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Defying Gravity Professor Jenefer Davies talks about her new book on aerial dance and the physical and artistic challenges of working against gravity.

Unknown-800x533 Defying GravityJenefer Davies, associate professor of dance

What’s the history of aerial dance, and when did you become interested in this art form?
Within the larger continuum of dance, aerial is relatively new. It began to make an appearance in the 1970s when dancers started experimenting with the trapeze and other sorts of apparatus that were, at the time, part of circus arts and began incorporating them into dance performances.

Prior to teaching at W&L, I was the artistic director of a professional dance company and school. We started experimenting with rope and harness and collaborated with some climbers who had technical expertise in rigging. I was interested in discovering what we could do with rope and harness artistically. The outgrowths of that experimentation were a few really interesting and exciting performances.

When I came to W&L in 2006, incorporating aerial dance into our academic curriculum was one of my goals. It was quite a long process of permissions, determining which building on campus would suit our needs, the logistics of rigging to the building and, most of all, ensuring the safety of the dancers. This was a huge undertaking by my department, the dean’s office, the director of health and safety, the director of facilities management and the director of outdoor education, as well as W&L’s architects, engineers and many others. Thanks to all of these people, I taught the first aerial dance class and presented the first aerial production on the outside wall of Wilson Hall during the 2008 spring term. To my knowledge, W&L was one of the first universities in the country to incorporate aerial dance into an academic curriculum.

Why modern dance?
What draws me to modern dance is its philosophy and how that philosophy informs movement. This art form was created by radical, independent women at the turn of the 20th century, and it was created specifically for women’s bodies. There is a feminism present that acknowledges weight and gravity, acknowledges power and isn’t afraid to show exertion in performance. Dancing modern means we can take you on journeys and tell stories through a unique lens.

Teaching modern dance technique is one of my favorite classes because I cover both the movement principles and kinesiology of the art form, but I also incorporate some of its philosophy and history. There’s so much more to dance than just moving through space. It’s about acknowledging and understanding why you’re moving through space, where it fits in the historical canon and how it happens kinesthetically. It involves a deep understanding that is more than just shape-making.

Jenefer-Davies-bk-cv-275x350 Defying Gravity.

Tell us about your new book, “Aerial Dance: A Guide to Dance with Rope and Harness.”
As an academic, I’ve done a lot of experimenting to determine the limitations and freedoms that are inherent in aerial rope and harness. Refining those outcomes have enabled me to create a program of optimal conditioning for the students so that their bodies were physically prepared before we started working on the wall. Once they are rigged, we use a sequence of lessons to help them grow stronger, flexible, nimble and prepared for performance. Aerial necessitates a very different kind of technique than is required for traditional dance forms. This book describes the technique for aerial dance that I have created (and contains links to companion videos).

The book is the culmination of the past 16-plus years of experimentation and research. In some ways, it is really a love letter to W&L. The majority of the research happened during my tenure here. Much of it was supported through W&L grants and through the aid of W&L faculty and staff. All the photos were taken by W&L photographer Kevin Remington, and the photos in the book are all of W&L students who have been in my classes over the past 10 years. I love so much that my students are part of the book.

What does it take to train for aerial dance?
For much of the time spent on the wall, the dancer is parallel to the ground. Gravity and centrifugal forces work against the body and affect the body in unusual ways. When you are spinning through space or trying to execute a flip, force and direction are upended. Traditional concepts in alignment shift. The cycle of orientation and reorientation becomes an internal conversation.

Aerial dance can be difficult for trained dancers because they have set preconceptions about how their body moves through space. Traditional concepts of alignment, the force necessary to push away from the ‘floor,’ distance gained in jumps and leaps, and timing and landing suddenly become uncertain and fluid. Alignment is an internal process of sensing, as opposed to an external use of mirrors. The way that muscles engage, give in to and resist gravity has shifted 90 degrees. You think you know where your body is in space, but your body is not where you think it is. Aerial dance takes everything you thought you knew about your body and shifts it. In addition to the muscles that are working in a new way, part of the training for aerial dance is developing internal kinesthetic knowledge.

What do you want your students to learn about dance?
One of the things that is wonderful about being an artist and an educator is that my scholarly work and teaching interact and converse with one another. In creating and presenting original pieces of choreography, I contribute to the scholarly canon of dance. When I have the opportunity to also set these works on my students, my scholarly work is translated into teaching. These two aspects intertwine in a really beautiful and harmonious way. Further, many times in the rehearsal process, I receive valuable feedback from the students, which then circles back and informs my scholarly work. It is a wonderful collaborative experience.

I hope that all my students, across all the classes I teach, walk away with a sense of bravery. For many of them, dance is new territory. I work to create an environment where students feel safe to take risks. Then I encourage them to try new things, learn from failure and risk again. In many ways, the failing is the succeeding. It’s the learning. There’s a quote I share with my students that says, “The greatest risk is not taking one.” That’s why we’re here — to try new things. Sometimes that involves flying high into the air from the roof of a building.

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

Jenefer Davies

Associate Professor of Dance, Director of the Dance Program, Artistic Director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company

Contemporary Modern Dance Technique
Contemporary Modern Dance Composition
History of Contemporary Modern Dance
Aerial Rope and Harness
Aerial Silks and Bungee
Movement for Actors
W&L Repertory Dance Company
Dance Europe
Artistic Identity in Contemporary European Dance

Russian String Orchestra to Perform at W&L

russian-string-orchestra-600x400 Russian String Orchestra to Perform at W&LThe Russian String Orchestra

The Concert Guild of Washington and Lee University will welcome the Russian String Orchestra to Lenfest Center for the Arts on March 9 for an 8 p.m. performance in Wilson Concert Hall. This marks the third time since 2006 that the orchestra, previously known as Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, has performed at W&L.

Since its founding in 1991, the Russian String Orchestra has concertized in 25 countries around the world. The orchestra performs a variety of works, from early baroque to new pieces commissioned by music director Misha Rachlevsky.

In describing the orchestra’s performance of Brahms’ “String Sextet in G,” the San Antonio Express-News said “…Rachlevsky knew at every moment how to shape phrases to maximize the kinetic energy, how to bend the tempo to propel the music. Even the slow movement careened irresistibly toward its finish line.”

The concert at W&L will give the audience a voice by allowing it to vote on repertoire for the second half of the concert.

Tickets are available through the Lenfest Center Box Office at 540-458-8000 or online here.


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President of Russell Sage Foundation Second Speaker in Shepherd Program’s 20th Celebration

Washington and Lee University will host Sheldon Danziger, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, as the second speaker for the Shepherd Program’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on March 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theatre.

Following the theme “Poverty, Inequality and Work Today,” the talk is titled “Poverty, Inequality and Public Policies: Reflections on the End of the Safety Net As We Know It.” The talk is free and open to the public.

Danziger’s research focuses on social welfare policies and the effects of economic, demographic and public policy changes on trends in poverty and inequality.

“Sheldon Danziger is one of the most respected scholars in the social sciences examining the causes and consequences of poverty in the United States and the role that public policies have played in both preventing poverty and assisting those below the poverty line,” said Art Goldsmith, Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics.

Three of Danziger’s books have been selected as Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics by Princeton University’s Industrial Relations Section: “The Price of Independence: The Economics of Early Adulthood” (2007); “Working and Poor: How Economic Conditions and Policy Changes Affect Low-Wage Workers” (2006); and “America Unequal,” co-authored with Peter Gottschalk (1995).

From 1989 through 2013, Danziger directed the research and training program on poverty and public policy at the University of Michigan, geared toward developing the careers of emerging scholars from underrepresented groups.

In addition to being president of the Russell Sage Foundation, which supports social science research “for the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States,” he is also the Henry J. Meyer Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.

Beginning in 1997, the Shepherd Program’s focus is on the various causes and consequences of poverty as well as on our individual and collective responsibilities to address the problems associated with poverty.

“At the heart of a Shepherd education is a greater understanding of how economic, social and political realities affect the precariously employed, the unemployed and the communities in which we all live,” said Howard Pickett, assistant professor and director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, and adjunct professor of law.

The Shepherd Program integrates thought and action in direct service to disadvantaged communities. Through an array of courses and service opportunities, it prepares students from a variety of majors and political perspectives to work with those communities to address the problems associated with poverty.

The event is sponsored by the Shepherd Program, the Mudd Center, the Economics Department, the Office of the Provost and the University Lectures Series.

W&L’s Department of Music Presents a Faculty Recital: “Mockingbird Amongst the Flowers”

TRIO_0009_02031764-600x400 W&L's Department of Music Presents a Faculty Recital: “Mockingbird Amongst the Flowers”

The Department of Music at Washington and Lee University invites you to a faculty recital titled “Mockingbird Amongst the Flowers” on March 4, at 3 p.m. in the Wilson Concert Hall. No tickets are required.

Faculty members Byron W. Petty, Shuko Watanabe and William McCorkle will perform a program featuring French, German and Italian works from the baroque.

The recital features two manual mid-18th-century French-style harpsichords built by John Watson of Williamsburg in 1976.

The harpsichord was gifted by alumnus Dr. Lawrence Smith, class of 1958 and his wife, Ganelle.

You can find more information on the concert here.


Miranda Fricker Completes Yearlong Mudd Center Equality and Difference Series

miranda-fricker-440x400 Miranda Fricker Completes Yearlong Mudd Center Equality and Difference SeriesPhilosophy professor and researcher Miranda Fricker.

Philosophy professor and researcher Miranda Fricker will be the final speaker in the yearlong Roger Mudd Center for Ethics Equality and Difference series. Her talk is scheduled for March 8 at 5 p.m. in the Hillel Multipurpose room.

The title of her talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Epistemic Equality as a Condition of Well-Functioning Blame.”

Fricker is Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center and a research professor at the University of Sheffield. Her main areas of interest are ethics, social epistemology and feminist philosophy, with occasional forays into political philosophy.

Her multiple publications include “The Epistemic Life of Groups: Essays in the Epistemology of Collectives” (2016), “Reading Ethics” (2009) and the “Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy” (2000). In 2014, she was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to work on a book in moral philosophy.

Fricker served as director of the Mind Association from 2010-15 and was recently appointed to the position of moral philosopher on the Spoliation Advisory Panel, a U.K. government panel that resolves claims from families that lost property during the Nazi era. She is also an associate editor of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is the fitting home.”

For full details on this series, visit https://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center.



Phillis Wheatley: ‘Favored by the Muses’ Washington and Lee's Special Collections contains a rare volume of poetry by Wheatley, the first published African-American poet.

“Although Wheatley remains a somewhat controversial figure among African-American writers … the significance of her place in American history is uncontested.”

My first encounter with the remarkable Phillis Wheatley and her equally remarkable poetry was about a decade ago, when I discovered a very rare first edition (1773, London) of her book, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” in the collection at the Library of Virginia, where I served as director of Special Collections for 12 years. Fast forward to 2015 when, as head of Washington and Lee’s Special Collections, I was able to purchase an equally rare first American edition (1802, Walpole, New Hampshire) of Wheatley’s book for the Washington and Lee vault.

What is so remarkable about the little book of 39 poems is that Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to publish a book, and that she did so at the young age of 20 while serving as a slave to a Boston couple.

Wheatley was born in Senegal/Gambia about 1753. She was kidnapped at the age of eight and brought to Boston aboard the slave ship Phillis, from whence she received her name. After arrival in Boston, she was purchased by John Wheatley, a prosperous merchant, as a domestic servant for his wife, Susanna.

Susanna Wheatley and her two children, Mary and Nathaniel, taught Phillis how to read and actively encouraged her literary pursuits. At a time when African-Americans were discouraged and intimidated from learning how to read and write, Wheatley’s experience was unusual. John Wheatley was known throughout New England for his progressive thinking, and he and his family gave Phillis an unprecedented education for an enslaved person, and for a female of any race.  By the age of 12, Phillis was reading Greek and Latin classics. Strongly influenced by the works of Alexander Pope, John Milton, Homer, Horace and Virgil, Phillis Wheatley began to write poetry.

In 1773, at the age of 20 – and after failed attempts to have her book of poetry published in America – Phillis sailed to London with her master’s son, Nathaniel. This trip was partially for health reasons (she remained fragile all her life), but also because Susanna Wheatley believed Phillis would have a better chance of having her book of poems published there.

Indeed, Phillis quickly became acquainted with significant members of British society. Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon, served as the patron of Wheatley’s book of poems, which was published in the summer of 1773. In that same year, sometime between July and October, it is thought that the Wheatley family emancipated Phillis.

Phillis_wheatley_portrait_2 Phillis Wheatley: 'Favored by the Muses'Phillis Wheatley images from Wikimedia Commons

Her book of poetry was elegiac in form and included poems on Christian themes as well as race. A strong supporter of America’s fight for independence, Wheatley wrote several poems in honor of the Continental Army’s commander, General George Washington. One of those poems, which she sent to Washington in 1775, prompted an invitation in which he stated that he would be “happy to see a person so favored by the muses.” She visited him at his headquarters in Cambridge in March of 1776.

Although freed from slavery, Phillis was still devastated by the deaths of Wheatley family members, including Susanna, who died in 1774, and John, who died in 1778. She married John Peters, a free African-American man from Boston, in 1778. Three children born to them all died in infancy. She continued to write but ultimately was unable to find support for a second volume of poetry. Her marriage to Peters proved difficult, and they battled almost constant poverty. Phillis was forced to work as a maid in a boarding house and Peters ultimately abandoned her.

Phillis Wheatley died at the age of 31 in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 5, 1784. Although Wheatley remains a somewhat controversial figure among African-American writers (some of her poetry was perceived as a glorified treatment of slavery), the significance of her place in American history is uncontested. While it is true that she died in abject poverty, broken in spirit and body, Phillis Wheatley died a free woman.

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'An Hymn to the Morning' by Phillis Wheatley

Attend my lays, ye ever honour’d nine,
Assist my labours, and my strains refine;
In smoothest numbers pour the notes along,
For bright Aurora now demands my song.
Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies,
Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies:
The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays,
On ev’ry leaf the gentle zephyr plays;
Harmonious lays the feather’d race resume,
Dart the bright eye, and shake the painted plume.
Ye shady groves, your verdant gloom display
To shield your poet from the burning day:
Calliope awake the sacred lyre,
While thy fair sisters fan the pleasing fire:
The bow’rs, the gales, the variegated skies
In all their pleasures in my bosom rise.
See in the east th’ illustrious king of day!
His rising radiance drives the shades away–
But Oh! I feel his fervid beams too strong,
And scarce begun, concludes th’ abortive song.

From Brainstorm to Billboard Majo Bustamante '18 was a marketing and communications intern for NASA Automotriz, the company that owns the rights to sell Ford and Volkswagen in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“It was exciting to be involved in a project with such a clear and definite end goal, and to see the final result being advertised on billboards and social media.”

majo-bustamante From Brainstorm to BillboardMajo Bustamante ’18

Hometown: Cartago, Costa Rica
Major: Strategic Communications
Minors: Philosophy; Film and Visual Culture

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern with NASA Automotriz, the company that owns the rights to sell Ford and Volkswagen in San Jose, Costa Rica. The experience was possible thanks to the Charles S. and Lee P. Rowe scholarship fund and the journalism department’s support.

I was the marketing and communications intern, and my main objective was to help launch the company’s new loyalty programs, Ford Nation and Volkswagen Life, as well as their VIP clients’ rewards club. The opportunity allowed me to work in close contact with the marketing manager and the other marketing executives at the company, which gave me insight as to what an average day looks like in this field.

I attended marketing meetings with my boss that included a sales pitch for software to automatize social media responses and a budgeting meeting for airing a commercial in one of the main national channels. Additionally, I was able to attend almost all meetings with the businesses with which we were trying to establish partnerships, and to help negotiate the benefits and arrangements.

When I arrived, my boss explained that the agency’s goal is to be the first vehicles company in the country to offer their clients a loyalty program as well as a VIP rewards club. He showed me the sample cards that would be sent in a leather pouch to clients to inform them about the discounts they would be able to enjoy just by showing their car keys at different establishments. The brand needed help creating connections with sports centers, restaurants, hotels, dentists and spas in order to secure the partnerships.

The marketing department had also started organizing special experiences that could be offered to influential brand ambassadors in order to recognize and reward their loyalty to the brand. The experiences could include VIP tickets to their favorite concerts, personalized dinners, wine tastings and test tracks of new vehicles with other brand ambassadors. The company also needed to work with the sales department to build a database of those clients that had brought in new customers as a result of their recommendations. The ambitious project was innovative and highly marketable.

I enjoyed the creative component of this marketing internship, as well as the amount of freedom my co-workers gave me during our contract meetings. One of my tasks included studying the proposed mutually beneficial relationship with other businesses and overseeing the legal contracts that would make it a reality. I would then debrief the other marketing executive and attend the meeting with the potential partner to discuss the discounts and advertising events moving forward. The first thing that I was told was to not be afraid to speak up, as my boss wanted me to help negotiate the agreements. Having interned with the Costa Rican Embassy at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria the summer before, I never thought that the persuasion skills that I learned overseas would prove useful in this new area. Marketing meetings were similar, in a way, to delegates negotiating proposals, and this made me realize why the United States sometimes focuses more on skill sets than fixed values.

The experience gave me confidence to approach new challenges with a positive attitude, and to recognize familiar patterns in unknown situations. It was exciting to be involved in a project with such a clear and definite end goal, and to see the final result being advertised on billboards and social media. This internship certainly influenced my post-graduation plans and I’m thankful to the university for all the wonderful opportunities it has helped me secure.

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

More about Majo

Why did you choose your major?

The Strategic Communications major at W&L is quite interdisciplinary, which allows you to tailor it to your own interests. I was surprised to see that graduates from this major could work in fields as diverse as International Relations and Marketing. I was attracted to this versatility.

What’s your personal motto?

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?

Brunch at Bistro and the House Special at Don Tequila.

What three books do you recommend to everyone?

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

Favorite class:

I loved taking Professor Timothy Gaylard course, Music in Stanley Kubrick Films, during Spring Term. I have always admired Kubrick’s work and I just cannot believe I got to spend four weeks analyzing his movies.

Favorite W&L event:

Not necessarily an event, but Spring Term is definitely my favorite time at W&L. I’m still sad that I will graduate before I get a chance to take Children’s Literature or Cross Cultural Documentary Filmmaking.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?

I used to play competitive chess when I was younger.

Quick Hits: Gonkar Gyatso’s ‘Buddha’s Picnic’ The interactive exhibit will be on display in Staniar Gallery through March 17.

“’Buddha’s Picnic’ is a visually stunning, immersive installation that…invites people to sit, quite literally, and ponder the contradictory meanings of this shrine-like creation and its fabulous mash-up of imagery.”

When visitors walk into Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery, they may feel as though they have been transported to a picnic in the Tibetan countryside. Artist Gonkar Gyatso’s exhibit “Buddha’s Picnic,” which will be on display through March 17, is an interactive installation that features a modern Tibetan shrine and an actual picnic, replete with snacks and a comfortable place to enjoy them.

Watch the video below to get a glimpse into “Buddha’s Picnic.”

Still photo courtesy of Jake Sirota ’19

Gyatso is best known for his work mixing Buddhist iconography with pop imagery to examine the complexities inherent in defining identity when different cultures simultaneously coexist and conflict. He has recently completed installations in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as in the United States at galleries in Boulder and Atlanta. “Buddha’s Picnic” will be his first installation in the region.

“This exhibition activates the gallery space in exciting new ways,” said Clover Archer, director of the Staniar Gallery.

Melissa Kerin, associate professor of art history at W&L, worked with Gyatso and Archer on this project over the past two years. She explained that “Buddha’s Picnic” is “a visually stunning, immersive installation that subversively combines playful, seemingly innocent plastic figurines of Tibetan monks and My Little Pony with sobering posters of political figures from the People’s Republic of China and advertisements for beauty products. This body of work invites people to sit, quite literally, and ponder the contradictory meanings of this shrine-like creation and its fabulous mash-up of imagery.”

The idea for the installation grew out of conversations between Gyatso and Kerin, who were introduced in 2015 by W&L alumna Victoria Andrews ’15. While discussing their shared interest in shrines—Kerin’s academic and Gyatso’s artistic—they decided to explore the idea of creating a multidisciplinary shrine-focused project. The two have given talks on campus, at the Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Galleries and New York’s Asia Society about this work and the powerful role of shrines.

“Buddha’s Picnic” was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Robert Lehman Foundation, as well as funding from the Office of the Provost at W&L, which allowed Staniar Gallery and the Art and Art History Department to expand the scope of the project. Consequently, Gyatso was brought to campus from Chengdu, China to create this site-specific installation with W&L students.

“The additional funding allowed us to support Gyatso in realizing an ambitious new project, one that would not have been possible otherwise,” said Archer.

This was Washington and Lee’s first grant from the Robert Lehman Foundation. Based in New York, the foundation’s mission is to “fulfill and further [founder] Robert Lehman’s vision and therefore to support the visual arts in any fashion that seems likely to enhance the appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of this central aspect of our culture.” Grants are made to museums, arts organizations, educational institutions and other cultural organizations with the goal of enhancing the role of the visual arts within American and world culture.

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

Character Counts Austin Brown '13L shares the real secret to success as a player-agent with Creative Artists Agency.

775124533_Sat_Port0368-400x600 Character CountsAustin Brown ’13L with client and 2018 Slam Dunk Contest Winner, Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz).   (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jerry McGuire could learn a thing or two from Austin Brown ‘13L.

The slick-talking and opportunistic sports agent played by Tom Cruise is defined by the iconic line “Show me the money!” But for Brown, who is one of the most successful, young NBA agents at the industry-leading Creative Artists Agency (CAA), it is more about “Show me the character!” He has learned a little secret Hollywood doesn’t let you in on—as he puts it: “Money and talent fade, character doesn’t. I only work with people I respect.”

It sounds like a fairly simple rule, but it seems to have served Brown well. It’s not everyday that you’re listed among Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30: The Sports World’s Brightest Young Stars” or sign three top-40 NBA draft picks all less than a year after graduating law school—but that’s exactly what Brown has done.

Brown is no stranger to the limelight. Prior to law school, he was a first team all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Selection and even made a memorable national television appearance on ESPN2 after draining an impressive 61-foot, game-winning shot that carried his team from DePauw University to the NCAA tournament. Even at that early stage in his sporting career, Brown displayed remarkable humility, stressing to the news anchor that DePauw’s big win was a team effort.

It’s a mindset he still adheres to—and is undoubtedly one of the secrets to his quick rise as a player-agent: “I love the game of basketball…I get immense satisfaction from helping extremely talented individuals realize their dreams in the sport.”

Despite all the success, Brown will be the first to tell you that the life of an NBA agent is not all glitz and glam. Behind the scenes there are hundred-page contracts to review, sponsorship deals to be negotiated, and travel plans to be coordinated. “This definitely isn’t your typical 9-5,” says Brown. But for him, the fact that no two days are exactly alike is a positive aspect of the job: “It keeps things interesting and allows me to constantly add to and sharpen my skill set both as an agent and an attorney.”

Brown’s decision to attend Washington and Lee for law school all came down to its uniquely close-knit academic environment that sets it apart from other top-tier law schools. Having excelled as an undergraduate at a small liberal arts college, he was immediately drawn to W&L’s community, which offered him the opportunity to interact closely with his professors and classmates.

He credits his W&L experience with helping him sharpen the skills he now uses on a daily basis: “Being an agent is all about relationships. Players have ups and downs in their careers. It’s easy to be there for them when they win the MVP, but it says a whole lot more about you as an agent, and as a professional, when you’re there for them during the low points—injuries, scoring droughts, personal issues.”

In an industry dominated by over-inflated egos, exorbitant salaries and cutthroat competition, Brown is a refreshing reminder that modesty, integrity and adherence to core values are the true building blocks of lasting success.

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Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Laura Gottschalk ’19

Gottschalk2-263x350 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Laura Gottschalk '19Laura Gottschalk ’19 in D.C.

Laura Gottschalk ’19
Major: Accounting and Business Administration
Hometown: Lake Forest, IL

I left W&L excited for two new experiences, having an internship and going abroad. A winter internship is a unique experience for a W&L student, as the school calendar does not have a long enough winter break to allow for a winter internship. I moved from Lexington to Arlington, VA –a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Washington D.C.  I thought that I would miss my friends back in Lexington more than I do, but I am so glad I decided to have a winter internship and study abroad.

My internship at EY has been a great learning experience. As part of the internship, we first had general training in EY’s home office in Mclean, VA to help us learn about the company. We then had two days of audit training where we learned about EY’s systems and how to audit certain accounts, such as cash and accounts payable. After training, I went out to my first client site. Interns get assigned to two clients and I was excited to get two very different ones. My first is in the aerospace and defense industry and my second is a subsidiary of a large communications company.

Living in Arlington with another student from W&L and participating in the same program has been great, as we have been able to share our internship experience. I have enjoyed getting to explore downtown Arlington and going downtown most weekends. D.C. has so many things to offer: walking around the monuments, visiting all of the free museums, and great places to get food. I have enjoyed exploring the city and have also been able to visit my older sister who lives in D.C. She has been able to show me fun places to go and local restaurants.

Gottschalk1-263x350 Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program: Laura Gottschalk '19Laura Gottschalk ’19 at a Wizard’s game.

My internship has also helped me see more of downtown D.C. because we have had several intern events. One of which was going to see a Wizards basketball game. I really enjoyed going to the game, since it is not something that I would have chosen to do myself. It has been great getting to know all of the other interns through the events scheduled by EY and also when we have gone out to restaurants as a group. I have enjoyed learning about other colleges’ accounting programs and the variety of different experiences each intern has had.

While working for my first client, I enjoyed getting to know two of the other interns. It was nice having someone else to talk to, get advice from, and being able to ask questions. One of my responsibilities as an intern was ordering and picking up dinner every day for the team. Us interns always teamed up on dinner orders, making it a bit easier. Some of the other things I was tasked with included formatting excel spreadsheets, preparing work papers and organizing documents. I have learned a lot more than I ever thought I would with the internship so far. Working during the busy season has allowed me to receive tasks that I never would have received as a summer intern.

There are also several W&L alumni that I have gotten to work with. A great thing about auditing is that they teach you everything you need to know and do not expect you to come in with a lot of prior knowledge. My biggest piece of advice for anyone interested in doing this program is to stay positive throughout the busy season internship because the teams get stressed out with upcoming deadlines. My team commented that it was great to have an intern there that had a positive attitude while they were stressed out.

My second client is a technology company in the communications industry. It has been very different than the first client, as the entire work environment is much more casual. There are a lot of open meeting rooms, kitchen spaces, and casual seating areas. My second client also has a policy of having free lunch for all their employees, which has been a great perk and helped me save some money. The team is in busy season, but they seem less stressed, as they do not have a stringent deadline like my first client did. As an intern, I do not work more than 40 hours a week, so I have not had to work very long. My first team worked up-to 55-hour weeks. I have enjoyed getting to see to vastly different clients that have contrasting work environments.

So far, my experience living in Arlington has been great, and I am very excited to leave for Sydney, Australia in less than three weeks. I have always wanted to study abroad and get to live in another country for a few months. It has been fun planning trips and things to do while I am in Sydney and I can’t wait to leave for Australia!

W&L Announces Indoor Athletics Facilities Transition Plan The Department of Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation will operate with the use of transitional spaces until the expected completion of the project for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

New-gym_East-800x533 W&L Announces Indoor Athletics Facilities Transition PlanIndoor athletic facility

LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee University has announced that the Board of Trustees has approved the construction and restoration phase for the Richard L. Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center, contingent upon the university raising the final $4.7 million by June 30 to reach its goal.

During this phase, the Department of Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation will operate with the use of transitional spaces until the expected completion of the project for the start of the 2020-21 school year. This transition will begin to take place during the second week of April 2018, as the department vacates the current Warner Center/Doremus complex to its new temporary office spaces in Baker Hall located on Washington Street.

Following the completion of commencement services on May 24, 2018, the university fitness center and Doremus Gymnasium will close for the summer as the restoration of the facility begins. The entire complex will be closed until mid-August when the fall athletics teams return to campus. Both the fitness center and Doremus Gym will reopen for the entire academic year, before closing once again for summer restorations following graduation in 2019. The entire building will go offline again for the spring term of 2020 for the final leg of the construction and restoration project.

When the facility is open, there will be no staff or physical education locker rooms and lockers available. There will also be no towel or laundry services. Additionally, once the facility goes offline this spring, the university racquetball and squash courts will be unavailable until the new facility opens in the summer of 2020.

The university will continue to offer recreation classes and recreation opportunities, which will be based out of the Student Activities Pavilion that is located between the Duchossois Tennis Center and Cap’n Dick Smith Baseball Field. W&L’s physical education classes will also be held in the pavilion.

For intercollegiate athletics, wrestling will continue to compete in Doremus Gym, while men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball will be holding their contests on a temporary court within the Duchossois Tennis Center.

The Athletic Training Room in the Warner Center will also go offline this spring and Athletic Training will be based out of the Athletic Training Room at Wilson Field until the new facility opens.

The new Richard L. Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center will encompass 165,489 square feet and will capture over 10,700 square feet of assignable space for new athletic and recreation programs. The project will also increase the square footage for the fitness center by 32 percent and will relocate and expand the wrestling room by over 84 percent. It will also allow the racquetball and squash courts to become regulation size, while doubling the scope of the athletic training facilities.

Other key features of the facility will include greater handicap accessibility, a showcase for the Athletic Hall of Fame, an increase in locker room amenities and features, expanded golf practice facilities, expanded multi-purpose facilities for group exercise, and improved offices for coaches and athletics staff.

Virginia Festival of the Book to Feature Work by W&L Law Professor

russ_miller-400x600 Virginia Festival of the Book to Feature Work by W&L Law ProfessorRussell Miller

The Virginia Festival of the Book, the long-running literary celebration produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, has announced this year’s line-up, and a book edited by Washington and Lee law professor Russell Miller is among the featured works.

“Privacy and Power: A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair,” published by Cambridge University Press, examines U.S. and European views on privacy and intelligence gathering in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance programs. Miller contributed to and edited the volume, which also includes contributions from four other W&L faculty members: Roger Crocket (German/Russian), Sarah Horowitz (History), and law professors Joshua Fairfield and Margaret Hu.

Now in its 24th year, the Virginia Festival of the Book brings together writers and readers to promote and celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture over five days. The Festival offers about 250 programs, most of them free, in bookstores, libraries, theaters, schools and other venues in and around Charlottesville and Albermarle County, Virginia. The Festival is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 for each of the past thirteen years.

The Festival runs from March 21 through March 25. The discussion of “Power and Privacy” is scheduled for Friday, March 23 at 10:00 a.m. at the UVa Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections, UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville.

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

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

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

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

Law Students Reflect on Shepherd Internships

shepherdstudents-800x533 Law Students Reflect on Shepherd InternshipsBethny Barrett and Lauren Bennett

Second-year law students Bethny Barrett and Lauren Bennett both organized summer internships through the Shepherd Program, which helped fund their summer work positions. Through the Shepherd Internship Program, students work with agencies that fit their intellectual interests in order to develop their experience and skills for future civic involvement and employment and to benefit under-resourced members of society. Below, Bethny and Lauren each offers some thoughts about the nature of their summer work.

Bethny Barrett

Last summer, I interned with the Women’s Center for Advancement (WCA) in Omaha, NE. In that position, I served survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking through family and immigration law. Working in a small nonprofit allowed me to interact one-on-one with clients, to attend court, and to work on a variety of projects. I feel exceeding lucky to have spent my summer with the WCA. In my first summer, I landed my dream job.

My experience from last summer has influenced my course work and my next career moves. For instance, my 2L classes have largely focused on areas of law that uniquely impact women, such as employment, health, abortion, and family law. This summer, I will be working on female-focused policy reform and litigation advocacy. WCA taught me how to provide legal services to clients in crisis. Though the work could be challenging and sometimes draining, the internship confirmed that I can and should work in women’s nonprofit organizations.

Without Shepherd funding, I would not have been able to afford a nonprofit internship. I am focused on public interest work, but such work imposes a financial burden. Shepherd offered financial assistance as well as a community of other students going through similar internships. During the Shepherd Closing Conference, law students and undergraduate students shared stories about their organizations. These stories demonstrated the overwhelming commitment to serving others that can sometimes be overshadowed by day-to-day responsibilities, and, for that reason, I value my participation in the Shepherd program.

Lauren Bennett

The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty Program made my 1L summer job possible. This past summer, I worked at the Mecklenburg County Public Defenders Office. The Shepherd Program funded my summer experience and gave me opportunities to become more informed about ways to diminish poverty through professional, civic, and political engagement.

During my internship, I worked firsthand with individuals from impoverished backgrounds. I discovered the many economic injustices within the criminal justice system, and I want to continue fighting these injustices as I pursue a career as a Public Defender. I am thankful to the Shepherd Program for not only funding my summer experience, but also giving me opportunities to further understand various deep-rooted effects of poverty.

Through the Shepherd Closing Conference, I was able to learn from other student’s summer experiences. This year’s conference theme–Criminal Justice, Poverty, and Race–aligned well with my summer experience. In years past the theme of the Symposium has related to topics such as Childhood Literacy and Food, Nutrition, and Health of Low Socioeconomic Families.  It was great to listen to presentations from other students who participated in the program and to gain insight from their experiences.

I would highly recommend applying to the Shepherd Program to any W&L law student who is interested in a legal field that provides services to individuals of low socioeconomic status.

Related //

An Education in Place Kat Oakley '19 has spent a lot of time contemplating the idea of "place" - both in Lexington and across the world. 

“I’ve learned that life is more beautiful when you’re invested in your place, and that the comfortable place isn’t usually the place you have the most to offer.”

Kat-Oakley-800x533 An Education in PlaceKat Oakley ’19

Hometown: Reno, Nevada
Majors: Anthropology and Spanish
Minor: Environmental Studies

I expected to learn a great many things in college — perhaps even earth-shattering things — but I could not have anticipated how much many of the seemingly disparate things I experienced would change my relationship with the idea of a place. In true college fashion, this transformation started in a class.

Despite having traveled a fair bit with my family, I had never thought critically about place until I took Intro to Environmental Studies with Professor Leah Green, which turned out to be the most influential class I’ve ever had the fortune of taking. The readings and discussions from that class have permanently affected my life, but none so much as those of Wendell Berry, enriched by Professor Green’s passion for sharing them. Berry, an agrarian and localist, proposes an idea that I hadn’t considered and that stands in contrast to our consumerist culture: that value and satisfaction comes from investment and — less eloquently put — that we are not truly in a place until we are invested in it.

From that point forward, I started viewing the world in terms of place instead of simply space. It was a paradigm shift that seems obvious but, in reality, was monumental. I had gone my entire life just moving through space, uncritical of those movements and those places. When I started seeing places, each unique and valuable and loved, the world became immensely richer and the possibility of satisfaction and beauty omnipresent.

My journey into the idea of place continued in 2017 when I, through my studies of anthropology and Spanish, had the opportunity to travel for nine months in both Europe and South America. Such constant travel had, in one go, opposing effects. On the one hand, I was being exposed constantly to amazing and new places; I saw more beauty and more diversity than ever before. However, with all the movement, I also found myself, for the first time in my life, “placeless.”

Thanks to Wendell Berry and Professor Green, places were already on my mind. I viewed places as having more depth and had started to put much more value on investment in places in my own life. But I spent nine months quite literally in foreign territory; I had neither the time nor knowledge to invest in a place or truly be part of it. And so, while travel increased my appreciation of other places, it also enforced in me the value of having a place you love and investing in it, a perspective that will continue to direct my life.

Washington and Lee has forced me to confront place in all its complexity. I’ve learned to live in and invest in and value a place in which — as an openly queer person — it is not necessarily easy for me to exist. In fact, adapting to W&L, a place so socially and politically distinct from my high school, has been one of my biggest challenges. But I also view it as one of W&L’s biggest gifts to me. I’ve learned that life is more beautiful when you’re invested in your place, and that the comfortable place isn’t usually the place you have the most to offer. It is my biggest hope that I have occupied Lexington in such a way that it has benefited from my being here; I also hope that, as I find more places that I love, I will apply the lessons that I’ve learned here and put some of myself in those places, just as they do the same for me.

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

A little more about Kat

Extracurricular involvement:
LGBTQ+ Peer Counselor, General’s Unity, Friday Underground, Production Club, Amnesty International, Gender Action Group, College Democrats

Why did you choose your major?
For anthropology, people are the only thing that confuse me enough I could spend my life trying to understand them and not be bored. And then I picked up Spanish because I’m so naturally bad at it that majoring is the only way I was ever going to learn it (funcionó).

Has anyone on campus inspired you?
Kassie Scott ’18 possesses a level of organization and commitment that is constantly inspiring. However, the real reason she comes to mind with this question is that I’ve never met somebody who is so kind or cares as much about fellow humans as she does.

What’s your personal motto?
My current motto comes from a song by the Avett Brothers: “Decide what to be and go be it.”

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai without a doubt, and I almost always get some sort of vegetable curry.

What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn. And if you like that, then read Quinn’s “Beyond Civilization,” where he fills in the pragmatic gaps.

Post-graduation plans:
First on the agenda is to get a cat. The rest is details.

Favorite class:
GEO 105 Earth Lab: The Geology of Hawaii (yes, we went to Hawaii)

Favorite W&L event:
The Equality Gala (or, as we like to call it, the GAYla)

Why did you choose W&L? 
It seemed like a place that would push me, and where my being there could matter.

W&L Associate Professor of Dance to Give Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Jenefer Davies will talk about her recent book, “Aerial Dance: A Guide to Dance with Rope and Harness.”

daviesj W&L Associate Professor of Dance to Give Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author TalkJenefer Davies

Washington and Lee University’s Leyburn Library will host an author talk featuring Jenefer Davies, associate professor of dance, on Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. in the Book Nook on the library’s main floor.

Davies will talk about her recent book, “Aerial Dance: A Guide to Dance with Rope and Harness.” The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

Davies’ book provides an introduction for the beginning aerialist. It covers rigging, equipment, advice on optimal conditioning and a step-by-step guide to technique. A companion website hosts videos that correspond with the technique and phrasing in the book.

“I wrote this book because aerial dance is such a new phenomenon that a codified technique didn’t exist,” Davies said. “Over the course of my 15 years of exploring, experimenting and teaching rope and harness, I created a curriculum for my students that combined the artistry and physicality of aerial dance with optimal conditioning and safety components.”

In addition to teaching dance at W&L, Davies is also director of the dance program and artistic director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company.

“This book has special ties to W&L because most of the photos were shot by university photographer Kevin Remington, and it features images and video – from a companion website – of W&L aerial students and performances from the last 10 years,” Davies said.

This talk is part of The Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series, presented by the University Library. This series showcases the creative and scholarly works produced by members of the Washington and Lee University community. During each installment of this series, held within Leyburn Library, a W&L author speaks about a recently published monographic work, fields audience questions, and is available to sign copies of the discussed book.

The fund was created in 1988 to support the varied activities of the university’s Special Collections and Archives, including authorial book signings.


Robert Macfarlane to Give Shannon-Clark Lecture at W&L The British author will deliver the lecture, titled “The Word-Hoard: A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook for The Anthropocene.”

“Macfarlane focuses on landscape, language and human beings’ relationship to both through song, story and the words we use to name the places we care about.”

Robert-Macfarlane-600x400 Robert Macfarlane to Give Shannon-Clark Lecture at W&LRobert Macfarlane

Author Robert Macfarlane will deliver the Shannon-Clark Lecture in English at Washington and Lee University on March 1 at 7 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of Macfarlane’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Word-Hoard: A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook for The Anthropocene.”

Macfarlane is currently a fellow in English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and is the author of two well-known books about landscape and nature. “Mountains of the Mind” (2003) examines the development of attitudes towards mountains and how they fire human imaginations, and “The Wild Places” (2007) explores the remaining wild places of Britain and Ireland, and the continuing need for “wildness. ” Both books have won multiple awards, including the 2007 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and the 2008 Scottish Arts Council Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award.

“Macfarlane focuses on landscape, language and human beings’ relationship to both through song, story and the words we use to name the places we care about,” said Jim Warren, S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English. “As Macfarlane says in his book, ‘The Old Ways,’ he writes about ‘people and place: about walking as a reconnoiter inwards, and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.’”

In addition to his books, Macfarlane also writes travel essays, as well as articles on literature and the environment for publications including Granta, Harper’s, The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement.

“Robert Macfarlane is one of the most important young writers in Great Britain today,” said Warren. “Not yet 42 years old, he has published four major books in the last 15 years and is finishing a fifth.”

The Shannon-Clark Lectures in English, established by a gift from a Washington and Lee alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous, honor the memories of Edgar Finley Shannon, chairman of Washington and Lee’s Department of English from 1914 until his death in 1938, and Harriet Mabel Fishburn Clark, a grandmother of the donor and a woman vitally interested in liberal education.


Raymond Barfield Completes Yearlong Questioning Intimacy Series The title of his talk is "A Hesitant Intimacy: Medicine’s Response to the Unchosen Vulnerability of the Sick and Suffering.”

RayHeadshot Raymond Barfield Completes Yearlong Questioning Intimacy SeriesRaymond Barfield

Raymond Barfield, associate professor of pediatrics and Christian philosophy at Duke University, is the final speaker in the 2017-18 Questioning Intimacy seminar series. Barfield’s talk is March 1 at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of his talk is “A Hesitant Intimacy: Medicine’s Response to the Unchosen Vulnerability of the Sick and Suffering.” The event is free and open to the public.

The talk addresses the risk that contemporary medicine becomes dulled to the vulnerability of patients who have little choice about the exposure of intimate details of their lives and bodies.

“Everybody has at some point in life probably been to the doctor,” said Jeffery Kosky, W&L professor of religion. “Ray Barfield, a pediatric oncologist, promises a unique perspective on the intimacy that structures that relationship. His perspective is informed not only by his professional practice of medicine but also by his study and teaching of literature, philosophy and theology.”

Barfield’s medical research focuses on immune therapies for childhood cancer and improvements in the quality of life for children with severe or fatal diseases. His work in philosophy focuses on narrative approaches to philosophical issues that matter to suffering or dying people.

He has published a book of poetry called “Life in the Blind Spot,” as well as a book of philosophy from Cambridge University Press called “The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy.” His novel “The Book of Colors” was published in spring 2015. He has two books forthcoming: a book of philosophy called “Wager: Beauty, Suffering, and Being in the World” and a book-length poem called “Dante’s New Moon.”

Barfield received his MD and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Emory University. He is a pediatric oncologist with an interest in the intersection of medicine, philosophy, theology and literature.


Sculpting a Business Sloan Evans ’99 and Rhett McCraw ’07 credit their liberal arts education with helping them build a strong foundation for their careers.

Pure-Barre-800x533 Sculpting a BusinessSloan Evans ’99 (left) and Rhett McCraw ’07 talk about their business, Pure Barre, to Professor Marc Junkunc’s Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship class.

With over 460 studios across the United States and Canada, Pure Barre is the largest and most established barre franchise on the continent, and investors Sloan Evans ’99 and Rhett McCraw ’07 credit their liberal arts education for helping them get it there.

Evans and McCraw were back on campus in late January to offer career advice to current students during a panel discussion at Stackhouse Theater, and to talk to Professor Marc Junkunc’s Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship class.

“There are challenges and milestones and crossroads at every decision, and in your career, you’re going to come across those,” Evans said. “I think W&L prepares you for those kinds of things.”

For Evans and McCraw, Pure Barre, a workout concept that uses ballet-inspired movements to burn fat and sculpt lean muscles, was one of those crossroads.

McCraw works for WJ Partners in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His firm invested in Pure Barre in October 2012. At the time, Pure Barre operated 96 studios and had only three employees.

In December, Pure Barre appointed Evans as CEO after his successful career as CFO at Johnson Development Associates, Inc. Together, WJ Partners and Evans grew Pure Barre into a dominant franchise, opening 100 studios in 2015 and 83 more in 2016.

During the career panel, Evans credited his W&L experience for teaching him to navigate real world challenges. The CEO of Pure Barre said his team had to navigate challenges to which they did not have the answers.

“You’re never going to have 100 percent of the information. You’re going to have to make informed decisions,” Evans said.

He attributed his success to W&L’s liberal arts environment. Evans said he came into the Williams School eager to learn and build a strong foundation for his career. Throughout his four years, he was exposed to challenges that pushed him out of his comfort zone and taught him to think analytically and creatively.

McCraw, an engineering major at W&L, mirrored Evans’ sentiments. Although he did not spend much time in the Williams School, McCraw said his W&L experience developed his critical thinking and problem-solving skills. After graduating, McCraw returned to school to earn his M.B.A. and began a career in finance. He now holds the position of vice president at WJ Partners.

Evans and McCraw advised students to demonstrate their work ethic and ability to excel in any position, no matter how small or unimportant the position might seem.

“Whatever you do, do your absolute best at that specific job, and then other things will come from that,” McCraw said. “Other people will notice.”

Evans added that opportunities find those who work hard. When he began his career, he said, he felt that he was setting himself on a path for life, but he learned that hard work rewarded him with surprising opportunities.

Evans and McCraw concluded the career panel by expressing their confidence in W&L candidates to succeed.

“The intellectual diversity you have in a liberal arts environment makes you a very well-rounded and broad candidate,” McCraw said. “In the long run you’re going to be a better executive, a better leader.”

Former Federal Reserve Bank President to give H. Parker Willis Lecture

lacker_web-350x232 Former Federal Reserve Bank President to give H. Parker Willis LectureDr. Jeffrey Lacker

Dr. Jeffrey Lacker, former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, will deliver the H. Parker Willis Lecture in Political Economy on Tues., Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. in Washington and Lee University’s Stackhouse Theater.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Lacker served on the Federal Open Market Committee, which conducts monetary policy for the Federal Reserve. Previously, he was a senior vice president and the director of research for the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank.

Before joining the Federal Reserve, he was an assistant professor of economics at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and previously worked at Wharton Econometrics in Philadelphia. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in economics from Franklin & Marshall College.

Dr. Lacker is the author of numerous articles in professional journals on monetary, financial and payment economics.

The event is sponsored by the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

The H. Parker Willis Lecture series began in 2002 to honor the first dean of the School of Commerce at W&L, H. Parker Willis (1874-1937). Willis was economic advisor to Congressman Carter Glass and consultant to the House Banking and Currency Committee in 1912-1913.


W&L Names Garrett LeRose ’07 Head Football Coach

“Our football program is poised to achieve in new ways, and I am confident Garrett can lead us there.”

~ Jan Hathorn, Director of Athletics

DSC_9399 W&L Names Garrett LeRose '07 Head Football Coach“I am humbled and excited to become the next head football coach at Washington and Lee University,” LeRose said.

LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn announced that following a national search, Garrett LeRose ’07 has been promoted to head football coach effective immediately. LeRose had previously served as the program’s assistant head coach and coach of tight ends and wide receivers.

“W&L has, once again, found itself in the position of offering our head football coaching position to someone from within our current staff, and I am excited to offer this promotion to Garrett,” said Hathorn. “Our applicant pool was deep and talented, and Garrett rose to the top throughout every stage of the process. As a loyal alumnus, Garrett will continue to bring to our program an unmatched passion for W&L, a tremendous knowledge of football, a commitment to the growth of the student-athletes on the team, and a clear understanding of the way athletics fits into the University’s overall educational mission.”

To read more about LeRose’s promotion, click here.

ELY_6866 W&L Names Garrett LeRose '07 Head Football CoachGarrett LeRose ’07

Experience, W&L Law: Inside the Black Lung Clinic with Dowin Coffy ’18L

dowinblog-800x533 Experience, W&L Law: Inside the Black Lung Clinic with Dowin Coffy '18LDowin Coffy ’18L

Dowin Coffy is a Registered Nurse and third year law student. He is devoted to understanding the finance, delivery and regulation of healthcare. This year, he is serving as a student attorney in the Black Lung legal clinic, which assists coal miners and survivors who are pursuing federal black lung benefits.

Why did you choose the Black Lung Clinic for your clinical experience?

I chose this clinic because healthcare is the most regulated industry in the United States, and I wanted experience dealing with a regulatory agency. The formal name for this clinic is the Advanced Administrative Litigation Clinic, and in that capacity, we deal with the United States Department of Labor and their adjudicative procedures under the Black Lung Benefits Act.

I also wanted to utilize my knowledge as a healthcare clinician. I figured there would be a lot of medical terminology and medical records that I would have to read. In addition, I just like helping others, and I appreciate the fact that I am making a tangible difference in the lives of others.

Describe a typical week in the clinic.

It can be chaotic at times. We deal with real and established law firms, who have real lawyers.

I personally have 5 cases that I am expected to keep a handle on. We have many deadlines as well as correspondence from lawyers and clients that we are expected to keep up with.

We are also constantly developing additional evidence in order to support our case. This consists of gathering evidence from hospitals, combing through doctor’s records for evidence of things such as right-sided heart failure, smoking history or lung cancer. We also have to grasp the pathophysiology of pneumoconiosis and understand how tests that establish total disability, such as a pulmonary function test, are administered and what the results mean.

In addition, we practice direct and cross-examinations for court proceedings. These are recorded, and Prof. MacDonnell, the clinic director, provides feedback. There is also a great deal of writing, including briefs and memos. The typical time commitment is expected to be 20 hours per week.

What has been hardest about your work in the clinic?

This clinic is one of the most time-consuming that the school offers. It demands that one develop an erudite understanding of pneumoconiosis and other medical diseases. The case files are huge, and there is a voluminous amount reading involved. There can also be weeks, such as when I was preparing to do a deposition of a doctor, which can consume all of your time. But you do have real clients with pecuniary interests in these matters.

In what ways has your clinical experience added value to your legal education?

If I had to work on a black lung case in a real administrative hearing tomorrow, I am confident that I could do a good job. I have improved tremendously in oral advocacy from the time I began, and my understanding of administrative adjudications has been greatly enhanced.

How is your participation in the clinic helping you achieve your professional goals?

I chose to attend law school to develop the requisite skills to become a credible professional, and my professional goals are being advanced with each passing week. I am a big believer that in life, experience is the best teacher.

W&L Tea Society Hosts Women and Girls’ Day Tea Ceremony

“This annual event is a way to celebrate and honor all the dynamic women and girls in our lives during Women’s History Month.”

dolls-600x400 W&L Tea Society Hosts Women and Girls’ Day Tea CeremonyJapanese Dolls

The Washington and Lee University Chanoyu Tea Society will host its third Woman and Girls’ Day Tea to celebrate International Women’s Month. It will be held on March 3 in the Japanese Tea Room, Senshin’an, located in the Watson Pavilion at W&L. Attendees will observe a traditional tea ceremony by W&L students and enjoy sweets and a bowl of green tea.

There will be three seatings: 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Individual tickets for this event are free, but are required due to limited space. Tickets may be picked up at the Reeves Center Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Cassie Ivey at (540) 458-8034 or civey@wlu.edu. For more information about the tea room, see http://tearoom.wlu.edu.

“This annual event is a way to celebrate and honor all the dynamic women and girls in our lives during Women’s History Month,” said Janet Ikeda, associate professor of Japanese. “This year’s event coincides with the March 3 Japanese Girls’ Day known as Hinamatsuri.”

For this event members of the society will use a special lacquered table tea set and serve sweets from the famous tea sweet shop Minamoto Kitchoan. There will also be a set of Japanese dolls on display in the tearoom, donated by the late Professor Harry Pemberton.

W&L’s tea room serves as a classroom and cultural laboratory where students study and practice temae, or the making of tea, which introduces them to history, literature, art, traditional customs, aesthetics and perceptions of beauty.

In 2011, Sen Genshitsu, the 15th-generation grand master of the Urasenke tradition of tea, presented the university with the tea room’s name, Senshin’an, or Clearing-the-Mind Abode.

The Chanoyu Tea Society wants to remind everyone that men and boys are also welcome to attend.



W&L’s Department of Music Presents the University Singers in Concert Feb. 27 The program will feature a variety of works from Centuries of Psalms to modern music to traditional American folk songs.

tourhomephoto-600x400 W&L’s Department of Music Presents the University Singers in Concert Feb. 27University Singers

The Department of Music at Washington and Lee University presents the award-winning University Singers under the direction of Shane M. Lynch in concert on Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in the Wilson Concert Hall, Lenfest Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are free but required. Call the Lenfest Center box office today at (540)-458-8000 to reserve tickets.

The tour program will feature a variety of works from Centuries of Psalms, to modern music, following the life and death of a soldier, to traditional American folk songs and other audience favorites.

During the concert, three themed sets that cover a full portion of the choral spectrum will be presented.

Traveling through multiple pieces with song and movements, the University Singers will follow a soldier through war, with his thoughts and those of them around him—his mother, his friends and his adversaries—through the horrors of war.

The final set of the program will provide the concert audience with many toe-tapping favorites, including The Limelighters’ “There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight” and Rosephayne Powell’s “Still I Rise,” ending with W&L’s traditional “Shenandoah” by James Erb.

The University Singers are recognized as one of the finest collegiate a cappella choirs on the East Coast, and tour nationally or internationally every year, performing a wide variety of literature at major venues across the globe while serving as artistic ambassadors for the university.


BLSA Moot Court Team Advances to Nationals

The Washington and Lee School of Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA) moot court team has advanced to the national competition following a third place finish at Mid-Atlantic Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.

In addition, the school’s BLSA chapter was recognized as “small chapter of the year” by the national organization.

W&L fielded two teams for the moot court competition, and students also competed in the mock trial competition at the regional conference, held in Portsmouth, Virginia on Feb. 7-11. The team of 2L Angelique Rogers and 1L Junior Ndlovu advanced. They will head to Brooklyn in March for the national competition.

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

Related //

Boss of Her World Harleigh Bean ’18 studied in Paris, spent a summer at one of Middlebury's competitive language schools and attended the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University.

Harleigh-Bean-800x533 Boss of Her WorldHarleigh Bean ’18

“For seven weeks I spoke only French, I wrote in French, I watched TV in French; my whole life was in French. As this experience took place the summer before my abroad experience, I was more than prepared to travel to Paris, confident in my ability to communicate in another language.”

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Majors: Romance Languages and Politics

Though I could surely go on and on about the amazing social, academic and athletic experiences I’ve been fortunate to have here at Washington and Lee, I’d rather spend this time sharing the story of my summer experiences and study abroad semester and how W&L played an active and supportive role in each of these opportunities.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I attended the Betty Ashbury Jones MA ’86 School of French at Middlebury College. As a romance languages major (with a Spanish emphasis), I picked up French upon arriving in Lexington. It’s safe to say that I struggled with it. However, I was determined to establish a solid foundation with the language, not only to satisfy the requirements of the major but to form a solid foundation from which I could learn additional languages in the future.

I was first introduced to the program through a classmate who had attended the French language school the previous summer. He was practically fluent. After talking with him about his experience, I knew I had to pursue this opportunity. With the help of my French professor, I pulled together a competitive application and sent it in. To be honest, I did not expect to receive admission — Middlebury language schools maintain a rather cutthroat reputation, for good reason! For seven weeks I spoke only French, I wrote in French, I watched TV in French; my whole life was in French. As this experience took place the summer before my abroad experience, I was more than prepared to travel to Paris, confident in my ability to communicate in another language.

This brings me to my second experience—my Fall Term abroad in Paris. This experience was completely facilitated through W&L. With the help of the Study Abroad office, I identified the country I wanted to be in, the subjects I wanted to study and the living arrangements I wanted to pursue. With their help, I chose to study abroad from August to December in Paris through the IES: Business and International Affairs Program. Thanks to the Financial Aid Department, my full scholarship at W&L transferred to pay the cost of the program and gave me a stipend to use as disposable income while I was abroad. With the help of the Romance Languages and Politics departments, I was able to receive full credit from my semester abroad without having to push back my graduation date. I can say with full honesty that my semester in Paris was the best semester of my life, and I couldn’t have done it without W&L.

The last experience I’d like to share took place in Princeton, New Jersey, this past summer. In February 2016, I was chosen as one of about 30 students out of a pool of 600 applicants to attend the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University. This program strives to expose underrepresented minorities to public policy and international affairs through coursework and extracurricular programming in order to prepare us to become influential leaders of the future. It goes without saying that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

During this seven-week program (I seem to have an affinity for those), I took graduate-level courses in economics, statistics and international policy. Retired ambassador James Gadsden taught my international policy course. In addition to the coursework, we also attended various bag lunches with established professionals in the fields of public policy, international policy, health care, education and more. We also took a trip to D.C. to meet with international officials at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, attended a specially organized graduate school fair, and networked with PPIA alumnus in the area. This program also ensures that I will receive some funding for graduate school once I embark on that journey. The cohort of students is amazing — we’re still constantly connecting via social media, and the alumni network has proven to be an amazing resource.

I would not have gone through with this experience without the insight of a W&L student the year above me who also was a PPIA Princeton alum, the courses I’ve taken at W&L that made me academically competitive, and the extracurricular opportunities that demonstrated my commitment to public policy and service.

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

More About Harleigh

Extracurricular involvement
University Ambassadors, the Peer Counseling program, Kathekon, Pluma and an internship at the George Marshall Foundation housed on VMI’s campus. Though each of these opportunities seem extremely different, they all afford me the opportunity to interact with people, give back to the community, and develop personally and professionally. The internship at VMI is pretty interesting because for most of my W&L career, VMI has been this elusive institution; now I’m on its campus quite frequently.

Why did you choose your major?
Growing up in the greater Washington, D.C., area exposed me to the realm of politics. As I got older, I became more and more interested in international politics, so the choice to major in global politics was natural. My romance languages major was also an obvious decision, as I’ve been taking Spanish since kindergarten. Though I wanted to branch out into other languages, specifically French, in high school, I was unable to do so. The romance languages department offered me the opportunity to pursue a second language (or third, really) while maintaining my first foreign language.

What’s your personal motto?
Recently, I’ve been referring back to the quote “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” I’m unsure of its origin; however, it came into my life when I heard Beyoncé recite it during a campaign for the Girl Scouts of America. Many times in my life I’ve been told that I’m blunt, too honest or aggressive. When I was younger, I used to feel bad for being this way. Now, I love it. I may be blunt or brutally honest, but these are personality traits I admire as I move to establish my professional career.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai. My friends make fun of me because I eat there so often. My usual order is chicken pad Thai with a side of fried rice. If I’m feeling exceptionally gluttonous, I’ll also order spring rolls.

Post-graduation plans
Though my post-graduation plans aren’t completely solidified yet, I do have a plan. I hope to work in Congress this summer in order to get a better understanding of a key branch of the U.S. government. I then aspire to work in the D.C. area for about a year in the realm of international politics, specifically transnational terrorism or nuclear proliferation, before moving overseas to gain more experience in international security.

Favorite W&L Memory?
The first memory that came to my mind upon reading this question is from a random lacrosse practice last season. Truthfully, I don’t remember what day of the week it was or what we were supposed to be doing, but I definitely remember the feeling of my stomach hurting from so much laughter. Last season, there were four goalies on the women’s lacrosse team dubbed “Goalie World” by Coach Brooke O’Brien and the other members of the team. It was a pretty appropriate nickname because we were always in our own world. As we all would stand behind the goal during practice, we had a lot of time to goof off. On this particular day, we were supposed to be executing some drills, but we got distracted. Well, the rest of the team was ready and Goalie World got distracted. All I remember is the look on Coach O’Brien’s face when she turned around fully expecting the goalies to be present and ready to begin and instead saw all four of us on the ground (or slowly moving to the ground), dying from laughter. It shocks me to this day that we didn’t get in more trouble for that. Although I am no longer a member of the team, my time on the women’s lacrosse team provided some of the best memories I have at W&L.

Favorite class
This question is very hard. I will call it a three-way tie between La Guerra Civil Española, Terrorism,  and Web Programming for Nonprogrammers. The first class is in my top three because I had been waiting four years for the opportunity to take a class with Professor Ellen Mayock. She is one of the most highly regarded professors in the Romance Languages Department, one of the most intelligent women I know and my advisor. The class was honestly amazing. Professor Seth Cantey teaches the second class. Though the winter semester is still underway, I can already tell that this is going to be an amazing class due to the meticulous way Professor Cantey put together this course. I am also currently enrolled in my third favorite class. Though I’m a millennial, computers and I do not have a close relationship. As I needed to fulfill my science foundation requirement, I decided that this course would be a good idea. Truthfully, I’m horrible at web programming. But that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy this class. I think it’s healthy to be constantly challenged in a subject I’m not strong in. It’s very humbling to constantly be wrong.

Brodie Riordan ’03 and Clifford Holekamp ’96 Join W&L Board of Trustees

RiordanHolekamp_020818-600x400 Brodie Riordan '03 and Clifford Holekamp '96 Join W&L Board of TrusteesBrodie Riordan ’03 and Clifford Holekamp ’96

Washington and Lee University welcomed two new members to its Board of Trustees during the board’s winter meeting on Feb. 9.

Brodie G. Riordan ’03 graduated from W&L with a B.A. in psychology and holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Akron. She is the manager of partner learning and development at McKinsey & Co.

As a student, Riordan was a founding member of the varsity field hockey team and was president of Kappa Delta Sorority. As an alumna, she has served as president of the W&L Alumni Board and the Cleveland Alumni Chapter, chaired the Science Advisory Board and served as a class agent.

Before joining McKinsey, Riordan was a senior consultant with PDRI, was manager of global leadership development at Procter & Gamble, and was a visiting assistant professor of social and organizational psychology at W&L.

Riordan has published over two dozen articles and book chapters on leadership, feedback and coaching, including “Using Feedback in Organizational Consulting,” the first book in an American Psychological Association series. She is on the board of the D.C. chapter of Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that helps homeless individuals get their lives back together through the power of running.

Riordan and her husband, Tim, live in Washington, D.C.

Clifford Holekamp ’96 graduated from W&L with a B.A. in journalism and holds an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Holekamp is co-founder and general partner of Cultivation Capital and is the academic director and senior lecturer for entrepreneurship at Olin Business School at Washington University.

He formerly worked for IBM and was the founder and president of Foot Healers, a chain of podiatric medical centers. He serves on several early-stage corporate boards, as well as several philanthropic boards, including at the St. Louis Zoo, the T-REX technology entrepreneur center, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

As an alumnus, Holekamp has served as president of the St. Louis Alumni Chapter and on the Board of Advisors for the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. He received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2011. Currently, he serves on both the Development and Finance Committees.

Holekamp resides in St. Louis with his wife, Megan, and daughters Millie and Ginny.

The Path to Learning A team of Washington and Lee engineering majors is designing and building a walking trail for children served by Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center’s Lexington location.

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Employees and clients of Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center’s Lexington branch were thrilled to move into a modern new building near Hull’s Drive-in, but one feature of the former location was sorely missed: the playground and fenced-in yard.

“Our students benefit from structured play and instruction indoors and outside, so having an outdoor area that is accessible is beneficial to their learning. It is a goal of our program to have our students access their community and natural environment as much as possible,” said Meagan Harding, a behavior analyst and special education teacher at BRAAC.

Fortunately, the wooded land behind the new building is a blank canvas, and four Washington and Lee University engineering majors are working to transform it into an interactive walking trail for the children serviced by the school. The trail will double BRAAC’s space for activity.

Annie Jeckovich, Walker Brand, Kyle Ruedisili and Ryan Brink, all members of the Class of 2018, spent Fall Term mapping the trail, assessing and pricing materials and labor, and communicating with BRAAC to fine tune the plan. They hope to finish the project by the end of Winter Term.

The students were able to liaise with BRAAC through W&L’s Office of Community-Based Learning and create a community-based research (CBR) project. Such projects provide students, faculty and community partners an opportunity to collaborate on mutually beneficial research aimed at addressing community-identified needs. The walking trail also will fulfill the new year-long capstone project requirement for engineering majors.

“The overarching idea is that students are able to pick a project they want to focus on for the entire year and take it from the initial problem to a proposed solution, then demonstrate that it works,” said Joel Kuehner, department head and professor of physics and engineering. “They learn a lot in classes, but this stimulates a true career environment.”

Blue Ridge Autism Center was founded in Roanoke, Va., in 2002; in 2009, it merged with The Achievement Center, a program of St. Vincent Home, to form BRAAC. Today, it has locations in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Lexington, and serves families who face unique learning challenges, including autism, ADD, and physical or visual impairment. The Lexington office works with children ages 2-16, Harding said, and is currently licensed by the Department of Education to serve 10 students.

Through their initial research, the W&L team learned that some people with sensory disorders like autism are hypersensitive to stimuli while others are hyposensitive. They found that nature immersion can have a positive impact by exposing children to sounds, smells, textures and other stimuli they would not encounter indoors.

The project was not as easy as selecting and shaping a route for the path. The students had to consider safety and accessibility, especially for clients with physical impairment, as well as the cost-effectiveness and durability of materials, the impact of the project on the environment, and aesthetics.

“We wanted to create a long-term solution for BRAAC,” Jeckovich said, “a trail that manages foot traffic, weather and other impacts and is easily maintained.”

Using GPS equipment borrowed from the Geology Department, and armed with machetes against thorny undergrowth, they mapped out an ADA-compliant trail that will weave around trees and use existing game trails. The path, which will be about eight feet wide and covered in wood mulch, will have a short section (150-200 feet long) and a long section (325-350 feet) with three rest stations along the way.

According to both Jeckovich and Ruedisili, they were surprised to find that the most challenging part of the project has not been the design, but the act of communicating with multiple parties, including contractors, and the logistics of funding and organizing.

“I didn’t expect this much communication but it’s definitely not a bad thing,” Ruedisili said. “It’s nice to not spend all your time sitting in a room running calculations.”

Harding said she has appreciated the students’ professionalism: “I can really see that they are striving to make this the best opportunity for our students. They have come numerous times and toured the facility inside and out, they have emailed weekly updates, and all of their communication has been thorough and thoughtful.”

The next steps will include hiring a contractor to grade and remove large rocks, planning a volunteer work day, and raising money to pay for the project. Each team in the capstone course receives $1,000 in funding, with additional support from the McJunkin Endowment for Student Engagement and the Office of the Provost. But that will not cover the full cost of this project, so Jeckovich said they hope to find a contractor who will donate time or labor. In addition, a crowdfunding page has been set up.

The team hopes that in coming years, other W&L students will expand on their project, adding sensory stations along the route to make it even more stimulating and educational for children. Harding said everyone at the office is excited to see the finished product and its future iterations.

“I think the W&L students have really heard our concerns and feedback and utilized it to make the recommendations for our trail,” she said. “It is definitely aligning with what we envisioned for our students. It’s going to be such a phenomenal thing for our children and our staff. Being immersed in nature and having access to outdoor experiences will aid our students in meeting some of their physical and sensorial needs.”

Kuehner said the BRAAC project is a great example of the kind of work that W&L students, through the Office of Community-Based Learning and the Community-Academic Research Alliance, can do in the community. He credited the folks in these programs, including Tammi Hellwig, Alessandra Del Conte Dickovick and Marisa Charley, with paving the way for these valuable projects.

“The students get to see that what they have studied for four years isn’t just a fairy tale in a textbook — you are really going to make somebody’s life better,” Kuehner said. “And to actually have the community be excited is very rewarding. They may never think about a final exam again, but I don’t think they will soon forget these projects.”

Princeton University Professor Harriet Flower to Deliver Hoyt Lecture in Classics Flower’s talk is titled “The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden: Roman Local and Household Religion.”

Harriet-Flower-Pic Princeton University Professor Harriet Flower to Deliver Hoyt Lecture in ClassicsHarriet Flower

Harriet Flower, Andrew Fleming West Professor of Classics at Princeton University, will give the 2017-2018 Hoyt Lecture in Classics at Washington and Lee University on March 21, at 6 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.

Flower’s talk is titled “The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden: Roman Local and Household Religion.” The talk is free and open to the public. Her lecture is sponsored by the Classics Hoyt Fund and the Department of Classics.

Flower’s lecture will examine the surviving ancient evidence for the lares, mysterious but ubiquitous twin dancing gods venerated in a domestic cult and at crossroads shrines in Roman towns. She will discuss who these deities were and who worshipped them, as well as their relationship to the snakes so often depicted near them. Flower’s critical analysis of this cult raises the broader question of how society can understand the traditional, polytheistic Roman religion in its own original contexts.

Flower’s research tends to focus broadly on the interrelated topics of spectacle and memory in Roman culture. She has published several books, including “Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture” (Oxford, 1996), “The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture” (Chapel Hill, NC, 2011) and “Roman Republics” (Princeton, 2011). Her most recent book is “The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden: Religion at the Roman Street Coner.”

Since 2010 Flowers has served as Head of Mathey College, one of six residential colleges for undergraduates at Princeton. She regularly teaches undergraduate courses on Roman history and Latin literature at all levels. She earned her undergraduate degree in 1983 from University College, Oxford, where she studied ancient history and classical literature, and her Ph.D. in 1993, in ancient history from the University of Pennsylvania.


W&L Presents ‘The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet’ Performances will run March 1-6.

“The greatest love story in the English language isn’t a love story. It’s a play about conflict between families, between generations and between ideals.”

rjphoto1-800x533 W&L Presents 'The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet'Students rehearse “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.”

Washington and Lee University’s Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies presents Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Performances will run March 1-3 at 7:30 p.m., March 3-4 at 2 p.m. and March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Theatre, Lenfest Center for Performing Arts. On March 5, at 7:30 p.m., the cast will hold an individual performance of the play at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia.

Tickets are required and can be ordered online or by calling the Lenfest box office at 540-458-8000. The box office is open Monday – Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. and will be open one hour before performance time.

With a production set in the present day, director Jemma Alix Levy breathes new life into this classic love story. It is a story that begins with a street fight, ends with countless deaths and is filled with conflict. The fates of Romeo and Juliet are perilously intertwined with fierce generational angst, familial discord and refusal to compromise.

“The greatest love story in the English language isn’t a love story. It’s a play about conflict between families, between generations and between ideals,” said Levy. “It is a story of death and life; hope and despair; of missed opportunities and miraculous coincidences. It is a story of what could be and what is, and that is why it is a story for all time.”

Audiences are encouraged to come see this raw, honest production of “Romeo and Juliet,” but to leave all existing notions of the play’s themes, characters and lessons at the door.


Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic

3Ls Kendall Manning and Aileen Almonte are student attorneys in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at W&L Law. Below they provide a snapshot into a typical week working in the clinic, one of six live-client clinics students can choose from to fulfill their actual practice requirement, a key part of W&L’s experiential curriculum.

ircmeeting Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic

Day 1: Supervision Meeting with Professor Baluarte

Each team has a weekly 1-hour supervision meeting with Professor Baluarte to discuss the status of our cases. We talk about our client interactions, reasoned approaches to research and fact investigations, and the strategic decisions we make based on client consultations and research. In anticipation of these meetings, we submit a memo describing our objectives for the meeting and any work we need Professor Baluarte to review. Here, he is giving us feedback on a brief we submitted for our main asylum case.

ircsimulation Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic

Day 2: Counseling Simulation Session with Celia Simulada

Professor Baluarte assigns simulated interviews and counseling sessions to help us prepare for our client meetings. In this simulation, we are advising Celia Simulada (a native Spanish speaker and undergraduate student at W&L) on the costs and benefits of applying for asylum, as a young woman from Honduras. Beforehand, we prepared a counseling plan to anticipate the challenges we would  face counseling a client on the benefits and disadvantages of her case. We then record our counseling session so that we can review the tape afterward and reflect on our performance. Watching ourselves on screen really helps us to observe our facial expressions and body language and realize the things we must improve upon for our real client sessions.

Day 3: Working on a Green Card Application

ircgreencard Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic

IRC students are typically assigned cases involving female survivors of domestic abuse, unaccompanied children in removal proceedings, and refugees fearing severe harm in their home country. We’re each responsible for managing client communications and meetings, as well as communicating with immigration authorities on our clients’ behalf.  As IRC students, we are also responsible for researching and meeting all filing deadlines, and counseling clients about these processes along the way.

When we are not meeting with our clients or talking to them over the phone, we are working on their applications and supplemental materials. Here, Aileen works on a Form I-485 for a client who recently became eligible to apply for a green card after she was granted a U-Visa and remained in the United States for three years.

Day 4: Oral Advocacy Simulation

ircsimulation2 Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic

Every Wednesday from 2:00-3:55 p.m., the entire clinic comes together to discuss issues common to all our cases. During these sessions, we discuss fundamental lawyering skills and values, and we put those skills and values into practice through simulated exercises. Because we are responsible for representing our clients in Arlington Immigration Court and Virginia state court, we must prepare and submit all motions, briefs and evidence; prepare witnesses; and conduct hearings.

Here in the Mock Trial Room, we used our seminar session to present a direct examination of our client and closing argument. Professor Baluarte served as the presiding judge, while our IRC classmates observed and critiqued our performance from the gallery. Afterward, we listened to everyone’s feedback on how to improve our oral advocacy skills and make our client’s case most appealing in court.

Day 5: Immigrant Rights Law Symposium

A recent week was capped off with a day-long law symposium examining President Trump’s immigration related executive orders. Prof. Baluarte worked with the W&L Law Review to organize the event, and we were able to hear about the work of the top immigration advocates and scholars from across the U.S.

use2 Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic use Experience, W&L Law: A Week in the Immigrant Rights Clinic

W&L Presents a Conversation on Race and Hope by Authors of “We Are Charleston” The three authors of “We Are Charleston” will talk on Feb. 15 at 6:00 p.m. in Stackhouse Theatre, Elrod Commons. It is free and open to the public.

Washington and Lee University presents a moderated conversation with journalist Herb Frazier, historian Bernard Edward Powers and poet Marjory Wentworth on the fatal shooting at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015.

The three authors of “We Are Charleston” will talk on Feb. 15 at 6:00 p.m. in Stackhouse Theatre, Elrod Commons. It is free and open to the public.

Frazier is the public relations and marketing manager for Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston. He has edited and reported for five daily newspapers in the South, including his hometown paper, The Post and Courier. In 1990, the South Carolina Press Association named him Journalist of the Year. Frazier’s international reporting experience includes West Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as humanitarian relief efforts in Bosnia and Rwanda during its post-genocide. Since leaving daily journalism in 2006, Frazier has led journalism workshops in Sierra Leone, Zambia, Ghana, Suriname and Guyana and The Gambia for The U.S. government and a Washington-based journalism foundation.

Powers is a professor at the College of Charleston, where he teaches courses on the United States and African-American history Powers has frequently given speeches and presented papers at professional conferences, on the African-American experience. His ongoing research focuses on the development of African Methodism in South Carolina.

Wentworth’s poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize six times. She is the co-writer with Juan Mendez of “Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights,” co-editor with Kwame Dawes of “Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green,” and the author of the prizewinning children’s story “Shackles.” Wentworth teaches at The Art Institute of Charleston.  Her work is included in the South Carolina Poetry Archives at Furman University, and she is the Poet Laureate of South Carolina.

This talk is part of W&L’s yearlong Education and History series sponsored by the Office of the Provost. In 2017-18, building on the highly impactful “History in the Public Sphere” project, W&L has planned a series of events, speakers, gatherings and forums that will contribute to the ongoing study of our history and our culture.

Quick Hits: Setting the Stage at Lenfest Center Students play a key role in creating the visual styling for upcoming productions by the theater department.

Tickets are on sale now for both “James and the Giant Peach” and “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.” Click here for more information or to buy tickets.

W&L Community Grants Committee to Evaluate Proposals In March The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Spring 2018 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Spring 2018 proposal evaluation schedule. Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Spring 2018 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2017-18 cycle.

During the first round of the 2017-18 evaluations held in November, 2017, twenty-nine organizations submitted proposals for a total of over $150,000 in requests. The University made $30,760 in grants to 19 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • American Red Cross of the Roanoke and New River Valleys Virginia
  • The Community Closet at Christ Episcopal Church
  • Community Foundation for Rockbridge, Bath, and Alleghany
  • The Community Table of Buena Vista, Inc.
  • Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Lexington Police Foundation
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc.
  • PMHS Girls Basketball Program
  • PMHS Lady Blues Soccer
  • Rockbridge Area Health Center
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association
  • The Rockbridge Ballet
  • Rockbridge SPCA
  • RCHS Girls Soccer Booster Club
  • RCHS Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Program
  • Rockbridge Regional Library Youth Literacy
  • John’s United Methodist Church
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address: http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

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.

Building Your Own Dream Job Graham Novak '19 may only be a junior at W&L, but he has already lined up a job — at his own company.

“NomadX’s maturation plan aligns with my education such that I’ll be prepared to graduate and immediately continue my dream job: running a company that I’ve built.”

Graham-Novak-800x533 Building Your Own Dream JobGraham Novak ’19

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Major: Economics
Minor: Computer Science

Last January, I spent late nights in the Connolly Center mulling over business ideas. In the months that followed, I converted my bedroom into an office, flew to San Francisco to meet with an investor, launched a two-month beta test in Lisbon, received sponsorships from Facebook and Google, landed a major corporate client, and hired a 40-year-old technology superstar to lead the development of my company’s upcoming technology platform for remote workers. Considering the circumstances, I didn’t mind the C+ in Macro Theory.

The premise of NomadX relies on a prediction that the standard notion of the workplace dramatically changes in the next 10 years — a transformation my team and I plan to shape and monetize. Observations, research and data show that the dominance of “nine-to-five” jobs in traditional office settings will yield to a new norm: working when you want where you want. For many, this may be working from home — a reality we’re beginning to see already. Extrapolating this trend, NomadX predicts the meteoric rise of the “Digital Nomad,” a term used for location-independent workers who travel the world. Similarly, companies will have to adapt. In order to retain high-performing millennials that operate with different incentive structures (i.e. work-life balance, ability to travel, workplace flexibility), businesses will terraform their culture in order to accommodate remote and distributed teams.

The goal of last summer’s beta test was to create a proof of concept for an international network of host cities that allows remote workers to seamlessly travel the world while maintaining full productivity. Naively optimistic, I expected bumps — but not the type that tests your willpower, friendships and sanity. On more than one occasion, I buried my face in my hands, nearly certain that failure was inevitable. Customer acquisition costs bloomed, target demographics were different than anticipated, and a month prior to the launch, there were zero signed clients.

Fortunately, my investor-turned-business-partner, Dave Williams ’93, provided some game-changing advice:

“Stop cold calling and advertising—connect directly with your target market. See things from their perspective and offer the product they want, not the one you think they need.”

We got our first client. Four more. Two more. Six more. The spots continued to fill and we avoided a near-catastrophe. Our clients included 24 people from 11 countries through the months of July and August. We curated co-living apartments, developed partnerships with top-notch co-working spaces, and created an environment suitable for personal growth, productivity and global immersion in Lisbon. Meanwhile, we began planting seeds for our next growth phase through community development. The result was a thriving ecosystem of fascinating individuals. Over 1,000 people attended 25 events hosted by NomadX. We not only created an incredible community for our paid customers but also built a tremendous base of high-potential clients.

Following the summer, the team had some tough questions to answer. We hadn’t found product-market fit yet and we needed to try something new. In November, our first corporate client signed on. We agreed to provide services for their 110 employees in May 2018. Soon after, we started making plans for our long-discussed technology platform for remote workers. With an influx of capital and some strategic reallocation of equity, we hired a talented individual to help us realize this vision.

After significant learning and growth, the year ahead will prove to be the ultimate assessment of my liberal arts career. Among other things, it will require that I draw from marketing, finance, computer science, economics and real estate courses. Although many rising seniors spend their summers at companies with the hope of returning after graduation, my situation is unique. NomadX’s maturation plan aligns with my education such that I’ll be prepared to graduate and immediately continue my dream job: running a company that I’ve built.

To all of the incredible professors, alumni, students, friends and family who have supported me along the way, “thank you” cannot possibly convey my gratitude for your constant feedback and enthusiasm. As I embark on the next leg of NomadX’s journey, I look to you for continued inspiration and motivation.

If you’re interested in getting in touch with Graham, feel free to contact him via LinkedIn or email.

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 Graham

Extracurricular involvement:

  • Venture Club, Executive Team
  • University Ambassador, Vice President
  • Contact Committee
  • Leading Edge, Trip Leader
  • Freshman Orientation, Event Chair
  • ITS Work-Study

Has anyone on campus inspired you?
Dr. Jeff Shay is an incredible human with a knack for pushing students to accomplish more than they think is possible

What’s your personal motto?
I’ll have time to sleep when I’m dead.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I’d give my left arm for Napa Thai’s Chicken Drunken Noodles.

What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Contrary to belief among the scientific community, time passes faster when you’re in college than any other point in your life.

Favorite W&L memory:

On a whim, my first-year hall decided to organize a fancy five-course “family dinner” and invite President Ruscio. He and his wife not only joined us, but later invited the hall to his house for dinner to return the favor.

Favorite class:
Managerial Finance with Professor Kester

Favorite W&L event:
Mock Convention

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I peaked in middle school as a wrestling conference champion.

Why did you choose W&L?
The tight-knit community, small classes, incredible professors, proactive alumni, and RIDICULOUS access to resources.

Equality and Difference Series Continues with Pulitzer Prize Winner Katherine Boo Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Genius Grant and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.

katherine-boo-400x600 Equality and Difference Series Continues with Pulitzer Prize Winner Katherine BooPulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Katherine Boo is the ninth speaker in the 2017–18 Equality and Difference series, sponsored by the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University. This event will be on Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The title of her talk is “For the Valentine’s Day Skeptics Among Us, An Evening of Social Change.” It is free and open to the public.

“Katherine Boo brings an essential global perspective to the Mudd Center’s exploration of issues of equality and difference,” said Angela Smith, director of the Mudd Center. “Her lecture will address the stealthy ways in which inequality shapes communities, families and individual psychologies – our own included.”

With more than 25 years as a journalist, Boo started as a contributing writer for The New Yorker before transitioning to a reporter and editor for The Washington Post. Early in her career, Boo established herself as a writer who seeks the truth and as someone dedicated to telling the stories of the poor and disadvantaged. Boo also reported at the alternative weekly Washington City Paper, after which she worked as a writer and co-editor of Washington Monthly magazine. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Genius Grant and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.

Boo’s New York Times bestselling book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, and has been adapted for the stage by the National Theatre in London. The book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving for a better life in Mumbai, one of the world’s great unequal cities.

Boo is currently working on her next book, an exploration of social mobility in the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.

The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is the fitting home.” Click here for more information about the Mudd Center.

Boo’s visit is co-sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

UNC History Professor, Fitz Brundage, Continues W&L Education and History Series Brundage’s talk is titled “A Vexing and Awkward Dilemma: The Legacy of a Confederate Landscape.”

1-Brundage-2017-400x600 UNC History Professor, Fitz Brundage, Continues W&L Education and History SeriesW. Fitzhugh (Fitz) Brundage

Washington and Lee University will hold a public lecture by W. Fitzhugh (Fitz) Brundage, the William B. Umstead Professor of History at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Brundage’s talk is titled “A Vexing and Awkward Dilemma: The Legacy of a Confederate Landscape.”

Brundage’s general research interests are American history since the Civil War, with a particular focus on the American South. He has written on lynching, utopian socialism in the New South, and white and black historical memory in the South since the Civil War. His current research project is a book on debates about torture in the United States from the time of European contact to the 21st century.

He is editor of multiple books, including “Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930”; “Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity”; and the prize-winning “Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930.”

The talk is part of Washington and Lee University’s Education and History series. In 2017-18, building on our highly impactful “History in the Public Sphere” project, we have planned a series of events, speakers, gatherings and forums that will contribute to the ongoing study of our history and culture.

The lecture is sponsored by the Mellon History in the Public Sphere project, Johnson Lecture and Symposia, the Office of the Provost and the History Department.

W&L Students to Deliberate “Ethical Issues in a Multicultural Society” The W&L team will compete head-to-head against other highly qualified student teams from Virginia’s 15 leading independent colleges and universities.

VFIC-shield_GiveRichmond-FINAL W&L Students to Deliberate “Ethical Issues in a Multicultural Society”.

Five students from Washington and Lee University will participate in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ (VFIC) 19th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl on Feb. 11-12, on the campus of Hampden-Sydney College.

The W&L team will compete head-to-head against other highly qualified student teams from Virginia’s 15 leading independent colleges and universities, deliberating a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas. The members of the W&L student team are: Sarah Arrington ’18, Sèsha Carrier ’19, Alex Farley ’19, Justin Gilette ’19 and Allie Rutledge ’19. The faculty coordinator for the team is Melina Bell, professor of philosophy and law.

Many notable personalities from business, law, education, finance, journalism and other fields will listen to team presentations and offer reactions to the students’ presentations. The public is invited to attend the match sessions free of charge.

The Ethics Bowl program will commence with an opening session on Feb. 11 at 2:30 p.m. at Hampden-Sydney College’s Johns Auditorium, with the first matches scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in various classrooms throughout Bortz Library, Brown Student Center and Johns Auditorium. On Feb. 12, rounds three and four will begin at 8:45 a.m. The final round of competition will take place at 11:15 a.m. in the Johns Auditorium. The winning team will be announced at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. The team from Hampden-Sydney College took home the Batten Trophy at the 2017 Ethics Bowl.

Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin University, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan University and Washington and Lee University.

Click here for additional information about the VFIC.

W&L Celebrates Black History Month The university's Office of Diversity and Inclusion presents a month-long schedule of events, including film screenings, lectures and discussions.

IMG_4617-1-800x533 W&L Celebrates Black History MonthBaridapdoo Wiwuga ‘20 talks to a group of students at the black hair information panel during Black History Month 2017.

Washington and Lee University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion presents a month-long schedule of events in celebration of Black History Month on the W&L campus. Events will last through February and are free and open to the public.

On Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, professors Marc Conner and Lucas Morel will present the John Chavis Lecture in African-American Studies. A reception will follow the event.

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

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

On Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Mark A. Sanders, professor of English and chair of African-American studies at Emory University, will give a public lecture on “Blackness and Nationality: The Case of Ricardo Batrell and the Cuban Racial Narrative.”

Sanders’ talk is based on his research on “A Black Soldier’s Story: The Narrative of Ricardo Batrell and the Cuban War of Independence” (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) and his English-language translation and edition of “Para la Historia: Apuntes Autobiográficos de la Vida de Ricardo Batrell Oviedo” (1912), the only account of the Cuban War of Independence written by an Afro-Cuban. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

The Student Alliance in Black Unity (SABU), in collaboration with the African Society, will host The Black Hair Informational on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Hillel Multipurpose Room. The purpose of the event is to help answer questions people may have about black hair. The informational will allow attendees to explore and experience various, vastly different types of black hair. There will be demonstrations, presentations, opportunities to touch different types of hair, and a panel at the end that will discuss the cultural connections between black hair, the black community and the world in general.

In addition to these events, there will also be several film screenings for Black History Month.

Visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s page for more details and a full list of events.

The month’s activities are sponsored in part by the Office of Dean of Students, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the University Lectures Fund and the Program in Africana Studies.

W&L to Expand Advanced Research Cohort through Quality Enhancement Plan

Washington and Lee University has selected the Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) program as its next Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). President Will Dudley and Provost Marc Conner announced the selection at the undergraduate faculty meeting on Feb. 5.

“The Quality Enhancement Plan is a requirement of our external accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but it’s also a great opportunity for us to develop a program that shows great promise to make a meaningful difference to critical university goals,” said Dudley. “The QEP will direct our energy and resources to make the ARC program even stronger and more impactful in the next five years.”

KRR4195-350x233 W&L to Expand Advanced Research Cohort through Quality Enhancement PlanARC students, Chris Messerich ’20, Mariam Samuel ’20 and Robert Moore ’20, meet with faculty in the IQ Center.

SACS requires a new QEP every 10 years. The last QEP, selected in 2008-09, was the Revitalized Spring Term. SACS requires that the QEP focus on improving undergraduate student learning outcomes, but provides broad latitude for the types of programs and concepts that institutions may pursue.

“The Spring Term project was immense, far outstripping most QEPs we’d seen other schools attempt,” said Conner. “We really threw ourselves into that project, and it’s been extremely successful. It’s one of our signature programs, and students and faculty both routinely describe their Spring Term courses as among their most memorable parts of their W&L experience.”

The ARC program began two years ago, under the leadership of Helen I’Anson, the John T. Perry Jr. Professor of Biology, and Megan Hobbs, associate dean of students, dean of sophomores, and director of the Leadership, Education, and Development (LEAD) program. ARC brings 12 incoming first-year students with a strong interest in the STEM areas to campus in the summer prior to their first year. For five weeks, the ARC students join existing faculty/student research teams doing research projects.

In addition to their summer research experiences, the students participate in a wide range of programs and activities designed to strengthen their leadership potential, give them a deeper understanding of the career pathways available to STEM majors, and help them emerge as future leaders on the W&L campus.

The ARC program is open to all incoming first-year students, and aims particularly to attract students of under-represented backgrounds to the program.

“ARC has been successful beyond our wildest dreams,” said Conner. “We’ve brought in two ARC cohorts now — fantastic students — and they’ve had a powerful summer experience that then carries over into their W&L experience as first-years and beyond. It involves the whole campus—academic affairs, student life, career development, admissions, alumni affairs, and more. Faculty, staff and students — including the upper-division students who work with the ARC students in the labs — all describe the program as a great success.”

The ARC proposal was submitted by Carrie Finch-Smith, associate professor of mathematics, and Katrina “Kiki” Speizio, a member of the class of 2018. It not only supports the current ARC program, but expands it beyond the STEM fields to other programs in the College and in the Williams School.

“I’m especially excited to think about the possibilities for the visual and performing arts, for journalism, for the Williams School fields, and more,” Conner continued. “More faculty will be able engage students in great summer projects, even before those students have begun their time at W&L. This could be the start of transformative and long-term working relationships for a number of students and professors.”

Hobbs and I’Anson will serve as co-directors of the ARC QEP project. Finch-Smith will join other faculty, students and staff on the ARC working group. Over the next several months, they will write the formal QEP proposal that will be submitted to SACS in January 2019. When the SACS self-study team visits campus for W&L’s formal accreditation review in March 2019, they will focus almost exclusively on the QEP proposal.

“The QEP proposal forms the major part of the on-campus visit. It’s intensely scrutinized,” said Conner. “Every detail has to be in place, and the overall justification and anticipated impact of the plan has to be clear. We have to explain how the QEP emerges from our overall strategic priorities, which the ARC program does beautifully, particularly in its emphasis on enhancing diversity and building an inclusive campus community. It’s been strongly emphasized in the strategic planning proposals coming from the College, the Williams School, Student Life, and Admissions. Because the time-frame for forming the QEP is so narrow, this is an especially strong choice for us.”

The QEP proposal process was a nearly yearlong enterprise. The QEP Selection Task Force, chaired by Elizabeth Knapp, professor of geology and director of the Johnson Program, was created in March 2017. It consisted of faculty, staff and students who solicited over 50 proposals from the entire campus community. After selecting the strongest and most promising proposals, they formed cohorts of similar proposals to further strengthen the finalists and met with both the president and the provost to share their views.

“The selection process was intense and very rigorous,” said Dudley. “Professor Knapp and her task force did an excellent job of helping various groups form strong proposals. We were especially gratified to see how well the finalists aligned with our institutional priorities — so much so that we will be able to include important elements from all of them in our strategic initiatives going forward. The ARC program has the twin virtues of being a proven and powerful concept, while also fitting well into the tight time-constraints of the SACS review process.”

“I’m so happy about this choice,” said Finch-Smith. “The ARC program has been a joy for me so far, and I especially love the way it allows students to develop both personal and geographical ownership of the W&L community.”

Grazjl to Give Talk in Honor of Ehrick Kilner Haight, Sr. Associate Term Professorship

Grajzl-Peter-234x350 Grazjl to Give Talk in Honor of Ehrick Kilner Haight, Sr. Associate Term ProfessorshipPeter Grajzl

Peter Grajzl, Ehrick Kilner Haight, Sr. Associate Term Professor of Economics, will give a talk titled “A Structural Topic Model of the Features and the Cultural Origins of Bacon’s Ideas” on Mon., Feb. 12 at 5:00 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.

The talk is in honor of the Ehrick Kilner Haight, Sr. Term Professorship and is free and open to the public.

Professor Grajzl teaches courses in introductory economics, microeconomic theory, mathematical economics, and comparative institutional economics.

Having witnessed the birth of a country, the accompanying change in the political system, the transition from socialist to market economy, and having been inspired by his Ph.D. dissertation adviser, Professor Grajzl chose a research path focused on comparative institutional economics, law and economics, and political economy. He has published on a range of topics pertaining to the emergence, the functioning, and the impact of different legal, political, and economic institutions and modes of governance, as well as cultural beliefs, in multiple parts of the world.

He is a Research Network Fellow at CESifo in Munich, Germany, and a non-resident visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the University of Maryland at College Park. He was awarded teaching awards from both the University of Maryland and the Central European University, where he was an assistant professor between 2005 and 2009.

Professor Grajzl holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Ljubljana and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland at College Park.

The Ehrick Kilner Haight, Sr. Term Professorship was established in 2008 by Richard Allen Haight ’84 and is a permanently endowed fund at Washington and Lee University. It provides support for a faculty member in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and recognizes a different professor every three years.

Reeves Center Acquires 16th-Century Italian Vase The vase, which was made in the city of Deruta, illustrates two main influences on European ceramic design.

vase2-800x533 Reeves Center Acquires 16th-Century Italian VaseThis 16th-century Italian vase, newly acquired by the Reeves Center at W&L, illustrates two main influences on European ceramic design.

From the Renaissance until today, there have been two main influences on European ceramic design: design inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, and design inspired by Asia. This vase, made in Italy between 1510 and 1540 and newly acquired for the Reeves Collection, shows both.

It combines medallions containing bust portraits of ancient Romans, a style known in 16th-century Italy as all’ antica, or “after the antique,” with a pattern of scrolling blue vines on a white ground, which was inspired by Chinese blue and white porcelain and was known at the time as alla porcellana, or “after porcelain.”

The vase is made of Italian maiolica, a brightly colored tin-glazed earthenware made in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. Inspired by tin-glazed earthenware vessels made in the Middle East and Islamic Spain, maiolica was named for the Mediterranean island of Majorca, through which Spanish tin-glazed earthenware was exported to Italy.

Italian maiolica was one of the earliest “prestige” ceramics to be made in Europe, prized not just for its functionality but also for its design, craftsmanship and ability to convey social status. Maiolica even came to rival silver and gold as the tableware of choice for the elite; in a thank-you letter, Lorenzo de Medici of Florence wrote that he valued a gift of maiolica “as if they are silver, because of their excellence and rarity.”

Maiolica was bought by wealthy and sophisticated consumers throughout Italy, ranging from merchants to princes and popes, and was exported as far afield as Germany and England. It was meant to be used, either for dining (the most common form found in maiolica are plates) or for display. Our vase would have originally had a cover, and was probably used to decorate a sideboard during a grand banquet.

While not nearly as famous as painting, sculpture or architecture, Italian maiolica is, according to the art historian Timothy Wilson, “at its most ambitious … a serious form of Italian Renaissance art.” As the leading scholar of the subject, he may be biased, but Italian maiolica reflects many of the main traits of the Italian Renaissance: the revival of interest in the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome, new global trade networks that moved objects and design motifs around the world, and a growing sophisticated, urban elite with the wealth and interest to commission luxury objects for both religious and secular use.

Our vase was made in the city of Deruta, near Perugia in Umbria. Deruta was famed for its maiolica, and had between 30 and 40 workshops active in the first half of the 16th century. The vase is attributed to one of Deruta’s leading potters, Nicola Francioli (who was also known as “Co” and was active from at least 1513 to 1565), based on similarities between it and a tiled pavement in the church of San Francesco in Deruta that he made in 1524.

WLC0723-800x533 Reeves Center Acquires 16th-Century Italian VaseThe bust portraits were probably inspired by ancient Roman coins and cameos.

Francioli would have drawn on a number of different sources for his designs. The bust portraits were probably inspired by ancient Roman coins and cameos, which were avidly collected by Renaissance connoisseurs. Such imagery would have been readily available, either through the coins or cameos themselves, printed images in books, or drawings or paintings by artists. Among these was the painter Pinturicchio, from the nearby city of Perugia, several of whose paintings were copied on maiolica, and whose portrait medallions on the ceiling of the Palazzo della Rovere in Rome resemble those on this vase.

The alla porcellana decoration was inspired by 15th-century Chinese blue and white porcelain. Chinese porcelain was fabulously rare in Europe at the time, owned only by the wealthiest and most well-connected people. It was prized for its white translucent body, its delicately painted decoration and its exotic origins, and potters strove to imitate its material and decoration. While it would take until 1708 for Europeans to figure out how to make the material itself, they quickly learned how to imitate its blue and white decoration; by the 1550s it was noted that alla porcellana was a “universal design” on maiolica.

As an example of one of the earliest types of fine ceramic to have been made in Europe, and as an example of the earliest influence of Chinese porcelain on European ceramics, this vase is a perfect addition to the Reeves Collection, which is especially rich in Chinese export porcelain and European ceramics that were inspired by Chinese porcelain. The vase was bought with money from the W. Groke Mickey Acquisitions Fund, and is now on display in the Reeves Center.

Estate Planning Expert Mary Mancini Joins W&L Law as Millhiser Professor of Practice

M.-Mancini-1.5-X-1.5-JPG-pic Estate Planning Expert Mary Mancini Joins W&L Law as Millhiser Professor of PracticeMary Ann Mancini

Mary Ann Mancini, a partner at Loeb & Loeb in Washington, DC and an expert in Trusts and Estates, has joined Washington and Lee School of Law as the Millhiser Professor of Practice for the 2018 spring semester.

Prof. Mancini is teaching one of the school’s practice simulation classes, which are a hallmark of W&L’s innovative experiential curriculum. The class, Tax Planning for the Closely Held Business Owner, brings together intensive study and practice in two complex areas of the law: estate planning and business planning. As part of the class, students will develop an overall business plan that addresses tax issues, business issues, personal and family issues, and business succession issues that often arise when planning for a client with a closely held business.

“The Millhiser Professorship provides our students an unmatched opportunity to learn from top practitioners in their fields,” said Brant Hellwig, dean of W&L Law. “Such experiences are critical for our students as they complete their journey from student to practicing lawyer, and we are grateful to the Millhiser family and Mary Mancini for making this possible.”

The Rochelle and Thomas McN. Millhiser 81L Professorship of Practice supports a distinguished professor of practice who teaches in the experiential curriculum, with a preference for someone who teaches in the area of Trusts and Estates. The Professorship was created through the generosity of Shelly and Tom Millhiser 81L of Delray Beach, Florida and the McGue Millhiser Family Trust.

At Loeb & Loeb, Prof. Mancini’s practice focuses on advising high net worth families and individuals who reside in the U.S. and internationally. Her clients include leaders of Fortune 100 companies and their families, as well as families whose wealth is more privately held and, in many cases, based on real estate ownership.

“As a practitioner, it is exciting to know that W&L is providing such hands-on experience to their law students,” said Mancini. “The emphasis on a practical application of the law is excellent preparation for the first year associate and will allow them provide valuable service for their clients sooner than most law school graduates.”

Prof. Mancini is a nationally recognized expert in techniques that utilize life insurance in estate and business plans, such as insurance trusts, split dollar and deferred compensation arrangements, and life settlements. Prof. Mancini represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trust and estate matters before the Internal Revenue Service and in administration and litigation matters, and works with many private trust companies, family offices, and national and international bank trust departments.

Related //

Strohsacker ’06 Leads Eagles PR Team into Super Bowl LII Brett Strohsacker ’06, who played soccer and majored in mass communications at W&L, has worked his way to the top of the Philadelphia Eagles PR team.

DSC_0448-800x533 Strohsacker '06 Leads Eagles PR Team into Super Bowl LIIBrett Strohsacker ’06 is pictured on the soccer field for W&L. He is now PR director for the Philadelphia Eagles as they head into Super Bowl LII.

Every year, the Super Bowl is among the most covered media events in all of sports. This year’s game in Minneapolis will draw nearly 4,000 individual media outlets to cover the National Football League’s Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Much of the work goes on behind the scenes, performed by an army of public relations professionals that coordinate interviews and provide information so that media outlets can keep fans informed. At the center of this week’s media activities, and behind the scenes, will be one of Washington and Lee’s own, Brett Strohsacker ’06. Strohsacker serves as the Eagles’ director of public relations.

A member of the varsity soccer team at W&L, Strohsacker was a two-year letter winner who graduated with a degree in mass communications. He is a native of Wynnewood, Pa., in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Strohsacker’s journey to the Super Bowl began when he accepted an internship with the Baltimore Ravens’ public relations staff shortly after graduating from W&L. He served in that role for one year before an opportunity arose with his hometown team.

Strohsacker was hired as a graduate assistant in the public relations office and was promoted to public relations coordinator after two years with the team. He was again promoted, to public relations manager, in 2013, then took over as the team’s director of public relations in May 2017.

The pressures on a professional football team’s PR staff are great throughout the year and are magnified as the playoffs begin, culminating in the Super Bowl, one of American sports’ greatest spectacles. Strohsacker was so busy leading up to the big game that he did not have time to talk, but fellow Washington and Lee alumnus Pete Abitante ’78 offered his take on the pressures facing Strohsacker as he prepares for Sunday’s big game. Abitante served in the NFL’s public relations department for many years before advancing to his current position of vice president and special assistant to the commissioner of the NFL.

“Making the playoffs and advancing all the way to the Super Bowl is what every member of an NFL team’s PR staff dreams about,” said Abitante. “With each playoff victory comes increasing expectations, interview requests during the week and, if you’re the home team, more media requesting credentials than you ever knew existed. It is unlikely that your press box can accommodate everyone, so you have to plan to use and service auxiliary areas in the stadium.

“As the team moves deeper into the playoffs, the PR director plays an even greater role as the buffer to the head coach,” Abitante added. “When your team becomes a national story – as the Eagles have this season – the number of media requesting time with the head coach – and assistant coaches and key players – grows exponentially. The PR director has to be sure to accommodate NFL network partners plus local and national media requirements. All coaches try to limit ‘distractions,’ and the best PR directors work in that manner as well.

“By the time the team arrives in the Super Bowl city, the PR director and staff are running on pure adrenaline,” Abitante continued. “The atmosphere is electric and something they likely have never seen before. Close to 4,000 domestic and international media will be in town by kickoff; a few thousand less for interview sessions during the week. These are organized by the league and help take some pressure off the team’s PR staff. But the requests and ‘problems’ never stop coming their way. An old saying that still holds true is that ‘a lot of problems disappear at kickoff.’ But I’ve never met a PR director who would trade the experience.”

For Strohsacker, that experience could also include being an integral part of the Eagles’ first-ever Super Bowl Championship.