedication to something higher than self,” he tells them.

Source: “Washington and Lee University, 1930-2000: Tradition and Transformation” by Blaine A. Brownell ‘66

student_strike1-400x600 What We Lost: Remembering Vietnam 50 Years LaterPresident Robert Huntley ’50, ’57L looks on from the Colonnade as students
stage a protest.


9.2 million Americans served in the military during the Vietnam Era

2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam (rather than at home or in another theater)

58,220 Americans were killed in the war

18 Washington and Lee University alumni were killed in the war. They were:

William Michael Akers ’58
Charles Christopher Bonnet ’65
William Caspari III ’58
Robert Barry Crosby ’68
Jon Price Evans ’37
Robert Morrow Fortune ’67
Henry Poellnitz Johnston Jr. ’70
Leo John Kelly Jr. ’66
John Peter Luzis Jr. ’70
James Howard Monroe ’66
Thomas Alexander Nalle Jr. ’54
Ronald Oliver Scharnberg ’63
Louis Otey Smith ’58
Jay Webster Stull ’60
Frederick Nicholas Suttle Jr. ’67
Walter Ludman Toy ’63
Scott Mitchell Verner ’65
James Schenler Wood ’63

More Memories from W&L Vietnam Vets:

Mac Holladay ’67 on the dangers of war:

“I had all kinds of experiences. I tied my seaplane up to a palm tree, rescued people from a downed aircraft on two B52 crashes off Guam, which was tragic. I had a fire in my H34 — a crewman we affectionately called Pineapple put it out at great risk to himself. Once, I was trying to rescue a man in a typhoon, and the helicopter turned virtually upside-down. I got shot at a few times. But I certainly was not in harm’s way like [Jim] Oram and the guys on the ground were.”

Dr. William Sledge ’67 on the prisoners of war he met through his research:

“First, I was enormously touched by the humanity of these people and was very proud to be associated with them. Before them, I didn’t think they were anything special, just people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. But these were everyday folks who discovered what they were made of and were proud of it, and I was enormously impressed by them.”

Jim Oram ’67 on fear of dying:

“It never occurred to me that I could be killed. That wasn’t on my radar until I got over there, then it got on my radar pretty quickly. I even said to my wife, ‘You don’t have to worry about me. I’m not going to be killed.’ But once I got there, I didn’t have a fear of dying so much as a fear of letting my soldiers down. And I can’t lie, there was also an element of excitement after every incident. It’s like jumping out of an airplane.”

Bill Wildrick ’67 on his children and the military:

“The kids don’t really ask about Vietnam. They used to love to wear the T-shirts and paraphernalia. I didn’t get any one of them to go into the military. The closest thing was that my daughter was in the Girl Scouts. I talked to her about maybe being an intelligence officer, and she finally said, ‘Look, Dad, I’ve heard your spiel, and I appreciate what you did, and I support you 100 percent, but if I develop an interest, I’ll let you know.’”

Bruce Rider ’66 on war:

“Anybody who is in favor of war has really not been in one. I think we have a responsibility to build peace in our lives where we are. You try to live a better life as a result of warfare and you tend to have fewer strongly held views … most rigid people just don’t have the experience or the appreciation or the empathy that war survivors should have.”

Climate Change and Sharks As a research assistant at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Rachel Steffen ’18 gathered data on the environmental thresholds of juvenile sandbar sharks.

“It takes a lot of hard work, passion, reading and creativity to become a successful scientist.”

Steffen-fishing-copy-263x350 Climate Change and SharksRachel Steffen ’18

Rachel Steffen ’18
Hometown: Coronado, California
Major: Biology
Minor: German

Q: Tell us your summer opportunity.

I had the privilege of working at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Eastern Shore Lab, as a research assistant to Ph.D. student Dan Crear. Dan is researching the effects of climate change, such as warming and decreased oxygen, on juvenile sandbar sharks.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere prevents the loss of energy (in the form of heat) from leaving the earth. In addition, this heat is absorbed by the ocean and, in turn, decreases the ocean’s ability to hold oxygen. An increase in water temperature often causes an increase in a shark’s oxygen consumption and metabolic rate. Therefore, at higher temperatures, a shark has a high oxygen demand, but is in an environment with less oxygen in the water. However, these environmental thresholds are unknown for many marine species.

Using a respirometer, we can determine the effects of warming and decreased oxygen on the oxygen consumption and behavior of juvenile sandbar sharks. Sandbar sharks are apex predators at the marshy Eastern Shore, as well as many other parts of the world. A change in their population density and distribution would cause a domino effect, cascading down all levels of the food chain. The goal of this research is to predict the future behavior and movement of these sharks.

Q: What has been your favorite aspect of your location?

VIMS Eastern Shore Lab is located in lovely Wachapreague, Virginia. With a population of roughly 200 residents, it isn’t exactly a bustling city, so there is little to do outside the lab. However, this allowed me to get to know the other students and professors at VIMS. There were 11 of us (undergrads, grad students, and professors) that lived in the three houses on the VIMS Eastern Shore Lab campus. They are all wonderful, brilliant, fascinating people, and I learned so much from all of them.

me1-600x400 Climate Change and SharksSecuring the accelerometer onto a shark’s dorsal fin

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

Every morning began with a 7:30 a.m. breakfast meeting on the front porch of King House. While chowing down on cereal (we went through a lot of Kashi), we discussed the plan for the day. Although everybody had their own projects, there was a lot of collaboration among research groups, so it was helpful for everyone to be on the same page.

Before we started our respirometry trials, a lot of preparation was needed. This included scrubbing shark slime off the tank and pumps, dipping the accelerometer in liquid plastic (to waterproof it), calibrating oxygen probes, and hauling around a large battery. To begin the trial, we first fished out the correct shark from the holding tank, and secured the accelerometer onto its dorsal fin without losing any of our fingers. The accelerometer is used to record the shark’s movements and speed throughout the trial. Then, either Dan or I ran the shark to the respirometer tank. After the shark was settled in the respirometer, we started recording data (with the help of several computer programs and oxygen probes).

Once the trial was started, and we’ve examined who got the worst of the “shark burn” (shark skin is about the same texture as sand paper), there wasn’t much else to do except check in on the shark for the rest of the day. I used this downtime to work on my main contribution to the experiment. We recorded every trial in order to understand shark behavior under the different environmental experiments. To measure this, I watched each video twice, first timing the laps to get the average speed (body lengths per second) and then again to count the number of turns they make. Watching sharks swim in circles all day was a bit tedious, but hopefully the data I collected will benefit the experiment.

The second day of every trial was a bit more stressful because on that day we brought down the oxygen. Before breakfast, we turned on a big nitrogen tank and used computer software to control the flow of nitrogen into the respirometer, which in turn reduces the oxygen saturation in the water. We continued to bring down the oxygen throughout the day, while carefully monitoring the shark’s metabolic rate and behavior. Once the metabolic rate dropped, we assumed that the shark had reached its critical oxygen saturation (Scrit) at that temperature. Once this occurred, the trial was over. We brought the tank back up to 100 percent oxygen saturation and then ran the shark back over to the holding tank, reuniting him with his shark friends.

Because respirometry is hard work, it really built up an appetite — for both me and the sharks. Every three days I got to pretend I was sushi chef and cut up 35-55 menhaden, known locally as “bunker,” to feed to the sharks. I apologize if I still smell like dead fish.

Every day was exhausting to say the least, but I woke up excited about the project and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Q: What was the most rewarding part of the experience?

Not only did this experience bring me one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a marine biologist, but I also got to help Dan collect data for his Ph.D dissertation and helped to unveil some of the consequences of climate change.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?

A few weeks ago, I was left in charge of running trials while Dan attended a conference. There are 100 little things that must be done for a trial to run smoothly, and even then, things inevitably go wrong. Although there were a few hiccups along the way, I managed to complete both trials, collect all the data we needed, and keep both sharks alive.

Q: Who served as a mentor to you, and what did they teach you?

The graduate students, Dan, Gail and Maggie, taught me more about grad school, grant applications, marine biology and life in general than I could have ever asked for. It was a tremendous honor to work with Dr. Brill and Dr. Bushnell. They taught me that it takes a lot of hard work, passion, reading and creativity to become a successful scientist.

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

Through my experience in field classes (Dr. Marsh’s field herpetology class and Dr. Hamilton’s Yellowstone ecology class), I felt prepared to work with live animals, solve problems, follow protocol, and respect the scientific method. Dr. Cabe’s 300-level seminar also prepared me to read scientific papers efficiently and effectively, which has proven to be a very useful skill, allowing me to understand what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what similar work has been done in the past. Dr. Marsh’s biostats class is one I recommend to all science majors. I have come to realize that understanding the basics of scientific statistics and learning computer programming are invaluable, if not necessary, skills in just about every field of science. I returned to W&L with a renewed determination to achieve my goals.

Q: Did this experience impact your studies or future plans in any way?

I came to W&L with an interest in biology and seemed to be whisked onto the premed track. In September of my junior year, with the MCAT and med school applications fast approaching, I found myself in somewhat of a panic. I realized I had more anxiety than excitement at the thought of becoming a doctor. I scheduled an emergency life reevaluation meeting with my advisor, Dr. Hamilton. He calmed me down and made me realize I had both the time and the means to explore other options. This got me thinking about what I was passionate about. In the summer of 2015, I had worked for the Navy Marine Mammal Program and absolutely loved it. Growing up a Navy brat, I moved around a lot but always lived next to the ocean, so for me the ocean feels like home. I’m not sure why I had never considered a career in marine biology before, but suddenly it seemed like the most obvious option. I contacted Dr. Humston, W&L’s resident marine biologist, and explained that I thought this whole marine science thing was something I might be interested in. It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I became excited and passionate about what my future could hold. However, I had no idea what my next steps should be or even what the life of a marine biologist looked like.

Dr. Humston knew exactly where to send me. VIMS is like marine science boot camp, and working there confirmed that marine biology is the field I would like to continue to pursue. I quickly realized the life of a marine biologist is far from simple or relaxing. Depending on what their project entails they have to also be fishermen, plumbers, electricians, chemists, vets, statisticians, writers and public speakers. Each day presents new challenges and problems that need to be solved. As a kid, I would wander the neighborhood looking for mystery and adventure. At VIMS, I realized that the ocean holds all the mystery and adventure I could ever want.

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

W&L students know how to put their nose to the grindstone to reach their goals, but I think without passion and direction it is easy to burn out. An opportunity like mine, which allowed me to have an immersive experience in a field I was interested in, fueled my passion and further refined my chosen direction.

Q: What kind of funding helped make this experience possible?

I received both a Johnson Opportunity Grant, and a grant from the environmental studies department. I am incredibly honored and grateful to have received these grants.

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

Healthcare and Community in Ecuador Jackson Roberts '19 had the opportunity to intern in Quito, Ecuador, exploring local customs, becoming part of the community, and learning the ins and outs of healthcare.

“Living and functioning in a foreign city was an exhilarating and challenging experience that has increased my confidence in my own ability to work internationally in the future.”

Jackson_Roberts-800x533 Healthcare and Community in EcuadorJackson Roberts ’19

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Major: Neuroscience and Anthropology
Minors: Poverty and Human Capability

This past summer, I had the opportunity to work as a Shepherd International Intern in Poverty Studies in Quito, Ecuador. The program connected me with a host family in the city as well as a non-profit health clinic where I would work throughout the summer. One of the unique features of Quito is that it is located in a narrow valley nestled between the Andes, meaning that its population of more than two million stretches out for miles with very little width across. The result of this for me, living in the center of the city and working in the south, was a lengthy series of bus rides each morning to arrive at work at the other end of the city. I found the bus ride a fantastic way to experience the city as a local would, riding the same route tens of thousands ride each day to get to and from work. Riding the bus for a couple hours each day allowed me to really feel the pulse of the local culture and experience the city in a way a tourist never could.

At the clinic itself, my main responsibilities involved helping run a day program for geriatric patients. About 50 to 70 patients would arrive at the clinic each day, ranging in age from mid-60s to late 90s, to receive basic care and support, as well as to simply establish a sense of community centered in the clinic. Many of those who came to the clinic had been abandoned by their families or lost contact with children who had left the country to work abroad, leaving them without much of a local social network. In a country where the family unit is often highly emphasized and essential to the support of its various members, these individuals represented an instance where the social norm had broken down and left them without a safety net. My tasks there included providing companionship to the patients who visited the clinic each day, as well as supporting nurses with basic tasks such as taking vital signs and directing the patients.

Overall, a lot of my responsibilities ended up being a great deal of fun. Prior to this summer, my interactions with the elderly were often stilted and awkward, but I found myself laughing constantly and navigating conversations with ease as the summer progressed. My experience at the clinic brought a lot of unexpected surprises, including a visit from the president of Ecuador.

In addition to my work with the geriatric program, I worked some afternoons making house calls to diabetic patients who were unable to make the trip to the clinic. I also spent a week at an alternative medicine clinic outside of Quito, which provided an incredible opportunity to explore my interest in medical anthropology in a firsthand manner. Seeing how traditional medicine is adapting and persisting in an increasingly urban and globalized society was very interesting, and will continue to be an important issue in the country moving forward.

My experience as an intern in Ecuador helped to reaffirm my commitment to pursuing a career in international healthcare, whether that be as a medical doctor or public health professional. Observing and working in another healthcare system has provided a lot of insights that can be compared and contrasted with our own healthcare system in the U.S. In addition, simply living and functioning in a foreign city was an exhilarating and challenging experience that has increased my confidence in my own ability to work internationally in the future. I think these experiences are critical for W&L students as we prepare ourselves to be global citizens in an ever-changing international landscape.

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 Jackson

Extracurricular involvement:
I currently serve as co-president of the Red Cross Club, which coordinates blood drives and other service-oriented activities on campus. I am also a Volunteer Venture pre-orientation trip leader to Richmond, where we volunteer at different sites involving healthcare and youth. I have just begun my appointment on the Student Health Advisory Committee and served on the Science, Society, and the Arts Advisory Committee my sophomore year. In addition, I have worked in Dr. Toporikova’s research lab since my first year at W&L, investigating the overlap between a high-fat high-sugar diet and polycystic ovary development. I also presently serve as the Scholarship Chair of my fraternity.
Why did you choose your major?
For a lot of people, the combination of neuroscience and anthropology as double majors does not make a lot of sense, but it always did for me. I’ve always been interested in people, and both majors really get at the question of who we are as a species, just from different angles. In neuroscience, I found a means by which I could learn about the processes by which we feel, think and express ourselves. In anthropology, I was able to continue my passion for the study of culture and the unique life-ways of people around the world.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
My personal favorite spot to grab a meal in Lexington is Mano Taqueria. Their particular Oaxacan-style burritos and tacos have always struck a chord with me since I spent a couple months in that region back in 2014. My order is usually a pork burrito, but I always recommend asking for whatever special they’re offering that day.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder
Post-graduation plans:
The eventual plan for me following graduation is to head to medical school, but I am hoping to first take a gap year and pursue either a fellowship or a year or two working in public health. In my ideal scenario, I would attend an MD/MPH program to tie together my interest in healthcare and society.
Favorite class:
My favorite class so far is certainly Medical Anthropology with Professor Markowitz. The course was the perfect union of my interest in health and culture, and provided many interesting case studies that kept me intrigued throughout the course. I think it is really important for students considering a career in the healthcare professions to take a course like this one because it broadens your perspective on what healthcare is and what forms that might take cross-culturally. Achieving cultural literacy in the different norms that impact healthcare can be a huge advantage for anyone pursuing a medical career.
Favorite W&L event:
Either Fancy Dress or pre-orientation trips
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I don’t think people would guess that I am a huge nerd for Latin American culture, particularly the history of the Incan empire. It doesn’t really shine through often in conversation, but I used to read obsessively on the topic.
Why did you choose W&L?
I have an older brother, Jake Roberts, who attended W&L before me, so in many ways I felt I knew the campus before I ever set foot on it. When I actually did make my first visit, I was blown away by the gorgeous landscapes that circled the campus and fell in love with the look of the campus itself, which emanated a strong sense of history. At the time, I was also really hoping to attend a school where my professors would see me as an individual and provide opportunities for meaningful interaction, and I certainly saw that in W&L. After that visit, I was convinced that W&L was the place for me. Now, there’s a third Roberts in his first year at W&L and a possible fourth on the way!

W&L’s Fairfield on How the Internet of Things is Changing Ownership Law professor Josh Fairfield discusses digital ownership on Quartz.com.

In the middle of all of this data mining and harvesting, something important has been lost: our sense of ownership. We have lost control over the devices that are an integral part of our lives—and as we are the product of what we consume, we’re therefore also changing our relationship with ourselves.

Joshua A. T. Fairfield is an internationally recognized law and technology scholar specializing in digital property, electronic contract and big data privacy. His most recent book is “Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom.”

You can read the entire article at quartz.com.

Related //

W&L’s Johnson and Millon Honored for Mentorship by AALS

JohnsonMillon_030_040516__-800x533 W&L’s Johnson and Millon Honored for Mentorship by AALSDavid Millon and Lyman Johnson

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) has announced the winners of its 2018 section awards for excellence in legal education. Washington and Lee law professors Lyman Johnson and David Millon have been honored with the Section on Business Associations Outstanding Mentor Award for their work with younger scholars in the field of corporate law.

In addition to their significant scholarly contributions to the fields of corporate law and corporate governance, both Johnson and Millon have made the mentorship of younger scholars a priority in their careers over the years.

“What could be better than influencing younger teacher-scholars to persevere in working to improve our area of inquiry–corporate law and the corporate institution,” said Johnson. “David and I are deeply honored by this peer recognition.”

This award follows another recent honor for Johnson and Millon, whose scholarship was the subject of last year’s Law Review Symposium. Johnson and Millon arrived at Washington and Lee in the mid-1980s, embarking upon their scholarly careers at a time now regarded as perhaps the single most extraordinary period of upheaval in the field of corporate law since the 1930s.  Their careers have mapped closely onto many of the developments that effectively define the field of corporate law as conceptualized and practiced today, and each has made extraordinary contributions to a range of theoretical and practical debates that have unfolded over the last thirty years.

The AALS awards are hosted by several sections of the association, which are organized around various academic disciplines and topics of interest. This year’s winners will be acknowledged during specific section programming at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting, January 3-6 in San Diego.

W&L Chanoyu Tea Society to Host Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tea W&L's Chanoyu Tea Society will host their second annual Martin Luther King, Jr. tea ceremony on Jan. 15

“The tea ceremony is very much an art dedicated to finding peace within, reflecting on the here and now and enjoying time together with friends.”

Tea-600x400 W&L Chanoyu Tea Society to Host Annual Martin Luther King Jr. TeaSenshin’an Tea Room, Watson Pavilion

Washington and Lee University’s Chanoyu Tea Society will host their second annual Martin Luther King Jr. tea ceremony on Jan. 15 in the Senshin’an Tea Room, Watson Pavilion.

The tea ceremony will include seatings at 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Free tickets for each seating will be available starting Jan. 2 and must be picked up at the Reeves Center between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Seats are limited.

Students will be serving traditional Japanese sweets and making tea using the open hearth in the tearoom. The scroll for this special occasion has the character for “Dream,” which will be the group’s unifying theme.

“We started the MLK tea last year as a way to celebrate the university holiday in a meaningful way and not simply to see it as a day to catch up with work or take a day away from campus,” said Janet Ikeda, associate professor of Japanese. “The tea ceremony is very much an art dedicated to finding peace within, reflecting on the here and now and enjoying time together with friends.”

Chanoyu Tea Society is a student organization consisting of students who express an interest in the art of the Japanese tea ceremony and wish to pursue their study of the ceremony in the Senshin’an (Clearing-the-Mind Abode) Tea Room.

The group aims to increase exposure of the Japanese tea ceremony and Japanese culture to the W&L community and the surrounding area by hosting public tea demonstrations.

For tickets contact Cassie Ivey at 540-458-8034 or reevescenter@wlu.edu.

W&L Recognized for National Excellence in Teacher Preparation The Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium has received accreditation for its teacher preparation program.

“We set high expectations for the preparation of quality teachers and CAEP accreditation validates the hard work we’ve all been doing.”

teacher-ed-local-l-600x400 W&L Recognized for National Excellence in Teacher PreparationRockbridge Teacher Education Consortium

The Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium, a partnership between Washington and Lee University and Southern Virginia University, has received accreditation for its teacher preparation program by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The CAEP teacher preparation standards are rigorous, nationally recognized standards that were developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs.

“These institutions meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said CAEP President Christopher A. Koch. “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”

CAEP-Accredited-Shield-2017-4C-231x350 W&L Recognized for National Excellence in Teacher PreparationCAEP

CAEP is the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation. Accreditation is a nongovernmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and promoting improvement. CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. It is a unified accreditation system intent on raising the performance of all institutions focused on educator preparation.

“We set high expectations for the preparation of quality teachers and CAEP accreditation validates the hard work we’ve all been doing,” said Haley Sigler, director of teacher education and associate professor of education at W&L. “I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium and am grateful for the partnership with Southern Virginia University and with the Buena Vista, Lexington City and Rockbridge County Schools. Our faculty, students and local K-12 partners have all played a part in this accomplishment and it is incredibility gratifying for the work to be recognized nationally.”

Educator preparation providers seeking accreditation must pass peer review on five standards, which are based on two principles: solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators, and solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.

The Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium joins 42 other providers to receive CAEP Accreditation in fall 2017. They join the 34 providers previously accredited. Overall, 101 preparation providers from 33 states and the District of Columbia have received CAEP Accreditation.

W&L’s Gene McCabe Named President of the USILA McCabe will serve a two-year term.

SOC042115_76-600x400 W&L's Gene McCabe Named President of the USILAMen’s Lacrosse Coach Gene McCabe

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) has announced that Washington and Lee Head Coach Gene McCabe will be appointed as president of the organization at the annual Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) convention in Baltimore.

McCabe, who currently serves the organization as vice-president, will serve a two-year term beginning December 8. He replaces Empire 8 Commissioner Chuck Mitrano, who finishes his term as president.

“Gene has contributed tremendous energy and thoughtful insight as USILA Vice-President,” said Mitrano. “Those tools will serve the organization well as he steps into the presidency during an important time in our evolution. The USILA is in exceptional hands.”

“On behalf the USILA, I want to thank Chuck Mitrano for the time, energy, and leadership he gave to the USILA,” said McCabe. “His guidance was pivotal during an important transition period for our association. I am honored to serve the USILA board and our member institutions in this capacity.”

McCabe added “It is an exciting moment in time for the USILA and the overall growth of our sport. I am looking forward to working with our executive board to bring as much value to our institutions as possible and foster the growth of lacrosse at the collegiate level.”

McCabe is in his 12th season as the head coach of the W&L men’s lacrosse program. He has led the Generals to a 129-68 (.655) overall record, two Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championships and three NCAA Tournament berths. McCabe can surpass Jim Stagnitta (1990-2001) as the program’s all-time wins leader with eight more victories.

W&L has compiled double-digit wins in eight of McCabe’s 11 seasons to date, including a school-record 16 victories during the 2009, 2013 and 2016 seasons. The 2009 and 2016 teams both won conference titles, while all three teams advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Prior to taking over as head coach at W&L, McCabe spent five seasons as the head coach at Hamilton College, leading the Continentals to a 54-18 (.750) overall record. He was named the USILA Division III National Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading Hamilton to a 15-3 record and a Liberty League title. That team also advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

McCabe is in his second stint with the Generals after serving as an assistant coach from 1998-2001. During that three-year run, the Generals posted a 43-5 (.896) overall record and a 17-1 mark in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference while achieving a No. 1 National Ranking in 1999 and 2001. Additionally, W&L won two ODAC Championships and participated in the NCAA Tournament twice, advancing to the semifinals in 2000.

McCabe graduated from Bates College in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in European history. At Bates, he lettered in both lacrosse and football.

Founded in 1885, the USILA provides awards services to every NCAA Division I, II, and III men’s lacrosse program in the country. The association is entrusted to enhance and develop intercollegiate lacrosse by providing leadership, management, and services to its membership so that student-athletes, coaches, institutions, and other constituent groups will realize the maximum benefit from the sport of lacrosse.

Your Link to W&L: Alumni Chapters!

NYC_summerGroup-350x233 Your Link to W&L: Alumni Chapters!NYC Summer in the City

Have you heard the buzz about all the exciting alumni chapter events this year? Participating in one of our 77 W&L alumni chapters is a great way to stay connected with the University, meet up with old and new friends, and have a great time while doing it! Since July of this year, chapters have staged 44 Summer Send-Off parties for current students, 18 Welcome to the City events for our newest graduates, 13 tailgates/athletic events, more than 40 happy hours and holiday parties, and 12 receptions introducing President Will Dudley. Take a look at this slideshow to see just some of the fun!

Be sure to keep an eye on your email and our website for an alumni event near you. If you are not currently receiving email updates from your local alumni chapter, please logon to Colonnade Connections to update your contact information.

Persistent in Pursuit of Answers Kathryn E. Young '19 got a Reynolds Business Scholarship that allowed her to intern at her hometown newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

kathryn-800x533 Persistent in Pursuit of AnswersKathryn E. Young ’19

Kathryn E. Young ’19
Majors: Journalism and Business Administration

Where did you intern this summer?

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is the primary newspaper in Virginia’s capital city. It has the second-largest circulation of any Virginia newspaper.

Describe your job there:

I worked as a business reporting intern. I pitched, researched and wrote stories on business-related happenings in Richmond and its surrounding counties. I wrote 42 articles over the course of my 10 weeks, including two Metro Business cover stories, four Sunday Business cover stories, seven A1 cover stories, and various daily business and metro stories. This internship was made possible by a Reynolds Business Scholarship.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

During my second week as an intern, I took to the skies in an airplane owned by CoStar, a company that focuses on real estate research. I flew above downtown Richmond, as well as surrounding counties, to learn more about the business and how they collect their research. We even flew above my high school, which was very cool. I wrote my first Metro Business cover story about the company. It was a unique experience to see my city from a new angle.

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

Another Sunday business cover story I wrote was about five local entrepreneurs from less fortunate backgrounds who worked for the opportunity to turn their livese around. Two of the five had a history of drug abuse, and another two spent time in prison. All five, thanks to a local nonprofit, are now small business owners. It was inspiring to learn how far they have come as a result of hard work and dedication.

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

Trying to work with public relations people from companies proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. At the end of the day, public relations people represent the company; they do not work for the media. As a result, they may not answer all questions, and may not respond in a timely fashion. As a result, I had to learn to be more persistent in my pursuit of answers, and had to learn how to ask the right questions.

Did anything about the location of your internship really excite you?

I am a Richmond native, so I was just really excited to live at home and spend time with my family!

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

It made me truly realize how much I love writing. I never quite knew what type of journalism was my calling, but I could see myself writing for a newspaper.

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

My professors in the journalism department were incredibly helpful coming into this internship. Learning how to write well from Prof. Cumming in Journalism 201 was particularly useful. However, my extra-curricular experiences with the Ring-tum Phi and Rockbridge Report gave an extra boost to my interviewing skills and confidence when interviewing.

Did any particular grant or other funding, besides your personal funding, help pay for this opportunity? Reynolds Business Scholarship

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

‘My Time in Thailand’ Shadowing surgeons in Thailand made neuroscience major Emily Ellis '18 even more excited about her chosen career path.

“Students who work or volunteer abroad have greater access to the culture and greater opportunity for meaningful relationships with community members, especially because they arrive with something to offer to the community rather than just something to learn.”

ellis2-800x533 'My Time in Thailand'Emily Ellis ’19

Emily Ellis ’18
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity:

I traveled to Thailand this summer and worked as a medical intern for one month. As a medical intern, I assisted with basic medical needs, observed doctor-patient interactions in the outpatient department, and viewed surgical procedures inside the operating rooms. I had a truly global experience, meeting doctors and patients from all over Asia and living with volunteers from 10 different countries. This experience was funded by a Johnson Opportunity Grant.

What did you enjoy most about the location?

My time in Thailand was divided between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Chiang Mai is a city with an incredibly relaxing atmosphere and easygoing pace of life. It is large enough to offer visitors anything they want but small enough for them to navigate. What I love most about Chiang Mai is the kindness and authenticity of the people.

Because of its size, Bangkok is initially intimidating and overwhelming, but the hospitable people and impressive infrastructure make it easier to tackle. After becoming accustomed to the bustling city, it is easy to enjoy everything it has to offer. What I loved most about Bangkok is its innovation, especially in the hospitals.

What did an average day for you look like?

I worked from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. At the hospital, I either completed rounds or observed surgeries. When completing rounds, I met the patients in my assigned department and learned the details of their cases. Sometimes, the patients spoke English well enough to tell me about the case themselves. When I was observing surgeries, the surgeons would explain the case and procedure as the patient was being prepped. Once the surgery began, the nurses helped me find the best view of the procedure. Occasionally, the surgeons asked me to scrub in. The surgeries ranged from 30-minute C-sections to 7-hour open heart or brain surgeries.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience?

I would not have the experience I had without the amazing individuals I encountered in Thailand. I formed lasting friendships with Thai coordinators and medical students as well as volunteers from from all over the world. We were united by our desire to learn about new cultures and found ourselves constantly discussing custom foods, holiday traditions, and current events in our native countries. With this exposure to a variety of new cultures, I improved my ability to identify cultural schemas and attribute cultural differences to these schemas as opposed to viewing one culture as superior to the other.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

It was difficult adjusting to the language barrier. The doctors and nurses had better English than I expected, but they got offended if I corrected their pronunciation or asked them to repeat their sentences. I learned it was usually best to smile and nod, then ask for clarification following the explanation.

There was one time when that was not the best approach. A surgeon was explaining a procedure to his medical students and me. He was speaking in English but suddenly looked at me and started speaking Thai. I simply smiled and nodded, but the surgeon continued repeating the phrase to me. As I continued to smile and nod, a medical student informed me that the surgeon was asking if I had a pen. For the past 30 seconds, I had unknowingly been answering yes but never reached to give him one.

Who has served as a mentor to you this summer, and what is the best thing they taught you?

I had several doctors and nurses serving as my mentors this summer, and while each one provided me with a wealth of medical knowledge, I most appreciate their direction on how to act appropriately in a new culture. By imitating their behavior, I could act professionally, receive more responsibility, and recognize cultural differences in technique and conduct.

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

In addition to the medical background I learned with my W&L curriculum, W&L prepared me for the type of culture I would encounter in Thailand. There is a reason Thailand is called the Land of Smiles. The people are exceptionally friendly and considerate. I could not help but notice the similarities between our warm W&L community and the compassionate communities in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. I particularly valued their willingness to help, their appreciation for my attempt at speaking Thai, and the interest they showed in my story.  I hope to carry the endless smiles and cheerful energy to W&L so that I can become even better acquainted with our community during my last year.

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

Not only did this experience validate my desire to practice medicine, it gave me insight into which departments I want to pursue in the future. As a neuroscience major, I have always considered neurology or neurosurgery, and after observing several complex neurosurgeries, I am even more swayed, but I also have a new love for cardiology after watching two incredible open-heart surgeries.

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

Any type of abroad experience can offer opportunities for personal growth and broadened perspectives, but working abroad is unique in that it places students directly alongside foreign community members. As a result, students who work or volunteer abroad have greater access to the culture and greater opportunity for meaningful relationships with community members, especially because they arrive with something to offer to the community rather than just something to learn. If nothing else, working abroad advances future career opportunities by providing individuals with incredible professional experience and perspective.

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.

Real Estate Society: Q&A with Lindsey Michaels ’18

Lindsey_Michaels_18-400x600 Real Estate Society: Q&A with Lindsey Michaels '18

Lindsey Michaels ’18, Co-Executive Director, Real Estate Society  

Describe your role in the Real Estate Society

As Co-Executive Director, my main role is to serve as the administrative head of the Real Estate Society. I act as a liaison to the administration and trustees, advisors, and Group Heads within the Society. It is very important for the Co-Executive Directors to keep an open dialogue with alumni and members of the Board of Trustees as the Society continues to grow. I also participate in planning events for the Society, such as the Real Estate Forum, the Case Competition, Argus Software Training, and more. Going forward, it is also very important to listen to feedback from current members to determine if there should be any reorganization, especially since the structure of RES has recently changed and will continue to develop. Ultimately, the Co-Executive Directors are responsible for ensuring that the Society is making sound investments and adequately managing our portion of the University’s endowment.

How much has the organization changed since its creation in 2015?

The Real Estate Society has come a very long way since its creation my freshman year. The main (and most impressive) difference is that RES now has funds from the University’s endowment to actively invest in the real estate equity market. This was always the goal of the RES, but the Board of Trustees did not grant us the $1MM until this past February. This success can be attributed the Society’s original founders and leaders. Prior to receiving the money, our activity consisted of group presentations on different asset-classes and geographical markets, which had more of an educational purpose. We also hosted a number of alumni speakers to educate members and we participated in pro-bono consulting projects. Now, the focus of RES has shifted towards investing in REITs. Asset-class groups present an Investment Pitch to the Society each week, and members vote on whether to Buy/Sell/Hold the stock. The hands-on and real-world investing experience, coupled with an immense amount of responsibility granted by the University, provides members with an invaluable opportunity that is not found in the traditional classroom setting. This has been a very exciting and educational process for us so far, and it is encouraging to see student interest in the Society increase each semester.

Can on you elaborate on why the organization was created

W&L does a great job providing Williams School students with tools and opportunities for careers in banking, consulting, and accounting. However, there existed a gap in the resources available for students interested in a career in real estate. In fact, a lot of students (including those interested in business/finance) do not even consider real estate as an option. The founders created RES to educate and expose students to the opportunities in real estate, and open up a strong pipeline between students and alumni in the industry. So far, RES has been successful in increasing alumni recruitment on campus for real estate related positions.

What are your current projects this semester?

This semester we have been mainly focused on allocating our $1MM to various REIT stocks in order to build up our portfolio. So far this year, we have voted to invest a total of $250,000 in 5 different REITs: Spirit Realty Corporation, Senior Housing Properties Trust, Tanger Family Outlet Centers, Inc., Life Storage, and Realty Income. Until we have allocated all $1MM, we decided to invest our remaining balance in the Vanguard REIT Index Fund, rather than sitting on excess cash. We will continue to pitch investments until the rest of our money is allocated. In addition, each asset-class group created a Bi-Annual Sector Report to help familiarize members with the current market conditions and forecasts.

What do you want to see for the program in the future?

First, I hope to see the RES manage more than our current $1MM of the University’s endowment. Hopefully we will realize returns on current investments, and Directors can continue conversations with the Board in the next few years to increase our overall portion of the endowment. Second, I hope that the program will keep up its current momentum and that student interest will grow each year. I also would like to see non-business majors interested in RES because real estate is such a comprehensive industry. Finally, I am confident that the alumni network in the real estate industry will continue to expand and present job opportunities for W&L students.

Have you received alumni feedback on the program?

Yes, alumni feedback has been extremely positive since RES’s creation. Alumni are genuinely curious in our activities and have been going out of their way to offer support. For example, each asset-class group has one or two alumni mentors who serve as industry resources for that group during their investment pitch research. RES also hosts the annual Real Estate Forum in Washington, D.C., an event that attracts more than 75 alumni across the industry. The majority of attendees are very excited to engage in the activities during the Forum, which include networking sessions, a luncheon with panel discussions and a keynote speaker, and a tour of properties under development. Feedback has been positive across the board. During my work experience and interviews over the past two years, alumni have consistently wanted to learn more about RES and express excitement about the organization.

Roland Hartung ’18L Argues Case Before U.S. Tax Court

hartung Roland Hartung '18L Argues Case Before U.S. Tax CourtRoland Hartung ’18L

3L Roland Hartung is a student attorney in the Tax Clinic at W&L Law. This semester, he had the unique experience of taking a case to trial, something that has only happened once before in the Clinic’s ten-year history.

What is a “typical” experience for a student attorney in the tax clinic?  How has your experience been different?

Much of the work we do in the Tax Clinic focuses on helping our clients respond to the IRS or the Virginia Department of Taxation. Our clients may receive a notice of deficiency or other inquiries, and we help them resolve any disputes they may have with those agencies. Dealing with these agencies is daunting for many of our clients, and we help them navigate the often-complicated tax landscape. We also assist our clients with tax court cases, but almost all of them settle at some point before trial.

My experience differed significantly. My main client for the semester was a married couple from Virginia disputing the IRS’s determination that a settlement they received for physical injury should be considered gross income. Unlike most of our other cases, the IRS refused to settle, resulting in the Clinic’s second trial in 10 years.

Describe your preparation for trial.

I had a little less than a month to prepare for trial. This required me to become familiar with the specific facts of the case and the law in a very short period of time. I began closely studying the evidence we had, including the settlement document, prior complaints, medical history and other documents. The time constraints also required me to conduct extensive legal research on a topic I had only briefly dealt with during my Federal Income Tax class a year before. All this research culminated in our pre-trial brief, which combined a summary of the facts and the applicable law from our point of view.

Once we submitted the pre-trial brief, I began my preparation for the actual trial. This included meeting with the clients, preparing exhibits, direct examination questions, and opening and closing statements.  

Talk about the trial itself.

The trial was an incredible experience. The U.S. Tax Court was travelling for this trial, which meant that the case was heard in Roanoke instead of Washington, D.C. where the Court normally sits. The majority of the clinic traveled to Roanoke to watch and support me during the trial.

After Professor Drumbl introduced me, I began to argue our case. This included everything from laying the foundation for and introducing evidence, direct examinations of our two witnesses, as well as answering questions from the court. All in all, the case went very smoothly. This was in part due to the skills I acquired during the Third-Year Litigation Immersion.

Being able to conduct all aspects of a trial was an exhilarating experience and I am thankful that Professor Drumbl gave me the opportunity to do so.

How did Professor Drumbl and/or your fellow student attorneys assist you before, during and after the trial?

Professor Drumbl was very helpful every step of the way. She was always available to bounce ideas around and provided suggestions on developing an effective case strategy.  I also received a lot of assistance from Alexander Lewitt and Christopher Hurley, two of my fellow Tax Clinic students. Alex and Chris assisted me throughout the whole trial experience by researching specific issues and by always being willing to discuss issues that came up. I also received tremendous support from everyone else in the clinic. Every single member of the clinic was always willing to discuss the case and provide different perspectives.

What are the next steps for this case?

We are currently waiting for a verdict from the Tax Court. We recently submitted our post-trial brief, and we hope to receive a favorable outcome.

What was the most rewarding part of this experience for you personally?

It is hard to pin down one individual aspect. It was incredibly rewarding to help our clients and give them their day in court. Additionally, it was a great experience to have full control over every aspect of the trial. That is an experience that very few law students ever get to have, and I am incredibly grateful that W&L provides its students with such meaningful opportunities.

How does this experience (either this trial or in the tax clinic generally) further your larger professional goals?

I have always had a special interest in tax and litigation. There is a strong possibility that I will be working in Tax Controversy after school, so this experience will absolutely come in handy. At the very least, I hope I will be ready if I ever have another tax trial!

Made to Order Ledbury co-owner Paul Trible ’03 designed a hunting shirt that's made to last.

paul-trible-350x267 Made to OrderPaul Trible ’03

Just in time for your holiday shopping, Virginia Living announced its Made in Virginia 2017 Awards. Ledbury co-owner Paul Trible III ’03 made the list for his Whitfield Hunting shirt, named for his niece who was born the day the shirt was launched.

Trible, who began making bespoke shirts in 2009, is an avid hunter and relied on feedback from his friends on the shirt’s design.

They told him “to keep it simple and to reinforce it in the places that matter.” He added: “I shoot with my grandfather’s Browning Belgium rifle. My bird jacket was passed down from my wife’s grandfather. I wanted to create a hunting shirt, made by hand in our workshop, that I would be proud to pass down to future generations.”

Social Responsibility Kate Donnelly ’11 is using her education and Shepherd experiences to improve her local community.

Kate-Donnelly-Headshot-228x350 Social ResponsibilityKate Donnelly ’11

Kate Donnelly ’11 interned with Cooper’s Ferry Development Association as a Shepherd student and is currently the manager of accounting operations at Goodwill of Greater Washington, D.C. Prior to Goodwill, Kate worked for Ernst & Young in its assurance services practice and served as EY’s community engagement champion. Kate helps run the mentor program for the Elrod Fellowship program in D.C.

Q: How did the Shepherd Program shape your years at W&L?
While I was a business and accounting major at Washington and Lee, my four years in college were more defined by my minor in poverty studies. I’ll never forget walking into Dr. Beckley’s Poverty 101 class my first semester in college. At the time, I had no clue how much that one class would impact my future. I knew going into W&L that I would want to participate in the Shepherd Program on some level, but I was totally hooked after the first class. Poverty 101 covered real issues that all majors and minors could relate to. The Shepherd Program allowed me to apply my desire to improve my local community with my business and accounting education. I catered my course schedule to include a multitude of business and accounting classes, while also taking a couple of Poverty Studies classes each term.

My education culminated in my Poverty capstone project, where I partnered with a fellow classmate to perform an assessment of the personal finance environment in Rockbridge County, Virginia. We spent 12 weeks interviewing local residents and community leaders throughout the county and meeting with local banks, police forces and lenders to assess the personal finance environment in Rockbridge County. From that, we developed a report analyzing our results and suggesting ways in which our university community could assist.

Q: How did the Shepherd Program impact your career/graduate studies?
After graduating, I took a job with Ernst & Young in its assurance practice. Though I knew long term that I wanted to do something more community-based, I was attracted by the people of EY and knew the firm would provide meaningful experiences for professional growth. While at EY, I volunteered in its corporate social responsibility group and acted as the community engagement leader for the Greater Washington office. My involvement in EY Community Engagement gave me a view of the many ways in which a large organization like EY can impact its community. The experiences and education I encountered through the Shepherd Program provided a different perspective than most of my EY colleagues, which helped me greatly in all of my roles with the firm.

In 2015, I decided to shift gears to work where I could see my efforts more directly impact my local community. With the advice and support of W&L mentors and professors, I joined Raffa P.C., a public accounting firm specializing in non-profit accounting. It was a great combination of my business and accounting background and my passion for improving my local community — exactly what I worked on throughout college. My experience at Raffa ultimately let me to my current role at Goodwill of Greater Washington as manager of accounting operations. My experiences from the Shepherd Program led me to where I am today.

Q: Why is this program important for W&L?
The Shepherd Program not only taught me the importance of facing the social issues in our communities, but more importantly, the program taught me that it is the responsibility of our entire community to help. Profitable businesses and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive, but can often intertwine to create win-win situations for both the bottom line and the community. The program allows students to pursue their careers with a different perspective, creating community conscious professionals, leaders and citizens.

Kiki Spiezio ’18 Awarded Clinton Scholarship The William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship will allow Spiezio to attend the American University in Dubai during Winter Term 2018.

“Dubai is the perfect place to inform a lot of my different interests, from urban development to art to wealth inequality to globalization.”

spiezio-800x533 Kiki Spiezio '18 Awarded Clinton ScholarshipKiki Spiezio ’18

Katrina “Kiki” Spiezio ’18 is the latest Washington and Lee University student to receive the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship, which will allow her to attend the American University in Dubai (AUD) during Winter Term 2018.

Spiezio is the fourth W&L student to receive a scholarship from the Clinton Presidential Foundation, which has partnered with AUD to provide funding for up to 10 American students per semester. The scholarship covers tuition and housing, and is intended for those with no previous exposure to Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures.

While in Dubai, Spiezio plans to take six classes toward a Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies from AUD. As of the end of Fall Term 2017 at W&L, she has completed degrees in Politics and Business Administration, with minors in Studio Art and Poverty and Human Capability Studies. She will walk in Commencement in May 2018.

“I am so excited to win this scholarship because I have been looking forward to applying for it since the middle of my junior year, and it was one of the major factors in my decision to delay graduation,” Spiezio said. “While I’ve had many short experiences abroad, I’m looking forward to spending a full four months in one place though I will also try to travel some once I get to Dubai. It’s also the perfect place to inform a lot of my different interests, from urban development to art to wealth inequality to globalization.”

Spiezio said she has long been interested in visiting the Middle East and learning more about the culture there. That fascination began with a visit to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C. when she was a sixth grader and expanded as she spent time with Arab and Muslim friends, and read more about the region in the news.

“As a politics and business dual degree candidate, I am also fascinated by Dubai’s unique development story,” she said. “By spending time in Dubai myself, I thought that I would be able to learn more than I ever could from secondary sources.”

Spiezio has been a stand-out student at Washington and Lee, where she has been a Bonner Scholar and co-founder of FLIP, an organization that provides support for first-generation, low-income students. She has also been president of ODK (2016), an Owings Fellow, and a Lead Class Agent for the Class of 2017 (her original class), among many other activities.

In addition, Spiezio was a Summer Research Scholar, studying gerrymandering and voter redistricting with professors Mark Rush and Paul Kuettner, and she is a past recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship, as well as the Gilman Scholarship.

“Kiki is a remarkable young woman who has taken full advantage of everything W&L has to offer and more: academics, student groups, extra-curricular activities, experiences and internships off campus and abroad, and seeking out and applying for fellowships. She is a student leader extraordinaire,” said Professor Gwyn E. Campbell, associate dean of the College. “She richly deserves the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship to the American University in Dubai, where she will gain a significant additional perspective for her future work in public policy.”

W&L Announces November 2017 Community Grants Community Grants Committee has made 19 grants totaling $30,760 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County.

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 19 grants totaling $30,760 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first part of its two rounds of grants for 2017-18.

The committee chose the grants from 29 proposals requesting over $160,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • American Red Cross of the Roanoke and New River Valleys Virginia – Provide immediate disaster relief to eight families following home fires
  • The Community Closet at Christ Episcopal Church – Acquisition of essential clothing and supplies to support the mission
  • Community Foundation for Rockbridge, Bath, and Alleghany – New laptop for the foundation office
  • The Community Table of Buena Vista, Inc. – Assist TCT to purchase essential food items
  • Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity – Funds to purchase a fireproof file cabinet to facilitate improved office management.
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center – Funds to purchase winter hay for the horses
  • Lexington Police Foundation – Funds to purchase a patrol bike
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc. – Food purchase and operational expenses
  • PMHS Girls Basketball Program – Help fund equipment and gear needs
  • PMHS Lady Blues Soccer – Funding for team uniforms and gear
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center – Dental equipment for the center’s new satellite dental clinic – Mountain View Family Dentistry
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association – Funds to provide health and hygiene products to food pantry clients
  • The Rockbridge Ballet – To assist with the purchase of portable marley vinyl dance flooring
  • Rockbridge SPCA – Funding for the Alter Rockbridge program
  • RCHS Girls Soccer Booster Club – Funding for team uniforms and gear
  • RCHS Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Program – To assist with the purchase of one quadcopter drone
  • Rockbridge Regional Library Youth Literacy – Funds to go towards the Youth Literacy program
  • St. John’s United Methodist Church – Community Blanket Give-away program
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA – Support the growth of Buena Vista’s YMCA after-school enrichment program

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

During its 2016-17 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually, at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The submission deadline for the second round of evaluations for 2017-18 will be: by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018.  Please make note of the new March deadline. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

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

Big Stories in the Small City As a general assignment intern at The Roanoke Times, Rachel Hicks '19 learned how to be firm with difficult sources.

“Quite honestly, all I want to do is write, so any form of writing, as long as it’s helping people in some way, is what I want to do.”

rachel_hicks-800x533 Big Stories in the Small CityRachel Hicks ’19 (far left) interviews the head chef of a new brewery as part of her summer internship at The Roanoke Times. Photo by Stephanie Klein-Davis | The Roanoke Times.

Hometown: Mableton, Georgia
Major: Journalism
Minor: Russian

Where did you intern this summer?

The Roanoke Times

Tell us a little bit about that organization.

The Roanoke Times is Southwest Virginia’s main newspaper. It’s published by Berkshire Hathaway and began publication in 1886.

Describe your job there.

I was a general assignment reporter and got to write about many topics, from a retired nurse who survived five brain tumors to the Miss Virginia pageant. An Alex Jones Scholarship helped to fund my internship.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

There’s a girl with spinal muscular atrophy who lives in Botetourt County, whose parents are raising money to build an all-access playground in Daleville for children with or without disabilities. Kids with mobility issues will be able to play next to their friends. Also, the little girl with SMA wasn’t supposed to live past the age of two, but she’s eight now, and very content with her life. She’s in third grade at Greenfield Elementary and Skypes into class three times a week.

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

Jeff Sturgeon, a reporter at the Roanoke Times, taught me to stop smiling and laughing every time I talk to people. He showed me how to be direct and pressing when I need information or am on deadline. Now, I understand that even if I’m not pleasing the person I’m trying to get information from, I will help the public by doing something with the information I receive.

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

I had to stand my ground to get a public document from Lead Safe Roanoke. They wouldn’t give me the paperwork containing their application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development even though it was by law a public document. I had to read up on the law and educate them that they were obligated to give it to me in the next five days, whether it made their program look bad or not. To be honest, I almost cried, because I’m a people-pleaser and hate upsetting people, but I stuck to the truth and kept my shoulders back and got the information I needed in the end, and I earned respect both from the Lead Safe staff and the reporters at the Times.

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

I got to meet a lot of locals in Roanoke, and they were all sweet, down-to-earth, and outdoorsy. We went hiking several times to the Cascades, and running on the Greenway, which runs alongside the Roanoke River. It was fun to assimilate to the small city, and I could actually see myself living here in the future for a short period of time. If you visit Roanoke, try the new Atlas Chocolate café. It’s quite lovely – they serve coffee drinks, gelato, and have a large assortment of chocolates.

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

I loved working for news, so I know that I’d be happy working for a paper in the future. Maybe even a newspaper in a smaller city. I always dreamed of writing for a big-city newspaper, but I think I’d be happy working somewhere smaller, too. Quite honestly, all I want to do is write, so any form of writing, as long as it’s helping people in some way, is what I want to do.

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

Professor Coddington really prepared me through Journalism 201. That class was stressful, but when it was over I felt like I could write anything under pressure, including the crucial details. People at the paper were surprised by how quickly I was able to draft articles and they were impressed by the content, so thank you, Professor Coddington!

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

Rare by Association Two tiny, leather-bound volumes in Special Collections feature signatures and bookplates that make them extraordinarily rare.

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The exquisite, leather-bound, diminutive pieces featured in this story are not particularly rare in themselves however, the association with one of America’s most important and well-known families elevates the two 1749 pieces to an uncommonly high level of rarity.

In preparing for a Latin class presentation on Cicero in the fall of 2016, I was working with Adrienne Hagen, visiting assistant professor of classics. While reviewing the fairly extensive and rich collection of early classics by and related to Cicero in the Special Collections vault, we made a startling and wonderful discovery. Volume VI and Volume XX of the multi-volume set of “Ciceronis Opera” (the works of Cicero) bear the beautiful and distinctive bookplate of John Parke Custis, the stepson of George Washington.

Adding even more excitement and intrigue to the discovery is the distinctive signature of Mary Anna Randolph Custis, the granddaughter of John Parke Custis and the wife of General Robert E. Lee, president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) from 1865-1870.

The two small volumes became part of the Washington and Lee library collection when George Washington Custis (G.W.C.) Lee left the president’s office in 1897. He had held the position since his father’s death in 1870. Presumably, the books were part of the Washingtonian Collection that Mary Custis Lee had acquired when she inherited Arlington House.

Upon federal occupation of Arlington House in 1861, Mary Custis Lee had much of the Washington-related material removed to Richmond for safekeeping. The items ultimately were shipped to Lexington, but prior to the 1864 Hunter’s Raid of Lexington, the Washington family treasures were removed to the village of Brownsburg, on the outskirts of Lexington, for additional security measures. The recent provenance of the pieces is startlingly clear from the ownership stamps and signatures present on both volumes.

Although the pieces were intact and in fair condition, considering their age, some stabilization work, including the repair and restoration of the bindings and the fabrication of custom linen clamshell boxes, was undertaken during summer and early fall of 2017. That work was generously underwritten by Lisa R. Moore of Staunton, Virginia. Moore, former vice-regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, last year graciously funded the restoration of George Washington’s copy of “The Beauties of Johnson” (1782), which also bears the signatures of George Washington and Mary Anna Randolph Custis.

Although the provenance of the Cicero volumes through the Lee family is quite clear, questions remain as to the ownership of the volumes prior to John Parke Custis. A cursory examination of the volumes shows that the bookplate of John Parke Custis has actually been pasted over a previous bookplate. Further study needs to be undertaken to determine if Custis (known as “Jacky”), who died just prior to his 27th birthday in 1781 at Yorktown after the British surrender, inherited the books from his father, Daniel Parke Custis (Martha Washington’s first husband) or from his stepfather, George Washington.

Perhaps the bookplate that lies underneath John Parke Custis’ bookplate will tell the rest of the story. Upon his death at such a young age, Jacky’s widow and children returned to Mount Vernon for a brief period. It is likely that the Cicero volumes, now residing in Washington and Lee’s Special Collections vault, were added to the Mount Vernon Library by Jacky’s devoted mother, Martha Washington. That lineal association from the Washington family at Mount Vernon to the Lee family of Lexington makes our two Cicero volumes extraordinarily rare.

2017 Five-Star Festival Celebrates Class Achievements

FiveStar_1962fellows-1024x768 2017 Five-Star Festival Celebrates Class AchievementsThe Class of 1962 Faculty Fellows

Washington and Lee University celebrated the classes of 1962 and 1957 during the Five-Star Festival November 2 – 4, 2017. The Five-Star Festival is a special campus reunion for W&L alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago. In honor of its 55th reunion, the Class of 1962 met recipients of The Class of 1962 Faculty Fellows Fund, an endowment that the class established in 1987 during its 25th reunion. The fund supports important undergraduate faculty research and ongoing scholarship. The Faculty Fellows and members of the class gathered at the Alumni House for dinner. Faculty Fellows provided a brief overview of their research.

To learn more about the current Faculty Fellows and their research, visit the Class of 1962 Faculty Fellows web page.

The Five-Star banquet recognized outstanding class contributions. The Class of 1957, which was celebrating its 60th reunion, received the distinguished Richmond Trophy in honor of having the highest percentage of classmates contributing to the Annual Fund among the Five-Star classes. Their class participation rate was an impressive 88 percent. Class Agents Bill Russell, Warren Welsh, and Bill Kaufmann attended the ceremony and accepted the award on behalf of their class.

Other Five-Star classes also received recognition during the festival. The Class of 1953 was awarded the Washington Trophy for raising the most money of the Five-Star classes for the 2016-17 Annual Fund. The Class of 1955 received the McCutcheon Trophy in recognition of having the highest percentage of class members in the loyal donor society, the 1749 Circle. The Class of 1959 snagged the Beirer Trophy for having the highest percentage of members in W&L’s leadership donor group, The President’s Society.

Classes Gearing Up for Alumni Weekend 2018 For the Classes Ending in 3 and 8

As we near the end of 2017, Washington and Lee reunion classes are preparing not only for a festive and memorable Alumni Weekend, but also for making a significant impact on current students. Alumni Weekend 2018 is April 26–29 and will include special reunion events for members of the 15th through 50th classes with graduation years ending in 3 and 8. Reunion class co-chairs and their fellow committee members encourage reunion participation and giving. Strengthening relationships among classmates and with W&L is a top priority.

Many consider reconnecting with their classmates a primary draw of Alumni Weekend. Typically, more than 500 alumni return to campus to celebrate reunions each spring. In the last two years alumni have traveled from at least 40 states, including Hawaii, and a number of foreign countries. In 2008, W&L established the Reunion Traveller Award to recognize the alumna or alumnus who traveled the farthest to attend. Last year, Paul Cheever of New South Wales, Australia, became the first alumnus to win the award two times. He made the 10,000 mile journey to Lexington for his 40th and 45th reunions.

“For our 45th reunion, my co-chair, Lat Purser, and I agreed that our primary goal is to get as many classmates as possible back to Lexington for our reunion,” said Class of 1973 co-chair Don Eavenson. “We have planned a full slate of activities, including a cocktail party before the Opening Assembly, a class dinner at Belfield (former home of Dean Gilliam) with a special guest, and a class gathering next to Wilson Field for the men’s lacrosse game. The best reason to come back for our reunion is to reconnect with classmates and old friends. It is sure to be a fun time.”

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

Alumni Weekend is also a prime time for donors to see firsthand the difference that their gifts make to the university. Scholarship donors have an opportunity to connect with student recipients, and Annual Fund donors see improved buildings, enhanced technology and classroom resources, and the high caliber of students on campus today. “The improvements and developments on campus since the Class of 2003 graduated are almost too numerous to list,” said Class of 2003 co-chair Wynne Sharpe. “If alumni have not been back to Lexington in the last few years, they will just be astounded and incredibly proud of the school’s improved physical plant. However, the more exciting things they may discover during their trip back will be the pronounced energy on campus and apparent quality and depth of the student body.”

Participation in reunion giving is a key part of the Annual Fund’s success each year, which currently provides 8 percent of the university’s operating budget and reduces educational costs for every student by nearly $5,000. But giving during reunion isn’t just about the numbers — it is an emotional experience unique to the donor, with the purpose of reconnecting with the past to impact the future.

“Passionately supporting W&L both financially and with my time feels like the only appropriate way to give back to a place that has so greatly enriched my own life,” Sharpe said. “I believe W&L is a real force for good in this world. The lessons of honor, civility and integrity our university teaches its students has helped to carry generations through our complex and ever-evolving society. The world needs places like W&L, and donating to the Annual Fund is a meaningful way to ensure the values and lessons we all learned while in Lexington will be secure for current and future generations.”

If you are in a reunion year and have questions, feel free to contact one of your class co-chairs or contact the Office of Annual Giving at 540-458-8420.

To make a reunion gift online, visit www.wlu.edu/support. Reunion pledges can be made online at support.wlu.edu/reunionpledge.

Reunion Co-Chairs for 2017-18

Class of 1968 (50th Reunion)
Carl Chambers and Jim Dawson

Class of 1973 (45th Reunion)
Don Eavenson and Lat Purser

Class of 1978 (40th Reunion)
Mark Pennell and Kevin Lamb

Class of 1983 (35th Reunion)
Bert Ponder and Mike Lewers

Class of 1988(30th Reunion)
Tommy McBride and Reese Lanier

Class of 1993 (25th Reunion)
Chris Boggs and Susan Mosley George

Class of 1998 (20th Reunion)
Ericka Shapard Croft and Andrew Fullam

Class of 2003(15th Reunion)
Jeanne Upchurch de Laureal and Wynne Sharpe

Class of 2008 (10th Reunion)
Anne Russell Bazzel and Peter Harbilas

Class of 2013 (5th Reunion)
Ainsley Daigle and Steele Burrow

She Talks to Animals For Christine Starer-Smith ’99, a love of animals led to a veterinary career and volunteer service at a remote Dakota reservation.

Starer-Smith-1-400x600 She Talks to AnimalsChristine Starer-Smith ’99

Christine Starer-Smith ’99’s love of animals developed early when she started saving baby bunnies as a child. Later, she brought her horse to Washington and Lee University and started the riding team.

Now a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital in Virginia Beach, Starer-Smith says she had to succeed at University of Pennsylvania’s vet school — “I had no Plan B,” she laughed.

“Veterinary medicine is a wonderful career for women,” she said. It offers an opportunity for work-life balance, which the mother of two young daughters appreciates. “Your career inevitably takes turns that you can’t predict,” so she advises women to get a broad liberal arts education, and if they go to vet school, also to study broadly there.

Starer-Smith knows too well what she is talking about. Because of her love of horses, she joined an equine practice out of vet school and worked with the large animals for nine years. After being trampled by a horse and spending 23 days in the hospital with several surgeries, she turned to relief work for Banfield while recuperating five years ago. For the past two years, she has worked there part time, caring for dogs and cats, and she loves her flexible schedule.

While in vet school, Starer-Smith took two trips with Rural Area Veterinary Services, a program that combines community service and veterinary education to bring free vet services to underserved rural communities. Typically, these are isolated, poverty-stricken communities with no access to veterinary care.

Recently, she traveled again with RAVS, now affiliated with The Humane Society, to two communities on the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota. “We provided spay, neuter and preventative care services to more than 500 animals,” she said.

The group of 50, including 10 vets, three vet technicians, 30 vet students and support staff, transported everything they needed to set up a full veterinary hospital, including five surgical tables, anesthesia machines, recovery tables and supplies. “We set up in gyms and had primitive living conditions,” she said. Although they were from all backgrounds and geographic areas, “we worked together as a team,” she said.

On a Facebook posting, Starer-Smith noted that they had no running water, no showers and no flushing toilets. “I feel like I am on an un-filmed reality TV show,” she commented. However, she said being around the 30 students was invigorating.

Working in such isolated conditions gave Starer-Smith an opportunity to use some skills she doesn’t have to use in her day-to-day practice in Virginia Beach. Many of the animals weren’t vaccinated, and “We saw more contagious diseases, such as parvovirus, in some dogs.”

At home, she has the luxury of performing surgery on animals at the optimal time. In the Dakotas, animals needed surgery in less than the best conditions. Spaying older animals or performing risky surgery on a dog with new puppies gave her the opportunity to call on skills that she hadn’t used in some time.

She said the communities were very appreciative of their work. Many days, people lined up at 5:30 a.m. for the clinic that opened at 8 a.m.

A biology major at W&L, Starer-Smith remembers assistance she got from the pre-med counselor who helped her select science courses in the right order, starting in her freshman year, to make sure she was prepared for applying to medical school.

Another boost to her application was the opportunity to do research as a freshman with Helen I’Anson, professor of biology. “This got me a foot in the door; it helped get my application looked at,” she said.

Starer-Smith doesn’t downplay the challenges of becoming a vet. Getting through organic chemistry at W&L, the course load at vet school and cost of tuition were tough, but worth the effort.

Her passion is taking care of pets and helping owners foster a bond with their pets. “I look at every pet I treat by asking, ‘What’s best for this pet?’ ”

Starer-Smith-31-600x400 She Talks to AnimalsChristine Starer-Smith ’99 and Abby

She also looks at each pet as if it were one of her own. She and husband Eric share their home with Abby, a yellow lab therapy dog, and Dixie, a Jack Russell terrier. Starer-Smith takes Abby to her daughters’ school weekly to help second graders learn to read, and they also visit assisted living facilities.

And, as if traveling to remote areas to provide pet care, treating animals at Banfield, raising two daughters and two dogs weren’t enough, Starer-Smith recently fostered a kitten that needed to be fed every two hours. It seems the little girl who wanted to save bunnies is grown up but still can’t resist an animal in need.

Small Company, Big Internship Marta Regn ’19 used her internship to throughly explore all aspects of a sustainable, ethical jewelry startup.

“Living on your own in new places and experiencing that everyday independence simply cannot be taught in a classroom.”

Marta-Regn-800x533 Small Company, Big InternshipMarta Regn ’19 at the jewelry company Soko, where she interned over the summer.

Marta Regn ’19
Hometown: Charlottesville, Virginia
Major: Business Administration
Minors: Environmental Studies, Poverty Studies

Q: Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity.
I interned with Soko, a sustainable, ethical jewelry startup. Soko uses existing artisan networks in Kenya and connects these people to Western markets through technology. The business model is built around artisans keeping around 30 percent of the profits, which is revolutionary in the fashion industry where workers’ wages and conditions are compromised to keep the cost of fast fashion low. Using materials such as reclaimed brass, as well as horn and bone (natural byproducts of Kenya’s meat industry), Soko gives new life to unused materials, with little to no environmental impact. And on top of all that, the jewelry is gorgeous and affordable.

My role at Soko was on the operational side, working closely with the sales and merchandising departments. I helped fulfill orders, manage inventory, as well as merchandise trade shows and pop ups.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of your summer away?
I worked at Soko’s headquarters in San Francisco. The diversity of cultures and rich history, set in the natural beauty of northern California made SF an otherworldly place. I loved the food and the music scene, but my favorite part was, for sure, the local boutiques and vintage stores. The city has style, no doubt about it.

Q: What did an average day for you look like?
I took a crowded bus through the Mission district, into Potrero Hill — part of the San Francisco design district — where the Soko HQ is located. Some days I spent at my desk working on a project, others I might prepare jewelry for shipment. Every now and then, we took an impromptu office field trip to the plant shop to buy succulents (those and cacti are everywhere in SF.)

Q: What was the most rewarding and fulfilling part of your internship?
Working with a smaller company in a startup environment provided me a wider range of experience than a typical internship program. While my internship is formally in sales, I got to meet and work with individuals from every branch of the company. It allowed me great networking experience, as well as the opportunity to really test the waters of the business and fashion fields and figure out what I’m interested in.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenge during my internship is something I’ve been working on throughout my college career. I’m not especially assertive, and I’m often introverted in new settings, so joining a new company, asking questions, and meeting new people required me to leave my social comfort zone. I can definitely say that this experience provided me with a lot more confidence, and I’m excited to use these networking skills in the near future.

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?
Even though we hear it all the time, having a liberal arts education has really given me a unique perspective. I think many people can get tunnel vision in analytical fields, which business certainly is in part, but W&L’s well-rounded curriculum has ingrained the ability to keep in mind the big picture, make outside connections, and put all of those numbers in context.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
Living on your own in new places and experiencing that everyday independence simply cannot be taught in a classroom. I can honestly say I am more self-sufficient and confident in my abilities than I was before going to San Francisco.

Q: What kind of funding helped make this experience possible?
I could not have had this experience without the support of the entrepreneurship internship program, as well as the Johnson Opportunity Grant. I am so grateful.

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

Don’t Mess With Little Texas Lee Sommerfeldt '18 found a home away from home in a honky-tonk in the heart of Tokyo.

“Although a part-time job at a bar in Japan lacks the glamour of an investment banking internship, it has without a doubt been the most formative work experience of my life.”

1498420540921-800x533 Don't Mess With Little TexasLee Sommerfeldt and Takeshi Yoshino

Hometown: Sealy, Texas
Major: Business Administration and East Asian Languages & Literature (Japan Emphasis)

Washington and Lee, more than most schools, encourages students to leave campus and study abroad. After a year of studying Japanese with Professor Ikeda, I decided to go abroad for the first time to Fukuoka, Japan. My summer abroad transformed my interest into a passion for Japanese language and culture. I experienced being a member of the Katayama family, and commuted daily into the city for language classes. Although I had many amazing dinners with my host family, my favorite experience was stopping at traditional food stalls for a hearty bowl of ramen.

When I returned to Washington and Lee, I knew that I wanted to double major in Business Administration and East Asian Languages and Literature. I am still unsure what I will be doing after graduation, but my dream is to be able to combine my studies to bring our two cultures closer together. Both of my major advisors, Professor Ikeda and Professor Shay, have been extremely supportive and helpful with their guidance for reaching my goals. Professor Ikeda even led me to multiple scholarships that helped fund my full-year study abroad in Tokyo.

My Japanese skills were put to the test during my junior year at International Christian University, my second study abroad in Japan. I had the opportunity to join the school rugby team, take courses taught in Japanese, and even work a part-time job at a Texas-themed bar. Despite its American influence, the work involved little to no English. The bar, called Little Texas, is run by a stern-looking Japanese man named Takeshi Yoshino. However, once it was known that I was from Texas, he grew the largest smile on his face. Yoshino lives and breathes Texas culture, and was even awarded honorary Texan citizenship by Governor Rick Perry.

Apart from our generational and cultural differences, there were parallels between our situations. Yoshino had founded the bar using money he made running a very popular ramen restaurant in Tokyo. Despite having fewer customers, he said that he was happier being able to work on something he loved. Similar to my pilgrimages to Japan, he makes semi-annual trips to America to visit Texas and enjoy live honky-tonk music. Being surrounded by authentic Texas décor while writing down a customer’s order of spam sushi in Japanese will probably remain one of the most surreal experiences of my life.

Little-Texas-on-Stage-800x533 Don't Mess With Little TexasLee with his colleagues at Little Texas

Although a part-time job at a bar in Japan lacks the glamour of an investment banking internship, it has without a doubt been the most formative work experience of my life. I had to go to a bar halfway across the globe to learn about my own culture from a different culture’s perspective. Yoshino had grown up during a period where American technology and culture was flooding into Japan. He explained that he felt a sense of gratitude to the United States for its role in bringing prosperity to Japan. These conversations with him showed how deeply effective international relations can be for individuals.

After finishing my final shift on the 12th anniversary of Little Texas, my boss, coworkers and I spent the rest of the night drinking, sharing stories and laughing. When it was time to part ways, we all looked at each other, forced a smile, and cheerfully said, “Until next time.” I left Japan a few days later, humbled and knowing that I will never be able to fully repay Yoshino for the kindness and patience he showed me. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I will work to continue the transformative cycle of goodwill between our two cultures.

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 Lee

Extracurricular involvement:
Venture Club
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
Professor Ikeda and Professor Shay
What’s your personal motto?
Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Sigma Nu House
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“A Clockwork Orange”
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I think coming to W&L without preconceived notions helped me to form my own impressions.
Favorite W&L memory:
Returning from a year abroad and seeing all of my friends again.
Favorite class:
Japanese Literature in Translation
Favorite W&L event:
Entrepreneurship Summit
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m a die-hard Kanye West fan.
Why did you choose W&L?
Coming from a small town, I wanted to continue an education where I could form real relationships with my professors. It’s become a bit of a truism for W&L, but you really will be invited to eat dinner at your professor’s house.

W&L Repertory Dance Company to Perform “W&L Dancers Create…” The performance will be comprised of work choreographed, designed and performed by students.

“It is our hope that young and old alike will be inspired by the concert and engage in dialogue about the work.”

Dance-400x600 W&L Repertory Dance Company to Perform "W&L Dancers Create..."W&L Repertory Dance Company

On December 6-8, the award-winning Washington & Lee University Repertory Dance Company will perform “W&L Dancers Create…” in the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Presented by W&L’s Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies, the evening concert, under the Artistic Direction of Jenefer Davies, will be comprised of work choreographed, designed and performed by students, showcasing the diversity and talent within the department.

With a broad range of thematic ideas represented, the eclectic nature of the performance offers a spectrum of ideas, designs and movement styles. The culmination of two years of research into the relationship between pedestrian movement and smartphones, Sara Dotterer’s ’18 immersive video and set designs for Flat Conversation look at virtual verses physical presence. A contemporary ballet piece, Something in the Wind, that looks to Native American poetry for a connection between the spirit and purpose (choreographed by Mamie Smith ’18) is juxtaposed against a modern piece, Escapement, which was composed collaboratively by five students and delves into precision, clockwork and interconnectedness.

Nina Mariah’s poem “Nasty Woman,” made famous at the women’s march on Washington DC, is the accompaniment to Cate Peabody’s ’19 powerful Breaking Through the Glass*. Personal stories of loss, anxiety and grief are explored through Stigma (choreographed by Megan Dougherty ’19 and Bria Kelly ’20), and in the work of Laura Stagno’s ’18, An End is a Beginning.

Gust, by Abigail Petrecca ‘19, is a mixed media piece that uses paint to  demonstrate that elegance can be powerful. Kitty Lambrechts ’19 offers a post-modern work that is inspired by and created in tandem with classical music but performed in silence. This work contrasts sharply with newcomer Alexis French’s ’21, Remembrance, a powerful foray into a modern/hip hop style that explores a fight for recognition.

In conjunction with the performance, the W&L dance company is reaching out to young audiences through a collaboration with W&L social media group, wluLex. During pre-determined breaks in the concert, the hashtag #WLUDance will be projected onto a 40-foot screen, inviting audience members to open their phones and share their thoughts and questions about the works they have witnessed. Dancers backstage will Instagram behind the scenes photos and respond to Twitter and Facebook questions, which will also be projected. Moderators, led by Brian Peccie ’20 and Max Weis ‘20, will choose tweets to display prior to and post show and during intermission.

“This experiment in reaching out to new audiences was so successful last year that we are anxious to repeat the process,” said Davies. “It is our hope that, once again, young and old alike will be inspired by the concert and engage in dialogue about the work. Whether it’s over social media or in the lobby following the performance, the more people that understand our artistic processes, the more involved they will be in the performance. Our goal is to create active and engaged students and audiences.”

There will be a talk back with the choreographers following the Dec. 6 performance. All of the audience is invited to stay and converse with the students and Artistic Director about the creative process.

*contains adult language

Wednesday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 8 at
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Tickets are $5
Purchase: 540-458-8000 or online

The Art of Movement A three-month internship with New York-based artist Taryn Simon presented Sara Dotterer '18 with myriad possibilities for her future career.

“Most of all, W&L encourages you to be a sociable, curious person.”

— Sara Dotterer ’18

Sara Dotterer ’18
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Majors: Anthropology and Studio Art

How did you end up in a summer internship with New York artist Taryn Simon?

I knew I wanted to work in New York and explore options in the art world in either a gallery, studio or museum. Last summer, a high school friend worked at New York’s Gagosian Gallery, the gallery that represents Taryn. At Gagosian, he befriended a previous intern of Taryn Simon Projects, and connected me to the studio through her. I sent her studio a letter of interest along with my resume, and then completed a meticulous research assignment to be considered. The assignment asked that I locate the 1981 Presidential Finding signed by Reagan that authorized covert aid to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. I found that the finding did not exist and, instead, discovered other documents that were relevant to this time in Reagan’s presidency. I presented my research in a succinct report, and they invited me to work for the studio for a three-month internship.

So it was a trick question?

It wasn’t necessarily a trick assignment. Taryn investigates and answers seemingly impossible questions; in her work, she pursues the unknown, and in turn, reveals hidden truths. I ended up finding a different document that answered the same question, and found out why it was for a different year.

What was the specific focus of your work with her, and how is it connected to your course of study at W&L?

To my friends and family, I’m often known to misplace everything. I tend to be a generalist, and am often disinterested in perfecting tiny details. But this summer, the focus of my work was precision and investigation. I had to check everything five times over, keep track of every detail in each assignment, and record everything I did. Whether researching or organizing, I learned to investigate and exhaust a problem before coming up with a solution. All of these methods have changed how I work on campus. I appreciate the ways in which this internship has informed a more systematic approach to my own research and artwork. Taryn’s work expanded my view of the possible artistic manifestations of an idea– from photographs to text to performance to book making.

Tell us about an average day on the job, if there was such a thing.

No day was the same at Taryn Simon’s studio. One day I was organizing archival materials, another day I was running books to other artists’ studios (a highlight was touring Cecily Brown’s studio). Throughout the summer, I built a fundamental knowledge of not only the inner workings of a well-established artist’s studio, but also a general overview of the contemporary art world. To be more specific, I experienced the day-to-day happenings within a studio– including getting the mail and disposing of boxes, phone calls and meetings, book editing and photo printing. On a macro scale, I have a better grasp of the fluctuations of the art market; partnerships between galleries and artists; the variety of art fairs that exist internationally; museum commissions; and the realities of being an artist (and specifically, a female artist) in today’s world.

What did you learn about being a female artist in today’s world?

I learned that the top artists are men. When art consultants offer ideas to their clients about the top artists, they first name the top male artists: Koons, Hirst, Basquiat, Pollock, the list goes on. Most exhibitions centered around one artist are by men; galleries often represent more men than women. This makes it increasingly difficult for female artists’ work to be presented at international art fairs such as Art Basel or Frieze. There has been lots of headway in recent years, and I believe artists like Taryn, Yayoi Kusama, Marina Ambravonic, and others are progressing women’s presence in the art world even more.

What did you find most fulfilling about the experience? 

Experiencing life in New York City for three months was the most exciting part of the experience. I worked on my own anthropological/art-based research project with the Leyburn Scholars Program in Anthropology (pedestrian movement as it is influenced by the smartphone) while I was there, and spent every Friday walking through the city with my video camera. I filmed pedestrians all over the city, and discovered so many hidden corners, parks and neighborhoods that way.

At the studio, Taryn’s pieces inspired me to critically analyze a variety of systems that our society has created to navigate the world around us, including systems of power and justice and methods of classification. For example, her series Paperwork and the Will of Capital looks at powerful world leaders through the lens of beautiful and delicate flowers. She photographed flower arrangements present at the signing of many different international treaties and agreements, and paired each photo with a biographical description of the event. I appreciate this newfound interest that I have in considering these systems, and using the systems as a means to satisfy curiosities, dispel anxieties and better understand the complexities of our world.

What was the most challenging aspect of it, and how did you overcome that challenge?

It was intimidating to work for an artist so respected and successful in the international world of art, especially in New York’s competitive and chaotic environment. Another issue was knowing when to ask for help and when to find my own solution. A lot of my assignments were self-designed or self-imposed based on a meeting I had with the studio manager at the start of the summer. I eventually learned to speak up and ask for work, and if I finished early, I left early. It took some time to build confidence, but I think that will be a lot easier in my next work environment.

What did you like most about spending time in New York City?

Every day, I stepped out of my apartment and was instantly invigorated by the energy and people of the city. There is a sort of organized entropy in the choreography of pedestrians of NYC that never failed to entrance me while filming for my research. I rarely ever sat down, and I used every day I wasn’t working to visit museums, parks, libraries, restaurants, concerts and shows. The public art that pervades the city constantly inspired me as I was creating my own art. I can’t wait to be back there!

How did your education at W&L impact your summer adventure?

Most of all, W&L encourages you to be a sociable, curious person. This emphasis on building relationships created more depth in my conversations with the studio managers, and allowed me to hear their personal opinions of working in art world. W&L teaches you to be honest, hardworking, up-front and detail-oriented. I believe all of these characteristics stood out to the studio in comparison to past interns. Privacy is very important at the studio, and it was funny how often I was reminded to keep things to myself, as they had no idea that is a given at W&L. In the copy-editing process for Taryn’s newest book, I caught a few errors that my manager didn’t see after reading the book over and over again. I definitely relied on my business classes in Excel and marketing to do my work in a more efficient manner.

Do you think the internship will change your future plans in any way?

I was hoping to cross a few things off my list in terms of what I wanted to pursue after school. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I think this summer expanded this list. I learned about careers in art production, arts nonprofits, fundraising, branding, landscape architecture, digital marketing and more. I met with a lot of alumni in the arts and marketing, and as of now, my goal is to be back in NYC or abroad after school– but who knows what I will be doing.

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