Feature Stories Campus Events

Strong Addresses George Washington’s Words in Richmond Times-Dispatch

Robert Strong

Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor in Political Economy at Washington and Lee, addresses why George Washington’s words still matter in today’s political climate in an opinion piece published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In the article Strong argues that “Now, more than ever, we need to take George Washington’s warnings to heart.”

Read the full piece here.

W&L to Host Talk with ‘One of the World’s Principal Observers of Democracy’ In his talk, which is free and open to the public, Mounk will discuss the rise of populism around the world.

Yascha Mounk is an author and lecturer at Harvard University.

Yascha Mounk, an author and lecturer at Harvard University, will give a public lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium.

In his talk, which is free and open to the public, Mounk will discuss the rise of populism around the world.

“Yascha Mounk has been on the cutting edge of the study of democracy around the world,” said Mark Rush, Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law. “Through his analysis of the World Values Survey, he anticipated the rise of populism on the left and the right as well as the shifting sands of democratization in Eastern Europe.”

Mounk received his B.A. in history from Trinity College, Cambridge University and his Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. In addition to lecturing at Harvard, Mounk is also a senior fellow in the political reform program at New America and executive director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

His publications include three books: “Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany;” “The Age of Responsibility: Luck, Choice and the Welfare State;” and “The People versus Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It.”

“His current book, ‘The People versus Democracy,’ offers tremendous insights into the sources and consequences of the challenges to liberal democracy that have arisen across countries and continents,” said Rush. “His visit to Washington and Lee will be a wonderful opportunity for the campus and community to interact with one of the world’s principal observers of democracy.”

Mounks talk is sponsored by the Center for International Education, W&L School of Law, the Sociology and Anthropology, the Department of Politics and the Mosbacher Fund for International Lecturers and Visitors.

Exhibit Highlights Mock Convention Through the Years The exhibition, “The Mock Convention Through the Years,” is on display on the first floor of Leyburn Library between Sept. 15-29.

Piotte has gathered photographs, posters, pins, T-shirts, newspaper clippings and much more, collected over the years from students, faculty and alumni.

Kylie Piotte ’21, the director of operations for Mock Convention 2020, has organized a public exhibit highlighting Mock Convention’s history at Washington and Lee University. The exhibition, “The Mock Convention Through the Years,” is on display on the first floor of Leyburn Library between Sept. 15-29.

Washington and Lee’s Mock Convention is a non-partisan student political research project that simulates the presidential nominating convention for the party not currently in control of the White House. It has taken place at W&L every four years since 1908 and has correctly predicted the nominee on 20 out of 26 occasions.

With the help of W&L’s Special Collections and Archives, Piotte has gathered photographs, posters, pins, T-shirts, newspaper clippings and much more, collected over the years from students, faculty and alumni.

The Operations Department of Mock Con, which consist of four student members, manages the non-political side of the event.

“We work as a team to create a professional environment that rivals the quality of a true national convention, and we are the ‘memory-makers,’” said Piotte. “My team and I are responsible for memorabilia and exciting experiences such as this exhibit, an upcoming tailgate for Parent’s Weekend, Spring Kickoff, the Presidential Gala, parade and of course Convention Weekend in 2020.”

The idea for the exhibit came to Piotte last spring when she stumbled upon some old campaign posters from the late 60s tucked away in the corner of the Mock Con office. Special Collections quickly introduced her to their own Mock Convention vault.

“Upon rifling through the other items saved, I was inspired to put together a showcase for this fall,” said Piotte. “Mock Convention is coming faster than we think, and I believed an exhibit would be a fun way to get the community talking about the convention again, along with providing Young Alumni and parents an opportunity to look at memories that they might have experienced firsthand.”

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Scaling the Entrepreneurship Summit Jesse Evans '20 spent his summer ensuring that this year's summit, which takes place Sept. 21-22, will be a success.

Jesse Evans ’20

“I want to ensure that all students know about the Entrepreneurship Summit and the value it can add to them. With over 100 alumni coming into town, there are plenty of learning and networking opportunities.”

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Major: Business Administration
Minor: Environmental Studies

What makes the Entrepreneurship Summit such an important event at W&L?

The Entrepreneurship Summit offers W&L students immense opportunities. We have intentionally invited alumni from all disciplines, so any W&L student from any major can find value from the summit. We have awesome keynote speakers this year: Chip Mahan ’73, from the finance industry, and Amy Bohutinsky ’97, from the real estate industry. We also have seminars and panel discussions that relate to almost any major on campus, from computer science to music and finance.

Aside from the vast knowledge that these alumni bring back, there are many networking opportunities during the summit that I recommend students attend. Alumni really want to help current students and even offer jobs to their startups. The alumni, as well as students, pitch their business ideas at the summit on Saturday– a fantastic event that every student should attend to see the creativity and ambition of their fellow students and alumni.

What is your role in the Entrepreneurship Summit?

I am the chair of the marketing committee for the summit.

What made you want to be part of this work?

I was a member of the Entrepreneurship Summit Marketing Committee last year and I really enjoyed my experience. So, I took full advantage of having the opportunity to lead the marketing committee this year. Additionally, I have a general interest in marketing and advertising. I enjoy the work for its creative and strategic aspects. Aside from my interest in marketing, I wanted to be deeply involved with the summit because it is such a valuable event for the W&L community and I really want it to be successful. I want to ensure that all students know about the Entrepreneurship Summit and the value it can add to them. With over 100 alumni coming into town, there are plenty of learning and networking opportunities.

What has an average day for you looked like on this project?

An average day is tough to say. There are so many irons in the fire. I have so many marketing channels and moving deadlines that my days are certainly not the same. Some days I am hanging posters around campus, then the next day I am designing Instagram stories, then the next day I am sending emails to department heads. Much of the prep work is done over the summer. The marketing committee, for the most part, has already planned our strategy prior to the start of the semester. So during the semester, we execute the plan we already made. However, we do leverage and devote resources to other marketing opportunities that present themselves unexpectedly.

Has it been challenging in any way? If so, how?

The Entrepreneurship Summit is certainly challenging to put together, but this is why we have several committees to delegate tasks. No Venture Club member has the bandwidth or resources to successfully lead the student and alumni pitches, operations team, marketing team and panel discussions.

The most challenging part for my committee was probably designing the plan during the summer to ensure that we are taking advantage of all possible channels to advertise to students. We want to make sure that all students know about the summit and no one misses the opportunity to attend due to ignorance of the event.

How does the project relate to your wider experiences at W&L in terms of student-faculty relationships?

The Entrepreneurship Summit, while a Williams School event, caters to all majors. We design our panels and speakers to address topics in most departments at W&L. For instance, we have panels on food entrepreneurship, the fashion and music industry, Blockchain and many more.

What is your role in the Venture Club?

I am a member of the Executive Committee. There are five other students on the committee, and we work to lead summit committees, and after the summit, we lead the club and design the schedule. During the year with Venture Club, we work with our professors, Shay and Junkunc, to create fun and interesting projects that enhance certain business and entrepreneurial skills for our members. We also bring in speakers, alumni or other professors, to lecture the club on various topics.

Has your work on the summit impacted your future plans in any way?

Yes, but I think my attendance at the summit has an even larger impact. The more I work with the Venture Club, the more I fall in love with entrepreneurship. I enjoy hearing from alumni at the summit about their businesses and their non-linear paths to success. At the summit, alumni show that there are many paths to reach a single goal. I am very driven and self-motivated to put all my resources into an idea that I am passionate about. There is a saying in entrepreneurship that an entrepreneur avoids a 40-hour work week only to work 80 hours. If you are passionate about an idea, then you put all your time into it to ensure its success.

How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

The Entrepreneurship Summit is a great opportunity for networking, and W&L really does a great job of teaching students how to network. I really look forward to the summit to meet successful alumni and hear their stories.

Additionally, for my marketing committee specifically, my business classes have given me the skills to successfully create awareness and consideration among the students. When developing the marketing plan this summer, I had many previous business class lessons in the back of my head: understand your target consumer, define your consumer persona, understand what your consumer wants, define marketing channels, etc.

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 Jesse

What extracurricular activities do you do?

Venture Club, Intern for the Sustainability Office on campus

Why did you choose your major?

My attraction for business began when I co-founded a dog walking and pet service business, Happy Hounds, at the beginning of high school with my friend, Chris Prattos. We started with one client and grew to over 40 clients and four employees. We turned the business over to neighbors after our freshman year of college. The business started as an accident when a neighbor walking her dog saw me running and asked me if I wanted to run her dog for money. When Chris heard that I was running this dog after school, he said we should start a business. So, we ordered business cards and walked door-to-door every summer after that. This business experience, while minimal, piqued my interest in learning more about business and wanting to start another business. I am currently working on two: Colonnade Oaks and Vesper Media Group.

Has anyone on campus inspired you? 

Two friends of mine, Graham Novak ’19 and Steve Allen ’18, have inspired me, and both have been immensely helpful. Both were highly involved (Graham is still currently involved) in Venture Club. Two years ago, they started a global co-living community for digital nomads in Portugal, called NomadX. I was amazed at their hard work and the number of hours per week they spent starting the company. It showed me the dedication needed to successfully launch a company. Both Graham and Steve have been great mentors to me, helping me with my studies and business pursuits. Steve helped guide me with my current website design and social media marketing business, Vesper Media Group, that I co-founded with John Harashinski ’20.

What’s your personal motto?

Be a solution finder.

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

I order the Phoenix salad with a scoop of hummus at Blue Phoenix.

Favorite W&L memory:

One of my favorite memories was an overnight hike on Big House Mountain at the end of freshman year with two close friends of mine.

Favorite class:

Freshman geology lab with Professor Jeff Rahl. Jeff is a fantastic professor and just an overall great professor. He was very helpful in and out of class and just made the class fun. I always looked forward to going to class. The best part of the class was that once a week we would go into the field for our lab. I love nature and hiking, so this was a highlight of the week. We even went swimming in a creek and went caving for the last field lab.

Favorite W&L event:

The Entrepreneurship Summit, of course!

Why did you choose W&L?

I choose W&L because when I visited for the first time, I felt so welcome to the community and everyone was so friendly. After attending this university for two years, I truly believe the community is one of our best characteristics. Additionally, the small class sizes, close student-professor relationships and beautiful geographic area were also significant factors in my decision to attend.

W&L Choral Program and Instrumental Ensemble to Hold Parents and Family Weekend Concerts Join members of the W&L choral program for a Parents and Family Weekend choral concert on Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall.

Director of Choral Activities Shane Lynch conducting the University Singers in Wilson Hall.

Join members of the Washington and Lee choral program, under the direction of visiting choral director Morgan Luttig, for a Parents and Family Weekend choral concert on Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall in the Lenfest Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are free, but required.

Through the upcoming season, members of the choral program will experiment with varying styles of audience engagement within the Washington and Lee community and beyond. The Parents and Family Weekend performance will feature surround-sound experiences with choir members exploring audience engagement as an integral part of their choral studies.

The University Singers repertoire will feature traditional Scottish pieces such as “Loch Lomond” by Jonathan Quick, and pieces representative of “home” such as J. David Moore’s arrangement of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

Cantatrici Women’s Choir and the Men’s Glee Club will perform as a joint ensemble, as well as individually for the concert. Some highlights include the men of the Glee Club performing “Cover Me with the Night” by Andrea Ramsey, a piece featuring soloists, piano and auxiliary percussion. In addition, the women will present Brian Tate’s “Hold Me, Rock Me,” a spiritual compilation.

This year’s visiting conductor, Morgan Luttig ’14, is an alumna of the Washington and Lee Conducting Mentorship Program.

“It is an honor to return to W&L to direct the choral ensembles,” said Luttig. “This experience feels like coming home, and I look forward to seeing how today’s students will shape and be shaped by the choral program in the same way that the choral program greatly impacted me as a student.”

Luttig received her master’s of music education – choral emphasis degree from Westminster Choir College, and previously taught at St. Andrew’s School in Savannah, Georgia, as choral director and general music teacher for pre-k through 12 students. Luttig has performed with choral ensembles such as Westminster’s Kantorei, Symphonic Choir and Jubilee Singers, as well as the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and iCantori Choral Ensemble.

Instrumental Ensemble Concert Parents and Family Weekend

The W&L Music Department will also present an Instrumental Ensemble concert Parents and Family Weekend at 8 p.m. on  Sept. 29 in the Wilson Concert Hall.

Join the University Jazz Ensemble, University Orchestra and University Wind Ensemble as they perform a combined concert as part of Parents and Family Weekend 2018.

The concert is free and no tickets are required.  For more information, call the Lenfest Center box office at 540- 458-8000.

W&L’s History Department to Hold Public Panel in Response to Constitution Day Lecture The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Who Is America?! A Response to Michael Anton’s Constitution Day Lecture.”

The History Department at Washington and Lee University is sponsoring a public panel in response to Michael Anton’s Constitution Day lecture on Sept. 25, at 5 p.m., in Hillel 101.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Who Is America?! A Response to Michael Anton’s Constitution Day Lecture.”

The panelists will share their expertise on the Constitution, the law and immigration. Panelist members include Kameliya Atanasova, assistant professor of religion, David Baluarte, associate clinical professor of law and director of Immigrants Rights Clinic, and Mohamed Kamara, associate professor of romance languages.

Michael Anton is a former deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications on the United States National Security Council. He also is a former speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani and George W. Bush’s National Security Council and has worked as director of communications at Citigroup and as managing director of BlackRock.

His Constitution Day lecture is Sept. 18 and Anton will give remarks about constitutional self-government and the Trump presidency.

“While no doubt Anton has interesting experiences to relate as a former White House staffer, his writings are also notable for their xenophobia, hostility to Islam and birthright citizenship,” said Sarah Horowitz, associate professor of history. “We organized this event so that members of the community could get an alternative perspective, ones more rooted in facts about Islam and immigration and a historically and legally grounded understanding of the Constitution.”

The event will be to view on  Livestream at https://livestream.com/wlu/who-is-america

W&L Faculty Trio Present “From the Salon to the Dance Hall”

The group consists of Ting-Ting Yen; violinist, Timothy Gaylard; pianist and Julia Goudimova; cellist.

A Washington and Lee University faculty recital will present “From the Salon to the Dance Hall,” a concert of works by Schumann, Brahms and Astor Piazzolla, at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 in the Wilson Concert Hall in the Lenfest Center for Performing Arts.

The show is free, and no tickets are required.  A reception in the Atrium of Wilson Hall will be held immediately following the concert.

The group consists of Ting-Ting Yen; violinist, Julia Goudimova; cellist and Timothy Gaylard; pianist.

The program will begin with Robert Schumann’s “Five Pieces in the Folk Style for Cello and Piano, Op. 102,” followed by Johannes Brahms’ “Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108.” After intermission, the entire trio will play Piazzolla’s “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.”

For more information, call the Lenfest Center box office at 540-458-8000.

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NYU Professor to Give Keynote Address for “Ethics of Identity” Series Appiah will speak on “The Ethics of Identity: The Injuries of Class.”

Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at New York University.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at New York University, is the first speaker in the 2017-18 “Ethics of Identity” series, sponsored by the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at W&L.  His lecture is Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

Appiah will speak on “The Ethics of Identity: The Injuries of Class.” The talk is free and open to the public.

Appiah received both his B.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Clare College, Cambridge University. His early work focused on the philosophy of language and of the mind. His current interests cover areas including political philosophy, ethics, African-American intellectual history and literary studies and philosophy of the social sciences.

He has published several books, including “The Ethics of Identity” (2005), “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers” (2006), “Experiments in Ethics” (2008), “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen” (2010), and “Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity” (2014). Appiah won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, as well as the Herskovits

Award of the African Studies Association for his book: “In My Father’s House” (1992).

Appiah has taught and received recognition on a global scale and was named one of the top-100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy in 2010. He won the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2013.

The talk will be livestreamed and is available for public access at https://livestream.com/wlu/anthony-appiah

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

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

W&L Holds Public Lecture: ‘Getting Away with Fraud: The Lansdowne Portraits of George Washington’ Evans will discuss the history behind several fraudulent copies of Lansdowne-style George Washington portraits that were produced based on the original.

Washington and Lee’s University Collections of Art and History will host Dorinda Evans, professor emerita at Emory University, on Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. in the Science Center, Room 114 for a public lecture titled “Getting Away with Fraud: The Lansdowne Portraits of George Washington.” The talk is free and open to the public.

Evans will discuss the history behind several fraudulent copies of Lansdowne-style George Washington portraits that were produced based on the original. W&L owns a Lansdowne-style painting given to the university, which now hangs in Leyburn Library.

“Evans will reveal historical and art historical intrigues based on her research regarding paintings she attributes to William Winstanley, who copied Stuart’s work and sold the paintings fraudulently,” said Patt Hobbs, associate director of UCAH and curator of Art and History. “This includes the university’s copy of the Lansdowne portrait of Washington, once thought to be an original Stuart.”

Evans has also worked closely with Erich Uffelman, Bentley Professor of Chemistry at W&L, and his summer interns who have conducted scientific examinations of W&L’s Lansdowne, as well as other copies in the country, including the White House.

The talk is sponsored by University Collections of Art and History.

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The 2018 Earle Bates Lecturer in Environmental Studies to Discuss “A Critical Time for State Environmental Leadership” Strickler will give a talk on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

Matthew J. Strickler, secretary of natural resources for Virginia, is the 2018 Earle Bates Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Washington and Lee University. He will give a talk on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

The title of Strickler’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “A Critical Time for State Environmental Leadership.”

Prior to joining the Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration, Stickler served as senior policy advisor to Democratic members of the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. Originally from Lexington, Virginia, Strickler graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2003 and holds master’s degrees in public policy and marine science from The College of William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

He was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’sOffice of International Affairs in 2007 and worked on Sen. Mark Warner’s 2008 campaign. Prior to his time on Capitol Hill, Strickler worked in the Virginia General Assembly as a legislative assistant to then-state senator Ralph Northam.

Strickler’s talk is sponsored by the Program in Environmental Studies.