The Columns

Inauguration Kicks Off with Panel on “The Liberal Arts and the Professions”

— by on September 7th, 2017

Washington and Lee University will host a panel discussion on “The Liberal Arts and the Professions” as part of William C. Dudley’s inauguration as the university’s 27th president. The panel discussion will be held on Friday, Sept. 15 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. in Keller Theatre at the Lenfest Center for the Arts. A reception will follow. President Dudley’s inauguration ceremony will follow on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. on the Front Lawn.

The panel will be moderated by Suzanne Keen, dean of the College and Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English. Panelists include Kelly Evans Chemi ’07, representing journalism; William H. Miller III ’72 representing finance; Dr. Harold E. Varmus representing medicine; and the Hon. Gregory H. Woods representing law.

Chemi joined CNBC in 2012 and currently serves as co-anchor of “Closing Bell.” Prior to CNBC, she worked for The Wall Street Journal, penning the “Ahead of the Tape” column and covering the real estate and economics beat during the 2007-08 financial crisis. Evans was a George Washington Honor Scholar, co-captain of the lacrosse team, and inducted into national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa. She was also raised in Lexington, and now resides in Manhattan.

Miller is the founder of Miller Value Partners. He also serves as chairman, chief investment officer and portfolio manager for Opportunity Equity and Income Opportunity Strategy. Previously, Miller and his partner, Ernie Kiehne, founded Legg Mason Capital Management and served as portfolio managers of the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust from its inception. Miller took over as sole manager in December 1990 and served in this role for the next 20 years. Prior to joining Legg Mason he served as treasurer of the J.E. Baker Co., a manufacturer of products for the steel and cement industries.

After graduation, he served as a military intelligence officer overseas and then pursued graduate studies in philosophy in the Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University. He received his CFA designation in 1986. Miller is chairman emeritus of the board of trustees of the Santa Fe Institute, where he served as chairman from 2005 to 2009.

Varmus, co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studies of the genetic basis of cancer, joined the Meyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medicine as the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine in April 2015. He is also a senior associate member of the New York Genome Center, where he helps to develop programs in cancer genomics. Previously, Varmus was the director of the National Cancer Institute for five years, the president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for 10 years, and director of the National Institutes of Health for six years.

The author of scientific papers and five books, including a recent memoir titled “The Art and Politics of Science,” Varmus was a co-chair of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a co-founder and chairman of the board of the Public Library of Science, and chair of the scientific board of the Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health.

Woods is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School. At Yale, he was essays editor on the Yale Law Journal and received prizes for Best Brief and Best Oralist in the school’s moot court competition. He worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1995 to 1998. From 1998 to 2009, he worked at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, becoming partner in 2004. He served as deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2009 until 2012, when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy. He held that position until his appointment to the bench.

On May 9, 2013, on the recommendation of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Barack Obama nominated Woods to serve as a U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Moderator Suzanne Keen joined the W&L faculty in 1995. She earned undergraduate degrees in English literature and creative writing from Brown University before going on to receive a master’s and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature at Harvard University. Prior to joining W&L, she taught English at Yale University.

Keen’s administrative accomplishments at W&L include the formation of a Digital Humanities Initiative that involves librarians, faculty and IT professionals; a collaboration with the U.Va. Scholars’ Lab; and planning and initiatives for enhanced global learning. She has published six books and dozens of scholarly articles and has edited or co-edited numerous journals, including the Contemporary Women’s Writing. Among her many honors and awards is a Commonwealth of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.

Saturday’s inauguration ceremony will feature two introductory speakers, Gregory M. Avis and Steven G. Poskanzer. Avis is co-founder and senior advisor at the venture capital and private equity firm Summit Partners. Previously, he worked at McDonald & Co. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. He teaches mathematics at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, California and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a B.A. in political economy from Williams College.

Poskanzer became Carleton College’s 11th president in 2010. A scholar of higher education law, he focuses his research on issues of academic freedom and how colleges and universities seek to achieve educational goals in a complex legal and policy environment. Before coming to Carleton, Poskanzer held senior administrative and academic positions at both private and public universities. Poskanzer received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Harvard University. After practicing law briefly in Washington, D.C., he has spent his entire career in higher education.

For more information on the inauguration, visit https://www.wlu.edu/inauguration.