Former W&L Trustee Thomas C. Frost Jr. ’50 Dies at 90 The San Antonian native served on the board from 1972-1982.
Thomas C. Frost Jr., a former W&L trustee from 1972 to 1982, died Aug. 10, 2018. He was 90. He graduated from W&L in 1950 with a B.S. in commerce, summa cum laude.
“Tom was a legend in San Antonio, serving in leadership positions on a number of civic and professional organizations,” said President Will Dudley. “Over the years he remained keenly interested in W&L, and when I met him last March he spoke fondly of his time as a trustee and with real enthusiasm about the university’s current goals and future prospects. We are grateful for his dedication to his alma mater and for his wise counsel.”
A native San Antonian, Frost was the fourth generation of his family to oversee the bank founded by his great-grandfather, Col. T.C. Frost, in 1868. He began his banking career in 1950, starting as assistant cashier in Frost’s Foreign Department and becoming president in 1962. He retired in 1997, after 35 years at the helm of Cullen/Frost.
During Texas’ economic downturn in the 1980s, Frost oversaw the bank’s growth, and its transition into a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 1997. Of the top 10 banks in Texas in 1980, only Frost Bank emerged from that turbulent decade without a merger or outside assistance. Frost emphasized banking relationships rather than transactions and often answered his own phone. He cherished his employees and regarded them as the front line to excellent service.
Frost served in leadership positions for numerous professional organizations, including SBC Communications Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve System, the Association of Reserve City Bankers, the Texas Bankers Association and the San Antonio Clearing House Association. He was instrumental in helping orchestrate the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in San Antonio in 1982.
Frost also supported community development in San Antonio, with service on the boards of the San Antonio Medical Foundation, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation, the Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, Southwest Research Institute and on the Executive Committee of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition. He also served on the boards of Project Quest, the McNay Art Museum, the Free Trade Alliance of San Antonio and the YMCA.
Fluent in Spanish and an aficionado of Mexican culture, he co-founded the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright-Garcia Robles Commission). He received the Aguila Azteca medal, the highest honor the government of Mexico confers on a non-Mexican citizen.
Frost was deeply involved with educational endeavors, including the University of Texas at San Antonio, Austin College, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the National University of Mexico (UNAM) Foundation and the Texas Independent College Fund. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Austin College and an Honorary Doctor of International Relations degree from the University of the Americas in Mexico City.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Patricia “Pat” Holden Frost; his sons, Tom C. Frost III and his wife Meaghan, Bill H. Frost and his wife Tanya, Don B. Frost and his wife Lou Celia, and Pat B. Frost and his wife Kelley; 13 grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.
W. Barlow Newbolt, Professor of Physics Emeritus, Dies at 83 Newbolt taught at W&L from 1962 to 2000.
W. Barlow Newbolt, professor of physics emeritus, who taught here from 1962 until his retirement in 2000, died Aug. 27, 2018 in Lexington. He was 83.
“I understand that when Barlow joined W&L, he helped move the physics department from its home in Reid Hall to its new headquarters in Parmly Hall,” said President Will Dudley. “He also modernized the laboratory equipment and experiments for the modern nuclear physics courses, which he did with a grant from the Atomic Energy Commission.”
Barlow was born on Sept. 29, 1934, in Berea, Kentucky. He graduated from Berea College in 1956 with a B.A. in physics. He earned his M.S. (1960) and Ph.D. (1964) in physics from Vanderbilt University.
He joined the W&L faculty in 1962 as an instructor of physics. His research interests included a broad range of topics in atomic and nuclear physics, and he received fellowships to conduct research at the Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Arnold Air Development Center for the Air Force Office of Special Research. In 1968, with a grant from the Sloan Foundation, Barlow spent a year at the Nobel Institute for Physics in Stockholm, Sweden.
While at W&L, Barlow served a five-year term as department chair. He belonged to Phi Kappa Pi and Sigma Xi, an honor society for scientists and engineers.
The university extends deepest condolences to his wife, Enna Mae; children Bill and Elizabeth; and grandchildren, Taylor, Zoe, Andrew and Hannah.
There will be no funeral or memorial service.
Former W&L Trustee H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’53, ’55L Dies at 88 Lenfest, one of the university’s most generous supporters, died Aug. 5, 2018.
“The lessons I learned at W&L have followed me throughout my life, creating a tapestry woven with golden threads of honor, integrity and civility. I’ve never met a graduate who did not benefit from that experience.”
~ H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’53, ’55L
H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, a former W&L trustee and one of the university’s most generous supporters, died Aug. 5, 2018. He graduated from W&L in 1953 with a B.A. in economics and completed one year at the School of Law. He was 88.
“Washington and Lee has lost one of its most remarkable graduates and benefactors,” said President Will Dudley. “The Lenfests have contributed powerfully to the public good with their generous donations to institutions focused on education, the arts and journalism. W&L has been transformed by Gerry and Marguerite’s support for our faculty and for our arts facilities and programs. We shall miss him. Our thoughts are with Marguerite and the Lenfest family during this time of loss.”
Dennis Cross, vice president of University Advancement, said W&L was among the Lenfests’ top philanthropic priorities.
“Gerry always wanted to be aware of the current priorities and how he could help. He led the support for the establishment of the Lenfest Center, including the latest addition, Wilson Hall. He reserved a special place in his heart for the support of faculty, noting that they are the core of a W&L educational experience. In the last campaign Gerry and Marguerite inspired numerous supporters to establish professorships through the Lenfest Challenge. The Lenfest impact at W&L will endure forever.”
Harold FitzGerald Lenfest was born on May 29, 1930, in Jacksonville, Fla., the son of Harold C. Lenfest and Herrena FitzGerald Lenfest. He attended Flemington High School and graduated from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. While a student at W&L, Lenfest was a four-year member of the soccer team, the Forensic Union and Sigma Chi social fraternity.
After serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves (1953-55), Lenfest enrolled in Columbia Law School, receiving his LL.B. in 1958. That year, he joined the New York law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell (founded by W&L alumnus John W. Davis, 1892, 1895L), serving as an associate until 1965. He then became associate counsel for Triangle Publications Inc., and later became managing director of Triangle’s Communications Division, which included Seventeen magazine and the cable television subsidiaries.
In 1974, Lenfest and two partners purchased a cable television system with 7,600 subscribers from Triangle. By the time they sold it in 2000, the enterprise had become one of the top-12 cable companies in the country. With those profits, Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite, established The Lenfest Foundation, which has supported programs primarily in the areas of education, arts and the environment. Lenfest served as its president and chief executive officer.
Over the last 22 years, the Lenfests’ philanthropic philosophy has been to spend down their wealth. Through the Lenfest Foundation, they have distributed more than $1.2 billion to arts and culture, education, social services and other charitable causes. They used the foundation’s final dollars to acquire, donate and endow the media company that publishes the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. In a Jan. 12, 2016 Washington Post interview, Lenfest said, “Of all the things I’ve done this is the most important. Because of the journalism.”
Active in civic affairs, Lenfest served as chair of the board of trustees of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Curtis Institute of Music, as a former president of the board of regents of Mercersburg Academy, as a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, and on the board of trustees of Columbia University.
In 2002, Lenfest made a significant challenge gift to the School District of Philadelphia in collaboration with Teach for America, through which recent college graduates teach in Philadelphia public schools. Most recently, he chaired the Museum of the American Revolution, which named its building in honor of the Lenfests. He has received honorary degrees from Temple University, Ursinus College and Washington and Lee University.
Lenfest served on the W&L Board of Trustees from 1989-1998. In his first year, he and his wife donated $3 million to the new center for the performing arts at W&L, named the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts. In the last three decades, the couple has also supported the Powell Wing of Lewis Hall, the Class of 1953 Scholarship, student financial aid and Wilson Hall. Lenfest said he gave because “the lessons I learned at W&L have followed me throughout my life, creating a tapestry woven with golden threads of honor, integrity and civility. I’ve never met a graduate who did not benefit from that experience.”
In 1994, Lenfest, together with Emeritus Trustee Houston H. Harte ’50, made a challenge grant toward the completion of the university’s $127 million On the Shoulders of Giants Campaign, which Lenfest chaired. In 2007, Lenfest once again challenged the university community; this time to raise $33 million by the end of 2010 to match his commitment to build an endowment to help W&L pay its professors competitive salaries. In 2008, Lenfest continued his generosity toward faculty by committing $17 million to increase endowment to enhance the university’s sabbatical program and support of faculty scholarship and research.
“No matter how much one loves teaching or a particular university, it is important to be adequately compensated for that dedication,” Lenfest said in the Spring/Summer 2007 W&L Alumni Magazine. “Like all Washington and Lee alumni, I am proud of what this school has become, a major teaching institution in the U.S. My life benefited from great W&L teachers, and I am happy to make sure that today’s students have that same benefit.”
In addition to his wife, Lenfest is survived by his children, Diane Lenfest Myer, H. Chase Lenfest and Brook Lenfest; sisters, Marie Schmitz and Lauren Lenfest; brother, Robin Lenfest; and grandchildren, Alexa Lenfest, Chase A. Lenfest, Olivia Myer and William Myer.
These are just a few of the articles and news obituaries published on the occasion of Gerry Lenfest’s death:
The Washington Post, “H.F. Lenfest, Philadelphia media mogul and philanthropist, dies at 88”
The Virginian-Pilot, “H.F. Lenfest, former media mogul, philanthropist, dies”
2017: The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy
The Carnegie Medal follows the dictum of Andrew Carnegie who believed “that the person who dies rich dies disgraced.” It is awarded every two years to philanthropists who personify the ideals of Andrew Carnegie’s vision, seeking through their giving to create a world of positive change.
2014: USRowing Man of the Year
When Temple University planned to drop its crew program, he donated $3 million to help save it. Lenfest said, “It just occurred to me that Temple is the university of Philadelphia, and with the tradition of rowing in Philadelphia, not to have Temple represented in the rowing community seemed a great travesty to me. And so I didn’t have to have a background in rowing to know that much, and to make sure that they not only got it back, but they had their own rowing club facility.”
2009: Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, The Pennsylvania Society.
He joins an impressive list of previous Gold Medal recipients, including George H.W. Bush, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jane G. Pepper, Joe Paterno, Dr. Gertrude Barber, Tom Ridge, Chris Matthews, Judith Rodin, Arlen Specter and Dan Rooney.
2006: Horatio Alger Award
For those “who rise from humble beginnings and overcome adversity through hard work.” Other winners include Maya Angelou, former Sen. Bob Dole, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey.
2005: 50 Most Generous Philanthropists, Business Week
Rebecca Makkai ’99 Produces Another Page-Turner Her latest novel, "The Great Believers," is earning rave reviews.
The AIDS epidemic is the focus of Rebecca Makkai’s new book, “The Great Believers” (Viking), set in Chicago. When she began researching the subject she was surprised to learn how little had been written about the impact of the crisis in her hometown. “I was prepared to hear a lot about communities falling apart, but what I didn’t expect were the stories about the way people held together,” she told the Chicago Tribune.
Described by her publisher as a novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy, “The Great Believers,” which came out June 19, has garnered rave reviews, including a listing on Oprah’s Book Club Pick and a front-page review on the New York Times Book Review Editor’s Selection by Michael Cunningham.
The New York Times review said: “Rebecca Makkai’s ‘The Great Believers’ is a page turner… among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present — among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years as well as its course and repercussions… absorbing and emotionally riveting.”
And from People Magazine: “A powerful story of people struggling to keep their humanity in dire circumstances.”
Makkai is the author of the story collection “Music for Wartime” (2015), as well as the novels “The Hundred-Year House” (2014) and “The Borrower” (2011). Her work was chosen for The Best American Short Stories in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and appears regularly in publications such as Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, New England Review and Ecotone, and on public radio’s “This American Life” and “Selected Shorts.” The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Makkai has taught at Northwestern University, the Tin House Writers’ Conference and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
In 2015, the W&L Alumni Magazine included her in a feature story about alumni authors. Here is that interview.
Taking Time to Hone the Craft: Rebecca Makkai ’99
by Beth Jones
Rebecca Makkai had given up on her second novel, “The Hundred-Year House,” getting a review from the Gray Lady.
The book came out in July 2014 to a warm reception. People magazine called Makkai’s writing “darkly funny,” while the Denver Post described it as “full of unexpected storytelling and wry humor.” Good Housekeeping magazine named it a summer read.
“I’d been happy with the other reviews. They were all great,” says Makkai, who lives in Chicago. “But the New York Times book review is the one everyone hopes to get.”
And then it happened. In the Oct. 10, 2014, edition of the New York Times, Meghan Daum wrote that Makkai “guides her twisty, maximalist story with impressive command and a natural ear for satire.”
“They were nice to me,” Makkai exclaims. “Even if they’d been terrible to me, it still would have been a good thing, honestly, just to get a review in there. But they were nice to me.”
Makkai penned her first short story at the age of three. The central character was her stuffed Smurf doll. By the time she was in high school, she says, “I was already deep into the writing world.” She did things like researching literary magazines, and that included Shenandoah.
When it came time to pick a college, Makkai naturally thought of W&L. A tour of the campus sealed the deal. “When I visited, it felt right. It smelled right. It was beautiful,” she says. “I felt that when I got there, too. It just felt like the right place to be.”
During Makkai’s sophomore year, she began a work-study position at Shenandoah. R.T. Smith noticed the intellect of the soft-spoken writer from the beginning. He was impressed again when he read a Makkai short story in the student magazine Ariel. He thought she was ready to submit her work to Shenandoah.
Smith told Makkai he didn’t care that her work hadn’t been published outside of campus. “It’s the story that matters,” he remembers saying. “The thing she said,” Smith recalls, “and I think she really believed was, ‘I don’t think my stories are good enough yet.’ ”
Makkai kept at it after graduation. Her novel “The Borrower” came out in 2011 and became a Top Ten Debut for Booklist, an O: The Oprah Magazine selection and one of Chicago Magazine’s choices for best Chicago fiction of that year.
Next up for Makkai is a collection of short stories, “Music for Wartime,” which will be released in July. She doesn’t want other writers to think she put out three books in four years, though. “People say, ‘You write fast.’ I don’t write that fast.”
“The Borrower,” Makkai says, took a decade to write, while “The Hundred-Year House” took about five. Altogether, she’s spent 12 years writing the stories that ended up in her collection.
“For three books in 12 years I will fully take credit,” Makkai says. “I was teaching full time, and I had two babies. I’ve been working my butt off.”
Opting for the Unknown Bob Chandler ’92 charts his own course as co-owner of omnichannel retailer Tactics.
When faced with the decision of following a traditional path or trying something unknown, Bob Chandler ’92 has opted for the unknown.
It started when he left his small hometown in Kansas to attend boarding school in Colorado. Then, at Washington and Lee, he designed his own independent major, combining courses in psychology and philosophy to study cognitive science.
The path continued in his professional life, when he joined forces with several friends to create an online company to sell snowboards.
“I had a sense of how a number of career paths unfolded,” said Chandler, who earned a law degree at University of Oregon. Becoming an entrepreneur — especially in the early days of online retail sales — was the unknown. “It was and remains an incredible challenge.”
The idea for the company, first called Snowtraders.com, originated in 1999 with a group of six friends who knew each other through recreational soccer and law school. They aimed to tap into the dot-com boom and had only the modest goal of making enough money to pay for an annual snowboarding trip.
“We started with a lot of naiveté, really,” Chandler remembered. In the early days, “We had a good time getting together in the evenings to scheme about the company. We were optimistic we could get it off the ground, but we didn’t do any real planning for the future.”
The first warehouse was a garage, and the founders shared the duties of answering the phone, responding to customer emails and packing boxes for shipment. Even though it was a side business, “We cared deeply about our customer’s experience, which is still our primary focus today,” said Chandler. After the first winter, when sales of snowboards naturally declined, the partners realized that if the company was going to survive, it needed more than just part-time, unpaid founders.
Co-founder Matt Patton spoke up first, saying he was going to quit his job as an attorney and work full time for the new company. “That was the extra push I needed to jump in with both feet,” said Chandler. Another founder, a professional engineer, did the same, and the trio moved quickly to reformulate the business plan in early 2000.
They raised a modest amount of money from a few local angel investors and moved out of the garage into a “funky building on the wrong side of the tracks.” The company weathered the dot-com bust and in 2001, emerged with a new name (Tactics), a new business plan and fewer partners — eventually only Chandler and Patton remained from the original six. To balance out snowboarding’s seasonality, they added skateboarding, surfing, footwear, apparel and accessories to their offerings.
Although the company has remained primarily online, the partners opened a retail store in Eugene, Oregon, in 2000 and recently launched another in Bend. The stores “provide a rooted identity and distinguish us from most of our large competitors. That matters to loyal customers.” Tactics also distinguishes itself by staying specialized, with a “high level of expertise, curation, selection, and support,” he said.
Today, Chandler and Patton share CEO duties and maintain joint oversight of marketing and design. Chandler serves as CFO and oversees warehouse operations and customer service. Patton oversees buying, merchandising, and brick and mortar operations. A junior business partner serves as CTO, overseeing programming and technology. “We have been fortunate that the three of us get along so well and bring a diversity of perspectives and strengths,” said Chandler.
Chandler’s route to entrepreneurship took him around the country. After graduating from W&L, he went to Washington, D.C., and considered working on Capitol Hill. Eventually, he took a job as a research analyst with Cambridge Associates. Then he transferred to a position with Arthur Anderson’s real estate consulting group, where he worked with a number of other W&L alumni.
In early 1996, he moved to Oregon and volunteered for several environmental organizations. When he decided to go to law school, “I knew I wanted to be west of Kansas.” He settled on University of Oregon’s law school for its location and strong environmental program.
He chose W&L because he wanted a small college with strong academics and a sense of community. When he toured, he was impressed with the school’s speaking tradition and history. “It also probably helped that it was one of those beautiful, sunny spring days in April when the entire campus was so visually impressive and inviting.”
His interest in environment was first honed in Professor Boggs’ course on Ethics and the Environment and his participation in the Outing Club, which encouraged students to “get outside and embrace environmental responsibility,” including the early recycling efforts at the university.
Also challenging Chandler in several courses was Ramsey Martin, professor of philosophy. “Both professors elegantly introduced so many new challenging concepts and ideas — exactly the type of experience young minds need in a liberal arts education,” said Chandler.
Today, with his wife and two children — a son 11 ½ and a daughter 10 — Chandler is committed to balancing his business and family life. “The kids are super active,” and the family loves to take float trips, go fly-fishing, mountain biking, snowboarding and play tennis. “I am in a sweet spot in life now. As an older parent, I think I have a deeper appreciation for the value of free time with my family. The demands of the company are still intense, but I love being able to set my own schedule to pack in extra family time.”
Chandler said there are still things the partners want to do with Tactics, such as offering significantly more private-label products and opening more retail stores. He also wants the company to continue to use its influence to make the world a better place. Tactics has a long track record of community involvement and direct support of charitable organizations, particularly those that focus on environmental advocacy and youth services.
He also foresees the need for continued growth to remain competitive. Last year, Tactics took care of more than 20,000 customers in its two stores, had more than six million visitors to Tactics.com, and shipped more than 200,000 orders around the world. “We need to grow sustainably and with strength, which includes maintaining a healthy balance sheet and not over-extending ourselves.”
At Tactics, Chandler draws on his W&L experience all the time. With nearly 70 employees, “We try to impart to everyone the concept of ‘Work hard, play hard.’ We have high expectations and want our staff to be extremely dedicated to their jobs, but also to enjoy their lives outside of work. Most of our crew love to skateboard, snowboard or surf.”
Both he and Patton meet with every new employee to set expectations and relate a sense of the company’s history and its shared value of integrity. “We tell each person ‘We trust you,’ and we draw on the words of the W&L Honor System, essentially saying the same: No lying, cheating, or stealing. And no second chances.”
You Are the Champions The class trophy and reunion trophy winners
Congratulations to our Annual Fund Volunteers in each of these classes for the outstanding work that led to these winning results. We are most grateful!
CLASS TROPHY WINNERS 2017-2018
The Bierer Trophy
Recognizes the undergraduate classes that have the highest percentage of members in The President’s Society.
Five Star Generals: 1959, 14%; Class Agent, David Meese
General Alumni: 1969, 12%; Class Agent, Scott Fechnay
Young Alumni: 2007, 9%; Class Agents, Katie Arcati, Corbin Blackford, Meghan Freeman, Camille Snyder, Elizabeth Viney
The Washington Trophy
Recognizes the undergraduate classes that raise the largest amount of money.
Five Star Generals: 1967, $151,063.40; Class Agent, Bob Priddy
General Alumni: 1969, $268,938.45; Class Agent, Scott Fechnay
Young Alumni: 2004, $103,375.90; Class Agents, Brooks Chew, Joe Ehrlich, Hamill Jones
The Richmond Trophy
Recognizes the undergraduate classes with the highest percentage of members participating in making a gift to the Annual Fund.
Five Star Generals: 1953, 92%; Class Agent, Tyson Janney
General Alumni: 1969, 68%; Class Agent, Scott Fechnay
Young Alumni: 2006, 51%; Class Agents, Katie Ehrlich, Julia Johnson, Carrie Lee, Jonathan Sturtz, Olivia Wall, Doug Weissinger
The McCutcheon Trophy
Recognizes the undergraduate classes with the highest percentage of members in The 1749 Circle, which recognizes and honors the loyal alumni, parents, and friends who support the University consistently. These individuals have made a gift to W&L year after year without fail.
Five Star Generals: 1957, 80%; Class Agents, Bill Russell and Warren Welsh
General Alumni: 1969, 61%; Class Agent, Scott Fechnay
Young Alumni: 2006, 46%; Class Agents, Katie Ehrlich, Julia Johnson, Carrie Lee, Jonathan Sturtz, Olivia Wall, Doug Weissinger
REUNION TROPHY WINNERS 2017-2018
Recognizes the class with the largest number of members registered at Alumni Weekend.
Winner: The Class of 1993 (25th reunion) with 154 registrants
Chairs: Chris Boggs and Susan Moseley George
Recognizes the class with the highest percentage of classmates registered at Alumni Weekend
Winner: The Class of 1968 (50th reunion) with 40 percent of the class in attendance.
Chairs: Jim Dawson and Carlile Chambers
Recognizes the class with highest percentage of classmates participating in the Annual Fund by Alumni Weekend
Winner: The Class of 1968 (50th Reunion) with 60% of the class making a commitment.
Chairs: Jim Dawson and Carlile Chambers
John Newton Thomas Trophy
Recognizes the class that increases its Annual Fund contribution by the largest percentage over its previous year total
Winner: The Class of 2003 with 74% increase in their one year Annual Fund total.
Chairs: Wynne Sharpe and Jeanne Upchurch deLaureal
Recognizes the class with the largest reunion gift total by Alumni Weekend (includes current gifts and future pledges to the Annual Fund)
Winner: The Class of 1988 with $904,245.95, the largest reunion gift to the Annual Fund.
Chairs: Reese Lanier and Tommy McBride
Reunion Chairs’ Bowl (inaugural year)
Recognizes the class with the highest percentage of registrants participating in the Annual Fund
Winner: The Class of 1973 with 100%
Chairs: Don Eavenson and Lat Purser
‘Let’s Imagine’ As the incoming EC president, Elizabeth Mugo ’19 wants to make all students feel that they, too, have a place at W&L.
In spring 2018, W&L’s student body elected Elizabeth Mugo ’19 as Executive Committee president. It has been 28 years since an African-American has served in the role, and it is the first time an African-American female has been elected to preside in one of the university’s most prominent positions.
“Let’s imagine a place,” Mugo said in her March 18 campaign speech, “where diversity and inclusion are not words that we throw around but rather values of our community.”
Mugo, a junior from Irmo, South Carolina, noted there is a dichotomy between her dreams of today and her initial impressions of W&L. She recalled taking in the composition of the student body on her first visit to campus through the Questbridge Program, a full-ride scholarship program for high-achieving, low-income students.
She stood out. “I waited for the cameras to come out and for people to say, ‘I gotcha,’” she said.
Today, Mugo has clearly found her place at W&L, and she wants to ensure that others have the same positive experience.
Mugo sees diversity as a job of the Admissions Office, which can recruit diverse students to campus. Inclusion, however, is the student body’s job — to help retain those who are already here.
She shared one of her favorite quotes from a Ted Talk: “Diversity is inviting someone to the party. Inclusion is asking them to dance.”
Mugo considered transferring after her first year, when she felt unhappy and out of place. Only her scholarship kept her here.
As the incoming president, she aims to implement initiatives from the EC to make all students feel that they, too, have a place at W&L.
One idea Mugo hopes to implement is an Orientation Week event, where current students encourage incoming students to “wrestle” with race relations and other related, sometimes uncomfortable topics, as soon as they step on campus.
She also looks to have EC representatives attend ODI campus events to spur interest from more than one section of the student body.
But she said that changing things on a larger scale will take the student body becoming “unclique-ish.”
Mugo commended the work of her opponent in the EC presidential race, Heeth Varnedoe ’19, on his efforts to reach out to students. In his campaign, he also focused on improving the campus experience for under-represented students and independents.
Mugo is excited about these positive strides across campus.
“It feels like, for the first time in a really long time, things are starting to change.”
Elizabeth's Campaign Speech
I want you to imagine a place. A place where every individual feels ownership of the space. A place where people treat each other with not just civility but also dignity. A place where diversity and inclusion are not words that we throw around but rather values of our community. Let’s imagine that place here at Washington and Lee.
My name is Elizabeth Mugo, and I’d like to be your next EC President. I know for a fact that our university has the potential to be this place because I see it almost every day. I see it in the way that students say hello to one another as they pass by, not only as a greeting, but as a way of acknowledging each others’ existence. I see it in the way that we come together to speak out on issues that matter to our campus community and our nation. I see it in the fact that a place that used to feel so unfamiliar and uncomfortable now feels like home. We continue to make progress, but we have a long way to go.
In my first semester at W&L, I struggled to adjust and find community in a place that clearly felt like it was not meant for me. I am not unique in this.
As I walked around every day, I was forced to reconcile the ways in which my body did not fit in here both physically, in the lack of diversity on our campus, and historically, in our entangled history with slavery and race relations. Although recognizing the vast amount of work that needs to be done, I have come to believe in the potential of this university to get there.
I’ve made it my goal over the past few years to unlock this potential as a leader in the Student Association for Black Unity, as a member of the University Committee for Inclusiveness and Campus Climate, and over the past year as your vice president. Over the past year alone, I worked to enhance our sense of community through reform in the budget policy consultations with student leaders and the amplification of student voices in various committees to make sure that our university is a home for everyone.
I promise you, my peers and friends, that I will bring that same passion to the position of president. I will work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Interfraternity Council, and Panhellenic to bring together Greek and non-Greek students. I will have business meetings in other spaces, such as the Moot Courtroom, Third-Year Housing and the Gaines Rotunda, to ensure that the EC is able to hear from a variety of students on what issues matter to them on campus. I will continue to reform within the budget process to ensure that student organizations are receiving full support from the EC.
I am committed to the Honor System and representing all students in our process and deliberations. Having presided in the absence of the president, I feel confident to serve all of you and will make all students feel like they have complete ownership of a system that exists for them.
As your president, I plan to commit myself to continuing this work and ensuring that ALL students are part of our community of trust. I ask for your vote on Tuesday to strengthen our Honor System, student self-governance, and our community.
S L Kopald ’43, Former W&L Trustee, Dies at 96 The Memphis native served on the board from 1976-1988.
S L Kopald Jr., a member of the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees from 1976 – 1988, died July 9, 2018. He was 96. He graduated from W&L in 1943 with a B.S in business.
A lifelong Memphian, “Kopie” attended Central High School. After graduating from W&L, he attended Harvard Business School until World War II interrupted his schooling. He served in the Army Quartermaster Corps and in three major campaigns in the European Theater.
“W&L has lost a true friend of the university, and we are very grateful for Mr. Kopald’s service,” said President Will Dudley. “Our thoughts are with his family at this time of loss.”
Farris Hotchkiss ’58, former secretary of the university and vice president for Advancement, added, “Kopie was a loyal and generous volunteer for Washington and Lee, widely admired for his humility and his ability to bring out the best in others.”
After the war, Kopald worked at the HumKo Sheffield Chemical Co., founded by his father, S L Kopald Sr., and Herb Humphries. He stayed with the company and its successor companies, Kraft and Witco, for his entire career before retiring at the age of 65 as group vice president.
Besides his financial generosity to numerous charities, Kopald served on boards and in offices for many organizations. He was chair of SUN and United Way campaigns, a board member of the Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve and the Tennessee Department of Education, a member of the Memphis-Shelby County planning commission, chair of the Tennessee Republican Party (1971 to 1975) and chair of the board of Hebrew Union College.
“S L Kopald Jr. was always a gentleman and was always an advocate for a better Memphis,” noted Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) in a press release. “Mr. Kopald was a leader for years in business and banking but also in our community. Mr. Kopald was a generous supporter of many Memphis cultural organizations and was a very involved member of Temple Israel, where he served as president. Mr. Kopald will be remembered for his support of Rabbi James Wax when he stood for civil rights during the 1986 Sanitation Workers strike. My condolences to his family and to his many friends. His was a life well lived.”
As well as serving as a trustee for W&L, Kopald was chair of the Alumni Board, chair of the Development Council, and served on the Memphis-area capital campaigns and on his 50th reunion class committee. Kopald generously supported the Annual Fund and W&L’s Hillel House. He became an honorary inductee of ODK in 1964 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1975.
Kopald is survived by his wife, Amelia “Mimi”; daughter, Nancy, and sons, Stephen, Jack ’78L, and David; grandchildren Hunter, Seth, Laura, Hallie, Reece, Troy and Dana; and great-grandchild Jack.
Thank You! The 2017-18 Annual Fund Sets Another Record.
“This year we hit $10,858,812, surpassing the goal of $10,775,000 by $83,812.”
~ Tres Mullis, executive director of University Development
The 2017-18 Annual Fund raised a record amount from alumni, parents and friends of the University.
“It is with great excitement that I can tell you that another record-setting result was achieved with the FY18 Annual Fund,” said Tres Mullis, executive director of University Development. “This year we hit $10,858,812, surpassing the goal of $10,775,000 by $83,812.
This represents a 2.82 percent increase over the $10,560,113 raised in FY17 and 2.92 percent over the FY17 goal of $10,550,000.
Mullis noted that this was also the eighth consecutive year, undergraduate participation in giving (to all areas of the university) reached 50 percent.
Mullis praised the hard work of the Annual Fund leadership. “I want to recognize and express great appreciation to Annual Fund Chair Andrew Tate ’98. Having the right leader at the right time makes all the difference, and this has certainly been the case this year. Andrew never stopped working and was always willing, enthusiastically so, to ask his fellow alums to join him and Carson ’98 in providing leadership support for the Annual Fund. As vice-chair of the Annual Fund Council, Tasha Blair ’00 provided leadership and motivation to young alumni class agents and, with husband T. ’99, set the example for leadership giving among their peers.”
He also called out Tim Hodge ’90L for his third year of leadership and generous support of the Law Annual Fund. “Tim has worked diligently with the Law School staff to craft messages and strategies, leading to successive record results for the Law School.”
Mullis offered praise to Mary and Ted Dardani P’18, “whose great leadership and personal example of generosity set another new Parents Fund record this year. The Dardanis were ‘all-in’ for W&L from the time their son, Sam, transferred at the start of his sophomore year and we could not be more grateful for their enthusiastic support.”
Please enjoy this Thank You video featuring W&L students.
A complete summary of the 2017-18 fundraising results will be included in the August 2018 edition of Generally Speaking.
What Makes A Great Leader? As a Presidential Leadership Scholar, Dana Bolden '89 discussed effective leadership styles with Presidents Bush and Clinton.
Dana Bolden, a member of W&L’s Board of Trustees, is creating a web portal to identify and develop high-potential minorities for service on Fortune 500 Boards of Directors. The portal will aggregate available resources with input from active minority board members on how to stand out and be better prepared for corporate board service.
He is global chief communications officer at Corteva Agriscience™, The Agriculture Division of DowDuPont. Bolden majored in journalism at W&L.
Q: You recently completed a six-month stint in the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program. Tell us about it, and why was it important for you to participate?
Life-changing would be an understatement. Initially, you are astounded by the caliber of the folks in your cohort. They are some of the most accomplished people in the world — from people changing the way healthcare is delivered in inner-cities to people bringing solar power to under-served communities around the world. We had Ph.D.s, M.B.A.s, M.D.s and J.D.s, alongside military veterans, elected officials and business leaders, all committed to doing their part to improve the world. Finding yourself among these individuals would be overwhelming in and of itself, but when you add in Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who were more than generous with their time, as well as their respective staffs and those of presidential libraries (Bushes 41 & 43, Clinton and LBJ), it suddenly became overwhelming.
After a few sessions, it became abundantly clear that people left agendas and egos aside. Everyone was there to help US! I mean, here I am, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, cracking jokes and getting advice from President Bush (43) about how I can effectively implement my project.
It was important to me to see the many types of leadership that led our country. Each offered tangible lessons on how I could lead in my professional life and, more importantly, my Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) project.
Q: How did this program change your perspective of effective leadership?
Prior to the program, I had a distinctive style of leadership and was fairly rigid in my style. That resulted in people who didn’t fit or emulate my style not lasting very long on my teams. PLS taught me how to flex my leadership style and adapt to the talent in my organization, as well as the demands of the times. I’d always thought your style was your style. Leaders hold principles and values but they also evolve to changing times and workforces.
Q: How will what you learned help you recruit minorities to Fortune 500 boards?
One very tangible way is through my cohort and the faculty of PLS. I’ve had personal introductions to roughly half of the people of color serving on Fortune 500 Boards. With the PLS experience next to my name, not one person I’ve called or written has ignored or rejected my requests. Yes, there is a very real and legitimate need for the work we’re doing, but I’d be a bit naïve if I thought that I could call any of the individuals to whom I’ve been introduced through PLS and expect the same level of response if I did not have the benefit of those introductions. Less tangibly, I’ve been able to develop a strategy for what’s next after we get our effort up and running. Our effort, The Director Project (http://thedirectorproject.com), is still in the early stages while we collect and catalog interviews with current board members and build our database of talented minority, C-suite candidates.
Q: What changes, if any, will you make to your approach to managing others?
Those who know or work with me know that I’ve rarely embraced the softer side of management in terms of taking time to understand what motivates people and brings out their passions. My professional life has always been guided by simply coming in each day and attacking the objectives. Many would have said my decisions, in the past, were fairly autocratic. Given that my teams now span different age groups and backgrounds, I’ve invested more time in getting to know what drives people and why they work. Initially, it was very uncomfortable for me, but each day gets a little more comfortable, and the team I currently lead is one of the highest performing I’ve led in my career.
Q: What did you talk about with the former U.S. presidents, and what was the most valuable advice they offered you?
President Bush (43) and I had a very jovial relationship. We were surprised to have a few mutual friends, including Jamie Small ’81. President Bush (41) was there during the early stages, as were both Barbara and Laura Bush. Both Presidents Bush and Clinton were very active during the program and shared a lot of advice. I wouldn’t want to violate the nature of the program by sharing too much of what was discussed. I can say, however, that President Bush (43) probably had the highest conversion rate of any leader during the program. People had very strong opinions of him prior to the sessions. In our small settings, his compassion, wit and smarts converted even the most ardent skeptics. Preconceived notions are very powerful, and social media further enables those notions. The most valuable thing I learned in speaking with both presidents is that personal relationships will always matter, so step out of your comfort zone and make a conscious effort to get to know people with different opinions and views.
Q: Is there any advice you’d offer W&L in its recruitment of under-represented groups to serve either as chapter presidents, or on the Alumni Board or the Board of Trustees?
My advice may be a bit too late! We’ll likely look back and remember 2018 as a year of great change with regard to minority student leadership, engagement and admittance for W&L. Elizabeth Mugo ’19 was elected as EC president, and I expect us to continue to move toward a truly inclusive campus environment. My advice would be to keep pressing forward. We can build from this positive momentum or we can claim victory and sit back. The latter would truly be a mistake.
Q: Any advice/words of encouragement to students on getting involved in student governance?
There are many opportunities on campus to serve and help build our institution into one that remains attractive to bright, diverse groups anywhere in the world. My advice to students is very simple: Get out of your comfort zone and engage with a wide variety of groups. The university has invested in a number of platforms that allow everyone to find a place they can feel like they belong. I’d like W&L to be recognized as a place where people of all backgrounds come to find shared value, not to disappear into echo chambers where their points of view are only reinforced. Very few schools are like ours, so take advantage of these opportunities because there are very few places in the world that allow you to try just about anything you want to accomplish without fear of failure.