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Kerin Awarded Howard Foundation Fellowship She is one of eight applicants to receive a $33,000 grant.

kerinm Kerin Awarded Howard Foundation FellowshipMelissa Kerin

Melissa Kerin, associate professor of art history at Washington and Lee, is a recipient of this year’s fellowship from the Howard Foundation. Kerin is one of eight applicants to receive a $33,000 grant.

“It’s a fabulous grant that gives the recipient freedom to conduct research wherever she needs to be,” said Kerin. “I’ll be able to use this support to live in Vienna, Austria, for the fall 2018 term to work with University of Vienna’s Tibetan Studies and South Asian studies interdisciplinary groups and resources. I’ll also travel to India and Nepal throughout the year to finish up some research there.”

For the last several years, Kerin has worked on her book “Bodies of Offerings: The Materiality and Vitality of Tibetan Shrines.” Kerin will document and analyze Buddhist shrines in the Tibetan cultural zone — Tibet, India and Nepal — which she believes to be complex constructions that respond to, and reflect, many socio-religious environs. If variations among shrines demonstrate dynamic engagement between a devotee and religious objects, then that might reveal new information about the popular religious practice.

“The whole project is, in many ways, a response to the limiting connoisseurship-driven studies that often direct scholarship in Tibetan art history,” said Kerin. “My hope is that my project will contribute to a developing trend in art history that investigates a broader scope of material culture.”

The Howard Foundation has a rotation of five art historical and critical studies topics, such as literary, history and film. The fellowships provide artists, scholars and writers with time to complete their work.

Meditations on the Past and Future Evan Kueffner ’18 remains mindful of the friends, professors, coaches, staff and community members who opened doors to multiple opportunities for him.

Evan-Kueffner-’18 Meditations on the Past and FutureEvan Kueffner ’18

“As a junior, my interest shifted away from sport psychology and began to settle on the mindfulness and meditative ideas which sport psych had exposed me to.”

~ Evan Kueffner ’18

Over the past four years, Washington and Lee has provided me with innumerable formative experiences and opportunities to grow in ways I did not expect but will certainly continue to cherish. Like the majority of college freshmen, I arrived on campus with an extremely general idea of what I wanted to study and what my career would be, but I was far from cementing any details. Now, I leave Washington and Lee confidently, on a career path aligning with passions I discovered and honed thanks to the university.

The first deep spark of interest occurred during the Spring Term as a first-year. I was fortunate enough to take Sport Psychology, where one of the topics discussed was the flow state, in which a person is totally absorbed in their task at hand with little concept of time or capacity to be distracted. I gradually became more interested in sport psychology, and in my sophomore year Professor Mike Singleton was extremely helpful in connecting me with Roanoke sport psychologist Dr. John Heil. As Dr. Heil’s intern, I was again exposed to the concept of “flow,” and took part as Dr. Heil led chronic pain-therapy group meditations.

As a junior, my interest shifted away from sport psychology and began to settle on the mindfulness and meditative ideas which sport psych had exposed me to. A good friend and former wrestling teammate introduced me to a meditative breath technique, and I was hooked. I began my own meditation practice unsteadily, but I was excited by what I deeply felt meditation could do for myself and others.

In my Advanced Methods course, Professor Megan Fulcher assisted me as I conducted research on the connections between mindfulness of bodily sensations, gender and eating disorders among local adolescents. As I looked for opportunities in the mindfulness and meditation industries, Professor Karla Murdock was invaluable in connecting me with Anthony DeMauro, a Ph.D. student at U.Va. who in turn connected me with multiple summer internship opportunities at mindfulness research centers. I ended my junior year by taking advantage of W&L’s fantastic study-abroad opportunities, spending Spring Term in Nepal. Not only was it intrinsically valuable to shift perspectives and experience bits of a new culture, but I was exposed to a society in which many people literally meditate religiously.

My final undergraduate year only further convinced me to pursue a career in mindfulness and meditation. Taking Professor Murdock’s Clinical Psychology and Positive Psychology back-to-back on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Fall Term provided an integrated perspective on the healing and happiness potentials of meditation. Working in Professor Fulcher’s Gender and Development lab has been great for many reasons, one being it gave me the opportunity to lead local children in mindfulness meditations at our after-school community outreach lessons. Finally, for my capstone project, I conducted independent research observing the acute and accumulative effects of different types of meditation on autonomic reactivity to stress. As I leave Washington and Lee, I’d like to remain mindful of all the friends, professors, coaches, staff, and community members who have been so helpful in opening the doors to all this great university has to offer.

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More about Evan

Extracurricular involvement
Phi Gamma Delta
Work-study for Public Safety and the Athletic Department
Wrestling team athlete/student manager

Why did you choose your major?
I’ve always had a broad interest in human thought and behavior. I can’t say I’d ever considered a major other than psychology.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai, hands down. Everything that comes out of that kitchen is amazing, but I have to go with the green curry with veggies and tofu, 7 out of 10 spice.

What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“Peace is Every Step,” by Thich Nhat Hanh

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
The Greek system overarchingly pulls the social tides here, but it doesn’t have to. Finding other options just takes a bit of active, intentional effort.

Post-graduation plans
I’ll be moving to Nashville to work at a gym my uncle is opening, while training towards certification as a meditation instructor.

Favorite W&L memory
Defeating conference rival Ursinus College in a dual meet (wrestling) for the first time in our head coach’s W&L career.

Favorite class
Augustine and the Literature of Self, Soul, and Synapses with Professor Jeff Kosky.

Sifting Through the Past Donald Gaylord's Spring Term class introduced students to archaeological lab methods through hands-on experience, readings and field trips.

On a warm May afternoon during Spring Term, as Katherine Pranka ’18 cleaned what appeared to be a snail shell, a clearer picture of the past emerged. The shell, one of several artifacts excavated only a few feet from what is now Washington and Lee University’s back campus, must have come from dirt where a kitchen house once stood, and where the snails were attracted to discarded food scraps.

Pranka and other students were involved in the dig as part of Laboratory Methods in Archaeology, a Spring Term course taught by research archaeologist and instructor Donald Gaylord. The course introduces students to archaeological lab methods through hands-on experience, readings and field trips. Students processed and cataloged archaeological finds with the goal of answering questions about the historical intersections of race, class and gender during W&L’s earliest years.

“The lab methods course picks up after excavation has occurred,” said Gaylord. “The students take the artifacts from the field, wash them and process them, and go all the way through analysis and testing of the materials.”

archeology01-600x400 Sifting Through the PastW&L Research Archaeologist Donald Gaylord and his students participate in a tour at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

During this year’s Spring Term course, students analyzed material from the 18th and 19th-century site of Liberty Hall. The class also traveled to archaeological sites and museums around Virginia to get a better understanding of how they conduct their research. Field trips included visits to the Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg Archaeology Lab, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

“The most interesting trip we went on was Monticello,” said Josh Fox ’19. “Not only did we do the archeology tour, but we actually got to go into Thomas Jefferson’s house and see how they lived back then and see the context of what we were looking at with the artifacts.”

At Jamestown and Monticello, Gaylord said, students “can see the subtle variations in archeology from place to place, and the way those archeologists go about their business. Everybody collects and excavates in a roughly similar way. However, the analysis and interpretation are often very different.”

archeology19-600x400 Sifting Through the PastStudents in the Spring Term course Laboratory Methods in Archaeology explore the archaeology department at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

When students were on campus, they could be found working in separate groups cataloguing and labeling the artifacts excavated at Liberty Hall. In addition to the snail shells, students found evidence of nails and glass, further affirming that there had indeed been a thriving campus and farm only feet away from what is now upper-level housing.

Most of the students in the class had no prior interaction with archeology before taking the course. In fact, most of them weren’t even archeology majors or minors. However, despite the different majors, Gaylord says archeology has a little something for everyone.

“Archeology is interdisciplinary in a way that it often relies on the hard sciences and analysis of the hard sciences,” said Gaylord. “At the same time, we bridge across to the humanities, and we read historical documents, and we do oral histories. Archeology is positioned in such a way that it allows our students to see the humanities applications of scientific approaches and the scientific applications of more humanities-based approaches.”

archeology21-600x400 Sifting Through the PastArchaeology at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Bui ’21 and Syed ’19 Awarded Gilman Scholarship to Study Abroad Doan Bui ’21 and Hashim Syed ’19 have won Gilman Scholarships to study abroad.

3605107785_17a683b72b_o-600x400 Bui ’21 and Syed ’19 Awarded Gilman Scholarship to Study AbroadGilman Scholarship

Doan Bui ’21 and Hashim Syed ’19 have won Gilman Scholarships to study abroad.

The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

Syed will take an intensive Arabic course this summer at the Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco.

“I have been taking Arabic at W&L for the past three years. Dr. Edwards, my Arabic professor, encouraged me to apply for a study abroad program to further develop my language skills and gain experience and exposure I wouldn’t have access to here,” said Syed.

Bui will take a German language and culture course this summer with IES Berlin.

Doan “is a great example of a student who, while juggling a double major and minor, still managed to find an opportunity to study abroad,” said Cindy Irby, study abroad adviser. “It is exciting to see an engineering student take advantage of both the STEM and language opportunities that Berlin has to offer!”

The Gilman Scholarship Program, named for retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study or intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates.

W&L’s Hoover Offers Credit Score Advice on WalletHub Hoover discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a perfect credit score.

hoover-scott-450x400 W&L's Hoover Offers Credit Score Advice on WalletHubScott Hoover

Scott Hoover, A. Steven Miles Professor of Banking and Finance at Washington and Lee University, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a perfect credit score on WalletHub. In the article, Hoover clarifies common misconceptions behind credit scores.

Read the full article on the WalletHub website.


Class of 2018 Video: ‘What We’ll Miss’

Washington and Lee Graduates 441 Students at 231st Commencement In his Commencement address, president Will Dudley encouraged the Class of 2018 to take the habits they have learned at W&L "and change the world, one small encounter at a time.”

caps-800x533 Washington and Lee Graduates 441 Students at 231st CommencementClass of 2018

Graduating seniors at Washington and Lee University on Thursday were reminded of the institution’s long history, and in particular the history of Lee Chapel on the very day of its 150th anniversary, as President William C. Dudley used the chapel as a symbol for the need to create genuine community.

Noting that we live in a world in which “distrust has gone viral,” he encouraged the graduates to lean on the habits they developed at W&L—with its Honor System and its Speaking Tradition—to change the world, one small encounter at a time.

Having the university president give the Commencement address is a custom at W&L that dates back to the 1930s.

Dudley reminded the 441 members of the Class of 2018 that Lee had the chapel built as “a simple undecorated space that would bring the university together” to enhance both the spiritual and academic life of the college while providing additional lecture and meeting space.

“The need that Lee sought to address when he accepted the presidency of Washington College and built this chapel remains with us today,” Dudley said in his address. “In all of our differences we need to find and forge enough in common to constitute a genuine community.  This project is critical not only at W&L, but to every town and state in the country, and to the nation itself.”

Quoting Danielle Allen, a professor of politics at Harvard who addressed W&L’s opening Convocation ceremony last September, Dudley encouraged the graduates to build trust among fellow citizens, to continue to develop their own “muscular habits of trust production,” and to “convey the wisdom of friendship into politics.”

“This does not mean we have to like all of our fellow citizens, or even all of our fellow classmates,” he said. “But it does mean we need to pay attention to their needs and interests, and to exhibit goodwill toward them. Successful community requires genuine concern for the good of others whom we do not know and with whom we have real differences and disagreements.”

“You are prepared to be the engaged citizens that it is our mission to produce,” he told them. “You landed here as strangers. You have made friends. But just as importantly, Washington and Lee has helped you to cultivate ‘muscular habits of trust production.’ The Honor System has asked you to be trustworthy, and to trust others. The Speaking Tradition has encouraged you to acknowledge strangers as if they were friends. Liberal arts education has taught you to listen attentively, interpret judiciously and reason persuasively. We live in a world in which distrust has gone viral. Take the habits you have developed here at W&L and change the world, one small encounter at a time.”

Read the full address >

grist-mason-l-274x350 Washington and Lee Graduates 441 Students at 231st CommencementMason Grist

Mason Grist, an economics and religion double major from Lexington, Virginia, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2018. Grist was a member of the Executive Committee of the student body for three years, serving twice as president. In his remarks, Grist asked his classmates to remember the school’s motto non incautus futuri—not unmindful of the future—and to be inspired to take care of their alma mater as they transition from students to stewards of the institution.

“Stewardship is an odd, yet fitting, word to describe our relationship with W&L after today,” he said. “It references the care of both people and place, and when I think about the responsibility we have to W&L moving forward, it is to the people and the place.”

“We have all gained something in our last four years at W&L,” he continued. “We have had successes and failures, we have had our worldviews challenged, strengthened, changed, or all three. All these experiences brought us to where we are today, both in this physical place between the Colonnade and Lee Chapel, but also here with the faculty, friends and family who surround us.”

Among Washington and Lee’s graduates were 22 who earned both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree. Altogether, the Class of 2018 earned degrees in 38 majors. More than one-third of the class completed more than one major, with two students completing three majors and 37 percent of the class completing at least one minor.

stephenson-233x350 Washington and Lee Graduates 441 Students at 231st CommencementClass of 2018 valedictorian Mallory Stephenson

Mallory Ellen Stephenson of Fincastle, Virginia, was named valedictorian. Stephenson achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in psychology. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was a recipient of its J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award, the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Undergraduate Award, the James Keith Shillington Scholarship in Chemistry and Biology, the James Lewis Howe Award in Chemistry, and the Robinson Award in English Literature, History, and Social Sciences.

She was a two-time recipient of the Luther Seevers Birely Scholarship, the James D. Davidson Memorial Fund Scholarship, the James McDowell Scholarship and the James Holt Starling Scholarship. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The university awarded honorary degrees to Marjorie Agosín, the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College, and Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus at Washington and Lee.

In presenting the degree to Agosín, Dean of the College and Thomas H. Broadus Jr. Professor of English Suzanne Keene celebrated her—a poet, human rights activist, memoirist and literary scholar—for her commitment to the teaching vocation in the liberal arts, and recognized her as “one of the leading voices in our age for those seeking to chart their way among the many paths and perils of this time.”

Robert D. Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and professor of Business Administration, recognized Beckley—whom he described as a pioneer in the study of poverty, an influential teacher, and a valued colleague and friend—for his impact on generations of W&L graduates, especially alumni of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, and his profound influence on the Washington and Lee University community over more than four decades.

For more information about Commencement and the Class of 2018, please click here.

Loughery ’18 Awarded ORISE Research Fellowship The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) research fellowship will allow her to conduct research at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense.

Tara-Loughery-600x400 Loughery ’18 Awarded ORISE Research FellowshipTara Loughery ’18

Tara Loughery ’18 has won an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) research fellowship to conduct research at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense.

Loughery is a double major in neuroscience and sociology and anthropology.

“I will be working in a lab which focuses on the effects of organophosphate nerve agents on the nervous system and looks at potential drug treatments for the symptoms of nerve agent exposure,” said Loughery.

ORISE administers a variety of internship programs for undergraduate students at national laboratories and other federal research facilities across the United States.

In the future, Loughery plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neurobiology or a related discipline.

“This fellowship will allow me to explore a new realm of neuroscience and develop new skills to build on those I’ve gained through my neuroscience research experience here at W&L,” she said. “I am excited about this opportunity and am very grateful to all of the faculty at W&L who helped me get here.”

According to their website, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world-class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.

Faith Pinho Awarded ODK Leader of the Year for Journalism Pinho’s award is part of ODK’s 2018 General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year competition.

faith_pinho-600x400 Faith Pinho Awarded ODK Leader of the Year for JournalismFaith Pinho ’18

Faith Pinho, a 2018 graduate of Washington and Lee University from Everett, Massachusetts, has been named Omicron Delta Kappa’s (ODK) Leader of the Year for her work in journalism.

Pinho’s award is part of ODK’s 2018 General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year competition. She will receive a $1,000 post-graduate scholarship, and W&L’s ODK chapter will receive a $300 grant.

“Faith Pinho’s national award representing the category of journalism, speech and mass media highlights not only W&L’s strong tradition of leadership but also the value of the liberal arts education in promoting leadership,” said Linda Hooks, professor of economics. “Faith has a distinguished portfolio of work representing coverage of some challenging topics in journalism, and the fact that she won this award highlights how her leadership has an impact on many people through her journalism.”

Pinho also received two awards from the Society of Professional Journalism, Region 2, for pieces that aired on WMRA public radio. Her piece about local musician Jonathan Chapman Cook won in the radio feature category. Her coverage of R.E. Lee Episcopal Church’s name change to Grace Episcopal won for radio news reporting. A third piece, published in The Rockbridge Report, was a finalist.

Following graduation, she will work with The Indy Star newspaper in Indianapolis as a fellow with the Pulliam Journalism Fellowship.

“It was such an unexpected honor to receive this award,” said Pinho. “It is a nice send-off before graduation.”

ODK, founded in 1914 at Washington and Lee, recognizes not only academic achievement, but also campus leadership in five areas of campus life: scholarship; athletics; campus or community service, social or religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts. It has some 285 circles at colleges and universities across the country.

Washington and Lee University to Celebrate 231st Commencement, Baccalaureate Visit our Commencement page to see a complete schedule and logistics, view stories and video about the Class of 2018, and watch live streaming video of graduation.


Washington and Lee University to Celebrate 231st Commencement, Baccalaureate

Washington and Lee University celebrates its 231st undergraduate commencement Thursday, May 24, when it will award bachelor’s degrees to more than 440 students.

University President William C. Dudley will address the graduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony on the Front Lawn of the main campus. Mason Grist, past president of the Executive Committee of the student body and a graduating senior from Lexington, Virginia, will speak on behalf of the Class of 2018.

Commencement festivities begin Wednesday, May 23, at 10 a.m. on the Front Lawn with the traditional baccalaureate service, featuring speaker Harlan Beckley. Beckley is the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus at Washington and Lee, as well as the founder and first director of the Shepherd Program on Poverty and Human Capability. He led the national expansion of the program through the creation of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), a nonprofit comprising 23 colleges and universities across the U.S., and served as the consortium’s founding director until 2017.

Also speaking at the baccalaureate service are this year’s recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, Hannah Falchuk, of Hockessin, Delaware, and Angel Vela de la Garza Evia, of San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico. The two were selected by the faculty as individuals who best demonstrate high ideals of living, spiritual qualities and generous service to others.

During the commencement ceremony on Thursday, W&L will recognize 28 retiring members of the faculty and staff, who represent a total of more than 793 years of service.

Four graduating seniors have been awarded Fulbright grants for postgraduate international work.

  • Carson Bryant, a German and economics double major from Waxhaw, North Carolina, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in Germany.
  • Hannah Falchuk, a politics major from Hockessin, Delaware, will work as a foreign language teaching assistant in the Slovak Republic.
  • Jeremy Friedlander, a business administration and religion double major from Bethesda, Maryland, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in Romania.
  • Jared Shely of Lexington, Kentucky, a double major in Spanish and history, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in

Seven other seniors also received scholarships for postgraduate work.

  • Kiki Spiezio of Taunton, Massachusetts, received the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship at the American University in Dubai and the College to Congress Internship, a summer internship on Capitol Hill.
  • Elizabeth McDonald of Allen, Texas, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a language and cultural immersion program in Japan.
  • Emily Austin of Russellville, Arkansas, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a language and cultural immersion program in Indonesia.
  • Emily Perszyk of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for three years of funding in support of graduate study at Yale University.
  • Faith Pinho of Everett, Massachusetts, received an ODK Leader of the Year scholarship for post-graduate study in journalism.
  • Tara Loughery of Roanoke, Virginia, received a U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellowship.
  • Gillen Beck of Blacksburg, Virginia, received a National College Athletic Association Postgraduate Scholarship in support of graduate study.

The Class of 2018 hails from 34 states, the District of Columbia and nine other countries.

In the event of rain, events will be held at Virginia Military Institute’s Cameron Hall, and the University community will be notified by broadcast e-mail, a notice on the University’s website and other means. Full details on all commencement activities at W&L can be found at www.wlu.edu/commencement. The commencement ceremony will be streamed live online at https://livestream.com/wlu/ugrad-2018.

Prepared for the Game of Life With the support of teammates, professors and friends, Nicholas George '18 was able to balance two majors and a spot on the basketball team.

nickgeorge01-800x533 Prepared for the Game of LifeNick George ’18

Nicholas George ’18
Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia
Majors: Mathematics and economics

Being a scholar-athlete at Washington and Lee has been an unforgettable experience. Throughout this four-year journey, I have learned many skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It is certainly difficult balancing my two majors, mathematics and economics, and basketball on top of other extracurricular activities; however, through the support and guidance of my teammates, coaches and professors I was able to fully experience and enjoy all of these activities.

When I arrived at W&L, my teammates were the first people I met and the first people with whom I became friends. However, many of my teammates, especially the upperclassmen, were more than just friends—they were role models for me. My older teammates not only excelled on the basketball court, but were successful students and active members of the community, engaging in and leading various clubs and activities across campus.

My teammates led by example. They demonstrated the balance, discipline and persistent effort needed to fully engage in every activity with which they were involved, and to succeed in those endeavors.  As a first-year student immersed in that culture, witnessing their success both on and off the court, it motivated me to emulate them so that when it was my turn to be the “old guy,” I could be the same leader for the younger guys.

Another special part of my experience has been developing personal relationships with many professors in the economics and mathematics departments. Unfortunately, the length of our basketball season leads to many academic-athletic time conflicts. On many occasions, I have had to miss class, tests or outside lectures; however, my professors were always more than understanding; they were supportive and encouraging of my athletic ventures.

While always demanding as much of me as any other studentand sometimes even morethey always accommodated scheduling issues.  Whenever I had to miss class for a sports event they would always be willing to meet outside of class (even outside of office hours) to go over the missed material. As a result, I developed meaningful relationships with my professors, some of which turned into mentorships and research opportunities. These professors have truly influenced and challenged the way I think, and the way I scrutinize what I read and hear. That contributed to my efforts in the classroom and on the basketball court.

Like my professors, my coaches instilled in me the discipline and values necessary to succeed, now and in the future in every area of life. They taught us the importance of the journey; specifically, how we prepare and approach that journey. Preparation is as important as the big shot. Through the hours spent in the gym with our coaches, we discovered who we were. In the end, my coaches sharpened my discipline and molded my persistence in our pursuit of success. In preparing us for big games, our coaches prepared us for the game of life—every skill that we relentlessly worked on translated to a skill necessary to succeed in the classroom and beyond. They created and maintained the culture of incredibly hard-working, involved scholar-athletes.

Any success I have had at W&L is because of these attributes of a scholar-athlete that I have learned along my four-year journey with my teammates, professors and coaches. Thanks to my special experience at W&L, I now understand the importance of coaches who prepare you, mentors who challenge you and friends you can look up to.

Nicholas George has earned impressive accolades as a guard on the W&L men’s basketball team. Over four seasons, he made 140 triples, while shooting 36.8 percent (140 of 380) from behind the arc. The 140 three-pointers are the fourth-most in the history of the program, and his three-point percentage is 10th on the all-time list. This year, he made the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Division III Academic All-America Men’s Basketball second team, and was named the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete.

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 Nick

Extracurricular involvement:

Basketball, Williams Investment Society

Why did you choose your major?

I chose to double major in mathematics and economics because of how well they complement each other. Math gave me a better foundation to understand economics; at the same time, economics made the math more interesting because there were practical applications.

Has anyone on campus inspired you?

There are so many remarkable professors here at Washington and Lee, many of whom have inspired me, like Professor James Casey (economics). He was the academic advisor for the basketball team. We have spent many hours together doing research during the summer and school terms, as well as getting up shots in the gym. This school allows amazing access like this to these academic leaders.

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

Chick-fil-A in The Commons (not a regular offering, but something student groups often bring in for fundraisers). I like the chicken sandwich with extra Chick-fil-A sauce.

What book do you recommend to everyone?

“Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus

Post-graduation plans:

I would like to go to graduate school for mathematical finance.

Favorite W&L memory:

Beating Randolph-Macon our last game of the 2017-2018 season, and the last game ever played in Warner Center.

Favorite class:

Professor Art Goldsmith’s economics elective course on the economics of social issues

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

I’ve seen all 36 seasons of the reality TV show “Survivor.”

W&L to Award Two Honorary Degrees at 2018 Commencement

Washington and Lee University will recognize the outstanding contributions of two college professors — Marjorie Agosín, the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College, and Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus at W&L — with honorary degrees at the university’s 231st commencement ceremonies, on May 24, 2018. Beckley will also be the Baccalaureate speaker, on May 23.

2018 Honorary Degree Recipients

PoetryandHumanRights-659x1024-350x343 W&L to Award Two Honorary Degrees at 2018 CommencementMarjorie Agosín

Marjorie Agosín is a poet, human rights activist and literary critic whose research interests include Jewish literature and the literature of human rights in the Americas; women writers of Latin America; migration, identity and ethnicity.

At Wellesley, she teaches courses on writing, historical and public memory in the Americas, Jewish women writers, and Latin America.

Raised in Chile, Agosín earned a B.A. from the University of Georgia and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. She is the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction and literary criticism. Her collections include “The Angel of Memory” (2001), “The Alphabet in My Hands: A Writing Life” (2000), “Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of my Chilean Jewish Father” (1998), “An Absence of Shadows” (1998), “Melodious Women” (1997), “Starry Night: Poems” (1996), and “A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile” (1995). Agosín has received numerous honors and awards for her writing and her work as a human rights activist, including a Jeanette Rankin Award in Human Rights and a United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights, the Good Neighbor Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews, the National Mujer Award from the National Hispana Leadership Institute, and a Pura Belpré Award for celebrating Latinx cultural experience. The Chilean government honored her with the Gabriela Mistral Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

In nominating Agosín for the degree, faculty members from W&L’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the Center for Poetic Research, and the Department of Comparative Literature said, “Professor Agosín has brought her vivid poetry and her inspiring work to campus on several memorable occasions. Her body of work and generosity of spirit speak to her great humanity and consistent work for social justice in its many forms. Washington and Lee University students and faculty alike can attest from repeated experience on campus to the inspiring vitality and luminosity of her presence.”

Bacc_Beckley-350x234 W&L to Award Two Honorary Degrees at 2018 CommencementHarlan Beckley

Harlan Beckley is the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus. He taught in the Religion Department at Washington and Lee from 1974 to 1997, when he founded and became the first director of the Shepherd Program on Poverty and Human Capability. Conceived as a curricular and co-curricular initiative, the Shepherd Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the causes and consequences of poverty. In the 20 years since its inception, it has grown to be the largest minor at W&L, with a strong community-based learning and service component, including the Campus Kitchen at W&L, the Nabors Service League, and partnerships with local agencies that aid under-resourced members of society. In 2012, Beckley led the national expansion of the program through the creation of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), a nonprofit comprising 23 colleges and universities across the United States that offer coursework in poverty studies along with summer internship opportunities. He served as the consortium’s founding director until 2017.

Beckley, who earned a B.S. in economics from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Christian theological ethics from Vanderbilt University, served as vice president and president of the Society of Christian Ethics from 1999 to 2001. He received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award, Virginia’s highest award for excellence in education, in 2002, and served as acting president of Washington and Lee University in 2005-06. He retired from W&L and the Shepherd Program faculty in 2014.

In nominating Beckley for the degree, Shepherd Program faculty and alumni said, “Honoring Harlan’s multiple contributions to W&L as a teacher, scholar, innovator and senior administrator is richly deserved and an appropriate way to close the celebration of the two decades in which the Shepherd Program has enriched the students, faculty and staff of Washington and Lee, the greater Lexington and Rockbridge communities, and now the national landscape of higher education.”

Thomas V. Litzenburg Jr. ’57, Retired Director of the Reeves Center, Dies at 84 Litzenburg, who worked at W&L from 1991 until 2003, was also the former acting university chaplain.

Litzenburg_1997-400x600 Thomas V. Litzenburg Jr. ’57, Retired Director of the Reeves Center, Dies at 84Thomas Litzenburg Jr. ’57

Thomas Vernon Litzenburg Jr., the retired director of Washington and Lee University’s Reeves Center and former acting university chaplain, died on May 19, 2018. He was 84. He worked at W&L from 1991 until 2003.

“I am grateful for the many contributions that Tom Litzenburg made to W&L,” said W&L President Will Dudley, “As a student, he edited the Ring-tum Phi; as our chaplain, he ministered to the spiritual needs of the community; and as director of the Reeves Center, he cared for our collections of artwork and Chinese export porcelain. And in that latter role, he helped guide the Reeves Center to its 50th anniversary, which we celebrated last year.”

Tom Litzenburg was born on Oct. 18, 1933, and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He got to know W&L during visits to campus with classmates from Baltimore’s St. Paul’s School. He badly wanted to apply but knew his family could not afford the tuition. A postulate for holy orders, he was able to enroll after Frank Gilliam (Class of 1917), then dean of admissions, connected him with a pre-ministerial scholarship.

In 2003, Litzenburg told the W&L magazine that during his first year at the university, he had such a good time that his academic performance slipped. He credited his Beta Theta Pi fraternity brother Ray Smith ’55 with showing him how to study more effectively. Litzenburg rallied and became a serious student, as well as editor of the Ring-tum Phi.

He also earned a reputation for outspokenness. “Although he at times offered opinions that many of us were not ready to receive with open minds,” fraternity brother Farris Hotchkiss ’58 told the magazine, “he was an influence on us for the better in ways we did not always understand or appreciate.”

Planning to attend seminary, Litzenburg majored in philosophy and graduated from W&L cum laude in 1957. The university nominated him for a Danforth Fellowship, which he held from 1957 to 1964 and which underwrote his studies at Yale Divinity School. One of the teaching assistants there was John David Maguire ’53, who helped to further hone Litzenburg’s academic performance: He received a B.D. cum laude (1961) from Yale, and an M.A. (1963) and Ph.D. (1965) in religion from Princeton University.

Following his graduate studies, Litzenburg embarked on an academic career, at Wells College, a women’s college in Aurora, New York. He was an instructor (1964-1966), assistant professor (1966-1970), special assistant to the president (1971-1973), and associate professor of philosophy and associate professor of religion (1971-1974). At Wells, he got to know the then president of that institution: John Wilson, who would become the president of W&L in 1983.

In 1975, Litzenburg moved into a different sphere with jobs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, first as a program officer (1975-1977), then as special assistant to the chairman (1977-1978) and assistant chairman (1979–1981). He also worked as executive director for policy at the Association of American Universities (1981-1982).

From 1982 to 1991, Litzenburg returned to academia, as president of Salem College, a women’s college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He then served as a visiting scholar at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in 1991, and that same year returned to W&L as executive assistant to President John Wilson.

Litzenburg’s career as director of the Reeves Center was supposed to be temporary, but (somewhat to his surprise) he received the nod from President Wilson for the permanent post.

He also oversaw a renovation of the Lee Chapel Museum for the university’s 250th anniversary, in 1999. To accomplish that task, he coordinated an all-star W&L team of collaborators: Holt Merchant ’61 and Taylor Sanders, now both professors of history emeritus; Mary Coulling, author of a book on the Lee daughters; Vicki Sessions, of Leyburn Library; the late Captain Robert Peniston, then director of Lee Chapel; and the late Frank Parsons ’54, then coordinator of facilities planning.

In 2004, the Reeves Center honored him by creating the Thomas V. Litzenburg Award for the W&L student who submits the best paper on artwork in the university’s collections.

Litzenburg belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, received the Tew Prize in 1961 from Yale, and served as a Princeton Fellow in 1961.

Among the organizations to which he gave board service were the Association of American Colleges, Old Salem and the Museum for the Early Southern Decorative Arts, the Women’s College Coalition, Leadership Winston-Salem, the Sawtooth Center for Visual Design, the American Red Cross, and the United Way.

He traveled as a representative and consultant to the People’s Republic of China (U.S. Cultural Delegation), London and Cambridge (British Council), Paris (UNESCO), Oxford (Wolsey Hall), University of Oxford (St. Peter’s College) and the University of London.

Litzenburg co-edited two books, “The Logic of God: Theology and Verification” (1975) and “Intellectual Honesty and Religious Commitment” (1969). He oversaw the production of the book “Chinese Export Porcelain in the Reeves Center Collection at Washington and Lee University” (2003), which he also co-wrote, with Ann T. (Holly) Bailey, then associate director of the Reeves Center.

As an ordained member of the clergy, Litzenburg served as chaplain of Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore colleges (1959-1960); as honorary associate rector of Trinity Episcopal Church (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania) (1960-1962); as chaplain of Wells College (1964-1974); and as an assistant at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (1986-1991).

“His clear focus on the virtues of Washington and Lee, and his willingness to stand up and say when he thought we were straying from those virtues, will be sorely missed,” Hotchkiss told the magazine at Litzenburg’s 2003 retirement.

Litzenburg is survived by his children, Timothy Litzenburg ’04 and Emma Litzenburg Ball (Thad Ball), and his grandchildren, Jasper Ball, Tristan Litzenburg and Piper Litzenburg.

A memorial service will take place on Friday, May 25, at 9:30 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, Lexington. A private burial will precede the service, and a reception will follow at Kendal Hall.


The Value of Wandering More than any other experience at W&L, the Outing Club has taught Bowen Spottswood '18 about living life joyfully.

7583894160_IMG_0198-800x533 The Value of WanderingBowen Spottswood ’18 takes a break during an Outing Club hike to McAfee Knob in Roanoke County.

“The Sunset Club, other Outing Club outings, and the OC members help me to unplug and recharge, to just be and to wander.”

Bowen Spottswood ’18
Hometown: Point Clear, Alabama
Major: Religion
Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

As we wandered through the ponderosa pine trees in Bryce Canyon National Park during an Outing Club Spring Break trip, James Dick, W&L’s director of outdoor education and recreation, mentioned to me that the motto for Outing Club the next year would be “unplug and recharge.” I thought that was rather catchy, and we chatted about it for a bit then and there. However, upon further reflection, I realized it was precisely this “recharging,” refreshing aspect of the Outing Club that makes it such a unique and special aspect of the Washington and Lee community, especially in my own experience. The Outing Clubmeaning James, the experiences, and the communityhas not only empowered me to push my limits. It has instilled within me a love to wander and has persistently reminded me to step back from business in order to just be.

I arrived on campus eager to explore the mountains and trails in Lexington and surrounding areas. I knew how to slip on hiking boots, pack a PB&J, and walk up a hill, but I could not have imagined the opportunities ahead. Through the Outing Club, I have been hiking, caving, backpacking, paddling, trail running and biking. I’ve traveled on Spring Break trips to Zion, Bryce and the Paria Desert. I was encouraged to participate in a backpacking excursion in the Yukon Territory with the National Outdoor Leadership School. I felt prepared for treks throughout my semester in New Zealand. I’ve even had the opportunity to lead others into the woods as an Appalachian Adventure Trip Leader and a member of the Outing Club Key Staff. This summer, I’ll be guiding high schoolers with Moondance Adventures in Alaska. My experiences in the OC have empowered me in four short years to continue heading outside unafraid (but safely, of course), learning more from those who have been there, done that.

These experiences with the Outing Club are wonderful because of the lessons they have taught me and the people I have met along the way. They have reminded me to step away from the busyness and just be. When I find myself slipping into a calculated, busy routine, even just a little excursion can refresh me and reground me. The experiences also remind me of the value of wandering. This world is a glorious and mysterious place. I don’t have to wander anywhere specific or exotic. When I simply saunter slowly, paying attention to the trees or to zany Outing Club members around me, I’m refreshed. I often encounter this nourishment near sundown, as I have grown to care deeply about the Sunset Club. My friend McKenna Quatro ’18 and I have been loyal members since its very beginning. The adventure is simple—we watch the sun go down. Yet, something about it continues to fill me with life. The Sunset Club, other OC outings, and the OC members help me to “unplug and recharge,” to just be and to wander.

The fun-loving, caring, crazy folks that proudly label themselves OC members are the heart of the Outing Club. James, our humble leader, cares heaps about going outside, but more about living life joyfully and fully. His perspective is rejuvenating and lively. He has built and fostered a close-knit yet eclectic community, pulling from every end of campus. I am grateful for this peculiar crew. Some of my fondest W&L memories take place at Appalachian Adventure trip leader training, sitting on a grassy hill sharing stories and bad jokes as the sun goes down. I know that these meaningful experiences and lessons from James and the Outing Club will remain close to me in years to come, whatever the years may hold and wherever they may be. I’ll remember to unplug and recharge, to be and to wander.

fixedMountains01-800x533 The Value of WanderingBowen poses with fellow members of the Sunset Club on a sunset hike.

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 Bowen

Extracurricular involvement:

Peer Counseling
Outing Club
Reformed University Fellowship (RUF)
Owings Fellowship
ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

Why did you choose your major?

I took Intro to Religion with Professor Jeffrey Kosky as an interesting way to fulfill a Foundation and Distribution Requirement (FDR). We spent the first half of class exploring what religion is and why people do it. I was fascinated and continued to take religion classes. Some friends convinced me to go ahead and sign off on the major. It was definitely the right decision.

Has anyone on campus inspired you?

University Psychiatrist Dr. Kirk Luder’s calm demeanor and deep care for the well-being of the W&L community has continued to amaze and inspire me throughout my time in Lexington. He really makes people feel known. On top of all that, he is the most incredible chef.

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

I love to go to the Red Hen on special occasions. Most recently, I ordered a snapper entrée. Their famous lemon meringue dessert is the best way to finish off any meal there.

What film or book do you recommend to everyone?

I would recommend Thoreau’s “Walden.” My friend Becca Morris’ recent time with this book for her religion thesis has motivated me to respect this book more than I had before. While I don’t think we all need to go live like Thoreau, I think he artfully presents some cool ideas about living

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?

I wish that I had known that I didn’t have to decide post-graduate plans so early, and I wish that I had known the value of taking classes I deeply care about sooner.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I hope to go to graduate school for a master’s in counseling after a gap year working with Moondance Adventures and traveling in South America.

Favorite class?

I really don’t have a favorite, but two of my top picks are Nature and Place with Professor Jeffrey Kosky and Neighborhoods, Culture, and Poverty with Professor Jon Eastwood.

Why did you choose W&L?

I came across W&L in a funny way. I was in Virginia visiting larger schools. My mom had some close ties to Lexington, and she knew I should at least give W&L a look. Well, she knows me better than I know myself sometimes. I immediately recognized the sense of community and cheerfulness that I know and love on campus today. I made my decision that very day, and luckily things fell into place.

Brian Peccie

W&L’s Peccie Wins Individual Title in NCAA Division III Golf Championship Generals Finish as National Runner-up

Washington and Lee sophomore Brian Peccie won the individual title and the Generals finished National Runner-up, as play finished at the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship held at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. on Friday.

Peccie tied for first with Logan Young of Concordia (Texas), as both completed 72 holes at -3.  Peccie posted a 71-69-69-76—285 and Young carded a 72-69-73-71—285.

The playoff occurred in a downpour and both players made par on the par 5 18th-hole twice, before Peccie posted a third par on the par 4 10th-hole to claim the individual title.

On the 10th, Peccie put his drive in the fairway about 185 yards from the pin.  Young hit his drive into the rough and then put his second shot into a hazard left of the green, opening the door.  Peccie’s second shot landed just shy of the green, about 25 feet from the pin.  He chipped eight feet past the hole and drained the par putt to claim W&L’s first individual National Championship in the sport of golf and just the 16th individual National Championship in school history.

As a team, the Generals produced the highest finish in program history with the runner-up showing.  The prior best had been in 2016 when W&L tied for third overall.

Methodist claimed its 12th NCAA title, finishing the championship at +7 with a 294-287-282-296—1159.  The Generals completed the event with a 292-289-292-297—1170 (+18) to finish one stroke ahead of Texas-Tyler, which placed third.  UT-T shot 296-287-296-292—1171 (+19).

Washington and Lee featured several other solid individual showings en route to its second-place finish.  Sophomore Boyd Peete carded a 72-74-73-74—293 (+5) to tie for 18th overall out of the 96 golfers that made the cut.  Sophomore Sean Puleo and senior Luke Farley both finished in a four-way tie for 47th.  Puleo shot 73-72-79-75—299 (+11) and Farley recorded a 76-76-74-73—299 (+11).

Sophomore Robert Quinilty rounded out the Generals in the field with a 76-74-76-75—301 (+13) that tied for 54th.

Following the tournament, Peccie was named a First Team All-American and he received the Division III Arnold Palmer Award as the National Champion.

A complete list of the NCAA Division III National Champions from Washington and Lee is listed below.

Washington and Lee Individual National Champions
2018 – Brian Peccie, Men’s Golf
2016 – Tommy Thetford, Men’s Swimming (100 free & 200 free)
2014 – Zander Tallman, Men’s Track & Field (Outdoor 400 meters)
2008 – Alex Sweet, Men’s Swimming (50 free)
2006 – Emily Applegate, Women’s Tennis (Singles)
2005 – Lindsay Hagerman, Women’s Tennis (Singles)
1995 – Marilyn Baker & Natalia Garcia, Women’s Tennis (Doubles)
1995 – Nathan Hottle, Men’s Swimming (200 breast)
1990 – Bill Meadows & John Morris, Men’s Tennis (Doubles)
1989 – Bobby Matthews & John Morris, Men’s Tennis (Doubles)
1989 – David Olson, Men’s Swimming (200 back)
1989 – John Morris, Men’s Tennis (Singles)
1977 – Ben Johns & Stewart Jackson, Men’s Tennis (Doubles)
1976 – John Hudson, Men’s Swimming (500 free, 1650 free)


W&L Presents Senior Recitals The performance is free and open to the public.

Washington and Lee University presents combined senior recitals for Reeves Surgner ’18 on guitar and Ben Whedon ’18 on piano May 21 at 5 p.m in Lenfest Center. The performance is free and open to the public.

Surgner is a music major and French minor. He began taking guitar lessons at age 10, which led to his love of music. While he is not classically trained, a history of playing guitar and singing led to his initial involvement in music at Washington and Lee.

Surgner began taking music courses during his sophomore year, intending to minor in music. After one year of studying music, he changed his major from economics to music and became actively involved in the programs of the music department. He also spent a great deal of time performing with University Bluegrass Ensemble.

Whedon is a music minor at Washington and Lee who entered the department during his freshman year. Since then, his involvement in music has been as much a part of his experience as his actual classes and degrees.

Whedon has taken piano lessons since the age of four but quit all involvement in music before entering high school. He resumed his piano studies in the fall of 2015, hoping to prepare himself for the challenges of performing in the University Singers. This decision revived his love for the instrument, and he has since pursued it as an interest independent from choral work. In addition to his voice and piano studies, he is an amateur guitarist. He has also conducted the University Singers in rehearsal, and the University Wind Ensemble in live concert. Whedon will graduate from W&L with a B.S. in accounting and business administration and a B.A. in European history.

W&L Seniors Present Piano and Violin Recital The performance is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

yolanda-yang-600x400 W&L Seniors Present Piano and Violin RecitalYolanda Yang ’18

Washington and Lee University seniors Yolanda Yang and Maggie Ma will present their piano and violin combined recital on May 21 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall. The performance is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

Yang is a politics and psychology major from Tianjin, China. She began studying the piano at the age of six, first on an electric keyboard. “I’m thrilled to have had the chance to take lessons for four years on a real piano in college with Shuko Watanabe, W&L instructor of music,” she said.

Ma began violin lessons at the age of four with the Wuhan Conservatory of Music. She was the associate concertmaster of the Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra and played in Howard County’s High School Gifted and Talented Orchestra, as well as the Junior and Senior Maryland All-State Orchestras as the second violin principal.

Ma attended Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer of 2010, where she was a first violinist in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and studied under Naomi Gjevre. In the summer of 2011, she attended the Brevard Music Festival, where she was a first violinist in the Transylvania Symphony Orchestra and studied under Carolyn Huebl. In high school, she co-founded the String Theory Quartet, which performed for weddings and community engagements. She was the student concertmaster of the University Orchestra at W&L in 2015-16 and is a student of Jaime McArdle, W&L lecturer in music.

No Longer a ‘Reluctant Leader’ Truth Iyiewuare '18 looks back at his growth as a member—and then president—of the Student Association for Black Unity at W&L.

Truth-800x533 No Longer a 'Reluctant Leader'Truth Iyiewuare ’18

“…being here at W&L has made me into a better person than I could’ve hoped to be. I’ve met so many beautiful individuals who have put so much energy into making sure I flourish here, and I appreciate them for every second of it.”

Truth Iyiewuare ’18
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Computer Science

A couple of months ago, I was at an event  I think it was the LEAD banquet ceremony in Evans Dining Hall. During the event, President Dudley came to the stage to give a few opening remarks before awards were handed out. Admittedly, I don’t always pay full attention during ceremonies like this, but there was a part of his speech that still sticks with me.

Like the philosopher he is, he started talking about Plato. He mentioned Plato’s views on the kind of people who should become leaders. I can’t remember the quote exactly, but the message was that, essentially, we should look for people who are reluctant to be leaders to actually lead us. People who are too eager to lead are more likely to do it only for their own personal gain. Those that are unwilling to lead but still choose to do so, do it for the greater good of society, and not for any ulterior motives.

I’m not a philosopher, so I can’t really speak to the legitimacy of Plato’s theory. The part that struck me was the way it described reluctant leaders. I saw myself in that description.

I spent a lot of my first year of college just trying to cope. My home in Houston, Texas, was a long way from campus, and most of my time was spent trying to get a grasp on where I belonged in the social space here. Greek life wasn’t really for me, and based on the lack of diversity I saw, neither was the party scene. I didn’t do any visits beforehand, so my first steps on campus were only a couple days before classes started. The phrase you’ll hear a lot of students like me use about their first day on campus is “culture shock.” Luckily, I was able to find a core group of friends early on who were there to support me through the struggle, and still do to this day. But even with my friend group, I didn’t seek to be a leader, and didn’t apply myself to any extracurricular activities.

Near the end of my first Winter Term, I received an email notifying me that I had been nominated to be the advertising chair for the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU). At the time, I had only been to one meeting and one or two organization events. I didn’t think anything of it, and disregarded the email. Yet, a week later, I somehow won the election. I was a bit annoyed about being thrown into an executive position that I didn’t even want, but before I knew it, I was creating flyers, sending out emails and throwing support behind this organization to which I had barely been exposed.

By the next year, I was vice president with Elizabeth Mugo ’19, and we held 15 events throughout the year, most of them new ones that stemmed from random ideas from the general body. The year after, I was elected president, and we kept it up  holding rallies, showing movies and hosting collaborative events with other organizations, non-Greek and Greek alike. I found myself going to meetings with administrators, and having my voice included in conversations about decisions that would affect the entire school. I’m on panels and meetings about diversity, and I’m a member of Kathekon, ODK and Phi Beta Kappa all things I never would have dreamed of claiming during my first year here.

A lot of people come to this school with high school accolades top 10 percent of their class, valedictorian, president of an organization, part an honor society I was none of those things when I stepped foot on campus for the first time. But being here at W&L has made me into a better person than I could’ve hoped to be. I’ve met so many beautiful individuals who have put so much energy into making sure I flourish here, and I appreciate them for every second of it.

Graduation’s coming soon, whether I like it or not. I think my goal as a leader of SABU was to create something that wasn’t here before; to be for other people what SABU was for me. I hope I was able to do just that, and I feel confident that those coming after me will be able to do the same.

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

Extracurricular involvement:

  • President of SABU
  • Member of Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Phi Beta Kappa Member
  • Kathekon Member
  • QuestBridge Match Scholar

Why did you choose your major?

I gained an interest in computer science after trying out a free online course in Javascript my junior year of high school. I think I liked the creative, hands-on aspect of coding, so I decided to try it out in college.

Has anyone on campus inspired you?

Way too many people to name, so I’m bound to leave out somebody. But to name a few (in no particular order): Dean Tammy Futrell, Kelsey Goodwin, Kim Hodge, Dean Tammi Simpson, Amber Cooper, Dr. Moataz Khalifa, Professor Jess Keiser, Professor Ken Lambert, President Will Dudley, Lt. Chuck Hubbard, Professor Jon Eastwood, Chris Moore (former residence and Greek life coordinator) and many, many more.

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

Napa Thai. Beef fried rice, spiciness 7 or 8.

Favorite W&L memory?

That one time my friends and I freestyled on Traveller and we all went in.

Favorite W&L event?

It’s a tie between Black Ball and Taste of Africa.

Why did you choose W&L?

Initially, because the financial aid package was looking real nice. I’m a QuestBridge scholar, so everything was paid for before I came here. But I chose to stay because of the relationships I’ve made and the deep sense of community that exists here.

University Singers Present Annual Commencement Concert The performance is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

SOC030118_17-1-600x400 University Singers Present Annual Commencement ConcertUniversity Singers

The Washington and Lee University Singers will present a final performance for the academic year under the direction of Shane M. Lynch on May 22 at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall. The performance is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

The concert will feature favorite works throughout 2017-2018 selected by the seniors, focusing mainly on highlights from their tour during February Break.

While the final selections won’t be made until a few days before the performance, , attendees can most likely expect to hear works by J.S. Bach, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Dan Forrest, Stephen Paulus and, as always, the group will close the concert with “Shenandoah,” arranged by James Erb.

“The concert began in part because there are always a decent number of University Singer members who have family that have never seen them perform live,” said Shane Lynch director of Choral Activities and associate professor of music. “University Singers has been an integral and extremely meaningful part of their college experience, and while the Livestream technology is amazing, it’s just not the same as being there in the house. This gives us a chance to sing for family and friends one last time.”

A Message from President Dudley Regarding the Report of the Commission on Institutional History and Community

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley
Date: May 18, 2018
Re: The Report of the Commission on Institutional History and Community

In August 2017, I appointed the Commission on Institutional History and Community and charged it with examining how the ways that we teach, discuss and represent our history shape our community. I asked the commission to make recommendations about how we can best present our physical campus to take full advantage of its educational potential in a manner that is consistent with our core values.

Having received the commission’s report, I am sharing it with the university community in its entirety.

Read the report online.

I would like to express my profound thanks to the 12 members of the commission for their exceptional service on behalf of the university. They embraced their daunting task with enthusiasm and performed admirably under the leadership of the chair, Brian Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law. I met with them last week, shortly after they submitted their report to me. It is clear that throughout this substantial undertaking, they were remarkably persistent in talking through their differences and, in the process, developed deep and abiding respect for one another. This is just as I would have expected and should serve as a model for all of us. We owe them our gratitude for the thoughtfulness of their work and the manner in which they conducted it.

The commission did extensive research and heard from more than 1,000 alumni, students, faculty, staff members and friends over the past nine months. They read the hundreds of emails that were sent, conducted on-campus listening sessions with faculty, students and staff, and held four telephone conferences for alumni. The resulting report reflects deliberation informed by both historical scholarship and a diversity of viewpoints from all corners of our community.

The commission’s report is expansive in scope and rich in detail. It encompasses 118 pages, contains 31 distinct recommendations, and demands and deserves a careful reading. The commission explored our history, as I hoped it would, directly and honestly.  As the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the country, Washington and Lee is a justifiably proud university that can withstand careful scrutiny. Indeed, we should welcome it, and the educational opportunities that it presents.

I want to emphasize that all of the commission’s recommendations are just that — recommendations. Thus far, I have acted on only one, by publishing the entire document as requested.  Over the coming months, I will consider the remaining recommendations in consultation, as appropriate, with W&L’s Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Those of you who have read our recently approved Strategic Plan will note that some of the initiatives it contains harmonize with recommendations made by the commission. While the two processes were conducted independently of each other, it is heartening to see a shared appreciation for our institutional strengths and an affirmation of our aspirations in both documents. All of the commission’s recommendations will be considered in relation to the priorities established in the strategic plan. I promise our community that we will preserve and build upon our distinctive strengths as we pursue our aspirations.

I will be in touch again at the end of the summer to share an update on our progress. In the meantime, if you would like to provide feedback on the commission’s report, we have established a special email address for your comments: CommissionReport@wlu.edu. Please include your name and class year or affiliation with the university in your message.


Professor Blunch Attends DAEiNA Conference at Princeton University

Niels-Hugo Blunch, associate professor of economics, recently attended the 7th annual meeting of Danish Academic Economists in North America (DAEiNA), which was held on May 12, 2018, at Princeton University. This year, he was able to fully enjoy the program as a participant, rather than as an organizer.

As last year’s president of DAEiNA, Professor Blunch hosted the annual meeting May 6-7 at W&L. It was a unique program for the DAEiNA, as it was the first time the meeting was held in a rural or liberal arts setting. This, combined with the collaboration with the local community, helped showcase what Lexington and W&L have to offer.

The 2017 program began with a wine tasting and guided winery tour at Rockbridge Vineyards, followed by a reception and dinner. The next day, the group participated in the organizational part of the meeting, as well as a few other social events, including lunch at the Marketplace (for the full “W&L experience”) and a closing reception at the Hotchkiss Alumni House.

The conference also incorporated the involvement of Professor Blunch’s colleagues and a few students. Matt Carl ’17 gave a campus tour to participants following a luncheon keynote address by Steen Lau Jørgensen, Director at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C., who shared his experiences after more than three decades at the World Bank. Carl also highlighted the Honor System, which was especially intriguing to attendees, as most came from large research universities.

This year’s conference was held in Princeton, NJ, where DAEiNA was initially founded in 2012. Previous meetings have been held at Northwestern University, Duke University, Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen.

Professor Blunch presented his paper, “Under Pressure? Assessing the Roles of Cognitive Skills and Other Personal Resources for Work-Family and Work-Parenting Gains and Strains,” joint with David Ribar (University of Melbourne) and Mark Western (University of Queensland).

The goal of the DAEiNA is to improve the Danish contributions to economics by providing a network for Danish economists, students, or others who have studied or worked in North America and facilitate knowledge transfer between the Danish and American economics communities in other ways.

Professor Blunch joined the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics faculty in 2006 after working as a consultant with the World Bank Headquarters. He has published more than a dozen journal articles and book chapters on health, education, and labor market issues in developing and transition economies.

He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the Aarhus University (Denmark), an M.S. from the University of Southhampton (UK) and a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University.

Three W&L Students Awarded 2018 Critical Language Scholarships

“Our critical language scholars manifest the quickly growing interest among W&L’s students in all languages as they seek to globalize their educational experience.”

Three Washington and Lee University students have received Critical Language Scholarships for Summer 2018: Elizabeth McDonald ‘18 for Japanese, Emily Austin ’18 for Indonesian and Riley Ries ‘19 for Russian. McDonald will study in Hikone, Japan; Austin will study in Malang, Indonesia; and Ries will study in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students. The goals of the highly selective program are to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between citizens of the U.S. and other countries.

“Our critical language scholars manifest the quickly growing interest among W&L’s students in all languages as they seek to globalize their educational experience,” said Mark Rush, Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law and director of the Center for International Education.

Elizabeth-McDonald-400x600 Three W&L Students Awarded 2018 Critical Language ScholarshipsElizabeth McDonald

McDonald, from Allen, Texas, is a double major in Japanese and biology. She has studied Japanese for four years at W&L, and participated in the 68th Japan America Student Conference (JASC) as an American delegate the summer of her sophomore year. She spent the following summer conducting research at the University of Tokyo and has taught Japanese to area elementary school students through Languages for Rockbridge.

“I really enjoyed my summer researching in Japan and could see myself coming back to study as a master’s or Ph.D. student,” said McDonald. “I also realized that I have a lot left to learn about the Japanese language, so I wanted to apply for a program that was intensive but also open to recent graduates.”

McDonald is looking forward to having her only responsibility be learning Japanese. “It’s something that I love, but between assignments from other classes and extracurriculars, I haven’t been able to devote as much attention to it as I’ve wanted to,” she said. “We have a few free weekends in the program, so I’m also very excited about getting to reconnect with all the Japanese delegates I met through JASC a few years ago.”

Emily-Austin-400x600 Three W&L Students Awarded 2018 Critical Language ScholarshipsEmily Austin

Austin, from Russellville, Arkansas, is a religion and art history double major. During her junior year, she studied abroad in Indonesia, on the islands of Java and Bali, where she learned the basics of the Indonesian language, both from formal classes and from her host families. At the end of the semester, she remained in Indonesia to conduct preliminary research for her Honors thesis in Religion.

Austin will be studying at Universitas Negeri Malang. “I will be staying with a host family in Malang for two months, taking intensive language classes at the university to increase my fluency, and participating in other language and cultural enrichment experiences,” she said. “The CLS is meant to provide the equivalent of a full year of university language teaching, so my goal is to be fluent by the end of the program.”

Austin deferred a placement with Teach for America in Tulsa, Oklahoma in order to accept the CLS. After she returns from Indonesia, and before she begins her two-year commitment working as an elementary school teacher in Tulsa, she plans to complete a Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

riley_paul_ries_1024-400x600 Three W&L Students Awarded 2018 Critical Language ScholarshipsRiley Ries ’19

Ries, from Vinton, Iowa, is a double major in politics and Russian Area Studies and has spent the past year studying in CIEE’s Russian Language Program at St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia. During his time there, he has also taught English to local university students and joined an amateur chess club, both of which have allowed him to reach out to and communicate with native speakers.

“Russia and other former Soviet states are incredibly important to contemporary international affairs and U.S. foreign policy,” said Ries. “As someone who aspires to work in this field for the U.S. government, it is critical that I have a solid understanding of the language and culture of this region, and time spent in these countries is the best way to achieve such understanding.”

The main focus of Ries’s scholarship is to study Russian language, though he also plans to take time to study Kyrgyz culture and history, including some formal class time dedicated to the Kyrgyz language.

“I’m excited to learn about the perspectives of Kyrgyz citizens on life in the Soviet Union, how these perspectives differ from those of Russian citizens, and changes that have occurred in Kyrgyzstan since 1991,” he said. “Additionally, Kyrgyzstan has a wealth of natural beauty, ranging from mountains to waterfalls to Lake Issyk-Kul, and I plan to take advantage of opportunities to venture outside the city.”

After his experience in Kyrgyzstan this summer, Ries plans to return to W&L for his senior year, where he will continue his studies of Russian language and post-Soviet politics.

“Our scholarship winners demonstrate a love of learning as they meet the challenge and pursue the opportunity of studying critical languages,” said Rush. “It is also a wonderful tribute to the efforts of our faculty and staff as they mentor and prepare our students to apply for such prestigious and life-changing experiences.”

W&L’s University Collection of Art and History Presents Special Lecture

Washington and Lee University’s Collection of Art and History (UCAH) presents a special lecture with the College of William & Mary’s Janine Yorimoto Boldt on May 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the Reeves Center.

Boldt’s lecture is titled “Conversing a Great Deal with Your Picture: Portraiture and Society in Early Virginia.” It is free and open to the public.

Boldt received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William & Mary. Her dissertation, “The Art of Plantation Authority: Domestic Portraiture in Colonial Virginia,” explores the social functions of portraiture from the mid-17th century to the American Revolution. Boldt will highlight the Washington and Lee University portrait collection.

In July, she will join the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia as a Mellon Foundation postdoctoral curatorial fellow.

The University Collection of Art and History at Washington and Lee University supports the university as an interdisciplinary teaching resource through the preservation, study, interpretation and exhibition of its collections. UCAH is composed of three areas that are administered collectively by the director of UCAH: The Lee Chapel and Museum; the Reeves Collection; and the Art Collection.

Watson Galleries will be open after the lecture for viewing the portraits.

A Johnson Scholar’s Next Steps Courtney Hauck '18 looks forward to continuing her debt-free education with a fellowship to Columbia Law School.

IMG_6349-800x533 A Johnson Scholar’s Next StepsCourtney Hauck ’18

Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Majors: Accounting, Chinese

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’m very excited to attend Columbia Law School on the full-tuition Hamilton Fellowship. It’s been a dream of mine to attend law school since high school, and I’m so grateful to Columbia for allowing me to continue my education debt-free and at such an incredible institution.

I also want to get involved in my local W&L Alumni Chapter, Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, and Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association.

How did your time at W&L prepare you for this path?

Thanks to the Johnson Scholarship, I’ve been able to harness every aspect of this community and fully experience life as a W&L student. Without the Johnson Scholarship, I would never have been able to attend a school like W&L. I think the most significant pluses on my application to law school were my publications, work experience and language skills. I credit all of these to my education here at W&L.

What were the opportunities that allowed you to do research and be published?

The engagement with faculty here is unparalleled, and that’s why I felt comfortable approaching Professor Raquel Alexander my junior year to begin independent accounting research that will eventually lead to my publication, with Professor Julie Youngman, in the Loyola of LA Law Review. Professor Youngman helped me revise, revise, revise—and the process made me an infinitely better researcher and writer. Our article, “Medical Necessity: A Higher Hurdle for Marginalized Taxpayers,” will be published in the upcoming issue.

My first publication, “The Orphan Drug Act: Incentive or Inhibitor to Rare Disease Research?” would not have happened without Lorri Olán, associate director of Career Services, sending out updates about the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal submission cycle; I ended up publishing a revised version of my final paper for Professor Neil Birkhoff’s tax accounting course in the journal’s Spring 2017 issue.

Overall, doing research and publishing is a tremendous learning experience, and I look forward to continuing the process in the future.

You mentioned work experience earlier.  How did W&L prepare you there?

I’d say the single most valuable thing I’ve learned at W&L is how to be a more effective oral and written communicator, as well as how to use those communication skills to build relationships. The alumni network was a wonderful resource throughout the internship search—and in fact, it’s been a great resource throughout the process of applying to and choosing among law schools.

My first internship was during the summer after my sophomore year. I had met an alumnus, John McManus ’91, during Career Development’s Public Policy & Government trip in D.C. I followed up with a resume and cover letter email, and the process was pretty smooth from there. I learned a lot about health care policy and really enjoyed my experience, and the Johnson Opportunity Grant helped with the cost of housing and food while I was in D.C.

Likewise, this past summer was fun and challenging—I interned at Ernst & Young and worked in their tax department alongside a couple of alumni I’d met through the on-campus recruiting process. Both experiences reaffirmed my interest in law and convinced me to go straight to law school.

Finally, you mentioned language skills…

I’ve studied Mandarin since sixth grade, and I taught myself basic Japanese in middle school. In college, I’ve been thrilled by the resources available at W&L. From studying abroad in China and Taiwan during my first Spring Term and summer to learning how to haggle in Italian using Mango Languages before the Science of Cooking trip, the educational opportunities here have great breadth and depth.

In terms of funding, W&L was again extremely helpful. During my first year, I received the James Boardman and Ju Endowment scholarships and Johnson summer enrichment funding, which supported my experiences in China and Taiwan.

Finally, the fact that W&L is so small means that you can be a bit more flexible with the curriculum.  Coming into W&L, I placed into fourth-year Chinese. During my first two years here, I took about two Chinese courses per semester, including advanced topics such as Classical Chinese and Business & Legal Chinese. Professor Hongchu Fu even helped me count some high school coursework towards the core major requirements so that I could focus on more advanced-level studies.

What will you miss most about W&L, and what are you most looking forward to this summer?

I’ll miss the people and the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. It’s been a wonderful place to spend four years. This summer, I’m looking forward to lots of reading, relaxing and maybe a family road trip. I’m currently searching for a part-time internship with a judge in Portland. In any case, I’m grateful for the chance to spend lots of time with family before I fly back east in August.

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 Courtney

Honors and awards:

  • Columbia Law School Hamilton Fellowship (full-tuition merit scholarship and faculty mentorship throughout law school)
  • George A. Mahan Award for Creative Fiction (Senior Prose).
  • Andrew M. Hemm Senior Award for Excellence in Chinese
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Beta Alpha Psi (accounting honor society)

Extracurricular involvement:

  • Hearing Advisor to the Executive Committee, Student Judicial Council, and Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board
  • Former President and Founder, Roosevelt Institute at W&L
  • Former President and Founder, Chinese Club
  • Former House Manager, Pi Beta Phi
  • Independent Research, Accounting (led to publication with Professor Julie Youngman)
  • Financial Records Investigation on behalf of Appalachian Law Center (with Professor Megan Hess)

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

Napa Thai. I order chicken panang curry and honey-ginger tea.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?

You can always make time for what matters. Self-care matters.

Favorite class?

  • On-campus: my current Spring Term course, Negotiation with Professor Julie Youngman. Tons of fun and practical, too!
  • Off-campus: the Science of Cooking, hands-down. It’s hard work, but you get to spend a month in Tuscany sightseeing and eating ridiculous amounts of incredible food. Worth it.

Favorite W&L event?

I’m torn between Young Alumni Weekend/Homecoming and Alumni Fancy Dress. As a senior, I love seeing old friends again!

Halford Ryan, Professor of English and Speech Emeritus, Dies at 74 Ryan taught at Washington and Lee for 40 years until his retirement in 2010.

Ryan-portrait2-400x600 Halford Ryan, Professor of English and Speech Emeritus, Dies at 74Halford Ryan

Halford Ross Ryan, professor of English and speech emeritus at Washington and Lee University, who taught here for 40 years until his retirement in 2010, died on May 15, 2018, in Lexington, Virginia. He was 74.

“I am told that Professor Ryan had the ability to blend an engaging and interesting personality, intelligence and passion for his discipline with a strong commitment to his students,” said W&L President Will Dudley. “This combination defines the kind of faculty we seek at Washington and Lee, and we are grateful for Professor Ryan’s service. The W&L community joins me in extending condolences to his wife, Cheryl Ryan, and their family.”

Ryan was born on Dec. 29, 1943, in Anderson, Indiana. He graduated from Wabash College in 1966 with an A.B. in speech and religion, and attended Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, for one year on a Rockefeller Theological Fellowship. Ryan received an M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1972), both in speech, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ryan joined the W&L faculty in 1970 as an instructor of speech and debate coach. He became an assistant professor of English and speech in 1972, and retired in 2010 as a professor of English. He also served as a visiting professor of speech at the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, and Sweet Briar College, and attended a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar at the Ohio State University.

At W&L, he taught such courses as American Public Address, Classical Rhetoric, Principles of Public Speaking, Feminist Rhetoric, and the Oratory of the Old South.

Ryan was active in the Virginia Forensics Association, serving as president and as editor of its newsletter. He belonged to Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha, the collegiate honor society of forensics, serving as governor of Region III. He also directed and organized many debate tournaments, including the Bicentennial Youth Debates.

Ryan wrote six books (including “Henry Ward Beecher: Peripatetic Preacher”), co-edited two (including “American Orators of the Twentieth Century: Critical Studies and Sources”), and edited four (including “Contemporary American Public Discourse”). He published 15 articles in nationally refereed journals, including the Virginia Journal of Education and the 1972 Free Speech Yearbook. He contributed six chapters to scholarly books, wrote numerous book reviews, and presented many papers at conventions. He served as editor of the Virginia Journal of Communication and the National Forensic Journal. He also served as co-editor/co-advisor of Greenwood Press’s Great American Orators Series.

One of Ryan’s former students, Ross Singletary ’89, donated funds in his honor for an oral communications initiative in the Williams School. Singletary credited Ryan with helping him grasp the importance of good oral communications skills to personal and professional success.

Halford is survived by Cheryl, his wife of 47 years, of Lexington; their daughter, Shawn; Shawn’s husband, Carsten Scharlemann; and two grandchildren, Cara and Eric.

Burial will be private.


Perszyk, Thetford Highlight 2017-18 Athletics Award Winners The awards were presented during W&L's Athletics Awards Ceremony on May 15.

The Washington and Lee Department of Athletics held its annual Athletics Awards Ceremony at Lee Chapel on Tuesday evening. The event, made possible by the generosity of the Brookby Family, honors student-athletes and administrators who have made the 2017-18 school year a tremendous success.

Headlining the awardees were seniors Emily Perszyk (Greendale, Wis. / Greendale) and Tommy Thetford (Birmingham, Ala. / The Altamont), who were selected as the “Pres” Brown Outstanding Senior Female and Senior Male Athletes of the Year as voted on by members of the department. In addition, Perszyk also claimed the William D. McHenry Female Scholar-Athlete Award, becoming just the fourth athlete in school history to claim both awards.

Perszyk was a four-year letterwinner as a guard on the basketball team, who served as a team captain for her senior season. She earned First Team All-ODAC and Second Team All-State honors as a junior and senior, one of just three players in program history to garner first team all-conference recognition in multiple seasons. Additionally, she was named the 2018 ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and became the first women’s basketball player at W&L to have ever earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, receiving first team laurels.

The neuroscience major played in 99 career contests, starting 60 games, and she averaged 13.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. She shot 38.9 percent (459-1179) from the floor, 83.5 percent (259-310) from the foul line and 35.3 percent (195-552) from three-point range and finished her career ranked fifth all-time in scoring with 1,372 points. She also tied for fourth all-time in career points per game (13.9), seventh in career field goals made (459), second in career three-pointers made (195), sixth in career free throws made (259), first in career free throw percentage (.835) and ninth in career steals (160). She also holds records for free throws made (17) and attempted (19) in a game and season free throw percentage (.902).

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Beta Beta, Perszyk will attend Yale to pursue a PhD in neuroscience.

Thetford was a four-year letterwinner and a team captain for the swimming team as a junior. He earned a total of 10 All-America citations, including six First Team All-America laurels, and is one of just two athletes in school history to have claimed two individual National Championships.

Thetford currently holds the school record in the 50 free (19.65), 100 free (43.41) and 200 free (1:36.87), and he is a member of the school record-holding 400 medley relay (3:23.90), 400 free relay (3:01.77) and 800 free relay (6:41.18) teams.

The mathematics major is a 23-time ODAC champion (10 individual, 13 relays), a four-time First Team All-ODAC honoree, a two-time ODAC Swimmer of the Meet and a two-time ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Men’s Swimming Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was also named the ODAC Rookie of the Year in 2015.

A two-time CSCAA First Team Scholar All-America selection, he claimed CoSIDA Third Team Academic All-America honors as a sophomore and junior as well. As a sophomore, he won the NCAA Division III Championship in the in the 100 free (43.41) and the 200 free (1:36.87), and was second in the 50 free (19.65).

Thetford competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle, finishing in a tie for 66th out of 165 competitors with a time of 23.20.

Senior soccer player Gillen Beck (Blacksburg, Va. / Blacksburg) received the William D. McHenry Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, while tennis player Valerie Marshall (Arlington, Va. / Yorktown) and football player and track athlete Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) were presented the Outstanding First-Year Female and First-year Male Athlete Awards. Senior football player Walker Brand (Roanoke, Va. / Hidden Valley) was selected as the winner of the Wink Glasgow Spirit & Sportsmanship Award.

A mathematics and physics double-major, Beck was a four-year letterwinner and team captain for the soccer team as a senior. The goalkeeper was a three-time All-ODAC honoree, earning first team honors as a sophomore, second team laurels as a junior and third team honors as a senior. He twice earned the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and he was a two-time CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection. He was a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-America honoree and United Soccer Coaches Second Team Scholar All-Region honoree as a senior.

Beck was named NSCAA First Team All-South Region as a sophomore and Third Team All-South Region as a junior, and he also garnered VaSID Second Team All-State laurels as a junior. He played in 58 career games, starting 57 of them. He recorded 191 saves with 50 goals allowed for a 0.88 goals-against average, which ranks third in program history. He also claimed a .793 career save percentage and 16 career shutouts, good for a tie for third all-time at W&L.

A recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, Beck is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Mu Epsilon, Sigma Pi Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma.

Marshall was a Second Team All-ODAC selection and was the ODAC Rookie of the Year in tennis. She played primarily No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles and is currently ranked seventh in the Atlantic South Region in singles. She tied for the team-lead with 16 singles wins, going 16-7 overall and 6-0 against ODAC Competition. In doubles, she was third on the team with 17 wins, registering a 17-6 overall record and a 4-0 conference mark.

Breece had the best season ever produced by a W&L running back during his first season with the football team. He also competed in track & field, where he ran the second-fastest time on the team in the 60 meters (7.28) during the indoor season and finished 11th in the ODAC in the long jump (5.74m) during the ODAC Indoor Championship. He had a career long in the long jump of 6.10m during the indoor season and he scored in the triple jump (13.49m) at the ODAC Outdoor Championship with an eighth-place finish.

In football, he earned First Team All-ODAC honors and was named the ODAC Rookie of the Year. He was also named VaSID First Team All-State and was the VaSID Offensive Rookie of the Year, in addition to receiving First Team All-State honors from the Roanoke Times, which named him College Division Offensive Player of the Year.

Breece played in all 11 games and finished the season with 237 carries for a conference-record 1,825 yards and a league-best 18 touchdowns despite not earning his first start until the fifth game of the season. He produced nine games of 100 yards or more and ended the season by rushing for better than 100 yards in each of his final eight contests, tying a school record. Three of those games were for more than 200 yards, including 280 and three touchdowns in a win over Shenandoah that clinched the league title. He tallied 169 yards against Mount Union in the NCAA playoffs, the most the Purple Raiders had allowed to an opposing running back since the 2014 season (50 games).

In addition to his prior honors, Breece was also named First Team All-South Region from D3football.com and was a D3football.com Honorable Mention All-American. Furthermore, he was tabbed to the AP Little All-America football team as a second team selection and was named a finalist for the Lanier Award, which honors the state player of the year in the college division.

He ranked third in NCAA Division III in rushing, second in rushing yards per carry (7.7), eighth in rushing touchdowns, tied for 15th in total points (108) and 15th in all-purpose yards per game (168.0 ypg).

Brand was a four-year letterwinner for the football team, serving as a team captain for his senior season. The engineering major was having a career year this fall, ranking among the Top 10 in the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns before suffering a career-ending knee injury against Emory & Henry in the fourth game of the season. He entered the game with 365 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

He played in 33 career contests, rushing for 1,824 yards and 19 touchdowns and catching 15 passes for 246 yards. Off the field, Brand serves as the philanthropy chair for Kappa Alpha and volunteers with Campus Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, he serves as the president of the campus chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of Young Life and “24”. He is also one of three students on campus chosen to serve on the admissions and financial aid task force.

Other awards that were presented on Tuesday included the J.L. Lefty Newell Award for the top student manager/worker and the R.E. Chub Yeakel Award, which is given to a member of the University community who has made outstanding contributions to the Department of Athletics. Senior men’s lacrosse student assistant coach Hunter Yates (Herndon, Va./Langley) was the recipient of the Lefty Newell Award, while former facilities and equipment manager Eddie Irvine was presented the Chub Yeakel Award. Junior Emily Cleveland was voted to receive the Dick Miller Physical Education Scholarship.

For a complete listing of the major department awards and all the team awards that have been presented throughout the year, simply view it here.


Washington and Lee Alumnus Tom Wolfe ’51 Dies at 88 Wolfe, one of W&L's most accomplished alumni, will be remembered for his talent, wit and generosity.

wolfe_portrait-800x533 Washington and Lee Alumnus Tom Wolfe ’51 Dies at 88Tom Wolfe ’51 in his home office in 1980. Photo by Patrick Hinely ’73.

Celebrated author and journalist Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr., a 1951 graduate of Washington and Lee University, died Monday, May 14, 2018, in New York City. He was 88.

“He was one of our most accomplished alumni,” said W&L President Will Dudley. “Over the years, he generously served his alma mater as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1984 -1994, as a class reunion committee member and as a member of the university’s commission for its 250th observance. As a journalist and author, he was a master of the New Journalism genre, and he graciously offered W&L students writing advice whenever they contacted him.”

“Tom Wolfe made us proud to be alumni of Washington and Lee University,” said former W&L President Ken Ruscio ’76. “Bright, independent, original, influential and a keen observer of the world around him, he inspired so many of us. He was a nontraditional traditionalist, a gracious gentleman in every sense but not afraid to question, challenge and redefine conventional thinking.”

Wolfe was born on March 2, 1930, in Richmond, Virginia. He graduated cum laude from W&L with a B.A. in English. While a student, he pledged Phi Kappa Sigma, played baseball and earned a tryout with the New York Giants. He also co-founded Shenandoah: the Washington and Lee University Literary Review.

In his 50th Reunion Calyx, he lightheartedly re-introduced himself to his classmates in the third person: “When Thomas K. Wolfe, Jr., arrived at Washington and Lee in the fall of 1947, he didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t consume caffeine in any form, didn’t curse, didn’t go by the name Thomas or Tom or Tommy but, rather, ‘T.K.’, wore a fedora if it seemed at all chilly out, carried an umbrella if it looked the least bit like rain, and had never worn a jacket and tie except to church or the random wedding or funeral.”

After graduation, Wolfe attended Yale University’s American studies program, receiving his Ph.D. in 1957. His career as a journalist included stints with The Springfield Union, The Washington Post, The (New York) Herald Tribune and New York Magazine. As a leading novelist and commentator on key decades of recent life in America, Wolfe was the first writer to publish the phrase “good ol’ boy,” and has been credited with coining “the right stuff,” “the Me Decade” and “radical chic.”

Over the years, Wolfe remained in close contact with W&L, and his visits always caused a stir. “Resplendent in his white suit, he would stroll across the lawns, meet with students and faculty, and dazzle with his smile, humor and wit,” said Provost Marc Conner. “I always found him an exceptionally gracious and encouraging figure, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to get to know him at least somewhat over the last 10 years.”

According to Conner, Wolfe chose W&L over the Ivy Leagues, “seeking an immersion in the American South of his birth and studying under key faculty such as Marshall Fishwick. He then went on to do graduate work in the new discipline of American studies, helping to blaze the trail for comparative, interdisciplinary, investigative work. The ‘new journalism’ style he helped create was liberating and fit into the radical modes of the 1960s, even though Wolfe used that style to satirize many favored causes of the left, such as the Black Panthers and the counterculture. When he turned to fiction with the enormously successful novel ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ in the 1980s, he sought to write in the style of Dickens and Zola, bringing an investigator’s eye to the lived social world and trying to make sense of the bizarre world of late 20th-century America.”

Conner added, “He was, of course, that most American of contradictions: in some ways deeply conservative in his satire, particularly his delight in poking fun at the pretensions of the radical left; and yet the man was a revolutionary in so many ways, democratizing the form of the novel, treating regular people and issues with the regard of high literature, and bringing the journalist’s eye and instinct to the literary trade.”

In 1974, W&L awarded Wolfe with an honorary degree, and in 1999, he was inducted into ODK. In 2001, his classmates created the Tom Wolfe Seminar to honor his work and to focus lectures and discussion upon other great American writers who shared Tom’s interest in American studies and popular American culture.

In the Reunion Calyx, Wolfe joked about the honor bestowed upon him: “Many American writers rise at dawn throughout the month of April, waiting for the telephone call from Sweden, which always comes at some ungodly early hour, informing them that they have won the Nobel Prize. Wolfe gazes down upon them all from a higher peak. His mates in the Class of 1951 established Washington & Lee’s Wolfe Lecture Series eight years ago. Ever since then he has felt delightfully and proudly posthumous.”

Rob Fure, director of Lifelong Learning at W&L, said Wolfe and his wife, Sheila, “would come to Lexington for the weekend seminar whenever they could, often at his own expense, to introduce the writer to our audiences. In these visits, he was unfailingly kind in his remarks about the writer’s work and to members of the audience, patiently signing copies of his books with the distinctive flourish of his autograph.”

In recent years a debilitating spinal condition made Wolfe’s progress across campus difficult. “The pain and his frustration over his balance never showed on his face,” said Fure. “He engaged everyone who greeted him, directing the conversation toward the one he met. He was an extraordinarily talented writer, one well known for his penetrating wit, his fascination with evolving social conventions, and his bemused regard of the folly of pretense and preoccupation with status.

“I was especially fond of his friendship and his benign support of our management of the program in his name,” said Fure. “I’ll remember always one of his nuggets of popular discourse, which he used to send my way with a grin: ‘Keep ‘em flyin’.’ I will cherish that as his benediction.”

Wolfe is survived by his wife, Sheila, daughter Alexandra, and son Thomas Roberdeau.

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These are just a few of the articles and news obituaries published on the occasion of Tom Wolfe’s death:

The New York Times, “Tom Wolfe, Pyrotechnic ‘New Journalist’ and Novelist, Dies at 88”

Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Author and Richmond native Tom Wolfe dies at 88”

The Washington Post, “Tom Wolfe, apostle of ‘New Journalism’ who captured extravagance of his times, dies at 88”

The Washington Post, “‘Piercingly funny’: Tom Wolfe’s years as a Washington Post reporter”

Los Angeles Times, “Tom Wolfe, novelist and pioneer of New Journalism, dies at 88”

Wall Street Journal, “Tom Wolfe, Author of ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ and Best-selling Creator of New Journalism, Dies at 88”

Seattle Times, “Author Tom Wolfe, known for his caustic prose and cream-colored suit, dies at 88″

NPR, “Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author and Genre-Breaking Journalist, Dies At 88”

Vanity Fair, “Tom Wolfe Has Died at 88”

The Guardian, “Tom Wolfe obituary: a great dandy, in elaborate dress and neon-lit prose”

Esquire, “Five Essential Tom Wolfe Books You Should Read”

Vogue, “Tom Wolfe, Pioneer of New Journalism and Chronicler of American Indulgence, Is Dead at 88”

A Picture-Perfect College Experience Ellen Kanzinger '18 provides a snapshot of the many opportunities she had to hone her photography skills at Washington and Lee.

ellen_kanzinger-800x533 A Picture-Perfect College ExperienceEllen Kanzinger ’18

“I cannot describe the excitement I felt after developing my first roll of film…when I saw the fully developed negatives, I knew I wanted to work with film as much as possible.”

Ellen Kanzinger ’18
Majors:
Journalism and Studio Art

When I was looking at colleges, I knew I wanted someplace with a darkroom. I started working with a digital camera my freshman year of high school, but never had a chance to work with film. I planned to pursue a career in photography and was looking to expand my knowledge of its many different forms.

Many of the schools I visited had transitioned their photography programs into digital-only. Washington and Lee was one of the few liberal arts universities I looked at that still had a darkroom  two, in fact.

The basement of Wilson Hall is a second home to me. Throughout my four years, I have spent countless late nights in the darkroom and computer lab tweaking and printing photos for critiques. On many mornings, I woke up early to mix chemicals and clean the darkrooms as part of my work study.

One of the very first classes I took at W&L was a black-and-white film photography class. I cannot describe the excitement I felt after developing my first roll of film. There are so many points in the process where I could have messed up the film by accidentally letting light in or not fixing the image properly. But when I saw the fully developed negatives, I knew I wanted to work with film as much as possible.

A roll of 35mm film, which typically holds 24-36 photos, is expensive compared to an SD card, which can hold thousands of photos. I would not have been able to experiment with the various types of film and cameras without the support of my advisor, Professor Christa Bowden, and the university. Over my four years, I worked with 35mm, medium-format and large-format cameras. I traveled to France my freshman year for the Spring Term class Photography and the City of Paris.

For Spring Term the following year, I took Antique Photo Processes with Professor Bowden. We created our own light-sensitive paper and used the sun to make exposures. We created prints from negatives using various processes including cyanotypes, platinum and palladium, kallitypes, and wet plate collodion. This is not something I would have been able to do on my own.

When it came time to think about my senior thesis, I knew that I wanted to work with film. For me, film photography is a process of slowing down and treasuring each press of the shutter. This methodology played into my thesis as I interviewed my family about a very personal topic and asked them to sit in front of my camera. Knowing that film is a much harder medium to work with outside of the university, it was a special opportunity in my final year.

W&L provided me with many other opportunities to hone my craft outside of the classroom. I attended the Society for Photographic Education conference with my advisor the last four years. I shared my work with professional photographers and professors at the conference during the portfolio critiques. As someone who dislikes sharing her work (not a great quality when you’re looking for a job), this was one of the most terrifying but rewarding experiences I have had during college.

Additionally, I began working with University Photographer Kevin Remington to capture student life on campus. Through this work study, I gained experience in photographing candid moments between students and faculty around campus. My exposure to the many forms of photography, both in class and around the world, has shaped my process as I pursue a career in photojournalism.

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More about Ellen

Extracurricular involvement:

Head residential adviser, photo editor for The Ring-tum Phi, university photographer, co-founder of Campus Unity Initiative, ODK, Student Affairs Committee

Has anyone on campus inspired you?

Professors Christa Bowden and Pam Luecke. They are my advisers, and they are phenomenal women who have really helped me grow during my time at W&L. Also, Dean Rodocker and Amy Perkins for all of the support and time they give to the ResLife program.

What’s your personal motto?

Fondue is just cheese and bread, my friend.

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

Hands down, Napa Thai. Everything on their menu is amazing but their pad see ew is my favorite.

What one film or book do you recommend to everyone?

The film “Miracle” never fails to give me chills.

Post-graduation plans:

No idea and I’m trying not to freak out about it yet.

Favorite W&L memory:

ResLife Training. We are on-the-go from about 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but we have an amazing staff and everyone bonds throughout the week and a half.

Favorite class:

Antique Photo Processes with Professor Bowden

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

The first concert I ever went to was “High School Musical: The Concert.”

Where can we see more of your photography?

My personal portfolio is at ellenmkanzinger.com.

W&L Students Receive National Science Foundation Awards The NSF only funds about 11,000 of the 40,000 proposals it receives annually for research, education and training projects.

Washington and Lee University senior Emily Perszyk and alumna Virginia Wala ’16 have won National Science Foundation graduate research fellowships (NSF GRFP) to continue their scientific research post-graduation.

Emily-Perszyk-cropped-314x350 W&L Students Receive National Science Foundation AwardsEmily Perszyk ’18

Perszyk is a neuroscience major who will head to Yale University in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in the neuroscience track of the biological and biomedical sciences graduate program. Wala, who majored in geology while at W&L, plans to study geochemistry at Dartmouth College.

“I have known Emily since fall term 2014 when she approached me about engaging in research during the summer of 2015,” said Robert Stewart, professor of psychology. “She received an enthusiastic endorsement from a colleague, so I took a chance on her. I am so pleased that I did because Emily has been outstanding in every way.”

According to its website, “The National Science Foundation funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States.”

The NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects; it funds around 11,000. In addition, the foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

Honorable mentions from NSF GRFP go to Rachel Samuels ’15, who majored in geology and is studying civil engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Jessica Rosarda ’10, who is studying cell biology at Scripps College; Leah Gose ’15, who majored in sociology and is studying sociology at Harvard University; and Stephen Ball ‘16, who majored in geology and is studying geophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

SarahTroise01-350x233 W&L Students Receive National Science Foundation AwardsSarah Troise

W&L juniors Sarah Troise ’19 and Tyler Rune ’19 also received NSF awards for research experiences for undergraduates.

Troise will conduct research this summer at North Carolina State University in the program, “The Science of Software.” She is a double major in engineering and computer science.

“My project is to evaluate the processes that students used in the old software engineering class when working in teams, and the effectiveness of collaboration on student teams,” said Troise. “We want to compare the new offering with the prior version of the course, which will require gathering and de-identifying data from previous offerings for a secondary use IRB.”

tyler-runge-350x234 W&L Students Receive National Science Foundation AwardsTyler Runge ’19

Runge is majoring in integrated engineering (chemistry emphasis). He will do research with the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. His program title is “Engineered Bioactive Interfaces & Devices.”

“I will be working on developing non-covalently cross-linked temperature-responsive polymeric gels for application in biomedical and environmental fields,” said Runge.

A One-Man Special Projects Department

Callaham1-263x350 A One-Man Special Projects DepartmentBradley Callaham ’19

A few weeks ago marked the halfway point for our trip, and it became all too real that this adventure won’t last forever. As we approach the end of our second month in Sydney, my appreciation for this city continues to strengthen. This is the first time I’ve lived in a city and it has served as the perfect juxtaposition to bucolic Lexington. It’s here that I have learned more about independence, self-sufficiency, and the power of true freedom than anywhere else.

First, life in Sydney is as relaxed as it is beautiful. A short bus ride from the coast seems to keep everyone in a pretty good mood, believe it or not. For the first month and a half, I think I averaged 3-4 days a week on the sand somewhere (usually at Tamarama). When not on the beach, I’ve enjoyed running around the city to the different tourist attractions, exploring different parks and neighborhoods along the way. I’ve come to learn the hard way that I am not the most gifted person when it comes to finding my way around, getting lost more than a handful of times. Sydney’s extensive public transport has proved an invaluable asset in these situations.

The experience at the University of Sydney has been a blast. Several of us enrolled in the perennial fan-favorite, Sports and Learning in Australian Culture, which takes you to a half-dozen games from Australian Football League to Rugby Union and Soccer. Australians are very serious about their sports, and the field trips and lectures have been a great way to feel integrated into the culture quickly. The lectures for all of my classes are massive and dwarf those at W&L; it offers a very different perspective of the education process.

The most valuable and rewarding part of this experience has undoubtedly been my internship. I work at the Sydney office for LINK, the world’s largest international business brokerage firm. While I am officially listed as their Finance Intern, my work has been mostly helping their new Head of Operations improve their internal operational reporting. My first day on the job, he sat me down and gave me an orientation of everything he felt I needed to know for my project: the background of the industry, the history of the firm, its goals and initiatives, and the challenges he was hired to help tackle. He wanted to make sure that I knew how my projects were united with his, and how his were aligned with the company. This instantly made me feel like a part of the team, and that what I would be doing would be of material value. Afterward, I met the General Manager and the Director, and I could tell that management was as excited for the months ahead as I was.

Callaham2-262x350 A One-Man Special Projects DepartmentPhoto by Bradley Callaham ’19

For the past two months, I have been working on a single project: creating an Excel-based dashboard that automates and aggregates internal reporting data for the managers to use. They have had to manually track employee performance, spending much of their time adding up revenues and calculating KPIs. The firm is poised to grow but their reporting methods were not scalable. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed tackling a complex problem on my own. There hasn’t been any handholding or coffee runs – I get to my desk and to work as if I am a one-man Special Projects department.

My education at W&L has proved invaluable in my assignment at LINK. While it is obvious that INTR helped sharpen my Excel skills, what has contributed most to my success thus far is knowing how businesses function. Because I have complete control of my work, I can think creatively about what I would want to know if I was a manager and incorporate it into my deliverables. In my presentations to management, I reference concepts and lessons taken straight from the classrooms in Huntley.

This time I’ve spent in Sydney has given me a new perspective on what I want after graduation next year. It’s so important to broaden your horizons and experience something radically different from what you are used to. The transition from Lexington to Sydney has been a complete 180 and has been the best decision I have made in my college career.

W&L’s New Strategic Plan Focuses on Community, Curriculum, Citizenship and Campus

Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees adopted a new strategic plan for the university at its meeting on Saturday, May 12. The plan calls for the university to create a more diverse and inclusive community, to build upon and strengthen W&L’s distinctive curricular structure, to continue to emphasize the institution’s historic goal of cultivating engaged citizenship, and to develop several new facilities while enhancing existing ones in support of the university’s mission.

“We are justifiably proud of our distinctions, but never complacent,” the plan’s introduction states. “One of our most enduring strengths is the spirit encapsulated in our motto: non incautus futuri — not unmindful of the future — which reflects our commitment to self-examination, to asking how we can be true to ourselves while also getting better, to asking how we can contribute even more to the world that awaits our students.”

The strategic plan is the result of a more than a year of campus self-study initiated by university President William C. Dudley and co-chaired by Provost Marc Conner and Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Sidney Evans, who led the effort that included faculty, staff, students, trustees and alumni.

“On behalf of the trustees, I want to thank everyone for their exceptional work on this plan,” said J. Donald Childress, rector of the board and a 1970 W&L graduate. “The university has made remarkable strides over the past decade. We never want to rest on our laurels, and this ambitious and thoughtful plan will continue to push us forward.”

Dudley referred to the plan’s four organizing themes: community, curriculum, citizenship and campus. “Our community of trust and civility, our distinctive curriculum, our commitment to institutional citizenship for the benefit of society, and our beautiful and historic campus are a potent educational combination,” Dudley said. “The plan outlines how W&L will continue to build upon these strengths to provide the best possible liberal arts education to talented students who embody the qualities of personal integrity, leadership and academic excellence.”

The plan’s commitment to community includes working to increase the racial, socioeconomic, and international diversity of students, faculty and staff while supporting the success of all community members. W&L will commit to need-blind undergraduate admissions, which means the university will admit the strongest applicants regardless of family financial circumstances. In addition, the plan calls for eliminating financial barriers to curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular participation. Additional resources will be made available to the offices of Inclusion and Engagement, Student Health and Counseling, and Career and Professional Development; athletic and recreational opportunities will be augmented; and opportunities will be increased for personal and professional development for faculty and staff. W&L will add a women’s varsity softball team, and The School of Law will develop a signature scholarship program.

“Creating a more diverse community at W&L is also essential to fulfilling our stated mission of preparing students for personal achievement, responsible leadership and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society. The 21st century calls upon all of us to appreciate the value of diverse experiences, and to discover and create ways to draw upon our differences for the common good.”
~ 2018 Strategic Plan

W&L’s distinctive curriculum, which combines the liberal arts, pre-professional education and public service, is another focus of strategic initiatives. The university will invest in its liberal arts curriculum while supporting 21st-century science teaching and research needs, strengthening interdisciplinary education, and expanding offerings for non-majors in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. The plan also calls for the development of an undergraduate legal studies program.

“We must continue to invest in traditional disciplines, while also embracing the 21st century evolution of liberal education, which involves interdisciplinary inquiry, new modes of teaching, and rapidly changing technology. Doing so is critical to maintaining our position as one of the preeminent institutions of higher education in the country.”
~ 2018 Strategic Plan

The third theme of the strategic plan focuses on institutional citizenship, including initiatives focused on leadership, service and civic engagement, institutional history, and environmental stewardship. The plan calls for investment in curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs that encourage students to engage, to serve and to lead; the exploration of partnerships with related museums and historical sites; and continued commitment to sustainability across the campus.

“The cultivation of engaged citizenship is essential to our mission. We aim to help students become not only personally successful, but also thoughtful difference makers in their communities. Washington and Lee asks no less of itself institutionally.”
~ 2018 Strategic Plan

Several facilities projects are included in the plan as elements of maintaining and enhancing the quality of the university’s historic campus. These include construction of a new center for the Offices of Admission and Financial Aid; expansion and revitalization of both the existing Science Center and the Williams School; the addition of rehearsal spaces for music and the arts; development of a Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (CARPE) in Leyburn Library; the creation of a Center for Inclusion and Engagement in Elrod Commons; and the initiation of modern campus history museum.

“Our residence halls, dining facilities, classrooms, labs, libraries and performance spaces constitute an environment in which we strive to offer education of the highest caliber. Our natural and historic setting, which distinguishes W&L from other colleges and universities, should be presented in ways that make its appeal evident to prospective members of the community.”~ 2018 Strategic Plan

The new plan builds on the success of the previous strategic plan, which was a blueprint for the university’s transformative, $542-million “Honor Our Past, Build Our Future” capital campaign, completed in 2015.

“We see the results of that plan all around us,” said Dudley in a message to the university community. “Even as we embark on the final initiative of that previous plan — the construction of The Richard L. Duchossois Center for Athletics and Recreation, which will begin in a few short weeks — it is time to look forward. I am grateful to all of the people on campus and around the world who shared their input during the planning process. The result is a bold vision for the university that will build on our strengths and on the momentum of the past decade to ensure the bright future of W&L.”

For information on the University Strategic Planning Initiative, see go.wlu.edu/strategic-plan.


Davies Awarded Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship Jenefer Davies, associate professor of dance and theater, will be among approximately 25 fellows focusing on their own creative projects at the working retreat.

Unknown-800x533 Davies Awarded Virginia Center for the Creative Arts FellowshipJenefer Davies, associate professor of dance

Jenefer Davies, associate professor of dance and theater at Washington and Lee University, has received a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) fellowship. Davies will be among approximately 25 fellows focusing on their own creative projects at this working retreat for visual artists, writers and composers.

Davies came to W&L in 2006, and in addition to her professorship she is also director of the Dance Program and artistic director of the W&L Repertory Dance Company

A typical VCCA residency ranges from two weeks to two months. Each artist is provided with a room, studio and meals. Beyond the breakfast and dinner hours, there are no schedules or obligations. This distraction-free atmosphere, as well as the energy that results from having some 25 visual artists, writers, and composers gathered in one place, enables artists to be highly productive.

“I’m very excited to live and work in a community of artists this summer and to have the opportunity and the time to recharge creatively and exchange ideas with my fellow artists,” said Davies. “VCCA doesn’t regularly invite choreographers, so I am especially honored to have been chosen for this fellowship. While in residence I will begin the creation phase for a new piece of choreography that I plan to include in a performance at Washington and Lee next year.”

In 2018 Davies published her book, “Aerial Dance: A Guide to Dance with Rope and Harness,” which she calls a culmination of 16 years of experimentation and research.

“In some ways, it is really a love letter to W&L,” said Davies. “The majority of the research happened during my tenure here. The photos in the book are all of W&L students who have been in my classes over the past 10 years. I love so much that my students are part of the book.”

A nonprofit organization founded in 1971, the VCCA is supported in large part by grants and private donations.

Breaking Through Financial Barriers Senior Stephanie Williams '18 says W&L's First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) gave her support to overcome obstacles and mentor other low-income students.

“Overall, my experiences at W&L have taught me how to take more opportunities and open doors for myself  ones I might not have originally thought possible.”

Stephanie-Williams-800x533 Breaking Through Financial BarriersStephanie Williams ’18

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina
Major: Global Politics
Minors: Russian Language and Culture, Middle East and South Asia Studies

Being a low-income student at a school like W&L can be a little challenging, so a lot of my experiences in college revolved around finding various resources to accomplish all the things I wanted to do. In my senior year at W&L, a group of students (including Kiki Spiezio ’18, Taylor Reese ’19 and Edwin Castellanos ’20) brought FLIP to our campus. FLIP is the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership, and it brings together students and faculty members who are, or were, first-generation and/or low-income students.

I was already a part of the Questbridge organization on campus, but the FLIP program created small mentorship groups composed of both students and faculty members to provide a small and direct support network for its members. My mentorship group included two faculty/staff members, myself, and one first-year student. We got off to a bit of a slow start, but eventually we were meeting once every other week for lunch, as well as attending organized FLIP events. It was great to get to know faculty members who had been in a similar situation as I am in now as a low-income student just trying to stay afloat during college.

I also felt good that I could pass on what I had learned from my time here at W&L to my first-year friend; and we really did become friends. As I put it during one of our official FLIP dinner events, being a part of these mentorship groups was like getting free friends. You already knew you had things in common and were interested in reaching out to each other, all you had to do was do it. The mentoring aspect wasn’t even the main focus of our biweekly lunches. We shared life experiences, placed each other in Hogwarts Houses, discussed favorite family recipes, and so much more.

At official FLIP dinners, we met with all the members of the organization and shared with each other helpful ideas we’d picked up and resources we’d discovered, and this way we made each other’s lives here slightly less stressful (or at least no more stressful than the life of a college student already is). I was fortunate enough to receive grant funding through CIE and alumni-sponsored scholarships to spend my summer at an internship with the Near East Foundation while also studying Arabic in Jordan. I was able to share my insight into financial aid options for study abroad with my fellow FLIP members as well as encourage them to not let financial insecurity stop them from stepping outside their comfort zone.

In my experience, making face-to-face connections and having a kind and respectful attitude can open a lot of doors and create many unexpected opportunities. My work-study helped me with that as well. I work at the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts, and my supervisor, Susan Wager, has given me so many opportunities to grow professionally and individually. She is always there when I need her. My Box Office supervisor, Rena Cromer, has also given me so much support and advice over the years. I always suggest to my younger FLIP friends to explore their options in work study and to develop strong relationships with their supervisors, because they are really the most helpful and encouraging people when it comes to figuring out how to be a real adult. Overall, my experiences at W&L have taught me how to take more opportunities and open doors for myself  ones I might not have originally thought possible.

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 Stephanie

Extracurricular involvement:
VP of the Association of Middle East Interests, Advisor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Director and Box Office Ticket Agent at the Lenfest Center for the Arts
Why did you choose your major?
I chose to major in global politics because it was something I had very little understanding of and I wanted to challenge myself. I knew that I enjoyed learning languages and traveling to new and distant places, so I figured that a major in global politics would be the first step toward a career path that would allow me to continue doing the things I love.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
I was really inspired by my Arabic professor, Antoine Edwards. He introduced me to a whole new language and region of the world, and has always encouraged me to broaden my horizons and have confidence in myself. Several of my friends inspire me as well. Some of them have been through very difficult things in their lives and are still wonderful and kind people, and that kind of strength and perseverance pushes me to be more mindful of myself and trust my own ability to overcome adversity as well.
What’s your personal motto?
When something scares you, that’s a good sign it’s something really worth doing.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai, for sure. I love their yellow curry with shrimp.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” I think it has some really good messages in it, and the soundtrack is great as well.
 Favorite W&L event:
I love Young Alumni weekend. I think it’s a great way for current students to be connected with the broader alumni network and to learn about the opportunities that are available after graduation, as well as how W&L has changed over the years.

Make Some Noise for Education W&L’s University Collections of Art and History partnered with Professor Eric Moffa’s teacher education class to create a fun lesson plan for local middle school students.

acoustics_008-800x533 Make Some Noise for EducationA local middle school student stands on a step stool between pews in Lee Chapel to participate in an exercise on acoustics.

“I want our program to really enhance the university and the community, because I think we can bring a lot to meet the needs beyond just preparing individual teachers.”

~ Professor Eric Moffa

Children who visit Lee Chapel with school groups are typically not encouraged to make loud rooster noises or holler at their friends from the chapel stage, but a group of students from Maury River Middle School did just that on a recent weekday afternoon — and it was all in the name of education.

In a partnership between Washington and Lee’s University Collections of Art and History (UCAH) and visiting assistant professor Eric Moffa’s teacher education class, the middle schoolers were treated to an after-school lesson on architecture’s effect on acoustics. The lesson, which was developed by the seven college students in Moffa’s class, met Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) guidelines and incorporated information about science, public speaking, history and reading.

The interdisciplinary program sprang from a desire to increase school group visits to Lee Chapel by diversifying tour options for elementary, middle and high school classes. Museum Programs Coordinator Cassie Ivey and UCAH Director Lucy Wilkins have already developed four specialized tours, in addition to the standard tour, in an effort to draw more groups.

“We have more and more groups this year picking those specialized tours, which is good to see,” Ivey said. They also wanted to incorporate more of UCAH’s collections, which include the Reeves Collection of ceramics and the university’s art collection, in the lessons, and have the tours correspond with SOLs.

During conversations with local teachers, Ivey and Wilkins learned that Maury River Middle School had received a three-year grant from Rockbridge County for afterschool programming. Beginning in September 2016, groups of Maury River students began to visit the Washington and Lee campus once a month for an after-school program. The programs have included creative writing lessons in the Reeves Center and history lessons about 19th-century Christmas traditions at Lee Chapel. Students have also enjoyed a Japanese tea ceremony and origami lesson at Watson Pavilion.

When Moffa found out that UCAH was developing new programs for kids, it seemed like a great opportunity to have his class put together a lesson plan. “I’m always looking for unique chances for them to apply their learning because I think that’s really where growth occurs, as far as them transforming into teachers,” he said. His class, which included four W&L students and three from Southern Virginia University who participate in the Teacher Education Consortium, were allowed to select the topics they wanted to cover.

When the children arrived at the chapel, they were presented with a fictional scenario: The microphone in the chapel was broken, a lecture was scheduled to take place in 30 minutes, and they needed to determine the best way for the speaker to project his or her voice to the entire audience.

From there, the children split off into small groups and experimented with different methods of augmenting sound in the space, including cupping their hands while they talked, having listeners cup their hands around their ears, or positioning the speaker in different spots. They even went outside the chapel, where they experienced the fascinating echo effect that occurs when a person speaks while facing the Colonnade.

After that, they regrouped to discuss the science of acoustics. Moffa’s class also incorporated some lessons about George Washington and public speaking, asking the kids to deliver a few sentences from a Washington speech from behind the lectern.

“It was a very cool lesson,” said Hezekiah Brown, 13, “and it shows you how if you talk louder it carries farther. My favorite part was doing the speeches.”

Since the lesson, Moffa and his students have reflected on how it went and how it can be improved for future use. In the future, he said, he’d like to have his students do similar projects.

“I want to keep service learning as a component, and keep working with UCAH and other organizations around campus and the community,” Moffa said. “I want our program to really enhance the university and the community, because I think we can bring a lot to meet the needs beyond just preparing individual teachers.”

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W&L to Host Annual Spring Term Festival The event allows students to present coursework and research conducted over the duration of the term.

spring-term-festival-1-600x400 W&L to Host Annual Spring Term FestivalSpring Term Festival: nitrogen ice cream.

Washington and Lee University will hold its annual Spring Term Festival on May 18 on the main floor of Leyburn Library from noon–2 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public; refreshments will be provided.

The event allows students to present coursework and research conducted over the duration of the Spring Term, from study abroad trips in Denmark to archeological digs on campus. Students will showcase their work and discoveries in a presentation format.

“The upcoming festival provides a remarkable opportunity for students to share their Spring Term experiences and discoveries—something truly unique to the larger W&L experience,” said Emily Cook, research and outreach librarian.

The festival is sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

Family Gift Establishes Endowed Director for Environmental Studies Kathelen and Daniel Amos made the gift in memory of her son, John Kyle Spencer, a 2013 graduate of W&L. Professor Robert Humston will be the new director.

Humston-800x533 Family Gift Establishes Endowed Director for Environmental StudiesProfessor Robert Humston

“It is easy to become overwhelmed by the damage history has inflicted on our landscapes. In his time at W&L, John learned about the ways we can work to conserve, protect and restore our natural systems, but he always saw the beauty and the potential first. ”

~ Professor Robert Humston

Washington and Lee University is expanding its popular interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program thanks to a generous gift from Kathelen V. Amos and Daniel P. Amos, in memory of her son, John Kyle Spencer, a 2013 graduate of W&L.

JKS-portrait-150x150 Family Gift Establishes Endowed Director for Environmental StudiesJohn Spencer ’13

The Amoses’ gift establishes a new tenure-track faculty position in the Environmental Studies Program, as well as the position of John Kyle Spencer Endowed Director for Environmental Studies. It will be held by Robert Humston, the current chair of the department and a mentor to Spencer during his time as a student. It is the first endowed directorship for an existing interdisciplinary program at W&L.

“This gift represents a marvelous opportunity for W&L to strengthen and support one of our most robust interdisciplinary programs,” said Provost Marc Conner. “The addition of a tenure-track faculty position and an endowed directorship strengthens the program, defines the leadership, and creates additional coursework, advising and research opportunities in an area in which our students have demonstrated profound and increasing interest.

“The gift also recognizes Robert Humston’s signal influence on John, and the family’s gratitude for his dedication to teaching and his support of W&L students,” Conner continued. “Thanks to this new endowment, faculty in Environmental Studies will have greater capacity to extend that kind of dedication to future generations of students.”

Spencer, who majored in both philosophy and environmental studies, died unexpectedly in January 2016. At the time of his death, he was a graduate student in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. He received his M.S. in ecology posthumously, in December 2016.

“It is easy to become overwhelmed by the damage history has inflicted on our landscapes,” said Humston. “In his time at W&L, John learned about the ways we can work to conserve, protect and restore our natural systems, but he always saw the beauty and the potential first. He sought to spend his life showing others that it is still possible for us to repair our relationship with the earth.

“I was very lucky to have known John and to connect with him during his time on campus,” Humston continued. “This endowment is a celebration of his experience at W&L and in environmental studies, and a gift to the students following in his footsteps. I am honored to have a role in that.”

The new endowment is one of two gifts to W&L that honor Spencer’s memory. Following his death, Spencer’s father, Tracy, established the John Spencer ’13 Memorial Fund for a permanent physical memorial to his son on campus. The fund, supported by over 50 family members, friends and classmates, underwrote the cost of a memorial plaque and an American beech tree from Spencer’s family farm, Sugar Hill Farm, in Yatesville, Georgia. The tree was planted on the front lawn of campus, near Newcomb Hall, in March.

W&L’s Colón Talks Journalism Ethics with the Associated Press

Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University, was recently interviewed for an Associate Press story titled, “Fox News says Sean Hannity has ‘full support’ after learning he shares lawyer with Trump.”

Colón weighed in on the issue of Hannity’s credibility. “The issue plays to his credibility, said Aly Colon, an ethics expert at Washington & Lee University. Hannity frequently draws connections on his show between different people to suggest something nefarious is afoot — like a “deep state” plot against President Trump — so it’s particularly damaging when he is revealed to have secret connections of his own to figures he supports.”

Read the full piece in the Chicago Tribune online.

W&L’s Rush on Gerrymandering

“It’s true that ridiculous district shapes have been the smoking gun of gerrymandering controversies for virtually all of U.S. history. They capture the public’s interest and provide fodder for further discussions about corruption, smoke-filled rooms and other sordid visions of politics. They are also simplistic and misleading.”

Mark Rush, Director of International Education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University, published a piece on “The most important gerrymandering case no one is talking about” in The Virginian Pilot on Apr. 15, 2018.

You can read the full piece on Splinter News online.

485 Students Join the W&L Class of 2022

28953811_986743231501648_3897873109822941221_o-1-800x533 485 Students Join the W&L Class of 2022

485 students have made commitments to join Washington and Lee University’s Class of 2022, which will arrive on campus in August. The students were selected from an original applicant pool of 5,855, which represents the second consecutive year of increased applications. Since 2016, applications to W&L have grown by 15 percent.

From those 5,855 applications, the university accepted 1,238 applicants, or 21 percent of the total pool; 39 percent of students accepted W&L’s offer of admission.

“We are thrilled with the incredibly strong and accomplished group of women and men who have accepted our offers of admission,” said Sally Stone Richmond, W&L’s vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. “Our success this year reflects the unified and concerted efforts of this community to convey to applicants the qualities and opportunities that make W&L distinctive. We are confident that these students will bring the particular qualities of character, leadership and academic excellence that have always defined W&L students. We are grateful for the support and look forward to welcoming these highly talented and diverse students to the W&L community over the coming months.”

While the composition of the class may shift slightly over the summer, Richmond pointed to positive outcomes on several important metrics:

  • The Class of 2022 includes 24 international students from 17 countries (5 percent of the class) and domestic students from 42 states and the District of Columbia, compared to 38 states and the District of Columbia last year. The states with the largest representation in the Class of 2022 are Virginia, Texas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  • 55 percent of incoming students will receive financial aid in the form of grants — up from 51 percent last year. A portion of those students are eligible for the W&L Promise, which guarantees a minimum grant of tuition to any undergraduate student admitted to Washington and Lee with a total family income below $100,000 and assets typical for their income.
  • The number of students eligible for Pell Grants rose to 13 percent, up from 10 percent three years ago.
  • Domestic students of color account for 17 percent of the class, up from 15 percent last year and 11 percent in the Class of 2020. The number of African-American students in the class doubled, from 14 last year to 28.
  • Average standardized test scores for the Class of 2022 reflected an increase in the ACT median for the first time in five years, rising to 33. The median SAT rose to 1410.
  • For the first time in recent years, the class includes more women than men. Women compose 55 percent of the class, and 45 percent are men. When the Class of 2022 matriculates in the fall, the student body will be approximately 50 percent women and 50 percent men.
  • 10 percent of the class won the prestigious Johnson Scholarships, comprehensive merit awards that recognize leadership, service and outstanding academic achievement. The scholarships are part of W&L’s Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity.

Richmond noted that the number of deposits is greater than the anticipated number of students that will matriculate this fall; the goal for the Class of 2022 was 461. This is typical for this point in the admissions cycle, and allows for shrinkage between May and August.

Of the class, 54 percent had been admitted during the two early-decision options and the QuestBridge program, and 46 percent during the regular-decision option. The Admissions Office has closed its waitlist for the year.


My Taste of W&L Emily Perszyk ’18 reflects on what W&L has to offer in the classroom and on the court — and how it led to her interest in the study of taste, smell and flavor.

Emily-Perszyk-800x533 My Taste of W&LEmily Perszyk ’18 won a National Science Foundation post-graduate fellowship to continue her studies at Yale University.

“It was not always pretty balancing a varsity sport with the large demands required to maintain a high GPA. However, I wouldn’t have traded my experience playing basketball at W&L for the world.”

~ Emily Perszyk ’18

In between events during first-year orientation week, I sprinted over to the first women’s basketball pre-season pick-up of the year, ready to play in the athletic clothes I wore that day and the street shoes on my feet. I hadn’t yet committed to the program, telling Coach Clancy that I desired to see what college life would be like before adding a time-consuming and physically demanding NCAA Division III sport. Though I earned myself a few strange looks playing basketball without basketball shoes, I quickly realized that this team and program were where I belonged for the next four years. We would become wacky best friends, spending countless hours together, even on our off days.

Fast-forward one year. At the beginning of my basketball sophomore season, our team gathered in the locker room with the coaches, each prepared to share our one unique word to carry us through the challenges and triumphs we would later face. My teammates offered up perseverance, heart, believe and creativity. When it came to my turn, I couldn’t share just my word alone. Being the meticulous and overly prepared student I am, I had typed out a description in advance to ensure that I would deliver exactly what I meant by my choice of “discipline.”

“Discipline is waking up every morning and deciding what you want. Not at that exact moment, but what you want for the future, what you are striving to become. Discipline is waking up every morning and deciding how you are going to get there. In basketball, discipline and effort are two of the few things that can be controlled 100 percent of the time. Even when your shooting is off or the referee’s calls just aren’t in your favor, there is always the potential to stay disciplined — mentally focused and physically ready to push yourself to the extreme. Discipline is what it takes to lock in on the bigger goal at hand, and discipline is what it takes to makes dreams reality.”

Little did I know at the time, these statements would become my personal motto, saved to my computer and revisited on multiple occasions throughout my W&L career. These lines motivated me to add several 6 a.m. shooting workouts before work-study, a full day of classes, research and practice later in the evening. They helped me to focus on coursework — prioritizing studies to stay on top of a rigorous academic schedule that included pre-med classes to augment my understanding of the molecular, physiological and anatomical underpinnings of human action that I sought in my neuroscience degree.

Moreover, it was discipline that helped me to excel in research settings. I typically promised myself the chance to play basketball after a long day in the lab as a reward and much-needed stress relief. Across two summers with Dr. Robert Stewart in the Psychology Department studying sensory neurobiology and the mechanisms of neuron development in a taste relay center of the brain, as well as in a summer program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Dr. Ari Rosenberg exploring contextual learning in autism spectrum disorders, I often reminded myself that these difficult adventures would be well-worth it in the end. Indeed, they helped to cement my interest in sensory and perceptual topics of neuroscience, specifically in taste and smell domains.

In the end, it was not always pretty balancing a varsity sport with the large demands required to maintain a high GPA. However, I wouldn’t have traded my experience playing basketball at W&L for the world. It was the support of incredible teammates, coaches, W&L faculty and the greater Lexington community that encouraged my efforts, for which I was recognized as the first women’s basketball player in program history selected to the Academic All-America team. But more important, my fondest memories from this place came from special moments on and off the court with the best teammates I could have asked for: apple-picking in the fall, ice cream movie nights, scavenger hunts, long bus trips spent telling jokes and singing (or screaming) a capella at the tops of our lungs.

Though this overview of my “tastes” of basketball, coursework and research at W&L is quite simplified, it does provide a snapshot of how these pieces point to my future endeavors. The ability to analyze a scenario and think critically about appropriate questions to ask, which I will need for future research in graduate school, can be attributed to the amazing professors on this campus that prompted students to understand the scientific process above memorizing details. Leadership skills gained from serving as senior co-captain of the basketball team will aid in lab settings and a potential career in either academia or industry.

Next year, I will begin a Ph.D. in the neuroscience track of the biological and biomedical sciences graduate program at Yale, and will be grateful to participate jointly in service and research through the National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship program. In particular, I am interested in studying the neural correlates of taste, smell and flavor. Ironically, if you ask my previous teammates, I may have had the biggest appetite on the team — or at least the most pronounced habit for snacking at half-time and indulging in good desserts.

To throw in another taste-related pun, the end of my time at W&L has truly been bittersweet. While I am sad to see my basketball and academic careers here come to an end, I’m excited for what lies ahead. And as I learned from reading “The Hard Hat” by Jon Gordon with my basketball team last summer, being a good teammate and actively working towards one’s goals can be summarized in 21 ways. My favorite? — staying “humble and hungry.”

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 Emily

Extracurricular involvement:
Women’s basketball
Work-study in the Office of Financial Aid
Research
QuestBridge scholar

What professor has inspired you?
That would be a three-way tie: Dr. Robert Stewart and Dr. Tyler Lorig in psychology, as well as Dr. Erich Uffelman in chemistry, have all helped me to grow not only as a student, but also as a person. Their dedication to helping others and genuine curiosity beyond science have been inspiring.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Either chicken pad Thai from Napa Thai or the buffet at Hong Kong Kitchen – at least one of these gets consumed about once a week.

What one book do you recommend to everyone?
“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. One of my favorite quotes from the book — “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” — makes you wonder if you’re really living the life you want while examining what’s most important to you.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
That failures don’t exist. Every mistake is an opportunity to grow — and everyone at W&L wants to help you do that.

Favorite W&L memory:
Beating previously top-ranked Mary Washington as the underdogs in our first basketball game of the 2017-18 season my senior year.

Favorite class:
First-year psychology seminar Brain and Behavior, taught by Dr. Tyler Lorig.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I think soggy foods are the best, so I often dunk desserts in milk or coffee and love to let my cereal sit for awhile before eating it!

The Path to Publication Matthew Rickert '18 completed the daunting task of updating the "Outing Club Guidebook."

matt_reickert-800x533 The Path to PublicationMatthew Rickert ’18

When Matthew Rickert ’18 grabs his diploma on May 24, he just may be clutching an additional prize as well — the brand-new revision of the beloved “Outing Club Guidebook,” which he edited. Said Rickert, “I’d like to have it in my hand as I’m crossing the stage at graduation.”

Rickert discovered the compact book with the green cover when he arrived on campus in 2013. Nick Tatar ’96 edited the book, which came out in 2001 and became an indispensable guide to the area. Rickert, a member of the Outing Club’s Key Staff, used it “as inspiration,” but soon discovered that some of the hikes described in the guidebook did not match their current configuration. For example, a user of the first edition would be dismayed to learn that the House Mountain parking area has moved about a mile away, or that the St. Mary’s Waterfall Trail has closed. Given that situation, “I figured that after 15 years, it might be time to update the guidebook,” said Rickert.

He had the will, but it took a while to find a way. While pondering the substantial chunk of time that an update would consume, Rickert had an a-ha moment. As a public accounting major, he needed more credits than usual. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘This really needs to get done, but I don’t have the time to do it.’ And then I realized I could make it a class.”

To make the project legit — and to rack up four credits — he convinced the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications to take him under its wing for an independent study. Pam Luecke, the Reynolds Professor of Journalism, showed him the ropes of Associated Press style and walked him through the publishing process. Over in the Williams School, Steven Lind, assistant professor of business administration, dispensed advice about design features that might look snappy, but would increase the cost.

Rickert also roped in Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L, a Lexington resident who writes for the Lonely Planet travel guidebooks. “She helped us figure out how a guidebook is typically set up,” he said. “She was a big help.” James Dick, director of outdoor education and recreation, provided his usual invaluable assistance, and several current students contributed new material. The W&L Communications and Public Affairs staff handled final production.

Rickert started the update late in his sophomore year, and he finished his work last September. The book is not set in stone, though. In 15 years, he mused, “hopefully someone else will come along and say, ‘Why didn’t they include this section of the James River in the paddling section?’ ”

The level of detail necessary for the update surprised him. When writing directions, he had to incorporate a number of methods, including driving to a location, using an odometer, and good old walking. “Google Maps helped,” he said. Rickert also mastered the graphic design software known as InDesign. “The learning curve was pretty tremendous,” he said, but after the first 100 pages, the way became clear.

It’s not like Rickert had nothing else to do these past few years. Among his many roles on campus, he served as captain of the Crux Climbing Team, as president of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, as chief of the Compost Crew, and as events director of the Venture Club.

And there’s also his second major, in history. That discipline gave him “the capacity to write well,” he said. “Being able to get across these nuanced points is something that is different in history, and in a guidebook, it’s also something that you’re having to work on.” A class on Civil War battlefields with Barton Myers, associate professor of history, required him to corral a complex set of information.

His other major, public accounting, gave him the ability “to synthesize a lot of data very quickly,” and his new profession, auditing, requires the ability to examine a massive amount of information for accuracy, flow and sense. “And that’s exactly what a guidebook is,” he found.

While the lengthy hike to publication has been frustrating at times, Rickert is proud that he’s made every trip in the book. “I also like the idea of having my name in the guidebook,” he admitted. “It’s a little bit of a token accomplishment. A legacy, if you will.”

The “Outing Club Guidebook” is currently available for purchase at the Washington and Lee University Store and at Walkabout Outfitters and Books & Co. in downtown Lexington.

Admissions MAZE Program: June 15-16, 2019 Puzzled about the college admissions process? Learn more from the professionals.

SOC110118_56-800x533 Admissions MAZE Program: June 15-16, 2019Students relax on the Front Lawn. Photo by Mary-Wilson Grist ’22

Washington and Lee’s Admissions Office is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the biennial MAZE Program June 15-16, 2019.

The MAZE program is available to any child or grandchild of a W&L alumnus.  These students must also be entering the 11th or 12th grade. Sessions are led by experienced college admissions professionals who will encourage you to think carefully about the college selection process in a structured, yet relaxed learning environment.

The only cost to participants will be travel and lodging — there is no registration fee or tuition for the program. An official schedule and invitation will follow in early 2019.

If you have specific questions, please contact admissions at admissions@wlu.edu.


Law Graduation 2018

School of Law Honors Graduates at 2018 Commencement Ceremony

The Washington and Lee University School of Law celebrated its 163rd commencement on Saturday, May 5, awarding 114 juris doctor degrees.

Though storms pestered Lexington Friday evening and into the morning, the Colonnade lawn again played host to the ceremony, which began with an official welcome and remarks from President Will Dudley. He encouraged the graduating law students to savor their final moments on campus.

“Take Washington and Lee with you into the world and you and the world will be better for it,”  said Dudley. “You are well prepared to practice a noble profession successfully and with honor. ”

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Prof. Brant Hellwig, Dean of the Law School, followed President Dudley to the podium. He congratulated the students on their achievement and also thanked them for their many contributions to the life of the school, both inside and outside the classroom. He expounded on the concept of what it means to be an honorable practitioner of law, a phrase that helps anchor the School’s newly adopted mission statement.

“Honor certainly encompasses individual qualities such as integrity, honesty, and dependability,” said Hellwig.  “These attributes are central to the legal profession you are on the cusp of entering, and these values simply cannot yield in the face of pressures to zealously advance the interests of your client or, perhaps at an even more practical level, pressures to satisfy the demands of your boss.”

“Your professional identity – based in large part on your internal code of ethical and professional conduct – that is an asset that you create,” he added.

The graduates were then awarded their degrees.

After the degrees were presented, David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, delivered this year’s commencement address. Wilkins began his remarks by reminding students that as the name suggests, commencement truly is a beginning rather than an end.

“After you return your cap and gown and say your tearful goodbyes to the friends you have made here, promising to stay in touch – which I hope you do – it will indeed hit you that this is a beginning, it’s the beginning of the rest of your so-called life and in particular, your career as a lawyer.”

An expert on the legal profession, Professor Wilkins is Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession and Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession and the Center for Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry at Harvard Law School. In his talk, he spoke of the importance of lawyers in today’s increasingly complicated and fast-changing society.

“There are whole new fields of law that basically didn’t exist when I was a law student,” said Wilkins. “And there are many other areas that are being remade by technology. All of this has created enormous opportunities and new careers, for you.”

Wilkins then broadened his perspective, observing that the increasing polarization in society can only be solved by a willingness to reach across divisions to build bonds of community and trust with others, and he argued that lawyers have a special responsibility to engage in this work.

“As professionals, lawyers have been given special responsibility for the laws and institutions that our founding fathers believed would hold this country together,” said Wilkins. “But lawyers are also citizens, who often assume important leadership roles throughout society, including, of course, as elected and appointed officials, often at the very highest levels of our government.”

“Given these important positions of trust, it is especially critical that lawyers in their professional work, leadership roles, and even in their private lives work to preserve and extend the legal framework and fundamental rights that are so essential to our constitutional democracy.”

Following Wilkins’ remarks, third-year class officers Jonathan Murphy and Kelly Chrisman presented him with his very own walking stick, traditionally given to students at the awards ceremony preceding graduation. The walking stick, or cane, originated in the 1920’s as a way to distinguish third-year law students on campus. At that time, only two years of law school were required, and the walking stick served as a way to reward and honor those students who stayed for a third year.

Graduation festivities began Friday afternoon in Evans Hall with the annual awards ceremony and presentation of walking sticks. The John W. Davis Prize for Law, awarded to the graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Katheryn Paige Thomas.

Three students graduated summa cum laude, 12 graduated magna cum laude, and 19 graduated cum laude. 11 students were named to Order of the Coif, an honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education. A list of honors and awards appears below.

The Student Bar Association Teacher of the Year and Staff Member of the Year award were also presented at the awards ceremony. Prof. David Eggert was named Teacher of the Year, and Macy Coffey, long-time administrative assistance in the law library, won the staff award.

Special honors at Friday’s awards ceremony went to the following students:

Katheryn Paige Thomas was awarded the John W. Davis Prize for Law, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average.

Jacquelin Noel Hacker was awarded the Academic Progress Award for the most satisfactory scholastic progress in the final year.

Christopher Clayton Brewer won the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Award for effective trial advocacy.

Alexandra Shinsei Hakusui and Devin C. White shared in the Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr. Commercial Law Award for excellence in commercial law.

Craig Alan Carrillo and Melinda Katherine Sheild shared in the Calhoun Bond University Service Award for significant contributions to the University community.

Jean Marie Christy and Kendall P. Manning shared in the Frederic L. Kirgis, Jr., International Law Award for excellence in international law.

Jean Marie Christy and Hollie Nichole Webb shared in the National Association of Women Lawyers Award given to an outstanding woman law student.

Thomas W. Griffin III won the Charles V. Laughlin Award for outstanding contributions to the moot court program.

Ian Roberts won the Randall P. Bezanson Award for outstanding contributions to diversity in the life of the Law School community.

Meredith M. Toole won the Virginia Bar Family Law Section Award for excellence in the area of family law.

Ian Roberts won the American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for excellence in the study of bankruptcy law.

Katheryn Paige Thomas won the Barry Sullivan Constitutional Law Award for excellence in constitutional law.

Gregory Terrance Funk won the James W. H. Stewart Tax Law Award for excellence in tax law.

Corey Martin Lipschutz won the Thomas Carl Damewood Evidence Award for excellence in the area of evidence.

John Sterling Houser won the A. H. McLeod-Ross Malone Oral Advocacy Award for distinction in oral advocacy.

Catherine Elizabeth Woodcock won the Student Bar Association President Award for services as the President of the Student Bar Association.

Gabrielle Leina’ala Ongies won the Clinical Legal Education Association Award for excellence in clinical work.

Katheryn Paige Thomas won the Criminal Law Award for excellence in the study of criminal law

Martha Goodwin Vázquez won the Administrative Law Award for excellence in the study of administrative law.

Alix Myer Sirota and Mark X. Zhuang shared in the Business Law Award for excellence in the study of business law.

Summa Cum Laude

  • Nicholas Alexander Ramos
  • Alix Myer Sirota
  • Katheryn Paige Thomas

Magna Cum Laude

  • Peter S. Askin
  • Dioscoro Andres Blanco
  • Christopher Clayton Brewer
  • Gregory Terrance Funk
  • Alexandra Shinsei Hakusui
  • John Sterling Houser
  • Christopher Alan Hurley
  • Jonathan A. Murphy
  • Nicholas Andrew Schaffer
  • Peter Treutlen Thomas
  • Martha Goodwin Vazquez
  • Spencer Thomas Wiles

Cum Laude

  • Thomas Edward Arthur Bishop
  • Mark Paul Bonin II
  • Taylor Welch Davison
  • Mark John Dewyea
  • Matthew Christopher Donahue
  • Bennett T. W. Eastham
  • Elizabeth Branch Jenkins
  • Stephen C. Kindermann
  • Ross Lane LaFour
  • Corey Martin Lipschutz
  • Christopher Charles Losito
  • Kendall P. Manning
  • Morris E. McCrary IV
  • Aubrey J. Morin
  • Emily Marie Springer
  • Jonathon Craig Stanley
  • Devin C. White
  • Catherine Elizabeth Woodcock
  • Mark X. Zhuang

Order of the Coif

  • Peter S. Askin
  • Dioscoro Andres Blanco
  • Gregory Terrance Funk
  • John Sterling Houser
  • Christopher Alan Hurley
  • Nicholas Alexander Ramos
  • Alix Myer Sirota
  • Katheryn Paige Thomas
  • Peter Treutlen Thomas
  • Martha Goodwin Vazquez
  • Spencer Thomas Wiles
Related //

Working for Unity and Change Ayo Ehindero ’21 and Julia Habiger ’21 created an initiative to bridge the gap between Greek life and minority students.

HERS-Ehindero-Habiger-400x600 Working for Unity and ChangeAyo Ehindero ’21 (left) and Julia Habiger ’21

A year ago, when Ayo Ehindero ’21 visited campus as a prospective student for DIVE Weekend, she and other students of under-represented groups were advised by a professor to “make space for yourself” in college.

So when she came to W&L, she did just that.

Ehindero, of Fort Myers, Florida, the daughter of Nigerian-born parents, is now the leader and co-founder of an initiative to build bridges between diverse student organizations and Greek organizations.

Those student organizations, including such groups as the Student Association for Black Unity, the Student Association for International Learning, and Generals’ Unity, fall under the umbrella of The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).

The initiative designates members from each sorority and fraternity to serve as ODI representatives within their organizations to combat the racial, socioeconomic, and other invisible lines that often separate Greek and independent life at W&L.

A primary representative of each Greek chapter will work to increase awareness and attendance at ODI organization events. An alternate will serve as an additional voice. Also, a social chair will focus on planning events with non-Greek organizations, while a philanthropy chair will facilitate charitable partnerships among Greek and non-Greek organizations.

Ehindero said that as she entered the W&L scene, she struggled to find a balance between exploring the prominent Greek community and building friendships with other students of color. She feared that choosing either side might be isolating. She still struggles to be a part of both communities after joining a sorority.

“It’s like I am on a tightrope in between these two worlds,” she said.

She’s not alone in that struggle. Julia Habiger, also a first-year, said the divide is “hard to watch.”

Habiger and Ehindero, work-study students for ODI, were sitting in on a monthly department meeting in January when their idea came to life. The meeting covered upcoming events and initiatives, encouraging the various administrators and student representatives from ODI campus organizations in attendance to support fellow groups.

The meeting was held just after sorority rush (they both joined Chi Omega) and the pair realized that they and only one other student in attendance were of Greek affiliation, so the meeting directors were just “preaching to the choir.” They wanted that to change.

Habiger realized W&L could implement a representative system similar to one she joined at her small, private school in Baltimore, which she described as having “the same issues as W&L.”

“Instead of ODI people talking to ODI people, we are going to try to make people in Greek life aware so they can attend,” she said. “[We want to] bridge the gap.”

The initiative is clearly working. Some Greek organizations have had so many members request involvement in the new program that Ehindero and Habiger have had the luxury of selecting from a large pool of applicants. Unity and change have clearly just begun.


Ready for the Next Adventure As she prepares to work for the Equality of Opportunity Project, Amanda Wahlers '18 is grateful for the education, opportunities and research experience she has had in Lexington.

Mandie-Wahlers-800x533 Ready for the Next AdventureAmanda Wahlers ’18

“Working as a member of the Equality of Opportunity team, which is directed by economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and John Friedman, is an invaluable opportunity for me to expand my technical skills and understanding of economic research prior to pursuing a Ph.D in economics.”

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Major: Economics
Minor: Mathematics

It wasn’t until my sophomore year at W&L that I took my first economics course. The first hundred times I was asked “What are you majoring in?” upon coming to college, I got flustered and responded that I wanted to major in biology and Spanish. After all, I had loved AP biology in high school and, as a Phoenix native, had always aspired to become fluent in Spanish. Yet on the first day of my sophomore year (with Fundamentals of Biology, Gen Chem, three Spanish courses, and a summer spent in Madrid under my belt), I hesitantly edged into Professor Katharine Shester’s Principles of Microeconomics class.

As I sat in the front row of an introductory micro class dominated by freshman boys, Professor Shester’s engaging lectures drew me into a world of academic thought that I never wanted to leave. A month into the semester, I gathered the courage to ask Professor Shester about research opportunities in W&L’s Economics Department. Within a week she took me on as her research assistant. At that point, I had maybe six weeks’ worth of introductory economic knowledge and had never even heard of Stata, a statistical software package many economists use to conduct research. Still, Professor Shester took the time to explain economic concepts and introduce me to the realm of economic research with simple data tasks.

I spent the summer after my sophomore year in Lexington working as one of two economics research assistants to Professor Shester and Professor Chris Handy. John Juneau ’18 and I spent 30 hours a week meeting with them and working on research assignments for a number of projects. They gave us tasks throughout the summer that challenged us and allowed us to cultivate valuable technical skills.

I worked as a research assistant throughout my junior year, and professors Shester and Handy continued to support my development and aspirations. They helped me compose a resume and mock-interviewed me throughout the process of securing an internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the summer after my junior year. My work with Professor Shester and Professor Handy prepared me to assist with research in the Capital Markets group at the New York Fed, where I studied primary dealers’ positions and trading activity in U.S. Treasury securities.

Now, I have less than two months left as a student at W&L, and I am extremely grateful for the education, opportunities and research experience I have been afforded as an undergraduate. My time at W&L ultimately prepared me with the knowledge, experience and skills to compete with nearly 600 applicants for a handful of positions with the Equality of Opportunity Project, where I will begin a full-time position as a pre-doctoral fellow this summer. Working as a member of the Equality of Opportunity team, which is directed by economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and John Friedman, is an invaluable opportunity for me to expand my technical skills and understanding of economic research prior to pursuing a Ph.D in economics. My undergraduate education at W&L has given me a wealth of opportunities to pursue my passion for economic research and I count myself very blessed to have received it.

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 Amanda

Why did you choose your major?
From the first class I took in the department, economics clicked with the way that I think. I immediately saw how the discipline could be a valuable tool in answering really important questions. I originally picked up my math minor because math is an integral component of economic research, but I came to love how mathematics courses taught me to think creatively about problems.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
Many of my professors have gone above and beyond throughout my time at W&L, but Professor Katharine Shester and Professor Chris Handy have especially inspired me through their kindheartedness, wisdom and dedication to helping their students learn and grow. I definitely look up to both of them as role models.
What’s your personal motto?
From Hellen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai – chicken pad Thai
Favorite class:
An impossible question – Principles of Microeconomics with Professor Shester, Advanced Labor Economics with Professor Handy, Comparative Institutional Economics with Professor Grajzl, and Real Analysis with Professor Dresden have been some highlights!
Favorite W&L event:
ADPi’s and Bowties – My sorority’s spring formal where there is a live band and swing-dancing out near Liberty Hall ruins.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I love cartoons – “Phineas and Ferb” is my current go-to.

Shenandoah Announces New Leadership and Prize Winners The spring issue announces the retirement of R.T. Smith and the hiring of new editor Beth Staples.

Shenny-Logo-2-red-birds-350x263 Shenandoah Announces New Leadership and Prize Winners.

Shenandoah, the Washington and Lee University review, has released its spring 2018 issue (Volume 67, No. 2) on its website. The magazine also announced the winners of its annual prizes, the retirement of its longtime editor, R.T. Smith, and the hiring of new editor Beth Staples.

Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 when he left Auburn University and the editorship of Southern Humanities Review. Staples comes to W&L from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she edited Ecotone and directed Lookout Books. She has also previously edited Hayden’s Ferry Review for Arizona State University and will be an assistant professor in W&L’s English Department.

The current Shenandoah issue features five stories, five essays and 24 poems. Contributors include Shenandoah veterans David Wojahn, Stephen Gibson, Sarah Gordon, Alice Friman and Thomas Reiter, as well as newcomers John Glowney, Amy Reading, Paul Daniel and April Darcy, whose short story about the perils of modern love, “Free Fall,” is both her first publication and the winner of the magazine’s annual prize in fiction.

The winner of the annual Boatwright Prize for Poetry is Lisa Beech Hartz, for her poem “Portrait of Sherwood Anderson, Ripshin Farm, Doris Ullman, 1928,” which depicts a meeting in Virginia between acclaimed author Anderson and renowned photographer Ullman. The poem was published in Volume 67, No.1 last fall.

Honorable mentions in poetry go to Lisa Russ Spaar of Charlottesville and Austin Segrest, who is now pursuing a doctorate at the University of Missouri. Lynn Sloan’s essay “Nature Rules” from Volume 67, No.1 is the honorable mention in fiction.

The new schedule for submission of work to Shenandoah will be announced on the website in mid-summer.

Virginia Tech Professor Shannon Bell ’00 to Give Public Lecture at W&L Bell will discuss her second book, “Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia.”

ShannonBell Virginia Tech Professor Shannon Bell ’00 to Give Public Lecture at W&LShannon Bell ’00

Washington and Lee University presents a public lecture with Shannon Bell ’00, W&L alumna and associate professor of sociology at Virginia Tech, on May 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327.

Bell will discuss her second book, “Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia,” which was published by MIT Press in 2016. The book has won the Association of American Publishers PROSE Award and a gold medal from the Nautilus Book Awards.

In her book, Bell uses the coal-mining region of Central Appalachia as a case study. Bell investigates the region through in-depth interviews, participant observation, content analysis, geospatial viewshed analysis and an eight-month “Photovoice” project, which she uses as an innovative means of studying – in real time – the social dynamics affecting activist involvement in the region.

Bell’s research spans multiple sub-disciplines, including environmental sociology, social movements, gender, and rural sociology. Her research is broadly focused on issues of environmental justice and injustice, with a particular interest in the ways that environmentally destructive industries manipulate and mobilize gendered, classed and racialized identities to maintain power in the face of increasing public awareness of the risks associated with their practices.

At Virginia Tech, Bell is also an affiliated faculty member in women’s and gender studies, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience. Before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech in 2017, she was associate professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Kentucky.

Bell is the 2017 recipient of the Rural Sociological Society’s Excellence in Research Award, and she has also received the Environmental Sociology Practice & Outreach Award, the Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology & Humanism, and the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award.

Bell’s talk is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability.

John DeVogt, Professor of Management Emeritus at W&L, Dies at 87 DeVogt taught at W&L from 1962 to 2000.

DeVogt-400x600 John DeVogt, Professor of Management Emeritus at W&L, Dies at 87Professor Emeritus John DeVogt

John DeVogt, professor of management emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died on April 29, 2018, in Lexington, Virginia. He was 87. He taught at W&L from 1962 to 2000.

“He was a model teacher, scholar, mentor and community leader,” said W&L President Will Dudley. “Generations of alumni remember him with great fondness, as do his colleagues.”

DeVogt was born on Oct. 20, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan. He served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1955. DeVogt obtained his B.S. in business administration (1957) and his Ph.D. (1966) from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.

At W&L, he found his home in the Department of Management (later called Business Administration). He taught quantitative methods, production management, business ethics and strategic management. He served as head of the department, establishing relationships with management programs abroad and bringing the Goldratt seminars to Washington and Lee.

Before he started his long career at W&L, DeVogt spent two years with the Otis Elevator Co. and was a teaching assistant at UNC.

DeVogt served W&L in numerous ways, including stints on the Advisory Committee, Committee on Courses and Degrees, Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, Computer Committee, and Financial Aid Committee, among others. He was also the primary founder, and director for the first three years, of W&L’s Summer Scholars Program.

He belonged to Phi Eta Sigma, Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa, and he served as president of the W&L chapters of the latter two honor societies.

In his professional field, DeVogt was a founding member and holder of nearly every office, including the presidency, of the Southern Management Association, and the winner of its Distinguished Service Award, in 1976.

In the community, DeVogt chaired the Lexington School Board and served as president and legislative chairman of the Virginia School Boards Association. He served on the State Advisory Committee on Teacher Education; chaired the advisory board of the Lexington office of the American Federal Savings and Loan Association; was an elder in the Lexington Presbyterian Church and a long-time member of its choir; and directed the summer Institute of Family Business. He also served on the board of the Henry Street Playhouse.

In his spare time, DeVogt enjoyed golfing, as well as performing in productions ranging from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, to a dramatic adaptation of “The Red Badge of Courage,” to a barbershop quartet.

On the occasion of his retirement, his colleagues noted that he preferred small classes, so every term he had requested an 8:00 a.m. time slot; and that he had missed only three days of classes in his 38 years in the classroom.

Among his survivors are his wife of 58 years, Ann DeVogt, and his daughters, Linda and Joanne.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, May 26, at 11 a.m., at Lexington Presbyterian Church.

Campus Garden Plant Sale Scheduled The W&L Office of Sustainability will hold the sale May 4 and May 11.

plant_seedling_tomatoes-1063118.jpgd_-600x400 Campus Garden Plant Sale ScheduledCreative Commons

The Washington and Lee Office of Sustainability is hosting a Campus Garden plant sale on May 4 and May 11 from 2–5 p.m. outside the first floor of Elrod Commons. The sale is open to the greater Lexington community.

Both classic and unique heirloom vegetables, herbs and flowers that have been started from seed and grown organically in the W&L greenhouse will be available to purchase.

Profits from the sale go toward landscaping costs for sensory gardens that are currently being built by W&L staff and students at Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center.

For a full list of available plants email Nicole Poulin, Campus Garden manager, at npoulin@wlu.edu.

From Dream to Reality Shapley Davis '18 produced and premiered his own short film, and he hopes to continue making films as he heads off to USC's film school after graduation.

“I do believe in storytelling, and I’m excited to get to continue pursuing it as a career.”

Shapley-Davis-800x533 From Dream to RealityShapley Davis ’18

Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
Major: English
Minor: Film

I woke up, but kept my eyes closed. I had just exited a strange dream, unusual in that I did not appear in the dream myself at all. It had been about a girl struggling with thoughts of suicide and having flashbacks to her childhood and interactions with her father. Still very conscious of the story, I polished off the ending and opened my eyes. Not bad. I wrote everything down on my phone, already with the idea that I might make it into a short film.

About a month later, my high school buddies took me to a bar I had been to only once before. A friend from church, Santiago Ramos, walked in and said hello. He was only stopping in to use the restroom. I knew he had been involved in making a candle commercial or something, so after catching up, I told him the story of my dream. “Maybe we should make it you can produce, I’ll direct! Haha.” It was the kind of conversation you don’t expect a follow up on.

The next morning, however, Santi texted me: “Let’s make it Saturday.” I reminded him that it was Wednesday and that we didn’t have a plan, actors, equipment or money. He was not phased. In retrospect, part of me would like to say we put our noses to the grindstone and worked furiously to put together a masterpiece in three days. In reality, we goofed around, test-drove a Tesla (pure joy), and spent a lot of time at the pool, all the while making phone calls and spitting out ideas.

Santiago had a friend who had acted in a play once, so she quickly became our number one candidate for lead actress. She happened to be very good. Another friend from church connected me to a father-daughter pair willing to come in and shoot on Saturday morning. The six-year-old daughter just happened to greatly resemble our actress. I then texted a friend from preschool who was involved in film in some capacity at UNC School of the Arts. He said he was a cinematography major, had a camera, sound equipment, lights, etc., and was available to shoot on Saturday. For free. Boom, we had a cast and crew.

Production was smooth and very fun, and I spent the next few months working with an editor and composer who were friends with Santiago. I loved the finished product and had a blast premiering it in October in Stackhouse Theater at school. Coincidentally, the premier was the day I submitted my film school application to USC. I would say that I am proud of the film, but more thankful than proud. Between the odd dream and the extremely unlikely circumstances by which the film came about, I can’t help saying the credit for making it feasible at all really goes to God.

To-Be-premier-800x533 From Dream to RealityShapley Davis ’18 at his film’s premier in Stackhouse Theater.

Fast forward to mid-March, 2018. I was hanging out with friends when one brought up the fact that he had never seen my short film. I hadn’t shown it to anyone in person for several months, but I decided to sit down and watch it with him. After the credits rolled, he said he very much enjoyed it. I thanked him and told him the story of its production, almost exactly as written above. Fifteen minutes later I went upstairs, checked my email, and I had been accepted to my number one film school. So, no, I do not believe in coincidences. But I do believe in storytelling, and I’m excited to get to continue pursuing it as a career. I’m thankful for everyone who’s gotten me this far.

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 Shapley

Extracurricular involvement:
I am a member of Chi Psi, Reformed University Fellowship, and I play on the polo team. I’m also involved in the Fly-Fishing Club, the Fancy Dress Ball Committee, and the Big Spring Ball Committee.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
It’s hard to pick because we have truly amazing guys and gals all over campus, but I have been most inspired by my classmates Ralston Hartness and Walker Brand for their selfless service to everyone they encounter, and their overall humility. The best thing about W&L is the people, and it benefits immensely from leaders such as these two.
What’s your personal motto?
God first, others second, I’m third.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“It’s A Wonderful Life”
Post-graduation plans:
After traveling and spending time with my family at home, I will be moving to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production.
Favorite W&L memory:
A near impossible question. I’d have to go with the Big Spring Ball. Some friends and I found out we all knew how to waltz and were interested in teaching others this underused skill. So we formed a committee, gained access to a beautiful wedding venue through the generosity of our friend, Buddy Powers, and just had a ball with a ton of our friends. It was an incredible night and I was glad to be a part of starting a new W&L tradition.
Why did you choose W&L?
Quite simply, I believe W&L is the greatest school in the country. Academic prowess, history, student involvement and traditions, alumni network, size, location nobody else has it this good. It was the only school I applied to.

W&L’s Myers Selected for History Seminar on “The Civil War and American Memory”

“Strengthening the teaching of American history at colleges and universities is of critical importance to maintaining informed citizen participation in a democracy.”

Washington and Lee University is pleased to announce that Barton Myers, associate professor of history, is one of a select group of faculty members nationwide chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to participate in a special American history seminar on “The Civil War and American Memory.” The seminar for faculty members in history, political science, and related fields is especially important for those who may be called upon as resources and experts when questions arise over what should be done with controversial historical statues and markers on their campuses and in their communities. From a pool of 58 highly competitive nominations, 25 faculty members were selected to participate in the seminar, which will be held June 10–14, 2018, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Barton_Myers-400x600 W&L’s Myers Selected for History Seminar on “The Civil War and American Memory”Barton Myers

In announcing the selection of participants, CIC President Richard Ekman said, “Strengthening the teaching of American history at colleges and universities is of critical importance to maintaining informed citizen participation in a democracy. The Civil War has been used—and misused—to bolster contemporary arguments about conflict resolution, race, and the role of America in the world. The seminar will provide participating faculty members with unusual insight into the selective public memory through the years about American’s defining event, the Civil War. Participants in the seminar will be better prepared to teach a new generation of students how to understand major social and political issues of today in light of history, the different perspectives in different eras, and recent debates over Civil War monuments and symbols. We believe that Barton Myers will play a strong role in the seminar.”

The seminar will be led by David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. Blight is the author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, which received numerous awards including the Bancroft Prize, the Frederick Douglass Prize, and the Merle Curti Prize; American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, which received the Anisfield-Wolf Award for best nonfiction book on racism and human diversity; and A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including  Their Narratives of Emancipation. His other books include Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the

American Civil War; Frederick Douglass’ Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee; and the edited volumes, When This Cruel War Is Over: The Civil War Letters of Charles Harvey Brewster; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; and The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. DuBois. Blight was elected a member of the Society of American Historians in 2002. Since 2004, he has served as a member of the board of trustees of the New-York Historical Society. He also has served on the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. Blight was on the board of advisors to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and was involved in planning numerous events to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He has led or co-led many seminars for CIC faculty members on slave narratives and the scholarship and public history of slavery.

Seminar participants will assess the historical memory of the most divisive event in American history—the Civil War.  Participants will consider works on Civil War memory, discuss theoretical texts on the nature and significance of collective memory across time and cultures, and dive deeply into three anniversary moments in this history of the memories: the 50th (1911–1915); the 100th (1961–1965); and the 150th (2011–2015). The seminar also will consider the recent and current crises and debates over Civil War monuments and symbols from the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, to the recent protests and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and beyond. Above all, the seminar aims to provide a forum in which to comprehend and analyze why the slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction epoch has remained an unending dilemma in American historical consciousness.

The seminar is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information, visit the CIC website at www.cic.edu/AmericanHistory.

Participants in the 2018 CIC-Gilder Lehrman Seminar:

  • Terrie Aamodt, Professor of History and Philosophy, Walla Walla University (WA)
  • Kristin Anderson-Bricker, Professor of History, Loras College (IA)
  • Kyle Anthony, Assistant Professor of History, University of Saint Mary (KS)
  • Matt Barbee, Associate Professor of English, Siena Heights University (MI)
  • Gerald Butters, Professor of History, Aurora University (IL)
  • Mary Cain, Associate Professor of History, Agnes Scott College (GA)
  • Jennifer Cote, Associate Professor of History and Society, University of Saint Joseph (CT)
  • Kenya Davis-Hayes, Associate Professor of History, California Baptist University
  • Ian Delahanty, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences, Springfield College            (MA)
  • John d’Entremont, Professor of History, Randolph College (VA)
  • Brandon Downing, Assistant Professor of History, Marietta College (OH)
  • Dan Fountain, Associate Professor of History, Meredith College (NC)
  • Theodore Francis, Assistant Professor of History, Huston-Tillotson University (TX)
  • Kelly Franklin, Assistant Professor of English, Hillsdale College (MI)
  • Darin Lenz, Associate Professor of History, Fresno Pacific University (CA)
  • Kya Mangrum, Assistant Professor of English, Westmont College (CA)
  • Benjamin Montoya, Assistant Professor of History, Schreiner University (TX)
  • Barton Myers, Associate Professor of History, Washington and Lee University (VA)
  • Jeffrey O’Leary, Assistant Professor of History, Mitchell College (CT)
  • Marcy Sacks, Professor of History, Albion College       (MI)
  • Evie Terrono, Professor Art History, Randolph-Macon College (VA)
  • David Thomson, Assistant Professor of History, Sacred Heart University (CT)
  • Belinda Wheeler, Associate Professor of English, Claflin University (SC)
  • Corinne Wohlford, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor of American History and Culture, Fontbonne University (MO)
  • Karen Younger, Assistant Professor of History, Waynesburg University (PA)

Charu Kulkarni ‘18L Wins Oliver White Hill Pro Bono Award

Official-Pic-Charu-Kulkarni-400x600 Charu Kulkarni ‘18L Wins Oliver White Hill Pro Bono AwardCharu Kulkarni ’18L

The Virginia State Bar has named Washington and Lee University law student Charu Kulkarni, a member of the Law Class of 2018, as the recipient of the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.

The Virginia State Bar created the award in 2002 to honor extraordinary law student achievement and commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and public service. Kulkarni is the fifth W&L Law student to win the award.

Kulkarni was born and raised in India, first coming to the U.S. in 2009 to attend Carleton College. She graduated magna cum laude from Carleton and also received an MA in Social Science from the University of Chicago before attending W&L Law.

From the beginning of her law school career, Kulkarni was focused on the goal of serving the public interest by advocating for the underrepresented and powerless. Growing up she witnessed how corruption plagued the Indian government, and that the most vulnerable populations suffered the most from police abuse of power. And as Kulkarni wrote in her application to W&L’s clinical program, there are similar challenges in the U.S. justice system.

“The system is constantly plagued at its core by problems of social justice that may be beyond its scope to fully resolve. In my career as a lawyer, I wish to do everything I can to increase fairness and justice within the system.”

Kulkarni spent her 1L summer as a domestic relations intern at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, where she appeared in Fulton County Superior Court and successfully argued a case to grant a temporary protective order for a domestic violence survivor. Later that summer, she worked for Greater Boston Legal Services in their immigration unit researching asylum law and working with clients seeking asylum in the U.S.

She spent her 2L summer as a law clerk with the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, where she logged 486 hours of pro bono service doing legal research and factual investigation for clients. A particular focus was developing and presenting a campaign for executive clemency on behalf of a man whose crime was the result of severe mental illness.

During her 3L year, Kulkarni has served as a student attorney in the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, the death penalty defense clinic at W&L Law. There she helped launch the clinic’s new pro bono project, providing representation to an aging cohort of Virginia prison inmates who remain parole-eligible because they were sentenced before the state abolished parole in 1995.

“Charu immediately assumed leadership of this new effort,” said David Bruck, professor and director of the clinic. “In addition to representing her assigned clients, Charu took on the extra burden of developing a manual for those navigating this unfamiliar and little-know area of administrative law. Her work will serve as a guide to Virginia parole practice and procedure for future law students and lawyers for years to come.”

In her work on the parole project, Kulkarni also achieved the first success of this new initiative, winning parole for a 70-year-old man who had served 40 years in prison with virtually no disciplinary infractions. Her work included visits to the client’s family’s home to document his release plan and an innovative written submission to the Parole Board detailing the strong family and community support her client would receive upon release.

In addition to her strong commitment to pro bono service, Kulkarni has been very active in the law school community. She is a member of the Black Law Students Association, serving as the organization’s historian and also as a member of its mock trial team. In addition, she served as Vice President for Community Service for the Public Interest Law Students’ Association and as a senior articles editor for the German Law Journal.

Not surprisingly, Kulkarni’s plans after graduation involve a career in indigent criminal defense. She has accepted a position as an assistant public defender with the Defender Association of Philadelphia beginning later this year.

The Virginia State Bar’s pro bono award is named in honor of Oliver White Hill, a life-long civil rights activist and attorney. He was one of five lawyers who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Mr. Hill spent his childhood years in Roanoke, Virginia and started his law practice there in 1934. Among his many honors, in 2000 Mr. Hill received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Washington and Lee. He died at the age of 100 in August 2007.

Related //

Bryant Awarded Fulbright Grant to Germany Carson Bryant '18 has been awarded a Fulbright grant for an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany.

Unknown-800x533 Bryant Awarded Fulbright Grant to GermanyCarson Bryant ’18

Washington and Lee University senior Carson Bryant has been awarded a Fulbright grant for an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany.

“Being a foreign language teaching assistant opens the door to direct, involved engagement with a German community,” said Bryant. “Through constant interaction with German students and teachers, I hope to become a long-term member of the community while using my experiences with German to inspire students.”

Bryant has been studying German since high school, and prior to college lived with a German family for two weeks. During his time at W&L, the German and economics double major has participated in the Real Estate Society, DAAD Young Ambassadors Program, is a work-study at the Outing Club barn, and is a member of the Arts League, German club and Sigma Nu fraternity.

“I will never forget meeting Carson on his first day at W&L,” said Paul Youngman, Harry E. and Mary Jayne W. Redenbaugh Professor of German. “He stopped by my office to introduce himself with all of his positive energy and enthusiasm for all things German. I remember thinking to myself, this kid is going to make a difference in this department. I was not wrong.”

During his time in Germany, Bryant hopes to establish a club for students interested in learning English and plans to hold extracurricular events to promote learning through experience and engagement.

“This type of club has been valuable to me in learning German and could be similarly beneficial to German students learning English,” he said.

“I want to be in a position where I can develop a deeper cultural understanding of the impact immigration and refugees have in contemporary Germany,” said Bryant. “I would seek to become involved with a refugee service organization, such as the Flüchtlingsrat, as this would be a clear path to direct and personal engagement with the issue.”

“It is hard to overestimate his contributions to the German program during his time at W&L, whether it was as the German Club president or the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) young ambassador,” said Youngman. “We have students like Carson to thank for the strength of our program, and the Fulbright is a wonderful affirmation of all he has accomplished at W&L.”