The Columns

It’s A Capital Deal Logan Bartlett ’10 makes the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for venture capitalism.

— by on February 20th, 2017

Logan Bartlett ’10

Logan Bartlett, the vice president of Battery Ventures in Boston, is on the Forbes 30 Under 3o list for his work in venture capital.

Forbes noted that the 2010 Washington and Lee University graduate “has helped deploy $65 million of capital across seven deals with Battery from his perch in New York and along the Amtrak corridor to Boston, attending board meetings alongside partner Neeraj Agrawal at Pendo, Appboy and Amplitude. Startups he’s worked with have raised more than $280 million in follow-on funding.”

Logan joined Battery Ventures in 2014. Previously, he worked for Spurrier Capital Partners as an investment banking associate and at Deutsche Bank as an investment banking analyst.

Scott Boyd Joins W&L’s Board of Trustees

— by on February 13th, 2017

Scott Boyd ’86

Scott Boyd, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1986 with a B.S. in biology, was sworn in as a trustee of his alma mater on Feb. 10, in Lexington, Virginia.

He earned a doctorate of medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1990 and received additional training in neurological surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. Following a residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boyd returned to practice in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, where he joined Columbia Neurosurgical Associates in private practice for 19 years.

In 2015, he founded the Lexington, South Carolina, Brain and Spine Institute. He currently serves as chief of neurosurgery for Lexington Medical Center.

Boyd has served W&L as a member of the Science Advisory Board since 2013. He was a member of the Class of 1986’s 25th reunion committee and co-chaired his 30th reunion committee. While at W&L he was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.

He and his wife, Mary Morrison Chapman, are parents to Austin (USC Honors College ’15), Hugh (W&L ’17), Crawford (UVA ’19), and Anne Morrison (Hammond School).

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Chip Mahan ’73 Embodies UNCW Seahawk’s Spirit His award honors his outstanding professional achievement and personal commitment to community engagement.

— by on February 3rd, 2017

James “Chip” Mahan III ’73

James “Chip” Mahan III, a 1973 graduate of Washington and Lee University, was named the 2017 Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington during its homecoming.

Chip, the founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Live Oak Bank, received the award for his outstanding professional achievement and personal commitment to community engagement.

His résumé includes serving as CEO of S1 Corp., which became the first internet bank and grew into a $234 million software and services provider. Earlier in his career, he launched Cardinal Bancshares, was chairman and CEO of Citizens Union National Bank & Trust Co., and formed an investment group that purchased Citizens Union.

In the Wilmington area, Chip is noted for his numerous humanitarian and community activities. In 2014, he received the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award for Outstanding Stewardship for creating a superior workplace environment, while preserving the longleaf pines and live oaks growing on the site.

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Poverty, Mental Health and Public Policy — Canadian Style Professor Tim Diette testified before the Canadian House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

— by on January 25th, 2017

Professor Tim Diette

Timothy Diette
Harry E. and Mary Jayne W. Redenbaugh Term Associate Professor of Economics, acting head of the Economics Department, faculty member of the Africana Studies Program and the Shepherd Poverty Program. He will become the associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics on July 1, 2017.

Courses:
Principles of Microeconomics
Urban Education: Poverty, Ethnicity and Policy
Economics of Education
Health Economics

Q: You recently testified before the Canadian House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. How did you end up in the Great White North, and what did the committee want to know?

Yes, I landed in Ottawa in a snowstorm. My ancestors are from Quebec, which is right over the border from Ottawa, and I grew up in Vermont, so it was a bit of a homecoming for me.

My long-time collaborator and colleague, Art Goldsmith, and I had published, along with two other co-authors, a book chapter that focused on unemployment and mental health, and I think that work caught their eye. The Canadian standing committee was exploring poverty-reduction strategies and realized another issue they needed to consider as a contributing factor to poverty was adverse psychological consequences related to unemployment.

Before I flew up, I spent some time listening to audios of previous meetings and reading prior minutes and briefs. I could tell that the committee was examining unemployment from a number of perspectives and was interested in what factors lead to poverty.

Q: Who else joined you as expert witnesses?

I was the only American. I was joined by the president of McMaster Children’s Hospital and a doctor who worked in the hospital’s Child and Youth Mental Health Program. The third person was the executive director of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. We were each allowed an opening statement, followed by 100 minutes of lively questioning by the committee members. The other experts’ testimony built upon what I said, and we ended up covering a wide range of issues contributing to poor mental health, different levels of educational attainment, employment, and general well-being including drawing on other research with Art Goldsmith that examines effects of stalking, sexual abuse and violence in the home and the community.

In my opening statement, I focused on describing recent work that examined the impact of short-term unemployment of 26 weeks or less on mental health compared to longer spells of unemployment. It appears as though shorter bouts of unemployment are not particularly harmful. It tends to become more of a problem if a person is out of a job six months or longer. I also pointed out that that the negative effects of long-term unemployment are larger for blacks and Latinos, as well as among the more highly educated.

As I discussed the findings for my research, I also reminded policy makers that my conclusions are based on U.S. data. The impact of unemployment on mental health might be different in Canada — and even among different communities in Canada — which has a more robust set of social services to cushion the impact of joblessness. I took all the lessons I tell my students about being cautious in interpreting results from papers and put it into practice before the committee.

I also gave credit to the Shepherd Poverty Program for informing some of the testimony I was about to give. The program has given me the chance to interact in an interdisciplinary environment, to think more broadly than my traditional training might have led me to think, particularly the importance of sociology, philosophy and psychology and how much those disciplines play a role in economics.

It was one of the more rewarding professional experiences of my career. Nothing beats my great interactions with my students, but outside the teaching component, it’s exciting to see the ivory-tower research potentially be used to improve the lives of citizens. As a scholar, it’s why I do what I do.

Q: You’re team-teaching a class with the W&L Teacher Education program this spring.

This is the class on Urban Education — which also satisfies requirements for the Shepherd Poverty Program minor — where students will spend time in the schools in Chesterfield County, near Richmond. It will combine both the economics of education and views from the Teacher Education program with a service-learning component. I think looking at education from these two perspectives will generate a much richer conversation about education policy.

Q: You’re also developing a new Spring Term class that travels to Denmark.

I’m excited to be team-teaching this class with Haley Sigler, director of teacher education at W&L, which will explore childhood in Denmark. We’ll be doing a mini-practicum in the schools, where our students will teach a small lesson and visit with public and private schools in Copenhagen and also rural communities on the Jutland. They’ll also meet with a welfare board that deals with issues of school, child care and other family policies.

I want the students to be thinking about economic policy that supports childhood education. How does Denmark pay for and manage early childhood education and child care? What are the requirements for teacher licensure? How much testing should there be? These questions are very similar to what we ask ourselves in the U.S.

We may also visit an Islamic school so we can better understand the ethnic, racial, religious and cultural differences there. Denmark has excellent social services, but as a homogenous society that is dealing with an influx of immigrants, they are asking themselves if they want their taxes to be going to people who are different from them. In many ways, it’s not all that different from the questions we’re asking ourselves here in the U.S.

Students Travel to Women’s March on Washington W&L students reflect on their experiences at the Women’s March.

— by on January 24th, 2017

On Sat. Jan 21, two busloads of students traveled to D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. We asked them to reflect on what the experience meant to them. Here’s what a few of them had to say.

The day before, another group of students attended the inauguration of Donald Trump, and you can read about their experiences (and watch an interview with them) here.

Hailey Glick ’18
I marched because our country’s history is filled with the strong, powerful voices of women, and I refuse to let their legacy turn to silence. I am very privileged in that I was raised by a patriotic military father and a hard-working mother who have instilled in me the values of kindness, courage and good citizenship, who have helped me grow into my voice, and who have always supported me in my every endeavor.

Democracy is a beautiful mess. The March didn’t exactly end up happening as originally planned because the organizers wrote the permit not knowing how many people were actually going to show up. They were overwhelmed when their expected 200,000 turned into half a million. There was no denying the flood of hope which filled the streets that day.

I’ve signed up to participate in the 100 days/10 actions campaign sponsored by the organizers of the March. And I’ve vowed not to remain silent when it comes to any issue I feel strongly about over the next four years. The March may be over, but the fight is ongoing.

Stephanie Williams ’18
I marched on Washington to make explicitly clear right off the bat my expectations for Donald Trump’s conduct moving forward as our president. If he follows through on his apparent intentions to infringe upon my civil rights and the rights of any of my fellow Americans, especially those most marginalized in our society, it will not be tolerated.

It is so easy in this country to feel powerless. The best part about our democracy is also the worst part about our democracy: it’s a process. We pass laws and then repeal them and debate and veto and argue in circles all in the hopes that if we shove back and forth consistently and ardently, we will all push each other to be the best we can be, and ultimately making this country the best it can be.

And to those who did not march, I challenge you to rise to the occasion. Don’t dismiss us as soft-hearted liberals or radicals or assume that we similarly disparage you. Don’t fall back on prejudicial denunciations. And if you disagree, either with us or with your fellow conservatives, don’t hesitate to speak up. Challenge us. Challenge each other. Democracy needs active participation to survive, to be successful. We don’t have to agree, that’s not the point. We just have to try.

Virginia Kettles ’19
I was in Washington, D.C., crushed among the hundreds of thousands of protesters of all different backgrounds and ethnicities, people coming from literally all over the world to march. Everyone packed together, a solid mass of colors and noise, making a tide toward the White House.

I met a bearded man with a jean jacket who flew in all the way from Australia to march with us in protest of a president that was not even his own.

I met a teenage girl with long dreadlocks that fell down her back, who told me about the racial slurs she had been called at her university.

I met a young man with an American flag he had painted himself, a splash of rainbow colors bright against the overcast sky.

There was the feminist Gloria Steinem, who spoke of the power of the people, filmmaker Michael Moore pushing for citizens to exercise their rights by writing to their representatives, actress Scarlett Johansson speaking out to Trump, asking for his support for her and all men and women like her.

Hours later, my friends and I made our way back towards the buses to head back towards our university. We were exhausted, but incredibly satisfied.

We had witnessed history that day.

Julie Malone ’18
My favorite sign I saw during the March was inspired by the Broadway show, “Hamilton,” and featured Alexander Hamilton wearing a pussy hat. I believe the show really captures the spirit of the American Revolution and is an incredibly applicable symbol to the contemporary fight for equality, especially given the intersectional nature of the musical’s writing and casting.

Nora Devlin ’19
I marched because I am determined to fight back against Donald Trump’s presidency. His hatred, bigotry and potential legislation are incredibly hurtful, and I refuse to stand for it. I want to stand up for what I believe, and the March on Washington was a peaceful and effective way to do so. I am afraid for our country, for my rights and for the rights and lives of those less privileged than me — I plan to continue to make my voice heard and spread a message of equality.

I plan on reaching out to representatives to demand protection for my reproductive rights. We will also be organizing events on campus to raise money for Planned Parenthood, raise awareness about political policy decisions and send postcards to our representatives about issues that are important to us.

Foifon Teawdatwan ’19
After the election, when I realized the person in the White House and his cabinet nominations did not reflect my views of equality and social justice, I decided to act. I marched for my family, friends and fellow human beings who are under attack under the new administration, showing people that together we are never alone.

Democracy lies not in the White House, but in the people. My favorite sign was “You Can’t Comb Over Ignorance.”

I plan on joining ASA, the new student organization dedicated to student activism.

Rossella Gabriele ’19
(Read her full op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
I marched because with every tweet and comment about how minorities (comprising roughly 40 percent of the nation) are ruining our country, you are attacking my family, friends, neighbors and classmates.

Mr. Trump, I didn’t vote for you, but you are now my president, as well as the president for the hundreds of thousands of women (and men) who marched for the causes that you have threatened through your rhetoric, promises and Twitter account.

Two months ago, I knocked door to door and made call after call on behalf of Hillary, because I knew she would fight for my rights and my future. Yesterday, I marched to knock on your door, the White House, and now I call on you because you must defend my rights and my future. I am America’s women, scientists, students, children and minorities—and all that I ask is that you be our president, too.

Elena R. Diller ’17
I marched out of anger and helplessness, though neither of those feelings are productive nor sustainable over the next four years. I was looking for an outlet to express my support of others who feel similarly, particularly marginalized groups such as LGTBQ, Muslims, blacks and immigrants.

I had no idea that I would feel so positive during the March. I was overwhelmed with feeling supported and loved by the strangers around me and around the world. Much of my negativity subsided and became positive feelings of resistance. My favorite sign was held by a young toddler which said, “I love naps but I stay woke.”

I am calling my senators and representatives in the House every day with a list of bills that I want them to either vote for or vote against. Additionally, I hope to continue volunteering at Project Horizon, showing my support for marginalized groups by wearing BLM T-shirts or LGTBQ positive T-shirts and speaking out in classes about my beliefs.

On Capitol Hill: Marc Short ’92 to Join Trump’s Staff President Donald Trump has picked Marc Short ’92 to lead his legislative efforts in Congress.

— by on January 24th, 2017

Marc Short ’92, right, with Vice President Mike Pence. John Shinkle/POLITICO

A story in Politico notes that President Donald Trump has picked Marc Short, a 1992 graduate of Washington and Lee University, to lead his legislative efforts in Congress. He served as Vice President Mike Pence’s advisor during the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

The article describes Marc as having a “sharp eye for strategy” and “street cred in all factions of the GOP conference.”

 

Marc has worked as chief of staff for Kay Bailey Hutchison, when she was governor of Texas and then senator; as chief of staff 2009–2011 for the House Republican Conference under Pence, who was its chairman; for Oliver North’s 1994 senate campaign; and for Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

 

Josh Hock, the chief of staff at the Department of Commerce (and a Democrat) noted of Marc, “He’s a good listener, he’s not a bombastic guy at all. He listens, and when I think of Marc, he listens intently and he hears you. We may not always agree, but I know that he’s heard me.”

W&L Goes to the Inauguration Students were motivated to travel to the presidential inauguration in D.C. to observe democracy in action.

— by on January 24th, 2017

From left to right: Drew Nirenberg ’17, Edward Stroud ’17, Cameron Lee ’17, Allie McNamara ’17 and Camille LeJune ’17.

When Donald Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20 as the 45th president of the U.S., several Washington and Lee University students were there to witness history.

As Allie McNamara ’17 explained in an interview with WDBJ (Channel 7), the Roanoke-based TV station, “Getting involved in Mock Convention at W&L really got me interested in this election.”

She added, “Everyone around me, at least at the inauguration, we were so happy to be there and see the process take place.”

“No, [I’m] not a Trump supporter,” said Cameron Lee ’17, “but it was just very interesting to see everything take place. We probably won’t be living near the D.C. area for our whole lives, so this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a peaceful transfer of power in our nation.”

See more about this trip by clicking here.

To read about students who traveled to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington, click here

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A Good Neighbor: Hatton Smith ’73 “If you are blessed with influence or gifts, you need to have a positive impact on the environment around you.”

— by on January 10th, 2017

Hatton Smith ’73
photo by Lexi Coon

Hatton Smith, the CEO emeritus of Royal Cup, likes to be a good neighbor in his community of Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.

The 1973 graduate and former trustee of Washington and Lee University, said in a profile about him on the Village Living website, “I think in business and in life, if you practice the second commandment as best you can, it makes for a better world.”

In December, Hatton received the 2016 Chamber of Commerce Jemison Visionary Award for his significant contributions to his community. For Hatton, that list is impressively long, including a $35 million fundraiser to restore the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s football team and build a new facility. He also worked on the initial campaign for the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation and in fundraising to build the Rotary Trail, which runs through downtown Birmingham. Hatton also sits on the Birmingham-Southern College board, advises nonprofits throughout the city and helps individuals search for jobs that fit their skill sets and requirements.

He noted, “If you are blessed with influence or gifts, you need to have a positive impact on the environment around you.”

Wise words to live by for 2017.

Hometown Hero: Neil November ’48 Over the past seven decades, the 92-year-old has established a legacy that encompasses politics, religion, airports, education, museums, theaters and gardens.

— by on January 2nd, 2017

Neil November ’48

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a lovely profile of Neil November, a 1948 graduate of Washington and Lee University, in its Dec. 12 issue, covering his lifetime of community involvement and philanthropy in Richmond.

Neil, who grew up on the famous Monument Avenue, has led a busy life after serving in the Navy during World War II. Over the past seven decades, the 92-year-old has established a legacy that encompasses politics, religion, airports, education, museums, theaters and gardens.

The article is jam-packed with his astonishing array of accomplishments and touches on his love of aviation — as a child he built and flew model airplanes “as long as the gasoline would last” — to his courtship of his wife of 66 years, Sara Belle, who noted it could have been 70 if he had proposed earlier.

Former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, who worked with Neil on the Virginia-Israel Commission in the 1980, said, “There’s no one else like him. Somehow, he has managed to elevate public vision to focus on investments for the future, and he has done it with verve as well as vision, always with energy and a ‘mixed cocktail’ of humor and command. He really has been a master choreographer of so many things that have occurred in Richmond for the good.”

Georgia On My Mind Richard Bidlack, the Martin and Brooke Stein Professor of History, writes about reconnecting with a former student in her hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, 27 years after she was an exchange student at W&L.

— by on December 16th, 2016

Richard Bidlack with his former exchange student Nona Mchedlishvili.Richard Bidlack with Nona Mchedlishvili on the Peace Bridge in downtown Tbilisi.

During the 1988–89 academic year, Washington and Lee University hosted three students from the Soviet Union. They were among the very first Soviet undergraduates to study anywhere in the U.S. without official chaperones. One of the three was Nona Mchedlishvili, from Tbilisi, located just south of the Caucasus Mountains in what was then the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. Nona, who had received notice that she had been selected for the exchange program just three days before she departed for the U.S., immersed herself at W&L in mastering English and studying journalism.

During Spring Term of 1989, I led 30 students on the university’s first and only study tour of the Soviet Union and communist Poland. I included Tbilisi in the itinerary and planned to visit Nona’s family, while she completed her year at W&L. But on April 9, not long before we departed Lexington, Georgian nationalists staged a massive anti-Soviet demonstration in central Tbilisi. Soviet army troops brutally crushed the rally. Twenty demonstrators were killed, and hundreds were injured. Tbilisi was immediately closed to foreigners, and the W&L group was diverted instead to Sochi (the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) along the Black Sea. Nona and I were shocked by these events and very disappointed that the group could not meet with her family.

NonaNona Mchedlishvili during her year at W&L (1988-89) as an exchange student.

Nona returned home in June 1989. Before the dawn of the internet, and when the antiquated Soviet phone system made placing a phone call from Lexington to Tbilisi extremely difficult, she and I lost contact. By late 1991, the Soviet Union was falling apart, and Georgia descended into chaos and civil war for two years, which included street fighting in downtown Tbilisi. Nona endured these hardships and pursued her career in journalism, eventually becoming a correspondent for Radio Free Liberty.

A few years ago, Nona and I reconnected through Facebook. This past summer my wife, Nancy, and I traveled to Tbilisi to gather insights and information for a course I’m preparing on the history of the Caucasus region and Central Asia. We enjoyed a wonderful reunion with Nona and became acquainted with her husband, Konstantin (Koka), and their teenage daughter, Mia.

While walking through Tbilisi’s picturesque old town, with its mountain vistas and churches dating back to the sixth century, and over glasses of local wine and a scrumptious meal of khachapuri (a cheese-filled bread) and other delicacies that Nona and Koka prepared, we filled each other in on the contours of our lives over the past 27 years. Nona reminisced about the teal dress with matching shoes that Nancy lent her for the 1989 Fancy Dress ball. Nona also described the five terrifying days in August 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia and reached within 25 miles of Tbilisi. During that brief war, Nona and Koka sent Mia to relatives in the countryside as Russian planes bombed targets in and around Tbilisi.

Georgia has recovered remarkably well since the war. The country’s reputation for warm and generous hospitality has attracted many visitors from Europe and North America. My wife and I look forward to further developing our relationship with an exchange student from decades ago.