W&L Recognizes 29 Retiring Faculty and Staff
Washington and Lee University recognized 29 retiring members of the faculty and staff during Commencement exercises on May 24 and during the Employee Recognition Banquet on April 17. Together the group represents a total of more than 793 years of service.
The 29 faculty and staff retirees are:
- Jennifer Ashworth, administrative assistant, History Department
- Julie Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs and university editor, Communications and Public Affairs
- Dan Coffey, textbook purchaser/graduation coordinator, University Store
- Macy Coffey, administrative assistant, Law Library
- Elizabeth Cumming, laboratory supervisor and physics instructor
- Marquita Dunn, general services worker, Café 77
- Ruth Floyd, senior support analyst, ITS
- Bonnie Gates, library assistant, Law School
- Mark Grunewald, Morefield Professor of Law
- Barbara Higgins, administrative assistant, Chemistry Department
- Patrick Hinely ’73, university photographer, Communications and Public Affairs
- Joan Kasper, administrative assistant, Law Library
- Edward Mays, dining systems coordinator, Dining Services
- Betty Sue Moore, custodian, Facilities Management
- Robert (Bobby) Moore, lead carpenter, Facilities Management
- Denise Neuhs, dispatcher, Public Safety
- Linda Newell, senior library assistant, Law Library
- David Novack, professor of sociology
- Arthur Perry, media specialist, law technology, ITS
- Rolf Piranian, associate professor of physical education
- Daniel Rexrode, public safety officer, Public Safety
- Jackie Sandidge, lead custodian, Facilities Management
- Leanne Shank, general counsel
- Rod Smith, editor, Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review
- William Stroud, custodian, Facilities Management
- Susie Thompson, associate director of special programs, Office of Lifelong Learning
- Vernon Walker, custodian, Facilities Management
- James Warren, professor of English
- Scott Wines, senior plumber, Facilities Management
Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the Williams School Elizabeth Oliver will assume the role of associate dean beginning July 1.
Elizabeth Oliver, the Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor of Accounting and department chair at Washington and Lee University, is the new associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, beginning July 1. She succeeds Timothy Diette, who has held that post since 2017. Diette has been named senior advisor to the president for strategic analysis, also effective July 1.
Oliver joined the Williams School faculty in 1991. She holds an A.B. from Mary Baldwin College, an M.A. in English from the University of Kansas, an M.S. in accounting from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.
She previously served as associate dean of the Williams School from 1998-2003. She has served since 2003 as head of the Accounting Department, teaching courses in accounting research and corporate social responsibility, and launching and coordinating the W&L London Internship Program. She serves as a faculty advisor to Washington and Lee Student Consulting, and helps oversee the group’s pro bono work with businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
Oliver has served in a number of key university roles during her time at W&L, including terms on the President’s Advisory Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee as interim chair, and various search committees and strategic planning groups. She currently serves as chair of W&L’s Benefits Committee.
Outside of her work at W&L, Oliver is a member of the editorial board of Business Horizons and serves as the president-elect of the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Program Leadership Group (APLG). In the community, she has served as treasurer of the Friends of Rockbridge Choral Society and chair of the Finance Committee of Grace Episcopal Church.
Oliver assumes her new role on the heels of the Board of Trustees’ recent approval of a new strategic plan for the university. “This is a particularly exciting time to come into the associate dean’s position,” she said. “I am delighted to continue working with my wonderful colleagues in the Williams School and look forward to collaborating more broadly across the university.”
In addition to advising the dean on a variety of matters, the associate dean of the Williams School focuses on operations and accreditation. The associate dean also represents the Williams School on a number of university committees and works closely with the dean and faculty of the Williams School on curriculum and program development.
“Elizabeth brings significant experience from her previous tenure as associate dean, her 15 years as the department head of accounting, and from her experience with accreditation and the broader activities of the Williams School,” said Rob Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School. “She is an accomplished scholar, working most recently on topics related to workplace culture and performance appraisal, and a strong advocate for liberal arts and experiential learning. I’m excited to welcome Elizabeth back to the associate dean’s position.”
Class of 2018 Video: ‘What We’ll Miss’
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.
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
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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)
Straughan Addresses Alumni Opening Assembly, ODK Holds Spring Initiation
Robert Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics at Washington and Lee University, gave the keynote talk at the university’s annual Alumni Reunion Weekend Opening Assembly on April 26, in Lee Chapel. He spoke on “The Urgency of Liberal Arts in the Professions.”
The event kicked off the weekend, which featured reunions for eight classes, including those celebrating their 50th reunion (Class of 1968) and 25th reunion (Class of 1993). It also included the spring induction by W&L’s Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, of seven new undergraduate members, and the recognition of four honorary initiates.
Straughn described the value of strong connections with the liberal arts for those working in professional fields in general, and in business in particular. “Common learning outcomes of critical and analytical thinking, persuasive communication, moral reasoning, personal empathy, cultural fluency, and creativity and innovation – in no particular order – ought to define the experience of any undergraduate student,” he said.
“The course topic or chosen major focal area, whether Latin American literature, classical civilizations, bio-robotics, art preservation and restoration or international marketing, simply provides a context in which to hone these common learning outcomes.”
The ODK inductions were held prior to Straughan’s keynote. The honorary initiates:
Dr. George J. Dover ‘68 is the distinguished service professor and former director of the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as the former pediatrician in chief of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has a long history of scientific research in the study and treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD), having published over 130 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in the fields of pediatric hematology and genetics. His laboratory was responsible for many of the initial observations of the biology and genetic control of fetal hemoglobin and was part of the team of physicians at Johns Hopkins responsible for developing the FDA-approved therapy with hydroxyurea for SCD.
A 1968 graduate of Washington and Lee University, Dover received his medical degree in 1972 from Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans. He trained in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, joined the Hopkins faculty in 1977 and was promoted to professor in 1992. In recent years, he led faculty and staff in the development and design of the David Rubenstein Pediatric Outpatient Center and the new pediatric hospital, the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center (opened in 2012). He has served as chairman of the medical board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital (2008-2011) and is a recipient of many awards, including Outstanding Clinical Teaching at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the MERIT Research Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Reginald A. Early is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia. He graduated from Norfolk State University in Norfolk with a B.A. degree in journalism and a M.A. degree in communications. He received the M.Div from Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. Rev. Early is a founding member of Mobile Hope, an agency serving the homeless youth population of Loudoun County, Virginia. He also was on the executive board of Mobile Hope. He served as a volunteer for Volunteers of America, where he read to children of the Leesburg Homeless Shelter. He has also been president of the Loudoun County NAACP.
Early is president of the revitalized chapter of the Rockbridge County NAACP. He is a founding member, vice president and spokesperson for CARE (Community Against Racism Education). Currently, he is a member of the Racial Justice Group of 50 Ways Rockbridge and is on the board of directors for Project Horizon. He serves on the board of directors for the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project. Having retired from full-time ministry with the United Methodist Church, he now serves as a part-time pastor on the Shenandoah Charge of the UMC.
Steven Grist ’86L became the president of CornerStone Bank in 2014, succeeding his brother, T. David Grist. Grist has served on the board of directors of CornerStone Bank since its inception in 2009. Before his role as president, he served as vice chairman of the board, chair of the Asset/Liability Committee, and as a member of the executive committee. Previously, he had a private law practice in Lexington that concentrated in trusts and estates, commercial and corporate law, and real estate. He served as commissioner of accounts for the Circuit Court of Lexington and Rockbridge County.
A lifelong resident of Lexington, Grist graduated from Lexington High School, then earned a B.A. with a double major in economics and English from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law. He is a past president of the Rockbridge-Buena Vista Bar Association and past chair of the Virginia Conference of Commissioners of Accounts. Over the years, he has served in numerous local leadership roles, including director of the Lexington Rotary Club, president of the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic (now the Rockbridge Area Health Center), president of the United Way of Lexington/Rockbridge County, president of the Lexington/Rockbridge County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Lexington/Rockbridge Jaycees, and president of the American Heart Association’s Rockbridge Unit. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, and he received the prestigious North Star Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He presently serves as a director of The Community Table and the Lexington Golf and Country Club, and as secretary of The Fortnightly Club.
Robyn McCord O’Brien ’93 is founder and executive director of the AllergyKids Foundation. She is a bestselling author, public speaker, strategist and mother of four. Her focus is on restoring the health of American families in order to address the burden that disease is placing on our economy. She brings insight and detailed analysis to her research on the health of the American food system as documented in her first book, “The Unhealthy Truth,” and has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by Bloomberg and the New York Times. She earned an M.B.A. on a full scholarship from Rice University, graduating as the top woman in her class before going to work as a financial analyst covering the food industry. She graduated summa cum laude from Washington and Lee, where she was also Phi Beta Kappa.
O’Brien’s work has been covered by CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” FOX News, the Washington Post and numerous other media outlets. She has been named by SHAPE Magazine as a “Woman to Shape the World,” by Forbes Woman as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter,” and by The Discovery Channel as one of its 15 Top “Visionaries.” Her TEDx talks have been well received, and she recently spoke at Tony Robbins’ financial conference, addressing “The New Food Economy.” She has served on the board of directors of Healthy Child Healthy World and the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C. She also serves on advisory boards for startups and has been hired to speak at Target, Compass Food Group and Bloomberg, and to both organic and multinational food companies. She continues to shine a light on the health of our country and statistics that relate to families, farmers and our food economy.
Seven juniors were tapped into membership in ODK: Thomas John Agostini, a neuroscience major with a minor in poverty and human capabilities studies from Elgin, South Carolina; Teresa Aires De Sousa Da Silveira Rodrigues, a business administration and sociology double major from Lisbon, Portugal; Ryder Tobin Babik, an engineering major and mathematics minor from Natick, Massachusetts; Rossella Ivana Gabriele, a double major in physics and global politics from St. Louis, Missouri; Allie DiPietro, a business administration major minoring in Latin American and Caribbean studies from Baltimore, Maryland; Martha Davis Straske, a psychology major and dance minor from Tampa, Florida; and Sutton Paige Travis, a journalism and English double major with a minor in creative writing from Carthage, Texas.
ODK presented the Rupert Latture Award, which recognizes a sophomore who has demonstrated outstanding leadership potential, to Hannah Denham, a journalism major and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies minor from Spanish Fort, Alabama. It gave the James G. Leyburn Award for Community Service to the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC), a local organization whose mission is to promote the wise stewardship and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources through education, advocacy and action in order to protect and enhance the quality of life for present and future inhabitants of Rockbridge.
Earlier Thursday, ODK unveiled an official historical marker at its national headquarters in Lexington. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources recognized ODK as a significant part of the commonwealth’s history.
“Omicron Delta Kappa is thankful for the support of the City of Lexington and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in facilitating the installation of our historical marker, commemorating our organization’s 104-year relationship with Washington and Lee University,” said Tara Singer, ODK’s executive director. “We are also grateful for the financial contribution from John Morgan, executive director emeritus, who made the acquisition of the marker possible.”
Speakers at the event included W&L President Will Dudley and W&L senior and ODK Alpha Circle President Angel Vela de la Garza Evia.