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Keen Addresses Opening Assembly at Alumni Reunions

Dr. Suzanne P. Keen, dean of the College and the Thomas Broadus Professor of English, gave the  keynote talk at the University’s annual Washington and Lee Alumni Reunion Weekend on May 1, in Lee Chapel. She spoke on “Lost in a Book: Immersion Reading and Liberal Education.”

The event featured reunions for eight classes, including those celebrating their 50th reunion (Class of 64) and 25th reunion (Class of 1989).

Keen described how new studies show that immersion reading — enjoying full concentration on the story without interruption for critical analysis — leaves the reader with increased empathy for its characters and an experience of their emotions. Thus, the reader grows in the ability to understand, and work with, other people.

Also at the opening assembly, W&L’s Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the national leadership honor society, inducted six new undergraduate members and recognized three honorary initiates–Samuel W. Calhoun, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at W&L; Kennon Savage McDonough, a 1989 W&L graduate and clinical psychologist from the San Francisco Bay area; and Philip W. Norwood, of Waxhaw, N.C., a 1969 W&L graduate and chairman of the board of Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc.

Video of the opening assembly including ODK initiation and Keen’s talk is available online. The text of her talk is also available as a pdf.

The ODK inductions were held prior to Keen’s keynote. The honorary initiates:

  • Samuel W. Calhoun has taught at W&L since 1978. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Georgia Law School, Calhoun served as a litigation associate with King & Spaulding in Atlanta and was a visiting professor at the University of Puget Sound before coming to W&L. At W&L, his major teaching areas have included abortion controversy, payment systems, sales, contracts and legal writing. He is the author of over 20 essays, articles, reviews and notes in many areas of legal scholarship and has delivered many talks and lectures particularly on abortion and on religious elements in law and society. He has served as faculty adviser to numerous organizations at W&L, including The Washington and Lee Law Review and the Moot Court teams. Calhoun is also active in the Lexington and Rockbridge communities with such groups as Habitat for Humanity, Young Life, United Way and the Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center.
  • Dr. Kennon Savage McDonough received her master’s degree in psychological counseling from Teacher’s College, Columbia University and her doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of San Francisco. McDonough completed her doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Infant-Parent Program and the UCSF AIDS Health Project and is certified by the UCSF Child Trauma Institute. McDonough was a member of the first class of coeducation at W&L, majoring in sociology and anthropology. She played tennis all four years and co-founded the Safe Rides program on campus. She continues to serve and support her alma mater in various volunteer roles, including her 25th Reunion Committee, and as chair of the Alumni Admissions Program.
  • Philip W. Norwood is chairman of the board of Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc., a family-owned company investing in real estate and energy projects, in Spartanburg, S.C. He also is principal of Haviland Capital L.L.C. in Charlotte, N.C. He served as president, chief executive officer and director of Faison Enterprises Inc., a real estate development and investment company headquartered in Charlotte, from 1994-2013, where he was responsible for all the company’s business activities involving a $2.5 billion asset portfolio. Norwood currently serves on the boards of Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc., Camp Blue Skies Foundation, Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers and a former member of the Real Estate Roundtable. Norwood holds a master’s degree from Duke University and a juris doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law. As a student, Norwood was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Calyx, Ring-tum Phi and the track and field varsity team. He served his alma mater in every major volunteer role and as a member of the Board of Trustees (1997-2008) and as Rector of the University (2003-2008).

The juniors who were tapped into membership in ODK are Ann Holly Beasley, an economics major from Virginia Beach, Va.; Caroline F. Hamp, an English and religion double major from Avon Lake, Ohio; James Charles McCullum, a geology major from Hallowell, Maine; Eileen Annette Small, a theater and studio art double major from Midland, Texas; Lisa Stoiser, a German and neuroscience double major from Simpsonville, S.C.; and Jacqueline Olivia Yarbro, a philosophy and religion double major from Suwanee, Ga.

ODK also presented the Rupert Latture Award, which recognizes the sophomore with the most leadership potential, to Caroline Birdrow, a biochemistry major from Lafayette, La. It gave the James G. Leyburn Award for community or campus leaders who provide exemplary service to The Community Table, a local group which focuses on reducing hunger in the Rockbridge area.