Straughan Addresses Alumni Opening Assembly, ODK Holds Spring Initiation
Robert Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics at Washington and Lee University, gave the keynote talk at the university’s annual Alumni Reunion Weekend Opening Assembly on April 26, in Lee Chapel. He spoke on “The Urgency of Liberal Arts in the Professions.”
The event kicked off the weekend, which featured reunions for eight classes, including those celebrating their 50th reunion (Class of 1968) and 25th reunion (Class of 1993). It also included the spring induction by W&L’s Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, of seven new undergraduate members, and the recognition of four honorary initiates.
Straughn described the value of strong connections with the liberal arts for those working in professional fields in general, and in business in particular. “Common learning outcomes of critical and analytical thinking, persuasive communication, moral reasoning, personal empathy, cultural fluency, and creativity and innovation – in no particular order – ought to define the experience of any undergraduate student,” he said.
“The course topic or chosen major focal area, whether Latin American literature, classical civilizations, bio-robotics, art preservation and restoration or international marketing, simply provides a context in which to hone these common learning outcomes.”
The ODK inductions were held prior to Straughan’s keynote. The honorary initiates:
Dr. George J. Dover ‘68 is the distinguished service professor and former director of the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as the former pediatrician in chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has a long history of scientific research in the study and treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD), having published over 130 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in the fields of pediatric hematology and genetics. His laboratory was responsible for many of the initial observations of the biology and genetic control of fetal hemoglobin and was part of the team of physicians at Johns Hopkins responsible for developing the FDA-approved therapy with hydroxyurea for SCD.
A 1968 graduate of Washington and Lee University, Dover received his medical degree in 1972 from Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans. He trained in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, joined the Hopkins faculty in 1977 and was promoted to professor in 1992. In recent years, he led faculty and staff in the development and design of the David Rubenstein Pediatric Outpatient Center and the new pediatric hospital, the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center (opened in 2012). He has served as chairman of the medical board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital (2008-2011) and is a recipient of many awards, including Outstanding Clinical Teaching at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the MERIT Research Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Reginald A. Early is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia. He graduated from Norfolk State University in Norfolk with a B.A. degree in journalism and a M.A. degree in communications. He received the M.Div from Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. Rev. Early is a founding member of Mobile Hope, an agency serving the homeless youth population of Loudoun County, Virginia. He also was on the executive board of Mobile Hope. He served as a volunteer for Volunteers of America, where he read to children of the Leesburg Homeless Shelter. He has also been president of the Loudoun County NAACP.
Early is president of the revitalized chapter of the Rockbridge County NAACP. He is a founding member, vice president and spokesperson for CARE (Community Against Racism Education). Currently, he is a member of the Racial Justice Group of 50 Ways Rockbridge and is on the board of directors for Project Horizon. He serves on the board of directors for the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project. Having retired from full-time ministry with the United Methodist Church, he now serves as a part-time pastor on the Shenandoah Charge of the UMC.
Steven Grist ’86L became the president of CornerStone Bank in 2014, succeeding his brother, T. David Grist. Grist has served on the board of directors of CornerStone Bank since its inception in 2009. Before his role as president, he served as vice chairman of the board, chair of the Asset/Liability Committee, and as a member of the executive committee. Previously, he had a private law practice in Lexington that concentrated in trusts and estates, commercial and corporate law, and real estate. He served as commissioner of accounts for the Circuit Court of Lexington and Rockbridge County.
A lifelong resident of Lexington, Grist graduated from Lexington High School, then earned a B.A. with a double major in economics and English from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law. He is a past president of the Rockbridge-Buena Vista Bar Association and past chair of the Virginia Conference of Commissioners of Accounts. Over the years, he has served in numerous local leadership roles, including director of the Lexington Rotary Club, president of the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic (now the Rockbridge Area Health Center), president of the United Way of Lexington/Rockbridge County, president of the Lexington/Rockbridge County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Lexington/Rockbridge Jaycees, and president of the American Heart Association’s Rockbridge Unit. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, and he received the prestigious North Star Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He presently serves as a director of The Community Table and the Lexington Golf and Country Club, and as secretary of The Fortnightly Club.
Robyn McCord O’Brien ’93 is founder and executive director of the AllergyKids Foundation. She is a bestselling author, public speaker, strategist and mother of four. Her focus is on restoring the health of American families in order to address the burden that disease is placing on our economy. She brings insight and detailed analysis to her research on the health of the American food system as documented in her first book, “The Unhealthy Truth,” and has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by Bloomberg and the New York Times. She earned an M.B.A. on a full scholarship from Rice University, graduating as the top woman in her class before going to work as a financial analyst covering the food industry. She graduated summa cum laude from Washington and Lee, where she was also Phi Beta Kappa.
O’Brien’s work has been covered by CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” FOX News, the Washington Post and numerous other media outlets. She has been named by SHAPE Magazine as a “Woman to Shape the World,” by Forbes Woman as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter,” and by The Discovery Channel as one of its 15 Top “Visionaries.” Her TEDx talks have been well received, and she recently spoke at Tony Robbins’ financial conference, addressing “The New Food Economy.” She has served on the board of directors of Healthy Child Healthy World and the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C. She also serves on advisory boards for startups and has been hired to speak at Target, Compass Food Group and Bloomberg, and to both organic and multinational food companies. She continues to shine a light on the health of our country and statistics that relate to families, farmers and our food economy.
Seven juniors were tapped into membership in ODK: Thomas John Agostini, a neuroscience major with a minor in poverty and human capabilities studies from Elgin, South Carolina; Teresa Aires De Sousa Da Silveira Rodrigues, a business administration and sociology double major from Lisbon, Portugal; Ryder Tobin Babik, an engineering major and mathematics minor from Natick, Massachusetts; Rossella Ivana Gabriele, a double major in physics and global politics from St. Louis, Missouri; Allie DiPietro, a business administration major minoring in Latin American and Caribbean studies from Baltimore, Maryland; Martha Davis Straske, a psychology major and dance minor from Tampa, Florida; and Sutton Paige Travis, a journalism and English double major with a minor in creative writing from Carthage, Texas.
ODK presented the Rupert Latture Award, which recognizes a sophomore who has demonstrated outstanding leadership potential, to Hannah Denham, a journalism major and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies minor from Spanish Fort, Alabama. It gave the James G. Leyburn Award for Community Service to the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC), a local organization whose mission is to promote the wise stewardship and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources through education, advocacy and action in order to protect and enhance the quality of life for present and future inhabitants of Rockbridge.
Earlier Thursday, ODK unveiled an official historical marker at its national headquarters in Lexington. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources recognized ODK as a significant part of the commonwealth’s history.
“Omicron Delta Kappa is thankful for the support of the City of Lexington and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in facilitating the installation of our historical marker, commemorating our organization’s 104-year relationship with Washington and Lee University,” said Tara Singer, ODK’s executive director. “We are also grateful for the financial contribution from John Morgan, executive director emeritus, who made the acquisition of the marker possible.”
Speakers at the event included W&L President Will Dudley and W&L senior and ODK Alpha Circle President Angel Vela de la Garza Evia.
Authenticity in Leadership A conversation with W&L trustee Brodie Riordan '03 about leadership, and the importance of diversity on the board and in the student body.
Q: Brodie, you joined the Board of Trustees in February and are one of only a few female members. What does it mean to you to be a woman in a leadership role at W&L?
A: I gave this one a lot of thought, asking myself, “How often have I thought about my gender in these roles?” I was 26 when I joined the Alumni Board, and, at the time, I had the attitude that I needed to adapt my style to fit in with everyone else. We have decades more male alumni we can draw from, so the boards are disproportionately male at this point, but that is changing every year as our alumnae base continues to grow. At first, I tried to think like a man and act like a man. Trying to fit this mold was a short-sighted strategy. To be an effective leader, you need to bring your full, authentic self to the table.
I am delighted that the number of women on the board is increasing. It is an incredible group of women, and I have already learned a lot from them. The increasing diversity of the whole board is exciting. Not just women, but younger alumni and individuals with more diverse backgrounds and experiences. The more we have diverse perspectives, the better we are overall.
Q: What are your goals as a board member? Which committees will you be working with, and what excites you most about the work ahead?
A: W&L is an incredible place, and I think there are little things we can do to make it even better. W&L is positioned to be THE leading institution for developing young adults with integrity, leadership capability, an attitude of service and an entrepreneurial spirit. We need to unleash that potential. I keep hearing this desire to increase diversity on campus, across all categories. I don’t think we will ever achieve our full potential until we can fully embrace a diverse community. I am looking forward to helping W&L become not only a more well-rounded institution but also more inclusive. I would love to get to a point where no student at W&L feels as if he or she doesn’t belong or is not included.
One of the committees I am serving on is capital projects. As a psychologist, I have become more and more interested in how physical space impacts human behavior. The spaces that we create at W&L have an impact on who students spend time with, how they interact and generally how they experience their lives at W&L.
Q: You have studied leadership extensively. Can you share with me your views on the role of women as leaders?
A: There are traditionally more male and more female styles of leadership. But I think what is more important is authenticity in leadership — when you bring your values to the table. It is important to have leaders whom all members of the community can relate to, see themselves in and look to as role models. In women’s leadership in general, I get the sense that in the past, women did not always support other women, but I feel like that has changed, and that the attitude now is if one of us succeeds, all of us succeed.
Q: Tell me about your experience as a founding member of the varsity field hockey team? How did the initiative start and what did the process (and the sport) teach you?
A: As a freshman, I joined the club team at W&L and was fortunate to be part of the transition to a varsity team. I don’t think that transition from club to varsity would have been as successful without a great woman, leader Martha Cornbrooks ’01, who was our team captain and spearheaded the effort. She energized us all and created a fantastic team environment.
Q: Who have been your mentors?
A: This question made me laugh. If I were to name them all to you, it would take up the entire article. I have had so many mentors, at W&L, in graduate school and in every job I have ever had. Anytime I meet someone whom I admire and can learn from, I latch onto them. I also will ask someone to be my mentor with a clear, intentional request, and no one has ever said no. I would advise others to do this. Don’t be shy! People are honored and flattered to be asked. I never see a mentor relationship ending, and every single one of them has served a different purpose in my life and career.
When I joined the Alumni Board, Valerie Gammage ’89 and Liz Brown ’95 were both on the board in leadership roles. They were such incredible role models and helped me navigate my role on the board. I will never forget when Valerie called me in my second year, and asked me to be vice president the next year. That moment was burned into my brain because it meant so much to me — I couldn’t believe I had this incredible opportunity in a group that I so deeply respected. One of the reasons that was so powerful to me is that women, myself included, often suffer from imposter syndrome, meaning they do not credit themselves for achievements and worry they do not have the necessary skills to serve in leadership roles. I have had incredible support from Beau Dudley ’74, ’79L and Tom Lovell ’91 over the years, as well. These mentors and role models have really helped me figure out who I am and what I have to offer.
Q: You have served W&L in many leadership capacities, from president of the W&L Alumni Board and the Cleveland Alumni Chapter to chair of the Science Advisory Board. What do you consider as the most important qualities of a strong leader, and what would you say to encourage more women to pursue leadership roles?
A: For me it has been an evolution. I used to mistake leadership for doing everything myself, which is the exact opposite of leadership. I learned that the hard way. Being a really effective leader means understanding the people you are working with and what they are passionate about. I think one of the best things you can do as an effective leader is empower people to accomplish things that are important to them. A clear vision is also essential. As far as encouraging women to pursue leadership roles, this gets back to my point on authenticity — knowing what is important to you, what you value and what changes you want to make. For women especially, it can be daunting to hear, “Pursue a leadership role.” You don’t necessarily need to start with leadership. Start with what you care about and go from there. And then if you end up in a leadership role, embrace it!
I never could have imagined the impact my involvement at W&L would have on my life. I had just moved to Akron, Ohio, for my graduate degree. I was interested in the alumni chapter to get to know people in the area. The chapter was somewhat inactive, and when I reached out to the current president, he basically asked me if I wanted to be the new president. My dad had led the alumni association chapter in Maryland, where he lives. Tom and Beau really wanted the Cleveland chapter to succeed and were so helpful. A few years later, I was asked to serve on the Alumni Board. None of it was planned. It just happened.
My roles at W&L have absolutely benefited me in my professional life. I have developed from those volunteer leadership opportunities so much more than in any formal leadership training (and that says a lot, given that my day job is in leadership development). I would encourage women to get involved and see the W&L Alumni Association as a field of opportunity to make connections, take on new roles and develop yourself, while also giving back to our wonderful institution and community.
Q: You have supported W&L generously over the years, both through your service and your philanthropy. Can you share your reasons for choosing to remain deeply engaged with W&L? What is most meaningful to you regarding the positive impact you are making?
A: My initial love for and involvement in W&L started from a very young age. W&L has been very formative in my life. If it weren’t for W&L, I wouldn’t exist. My parents met there. My academic experiences there prepared me so well for graduate school — the small class sizes, the independent research opportunities, the support and encouragement of the psychology faculty. I even met my Ph.D advisor, a member of the Class of 1984, at W&L when he came to campus to deliver a lecture. I attended his guest lecture on industrial/organizational psychology, and that’s when I knew that was the field I wanted to pursue in my graduate studies.
I feel a great responsibility to continue to serve the university, and I want to make sure every student has an even better experience at W&L than I did. The more W&L succeeds, the more we all succeed. It truly raises the value of our degree. I appreciate the role W&L has played in my life, and I just want to help that continue for others to an even greater extent.
Q: What would you like to emphasize to fellow W&L alumni and friends when it comes to giving back to the university?
A: In my roles on the Alumni Board and as a class agent I have learned so much more about how the endowment works and the importance of Annual Fund to the university’s operations. Now that I have a better sense of how my gift impacts aspects of the university and specific students, I am more passionate about it than ever. When I know there’s a student who might not be able to afford the same experience I had, I want to help enable that student to enjoy all of the wonderful opportunities at W&L. I would encourage people to give at the level at which they are able. Not everyone is able to give at a leadership level, and that’s okay. Gifts of all levels are so important — they add up to a really significant impact.
The Defender: Dan Goldman ‘11L to Lead Northern Virginia Capital Defense Office
It’s no secret that law students read a lot. Whether or not they retain every single page is a different story. Ask any attorney, however, and they’ll tell you that during their three years of legal training, there were certain gems of judicial brilliance they stumbled across that have stuck with them—providing a reminder of why they wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.
For Daniel Goldman ‘11L, the first W&L Law alumnus to head one of Virginia’s four regional capital defender offices, that inspiration comes from Justice Hugo Black’s opinion in Gideon v. Wainwright: “[I]n our adversary system of criminal justice, any person hauled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth…”
Goldman began law school with aspirations of pursuing a career in indigent criminal defense. In fact, it was one of the main reasons he decided to attend W&L. “I chose W&L Law primarily for the fantastic criminal defense faculty and for the warm and friendly welcome my wife and I received from admissions staff and faculty when we visited.” Goldman certainly took full advantage of W&L’s unique combination of some of the nation’s leading scholars in the criminal defense and opportunities to put the skills garnered in the classroom into actual practice.
During his 3L year, Goldman was named the recipient of the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award for his commitment to pro bono and public service projects while in law school. The award, named for a Virginia litigator who was instrumental in dismantling racial segregation laws, recognizes a law student’s commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and other public service. It is bestowed by the VSB Committee on Access to Legal Services. Goldman amassed over 100 hours of volunteer service during each of his three years at W&L, including: helping to revive the Southwest Virginia Innocence Project, teaching in Roanoke’s Street Law Program, co-founding the W&L chapters of the National Lawyers Guild and the Middle East and North Africa Law Society, and serving as a student attorney in W&Ls Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse. He also worked for a summer in a clerkship with the Public Defender Service supporting attorneys in felony trials.
All of his hard work has paid dividends in his legal career. Goldman now serves as the lead Capital Defender for the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office, which represents poor persons charged with capital murder and facing the death penalty throughout Northern Virginia in the state courts. The office delivers capital defense services through a staff of dedicated attorneys, mitigation specialists and investigators, and office manager, as well as contracting with outside fact investigators, mental health professionals, and other experts.
The office emphasizes team-based defense and a holistic approach to questions of culpability and mitigation. While Daniel admits that the work can at times be “emotionally draining and often sad,” he finds his role particularly rewarding due to the countless opportunities he has to “build relationships of trust and friendship with my clients and help them find hope in what at first appears to be a completely hopeless situation.”
For those thinking about pursuing a career in criminal defense, Goldman has some invaluable words of advice garnered from years of experience at the highest level of practice in the field: “Take all the criminal law courses and clinics you can. Get to know those professors. Intern and volunteer for public/capital defender offices. Read all you can about the criminal justice system and relevant social science research. Reach out to practitioners to get their experience. Find out which jurisdictions most need help and go there.”
Great advice indeed—but perhaps even a more important prerequisite for success for any lawyer is a passion for justice and faith in the rule of law—something Goldman obviously has in abundance.
Mission to Monterrey Daniel Rhoades '19 joined a group that traveled to Monterrey, Mexico over Washington Break to continue a STEM program for elementary school students.
“…talking about a country and its language in a classroom doesn’t compare to walking the streets of that country and hearing its language being spoken. It is incredibly special to get a glimpse of what life really looks like elsewhere in the globe and to cross a border which, especially in today’s political climate, is too often strengthened.”
~ Daniel Rhoades ’19
Hometown: Gainesville, VA
During summer 2017, Angel Vela de la Garza Evia ’18 used a Davis Projects for Peace grant to implement a program for public school students in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. Dubbed “STEMito,” the project included experiments and activities to introduce the children to science, technology, engineering and math. It also included some school improvement projects.
During Washington Break this year, Vela de la Garza Evia returned to Monterrey with W&L associate professor Jon Erickson and several classmates to continue the STEMito program. We asked Daniel Rhoades ’19 to describe the week’s activities and their impact on him.
How did you end up going to Monterrey?
I was in a class (PHYS 295: Applications of Physics to Social Science) with Matthew Lubas, one of the trip coordinators, in fall 2017. I heard about STEMito both from him and via e-mail. It piqued my interest because I was excited to have the opportunity to support childrens’ STEM education while practicing my Spanish language skills. I was originally not slated to attend, but the week before the trip, someone decided not to go. I was on the wait list and was offered the open slot. The rest of the group was made up of physics professor Jon Erickson, Angel Vela de la Garza Evia ’18, Matthew Lubas ’18, Ryder Babik ’19, Abigail Hinrichs ’20, Anna Soroka ’20, Anne Rodgers ’20 and Katarina Martin ’20.
What was the purpose of this latest trip down there?
The purpose was to help support Angel in continuing the STEMito project. Last summer he was awarded the Davis Projects for Peace Grant to develop STEMito, a STEM-related project for primary school students in Monterrey. In his words, “The goal of STEMito is to expose students at the primary level to a wide variety of STEM topics in a way that they have never experienced them before.” The trip involved getting to know students outside the classroom, helping with a few construction projects around the school (e.g. rebuilding and painting their garden fence and painting the front of the stage used for student performances), and preparing for, as well as conducting, STEM-related experiments with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students in the afternoon.
What specific activities were you involved in?
I was involved in each of the activities listed above (except for painting the stage). Getting to know the students involved sitting with them during lunch and their breaks between classes, asking them questions about their lives, answering their questions about mine, and playing a lot of soccer and basketball.
Regarding construction around the school, I worked mostly with repairing and repainting the school’s garden. Both the construction and experiment preparation also involved shopping for supplies around town. I worked with Professor Erickson, Anne and Ryder to conduct experiments with the 5th grade class in the afternoon. Our experiments included:
Anaerobic respiration (Experimento de la Levadura) — combining yeast and sugar in warm water in a plastic bottle and covering the top with a balloon to collect the resulting carbon dioxide
Human anatomy (Mano Articulada_ — tracing hands on foam paper, cutting up straws to act as bones, and feeding string through the straw sections attached to the foam hand in such a way that when the strings (tendons) are pulled, the foam fingers bend similarly to our own hands
The impact of soap on grease/fat (Leche Bailante) — filling a plate with whole milk, placing some drops of food coloring in the center, and dropping some soap in the middle of the food coloring. The food coloring spreads out, and you can observe the milk fleeing from the soap due to the lipids (fats) in the milk.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
My favorite aspect, hands down, was getting to know the students. Hearing their thoughts, interests and aspirations, and answering any questions they had about my life, was a beautiful example of two people from very different backgrounds getting to know each other, learning about each other’s cultures, and discovering that beneath it all, we have a lot in common.
How did the trip enrich your educational experience at W&L so far?
Washington and Lee talks about the value of global citizenship and learning about different cultures, but talking about a country and its language in a classroom doesn’t compare to walking the streets of that country and hearing its language being spoken. It is incredibly special to get a glimpse of what life really looks like elsewhere in the globe and to cross a border which, especially in today’s political climate, is too often strengthened. Rather than alienating those I don’t know, I was again encouraged to connect with people who come from different backgrounds while remembering to respect their individual identity.
Journalism Students Win SPJ Awards In addition, stories by two students were chosen as finalists in the SPJ Mark of Excellence national competition.
In addition to winning regional SPJ awards, stories by Hannah Denham ’20 and Kinsey Grant ’17 were named as finalists in the SPJ’s Mark of Excellence national competition.
Denham’s piece, “The undocumented general,” was a finalist in the In-Depth Reporting, Small School Division, Newspapers category. Grant’s work, “Winding Way house fire,” was a finalist in Television Breaking News Reporting.
There are only three finalists in each category, including the winner, and Grant’s and Denham’s work was up against student journalists all over the country.
Four Washington and Lee journalism students won five Mark of Excellence Awards in Region 2 of the Society of Professional Journalists.
At a ceremony, April 14 in Richmond, Faith Pinho ’18, Ellen Kanzinger ’18, Hannah Denham ’20 and Kinsey Grant ’17 were recognized for stories they reported and wrote and photographs they took during 2017.
Their work was produced for the Ring-tum Phi, The Rockbridge Report, and for professional news organizations where they were summer interns. The winning entries now advance to SPJ’s national Mark of Excellence competition, which honors the best in student journalism throughout the country.
Pinho received two awards for stories aired on WMRA public radio. A story about local musician Jonathan Chapman Cook won in the radio feature category. Her coverage of the name change by R.E. Lee Episcopal Church won for radio news reporting. A third piece, published on The Rockbridge Report, was a finalist.
Kanzinger was honored for feature photography for work produced at her summer internship at The GroundTruth Project, a non-profit online news organization. The piece examined the debate over a marine national monument off the coast of Massachusetts. She was a finalist in the same category for photos that accompanied a story about I-81 produced in a journalism course, “Multimedia Storytelling Design.”
A story written by Denham about Washington and Lee students affected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) won in the In-Depth News category. The article was published in The Ring-tum Phi.
Kinsey Grant, who graduated last May and now works for the business news website TheStreet.com, won in the Television Breaking News category for coverage of a house fire on Winding Way, which aired on The Rockbridge Report.
The Rockbridge Report, a live broadcast and news website overseen by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, was a finalist in the “Best Independent Online Student Publication” category.
Region 2 comprises Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia. It is one of 12 SPJ regions.
Career Paths: Fiorella Herrera ’18L
Fiorella Herrera ‘18L, was born in Lima, Peru. Her family immigrated to Boca Raton, Florida, when she was nine years old. She graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts with degrees in Political Science and French. After graduation, she worked at the City Bar Justice Center in New York City assisting seniors, the homeless population, and cancer patients and survivors. While at W&L, she represented immigrants through the Immigrant Rights Clinic, externed at the Immigration Legal Services within Catholic Charities of Baltimore through the DC Program, was a board member of the Public Interest Law Students Association (PILSA), and participated in the NYU Law Immigration moot court competition.
Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?
I will be clerking for the York, Pennsylvania Immigration Court as part of the Department of Justice Honors Program. In Immigration Courts, law clerks are not usually assigned to one judge. Typically the law clerks within one court rotate through judges and are assigned to cases depending on their deadlines. Duties of law clerks may vary by judge, but generally include research and writing on legal issues pending before the judge, drafting legal opinions, and acting as a liason between the judge and attorneys.
Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?
I wanted to clerk within an Immigration Court to immerse myself in immigration law, observe the inner workings of an Immigration Court, understand a judge’s decision making process, and hone my research and writing skills.
How did you secure this clerkship?
I discovered this position after I interned with the Immigration Court in Baltimore during my 2L summer. I worked alongside the Baltimore clerks and learned more about their experiences and their job application process.
The Department of Justice Honors Program has a centralized application for various components within the government. This application is quite extensive and is usually due in early September, so it is very important to start early. After I submitted my application, I interviewed with an attorney within the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. I received a job offer the first week of December.
Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?
I think my legal writing courses were essential. I secured my internships by using writing samples I produced in those classes. Also, administrative law was very helpful to understand the immigration system. Constitutional law was also very important. I did not take immigration law, but I would recommend it to whoever is interested in the area.
If you are interested in immigration, the Immigrant Rights Clinic is amazing. I learned a lot during my year at the clinic. Further, the moot competitions LALSA participates in usually deal with immigration and are amazing researching, writing, and oral advocacy opportunities. Through LALSA, I competed in the NYU Law Immigration Competition.
What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?
I am looking forward to challenging myself in my research and writing. Also, I am very excited about my placement in the York Immigration Court because the docket there deals heavily with criminal law and how it intersects with immigration law– also known as “crimmigration.” The York Court is housed in the same building as a detention facility, so I am looking forward to exploring issues specific to detainees.
Radulescu to Present Inaugural Lecture The title of Radulescu’s talk is: “Dream in a Suitcase: How Literature Saves/Changes Lives.”
Domnica Radulescu, the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Comparative Literature, will present an inaugural public lecture to celebrate her endowed professorship on May 3 at 5:30 p.m. in Washington and Lee University’s Stackhouse Theater.
The title of Radulescu’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is: “Dream in a Suitcase: How Literature Saves/Changes Lives.” A book signing will follow the lecture.
Radulescu, who has written extensively on East European theater and narrative, said, “I’m very happy to have this new professorship. I travel in so many directions artistically and intellectually, that this provides a grounding from which I can continue to grow. It will also fill a niche in the university curriculum. It is time for the area of comparative literature to be refreshed and taught with a more modern edge. It’s a synergistic field that I hope will encourage faculty from other disciplines to also offer courses that connect literature with philosophy, psychology, religion, classics and social sciences.”
In addition to reading from her works, Radulescu has invited several students to perform dramatic readings from her most recent plays. “It’s important for students to see that their professors create knowledge, art and scholarship and that they don’t just teach what others have produced. Everything I do, I bring back to the classroom.”
Radulescu is the author, editor or co-editor of 10 scholarly books and three novels, as well as book chapters, articles and plays. She joined W&L in 1992, and as well as teaching courses in French language and literature and in Italian Renaissance literature, Radulescu was the co-founding chair of W&L’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and is the founding organizer and director of the National Symposium of Theater in Academe. She is the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award and has received two Fulbrights to work and do research in Romania.
Shely Awarded Fulbright Grant to Colombia Jared Shely '18 will use the grant to continue his work teaching English to students in Latin America.
Washington and Lee University senior Jared Shely has been awarded a Fulbright grant for an English teaching assistantship in Colombia.
In 2012, as a high school student, Shely spent time in Honduras, and it was that experience that inspired him to apply for the Fulbright grant and continue his work teaching English to students in Latin America.
“The Fulbright ETA award to Colombia will allow me to work alongside students, as I learn about Colombia and its culture while teaching them about my own,” said Shely. “By incorporating U.S. music and television in lessons, I hope to improve listening skills and expose students to U.S. culture.”
With a double major in Spanish and history, and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies, Shely has devoted his time at W&L to immersing himself in the Latin-American culture. In addition, Shely has also taught English as a second language to fifth graders.
“Jared has a demonstrated commitment to learning about Latin-American cultures and societies, and is very well poised to contribute meaningfully to cultural exchange during his time as a Fulbrighter in Colombia,” said Jonathan Eastwood, Laurent Boetsch Term Professor of Sociology and Fulbright Program adviser.
“Spanish language skills allowed me to travel abroad, engage in historical research using primary resources, teach English, and build relationships with lifelong friends in communities outside my own,” said Shely. “I recognize the value of speaking another language, and I want to assist Colombian students in English language acquisition so that they can share in those experiences.”
While abroad, Shely also plans to volunteer as a tutor and mentor to secondary school students as they prepare for their next steps in life.
“I want to assist [in any way I can] as those students prepare for the new opportunities that exist in a unified Colombia,” said Shely.
As his time at W&L nears completion, Shely said he is left with two passions: education and Spanish.
“I relish the opportunity to help students in Colombia gain access to the English language and all the opportunities it can offer,” said Shely. “I do not simply want to teach skills or facts. Through cross-cultural learning, I want to cultivate mutual understanding and linguistic skills that can open doors to new people, ideas and places.”
Starting a Lending Library Edwin Castellanos '20 created a system that allows students to save money by borrowing donated textbooks.
“FLIP has been a constant reminder of the outcome and positive effect that taking initiative on the issues that matter most to every student can have on others.”
~ Edwin Castellanos ’20
Hometown: Aurora, Illinois
Majors: Accounting and Spanish
Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Shortly after our Volunteer Venture trip to Baltimore, Kiki Spiezio ’18 and I walked through every aisle in the University Store. She instructed me to check the school’s prices and those online simultaneously. I noticed how much the prices varied from book to book, and was surprised by how much cheaper some books could be online compared to the store. Kiki emphasized that although some of my scholarship money is allotted for books, I could save money by purchasing them online or renting them from Amazon.
Days later, I spoke with other Quest Scholars and was taken back to hear how much money they had paid for their books. Many did not realize that they could save money by purchasing their books online or renting them for the semester. The scholarship money they had spent on books could have been used for a flight home for school break or for their necessities while on campus.
I was on social media later that semester when I came across the efforts of several students at universities with lending libraries. Kiki and I had conversations about what we could do on the W&L campus to help students, and she encouraged me to take the initiative on the issue. I learned more about how other schools handle the process and began to contact different people to see if they would be willing to donate books. First, I asked friends, and they sent messages on their GroupMes, posted on social media accounts, and sent emails to the head RA and CA for their halls.
I figured I would only receive a few book donations, so I began storing them in my dorm room in Graham-Lees. To my surprise, by the end of my first year, I had many books stored in bins in my room. My parents were surprised to see my room filed with books and didn’t know what to do with them when they came to pick me up.
Over the summer, I worked on an Excel spreadsheet that could be accessed by everyone identifying as a first-generation or low-income student. Kiki then contacted me and asked if I would be interested in joining a new campus group called the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) with her and Taylor Reese ’19. I agreed and made the lending library a part of FLIP.
Once I moved back for sophomore year, the books were stored in a bookshelf that my room had in La Casa Hispanica. I shared the spreadsheet with students we knew identified as first-generation or low-income, and I had some students come to the house or meet up with me to get the books they needed.
The lending library has now been expanded, organized and moved outside of my bedroom to FLIP’s designated space on the third floor of Elrod Commons. Currently, the lending library has more than 150 books and is being used by first-year students and seniors alike.
FLIP has been a constant reminder of the outcome and positive effect that taking initiative on the issues that matter most to every student can have on others. One might not always find what they’re looking for, but it doesn’t mean they can’t create the resources, environment and space they would desire to have for themselves and others.
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 Edwin
I am president of the Latino Student Organization (LSO), co-founder of the First-Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP), communication and events chair for the QuestBridge Scholar Chapter, interpretations chair for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and am involved in club tennis and Rotaract. I am also a Volunteer Venture Pre-Orientation trip leader.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
Professor David Baluarte at the law school and Professor Seth Michelson have been the most inspirational to me during my time at W&L. Working with Proffessor Baluarte at the Immigrant Rights Clinic has allowed me to see how passionate he remains for his work with the local immigrant community and beyond. Professor Michelson’s work in a detention facility and publication of “Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum-Security Detention” captures his desire to provide a voice for those who often go unheard. They’re both examples of the impact one can have when pursuing what you’re most passionate about.
What’s your personal motto?
“Se agradecido por lo que se te ha dado, y da de regreso,” which translates to “Be thankful for what you have been given and give in return.” That’s what my mom has always taught me. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for everyone’s help in many aspect of my life.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai is the place to go when in Lexington. You can’t go wrong with chicken pad Thai.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
I recently read “Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era” by Jorge Ramos, and I recommend it to everyone. I felt understood and represented in a book, which I don’t seem to find often. It’s relevant and helpful to understand the many difficulties and challenges that exist today for Latinx immigrants.
My favorite class is the capstone course for my Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor. It’s usually a class that’s offered for juniors and seniors, but I was able to take it as a sophomore thanks to Professor Michelson. I was able to work on research for detention facilities and its effects on immigrants in the United States.
Why did you choose W&L?
I came from a high school with more than 3,500 students and wanted to attend a smaller university that allowed me to form close relationships with my professors and classmates. I was able to visit campus through a fly-in opportunity and experience this with my host student and beyond. As a Quest Scholar at W&L, I am able to attend and be a part of the close-knit community without putting a financial burden on my family or myself.
Career Paths: Sara Lamneck ’18L
Sara Lamneck ‘18L, is from Swoope, Virginia. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University. While at W&L, she was a Law Ambassador and participated in internal and external moot court competitions. After graduation, Sara will enter the Army JAG Corps.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG? Have you had any externships or experiences at law school that pointed you in that direction?
At the beginning of my law school career, I thought I might be interested in joining the JAG Corps. My father served in the Air Force, and I have other family members who have also served, so I was familiar with the military. Even though the Army did not have a formal 1L internship program, I wanted to extern with them to confirm that it was the path I wanted to pursue after graduation.
Between participating in PT, conducting legal research, and assisting trial counsel, I really enjoyed my 1L summer at Fort Campbell. Professor MacDonnell has also been influential and extremely helpful in this process. He spoke to the Judge Advocate Recruiting Office and officers at Fort Campbell on my behalf and has always been willing to answer any questions I have had throughout this process.
Describe the application and interview process for JAG. What was most interesting or surprising about that experience?
The application and interview process was more thorough than expected. The application took a significant amount of time to complete. Multiple people also told me that the interview with the Field Screening Officer was the most important part of the application so I needed to take it seriously. I was most surprised that the interview was not as formal and rigid as I was expecting. The FSO was very cordial and asked a lot of questions, but he also wanted to make sure all of my questions and concerns were addressed too.
Do you know where you will be placed and what sort of work you will be doing? If not, what do you hope for?
I will not find out where I will be placed until later on in the process. I hope to be placed at a bigger installation so that I have the opportunity to see and interact with a wider variety of issues. Generally, most JAG officers get the opportunity to work in legal assistance, admin law, operational law, and military justice. During my externship, I really enjoyed working in legal assistance and military justice.
In what ways has your experience at W&L Law prepared you for JAG?
W&L has a great legal research program that has helped me prepare for my legal career. Having the opportunity to work collaboratively with my peers and also participating in moot court activities has helped me become more comfortable and confident in speaking in front of others, which will be invaluable as a JAG officer.
W&L Presents Andrei Codrescu on “The Future is a Vampire”
Washington and Lee University presents poet, novelist, essayist and public speaker Andrei Codrescu on May 8, at 6 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.
The title of his talk is “The Future is a Vampire,” and it is free and open to the public.
Codrescu is the author of “The Blood Countess,” a gothic novel about a bloodthirsty Hungarian aristocrat who lived at the end of the Middle Ages. He is also the author of “The Disappearance of the Outside: A Manifesto for Escape,” an essay about the choices we face in the post-human age.
Codrescu has written 40 books of poetry, fiction and essays, and is the founder of “Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Life & Letters.” He has reported for NPR for more than 20 years and received a Peabody Award for the documentary “Road Scholar,” which aired on PBS. He was the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge until his retirement in 2009.
His talk is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment Committee and the Provost Lecture Fund.
Poet Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon ’96 to Give Public Reading
Prize-winning poet, Cornell professor and W&L alumna Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon ’96 will read from her most recent work and other poetry selections at 4:30 p.m. on May 9 in Northen Auditorium. Books will be for sale. This reading is sponsored by the Glasgow Endowment and is free and open to the public.
Van Clief-Stefanon is an associate professor of English at Cornell University, where she teaches creative writing/poetry, African-American literature and Southern literature, among other topics.
She is the author of “Open Interval,” a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and “Black Swan,” winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as “Poems in Conversation and a Conversation,” a chapbook in collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander.
Her work has appeared in such journals as African American Review, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast and Shenandoah, and in the anthologies “Bum Rush the Page,” “Role Call,” “Common Wealth,” “Gathering Ground” and “The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South.” She is at work on a third collection, “The Coal Tar Colors.”
Van Clief-Stefanon was one of 10 celebrated poets commissioned to write poems inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series” in conjunction with the 2015 exhibit “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works” for the Museum of Modern Art.
Falchuk ’18 Awarded Fulbright to Teach in Slovak Republic
Washington and Lee University senior Hannah Falchuk of Hockessin, Delaware, has received a Fulbright grant to work as an English teaching assistant in the Slovak Republic during the 2018-19 academic year.
As a Fulbright scholar, Falchuk hopes to improve her cultural understanding and language proficiency in the country.
“By working in an educational setting with young people in a country that is politically important within the European Union and globally, I will also learn about the topics that they find most important in their communities and country,” said Falchuk.
Falchuk is majoring in politics and minoring in poverty and human capability studies, as well as mass communications. She has led French instruction locally, honing her skills of teaching flexibility and public speaking during a weekly French class for elementary school students. She is also a community assistant at the Sustainability House, a Writing Center tutor and a Campus Kitchen volunteer with The Manor at Natural Bridge.
“Hannah has been a leader on campus over these last four years and will bring admirable energy and skill at fostering social connections to her time in the Slovak Republic,” said Jonathon Eastwood, Laurent Boetsch Term Professor of Sociology and Fulbright Program advisor.
“I know that this experience can be the starting point for a number of paths that I could take,” said Falchuk. “I also might find that the teaching experience will lead me to work more with young people in the U.S., or I will use the overall experience and language immersion gained abroad as an entry to working in international media or publishing.”
W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2018 Reunion Celebration
Several hundred Washington and Lee law school alumni and guests returned for this year’s reunion celebration, held April 13-15 in Lexington.
During the awards ceremony on Saturday, Dean Brant Hellwig announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and, a new honor, Young Volunteer of the Year Award.
Parker Denaco ‘68L received the Outstanding Law Alumnus award for exceptional achievements in his career and unselfish service to his community and his alma mater.
Denaco graduated from the University of Maine with a B.A. in History and Government and returned to earn an MBA in business after attending law school at W&L.
Denaco was the first Executive Director of the Maine Public Employee Labor Relations Board, later to be renamed the Maine Labor Relations Board. While at the Maine board, Denaco was instrumental in the training and preparation of court mediators, served as President and Vice President of the Association of Labor Relations Agencies (ALRA), and was a founding member and director of the New England Consortium of State Labor Relations Agencies (NECSLRA).
Denaco’s article “How Mediation and Fact Finding Break Deadlocks” and later articles on the organizational composition of bargaining units and the use of unit determination hearings were starting points on what had previously been a barren road map. He has been an arbitrator/mediator/fact finder in more than a dozen states and has mediated settlements for bargaining units in excess of ten thousand employees, several on a statewide basis.
Denaco was inducted into National Academy of Arbitrators and as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He served as director for Academic Collective Bargaining Information Service and for Public Employment Relations Services. He was a charter member of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution as well as a founding member/director of the New England Consortium. Denaco was inducted into the University of Maine’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society.
Denaco is a former member of the W&L Law Council and has been active in both state and national bar associations. His participation in ABA sections spans the Labor and Employment Section, the ADR Section and the Judicial Division. He was co-chair of the Labor Section of the Maine Bar Association and the chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New Hampshire Bar Association. He was the recipient of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s Distinguished Service award for fourteen years of service as neutral co-chair of the Committee on State and Local Government Collective Bargaining and Employment Law. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court presented him with a “Special Recognition Award” for an “outstanding contribution to the founding and success of mediation in the Maine courts.” He received the American Bar Association’s Arvid Anderson Public Sector Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year award for 2012.
Howard T. Wall ‘83L received the 2018 Volunteer of the Year award. In the 35 years since he graduated from the Law School, Wall has served on reunion committees, including the current one, served as a guest speaker to the health law society, and taught healthcare law at the Law School. His dedication to the Law School is evident in each of these roles.
Wall is the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary of RCCH HealthCare Partners, a Tennessee based operator of 17 non-urban regional health systems in 12 states. He comes to RCCH from Capella Healthcare where he served as the General Counsel and Senior Vice President, and from Province Healthcare Company where he spent eight years as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Corporate Governance Officer. Earlier in his career, Wall spent 14 years at the Nashville law firm of Waller, Lansden, Dortch, & Davis, serving as the Chairman of their Healthcare Working Group.
Wall was recognized for his achievements in the field of healthcare law by being included in the first health care listing in the publication, The Best Lawyers in America, in 1989, and in all subsequent editions until he left private law practice in 1997. He has been very active in professional associations and bar activities. Howard has served the American Bar Association in a number of capacities. He served as Health Law Section Chair, Section Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, and was a Health Law Section Council member. He currently is the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability. Howard is also a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and is a past officer of the TBA Health Law Section. Howard is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and is past Chair of the Nashville Bar Association Health Law Committee. Wall is a member of the Board of Governors of the Federation of American Hospitals, an investor-owned hospital industry group based in Washington, D.C. He also serves as a member of the Editorial Board of the BNA Health Law Reporter.
This Law School’s newest alumni award, Young Volunteer of the Year, was presented to Matney Rolfe ‘14L, who was unable to attend the event. A member of our Young Alumni Council, Matney has wholeheartedly accepted the call to assist our students in their job searches. The past couple of years she facilitated the hiring of six students in summer internships and two young alumni in full-time positions, through her position as Clerk to The Honorable Loren A. Smith of the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.
Digital Humanities Lecture to Address Ancient Graffiti
Washington and Lee University’s Digital Humanities Speaker Series will host Rebecca Benefiel, W&L associate professor of classics, and her project partner, Holly Sypniewski, associate professor of classics at Millsaps College, on May 7 at 6 p.m. in Northen Auditorium. The duo will speak about their ongoing Ancient Graffiti Project (AGP).
The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Reinventing an Ancient Wheel: Developing a Digital Resource for Pompeian Graffiti.”
The AGP is a growing project with more than 50 members. During the summers of 2014 and 2016, the team surveyed and documented graffiti still extant in Herculaneum. In summer 2015, they led a workshop on the ancient Greek graffiti of Herculaneum and Pompeii at the Center for Hellenic Studies, a scholarly institute of Harvard University based in Washington, D.C.
The AGP website is a digital resource for locating and studying graffiti of the early Roman empire from the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. More than 500 ancient graffiti are now available online.
‘We Decided to Be Proactive’ Reese and two friends brought the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership to W&L, where it provides resources and a voice for students.
“FLIP has reminded me how much I love to work with and help people in every way I can.”
~ Taylor Reese ’19
Hometown: Swedesboro, New Jersey
Minor: Studio Art – Photography
Over the summer, I got into numerous hypothetical conversations with my friends Kiki Spiezio ’18 and Edwin Castellanos ’20 about the ways Washington and Lee could help support first-generation and low-income students. So we decided to be proactive and make it happen.
We’d heard of FLIP National (FLIP stands for First-Generation Low-Income Partnership), and decided to start an organization (FLIP at W&L) modeled after them and their mission. According to its Facebook page, FLIP National’s mission is to “promote equal opportunity for first-generation and low-income students in higher education by building supportive, sustainable student-led on-campus communities and coordinating the development of initiatives that provide direct support to these students; and serve as a catalyst to increase public awareness, discussion, and bring about policy changes that prevent so many students from accessing opportunity in education.”
With this mission in mind, we first created Mentorship Meet-Up groups, which paired willing professors and staff who had been first-generation low-income students themselves with FGLI students on campus. We created groups based on common interests, and brought together students, staff and professors who may not have normally interacted. These groups meet on their own time, as much or little as they like. My group met for study/work breaks twice last semester, but there was a group that met bi-weekly. We’ve heard a lot of great feedback about these groups, namely that they’re a valuable additional support system or “family” for students. Right now, there are about 80 student, staff and faculty members of mentorship groups.
We also expanded the Lending Library that Edwin had started at the end of last year, collecting more donated textbooks and making it available for FGLI students to check out course texts for a semester. The Lending Library has now moved out of Edwin’s bedroom and into its own official space on campus, and we have teamed up with the University Store to collect book donations for it.
In conjunction with Student Affairs and the subcommittee on Food Insecurity, we opened the Food Pantry in time for finals week in December 2017. The Food Pantry is meant to help students bridge the gaps that arise over school breaks, or when they run out of Food Flex. The pantry is completely anonymous and open 24/7 in Elrod Commons. At first, the selection was made up largely of snacks just so that we could get it off the ground before Winter Break. Since then, we’ve increased the offerings to include a variety of foods, such as quick meals like Cup of Noodles.
There is a suggestion sheet where people can make requests for the pantry, and we do our best to stock them. We currently cannot stock perishable items, but we hope to in the future. We’ve also expanded to laundry detergent, toiletries, and feminine hygiene products. After hearing that we started the Food Pantry, Dining Services began to offer complimentary meals to all students staying on campus over breaks. Previously, only athletes staying over breaks were allowed to use meal swipes in the dining halls; other students had to pay out-of-pocket.
Some other initiatives we’ve worked on include obtaining reduced-price Fancy Dress tickets for FLIP members, becoming a FLIP National chapter, and forming committees focused on programming for incoming First-Year students and new initiatives.
Starting FLIP has been a wonderful experience because it’s allowed me to meet and interact with people with whom I wouldn’t normally interact, such as the school deans and our faculty advisors, professors Art Goldsmith, Aly Colón and Brian Alexander.
FLIP has reminded me how much I love to work with and help people in every way I can. Since I was 10 years old, I’ve worked with Special Olympics New Jersey to achieve a similar goal, but because of the distance, my involvement has been limited since I came to college. I was aching for another way to do what I love, and help people in a meaningful way. FLIP has helped to fill that gap in my life, and given me a chance to become a leader on campus.
Because of FLIP, I’m also a member of the Diversity and First-Generation Working Group, which means our concerns are heard directly by the deans and other professors and administrators of the university. This involvement has allowed me the opportunity to enact real change here on campus, and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in our first semester-and-a-half.
More about Taylor
- Co-Founder and Leader of FLIP
- Art Editor with Ampersand, W&L’s literary magazine
- President of Club Tennis
- Technology and Learning Specialist in the Global Discovery Laboratories
- Game Day Event Worker
- I also grow and sell succulents as a side business (interested? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Why did you choose your major?
I love reading, analyzing and writing about books, as well as discussing them with brilliant people! What more could you ask for?
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
I find myself truly inspired by people who love learning, and thus know a lot about A LOT. Professor Adams and my friend Sam Joseph come to mind first.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
Most recently, “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay. And the masterpiece that is “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” of course.
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Just ask— people want to help and support you. Let them.
Favorite W&L memory:
During my first Spring Term, I frequently sat on the Colonnade and read books. One special, balmy day I was blessed by a visit from the Colonnade Cat. He let me hold and pet him and take some photos. It was magical.
I definitely can’t pick just one, so it’s a three-way tie between Art Since 1945 with Professor Elliott King, Geology of Hawaii with Professor Elizabeth Knapp, and Large Format Photography with Professor Christa Bowden.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
In true English major fashion, I love words. This love has resulted in me keeping lists of my favorite and least favorite words. Some of my favorite words include: pauper, alabaster, willow, cohort and inordinate. Some of my least favorite words include: secrete, Cuthbert, and moist.
Career Paths: Peter Askin ’18L
Peter Askin was born in Richmond, VA, and graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in Political Science. Before law school, he worked for a real estate company in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Outside of law school, Peter enjoys playing saxophone at Haywood’s restaurant in Lexington.
Who will you be clerking for, and what will your responsibilities be?
I will be clerking for Justice Goodwyn on the Supreme Court of Virginia. I will be in charge of researching all pending writ petitions and cases, and assisting Justice Goodwyn in drafting court opinions.
Why are you interested in clerking after graduation?
I want a career in litigation, but wasn’t sure what area of the law I wanted to specialize in. Clerking seemed like the best opportunity to get significant litigation experience while still being exposed to many areas of the law.
How did you secure this clerkship?
Because there’s no OSCAR system for many state clerkship offerings, I called different chambers offices to learn about their different application requirements. After submitting my materials to Justice Goodwyn, he asked for an interview and offered me the position a week or so later.
Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for clerking?
In addition to my 1L writing seminars, I enrolled in several elective writing courses my 2L year that really improved my work. My experience as a judicial extern during my 3L year also helped me understand how a judge approaches their decisions and exposed me to Virginia law.
What are you most looking forward to about this clerkship position?
I am really looking forward to the experience at an appellate court. Appellate issues present cases of first impression where judges have to pull from persuasive sources or consider sound public policy. I always enjoyed reading about these kinds of issues in class, but now I will be able to witness the calculus that goes into these decisions.
Five W&L Seniors Receive CFA Exam Scholarships
Five seniors, Michael Steedman, Spencer Borwick, Alden Schade, Maggie Ma and Andrew Gavlin, have received scholarships to study for level one of the exam to become a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA).
As a university recognized by the CFA Institute, Washington and Lee can offer up to five scholarships each year to reduce the exam price for students from $1,400 to $350. Additionally, the CFA Institute will send scholarship recipients books on six topics, including finance, accounting and ethics.
A highly sought after designation, a CFA credential gives students a distinct advantage on the job market. This year more than 172,000 candidates sat for the CFA exams, which comprise three levels. Students must pass all three levels to become a CFA. Approximately one in eight people who start the program will become a chartered financial analyst.
Career Paths: John Fluharty ’18L
John Fluharty ‘18L is a native of West Virginia. Prior to studying law at Washington and Lee, he worked for an NGO as an international development contractor, as a debate strategist in Governor Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and as an analyst for a political think tank in Afghanistan. John spent his 1L summer in a Bicameral Clerkship in the United States Senate and House, and his 2L summer working for Allen & Overy in London. John holds an M.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford, an MA in Philosophy from University College London, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, in Scotland.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?
I will be working as an associate in Allen & Overy’s International Capital Markets practice group in London. The firm’s London office has a group of US attorneys working on international securities transactions that involve a relationship to parties in the US.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a law firm?
When I began law school I had hoped to find a position in a law firm, but it was important to me to find a firm with the right work/life culture. It was also important to me to find the right environment to get the best legal training possible.
What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?
The size and location of the firm were very important to my decision. I knew that I wanted to work in a firm with a strong international presence. When I entered law school, I had the goal of finding a position in a UK or European office, so the location of Allen & Overy’s London office was perfect for me. Additionally, the institutional knowledge available due to Allen & Overy’s global presence is invaluable.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?
Yes, the firm’s culture is fantastic. When I interviewed with Allen & Overy the partners explained that the U.S. practice in London was like “a small firm within a large one,” which I found to be the case when I worked as a summer associate. The practice group acted as a close-knit group of lawyers but was supported by the knowledge and infrastructure of a larger international firm. In that respect it was both easy to form close relationships with others in the firm, while also taking advantage of the benefits of being in such a large and diverse firm.
What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?
Securities Regulations and Close Business Associations are both very helpful. I did not take Publicly Held Businesses, but I believe that would be helpful as well. I found Accounting and Finance for Lawyers to be the most helpful, as a lot of the work for capital markets practices requires conducting due diligence of the securities issuers, which involves the review of the issuer’s accounts.
Can you describe your job search process?
You have to be relentless. I sent applications to firms that I thought would fit my search criteria and followed them all up with phone calls. I took every opportunity I could to network and reach out to W&L alumni. I took advantage of many good opportunities provided by the Office of Career Strategy. I started planning how to get the job I wanted as soon as I started my 1L year, which included doing things like asking professors to review and critique my resume to make it more geared towards the legal profession. In the end, all the networking is what led to my summer associate job offer with Allen & Overy.
What are you most looking forward to about working abroad?
London is an exceptionally multicultural and diverse city, with many opportunities. I lived in London for several years, so I am excited move back to the city and take advantage of everything it has to offer. Also, being close enough to the European continent to make a quick weekend trip every once in a while will provide a nice break to a new associate’s work schedule.
Career Paths: Martha Vazquez ’18L
Martha Vazquez ’18L is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in History, and then went on to achieve a Masters in Military History at Royal Holloway, University of London. After returning from London, Martha spent a year working for the American Civil Liberties Union on cases involving prisoner’s rights. Martha is the Managing Online Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review and is an active volunteer in the Lexington community.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?
I will be working for Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C. I do not currently know the practice area that I will be working in, but I will most likely be joining their government contracts practice.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a law firm?
I did not know that I wanted to work for a law firm coming into law school, but I knew I wanted to work in civil litigation, so it was an obvious choice once I began my job search. I worked for a judge 1L summer and I loved it, but I realized after that experience that I wanted to work in private practice.
What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?
The location was my main concern during my search and decision process. I knew that I wanted to work in either Washington, D.C. or Virginia, so I only applied to firms in those areas. Ultimately, size was the deciding factor in choosing Wiley Rein. The firm is unique because it is a “big law” firm, but only has one office of about 250-300 attorneys. This dynamic was very appealing to me because the firm has a small-firm feel and culture, but has big-law structure, contacts, and clientele. This combination was ideal for me. The firm is also very D.C. focused so the location was perfect.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?
I knew almost immediately I had made the right choice when I started at Wiley Rein as a Summer Associate my 2L summer. I very quickly fell into the firm culture, and loved working and living in D.C. The firm itself was the biggest confirmation that I had chosen the right career. I was given responsibility for projects that concerned interesting legal issues and required me to learn about topics that I had never encountered before. It is really important to me to be challenged, and I found the work extremely stimulating.
As a law student, both the litigation immersion and the litigation skills practicum confirmed my choice to go into civil litigation. I enjoyed working through the mock-litigation, and the experiences got me excited about starting work in the fall.
What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?
The litigation immersion and litigation skills were both very helpful in preparing for the law firm, but working in chambers during my 1L summer and as an extern 3L year was most helpful. I interacted with a wide variety of attorneys in court, informally, and in mediations, and learned a lot about different litigation styles. I also wrote numerous orders and memos, which I feel made me a much stronger legal writer.
Looking back on it, I also feel that my legal writing classes and the Law & Geography seminar were very helpful – as a summer associate, I was writing a lot of memos and portions of briefs. My legal writing background was very helpful, and I am sure it will continue to be an asset to me going forward.
Can you describe your job search process?
Once I decided I wanted to work for a firm in D.C. or Virginia I more or less applied to every large and mid-size firm in those areas. I sent out dozens of applications. I was lucky to get a number of interviews through W&L’s D.C. interview program, which is how I came to know of Wiley Rein, and I was hired fairly quickly after my initial interview.
I put a lot of time and effort into my resume and cover letter, and I utilized the Office of Career Strategy to check over my application materials before I submitted them. Additionally, I went to several firm open house events my 1L summer, where I networked and got a feel of what firms I would be most interested in.
W&L Presents Author Talk Featuring William Patch
Show Me What Democracy Looks Like Professor Bill Patch publishes book on the Labor Movement’s political influence on German democracy.
William “Bill” Patch, Kenan Professor of History at Washington and Lee University, has published “Christian Democratic Workers and the Forging of the German Democracy, 1920 – 1980” (Cambridge University Press).
He will be giving a talk on his book May 2 in Leyburn Library’s Book Nook at 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided.
“The issue that interests me the most is why democracy succeeded so much better in the Federal Republic of Germany after World War II than it succeeded in the Weimar Republic after World War I,” he said. “I think that’s the most important question in 20th-century German history, and there’s still a lot of disagreement about what explains it or what factors should be emphasized.
He noted that although some scholars give credit to the U.S. occupation immediately following World War II for Germany’s successfully democracy, U.S authorities were quite restrained. “They almost never made suggestions for what democracy ought to look like. You might call them gardeners who would prune the bush and try to get rid of the weeds,” he said.
In 2000, Patch began combing through the archives of the two biggest political parties in Germany — the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Union. He also examined the archives of the Catholic Church focusing on the role of the Catholic worker movement on Germany’s democracy. “There’s a big archive of the Catholic worker clubs in Cologne that no one has ever looked at, and a lot of my research covered the personal papers of 20 trade union leaders who joined the CDU and their efforts to promote trade unionism and social legislation that would benefit factory workers. These unionists sought to promote compromises between the left and the right in German politics and forge consensus about welfare legislation. They worked hard to get the kind of public-supported health care for the system that Germany has today. They also worked very hard to improve the pension plan so people could really live on their government-guaranteed pension.”
That focus on workers’ rights led to a constitution that is “nothing like the U.S. Constitution,” said Patch. “German approaches to labor relations and social policy and public heath care, for example, are completely different from American approaches. I wanted to bring out what Germans had learned from the experience of the Third Reich and the Second World War and examine how their thinking evolved — what was wrong with the Weimar Republic and how you could do better with democracy this time around.”
In his book’s conclusion, Patch discusses whether Germany’s approach to social policy is still viable. The biggest difference between Germany and the U.S., he noted, is that in Germany “the laws guarantee workers a voice in corporate management. In every sizable enterprise, workers elect their own factory council that consults with management. And in most large corporations, workers elect between one-third and one-half the members of the board of directors. That gives workers a powerful representation in management decisions.”
With the major labor reforms in 2004, which make the German labor market more like America’s, Patch wonders about the stability of German democracy. “A strong guarantee of workers’ rights played a crucial role in stabilizing democracy in Germany immediately following World War II. In recent years, those rights have diminished, which is a major challenge to this kind of system.”
Patch joined the W&L faculty in 2006 and teaches courses on modern Europe, German history, and international relations. Patch is the author of many monographs and articles, including “Heinrich Brüning and the Dissolution of the Weimar Republic” (Cambridge University Press, 1998).
His talk is part of the Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series and is presented by the University Library.
The Most Wonderful Term of the Year Spring Term allows W&L students to focus intensely on one topic for four weeks, or to create an experience that is unique to their educational path.
Winter Term grades are in the books and Spring Break is in the rearview mirror, which means Washington and Lee students are gearing up for some of the most exciting educational experiences they will have during their college careers.
Whether they are viewing the history of Paris through a photographer’s lens, learning about geology in New Zealand, or building robots in the science center on campus, most students will be immersed in a single topic for the next four intense — but exhilarating — weeks.
“The W&L Spring Term is one of our signature experiences,” said Provost Marc Conner. “The intensive courses our faculty offer have no parallel at any other school. It’s become a defining part of the W&L education.”
During Spring Term, faculty incorporate nearby resources into the curriculm, taking students on day trips or multi-day excursions; many more take students abroad to places such as Denmark, France, Africa, Switzerland or Belize, where the coursework and the local culture intersect.
“The heaviest competition is for travel courses because they’re always going interesting places and doing interesting things,” said Registrar Scott Dittman. Still, he said, surveys have shown that even students who have to take their sixth or seventh choice end up looking back at the term with great enthusiasm. “They get in there and develop a relationship with faculty, and they are fully engaged because there is no way they can not be.”
Some courses cost extra, especially those with a travel component, but W&L is committed to providing extensive financial support to fund the Spring Term experience.
In addition, about 10 percent of the student body each year takes Spring Option, which allows them to customize the four weeks to accomplish a personal goal, such as doing an internship, traveling, participating in a service or educational program, preparing for professional exams or embarking on a new career. Examples of students’ Spring Option activities this year include volunteering with Rockbridge Area Hospice, getting a head start on summer mathematics research, conducting job interviews, performing music and attending an investment banking boot camp.
Bianca Chiappelloni ’18 will travel alone to China for Spring Term. “I chose China because it is a part of the world I know very little about and have never studied,” she said. “As a global politics major, I have hit on almost every other major ‘region’ of the world in my studies, aside from east Asia and Australia, so this is a different type of learning experience to round out my major just a little bit more.”
Sally Stone Richmond, director of admissions, said Spring Term is “certainly a factor” in prospective students’ decision to apply to W&L. “As one admissions counselor and alumnus stated, ‘It’s all the best parts of college put into one month.’ It is the opportunity to intensely focus on one subject, likely with varied teaching methods.”
No two Spring Terms at Washington and Lee are alike. This year offers about 40 courses that have never before been offered, including a critical and cultural analysis of video games, a look at modern-day slavery in Ghana, and a study of international crises and national security.
Other students are writing and drawing their own comic books from start to finish, examining the history of dance throughout Europe, touring Scotland to absorb the history and culture of theater, and learning the anatomy of corporate fraud.
“Spring Term provides students with a great release,” Dittman said, “as well as the freedom to create and explore.”
Spring Term at a Glance
- One Course: Students take one and only one three- or four-credit course
- Credits: Each regular course is worth three or four credits
- Course Load: 3-5 credits (regular course + a single PE/1-credit course)
- No overloads or underloads are allowed
- No Pass/Fail: All courses must be taken for a letter grade
- Four Weeks: The term is four weeks long
- Registration: Students register in mid-January (class details, including syllabus, are requested for a November 1 posting)
- Full Engagement: Students are fully engaged by their 1 academic course
Bello Presents Inaugural Endowed Professorship Lecture
David A. Bello, Elizabeth Lewis Otey Professorship in East Asian Studies, will present an inaugural public lecture to celebrate his endowed professorship on April 25 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.
The title of Bello’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is: “A Bug-eyed View of Environmental History.”
In his lecture Bello will consider some representative 18th- and 19th-century examples of insect interventions on the settlements of China’s last dynasty, the Qing (1644-1912), to show how insects are “primary sources” of Chinese imperial, and not just environmental, history.
“Malarial mosquitoes and hungry locusts have persistently sucked and chomped their way through human society in ways that have changed how people behave politically and economically,” said Bello.
Bello received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. His main research interest is environmental and borderland history, involving relations between natural systems, ethnic identity and imperial space during China’s last dynasty.
His first book “Opium and the Limits of Empire: Drug Prohibition in the Chinese Interior, 1729-1850,” was published in 2005 by the Harvard Council on East Asian Studies. His latest book, “Across Forest, Steppe and Mountain: Environment, Identity and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands,” was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press in its “Studies in Environment and History” series.
The Elizabeth Lewis Otey Professorship in East Asian Studies was established in 1994 through the estate of Elizabeth Otey Watson in memory of her mother. The endowment provides support to a distinguished member of the faculty, using the Reeves Center and Watson Pavilion collections as an integral component of teaching responsibilities and academic research.
W&L Presents Annual Friends of the Library Symposium
Washington and Lee University presents the annual Friends of the Library Symposium as part of Alumni Weekend on April 28 at 1:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.
This year’s speakers are Rob Cooper ’68 and Pam Pacelli Cooper. Their talk is titled: “Storytelling in the Digital Age,” and it is free and open to the public.
While working together on a life-tribute video, Pam realized that recently available digital technology would make it feasible for them to start a company, Verissima Productions. The focus was on capturing and preserving the stories of individuals, families, businesses and historical events at levels of quality that would have formerly required a prohibitively large investment in camera and editing equipment.
Their presentation will focus on what Rob has seen over 40 years of technical evolution. While technology has changed over the years, the essential elements of good storytelling haven’t. The couple will also discuses how Verissima uses digital technology to tell in-depth stories with high production values at reasonable rates.
Throughout his career, Rob has been a producer and director for television, documentaries, corporate and educational film and video productions. Digital technology has made it possible for him to do his own shooting and editing again.
A therapist in private practice, Pam has extensive interviewing and narrative skills. She is also an oral historian and certified genealogical researcher.
W&L’s First Glasgow Distinguished Writer to Give Public Reading
“We’re immensely excited to launch this program through an innovative course taught by a gifted, prolific and versatile writer.”
Washington and Lee University’s first annual Glasgow distinguished visiting writer, Luisa A. Igloria, will give a public reading on May 1 at 4:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library’s Book Nook.
There will be refreshments and books for sale following the reading, which is free and open to the public.
Igloria is the author of 14 books of poetry and three chapbooks. She is a professor of creative writing and English, and from 2009-2015 was director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University.
Igloria is the recipient of multiple awards for her writing, including an 11-time recipient of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in three genres (poetry, nonfiction and short fiction) and its Hall of Fame distinction. The Palanca award is the Philippines’ highest literary prize.
She will also be on campus during Spring Term to teach an advanced creative writing course titled Exploring Prose Poems and Other Hybrid Forms.
The Glasgow visiting writer program is a new collaboration between the Glasgow Endowment Committee and the Center for Poetic Research, led by Seth Michelson.
“We’re immensely excited to launch this program through an innovative course taught by a gifted, prolific and versatile writer,” said Lesley Wheeler, Henry S. Fox Professor of English.
W&L Faculty and Staff Lace Up for First-Annual 5K In total, 89 members of the W&L community ran the race.
During spring break, Washington and Lee University faculty and staff put on their running shoes and slid on their sweatbands to run the university’s first-annual Live Well 5K.
Mary Main, executive director of Human Resources, came up with the idea for the campus 5K, and preparations for the race started in December 2017. Everyone in Human Resources pitched in to plan the event.
In total, 89 members of the W&L community ran the race and 33 volunteers —Human Resources staff— helped make it happen. There were 26 course marshals on the running path.
“It was challenging to fit 3.1 miles on campus and stay off the streets,” said Anne Remington, work/life coordinator. “We focused on a course that led participants through different areas of the campus, yet we wanted to make sure it was safe and well-marked.”
The course began on Cannon Green and circled around the law school, with lots of stairs and Colonnade crossings along the way. Remington said everyone seemed to enjoy the course but it may change next year in order to remove some of the stairs.
“I believe that everyone who came to the 5K had a great time. I saw a lot of big smiles and people were cheering one another across the finish line,” said Remington. “Everyone who was there came because they wanted to be a part of the event, whether it was running, walking, volunteering or simply cheering on colleagues.”
Blake Shester, technology integration specialist, won the men’s division with a finish time of 23:56:1 and Helen MacDermott, office manager in the Center for Global Learning, was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 24:28:9.
New Group Supports First-Generation, Low-Income Students The FLIP program at W&L was proposed by students who saw a need for more resources on campus.
An organization on campus is striving to create a more supportive community for first-generation, low-income students.
Kiki Spiezio ’17 brought the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership, or FLIP, to Washington and Lee’s campus. Her vision for more community advocates for these students went public a year ago with her article “5 Ways Washington and Lee Could Better Support Low-Income Students,” published in the Odyssey Online. It received 1,800 page views in one week, and Spiezio heard from parents, students, faculty and alumni alike about her suggestions.
“That was the first time I really thought about some of the issues that I and others face,” she said.
In the spring of 2017, Spiezio wrote her poverty and human capability studies capstone on how selective colleges can better support low-income students, using W&L as a model. During her research, she came across the national FLIP movement, spearheaded by the Clinton Global Initiative and operating independently on college campuses. Spiezio drew inspiration from similar programs at Emory University, Stanford University, Smith College, Brown University and Columbia University.
While Washington and Lee’s Angel Fund exists to provide students with temporary financial assistance in times of family emergency, Spiezio said FLIP is here to fill in the ongoing gaps and less immediate needs not covered by this program. For instance, Spiezio said, one goal is to establish scholarships for “essential parts of W&L life,” such as Greek life, Fancy Dress, travel, interviews and conferences.
Edwin Castellanos ’20 got involved with FLIP after initiating a lending library for students to avoid the expensive costs of textbooks.
“FLIP wants to create a space and open up resources for first-generation, low-income students here on campus,” Castellanos said.
Taylor Reese ’19 joined after engaging in conversations with Spiezio during the summer.
First generation, low-income students “have a place here on this campus,” Reese said. “Sometimes it may feel like the opposite, but we’re trying to look out for everybody.”
Reese oversees a mentorship program between professors and students, which she said has so far benefited from a roughly 1:1 ratio. Professors, many of whom have partnered with the QuestBridge program, a national scholarship program for high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds, are also supporting FLIP by donating textbooks and supplies.
In October 2017, FLIP held a week-long event called Money Matters. It involved discussions led by professors and Career Services on resumes and negotiating salaries.
FLIP members reach out to their peers via class deans, Campus Notices and by word-of-mouth. Spiezio said the feedback on the organization’s goals has generally been supportive.
“The debate mostly centers around how to best implement those ideas,” she said.
This article originally ran in the W&L student newspaper, the Ring-tum Phi.
International Human Rights Practicum: 2018 Trip to Tanzania
This report on the Human Rights Practicum trip to Tanzania was prepared by third-year law students Kendall Manning and Jackie Hacker. Manning is from Norfolk, MA. While at W&L, she has served as a Kirgis Fellow, a Burks Scholar, and a student attorney in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. After graduation, she will join the Securities & Capital Markets group at McGuireWoods LLP in Charlotte, NC. Hacker is from Cocoa Beach, FL. At W&L, she served as the Mock Trial Chair on the Moot Court Executive Board, President of OUTLaw, and a student leader in the American Constitution Society. After graduation, she will clerk in the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth, NJ.
This year, two professors and ten W&L Law students traveled to the Women’s Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to research and report on why the country’s divorce process leaves so many of its women in poverty. This partnership with WLAC stems from the International Human Rights Practicum that Dean Johanna Bond and Professor David Baluarte are teaching as a part of W&L Law’s experiential learning program.
Each year that Dean Bond teaches the class, students pair up with an INGO or a foreign NGO to advocate against international human rights violations abroad through specific targeted directives. While the methods of advocacy differ each year, this year the group led a fact-finding mission to Tanzania in hopes of researching and producing a report that would assist WLAC in its advocacy efforts. Specifically, WLAC hopes to use the report to raise awareness amongst the judiciary, the legislature and its legal community about the inequitable division of marital assets upon divorce.
This project consisted of several parts. For the first several months in this year-long course, we studied the foundations of international human rights law and the ethics of cross-cultural human rights work in developing countries. We also spent this time familiarizing ourselves with the structure, methodology and substance of international human rights reports like the type that WLAC commissioned us to write.
Next, we began the task of learning the ins and outs of an entirely new, pluralistic legal system. In doing so, we looked to the legal structure of the country—specifically, its judicial system—to understand how the divorce process worked. We also spent time reviewing Tanzanian case law and the Law of Marriage Act, as this is the act that governs marriage and divorce in Tanzania. The Act was quite progressive at the time it was passed because it attempted to combine customary, religious, and civil marriage laws. Additionally, we familiarized ourselves with Tanzanian culture to better understand marriage customs and traditions and, in turn, better understand the Law of Marriage Act.
Next, we compiled our findings, fact-checked them with WLAC and prepared questions and interview plans based on those findings. We conducted several mock interviews based on these interview plans before finally setting off for Tanzania over spring break!
While in Tanzania, we interviewed divorced and separated women, magistrates and judges, legal aid attorneys, private divorce attorneys, paralegals, court brokers, police officers at women’s gender desks, religious leaders, council members of marriage reconciliation boards, social welfare officers in ward tribunals, and representatives of NGOs working on women’s rights in Dar es Salaam. We spent five days conducting these interviews with WLAC attorneys, all the while learning more about the divorce process in Tanzania. Our partnership with WLAC was essential in obtaining these interviews and establishing credibility with interviewees in a legal community and system that we were still learning about.
These interviews proved intriguing, rewarding, and challenging. Some days, we heard heartbreaking stories from divorced women who had struggled through an unfair divorce process only to be left with 20% of the assets that they had worked years to acquire. Often, many of these judgments had not yet been court-enforced despite the years that lapsed since the case ended. However, we also heard promising anecdotes from those within the legal community working to combat the problem. For instance, we spoke to magistrates who assist women before them in court by asking them guiding questions about what evidence they must present. In addition, we learned about existing awareness campaigns that are educating women about their property rights upon divorce. Each individual whom we interviewed had varying ideas about how to fix the flaws in the current divorce regime, so each interview provided its own unique set of insights.
Each evening after completing our interviews, we discussed our findings collectively over dinner and reflected on the day’s discoveries. Throughout these group discussions, both students and professors posited solutions to the problems that we discovered in our interviews. We also worked to hone our interviewing skills by discussing barriers we encountered and lending advice to one another about interview methods that worked. Ultimately, these evening conversations with each other, in addition to our daytime conversations with WLAC attorneys, were a great exercise in problem-solving and group collaboration. At the end of the trip, we had a more thorough understanding of the problems and recommendations that WLAC wanted us to report on.
Upon returning to the United States, we began drafting a report to tie our findings into international and Tanzanian law. We also began preparing to present our research to faculty members and fellow law students. At this point, we have received WLAC’s feedback on the first final draft of our report and are working to finalize that report by April 27th.
Gaining Work and Life Experience in Sydney Soon Ho spends his days in Australia studying at the University of Sydney and interning at Greencross Limited, Australia's largest pet care company.
Now that I have been living in Sydney for almost two months, I am happier than ever before! Just imagine, every day you wake up in the morning with sunshine gently touching your face, and head to a lecture with a fresh iced long black (equivalent to black coffee in America) in your hand. After my classes, I usually go to Broadway Mall, located about eight minutes away from the campus, and have a good meal from Din Tai Fung, one of the best Taiwanese’s chain restaurants in the world, Istanbul that sells gourmet Turkey food, or other restaurants. Of course one must try one of the most “Sydney-ish” dishes, fish and chips!
If I were to choose my favorite Aussie dish, it would be fish and chips with calamari as an appetizer. I was amazed by the high quality of seafood Sydney provides. They use fresh fish and squid and I am not sure whether this is an Australian thing or not, but they indeed use fresh ingredients in whatever they serve in restaurants! I am a food enthusiast and I am enjoying every meal here in Sydney.
The Sydney Internship and Study Abroad Program (SISAP) allows every student to experience an internship while receiving an education at the University of Sydney. I am currently interning as a financial analyst at a company called Greencross Limited, the largest pet care company in both Australia and New Zealand. I am truly enjoying my internship experience so far because I learn something new every day, which makes me look forward to going to work.
I work every Thursday and Friday. There is not a strict dress code, but I usually wear a suit and tie. On the way to work, I drop by the coffee shop close to the subway station and line up with tons of other people who are also getting an iced long black. I then ride a train packed with people going into the city.
I remember my very first day of my internship at Greencross Limited. My advisor, who is the head of financial planning and analysis, welcomed me and showed me around the company. I was introduced to all the teams in the company such as marketing, products and sales, human resources, finance, accounting, and others. Learning about the different teams was helpful to understand how the company operates. My supervisor then asked me, “I have a meeting in 5 minutes, and I heard that it will be something about new investment. Do you want to come?” Without any hesitation, I replied, “Yes.”
Four directors and one consultant were already in the conference room to discuss an investment opportunity on a starting project. I was very frightened once I stepped into the room, as I had never experienced anything similar to this before. They eased the atmosphere of the meeting as I was asked to introduce myself. After the meeting, my supervisor asked me what I thought about the meeting and I honestly answered that it was really interesting, but at the same time was very confusing. He paused for a moment and informed me that I would be working on this project from now on. Since then, I have assisted him in investment forecasting. While I learn something new every day at work, I have also utilized all the knowledge that I learned from school. I actually emailed one of my W&L professors because I was so thankful to be taught all the useful materials that can be applied to a real-life situation. From this internship, I realize how fortunate I have been to receive a great education at W&L and have decided not to waste any of the experiences that I am gaining in Sydney.
If I had to choose my most memorable experience during my college years, without a doubt I would say studying abroad in Sydney. I have really enjoyed my time here and I am at a point where I am feeling a mixture of sadness and excitement because I know this time will end in a couple of months. I encourage other students to apply to this program, and I can promise that it will be one of the best decisions they make in their college career.
About Soon Ho
Major: Accounting and Business Administration
Hometown: Suwon, South Korea
Zainab Abiza ’19 Awarded Summer Fellowship to Princeton and Davis Projects for Peace Grant
“It is inspiring to see our students’ generosity and genuine interest in using their educational opportunities to promote a better world.”
Washington and Lee University student Zainab Abiza ’19 has been awarded a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellowship and a Davis Projects for Peace grant, both for study and research this summer.
She will attend the PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Princeton, a seven-week program designed to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for graduate study and careers in public policy. Her PPIA Fellowship will include full tuition to Princeton, as well as a stipend and eligibility to receive assistance with travel expenses.
“The program is the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in a diverse environment, working with bright candidates that share the same passion as I do while connecting with mentors who will help me carve my path in the public service field,” said Abiza.
Abiza is an economics and global politics double major, with a minor in poverty and human capability studies, and is a team leader for Washington and Lee student consulting, a summer research scholar for the Politics Department, a volunteer at Project Horizon, an Arabic tutor for Languages for Rockbridge and a trip leader at Volunteer Venture. She does not have any immediate plans post-graduation, however, she would eventually like to attend graduate school and pursue a career in diplomacy with a focus on the MENA region.
“The PPIA fellowship program will help me become a better-qualified candidate when applying to graduate school,” Abiza said. “PPIA fellows have access to a wide alumni network, receive a minimum one-time scholarship of $5,000 at any PPIA graduate school once admitted, as well as fee waivers when applying to schools that are members of the consortium.”
Abiza also received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant for a project she will conduct in Rabat, Morocco in August, following the PPIA Summer Institute.
“We are thrilled that Zainab’s project has received this wonderful recognition” said Mark Rush, director of International Education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics at W&L. “Her commitment to service — especially to the welfare of women — has been manifest throughout her time at Washington and Lee.”
For her project, Abiza will be working directly with the Dar Taliba center in the small town of Sidi Yahya Zaer, near Morocco. The project will consist of two major phases: the first phase aims to create a more favorable learning environment for the girls staying at the Dar Taliba Center and the second phase consists of a two-week summer boot camp to improve the girls’ conversational English and prepare them for their English baccalaureate exam.
“Dar Taliba (which translates to ‘home of the students,’ in Arabic) provides not only accommodation and food for the students but also peace of mind for the parents,” said Abiza.
“Her project continues the W&L tradition of promoting and fostering such service-oriented projects during the summer and the academic year,” said Rush. “It is inspiring to see our students’ generosity and genuine interest in using their educational opportunities to promote a better world.”
As a partner school of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, Washington and Lee University is eligible to receive Davis Projects for Peace grants. The program is funded by the late Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who established it on her 100th birthday in 2007 as a way to challenge young people to plant seeds of peace throughout the world with innovative projects. At least one Washington and Lee student has won a Davis grant each year since the award’s inception.
Greg Hunt ’97 Honored for Counterterrorism Work The FBI agent credits his father, the Honor System and his W&L education with shaping his career.
As a kid, Greg Hunt ’97 was intrigued by the professional adventures of his dad, an FBI agent who worked several high-profile investigations in New York during the ’80s and ’90s. But Hunt wanted to carve his own career path, so he followed up his W&L history degree with a J.D. from the University of Richmond, then took a job with a Roanoke law firm.
In 2006, two events caused Hunt to reconsider: His first child, a son, was born, and his father, Paul, who had recently retired from the FBI, suffered a fatal heart attack after running a 5K. “My dad was one of the hardest-working people I have ever known, and, as an agent, he worked tirelessly to protect others,” Hunt said. “I don’t think I appreciated what motivated him until I had children of my own.”
Today, Hunt is the Joint Terrorism Task Force coordinator for 24 counties in Southwest Virginia, including Rockbridge. He is based out of the Roanoke Resident Agency. His work is mostly classified, but a 2016 case grabbed international headlines.
On Aug. 10, 2016, Hunt provided Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with intelligence about an impending terrorist attack. The RCMP intercepted Canadian Aaron Driver, 24, who had just left his home with a homemade explosive device. According to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, Driver was about to leave in a taxi, and had just requested a ride to a popular shopping and recreation area. When confronted by authorities, Driver detonated his device. He was killed by the RCMP during the encounter.
“He wanted to detonate an IED and kill as many Canadians as he could,” Hunt said. “Fortunately, the Canadians were able to act on the information quickly.”
‘EVERYBODY WORKS TOGETHER’
In October 2017, Hunt and his family, including his wife, Cassie Ritter Hunt ’01, director of advancement operations for W&L, traveled to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. There, Hunt, along with others who had worked the case, received the 2017 Director’s Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism. They have since received a SHIELD Award from the Anti-Defamation League, as well.
“They’ve given me entirely too much credit, if you ask me, but it was an interesting case to work on, and I was glad I was in a position to make a positive contribution,” Hunt said. “Everybody works together. I was the case agent, but it took a village, as they say, including personnel from FBI Headquarters, FBI offices around the world, and our Canadian counterparts.
“I do this work because once you are exposed to it and see the threat that is out there, you can’t ignore it,” Hunt said. “It would haunt me if I didn’t do something about it. If I could unlearn what I know about the counterterrorism threat, I would — and I would probably sleep better at night.”
VALUES FOR LIFE
As he looks back on his education, Hunt can see parallels between the W&L Honor System and the FBI’s core values of respect, fairness, compassion, accountability, integrity, leadership and diversity. “Those seven words capture the Honor System,” he said. “We kind of get those values from our parents, but it was at W&L that I first chose those as my own values and owned them.”
The small classroom setting at W&L pushed Hunt to hone the communication skills he calls on every day at work. “You can’t hide in a W&L classroom. Everyone is challenged to think critically, and encouraged to express his or her thoughts. Critical thinking and the ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, are essential skills for any investigator.”
More About Greg
Job: Coordinator, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI Roanoke
Major: History; J.D., University of Richmond
Favorite Teacher: Too many to name! Jefferson Davis Futch, Marshall Jarrett, Taylor Sanders, Henry Porter, Roger Jeans and more
Most Memorable Class: History of Venice (Futch)
Favorite Pastime: Spending time with the kids
Women’s Leadership Summit Jan. 13, 2018
The 2018 Women’s Leadership Summit provided women the opportunity to spend some time off-campus and to explore leadership on a personalized level. This year’s theme was Elevate Your Voice: Understanding Yourself and Defining Success, and the event featured Brodie Riordan ’03 as the keynote speaker, as well as alumnae facilitators and panelists from various backgrounds.
The first annual Women’s Leadership Summit, held in 2009, created a forum where W&L’s women students (undergraduate and law) could explore the history and culture of women’s leadership, participate in leadership skill-building exercises, and be mentored by women faculty, staff and members of the Board of Trustees.
Every year, alumnae are eager to share powerful stories and elements of their experience that align with what our current female students are interested in discussing. The overall message is often about the importance of women supporting and appreciating all levels of women in leadership.
The summit continues to provide a foundation for discussion on the culture of women’s leadership on campus, while also creating a network of Washington and Lee women who are passionate about their personal leadership development.
Quick Hits: Lexapalooza Lexapalooza, W&L’s first arts and music festival, was held on March 30-31 at the Village upper-division housing.
The event was planned, run and cosponsored by Friday Underground, the Hub, WLUR, Outing Club, Arts League, Campus Recreation and the Junior Advisory Group (JAG), in partnership with the Office of Student Activities.
Two Student Teams Tie for First Place in Business Plan Competition Four teams were awarded a total of $11,000 in W&L's 8th Annual Business Plan Competition.
Students enrolled in the BUS 399 Entrepreneurship capstone course presented at Washington and Lee University’s 8th Annual Business Plan Competition on April 6-7. The winning teams were awarded a total of $11,000 in cash prizes. Dr. Jeff Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, has overseen the competition since its inception in 2010.
On Friday afternoon, each team engaged in speed mentoring sessions with seven guest judges. Students incorporated feedback from the judges when presenting their business ideas on Saturday morning. The students were evaluated on their written plan, presentation and the overall viability of their business. Judges deliberated during lunch and announced the winners on Saturday afternoon.
Two teams, Ahatu and Unleashed, tied for first place.
“The plans this year were incredible! Perhaps that’s why the judges found it so difficult to award a single winner and they decided to give two first-place awards,” explained Dr. Shay. “I think the plans are a direct reflection of the exceptional students we admit and the excellent education they receive throughout their four years at W&L.”
“Overall, the business plan competition was a perfect culmination to the Entrepreneurship course,” said William Szczecinski ’18. Szczecinski is a member of Unleashed, one of the first-place teams. “We were forced to draw upon knowledge gained from several courses and were able to apply these fundamentals in a creative way that was not only interesting but also enjoyable, as we became more and more excited about our idea.”
The panel of judges included Jay Flowers P ’18, Tani Greenspan ’16, Robert Mullin ’97, Reid Thompson ’04, Jacki Thompson, Chip Tompkins ’73 and Rachael Wright ’16. Their shared expertise lies in areas such as banking, entrepreneurship, consulting and technology.
Rachael Wright participated in the competition two years ago as a senior. “To say I was impressed with the caliber of the plans would be an understatement… I’m thrilled to see that the program is expanding and that the bar continues to be set even higher,” said Wright.
The Business Plan Competition is hosted by the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. The Connolly Center is an interdisciplinary center intended to help students from across campus learn how to turn their creative ideas into successful business ventures.
First Place (tie): Ahatu
Members: Christofer Chang ’18, Maren Lundgren ’18, Hayley Price ’18, Matthew Rickert ’18
Description: Girls are missing school because of their periods and Ahatu is non-profit created to address this. Ahatu means sister in ancient Sumerian, and it embodies the idea of a locally driven, locally sourced, and sustainable organization that can help solve the problem. Ahatu provides girls with reusable menstruation kits, the main component of which is reusable pads. Kits like these have been proven to reduce school absence rates and Ahatu’s kits, funded by donors, grants, and government, are free to the girls.
First Place (tie): Unleashed
Members: Owen Brannigan ’18, Maddie Haight ’18, Bobby McMaster ’18, William Szczecinski ’18
Description: Unleashed is a do-it-yourself electronic pet containment company whose core product, a multifunction electronic dog collar, is linked with a mobile application to provide users with increased flexibility and accuracy in setting wireless barriers. Using the latest GPS, cellular, and Bluetooth technologies, Unleashed offers a cost-effective alternative to the traditional electric fence, allowing users to draw and share electronic barrier maps on their mobile devices.
Second Place: Daifuku
Members: Benie Bolohan ’18, Keith Denning ’18, Lee Sommerfeldt ’18
Description: Daifuku revolves around a Japanese liquor called shochu. Shochu is Japan’s best-selling liquor due to its rise in popularity amongst young women in the 2000s. Shochu can be used as a vodka substitute, is heart-healthy, and has half the calories of vodka. The business plan is focused on bringing shochu to America and marketing it based on its superiority to vodka.
Third Place: Beep
Members: Kellie Harra ’18, Kathryn Huntley ’18, Lawrence Kostiw ’18, Karishma Patel ’18
Description: Beep is like an Airbnb for parking. Through the app or website, homeowners who have extra parking spaces in their garage or driveway can connect with drivers who need a parking spot. The business was originally set up to target sporting events, concerts, and other events where there is typically a deficit of parking, but has the potential to expand to include parking near airports or parking for commuters and students.
Meeting a Challenge Inspiring More Women to Major in Economics
A group of five W&L students, along with Linda Hooks, Professor of Economics and Head of the Economics Department, recently attended the Annual Conference of Undergraduate Women in Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign. Lisa Barrow, Senior Economist and Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, gave the keynote remarks.
The conference is one component of the Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge (UWE), which was launched in January of 2015 by Claudia Goldin, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and Tatyana Avilova, current PhD student at Columbia University. The UWE seeks to promote the economics major to undergraduate women in the hopes of improving the current ratio of male to female economics majors across the country. According to the UWE website, there are currently about three men for every woman majoring in economics nationwide. Economics departments from across the USA have been asked to join the effort to raise awareness of the gender gap, and to seek solutions to several common causes identified by the UWE Board of Experts.
Margaret Kallus ’19 called the experience “energizing,” noting that hearing differing “perspectives on the opportunities in the field and barriers to entry for women and minorities really emphasized the critical importance of the Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge.”
Hooks, along with Kallus, Katherine Ingram ’20, Lilly Grella ’18, Abby Keller ’20, and Gabrielle Smith ’20 traveled to Urbana-Campaign during the first weekend of winter term finals for the conference. Hooks noted that “it was exciting to talk with undergraduates from so many different universities about economics and to compare notes with them about the econ major.” She explained that the agenda included break-out sessions discussing how to promote the econ major and a careers panel featuring alumnae from the host institution. The students also separated into groups for a case study and current issue solving session and presented to the conference at large. Hooks also commented that she “especially enjoyed the chance to get to know several of our econ majors better and to hear more about their interests and career plans.”
When describing her personal highlights of the conference, Ingram said that “interacting with women at other universities opened my eyes to the myriad ways in which even classroom and curriculum design can contribute to gender parity in undergraduate economics.”
The W&L group’s travel to the conference was funded by a grant from the UWE.
Strong JAG Placement, 10 Month Employment Highlight W&L Law Graduate Report
Washington and Lee University School of Law has released a report on employment rates for its class of 2017.
Data from the Office of Career Strategy (OCS) show another year of strong performance in employment. The report measures employment 10 months after graduation.
According to the report, 83.8 percent of the class of 2017 has secured a full-time job that either requires bar passage or for which a J.D. degree is an advantage. This places W&L as the #2 ranked law school for employment in the Virginia, Maryland and DC market for the second straight year.
“I am happy for our recent graduates and the exciting and fulfilling first jobs that they continue to land after law school,” said Cliff Jarrett, assistant dean for career strategy. “Like our recent classes, the class of 2017 is working in a diverse range of positions, both in terms of practice area and location. Our alumni, faculty and staff continue to help our students reach their career goals and will continue to do so until all of our students have their desired outcome.”
OCS also is reporting positive employment news for the class of 2018. Over 60 percent of the class is already employed in JD required or preferred jobs, with time remaining for more students to finalize their post-graduate plans. In particular, this year’s graduating class has enjoyed tremendous success with placement in U.S. armed forces JAG positions. In all, eight students will go into JAG positions, including 5 to the U.S. Army, which has one of the most competitive selection processes.
The employment report for the class of 2017, available online, was prepared in accordance with requirements of the American Bar Association and includes summary data about the employment status of the 99 graduates in the class.
The report shows graduates working in a diverse range of jobs. 53 percent of those employed are heading to law firms, and more than a quarter of those will be working for “Big Law,” typically firms with over 500 lawyers. 11 percent are working in government and 6 percent in public interest jobs such as legal aid offices.
One particular area of strength for W&L Law has always been placement in federal and state clerkships, and this remains the case for the class of 2017. 26 percent of those employed are clerking, including placements in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and the Sixth Circuits, and federal district courts in New Mexico, Washington and West Virginia as well as state courts in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
These 99 graduates are employed in 23 states and one foreign country. The top geographic areas for employment are Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York.
W&L Law Student Argues Case before Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
Luisa Hernandez, who came to the U.S. at age 13 from Venezuela, has wanted to be a lawyer since she was five years old. The third-year law student’s dream became reality this year when she argued a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Ms. Hernandez is a student attorney in W&L’s Black Lung Clinic. The clinic represents coal miners diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease, in their pursuit of benefits from the coal companies they worked for. In this specific case, Ms. Hernandez appealed the denial of a survivor’s claim—the claimant was a widow whose husband spent forty years working in our nation’s coal mines.
“In a survivor’s claim, the claimant must establish that coal dust induced lung disease was a substantial contributing factor to the miner’s death,” Hernandez explained.
Like many of the cases the Black Lung Clinic takes on, this case has a long and complicated history. W&L Law students have been working on it for roughly a dozen years, and the case has moved back and forth several times between the Administrative Law Judge and the Benefits Review Board.
When benefits were finally denied, the Clinic appealed to the Fourth Circuit with an opening brief written by 2017 law graduate Max Gottlieb. Ms. Hernandez received the case last summer and authored a reply brief to the Court. Then, in a rare move, the Fourth Circuit granted request for oral arguments in the case, leaving Ms. Hernandez about six weeks to prepare despite a heavy caseload in the Clinic and her other classes.
“This work really helps you focus on the fact that your client is your top priority, that they come first,” said Ms. Hernandez. “This is something that Professor MacDonnell, our clinic director, always emphasizes.”
In addition to becoming an expert in the facts of the case and the procedural record, Ms. Hernandez underwent more than a dozen moot arguments with W&L faculty, including former Black Lung Clinic directors Brian Murchison and Mary Natkin, as well as Professors Shapiro, Evans, Eggert, and Shaughnessy. This intense preparation paid off during the oral argument. “One of the most valuable lessons from these moots was learning how to best present sharp arguments knowing that we only had fifteen minutes to make our case to the Court of Appeals,” said Ms. Hernandez.
“I was nervous, but thanks to the preparation I had, I felt ready to explain to the Court why they should award benefits,” said Ms. Hernandez. “Being there and having that conversation with three federal judges was the most exciting time of my life.”
Ms. Hernandez views the experience as not only a capstone to a life-long pursuit, but a true synthesis of the education she has received at W&L Law.
“This experience allowed me to put into practice what I learned in both my administrative law and black lung law courses as well as in the internal and external moot court competitions W&L Law exposed me to,” said Ms. Hernandez. “I know this was a rare chance for a law student, and I will be forever grateful to W&L Law and Professor MacDonnell for providing this opportunity.”
The Court typically takes several months to release a decision, and while the outcome in this case is far from certain, W&L Law students have prevailed in the federal appeals courts in the past, winning ten appeals in the last ten years, including four decisions in the Fourth Circuit in 2017 and another in the Third Circuit in 2013. The Black Lung Clinic has represented hundreds of disabled coal miners and their surviving spouses since its creation in 1996, and has a success rate of approximately 80%.
While she awaits the decision, Hernandez will prepare for graduation in May and for her first job as a lawyer. She will be a litigator at the New York City Law Department, the entity that represents the City of New York, its officials, and agencies in all affirmative and defensive civil litigation.
A W&L Law Send-off A W&L fixture for more than 40 years, Prof. Mark Grunewald's teaches his final class.
Prof. Mark Grunewald likes to joke that he “came with the building” when Lewis Hall opened in 1976. After more than forty years in the classroom and two terms as interim dean, W&L Law certainly won’t be the same without him.
This was the scene on Wednesday as students, faculty and staff gathered to applaud Prof. Mark Grunewald after the completion of his final class before retirement.
We will have more on Prof. Grunewald’s retirement in the next edition of our alumni newsletter.
We will miss you Prof. Grunewald!
W&L’s Swasy on the Labor of Bringing a Baby into Appalachia
“Not much of rural Appalachia ever enjoyed America’s boom times. One big reason: It’s hard to get here. The anti-poverty pledge of the 1960s to connect the area with highways remains unfinished. And the digital highway is more like a gravel road, with unreliable cell phone and internet service.”
Alecia Swasy, Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism at Washington and Lee, recently published a piece based on her research in rural Appalachia. Her piece, titled, “The Labor of Bringing a Baby Into Appalachia” appeared on Splinter News on Apr. 4, 2018.
You can read the full piece on Splinter News online.
Elizabeth Mugo ’19 Awarded Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship
Elizabeth Mugo ’19 will attend the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon. Mugo is a sociology and anthropology double major, with a minor in Africana studies and poverty and human capability studies.
The PPIA fellowship program helps students achieve a master’s or joint degree, typically in public policy, public administration, international affairs or a related field.
Mugo’s PPIA Fellowship will include full tuition to Carnegie Mellon, as well as a stipend and eligibility to receive assistance with travel expenses.
“I applied to PPIA for the opportunity to bring my experiences full circle,” said Mugo. “After discussing everything from heteronormativity to issues of food insecurity in my classes at W&L, I want to move the conversation to what can be done and what policies can be advocated for or changed.”
In addition to her studies, Mugo is also vice president of the Executive Committee and newly elected president for the 2018-19 academic year, a Bonner Program senior intern, an Owings Fellow and a student representative on the Commission on Institutional History and Community Committee.
After graduation, Mugo hopes to work on human rights issues, from refugee resettlement to the criminal justice system to Native American people.
Mugo said,” I hope that my experience at PPIA will allow me to understand further intricacies of policy and give me the knowledge and experience for graduate school.”
W&L Hosts 15th Annual Tom Wolfe Weekend
Washington and Lee University will host its 15th annual Tom Wolfe Weekend April 20-21, with W&L alumnus Tom Wolfe ’51 in attendance.
The weekend’s seminar will feature Hampton Sides, author of the best-selling, critically acclaimed “In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.”
Sides will present the keynote address on April 20 at 4 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The talk is free and open to the public.
“In the Kingdom of Ice,” is a narrative history of the USS Jeannette’s ill-fated attempt to reach the North Pole.
“In the Kingdom of Ice” was selected as a Best Book of the Year (2014) by USA Today, Time, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Christian Science Monitor and The Richmond Times Dispatch.
Other works by Sides include “Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission” (2001), “Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier” (2004), “Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West” (2006), and “Hellhound on His Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History” (2010).
Sides has appeared as a guest on multiple national broadcasts and has guest-lectured at the Columbia Journalism School, Yale, Stanford, SMU, Bowdoin College, the Google Campus, the Autry Museum of the American West and the National World War II Museum, among other institutions.
The keynote address will be streamed live online.
The weekend is sponsored by the W&L Class of 1951.
A Voice for the Homeless: Sam Petsonk ’13L in the Spotlight for Advocacy Work
For those who remember W&L Law alumnus Sam Petsonk ’13L, they will not be surprised by the recent feature in WV Living detailing his work for the homeless population of Charleston.
Petsonk, an attorney with the public interest law firm Mountain State Justice, came to the assistance of the residents of a large tent city along the Elk River after local officials ordered the police to break up the camp. He filed a class action suit against the mayor and police department alleging that the eviction and destruction of residents’ property had violated both the U.S. and state constitutions.
The lawsuit largely remained out of the public eye because Petsonk went directly to city officials with the complaint, hoping that the city, legal aid attorneys and other homeless service providers could come together and collaborate to find a better solution. And that is exactly what happened.
In addition to monetary restitution for the residents of the tent city, the agreement included the construction of storage lockers for the homeless population to use and 14 days written notice before taking action against an encampment. The city and its service providers are also required to provide permanent housing for residents of an encampment. Charleston is now one of only two U.S cities required to provide alternative housing prior to evicting an encampment.
Petsonk earned praise for his efforts from Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, a D.C.-based organization that supported him during the negotiations. “Sam’s work represents a model we hope other communities can learn from and implement,” she told WV Living.
Typically humble, Petsonk gave credit to the homeless community for working along side him and city officials for making progress on this difficult issue. This resonates with something Petsonk said in a 2012 interview when he was awarded a prestigious Skadden Fellowship as a third-year at W&L. “Public interest legal advocacy is not just about relationships in a courtroom; it’s about building a community of advocates.”
Petsonk was born and raised in the coal-mining area around Morgantown, West Virginia, and used the financial support from his Skadden Fellowship to go to work with Mountain State Justice representing low-income West Virginians, primarily in workers’ compensation cases.
“It was only after I left home for a time that I realized how much of who I am I owe to the region and the people of Appalachia,” said Petsonk in 2012. “I have always felt powerfully drawn to return to West Virginia and work on these issues.”
University Singers to Perform in Richmond On April 15, the University Singers will give a public performance in Richmond with world-renowned composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.
Washington and Lee’s University Singers will join the University of Richmond’s Schola Cantorum and Eighth Blackbird, a Grammy-winning professional instrumental ensemble, for a residency and public performance with world-renowned composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. The performance will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 at the Modlin Center for the Arts on the University of Richmond’s campus.
The University Singers will travel to Richmond April 13 to join the other groups in a residency with Ešenvalds, a former member of and composer for the State Choir of Latvia. The residency and performance will culminate with the world debut of Ešenvalds’ newest piece, “A Woman and Her Bear,” on April 15.
According to his website, Ešenvalds is “one of the most sought-after composers working today, with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music heard on every continent.”
He has won multiple awards for his work, including the Latvian Grand Music Award, which he won three times (2005, 2007, and 2015). The International Rostrum of Composers awarded him first prize in 2006 for his work, “The Legend of the Walled-in Woman.”
The Washington and Lee University Singers, conducted by Shane Lynch, continues to be recognized as one of the finest a cappella choirs in the region. Routinely touring both nationally and internationally, the University Singers perform a wide variety of literature as a feature choir in major concert series and prestigious music festivals of groups such as the Virginia Music Educators Association and the American Choral Directors Association. Recently, they have headlined performances at major venues including Carnegie Hall, the Academy of Music, and the National Cathedral.
The University Singers represent a wide cross-section of the programs offered at the university, routinely representing more than 25 of the college’s 39 undergraduate majors.
A Leader Forged by Fire As a first-year student at W&L, Jane Chiavelli '18 had no idea that she would face a huge challenge — and come out of it with strong leadership skills.
“Faculty and my peers saw something in me that I didn’t initially see in myself. They gave me the confidence to believe in my ability to lead, and they showed genuine interest in my development.”
Hometown: Ashland, Massachusetts
Majors: Accounting and Business Administration
Minor: Education Policy
If you had asked me as a First Year what I would be doing by the time I was a senior, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine how I would grow and develop. As an incoming student, I came to school interested in riding horses and pursuing a business-related major, but I did not give much thought to doing anything else on campus outside of Greek life, let alone holding any leadership positions. I have always been the type of person to naturally provide direction and support in a group setting, but I never actually imagined myself pursuing an official leadership role.
After holding a small position on my sorority’s council during my sophomore year, this mindset started to change. Older members of my sorority encouraged me to apply for Money Matters, an educational group for women interested in finance, and gave me reasons I should be the next president of our sorority. Fellow accounting majors and professors expressed why they thought I would be a good candidate for president of Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honors society on campus. And finally, the senior captain of the equestrian team started giving me greater responsibilities to prepare me to take on her role after she graduated. When I look back on my time at Washington and Lee, each and every leadership position I have held on campus is due in part to the support of members of the Washington and Lee community.
This community was particularly supportive during my time as president of Kappa Delta and Delta Society. When I was elected president of Kappa Delta, I had no idea what kinds of challenges I would face. Shortly after becoming president, the chapter discussed the possibility of disaffiliating from our national organization and starting a new, local chapter on campus. This was something I did not anticipate when I originally became president, and I wasn’t sure if I was the one who could create an entirely new organization of more than 80 women.
Nevertheless, I knew I had to do what was right for our chapter. The transition from a national organization to the first local sorority on campus was not easy, but having my Washington and Lee support system made it possible. Dean Sidney Evans and Lauren Jensen spent countless hours working with me to figure out logistics, and they answered my late-night phone calls when obstacles arose. Our chapter’s alumnae, ranging from founding members to recent graduates, sent me dozens of emails saying how proud they were of our chapter doing something we believe in and providing me with strong words of encouragement. Members from other Greek organizations also reached out to me expressing their support. In this moment I fully realized how lucky I am to go to a school like Washington and Lee.
Before starting school here, I knew that Washington and Lee was a close-knit community, but I didn’t fully realize how caring and supportive it would really be. Faculty members and my peers saw something in me that I didn’t initially see in myself. They gave me the confidence to believe in my ability to lead, and they showed genuine interest in my development. Without the encouragement of my professors and peers, I would have never found my interest in leading and helping others, and I certainly wouldn’t have stepped out of the comfort zone I was happy to stay in as a First Year.
To carry on that legacy, I make sure to reach out to my peers when I hear about any open leadership positions or opportunities that I think would help them develop as leaders, or that I think they would enjoy. I can only hope to have the same impact on others as the Washington and Lee community has had on 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 Jane
– Former President of Delta Society
– Lead Class Agent
– President of Beta Alpha Psi
– Member of Money Matters
– Member of the Athletics Strategic Planning Task Force Committee
Conservationist, Historian, Philanthropist W&L Mourns Centenarian Frederick Bartenstein Jr. ’39, ‘41L
Washington and Lee was saddened to hear of the passing in January of a venerable alumnus, Frederick Bartenstein Jr. ’39, ‘41L, at the age of 100. An amateur historian who was passionate about education, Bartenstein transferred appreciated Merck & Co. stock many years ago to a charitable remainder unitrust, reducing capital gains, producing an immediate charitable tax deduction, providing him income during his lifetime, and strengthening W&L, as well as other remainder beneficiaries.
Upon his death, the proceeds were divided among three institutions dear to his heart: New Jersey’s Pingry School, where he educated his four sons and served as a trustee for many years; Wellesley College, the alma mater of his late wife, Isabel Burnham Anderson ’44; and his own alma mater, Washington and Lee.
Bartenstein, who received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1977, made his gift unrestricted, allowing the university to decide how to allot the funds. “An unrestricted gift gives twice,” explained Margie Lippard, associate director of gift planning. “There is the monetary gift itself, and then there is the gift of allowing the board to allocate the funds to the highest giving priorities.”
“Our father remained a quintessential Virginia gentleman; he always aspired to that ideal and adhered to the highest standard of ethics.”
~ Arthur and Fred Bartenstein III
The Bartenstein gift helped with the renovation of the Indoor Athletic Facility, as well as funding the Frederick Bartenstein ’39, ‘41L Scholarship Endowment, which will provide both undergraduate and law school scholarships.
The son of a W&L alumnus — Frederick Bartenstein Sr. ’08 — Bartenstein Jr. was a scholarship and work-study student. While at W&L, his father had majored in civil engineering and, after graduating, headed west to work in the oil business. However, following a family tragedy, he was called home to Virginia by his parents. Once back, Bartenstein Sr. shifted careers and became a managing partner in an apple orchard. Then, when his son Fred Jr. was in high school, the Depression hit.
“My grandfather couldn’t get his apples to foreign markets where they would sell,” recalled Fred Bartenstein III. “He couldn’t afford to send his son to his alma mater, but Washington and Lee provided a scholarship in chemistry given by Jessie Ball duPont, so that’s what my father majored in. He lived in a boarding house in town and was a work-study student typing in the president’s office, where the Webster sisters worked. They liked him and invited him to come live with them at Sunnyside Farm.”
Sunnyside, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was jointly owned by Helen and Ella Webster, who lived on one side of the house; on the other side resided their married sister Isabel Webster Anderson and her husband Colonel James Anderson, a professor at the Virginia Military Institute and later highway commissioner for the state.“
It was an interesting set-up at Sunnyside,” continued Fred Bartenstein III. “The house was divided into two separate households. On one side VMI reigned, where Col. Anderson raised his two sons. The other was the W&L domain, overseen by the two unmarried sisters, who raised the Anderson’s daughters, Helen and Isabel.” Isabel Anderson and Bartenstein Jr. soon became smitten with each other, but put off marrying until her Wellesley studies and wartime job ended.
In the interim, Bartenstein, like many of his peers during WWII, enlisted in the Navy, but wound up with a medical discharge. Wanting to do something for the war effort, and hoping to work on the new miracle drugs, he visited a nearby pharmaceutical company and offered them his services as a chemist. “They laughed at his undergraduate chemistry degree,” noted Fred, “but noticed his law degree and brought him on to establish their first in-house legal department.”
The pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co., moved Bartenstein to its home office in New Jersey, where he served as general counsel from 1953 to 1961 and spent the last 11 years of his 30-year career as administrative vice president, with responsibility for corporate legal, patent, public relations, economic research, and long-range planning. He was also president of the Merck Co. Foundation (1970–72) and active with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.
He and Isabel were married at Sunnyside in 1947; their marriage lasted 51 years, until her death in 1998. The extended family always maintained its ties to Lexington, spending every Christmas and summer at the farm there. Isabel, wanting to ensure that all her children would be Virginians, returned home for the birth of each of her four children, all boys. Their second son, Arthur, a landscape architect, returned to Lexington in 1990.
“Our father remained a quintessential Virginia gentleman; he always aspired to that ideal and adhered to the highest standard of ethics,” agreed Fred and Arthur. “He fully intended that we would go to W&L,” Fred added. In this he was disappointed — his sons, as they often do, had other ideas. Two went to Harvard, another to Hampshire, and yet another to Swarthmore.
After retirement, Bartenstein engaged in consulting, board service — including 30 years, five as chairman, of the Pingry School board, and historical research. He and Isabel researched and co-authored “New Jersey Brigade Encampment in the Winter of 1779–1780” — honored as the most distinguished article to appear in the journal New Jersey History in 1968 — and a book, “A Report on New Jersey’s Revolutionary Powder Mill,” in 1975. Both were conservationists, protecting family properties in New Jersey and Virginia, as well as leaders in efforts to preserve New Jersey’s Great Swamp and the New Jersey Brigade Encampment Site, now part of Morristown National Historical Park.
The couple bought Isabel’s siblings’ shares in Sunnyside in the 1990s, but never resided there. Instead they donated and restored Sunnyside House and gave part of the farm property to the Kendal at Lexington (Virginia) Continuing Care Retirement Community. In 2017, Bartenstein Jr. donated a conservation easement on the remainder of the farm to Virginia Outdoors Foundation, preserving it forever as a community asset. They also supported the Historic Lexington Foundation, on the board of which their son Arthur currently serves. “Despite never moving to Kendal themselves, Dad and Mom both wanted to be buried at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery,” reflected Fred, “so in a way they did finally come back home to Lexington.”
For more information on bequests and beneficiary designations, or IRA Charitable Rollovers, please contact Margie Lippard in the Office of Gift Planning at mlippard@edu.
Lena Hill Named Dean of the College at Washington and Lee University
Lena Hill, senior associate to the president, interim chief diversity officer, and associate vice president at the University of Iowa, has been named dean of the College at Washington and Lee University.
W&L Provost Marc Conner announced Hill’s appointment, which is effective July 1. Her appointment comes on the recommendation of an interview committee comprising faculty, staff and students. Hill will succeed Suzanne Keen, who has served as dean of the College since June 2013. Keen has been appointed vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Hamilton College.
“I am delighted that Lena Hill has accepted the position of dean of the College,” Conner said. “Lena brings impressive administrative and leadership experience from a major national university. She is an accomplished scholar and dedicated teacher who understands what a great liberal arts college is all about. She knows W&L well and appreciates what makes us distinctive. Her perspective and skill set will be of great benefit to our community.”
At W&L, the dean of the College has responsibility for 21 departments, four interdepartmental majors, and seven interdepartmental programs. The dean serves as chair of the Committee on Courses and Degrees and belongs to the Faculty Executive Committee. The dean reports to the provost and serves on the Provost’s Academic Council.
Hill has been a professor of English and African-American studies at Iowa since 2006, and received tenure as an associate professor in 2013. She has served as director of undergraduate studies for the English department, and in 2016 was appointed senior associate to the president before assuming the role of interim chief diversity officer and associate vice president in 2017. In that role she leads three major units of the university — the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and the Diversity Resources Team — and supervises 35 staff members, while overseeing a budget of $3 million.
She holds a B.A. from Howard University, with additional study at Williams College and at Richmond College in Florence, Italy, and a Ph.D. in English from Yale University. After teaching at Yale and the North Carolina School of the Arts, she received a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University before taking her position at the University of Iowa. At Iowa she served on the Strategic Plan Development Group and on the Presidential Search Committee. In 2011 she received the James N. Murray Faculty Award, which recognizes one assistant professor at the university for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Given by the Beta Iota Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (the national leadership honor society founded at W&L in 1914), it honors a young scholar who has demonstrated outstanding rapport with students and who creates an exemplary classroom atmosphere.
Hill’s scholarship focuses on African-American literature, primarily of the 20th century. In 2014, Cambridge University Press published her book, “Visualizing Blackness and the Creation of the African American Literary Tradition,” which examines both visual art and narrative art and their roles in the formation of African-American cultural identity. She and her husband, Michael Hill, co-wrote “Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa during the Long Civil Rights Era” (2016), a study of integration, race relations, and the complexity of community and history at Iowa from the 1930s through the 1960s. They have also co-authored “Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’: A Reference Guide” (2011). In addition, Hill has published a dozen essays, chapters and reviews, and has delivered over 50 papers and professional presentations.
She was recently named to the Publications Committee of the Modern Language Association, the premier literature and language association in the United States.
“What distinguishes W&L are the talented students and exceptional faculty and staff who form the lifeblood of this institution,” said Hill. “Coming here, meeting them, and understanding the amazing intellectual energy around the creative work and intellectual enterprise taking place here has been very impactful for me.
“At this moment in history, I believe more firmly than ever in the mission of the liberal arts,” she continued. “The College stands at a really interesting place in terms of the next steps in strengthening its core majors and expanding exciting new interdisciplinary opportunities. Having the opportunity to work with faculty who are on the ground making that happen, whose own scholarly passions inform what happens in their classrooms and the other spaces where they meet students is, in my mind, one of the most satisfying things that one can do in academia.”
“I am pleased to welcome Lena to W&L this summer,” said W&L President William C. Dudley. “The dean of the College is a critical position, demanding a rare blend of administrative experience, scholarly achievement, and a dedicated commitment to teaching and learning. Lena impressed me on all fronts, and I am confident that she will be an excellent fit for the university. She will arrive at an exciting moment in the life of the university as we begin to work together on bringing a new strategic plan to life, and I look forward to working with her.”
Michael Hill, a prominent scholar of African-American and American literature and culture, will join the W&L faculty as a professor of Africana studies. The Hills have two children, a daughter and a son.
More About Lena Hill:
W&L Photographer Hinely’s Work on Exhibit The work of Patrick Hinely '73 is currently on exhibit at Nelson Gallery, which is located on Washington Street in Lexington.
“I hope the beauty of our area and the other places I’ve depicted comes through in these works.”
~ Patrick Hinely ’73
Nelson Gallery will feature the photographs of Washington and Lee University photographer Patrick Hinely ’73 during April and May.
Hinely grew up in Florida, taking up photography in his teens. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Washington and Lee University in 1973, serving as editor-in-chief of the Calyx yearbook and photography editor for the student literary magazine Ariel.
He has freelanced since 1973, and served as a staff photographer for Charleston’s Spoleto Festival USA from its founding in 1977 until 1983. Since 1992 he has been the staff photographer for the Rockbridge Advocate, a local monthly news publication. Since 1980, Hinely has served Washington and Lee as University Photographer, and from 2003 to 2006 also taught in the Art Department, helping to found the photography program. He will formally retire from W&L later this year.
Hinely has written and photographed for JAZZ magazine, Downbeat, Jazz Forum, Swing Journal, JazzTimes, CODA and, currently, Cadence. Between LPs and CDs, his work, photographic and/or written, has now appeared in or on some 300 albums, as cover pictures, booklet photos, or liner notes, as well as in newspapers, magazines and books and on their covers. He won Grand Prix at Jazz Photo International in 1984, took first place in 1985, and served as jury chair for the 1986 competition in Warsaw. He has exhibited his work in the USA, Canada, Germany and Poland.
“I hope the beauty of our area and the other places I’ve depicted comes through in these works,” Hinely reflects.
Nelson Gallery is located at 27 W. Washington Street. Hours are 11:00-5:00 Thursday through Monday, Sun 10am-1pm. Contact: email@example.com or 540-463-9827.
Wubah Named President of Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Daniel Wubah, professor of biology and former provost and senior adviser to the president at Washington and Lee University, has been named president at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. After completing the academic year at W&L, he will begin his new role on July 1.
Wubah served as provost at W&L from July 2013 to January 2016, then as senior advisor to then-president Kenneth P. Ruscio, assisting with the presidential transition. As a key member of Ruscio’s senior leadership team and chief academic officer of the University, he was responsible for articulating, developing and nurturing the distinctive educational mission of Washington and Lee.
Wubah came to W&L after working in administrative capacities at James Madison University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. A microbiologist who has served on panels for both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, Wubah also taught biology at W&L.
“Daniel will take a wealth of higher education experience to Millersville University,” said current W&L President William C. Dudley. “ We wish him the very best as he assumes the presidency there.”
“Washington and Lee University contributed towards my preparation for this position, and I intend to apply some of the experiences that I gained as an academic administrator here in my new role at Millersville University,” said Wubah. “I will miss my good colleagues and friends.”
More information about Wubah’s appointment is available on the Millersville University website.
A Time to Heal Bruce Rider '66, who served as an Army intelligence officer in Vietnam, was moved to write this essay on the occasion of his 20th reunion.
“It is still not easy to get beyond the losses, the deaths, the anger, and the pain of the Vietnam experience.”
~ Bruce Rider ’66
The following essay was first published in the W&L alumni magazine in 1986.
At first I did not feel entitled to return to the 20th reunion of the Class of 1966.
The invitation in the mail outlining the planned events seemed to be not only from another place and time, but from another world.
The succeeding years of Alumni Magazines chronicled the careers and personal growth of graduates leading lives of excellence, of philanthropic contribution, of improving the very fabric of the communities in which they lived.
In 1966, I believed that my life would go in a similar direction, that the knowledge, discipline and honor developed at Washington and Lee would propel me toward the significant contributions of those who had completed their formative time in Lexington to go out into the world to lead and to serve.
As a captain in the U.S. Air Force, one of my four years of service was in South Vietnam in 1969-70. How does one relate, how does one describe, how does one comprehend the horror, the terror, the overwhelming power of war’s only true victor—death itself?
My Bronze Star Medal was reported in the Alumni Magazine, as well as such other events as the births of my sons and changes in jobs in the years that came after the war.
But how to report and record the true losses from the war—the pain, the not infrequent death of hope itself?
Among other losses from the Vietnam war for me was the loss of most of my eyesight.
A friend read me the planned agenda for the May 1986 reunion. Suddenly, I listened with full attention: a ceremony would be held in Lee Chapel to honor a classmate, a Medal of Honor winner, one of the 18 men from Washington and Lee to die in the Vietnam war.
Such a ceremony was an outstanding and proper event to be included in the reunion, of course. But Vietnam still evokes such mixed feelings and memories. Much about the war was simply crazy, bizarre, unreal, nothing like the myths and mystiques of wars and battles read about in books in Lexington. I came to the reunion in great part drawn by the attempt, at least, to place an honorable marker on the pain and loss of those Vietnam years.
The ceremony in Lee Chapel was genuine, was authentic, was in fact healing.
For me, this was the first public recognition for the time in my life when I risked everything I had so that the freedoms I had grown up with (paid for by earlier generations of American men and women) could be maintained for those who would follow after me.
In retrospect, what truly amazes me is that Robert E. Lee could come to Lexington so soon after a bitter war and devote his energy, imagination, and life to the future of his region and of his nation. Having seen the dark heart of war, Lee turned his attention and abilities almost immediately to the work of peace and the rebuilding of the values of life and honor.
For most Vietnam veterans, it has taken at least 10 years to bring our wounded souls and hearts back to anything resembling fullness and hope.
The inspiration for me now— the almost unbelievable concept— is that Lee could lay down the dreadful past and work with imagination and determination to forge a meaningful future, to provide a legacy for accomplishment and honor that lives today on this campus and in the hearts and minds of our students and graduates.
It is still not easy to get beyond the losses, the deaths, the anger, and the pain of the Vietnam experience.
But, as in so many areas, Robert E. Lee continues to lead the way. To restoration. To forgiveness.
To the need for and value of service to others—so that by taking such action, freedom and justice will prevail over the forces of darkness, discouragement, and despair.
It was not easy to come back to Washington and Lee in 1986, to have to look inward at the cost of self and hope of these past 20 years.
Now I know that it was right to return.
The bedrock values of Washington and Lee remain. In fact, they grow stronger.
And these values will continue to sustain those of us who fought in Vietnam as we look now to the coming years of life, remembering along with Robert E. Lee that it is up to each of us to work to build a world worthy of the Creator God who gave us each the gift of life, so that we might work together continually to have honor, peace, and even joy.
‘I Have Been a Very Lucky Man’ John Gulick '63, who served as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam, was on the wrong end of an ambush about one week after his arrival in country.
“Looking straight ahead at our direction of travel, I saw a huge water spout rise up before me … I didn’t know what the source of this waterspout was, but it had to be serious. Every gun on the boat began firing … for our survival.”
— John Gulick ’63
John Gulick ’63 served in Vietnam as a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his valor. Here, he tells the story of his first night mission in Vietnam, and how that experience affected him for the rest of his life. This essay was originally published in The Blast, the newsletter of the UDT-SEAL Association. It was written just before he returned to Vietnam for a 2001 visit. “I think I wrote it to free up some uncomfortable feelings about going back there,” he wrote in an author’s note. This essay is shared here with permission.
After about a week in country and getting acclimatized, it was time for my platoon to set its first night ambush. We were split in two fire teams consisting of six enlisted and one officer. I was the most junior SEAL officer in the whole place, but I thought my job was more like an E-5 (a second-class petty officer, or lower). We hod gone on a simulated patrol, just to get our feet on the ground. When we did this, I realized that I was in a war and had to face all the risks involved in such an endeavor. The thought come to mind: What is a guy fresh out of college from Somerville, New Jersey, doing here? Trouble was, I was no longer that naive boy, and I had spent the ensuing years, after leaving home, trying to become a tough guy who was willing to do anything — and the universe was now calling for me to really be that, instead of play-acting.
So we had a briefing of sorts, but I don’t remember much of anything about it. In typical fashion, we rode a modified Landing Craft, Medium, Mike boat. It was nicknamed “Mighty Moe,” and it was something. Someone had gun decked over the cargo hold, so that instead of being completely open, our boat had a heavy deck above the regular deck. There were .50 Cal. machine guns (two forward, two amidships and one in the stern). We also had two .30 Cal. machine guns next to the coxswain’s station. There was a small sand mortar pit, from which we could fire a 60 mm mortar, in the center of the deck, just forward of the coxswain’s station. Above the coxswain was a sand bagged platform where we had a recoilless rifle. We were definitely loaded for bear. On this particular night, my platoon was the cargo, and the boat was manned with all SEALs except for an engineman and a blackshoe LCDR running the show and a crewman who manned the rear .50 Cal. machine gun.
Dave Janke and half of our platoon were to disembark first, and I would go in with the rest. We shoved off from Nha Be around 6 p.m. and motored along for the Long Tau River. The Mike boat’s engine had a calming rumble, and the smell of diesel was comforting because it was so familiar a smell in a place where the smells were all new and foreign. As we rode along, I chatted with my good friend, Bill Pechacek, and he was telling me about how he was soon getting out of the Navy, and he thought he would go into the CIA — as he had been recruited. Funny, I remember Bill as my friend, yet the SEALs are so unique that every man there was my friend. No matter officer or enlisted — we lived together and were frogmen/commandos together. We shared everything, and so we were unique in military life, and we were all brothers and comrades, each one willing to give everything for the others.
The time came for Dave and his men to disembark, and I really don’t remember much about that. Such an evolution takes very little time, and when the men are off the boat, they quickly fade into the brush and are gone, completely swallowed up by the swamp vegetation. Then, we proceeded on to where my men and I would get off. We rode a short while, and I called for my men to assemble at the lead edge of the gundeck. We all just sat around watching the dusk take over and the colors becoming muted. It really was a very tranquil sight, and I don’t remember being apprehensive. I was just green.
Then, something happened. Looking straight ahead at our direction of travel, I saw a huge water spout rise up before me. I froze in time, and I thought back to the “Victory at Sea” series about WWII, where many waterspouts were depicted, coming from bombs from planes and shells fired from guns. I didn’t know what the source of this waterspout was, but it had to be serious. Every gun on the boat began firing, suppressing fire — for our survival. My team didn’t have anything to do. Our station was below the gundeck and standing by for orders. We would be anything, from a landing party to reserve gunners or ammo handlers, if someone went down. Sounds good, but I am a very impatient man, and standing around watching Tom Truxell serving as an ammo handler, and as cool as could be, didn’t help. I decided that I should go to a portion of the lower deck and climb the coxswain’s ladder to the gundeck and see if I could help, or be of more use.
I climbed the ladder and thrust my head and shoulders above the surface of the gundeck. When I did that, I heard incoming bullets up close and personal for the first time. What an interesting and menacing sound they make. It gets even better when they strike the metal side of the boat or objects that are metal. Gene Krupa would have been proud of those VC gunners for the music they made beating a tattoo on our boat. But for me, it just meant that this place was inhospitable in the extreme, and that my place was back down below with my men. With that, I began descending the ladder, on which I had been standing while I evaluated the situation and got my first dose of combat religion.
When I reached the bottom of the ladder, I turned and took a step. At that moment a mortar round went off above me and made the loudest sound I have ever heard. I felt like someone had used a bath towel rolled up to whip me in my left leg. The mortar’s blast came down the ladder, and had I been descending when it hit, instead of already down the ladder and a step away from it, I would have been struck by a lot more of the fragments and blast. The implications of that possibility have often occurred to me over the years. Who handled the timing of my descent? My leg stung, and the impact felt somewhat forceful, and I realized that I had been wounded. After checking my men, who were all okay, I went back up the ladder to see what had happened topside. When I got there, it was pretty dark and smoke was still blowing, from the mortar and the machine guns, which were now silent.
Men lay prostrate on the deck, and it looked very bad. My first impulse was to find out if any officers, besides me, were available to take the con, and as far as I could tell, there was no one but me. The problem was that if we continued deeper into the swamp, I didn’t know my way around and didn’t feel confident that I could get us home. So, I told the coxswain, a character and very significant badass, Leon Rauch, to turn the thing around and go back the way we had come. Leon had some kind of compress on his face and a blood streak running down it, and I thought he was such a magnificent pirate — and he was. But Leon didn’t like the order I gave him, and, well, he shouldn’t have. A basic tactical rule is never return to an ambush kill zone, and that is what we were in. More than that, we were dead in the water, as our diesel engine crapped out when the mortar hit. Our non-SEAL engineman went down into the engine space and performed some kind of magic, and we had power again. By that time, our senior officer surfaced, wounded and in pain from a collapsed lung from mortar fragments, and countermanded my order to Leon, and we proceeded away from the ambushers.
I then walked around to the stem of the boat to see the rear .50 Cal. gunner prostrate and out with his weapon unmanned. I could see muzzle flashes from the ambush position and decided that I would take them under fire. I hesitated before I began to fire, because that is the way to draw return fire, but I did it anyway. The .50 was damaged and wouldn’t fire on automatic. I had to chamber a round each time I fired, and that got old fast. I then came back to the coxswain’s station and noticed a lot of commotion around Bill Pechacek. He was down being attended by Joe Churchill, our chief corpsman, a veteran of WWII, the Chosin Reservoir in Korea and now Vietnam. Soon Joe instructed us to muscle Bill down to the bottom deck, out of the way of any other gunfire, and to a place where Joe could work on him. I grabbed Bill’s head and left arm as we man handled this big man like he was a sandbag. When we got him down, Joe looked at me with a lot of emotion and said, “I don’t think he is going to make it.” I don’t recall feeling a thing. It was then that I noticed something very thick and viscous on my hand and looked in the poor light to see what it was. Joe saw me do that and said, “That’s Bill’s brains.”
We then got the boat to a place where our seriously wounded could be medevaced out, and choppers came in and got that done. Those of us not wounded or not seriously wounded remained on the Mike boat to crew it back to Nha Be, and this included me. But I was getting seriously uncomfortable as the little slap on my leg got stiff and painful. We succeeded in getting the boat in, and a chopper was waiting for me. I got on for the ride to the 3rd Army Field Hospital, just near the airport in Saigon.
When I got to the hospital, I only remember waiting. Bill Pechacek was the worst of us and would need hours of neurosurgery, and I needed almost nothing — just basic debridement. I remember looking at Bill unconscious on his gurney and thinking that I couldn’t imagine anyone alive with such horrific wounds. His back was crisscrossed with cuts from the mortar, maybe 200 of them. His head was encircled with bandages, and he was out.
The doctor finally came for me, and I walked to a table where I took my pants off and laid on my stomach. I don’t remember pain — only unpleasant tugging and pulling on my leg. I don’t recall how long it took, but finally he told me that he was finished. I stood and looked down on the floor to see what looked like ground beef strewn around by a careless hamburger patty maker. I asked what that was, and the doc looked at me for a long moment and said, “that’s you.” With that cheerful bit of information, I limped after an orderly or nurse to my bed. The day was over, and maybe it was even the next day. And I was numb, but grateful that I wasn’t Bill about to go into many hours of surgery.
The next day, the Admiral, who was in command of all Naval forces in Vietnam, came to the hospital and handed out Purple Hearts to us. Leon’s bed was next to mine, and I don’t remember talking to him about the Admiral. But, I did think that it was nice that the Admiral pinned a Purple Heart Medal on my pajamas. Leon, being who he was, managed to get a mirror that he placed on a pair of slippers next to his bed. It was strategically positioned so that he could look down at the mirror when a nurse came to talk to him and see upward — hopefully at what was under her skirt. Suffice it to say that Leon had a mischievous and resourceful side to him.
Turned out that Bill Pechacek would never walk again without crutches and would be destined for months of coma, only to miraculously come out of it, completely disabled and unable to speak or read or anything so that his dad was made his guardian. Lesser men wouldn’t have lived or persevered the way Bill did to relearn everything. In time, he became a teacher, married, and had children. Unfortunately, injuries like his don’t get better, and he died early. But he made the most of what was left for him, and after all these years, his brains remain on my right hand. I can’t get it off; it has been with me every day that has been gifted to me as a reminder of how lucky I was that day.
Another aspect of the luck that has followed me everywhere is that we were ambushed from the very place that my fire team and I were supposed to be dropped off to set up our ambush. Had the enemy mortarman held his fire, we would likely have been hit as we disembarked into the water to wade ashore. This happened to other SEALs during the war, and some were killed doing it. Yet on October 7, 1966, the mortarman dropped a mortar into his tube and signaled us to return murderous fire. More importantly, my team and I didn’t get into that water that night. I don’t remember that we ever learned how many we killed that day, but it had to be a bunch — to allow for some speculation.
As the years have passed, I have no regrets or any guilt at all, and I didn’t when I visited Vietnam in January 2011.That visit included a trip into the Rung Sat from Nha Be, where I prayed for the souls of the dead, theirs and those of us who died early because of their injuries — mainly Bill Pechacek and Bob Henry. I also went to the mouth of the Varn Sat River, along with my friend and former UDT-12 teammate, Lance Mann, and to the site where my UDTRA classmates, Dan Mann and Ron Deal, were killed on April 7, 1967. We paused and said prayers for those men who died and those who were injured.
I have tried to live a good life, have loved my children and, despite many mistakes, I have done the very best I could. I didn’t earn the grace that was accorded to me, nor the gift of my own life. And I don’t take it for granted or take it lightly. I have been a very lucky man in so many ways.
W&L Lives Lost in the Vietnam Era Nineteen Washington and Lee University alumni died during the Vietnam Era. These are their stories.
Of the 19 W&L alumni who died during the Vietnam Era, 10 died in South Vietnam, six in the United States and one each in Thailand, Japan and Korea. Twelve of the 19 were killed in aircraft accidents (four of them in Vietnam), six were killed in ground combat in Vietnam, and one died of a brain hemorrhage. Their deaths spanned the years from 1961 to 1973, and their ages ranged from 23 to 54.
Jon Price Evans ’37 was born in 1914 and was from Forty Fort in northeastern Pennsylvania. At W&L, he was vice president of his freshman class, a member of Phi Kappa Psi and wrestled in the 118-pound class. He graduated from Temple University Medical School in 1942 and served as an Army physician during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Among his assignments in 23 years of military service were medical officer for the CIA, senior medical adviser to the Shah of Iran and the Iranian army, and senior medical adviser to the Korean army. He retired as a colonel in 1967 and became the State Department’s Southeast Asia medical officer, based in Bangkok, Thailand. On Jan. 5, 1969, he was traveling on official orders to Vientiane, Laos, when his chartered DC-3 airliner developed engine trouble and crashed just across the Mekong River in northeast Thailand while trying to make an emergency landing in Vientiane. Evans, 54, and three others were killed. His wife, with whom he had two grown daughters, survived the accident. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Thomas Alexander Nalle Jr. ’54 was born in New York in 1932 and lived in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi and the “13” Club at W&L. He was a Marine Corps aviator stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina, on April 18, 1968, when his aircraft plunged into Pamlico Sound in Hyde County, North Carolina. Nalle died instantly. He was 36 and married. He was buried in Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church Memorial Garden in Radnor, Pennsylvania.
William Wakefield Roush ’56 was born in 1934 and grew up in Houston, Texas, the son of a department manager at Westinghouse Electric Co. He belonged to Delta Tau Delta at W&L and transferred to the University of Texas after his father died of a heart attack in April 1954. Rouse graduated in 1956 and entered the Army as a second lieutenant. He rose over the next 12 years to the rank of major in the Green Berets and served three tours in Vietnam. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor) for rescuing the crew of a downed helicopter on January 5, 1968, north of Saigon. He received a second DSC for crawling into the path of enemy fire in an attempt to rescue trapped colleagues on February 27, 1968, near Saigon. “While trying to reach the platoon’s casualties, his group was detected, and the enemy opened up with brutal small arms fire, mortally wounding Major Roush,” his second DCS citation read. Willie Gin wrote in Manchu Diary: “Among the infantry officers I knew in Vietnam, Major William Wakefield Roush stood out as one of the best. He also was an outstanding Green Beret.” Roush, 34, was married with a young son. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
William Michael Akers ’58 was born in 1936 and grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, the son of an engineer. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta at W&L. A lieutenant (junior grade) in the Navy, he and his co-pilot were killed on April 11, 1961, when their Navy Skyraider plane crashed and burned north of Hunter Liggett Military Reservation in King City, California. A rescue party reached the wreckage the next day. Akers, 24, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
William I. Caspari III ’58 was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, where he was born in 1935. A member of Phi Delta Theta and a star lacrosse player at W&L, he was killed on Jan. 4, 1967, when his Navy P2 Neptune patrol bomber crashed into a field shortly after taking off in a light rain from Andrews Air Force Base near Washington. “I saw this big ball of fire coming down,” an eyewitness told the Associated Press. “It crashed, and flames went all over the place.” All nine Navy reservists on board perished in the weekend training mission. Caspari, 31, was the plane’s navigator-bombardier. “He liked his duty,” his mother-in-law told the Baltimore Evening Sun. Married with three sons, ages 8, 6 and 4, he was a sales representative for a chemical firm in Baltimore. He was buried in Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore.
Louis Otey Smith ’58 was born in 1934 and raised in Richmond, Virginia, the son of a real estate executive. He attended Notre Dame for two years and W&L for one year, during which time he was a member of Sigma Nu and on the staff of the Ring-tum Phi. He later received a degree in journalism from Richmond Professional Institute, now Virginia Commonwealth University. He joined the Marines in 1960 and served extensively overseas, including in Vietnam in 1966. He rose to the rank of major and died on May 4, 1973, of a brain hemorrhage in Yokosuka, Japan, where he was stationed. Smith, 38, was married with a son and daughter. He was buried in Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.
Jay Webster Stull ’60 was born in 1938 and was from Riverside, Connecticut, outside of New York. A member of Phi Delta Theta at W&L, he was also on the lacrosse team and was a member of the Sigma Society. On Feb. 28, 1968, Stull, a Marine infantry captain, was aboard a helicopter bound for Khe Sanh in Vietnam. As the chopper crossed over a ridge line, it was hit by automatic weapons fire from North Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns and crashed at full speed, rolled down a mountain, exploded and burned. All 23 military personnel on board perished. Stull, 29 and married, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Jay W. Stull Memorial Award is given each year to the W&L student who attains the highest ranking at the preceding summer’s Marine Corps training camp.
Ronald Oliver Scharnberg ’63 was born in 1942 and was a native of Newport, Arkansas, northeast of Little Rock. He was a Sigma Nu and a Mongolian Mink at W&L. He married in 1968 in San Francisco and died three years later, on March 17, 1971, when his helicopter slammed into a mountainside near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam. “I don’t believe he and the others on the chopper could have ever known what happened,” a fellow soldier wrote on the Virtual Vietnam Veterans Wall of Faces. “It was very fast and in the dark jungle night.” Scharnberg, a 29-year-old major in the Green Berets, was on his third tour in Vietnam. He was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Newport. He was 29. The Major Ronald O. Scharnberg Memorial Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to W&L students who “evidence superior personal and academic achievements and have substantiated financial need.”
Walter Ludman Toy ’63 was born in 1941 and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He played JV basketball at St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville, Maryland, before enrolling at W&L. “Guard Walter Toy stole the ball away from Mervo with three seconds remaining in the game, and tallied a layup to give the team a hard-earned 25-24 victory,” the school’s yearbook chronicled. Toy attended W&L for one year and belonged to Phi Delta Theta. He then attended New Mexico Western College in Silver City, New Mexico. A lieutenant in the Navy, he was killed on March 26, 1969, when his F-8 Crusader jet crashed off the California coast during a tactical training flight. He was attached to Fighter Squadron 124 at Miramar Naval Air Station north of San Diego. Toy, 27, was buried in Orange Springs Cemetery in Orange Springs, Florida.
Charles Christopher Bonnet ’65 was born in 1944 and grew up in the Washington suburb of McLean, Virginia, where his father worked for the CIA. Bonnet belonged to Phi Gamma Delta at W&L. A first lieutenant in the Army, he arrived in Vietnam on Jan. 10, 1967, his 23rd birthday, and was killed two months later, on March 18, in a “friendly fire”-type incident when a tank ran over him during Operation Junction City near the Cambodian border. He was commander of an armored reconnaissance unit at the time. “When I think of him, I remember a sweet and kind man that was simply the best of his generation,” the sister of Jim Ledbetter, a friend of Bonnet’s at W&L, wrote on the Virtual Vietnam Veterans Wall of Faces. “I lost my friend but will always honor and keep his memory.” Bonnet was buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.
Scott Mitchell Verner ’65 was born in 1943 and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A member of Pi Kappa Alpha at W&L, he withdrew from school in his sophomore year. On Aug. 30, 1969, he was a 26-year-old specialist 4 in the Army and a gunner on a Chinook helicopter flying a load of supplies for Australian forces near Saigon. The chopper suddenly flipped over at an altitude of about 200 feet and crashed. “After a few small explosions, a much louder and more powerful explosion was heard, followed by many other explosions as rounds began to cook off,” according to the website of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. All six crew members died. Verner was buried in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh. He was remembered as “one of the world’s good guys” by a high school friend. “Scott was young, blond, handsome, happy and should not have died so far away,” the friend posted on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial website.
James Schenler Wood ’65 was born in 1943 and grew up in La Due, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. He was a Sigma Chi at W&L and a Robert E. Lee Research Scholar. Wood did graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis and enlisted in the Army in 1966. He completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was an instructor there before deploying to Vietnam on April 18, 1968, as an infantry unit commander. Less than two months later, on June 6, he was killed by small arms fire north of Saigon. Wood, married and a first lieutenant, was 25. He was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in St. Louis. The James S. Wood Prize in German is awarded annually in his honor by W&L’s German department.
Leo John Kelly Jr. ’66 was born in 1944 and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He played football all four years at W&L and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. He was a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam when he was killed instantly by possible “friendly fire” on May 19, 1967. “I was with Lt. Kelly when a misdirected artillery round landed in our intended ambush position just outside Gio Kinh, Vietnam,” a fellow Marine posted on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Website. Another Marine wrote on the same website: “Kelly was one of the most honest, direct and professional Marines I had the pleasure, although too short, of serving with during 24 years of active duty.” Kelly, 23 and engaged to be married, was buried in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Peters Township, Pennsylvania.
James Howard Monroe ’66 was born in 1944 and grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, near Chicago. He attended W&L with his high school friend, Rick Olson. “He was very fun-loving and kind of irreverent at times,” Olson recalled years later. “He loved to laugh and have a good time.” Monroe voluntarily withdrew from W&L during his senior year to “provide the time for my attitude to mature.” He was drafted into the Army. A combat medic, he was killed on Feb. 16, 1967, when he threw himself on a live grenade in Vietnam. He was buried in Wheaton Cemetery at the age of 22. “The time was so short,” his mother later said. For his heroics, he was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor on what would have been his 24th birthday, Oct. 17, 1968. “Through his valorous actions, performed in a flash of inspired selflessness, Pfc. Monroe saved the lives of two of his comrades and prevented the probable injury of several others,” his Medal of Honor citation read in part. A middle school in Wheaton and a medical clinic at Fort Hood, Texas, were named in his honor. He is also memorialized with a plaque in Lee Chapel on the W&L campus.
Robert Morrow Fortune ’67 was from Roanoke, Virginia, where he was born in 1945. A member of Pi Kappa Alpha at W&L, he was also in the Young Republicans and worked on the staff of the Southern Collegian. He was a lieutenant (junior grade) in the Navy when he was “lost at sea” on March 11, 1969, according to the inscription on his gravestone in Evergreen Burial Park in Roanoke. He was piloting an F4B Phantom jet on an air combat training mission off the coast of Florida when it went into a spin and crashed. Fortune and his co-pilot parachuted into rough seas 50 miles southwest of Key West. By the time rescue vessels arrived, the only sign of the pilots or their plane was an oil slick. Their bodies were never recovered. Fortune was 23.
Frederick Nicholas Suttle Jr. ’67 was born in 1945 and grew up in Newport News, Virginia, where his father owned a car dealership. A member of Phi Kappa Psi at W&L, he also played lacrosse and was on the Interfraternity Council. He left school after three years, served four tours in Vietnam and rose to the rank of captain. “Fred loved the Army and what he was doing,” a fellow soldier wrote on the Virtual Vietnam Wall of Faces. Suttle was shot and killed on June 2, 1972, while piloting a helicopter trying to rescue the crew of another chopper that had been shot down south of Kontum. “I cried the day my Dad called and gave us the news,” the daughter of an Army colleague posted on the same website. “Even though I was only 7 when I knew him, he left the biggest impression on me. I thought Fred was the greatest.” Suttle, 27 and married, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Robert Barry Crosby ’68 was born in 1946 and lived in Greenville, Mississippi. “Barry was such a nice person and I have fond memories of dancing in the basement of his home to all the oldies,” a high school classmate recalled in a reunion booklet. He was president of Phi Delta Theta at W&L. He deployed to Vietnam as a specialist 4 in the Army in November 1969 and died three months later of burns suffered when his vehicle was destroyed by a land mine. “I conducted Barry’s funeral at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville,” Lawrence Wood wrote in a Presbyterian Church newsletter. “I can still see his parents, Henry and Susan, sitting in the front pew, tears streaming down their cheeks, as Barry’s flag-draped casket was rolled down the center aisle and our organist played ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’ The parents had received Barry’s last letter from Vietnam the day of the funeral!” Crosby, 23, was buried in Greenville Cemetery. “I don’t recall him smoking, or cussing, at least very much,” an Army colleague posted on TogetherWeServed. “He always reminded me of a clean-cut, decent man.”
Henry Poellnitz Johnston Jr. ’70 was born in 1948 and was from Birmingham, Alabama. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi at W&L. He was killed on April 24, 1972, when his Air Force F4C Phantom jet crashed on the Gila Bend, Arizona, gunnery range during a ground attack training mission. His navigator ejected and survived. Johnson, a first lieutenant, was buried in Rosemont Cemetery in Uniontown, Alabama. He was 24 and married. The Henry P. Johnston Jr. Scholarship Fund was established at W&L in 1972 by his family and friends in his honor and memory.
John Peter Luzis Jr. ’70L was born in 1944 in his hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the northwest corner of the state. He spent one year at Berkshire Community College, graduated from The Citadel in 1967 with a degree in history, and attended W&L’s law school for one year. He was a first lieutenant in the Army, stationed in Korea, when he was killed in a plane crash on June 2, 1971, near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. His tour of duty in Korea was nearly over at the time of his death. Luzis, 26 and married, was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Pittsfield. (Photo courtesy The Citadel)
The following name does not appear on W&L’s Vietnam plaque because the death occurred after the Vietnam Era. However, Puller’s death was related to injuries he sustained in the war.
Lewis Burwell Puller Jr. ’67 was born in 1945 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the son of Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine ever. Puller Jr. grew up in the small town of Saluda in eastern Virginia and belonged to Phi Kappa Psi at W&L. (He and Fred Suttle were pledge brothers.) Puller transferred to the College of William and Mary after his freshman year. He followed his father into the Marines and served as an infantry platoon commander in Vietnam. On Oct. 11, 1968, he lost his right leg, his left leg below the knee, his left hand and most of the fingers of his right hand in a booby trap explosion. Despite his injuries, he earned a law degree, raised a family and worked as a lawyer for the Veteran’s Administration. Still, he suffered severe depression and bouts of alcoholism throughout his remaining years. He chronicled his ordeal in his 1991 autobiography, “Fortunate Son,” for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. He spent the last months of his life struggling with alcoholism and addiction to painkillers prescribed to dull continuing pain from his wounds. On May 11, 1994, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 48. Puller was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. “To the list of names of victims of the Vietnam War, add the name of Lewis Puller,” his widow Toddy said in a statement. “He suffered terrible wounds that never really healed.”
Sources: The Library of Congress newspaper archives, Google, Ancestry.com and Lisa McCown of W&L’s Office of Special Collections & University Archives.
Alumni Weigh in on Vietnam Anniversary Alumni who served react to the Fall 2017 alumni magazine article about the war, and share some of their thoughts about that time.
The following correspondence was received by W&L: The Washington and Lee Magazine following publication of “What We Lost: Vietnam 50 Years Later,” which appeared in the Fall 2017 issue.
From Richard Coplan ’64:
I was one of three men in my fraternity at Washington and Lee who went through R.O.T.C. In the ’60s the W&L campus was remarkably quiet. I did not get a sense of the unrest that swept the nation, but perhaps we were a bit early. I volunteered for a program that sent me directly to my active-duty unit without the benefit of branch training. I also wanted to be in a combat arm (infantry, armor or artillery), and volunteered for Vietnam.
Eleven days after graduation in 1964, I was a second lieutenant in the 92nd Artillery, Fort Hood, Texas. The other ROTC men in my fraternity, Jim Wallenstein and David Hyman, served in Vietnam with honor.
Finally, after almost a year of training, our entire unit was scheduled to ship out. Seventy-two hours before, I had been sent to battalion headquarters and told that either I or the other lieutenant in my battery would be going to Fort Sill to teach gunnery. What did I prefer? I honestly didn’t have an answer. The other officer, Lt. Tom Reynolds, said Vietnam.
Three days later, the entire unit was sent to Vietnam and I was on my way to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. It was quite an opportunity. I was in a major’s slot and my boss was a one-star general. Unfortunately, at that time we were sending 200 soldiers a week to Vietnam right from basic training.
My unit was not so lucky. Self-propelled 155m howitzers are heavier than tanks. Fifty years ago they could shoot over eight miles with amazing accuracy, but the terrain was impossible. They couldn’t maneuver. The tracks would embed in the muck. As a result, my unit had to be supported by infantry because the guns simply couldn’t move around, and they had to resort to what was called “direct fire.” They should never have sent these guns into that terrain, but as a result, there were heavy casualties.
I never went to Vietnam, but I lost many friends from the unit. It took years for me to be able to visit the Vietnam Memorial. I was angry, and furious at our leaders. With the benefit of hindsight, from McNamara’s book to the amazing new Ken Burns documentary of the entire war, we can now see how all in power, especially LBJ, got it wrong. Their folly cost us over 58,000 lives.
It remains a sad time in American history.
From Bruce W. Rider ’66:
Thank you for including me in Lindsey Nair’s excellent article, “What We Lost,” about W&L graduates serving during the Vietnam War.
What we gained was a lifelong dedication to building peaceful institutions after our military service, bolstered by the examples of both George Washington and Robert E. Lee, who turned away from the dark heart of war to create frameworks for government and education girded by honor and integrity.
The exciting new look and feel of the magazine still includes obituaries of the 1930s and ’40s graduates, many if not most of whom, like my father (Cowl Rider ’37) served in World War II (as did the remarkable philosophy professor, Harrison J. Pemberton, whose recent passing was reported in this issue).
Washington and Lee University has honored its namesakes by sending some to war but leading all to lives of civic participation and meaningful service.
From Donald B. McFall ’64, ’69L:
I served for two years as an officer in the United States Army in the mid-1960s. I was lucky in that I did not have to serve in Vietnam. Instead, after attending the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, I spent about three or four months in an infantry division in West Germany. I was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for the rest of my tour.
Fort Campbell was the home of the 101st Airborne Division, and the division, at that time, had one brigade (about 2,000+ troops) serving in Vietnam. I was lucky enough to serve on the Special Staff of the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell. One of the duties I had was to represent Major General Barsanti at funerals of soldiers killed in Vietnam when he could not attend the funerals.
You have never had your heart broken until you attend a funeral for a young soldier who died far from home — and often alone. Many times, there would be a young widow, lost and alone, with one or two children in her arms.
The boys who served never got the respect and attention they deserved, so that is why what you are doing to honor them means so much to me and others like me. It is not too late for W&L to say “Welcome Home” to the ones who served in Vietnam, and “Thank You” to others who spent two years or more in the service of our country.
From Charlie Tomm ’68:
1968 was indeed a complex time, and a period I have intentionally avoided contemplating. Doing so is like opening a troubling time capsule, as there was much looming ahead.
However, there was never any doubt in my mind about entering the military after graduation from Washington and Lee, at least partly because of the examples set by members of my family. My father was a widower with an infant daughter and exempt from military service in World War II. Nevertheless, he entered the Navy, left his daughter in the care of his parents and made 16 crossings of the North Atlantic.
My great uncle was exempt due to age, but became an Army medic, spent two years on various fronts in Europe and received two Purple Hearts. My uncle was a P-51 pilot who died two weeks before Japan surrendered. My grandparents grieved every day for the remainder of their lives.
One recollection is thinking of Vietnam as our generation’s war, just as almost every prior generation seemed to have one. At the time I viewed military service as a duty to fulfill, and that sentiment remains. Other memories are not nearly as sanguine, such as the spring ’67 death of my Western PA friend and teammate, Marine 2nd Lt. Jack Kelly ’66. His loss caused some pause in my thoughts.
With the passage of summer, my thoughts eased. In the fall of ’67, I took the oath to enter Navy OCS and volunteered every time there was an opportunity. My four years of active duty service provided many lessons on the crucial roles of self-discipline and teamwork, as well as the critical importance of focusing upon details. Those lessons continue to be invaluable in my personal life and work endeavors.
Fifteen months after graduation from W&L, I was 12,000 miles away as a diver and officer for almost two years on the Navy’s only troop-carrying submarine, which was an experimental diving unit built inside of a submarine. We drilled constantly and engaged in few actual operations.
Most would view us as being among the fortunate. But we felt guilty for not doing more to contribute to the war effort, especially when a couple of our diving unit buddies were wounded in other operations. This caused additional pause for thought, as did daily news of numerous casualties. However, the worries of those back home who cared about us were much greater than our own, because we were well-trained to react and adapt quickly to our situations.
Returning to the U.S. in the summer of ’71 for my final year in the Navy was a befuddling experience. Anti-war sentiment was rampant and reported daily in the media. It was also expressed in many protest songs that I largely tuned out, although “Bring the Boys Home” by Freda Payne in ’71 remains quite poignant.
Some parts of the country were markedly different than before. On a visit to a friend in Boston, I was called names and cursed, and almost permitted myself to be goaded into a fight. Some were spat upon.
I entered W&L Law School in the fall of ’72. A first-year law school classmate who attended a Northeast college actually told me those of us who served in the military were dumb to do so, which kindled a violent reaction. He avoided me for the balance of law school. Many politicians, academics and entertainers actively encouraged the anti-war sentiment, and even advocated poor treatment of the military. To this day, I cannot comprehend why we were treated so poorly for fulfilling our perceived duties.
It is shameful that our politicians and diplomats mishandled the war so egregiously. At the same time, the media sought fresh headlines every day and seemed largely disinterested in the enemy’s treatment of the Vietnam populace and American POWs.
We were completely puzzled as to why the war was being fought with no apparent intent to win, and with nothing positive ever reported in the media. The lack of a will to win wasted many lives. It greatly increased the pain of those who lost loved ones or must continue to live with lifelong disabilities.
I will never understand!
From Rev. Tom Crenshaw ’65:
I read with great interest the article “What We Lost.” I was particularly interested in the comments from Dr. William Sledge and Jim Oran, who were two classes behind me and members of the football team. In 1962, I transferred from Virginia Military Institute to Washington and Lee, where I was captain of the baseball team and co-captain of the football team. I was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and we would often visit area orphanages and nursing homes. I worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church in Lexington.
I graduated in 1965 and headed off to Princeton Seminary, where I earned a bachelor of divinity degree in 1968. During my second year at seminary, I became concerned about the nature of the Vietnam War, and like many others, I was significantly impacted by the television picture of the street execution of that unarmed Viet Cong soldier.
While my dad had been a colonel in the military, and while I had always considered myself a strong supporter of the military, my attitude drastically changed as I continued to read more and more about the war. Unlike many young men my age who were being drafted into service, I was protected by my seminary exemption status, something that I felt was unfair. At a worship service, I turned in my draft card as a way of protesting my exemption, and in doing so I voluntarily put myself in the same status as most other young men who were unprotected by any exemption they may have been granted.
Over the course of a couple of years, my draft board in Watertown, New York, called me in to determine how to respond to my action. I met with them a number of times, but they seemed unsure how to address my decision. They presented me with a number of questions about how I might have responded to past wars to determine if I could be declared a conscientious objector. I answered that I did not know what I would have done had I been faced with a decision to be involved in the War of 1812, World War I or II, or the Korean War, but I knew I was opposed to this one particular war. Because of my limited objection to a particular war and not all wars, they could not classify me as a conscientious objector who was opposed to all wars. The meetings dragged on for over two years, and while no decision was ever communicated to me, I never heard from them again.
Today I honor and respect all of those who did go and fight. I am a strong supporter of our military and am grateful for their willingness to serve and to protect our freedoms. However, watching the “Vietnam” series by Ken Burns, I feel to some degree vindicated for the position I took. However, having said this, I regret the many lives that were lost during that war, and the grief and suffering so many families endured as a consequence of the war.
During my time in seminary, I spoke in a number of churches whose members were curious as to why I took the position I did. I was a conservative, evangelical Christian, far different from many of my more liberal counterparts who were protesting the war, and it was hard for them to understand why I had taken the position I did.
From Kevin R. Rardin ’84L:
I greatly appreciated the thoughtful and well-written article in the Fall W&L magazine about the graduates who served in Vietnam. I could appreciate many of their thoughts and feelings. I also served in a war.
From 2007 to 2008, I served a year on active duty as U.S. Army judge advocate in Afghanistan. Of course, my experiences were different. I was a 50-year-old lawyer in a war that has not divided our country the way Vietnam did. Still, some things seem the same: the sense of being transformed by the experience, a certain amount of both guilt and gratitude for being alive, and a desire to make one’s life count.
Thank you for writing about these men. They deserve the recognition. They make me proud to be a W&L graduate.
‘A Good Place to Grow’ From Lexington to London, Faith E. Pinho '18 has had a vast array of experiences.
Hometown: Everett, Massachusetts
Majors: Journalism and Politics
“How does it feel to be back?” everyone seemed to want to know.
I had just returned to Lexington for my senior year at Washington and Lee University from a year of living, studying and working in London. The rolling hills of Lexington marked a drastic change from the towers and bridges of the London cityscape, and my friends seemed to think that I would bemoan the difference in scenery.
And yet, coming home to Lexington was one of the happiest moments of my life.
As a city girl from the Boston area, I originally had some reservations about attending this southern college nestled in the foothills of Shenandoah country. When I entered W&L as a First-Year student, I quickly became an adamant advocate for increased diversity at the school, and immediately set to work with W&L’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. In my first year, I organized programming to celebrate Black History Month. As a sophomore, I hosted the annual Parents’ Weekend multicultural dinner for more than 250 guests. I served on committees and boards that sought to bring more students of diverse backgrounds to the university.
Along the way, I picked up a few diverse experiences myself. I spent my freshman Spring Term in Ghana, studying African politics with Professor Tyler Dickovick and working with a nonprofit founded by then-W&L senior Emmanuel Abebrese ’15. During my sophomore year, I lived in the Global Service House with students from around the world and interned for a newspaper in Washington, D.C. Then I left for a year to live in an international city, study at King’s College London and work in a tiny British coffee shop.
When I returned to Lexington last fall, the community I had built during my first two years of activities welcomed me back warmly. Journalism professors took me out for lunch and gave me hours of career advice. Dean Tammy Futrell, head of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, caught me up on all the campus goings-on. My Lexington Presbyterian Church family invited me to brunches and dinners. Even the mountains seemed to embrace me. After all my efforts to expand my horizons and travel, coming back to Lexington felt like a sweet return home.
As I graduate, I reflect on the wealth of wonderful experiences I’ve had here. W&L has given me a place to advocate for my beliefs, to travel and work abroad, and to build a community. From class on the Colonnade to hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, from the sunny seat in Pronto to Wednesday morning bluegrass jams – Lexington has been a good place to grow.
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 Faith
W&L’s Staniar Gallery Presents “Panels in Process” The show will be on display April 23 – May 24.
Washington and Lee University’s Staniar Gallery presents “Panels in Progress,” an exhibition exploring the creative process of cartoonist and illustrator Tillie Walden.
The show will be on display April 23 – May 24. Walden will give a public talk on April 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall. The lecture will be followed by a reception; both events are free and open to the public.
Drawings, exploratory outlines and sketchbook pages elucidate the development of Walden’s graphic novels as she works from the initial generation of ideas to the finished product. Her distinctive style blends muted colors and subtle detail with emotional storytelling that often draws on her own life experience.
Walden’s debut graphic novel, “The End of Summer,” was published in 2015 when she was just 19. She has since produced three more graphic novels and a webcomic. Walden is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, an institution in Vermont dedicated to the study of sequential art.
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.
Washington and Lee University Presents Che Malambo Che Malambo comes to the Keller stage for a one-night performance on April 26.
Che Malambo, performers from Argentina, in joint collaboration with Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center and the Concert Guild, comes to the Keller stage for a one-night performance on April 26, at 7:30 p.m.
Praised for its exhilarating choreography and dynamic blend of precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming and song, Che Malambo brings to the stage an inspiring performance of fiery South American virtuosic dancing and authentic traditional Malambo celebrating the unique South American cowboy tradition of the gaucho.
Originating in the 17th century as a rhythmic competition of agility, strength and speed, Malambo has evolved into an art form of zapeteo (fast-paced footwork), rhythmic stomping and amazing music. In addition to zapateo, Malambo features the drumming of traditional Argentine bombos and whirling boleadoras, a throwing weapon made of intertwined cords and weighted with stones used as a hunting weapon to capture cattle or game by entangling their legs or wings.
Che Malambo has toured around the world with its latest production created by renowned French ballet dancer Gilles Brinas. He has received awards from the Bagnolet competition and the Charles Oulmont Foundation and directs his skills to choreograph 14 powerful men.
Che Malambo is also sponsored in part by the W&L Class of ’64 Performing Arts Fund.
Order your tickets online at wlu.edu/lenfest-center or call the Lenfest box office at 540-458-8000 for ticket information. Box office hours are Monday – Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. and will be open one hour prior to performance time.
W&L Announces Spring 2018 Community Grants
Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 9 grants totaling $19,093 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the second part of its two rounds of grants for 2017-18. The committee chose the grants from 16 proposals requesting almost $97,000.
W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:
- City of Buena Vista Parks and Recreation Department – Equipment to document Buena Vista storytelling and history project
- Gospel Way Church of God in Christ – Combating hunger; allied with Feeding America Program
- Rockbridge Area Hospice – Clinical training for staff on the effects of past trauma on end-of-life process
- Lime Kiln Arts, Inc. – Improve ADA accessible restrooms for Lime Kiln
- NDPonics – NDPonics Community Recreation Area Initiative
- Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Inc. – Assist with new vehicle purchase
- Rockbridge Regional Drug Task Force – Purchase of an iPad and camera lens
- Samuel’s Supper – Supporting families who have a child facing life-threatening medical crisis
- Shenandoah Preschool – New shelving units and three iPads
Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.
During its 2017-18 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually, at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The submission deadline for the two rounds of evaluations for 2018-19 will be: by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 2, 2018, and Friday, March 1, 2019. Please make note of the March deadline. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.
Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
7 Days in Germany: A Report from Transatlantic Seminar Students
A group of W&L Law students was in Germany over spring break for an intensive week-long exploration of German law and legal culture. The Transatlantic Seminar, organized by Prof. Russ Miller, brings together American and German law students for a scholarly exchange on both countries’ legal systems, with an emphasis on Constitutional Law.
Day 1 | Sunday, March 4th | Cooking Class
Author: Ari Alatriste, 19L
We were standing in the reception area of the Genussakademie. Professor Miller had just finished his speech welcoming us to the Transatlantic Seminar. It had been one filled with promises of intellectual engagement, hard work, but above all, comradery and friendship. Maybe it was naivety or cynicism, but the polite smiles and side-glances that filled the room suggested that we didn’t fully appreciate the truth of Professor Miller’s words. How wrong we were.
Within minutes of stepping into Chef Lucian’s dojo, a remarkable transformation had begun to take place. Soon, the polite smiles changed to laughter and fist bumps. We were no longer strangers gathered in some building. We were friends cooking a dinner for each other in a warm kitchen. It is only fitting that this happened on our first night together.
After a wonderful meal consisting of several courses, the evening turned to the first session of the seminar. The discussion covered comparative law theory. The work of Günter Frankenberg asked us to approach the comparative project by distancing and differencing ourselves from the subjects of our comparison. By distancing, we abandon our preconceived biases and thus resist the power of prejudice and ignorance. In differencing, we allow the foreign legal system to speak for itself, deepening our understanding of it through its own value system. In its own way, Frankenberg’s framework would guide our growth during the week to come. Reveling in each other’s differences would spark class discussions that truly challenged the ways each of us thought. This in turn lead to greater closeness and franker, more sincere conversations among each other. The last night of the trip would go on to prove Professor Miller’s prediction correct. The trip would end as it only could have—with two now dear friends talking late into the night.
Day 2 | Monday, March 5th | Seminar Day 1
Author: Benton Morton, 19L
The seminar on Monday marked the first full day of work. We walked with our German colleagues in the morning to the Jones Day office in Frankfurt. Once there, we were greeted with fantastic hospitality and a tremendous facility in which to conduct our seminar. The seminar began in the morning with an examination of traditional comparative law theory and methodological approaches. The dialogue between the American and German students warmed up throughout the morning and lead to a stimulating exchange of ideas and perspectives. The afternoon, provided more thought provoking discussion of comparative international law and the methodologies for its effective analysis. In the evening the group visited Pizzeria Da Cimino, Professor Miller’s favorite pizza place from when he lived in Germany. It blew away our expectations. I would travel back to Frankfurt just for that pizza alone.
Day 3 | Tuesday, March 6th | Seminar Day 2
Author: Michael Cruz, 19L
Day two of the Transatlantic Seminar was when things really started to ramp up. Let me first start by describing how I usually started my day. I generally tried to be up by 7:30 am—that didn’t always work out—so that I would have enough time to shower and enjoy the best continental breakfast I’ve ever had. My biggest regret from the trip is that I didn’t eat enough from that breakfast. So, once I had sufficiently filled up on eggs, bacon, croissants, and lox we all left for the Jones Day office.
We all got to the office by about 9:30 am, and let me just say that one of the highlights of my trip was getting to spend some time in Jones Day’s beautiful office. We were on the 25th floor and had an amazing view of the Frankfurt skyline. The view was great, but the conference room we were in was even better. Jones Day was great to us and put out a ton of different drinks like coffee, water, apple juice, and soda. The coffee was definitely a life saver.
Once we were all settled into the conference room we began our discussion for the day. Today’s topic was German constitutional law—we would get to U.S. constitutional law the next day. Professor Miller—along with the German students—were super helpful in teaching us German constitutional analysis in just three hours.
We worked until about 12:30 and then had two hours for lunch. On this day all of us went to this café that Quentin, Caroline, and I had gone to the day before. This place was amazing! The day before I had this cheese stuffed gnocchi and today I had the ravioli. This café was definitely one of my favorite places to eat.
The last three hours of our seminar day were dedicated to preparing for our group presentations. The American students were assigned to present on the German Network Enforcement Act. For our presentation, we went through the traditional German constitutional analysis to decide whether the act was constitutional.
After we all got back to the hotel from the Jones Day office, we had about an hour before dinner. Tonight we were going to a traditional German restaurant. For this meal, I order this ham and cheese stuffed schnitzel and had some apfelwein—apple wine. The schnitzel was amazing! By now you’re probably realizing that I really enjoyed the meals I had while in Germany. Let’s just say I came back to the U.S. a little heavier.
I don’t think I have ever slept so little in week, but I also don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun. All in all I had an amazing time in Germany and want to thank Professor Miller for setting up and running the seminar, and also Jones Day for hosting us. If you have a chance to participate in the Transatlantic Seminar I highly recommend it!
Day 4 | Wednesday, March 7th | Seminar Day 3
Author: Michael Stinnett-Kassoff, 19L
Wednesday’s session was engaging to say the least. The readings for that day’s morning session centered around the U.S. Constitutional protection of free speech. Our German colleagues grappled with the disparity between Germany’s protection of human dignity over some speech and the seemingly “anything goes” version American free speech as protected by the First Amendment. In the afternoon session, both sides put their new knowledge of comparative constitutional law to good use during two presentations. First, the German students analyzed the recent events of Charlottesville, Virginia through the lens of the First Amendment. Second, the Americans discussed Germany’s new Network Enforcement Act while comparing and contrasting it to the U.S. Community Decency Act. Both groups did an excellent job of applying the concepts of the week to these interesting situations. In the evening, Jones Day hosted a lovely reception for the students, offering delectable hors d’oeuvres, refreshing beverages, and witty discussion. It was a well-earned break during a busy yet rewarding week.
Day 5 | Thursday, March 8th | Bundesverfassungsgericht
Author: Kristen Mynes, 19L
On Thursday during our trip, we departed from Frankfurt and travelled to Karlsruhe, Germany to visit the Bundesverfassungsgericht—Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court. Visiting this court was a unique opportunity for both the American and German students. Many of the German students had never visited their own Federal Constitutional Court despite having visited the American Supreme Court. For the American students, it gave us the opportunity to compare and contrast how our courts represent themselves to our societies.
For me, the difference in the physical appearance of the Federal Constitutional Court struck me. When we turned the corner, the building did not look how I anticipated at all after my experience in the American legal system. The building was modernized, edgy, and full of windows. Professor Miller explained that the idea behind the building was to demonstrate the transparency of the Federal Constitutional Court. The building is full of windows and glass so that the people of Karlsruhe are overseeing the work done at the court to ensure transparency in the decisions. This concept was so foreign to me, but I found it incredibly intriguing. I thought it was fantastic that the Court and its architect wanted to represent itself in this way. Meanwhile, the architecture of the American Supreme Court exudes authority, grandeur, and dignity. At times, the Supreme Court can seem imposing, but it clearly sends the signal that it boasts the supreme law of the land. My first look at the Federal Constitutional Court did not elicit such a response, but I grew to love it when understanding its history and purpose.
Justice Paulus is a justice of the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court. His clerk directed a tour of the Court for the students attending the seminar. We learned how the Court works, the story behind the justices’s robes, and walked throughout the building. We visited the Court’s museum, learning about the original justices, what kind of cases the justices have dealt with, and saw portraits of all the justices who have served on the court. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to speak with Justice Paulus himself and ask him questions on when justices dissent, what his favorite case was, how the justices interact, and what he will do after leaving the court. Both American and German students asked questions since this was a unique experience to pick the brain of a justice. I enjoyed listening to the thoughtful questions posed by my colleagues and listening to Justice Paulus’s genuine responses.
Visiting the Bundesverfassungsgericht differed from my experience in the American legal regime and challenged me to continue learning from our differences rather than concentrating on them. I felt closer to my colleagues after visiting this important court in the German legal regime. I felt I better understood how my German colleagues approached problems and enjoyed watching my American friends soak up a completely different court experience than we are accustomed to. I am fortunate to have met these people, traveled with the journal student editors, and have had the opportunity to visit the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.
Day 6 | Friday, March 9th | European Court of Human Rights
Author: Kathy McLaughlin, 19L
After visiting the Bundesverfassungsgericht, the group traveled by train to Strasbourg, France. The trip was quick and there was never indication we had left Germany and entered France. That night we went out as group and entered a meal at L’Ancienne Douane for traditional Alsatian food. A couple of my classmates were brave enough to order the snails, but I decided to just watch and take photos. After that dinner we enjoyed a walk through downtown Strasbourgand along the river to get back to our hotel.
The next morning we woke up bright and early for the half hour walk to the European Court of Human Rights. The walk over was through—what we determined to be—Strasbourg’s Embassy Row, what we later learned is the street named Aevenue de l’Europe. We first came upon the Conseil de l’Europe before looking across the river at the European Court of Human Rights. The building is shaped like the scale of justice—with two round sides connected in the middle. We took a few pictures, before being handed out visitor badges and led through a quick security check.
As someone interested in human rights and with hopes to work in criminal law, entering the halls of The European Court of Human Rights was one of the highlights of my week. Our tour of the building included the grand chamber—where all the cases are brought and heard. We also walked across the hall to the chamber of the Commission of Human Rights, which became obsolete in 1998. In that room we were welcomed by two speakers, the first, a researcher for the court from England and the second, a polish attorney who works at the court for his country. These two individuals gave us inside information about their roles within the court, how the court is structured and works, interesting cases that were decided, and answered all of our many questions. Some of the coolest parts of this talk besides learning about the European Court of Human Rights—getting to sit in the actual seats the commission sat in and clicking the buttons to use our microphones to ask questions.
Day 6 | Friday, March 10th | Strasbourg, France
Author: Caroline Diemer, 19L
Friday afternoon after our visit to the European Court of Human Rights, the group had a few free hours to explore the greater city of Strasbourg. For some, this meant an extended lunch and catnap in the café patio sun before taking in views of the Strasbourg Cathedral. For others of us, this meant a quick lunch of the regional specialty, flammkuchen,—think very thin, crispy flatbread—before embarking on as much sightseeing and souvenir shopping as our time allowed.
We first visited the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, which was equally stunning in the daylight as when we’d seen it lit up the night before. The cathedral has a characteristic pink hue due to the sandstone used for its construction from the Vosges Mountains in eastern France, near the border of Germany. Significant parts of the cathedral are considered Romanesque architecture, even though it is primarily considered one of the finest examples of late Gothic architecture. From the cathedral, we next went in search of macaroons and a local chocolate shop, with the direction of our German colleague. We then explored Place Kléber, the largest square in the city center—part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to many historical points and shops. Unfortunately we were unable to make it to the charming La Petite France neighborhood due to limited time constraints. My favorite part of this experience overall was the ability to engage with our German colleagues over the course of our visit and compare and contrast their takeaways with our own.
Day 7 | Saturday, March 10th | Closing Ceremony & Opera
Author: Quentin Becker, 19L
Maybe it was the Kinder Eggs. Maybe it was the schnitzel. But seeing the Transatlantic Seminar come to a close on Saturday morning felt utterly surreal. I felt that I had arrived in Germany, I blinked, and it was all over. While the days spent in the Jones Day office overlooking the Frankfurt skyline were behind us and the end of free continental breakfasts fast approaching, the moments and the friendships of the week were there to stay. During our intensive meetings in the mornings and afternoons delving into comparative law, new words and phrases were added to our vernacular. “Distancing” and “differencing” became the words of the moment as potential keys to success for the comparative lawyer. And while we attempted to master these terms and theories, distance and difference could not describe the remarkable social experience we each felt with the program and our German law student colleagues. Did we learn to distance ourselves from our own legal regimes? Perhaps, maybe. But there was no distance between the American and German law students. In a short week, new friendships were forged over apple wine, missed trains, and delayed luggage. And differencing? To be sure their were moments of pure appreciation and admiration between cultural differences, from the way we approached a legal problem to the nuances of tackling a group project. But above all, I could not help but to see the overarching similarities between us all: Young and aspiring legal minds, passionate about comparative law, brought together from all walks of life to learn from Professor Miller and from each other.
So as I sat in the Frankfurt Opera House watching La Cenerentola, drifting in and out of moments of quiet reflection punctuated by brief pangs of dread about how I was going to fit the 30lbs of chocolate I bought earlier into my suitcase, I could not help but think, is this as good as it gets? No, it could not be. Though the week was short, the memories and the moments were many, and I knew that each one had become a part of the tapestry that makes each of us, another thread added to each of our stories. The Transatlantic Seminar was more than a seminar, a class, or a moment of pure cultural exchange. It was a seminar that touched–and changed–every one of us, for the better.
W&L to Join Nationwide Bell-Tolling on 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Washington and Lee University will join museums, schools and churches around the world in tolling bells to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.
Beginning at 7:05 p.m. on April 4, the bell in Lee Chapel will toll 39 times to represent the 39 years of King’s life. Members of the community are invited to gather on the lawn in front of Washington Hall for a moment of reflection as the bell tolls.
The MLK50 Bell Toll is being organized by the National Civil Rights Museum, as a way for the nation to acknowledge King’s loss, as well as his significant contributions as a clergyman, a nonviolence activist and a leader of the civil rights movement.
The bells will first ring at the National Civil Rights Museum at 6:01 p.m. CST. Bells will chime in the city of Memphis at 6:03 p.m. CST, 6:05 p.m. CST nationally and 6:07 p.m. CST internationally.
Breaking the Rules in Journalism In a recent visit to campus, Alisha Laventure ’09, a television news anchor in Dallas, told journalism students about how a national story became personal.
“I did something journalists aren’t supposed to do. I shared a deeply emotional story.”
~ Alisha Laventure ’09
While on campus to talk to journalism classes and to present the keynote address for the university’s chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, Alisha Laventure ’09 told students in JOUR 101 that when she took the class with Professor Brian Richardson ’73, he preached the importance of neutrality.
“As journalists, we’re supposed to keep our distance so we can tell the story,” said the noon and 4 p.m. anchor of Dallas’ WFAA (Channel 8). “We’re not supposed to have an opinion. But the rules of journalism are changing. With so many sources of information available, it becomes more important than ever for journalists to provide the public with a road map — to give them some context to help them make sense of it all.”
On Jan. 12, she became what most journalists seek to avoid — the story. The day before, President Trump, behind closed doors, allegedly derided protections for immigrants from certain countries (If you need a refresher on the controversy, here’s a link). “It was a blatantly racist comment,” said Laventure. “He clearly singled out predominately black and brown countries.”
Laventure, whose parents left Haiti for the U.S. as youngsters, was furious. “This hit close to home for me,” she admitted. “My parents came to this country with nothing. They had to start completely from scratch. So for the president of our country to say what he did — to make such a vulgar comment about people who were simply trying to achieve the American dream through hard work — was deeply disturbing. I was angry that no one was delving into it. Why was no one discussing the significance of his statement? If the head of a corporation had made such a statement, he would have been immediately fired.”
With the support of her supervisors, she posted a response on Facebook and crafted a statement to air live, during her evening anchor duties. “It was a drop-the-mic moment,” she said. “Everyone in the studio clapped.” And then she waited nervously for the comments to roll in.
“This is the Red State of Texas, after all,” she said.
The majority of the feedback, however, was supportive. “People thanked me, even Trump supporters.” What surprised her was how quickly the segment went viral. Within a few days, the clip had 6.4 million views, from all over the world.
“I did something journalists aren’t supposed to do,” she said. “I shared a deeply emotional story, but I stand by my decision. You can’t just tip-toe around certain topics. After this broke, a former professor reminded me that ‘There comes a time when the best way to tell a story is to get personal.’ ”
Laventure noted that the rules of journalism are changing in the era of social media. In her community, she’s a public figure and is supposed to engage with her audience not only on the air, but through Facebook and Instagram. The ABC-affiliated station is ranked in the top-10 nationally, which means Laventure reaches a sizable audience everyday.
“I struggle with finding the right balance,” she said. “I might be posting about an important local issue, and the comments are about what kind of hair conditioner I’m using. So I stick to asking open-ended questions to get a conversation going.”
Ultimately, she hopes that by consistently telling balanced, well-researched stories, she is also building trust with her viewers — then, when she needs to offer an opinion piece, they’ll stick with her.
More about Alisha
Before joining Dallas’s WFAA (Channel 8), Laventure worked for News 12 Long Island and was a member of News 12’s Bronx/Brooklyn operation, serving as an anchor, reporter and call-in-show host. In addition, she has worked at Myrtle Beach’s WMBF, as a production assistant and editor in affiliate relations at CBS in New York, and as a reporter based in Bogotá, Colombia, for Reuters in 2008. She helped produce the Emmy Award-winning documentary “The Lost Children of Haiti,” which examined the devastation of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
At W&L, Laventure double-majored in journalism and mass communications and in Romance languages, and studied abroad in Senegal, China, Peru, France, Colombia and Ghana. Upon graduating, she received the prestigious Todd Smith Fellowship to do overseas reporting with Thomson Reuters in Colombia. She’s fluent in French, Spanish and Haitian-Creole.
Kenn George ’70 Named Ambassador to Uruguay George served in the Texas state house from 1999 to 2003.
Kenn George, a 1970 graduate of Washington and Lee University, has been tapped by President Donald Trump to serve as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
George served in the Texas state house from 1999 to 2003 and then as chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party.
The Dallas Morning News website noted that George was assistant secretary and director general of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service in the Department of Commerce (1981-1985). As well as his service in the state government, he has served as chairman and CEO of several public and private corporations, including Blue Harbor Plantation and Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum, in Roatan, Honduras.
Off the Beaten Path From corporate big-law to outdoors gear connoisseurs, Ferrell & Koral Alman (‘12L) demonstrate the versatility of a W&L legal education.
Ferrell and Koral Allman are trailblazers—both literally and figuratively. Ferrell, the lawyer-turned entrepreneur, spent a gap year between his undergraduate and law school tenures hiking the iconic Appalachian Trail. A few years later, the dynamic duo walked away from lucrative corporate law gigs in Silicon Valley to build an eco-friendly outdoor company from the ground up. Not exactly the traditional career arc for most legal practitioners, but eschewing custom in favor of adventure has proven to be a winning formula for the Roanline founders.
For Ferrell, a passion for all things outdoors-related runs in the family—his parents ran an outdoors shop when he was growing up. While he might have picked up on some of the ins-and-outs of the outdoor industry, carrying on the family business wasn’t Ferrell’s original plan. He earned a B.S. in Biological Engineering from Mississippi State University, with the intention of pursuing a career as a patent attorney. Before settling on a law school, Ferrell took a year off the academic scene after undergrad and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. Hoping to land a spot at one of the leading patent law firms, he knew he wanted to go to a law school that was geographically close to Washington, D.C. or, alternatively, the Silicon Valley area. Fortuitously, he fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Lexington during his trek, and after an “outstanding” visit to W&L, the decision to attend was settled.
During his time at W&L Law, Ferrell took advantage of the wide variety of business class offerings from the curriculum. The most memorable aspect of his W&L legal education, however, was the unique 3L Experiential Program that acts as the cornerstone of the school’s unique “actual practice” initiative. “The experience was invaluable, it really gave me a leg up on my peers starting out as a young lawyer.” Ferrell recalled.
After obtaining their J.D.s, Ferrell and Koral both handled complex litigation as big-law associates in Los Angeles, California, where they sharpened their business acumen negotiating complex contractual agreements for corporate elites. All those hours spent in the midst of up-and-coming software companies—coupled with the framework of their legal education—paid dividends when Ferrell and Koral started seriously entertaining the idea of opening up their own business. According to Ferrell, the ability to “see things from a lawyer’s perspective is something different in the corporate world. The attention to detail, intuitive thinking and creativity needed to succeed as a trial lawyer are easily transferrable to many other fields—entrepreneurial endeavors included.”
After over four years of working in the corporate world, Koral spotted a “now-or-never” market opportunity. Having spent years hitting the trails—and buying the gear to do so—she had grown tired of her favorite brands’ lack of products tailored specifically for women: “During one of our hikes, we had a conversation about outdoors clothing and gear marketed towards women and the obvious need to fill the niche for fashionable, but functional products,” said Koral. “A lot of items on the market in the early 2010s were really just men’s items that were more fitted and I felt like there was little effort being made to provide women with items that worked when necessary, but that looked great on them.”
Since moving to Asheville and opening up Roanline, Koral has continued her initiative to provide female outdoor enthusiasts with the right gear: “I’ve worked on really finding the right brands for women—products and brands that are flattering, fashionable and fun; things that can take you from the pub to the trail.” What’s even more impressive is that Koral has continued to practice law while pioneering an effort to empower women who love to experience the wild. “Although I’m still practicing law, it’s great to be able to help Ferrell grow our vision and see where the industry is heading.”
The forward-thinking couple also wanted to provide fellow outdoor-lovers with access to emergent brands with compelling backstories and a proven commitment to giving back to the nature-focused community. Corporate social responsibility and Roanonline go hand-in-hand. Ferrell and Koral plan for the company to become a certified B Corporation in the near future—a third party standard that requires companies to meet social sustainability and environmental performance benchmarks and to be transparent to the public regarding their business practices.
The environmentally and socially responsible business model is producing results for the quickly growing Roanline. Based out of Asheville, N.C., the company is preparing to open up its first brick-and-mortar location to compliment its booming online marketplace. It’s exciting times for the Almans, who are an inspiration for young lawyers everywhere that a little sense of adventure goes a long way in pursuing your career goals.
W&L Law Student Wins Prestigious Writing Award
How do you know your Law Review Note is up to snuff? Winning two prestigious awards is usually a good acid test. That’s exactly what Shaun Bennett’s (‘18L) piece, “Whistling Loud and Clear: Applying Chevron to Subsection 21F of Dodd-Frank,” has accomplished—garnering second place in the Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni’s (ASECA) Writing Competition and receiving The Roy L. Steinheimer Law Review Award from the W&L Law Review.
ASECA is a non-profit charitable organization whose stated mission is to provide the opportunity for education and growth of industry professionals, to promote study and research in the field of securities law and to educate members on securities law by means of lectures, seminars and publications. They hold an annual writing competition for law students from schools around the country pertaining to pressing issues in the filed of securities law. Bennett’s article was awarded second place in this highly competitive national competition—which included a $3,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid awards reception in Washington, D.C.
Each year staff-writers from the Washington & Lee Review are required to write a Note on an issue of current interest in the law with the assistance of a faculty advisor and a member of the Law Review board. All entries submitted to the board are read and evaluated for quality of writing and use of the correct citation formatting. Authors of the two notes chosen as the most outstanding receive one of two awards along with a cash prize—either The Roy L. Steinheimer Award or the W&L Law Council Law Review Award. The Notes are presented to faculty, staff, and students at the Law Review Student Notes Program the following year when the authors serve as Editors on the Law Review board. These notes, along with other exceptional Notes, are published in the Washington & Lee Review.
Another intriguing development that makes Bennett’s Note even more ‘noteworthy’ is that the Supreme Court recently issued an opinion on the underlying case, Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers. On February 21, 2018, the Supreme Court held that the anti-retaliation whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act are applicable only to those who have reported allegations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the time of the claimed retaliatory conduct. The Court’s ruling was premised on the plain language of the Dodd-Frank Act and its definition of a whistleblower. The decision effectively reversed the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s previous ruling that Somers, who had been fired after reporting alleged securities violations within the company but not to the SEC, could pursue a retaliation claim against his former employer.
The Supreme Court took exactly the same approach that Bennett advocated for in his Note—an impressive testament to the soundness of his legal reasoning.
“I could not help but take some satisfaction in the Supreme Court’s opinion,” says Bennett. “In my Note, I argued that the Court should employ the Chevron doctrine and refuse to grant deference to the SEC’s interpretive rule. The Court did just that, and for many of the same reasons I set forth in my Note—I was exhilarated when I first read the opinion.”
However, the Note doesn’t stop there. While Bennett believes that the Supreme Court arrived at the proper legal outcome, his Note also argues that the practical, real-world result is not ideal. He argues that Congress should act to further improve upon whistleblower protection, including revising significant provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Additionally, Bennett highlights that the Court neglected to address the Ninth Circuit’s sidestepping of Chevron or the significant separation of powers issues also relevant to the topic.
Whether Congress takes Bennett’s advice remains to be seen. What is for certain is that Shaun Bennett has a promising legal career in his future. The Managing Editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review will be clerking for Justice Stephen R. McCullough of the Supreme Court of Virginia following his upcoming graduation in May 2018.