Welcome to the Winter 2012 issue of the William & Mary Alumni Magazine.
Welcome to the Winter 2012 issue of the William & Mary Alumni Magazine.
38.1% The Institute of International Education estimates that 38.1 percent of William & Mary undergraduates participate in study-abroad programs before graduating from the College.
1,600 This year, thanks in part to the Student Assembly voter registration drive, roughly 1,600 students registered to vote in Williamsburg for the 2012 presidential election.
1687 A first edition, 1687 copy of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica was the star attraction in a one-day exhibit of venerable scientific texts in the physics library of Small Hall.
11 After testing the cognitive skills of over 60,000 students across the country, the cognitive training website Luminosity recently named the College of William & Mary the 11th smartest college in the nation.
333,000 According to the College’s 2012 President’s Report, students at William & Mary contribute more than 333,000 hours of community service per year.
Award-winning journalist and author Bob Woodward visited the College in November to speak to a crowded auditorium of students, faculty, staff and community members about the importance of transparency in government. Woodward, famous for helping uncover the Watergate scandal, spoke about his experiences as a journalist for the Washington Post and the problems facing America today.
Eight years after being elected president of the Student Bar Association at William & Mary Law School, William Lamberth J.D. ’04 has captured a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Lamberth, who won two-thirds of the vote in his central Tennessee district, is the first Republican to win his Tennessee House District since 1972.
On Oct. 17, approximately 200 women who work at William & Mary attended a women’s forum sponsored by the William & Mary Women’s Network. The women, who ranged from teaching faculty to hourly staff members, came together to discuss their common experiences, interests and concerns. The forum is the latest initiative by the Women’s Network, which began a mentoring program for women on campus earlier this year.
Sam Fansler ’13 recently became the first student guide to complete a tour of the College in a foreign language. She gave a tour of campus entirely in French to a group of middle school students visiting Williamsburg from Southern France. Fansler is a European studies major and fluent French speaker. She called the experience a “dream.”
At the College’s annual Raft Debate, three professors representing the natural and computational sciences, the social sciences and the humanities participated in a battle of wits. Anne Charity Hudley, associate professor of English at the College, won the debate, which pits professors against one another to decide who should, for the sake of humanity, be allowed to escape being stranded on a desert island. Hudley’s victory marked the first time since 2002 that the Raft Debate victor has been a representative of the humanities.
William & Mary announced on Nov. 1, 2012, that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Funding from GCE will allow John Swaddle, professor of biology, and Mark Hinders, professor of applied science, to pursue a global health and development research project, titled “Employing sonic nets to exclude pest bird species from crops.” The project is a continued attempt to reduce crop loss to birds, which currently results in the loss of millions of tons of food each year.
S ome may describe the first time Chris Ray ’03 saw his roommate brew his own beer as love at first sight. For the former Tribe ace pitcher turned Major Leaguer, brewing was an elusive creative outlet outside of the baseball world, a passion which could consume his off-days. And though he never played for Milwaukee, Ray couldn’t resist wanting to be a brewer.
“Having a love of brewing is just like having a love for cooking,” said Ray, who has been brewing his own beer for more than four years.
“You get to come up with all of these different recipes based on the amount and types of hops, grains and yeast that you use.”
However, rather than just brew as a hobby, Ray had a much bigger vision. In fact, this past fall he, and his older brother, Phil, opened their own Ashland, Va., based brewery called Center of the Universe.
Ray and his brother plan to offer four types of beer, including a West Coast– style IPA and a Kölsch. Once winter rolls around, one of those four beers will be dropped from the rotation to make way for a holiday-style brew rich with spices.
At their brewery — a 12,000-square-foot former newspaper building — the Ray brothers use a 15-barrel system, with four fermenters, a hot liquid and brite tank and a boiler. Currently, Center of the Universe has signed up with Richmond-based Brown Distributing. Their beer will be available at local grocery and convenience stores, as well as various bars and restaurants.
According to Ray, the plan is to take things slowly at first and make sure they sustain their business. Then they want to begin growing the brand.
When Ray was pitching with the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners, he brewed beers for his teammates. In fact, while he was in Seattle, Ray teamed up with a local brewery to create Homefront IPA, a charity beer that went to support Operation Homefront, an organization that assists troops and their families.
His passion evolved during his time in Seattle, as brewing was something Ray would do on the few off days that he had during the season.
His teammates began developing a passion for Ray’s brewing.
“I’m happy to say that I converted a lot of guys over to craft beer,” said Ray, who last played for the Mariners in 2011.
When it comes to brewing beer, Ray says the biggest challenge boils down to one critical thing: being able to brew the same beer time after time. Major issues can arise by creating barrels of beer that don’t taste like their forebearers.
Frankly, it’s what makes or breaks a brewer, he says.
“Consistency is the biggest thing and you want to maintain the same product from batch to batch,” said Ray, who plans to allow tours at the brewery and on-site sampling. “And when you’re dealing with things like yeast, which is a living organism, you need to make sure that it is healthy. That’s why we have a lab in our brewery where our head brewer looks at these kinds of things.”
In fact, though creativity and passion are necessary aspects for successful brewing, Ray says that basic science is responsible for a truly good batch of beer.
“When it comes to the end product, 10 percent of it relates to brewing and 90 percent comes down to making sure everything is clean and intact.”
Every day Ray says he counts his blessings. For one, he was able to have a professional career playing the sport he grew up loving. And now he gets to start a second professional career with his greatest passion outside of the diamond.
But as Ray will tell you, there is a huge difference between simple home brewing and actually running a brewery. Instead of just making beer in his basement, Ray is swamped with a myriad of tasks that are constantly changing.
“Everything is a little different week to week,” said Ray of his day-to-day responsibilities at Center of the Universe.
“Some weeks we are meeting with distributors and other times we are working on fine-tuning our recipes or doing work regarding our licensing. There are many aspects that go into running a brewery.”
Ray says that the brewing industry is a part of the business world unlike any other. For starters, he says that brewers are more like brothers, trying to help each other out rather than getting caught up with competition.
“I fell in love with the camaraderie of the brewing world,” said Ray. “Everyone is close-knit and you aren’t competing for market share. There are a lot of brewers that helped us out as we prepared to open the brewery. There was no way that we could have done it without them.”
For Ray, perhaps the most special aspect of starting his own brewery is working with family. Natives of Florida, Ray and his brother have lived in separate states since his William & Mary days. Starting a brewery was a natural fit for the pair since Phil is also a home brewer in addition to being a mechanical and nuclear engineer. So joining forces with his brother wasn’t completely unexpected.
“It’s amazing to work with my brother because we’ve always been really close,” said Ray.
Phil recently moved to the Ashland area to begin work on the brewery. To make things even sweeter for Ray, his father-inlaw and brother-in-law have also been involved with getting the brewery going.
Ultimately, for Ray, he’s in the best position he could imagine right now.
“My brother and I have the same vision and the same passion. If I could have one person that I get to work with, it would be him.”
The William & Mary Alumni Association calls for nominations of candidates to receive the 2014 Alumni Medallion.
The Alumni Medallion is the highest and most prestigious award the William & Mary Alumni Association can bestow on a graduate of the College of William & Mary. This award recognizes individuals who have exemplary accomplishments in their professional life, service to the community, state or nation, and loyalty and commitment to the College.
The Board will consider all three areas when they select the Medallion recipients. However, there may be an occasion when they consider an individual based on extraordinary achievement in only one or two areas. The Board will make the selection at their fall 2013 meeting.
Nominations must be submitted on the form provided by the Alumni Association. It can be downloaded from the Alumni Association's website at http://www.wmalumni.com/awards or it can be requested by either calling 757.221.7855 or emailing email@example.com. Include any news articles, vitae, biographical sketches, and so on that are available as supporting documents; they are important in determining selections. Up to two supporting letters may be included with the nomination form; however additional letters will not be reviewed. Incomplete nominations will not be considered. Deadline for submission of all nominations for the 2014 award is July 1, 2013.
This fall, a new constituent group joined the ranks of the William & Mary Alumni Association. The W&M Arts and Entertainment Alumni Council consists of alumni working in the media, entertainment, performing and fine arts industries. The council was formed to engage alumni working in the arts or entertainment fields, advise academic departments on industry matters and aid students who are interested in careers in these fields. For more information about the council’s first conference, held on Nov. 8-9, visit http://a.wmalumni.com/aeconference.
Congratulations to W. Samuel Sadler ’64, M.Ed. ’71, who received Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity’s lifetime achievement award, the Big Pi, at the fraternity’s annual leadership convention this past August. According to their website, the award is presented to “alumni brothers who are held in high esteem by virtue of outstanding accomplishment which brings honor to the brother and Pi Lambda Phi.”
IN MEMORIAM: The W&M Alumni Association would like to note the passing of Marilyn Miller Entwisle ’44. A very involved alumna and friend of the College, Marilyn will surely be missed. A full obituary will be printed in the Spring 2013 issue of the Alumni Magazine.
For sophomore Elizabeth Crafford ’15, pole vaulting is a family affair. The high school swimmer-turned-vaulter opted to try the sport thanks to her father, Glenn Crafford ’77, who was a vaulter himself for the Tribe from 1975-77.
At first I showed no promise,” Elizabeth says, “but [dad] coached me and one of my friends in high school and I got better at it.”
Vaulting isn’t the only thing that runs in the family for this fifth-generation William & Mary student. Green and gold is in the Crafford family blood, and Williamsburg was always a second home to Elizabeth. The Connecticut native is glad to be in school near her grandparents, who have lived in the area for 50 years.
“There was never any pressure for me to come here, but family is a huge part of my life,” she says. “It was important for me to be close to them. The College has such history, with our country and with my family, and I am so privileged to go here.”
While she’s only in her second year at the College, Crafford is handling the balance of academics and athletics with supreme grace. “I take fewer classes during the spring season and load up on credits in the fall,” says Crafford. “I’ve actually found that being an athlete has really regimented my schedule and given me great discipline.”
A typical day for Crafford includes three or four classes, a quick break before training, a three- to three-and-a-half-hour practice, followed by dinner and homework before the cycle begins again the next day. On top of all that, Crafford was able to rush Kappa Kappa Gamma this fall, and she also participates in an athletic advising group that speaks to potential collegiate athletes before they matriculate to college. “I like being busy,” Crafford admits, “so the hectic schedule works well for me.”
Crafford attributes much of her success to her new coach, Brian Hunter, who is in his first year coaching the Tribe’s jump group on the track and field team. Coach Hunter has only great things to say about Crafford: “I have a fantastic opportunity to work with someone of Elizabeth’s caliber and intellect,” he says. “The latter is so important in a sport like this when the real difficulty is translating what the athletes need to learn to be effective. This group is so efficient, and they have a higher grasp of physics and biomechanics, which is necessary to be successful. It’s been a great journey so far.”
According to Crafford, Hunter’s style of coaching has made the Tribe’s jumpers — who refer to themselves as “the cadre” — more cohesive than ever. “We truly live and breathe off of each other, depend on each other and push each other to perform at our best,” she says. “We were lacking that bond last year and it’s been such a growing experience for all of us. Coach Hunter’s system is so fluid and organized, we know what’s expected and we work hard.”
Coach Hunter has extremely high expectations of his athletes, and he hopes that his coaching philosophy will serve them well in their lives after William & Mary. “I don’t necessarily see my job as coaching in the general sense,” he says. “I look at it as an obligation to promote my athletes socially, academically and athletically to make sure they’re fully rounded adults. I want them to be successful in every aspect of their lives [after] graduation. I hope when she leaves the College, Elizabeth has a greater understanding of her capacity and fearlessness that has served her in athletics and will serve her in her future life.”
The “fearless” Crafford has achieved some notable accomplishments during her brief time at the College. Her proudest moment occurred last year when she set the freshman indoor record at a meet at Christopher Newport University, clearing 3.81 meters with her family looking on. The fact that she achieved this feat after coming off a stress fracture in her foot demonstrated her superior capacity for success that Hunter is sure will follow Crafford throughout her life.
As to her future, Crafford is planning for her life after William & Mary. “I plan to major in marketing, and a dream of mine has always been to work in New York City,” she says. “I’ve grown up going into that great city where I was born, and I’d love to work in advertising or some promotional capacity. I’m still young though, so that’s subject to change. I still have time to choose.”
Crafford will no doubt apply her athletic discipline to all aspects of her future life, and her coach is no less certain of her future success. In pole vaulting and in life, Crafford says, “It’s all about perfecting the little things to make the big things happen.”
Cross Country Wins 13th-Straight CAA Championship W&M’s men’s cross country team beat George Mason by a 31-25 margin to clench its 13th consecutive conference championship. Senior Alex McGrath ’12 finished a full 16 seconds ahead of second place and came in at 24:04.1, a new course record at Eastern State Hospital where the race was held. The Tribe placed three of the top four runners with redshirt sophomore Rad Gunzenhauser ’14 finishing third and redshirt junior Josh Hardin ’13 finishing just a second behind him in fourth. This victory marked W&M’s 35th CAA title, placing them third all-time in the NCAA, and their 13-year streak is the third-longest winning streak in the nation to date.
Tennis Women Advance to National Championship in New York Doubles partners Maria Belaya ’14 and Jeltje Loomans ’14 won the Regional Championships held in Blacksburg, Va., on October 23. The pair overcame two teams from the University of Virginia to clench the title, putting their overall record at 8-0 on the year and making them the first Tribe doubles champions since 2006. Belaya and Loomans, who lost in the semifinals of the tournament last year, were excited to have the opportunity to compete in the Intercollegiate National Championship tournament held in New York Nov. 8-11.
Another CAA Title for Tribe Soccer The women’s soccer team claimed a 3-0 victory over Old Dominion to finish 8-2 in conference play and earn the title of conference champions. The team finished 14-5 overall, led by nine seniors including All- American midfielder Mallory Schafer ’13, who was named CAA Player of the Year for the second time. With the win, the Tribe hosted the CAA tournament on its home turf but lost their first game in penalty kicks.
W illiam & Mary’s reputation for academic excellence and success has attracted some of the most accomplished students from across Virginia and around the world. However, for the past two years, nearly 30 percent of admitted students who did not enroll at William & Mary cited scholarships and financial aid as having either a “great deal of impact” or being the “deciding factor.” The marketplace for student talent has become increasingly competitive. Many top-tier institutions have implemented aggressive financial aid programs that support families from a range of economic backgrounds. Programs that assist low-income and middle-income families have become standard at many universities. Although William & Mary has made progress toward meeting the financial need of its students, significant room for improvement remains. William & Mary’s ability to offer competitive scholarships and financial aid will be increasingly essential to the quality of the student body.
Although each of the students featured here has a different story, they have all been impacted by financial aid they have received at William & Mary.
Before she was born, Maria Arellano’s parents emigrated from Mexico to the United States to make a better life for their family.
Arellano is the first person in her family to finish high school and attend college. She has high expectations of herself, to help realize her parents’ goal of a better life for their children.
She secured scholarships to attend private schools from seventh grade and all through high school. A very serious scholar whose appreciation for education was instilled by her parents, Arellano considered her choices for college carefully.
“I come from a small town with a big sense of community, and that’s what I found at William & Mary,” she says. “I could tell that everyone here loved their school and was passionate about what they were doing. It’s not something you see at many places.”
Like the people she encountered on that visit to William & Mary, Arellano has pursued her passion as an undergraduate. She reaches out to the Spanish-speaking community, volunteering with the Community Partnership for Adult Learners (CPALs), a student-run organization that offers free English language classes for the Williamsburg community.
Arellano’s involvement with CPALs led to another opportunity — volunteering with Spanish-speaking elementary students at the local James River Elementary School.
“The aim of the program is to help these students improve their native language, and as time went on, encouraging them to celebrate and appreciate their heritage became a large focus,” Arellano says. “I see a lot of myself in these kids, and I love that I’m able to help them be proud of where they come from.”
As a double major in government and Latin American studies at William & Mary, Arellano is able to pair these experiences outside the classroom with her undergraduate studies.
“The classes I’ve taken have opened my eyes to many issues that I had never thought about,” she says. “William & Mary has definitely changed me.”
Without financial assistance, Arellano would not have been able to attend the College. After graduation, she is considering law school or perhaps teaching. Whatever path she decides to follow, it will be one that allows her to effectively help the Latin American community.
“If my parents hadn’t struggled, I never would have had this chance,” Arellano says. “I want to help other people who haven’t had the opportunities I have been given. I know their struggles because they are the same struggles my family and I have faced.
“The American dream is big for us.”
After completing both an undergraduate biology degree and a master’s in education at William & Mary, Augustine “Auggy” Kang taught science for five years at two different middle schools.
During this time, Kang came to appreciate how leadership can have a profound effect on the quality of schools. He decided to pursue a doctorate in education, again turning toward his alma mater, which he hopes will help provide him with the tools he needs to be an effective leader. Now in his second year of doctoral studies in the educational planning, policy and leadership program, and focusing on K-12 administration, Kang feels especially confident about his decision to return to the School of Education.
“The most outstanding aspect of my experience at William & Mary has been the faculty,” he says. “They are outstanding. They bring amazing experience to their teaching, yet they are so easy to talk to and approachable. The door is always open.”
Kang says he also benefits from his interactions with other students at William & Mary. “Everyone is passionate about what they are doing. We are all here because we care about education and children. When we get together, that’s what we talk and think about.”
Another factor in Kang’s decision to return to William & Mary was the graduate assistantship he received from the School of Education.
“The fact that I got a graduate assistantship made it possible for me to come back,” he says. “I never could have paid out-of-state tuition. Now my tuition is covered and I have a small stipend.”
As part of his assistantship, Kang works with Project Hope Virginia, which advocates for education for homeless students. He also serves as president of the Graduate Education Association (GEA) at the School of Education, a position that allows him to hone his leadership skills and help the school connect with alumni and pursue long-term goals.
Upon completing his degree, Kang plans to return to the classroom.
“I love teaching middle school,” he says. “You are reaching kids at a point in their lives when you can make all the difference.”
However, after a few more years in the classroom, Kang does plan to move into an education administration position.
“I believe I can find the answer to the question, ‘How can we turn our public schools around?’” he says. “Perhaps at some point in the future I will return to William & Mary again with an answer to that question.”
Although he has only been on campus for a few months, freshman Max Miroff feels he chose the right place to pursue his undergraduate studies.
“I’m from Virginia and I know we have some of the best public universities in the country,” he says. “Even among those schools, William & Mary stood out because of its size and its strong focus on undergraduates.”
That impression was confirmed when Miroff visited campus and had a chance to meet with some members of the faculty.
“I really value the sense of community at William & Mary,” he says. “Although I have only been here a short while, I have had plenty of chances to connect with faculty, students in the 1693 Scholars Program and other students on campus.”
The 1693 Scholars Program, William & Mary’s elite scholars program, was another factor in Miroff’s decision to attend.
“The tuition benefit is really important. Now my family doesn’t have to worry about how we are going to pay for college,” he says. “But the research opportunity is just as essential. The chance to fund a project and travel m eans a great deal to me academically.”
In high school, Miroff, who is now considering a philosophy major, was a member of the policy debate team and organized weekly philosophical discussions with fellow students around a featured topic. As a writer, he has contributed to online blogs and had his creative work published by online literary journals.
At William & Mary, he has already had a chance to start on research.
When he visited William & Mary as a 1693 finalist, Miroff made a presentation to a faculty group about a possible idea for a future project. The project involved looking at the physical arrangement of educational institutions and the ways in which that organization affects teaching and learning.
“Broadly, I’m interested in the relationship between school space and the ideological assumptions of pedagogical practice. I’d like to look at how seemingly ordinary objects — things like desks, chairs or hallways — exert force upon students and teachers to act in certain ways,” Miroff says. “It’s a very preliminary idea, but it’s the kind of question that intrigues me and that has attracted me to studying philosophy.”
The freedom William & Mary provides Miroff for exploring this and other novel research ideas, along with the perspective of its faculty members and his fellow students, creates the potential for exciting growth and discovery throughout his four years on campus.
The transit of Venus is, at best, a twice-in-a-lifetime event. Transits come in pairs, eight years apart, and these pairs come more than 100 years apart. If you didn’t see the planet of love pass between the Earth and the sun on June 5, 2011, you’ll have to wait until 2117 for the next one.
Bob Vold, like many astronomers, missed the 2004 transit of Venus because of clouds. On June 5, 2012 — transit day — it was cloudy again. The weather forecast predicted the cloud cover might start to clear, encouragement enough for Vold to start calling and emailing. He had a brand-new observatory to show of f and there was no occasion better than the transit of Venus for a coming-out party.
Vold is a professor of applied science and also the director of William & Mary’s Thomas Harriot Observatory. The observatory was the last major component of the expansion and renovation of Small Hall. The new dome and its 14-inch computer- controlled Meade telescope will give William & Mary much improved astronomical functionality.
More people will use the observatory than one might think. Vold says that usually two or three seniors each year pursue an astronomy project. The physics department requires all its majors to complete a senior project or honors thesis. “We haven’t had any the last couple of years because the building was being renovated,” Vold said. “But now I expect we’ll have an upswing.”
The new observatory will also serve students enrolled in introductory astronomy, a popular way for William & Mary’s humanities and social-science majors to fill science general education requirements. Images from the Meade telescope can be piped down into the building’s lecture halls. Logistics would preclude intro lab sections from using the big scope directly: Vold says he’s comfortable with five to maybe eight people in the observatory dome at one time, “unless they start to mill around too much.”
At the transit party, Vold called eightperson shifts — warned of the dangers of excess milling — into the dome. Others took turns at 8-inch telescopes set up by volunteers from the Student Physics Society. There was more waiting than watching, as broken cloud cover drifted across the sun, which broke through the clouds with enough regularity to give the partiers a view of Venus, a teeny black circle as seen through the solar filters, crawl across the surface of the sun.
Cloudy skies and light pollution are the twin curses of telescope astronomy, and Vold has developed a philosophy for unpredictable conditions.
“It’s like having a 15-year-old,” he says. “You just have to be flexible. You schedule something for 8 o’clock at night. If it’s cloudy, you schedule it for the next 8 o’clock at night.”
So that he doesn’t have to be on hand for each and every clear night, Vold is training a few students to operate the observatory. The observatory’s computer can point the telescope and rotate the dome to reveal any of a constellation of heavenly objects. It’s not a steep learning curve, but, Vold says, one does not simply walk into the observatory and type “crab nebula.”
“The typical young student’s approach to learning computers, which usually works really well, is to just try everything out until you figure out how it works,” Vold explained. “If you do that with a computer-guided telescope mount you can ruin a lot of things.”
The dome itself requires careful tending, too. The first rule, Vold says, is to keep the door shut. “If the dome starts to rotate while the door is open, it will come off its track. It can be fixed, but it takes five or six people to lift it back onto the track and we just don’t want to go through that hassle.”
Vold teaches an annual freshman seminar in astrophotography and says he’s found that even experienced astronomers relate better to photos of the heavens than direct observation through a telescope.
“You look through the eyepiece of all but very large telescopes and whatever there is to be seen is in black and white, because the light is not strong enough to turn on the color sensors in your eye,” he said. “The camera works a little different. The camera just collects photons of all colors — it doesn’t matter what color, it just collects them as long as the shutter is open.”
Therefore, he explained, the camera is thousands of times more sensitive than the human eye. It’s the reason why you won’ t be able to look through any telescope and see an image to match those stunning shots of far-off places in the heavens.
Vold’s interest in astronomy began at the age of 6. He comes by it honestly, as his mother’s grandfather was Robert Grant Aitken, director of the Lick Observatory in California. Vold inherited some of his grandfather’s notebooks and negotiated a deal with the current Lick administration. They got the notebooks and Vold got to take a break from his job doing astrophotography at the Thomas Harriot Observatory to spend some time doing astrophotography on the Great Lick Refractor — his great-grandfather’s telescope, 57 feet long, built in 1879 and still in use.
Vold says only half the freshmen in his astrophotography seminar are headed for science majors. A mix of intellects makes for “an interesting clash of ideas,” as he puts it.
“The science students are entranced by things like how you measure the distance to stars — all the quantitative things you would think somebody in science might want to do,” he said. “The non-science students look at the pictures and just go ‘wow.’ Then they try to apply basic ideas of form and artistic merit to the photos.”
But all of them have one interest in common: the fate of Pluto.
Some come down on the side of scientific accuracy, Vold says, and support the 2006 demotion of Pluto to “dwarf planet” status. Others adopt a “once a planet, always a planet” stance.
And Vold himself?
“I think there ought to be a grandfather clause. It’s just sort of common sense,” he said. “Besides, when you tell people that Pluto is a planet — but it’s an exception — they’ll ask what you mean and you can make it a teachable moment.”
Read more about research at W&M at: wm.edu/research/ideation
Combining paternal wisdom, engaging anecdotes and humor — much of it self-deprecating — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama enthralled an audience of 8,200 inside Kaplan Arena in William & Mary Hall and another 10,000 — from 109 nations — who watched via live web streaming video on Oct. 10.
About 4,000 students received complimentary tickets to the event, and they turned out in droves, despite classes and looming midterm exams.
“I am just really grateful for the opportunity to have this experience,” said Laura Traub ’13. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I’m glad that he was able to visit here and that we were able to sit really close to him and hear what he had to say.”
The need for compassion — human for human, religion for religion, nation for nation — was the overarching theme of a 45-minute presentation and equally lengthy questionand- answer session.
Referring to the sellout crowd as “my dear brothers and sisters,” the 77-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner gently teased his audience by saying that it was an honor to be with them, even though William & Mary is “only” the nation’s second-oldest university, after Harvard.
An audience comprising of students, faculty, staff and 3,000 non-university attendees, who purchased their tickets in just 16 minutes when they went on sale, laughed appreciatively. While His Holiness never left the stage during his 90-minute presentation, the audience relished every opportunity to interact with him, even if it was just by making eye contact or nodding their heads at one of his questions or comments.
“If we look at the fundamentals, we’re all the same people. No differences. No barriers.”
—The Dalai Lama
“The thing about the Dalai Lama that I found most surprising or most impressive was just how humble he was, how down to earth he was,” said Delaney Janson ’13. “He spoke to us like we were equals with him.”
The students in the W&M Women’s Chorus had the honor of not only attending the event, but singing for the Dalai Lama, too. The chorus performed “Songs of Mind,” composed by Professor of Music Brian Hulse based on a seventh-century poem.
After opening remarks from Rector Jeffrey B. Trammell ’73 and an introduction by Curt Mills ’13, president of the W&M Student Assembly, the Dalai Lama took the stage to a thunderous standing ovation.
He was offered a green-and-gold William & Mary visor by Mills, whose organization sponsored the event along with the student programming committee of Alma Mater Productions and the International Relations Club with additional support from the Janet and Peter Atwater Lecture Endowment. His Holiness stared at it briefly, playfully, before putting it on, drawing another loud ovation.
Moving behind the podium, he wasted no time in addressing what he feels is the self-inflicted sad state of the world today. “I feel many of the troubles we face are of our own creation,” he stated. “There is too much emphasis on secondary differences — of faith, differences of races, of color, nationality.
“If we look at the fundamentals, we’re all the same people. No differences. No barriers.”
The Dalai Lama lauded the humanity of former President George W. Bush, saying they formed an immediate bond the first time that they met, that he admired Bush because he was a world leader without pretext, and that he “loved him.” But he also decried the United States’ tendency to use force in engagements around the world saying, “it has unpredictable consequences,” and recalled telling Bush that, “I love you, I admire you, but some of your policies I have reservations about [in Iraq].”
“We have to find a new way to approach problems,” he said, leading him into a lengthy oratory on the importance of inner calm and a more intellectual style of crisis management.
“In order to know the new reality, our minds must be calm,” he explained. “We can carry on research (into solutions) more effectively. With compassion, we can use our intellect properly.”
He told the story of meeting Cuban refugees two years ago. While telling him of their plight, they mentioned that each day they prayed to God that dictator Fidel Castro would be taken to heaven.
The Dalai Lama laughed at what might be termed a compassionate manner of handling a decades-old “problem.”
“That’s nice,” he finally said. “They don’t like Castro, but they don’t hate him. They ask that he please be taken to heaven.”
Medical science, he explained, holds that constant anger and constant fear often go together, and combine to form mind-clouding frustration.
“Anger and fear are eating at our inner system,” he said. “Warm-heartedness brings inner strength.”
He offered that he was not against divorce, except when children were involved. He followed that by saying that “long-lasting marriages are not based on external beauty, but on internal beauty.”
He poked fun at himself with an anecdote about the time he told a friend that his wife “wasn’t very attractive.”
“The man told me, ‘No, she’s not very attractive on the outside, but very, very beautiful on the inside,’” he recalled.
“I had no argument for that.”
He applauds the technological advances of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, yet drew hearty laughter when he told the audience that he went two years without “opening” his television.
“A young Indian heard me say that and asked me, ‘If you never watch TV, how do you pass the time?’” he recounted, drawing more laughter. “I told him, ‘I think,’ what Buddhists call analytical meditation. The time passes quickly.”
While fielding questions submitted by students, he was asked how the people of the world could ever truly get along when there are so many different religions, all of which believe they are the true faith.
While admitting that there are “major differences” in religions, the Dalai Lama argued that all of them preach love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, self-discipline and contentment.
He gently advised his listeners not to believe the trendy theory that the world will come to an end in 2012. He buttressed his argument by saying that, according to Buddha, we will be around for 5,000 years.
That said, he couldn’t resist one final laugh-inducing punch line.
“And if the end of the world comes, good,” he added. “It will eliminate all of our problems.”
The simplicity with which one of the world’s religious leaders approaches the complexities of life wasn’t lost on Jane Rabinowitz ’13. “It was nice to see that while he wanted to see respect and we were respectful and attentive,” she said, “he really just wanted to share a bit of his life with us.”
“I thought it was really cool how he answered every question, how he took into consideration not only what he wanted to say but what we wanted to hear and ask questions [about] and that he gave really in-depth answers,” said Andrea Hanes ’13. “His point of view is really unique and really amazing, so it was really incredible to hear from him.”
Yussre El-Bardicy ’16, too, was impressed with the Dalai Lama, especially his comments on interfaith harmony and the Muslim stereotyping that occurred after 9/11.
“I thought that it was a really enlightening and very valuable experience,” said El-Bardicy.
Madelyn Smith ’13, a blogger for the W&M website, posted her thoughts about the experience, saying that one thing really stood out to her from the Dalai Lama: “the joy in his laughter.”
“As it echoed across William & Mary Hall contagiously sweeping across the crowd, his laughter filled the auditorium,” she wrote in her blog. “I couldn’t help but smile as I turned around to see hundreds of people beaming. His life is a gift. His message is a prayer. And, his inspiration is indefinite.”
The Dalai Lama’s talk got Smith thinking about the power of one life, she wrote.
“As an individual who is passionate, curious and intelligent, you have the power to impact the world,” Smith wrote. “You can choose to build people up, encourage their dreams and foster their interests. You can build organizations, better relationships, support leaders and vocalize issues.
“You have the power to make the world a better place. You, too, can spread laughter.”
Awarded every year since 1934, the Alumni Medallion is the highest and most prestigious award given by the William & Mary Alumni Association. It is presented annually during Charter Day weekend. Alumni Medallion recipients have distinguished themselves through exemplary professional accomplishments, service to the community, state or nation, and loyalty and dedication to the College of William & Mary.
This year, the Alumni Association honors three esteemed leaders — individuals who represent the ideals of William & Mary’s founders and what the College has stood for during its revered history — D. Bruce Christian ’73, Nancy W. Mathews ’76 and Donald G. Owens ’65, J.D. ’71. The award ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place on Saturday of Charter Day weekend, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. in the Sadler Center.
“I am privileged to be part of the strong story that is William & Mary, a place where great things happen and extraordinary people do exceptional things.”
—D. Bruce Christian ’73
“William & Mary has been an integral part of my life. I would not be the same person had I not attended, and remained in contact with, the College.”
—Nancy W. Mathews ’76
“The debt I owe the College for all the good things it has made possible can never be paid, but I hope the contributions that I have been able to make have helped to benefit William & Mary.”
—Donald G. Owens ’65, J.D. ’71
Bruce Christian is a true servant leader — assisting others while shying away from recognition. Leading with his quiet manner and effusive humor, it’s the little things that make Christian special: often driving from Lynchburg, Va., to Williamsburg several times per month for meetings, finding time to attend a fellow alumnus’s book reading, visiting with undergraduate student volunteers or stopping by campus just to “check in.” His selfless service epitomizes what it means to have a heart that bleeds green and gold.
Christian received his B.A. from William & Mary in Latin American studies in 1973 and completed graduate work at Tulane University where he received a Shell Foundation Fellowship for research study in Mexico.
Education — as well as supporting it for others — is a key passion for him; philanthropy is another. The list of Christian’s philanthropy and service is extensive. He is the former president of the Central Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Society for Human Resources Management, where he served as secretary at the state level. He was president of American Wholesale Ltd., vice chairman of the Virginia College Fund and a board member for the Employee Assistance Program of Central Virginia, Lumen Christi Institute at the University of Chicago, Interfaith Outreach Association, Lynch’s Landing Advisory Board, First Presbyterian Weekday School and the Tulane Parents Council. The Virginia Piedmont Chapter recognized Christian as Philanthropist of the Year in 2004.
The College also has benefited from these twin passions of education and philanthropy. Christian created the Christian- Ewell scholarship for study in Latin America in honor of his favorite professor, Judy Ewell. Christian and his wife, Spas, actively support scholarships, Swem Library and the Fund for William & Mary, among other interests. He serves on the W&M Strategic Planning Committee as well as the Grand Challenge One subcommittee and as a trustee and secretary of the W&M Foundation Board. He has previously served as vice chair of the Swem Board of Directors, a member of the National Campaign Steering Committee for the Campaign for William & Mary and the Class of 1973 25th Reunion co-chair.
With an extensive background in human resources, Christian works to continue the mission of his family’s privately held company, N.B. Handy — one of the leading wholesale distributors of commercial roofing, HVAC and sheet metal. The company was awarded the 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. Born and raised in Lynchburg, where he continues to live, Christian serves as the volunteer executive director at the Old City Cemetery and Arboretum — a testament to the philanthropic legacy of his family; as it was his sixth great uncle, John Lynch, who donated the original acres so that the cemetery could be established in 1806.
Christian and his wife have three children.
Mathews served on the Lord Botetourt Auction Committee for 23 years and was the chair or co-chair four times. Her leadership helped to generate over $2 million in support for William & Mary Athletics. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, the National Campaign Committee for the Campaign for William & Mary, the Fund for William & Mary Board, the Tribe Club Endowment Board and actively served on her 25th and 30th Reunion gift committees. She eagerly served on the Mascot Committee and is personally proud of the selection of the Griffin.
The Mathewses have been and remain generous supporters of the College and W&M Athletics. Their record of giving encompasses more than 30 years, as does their attendance at Homecoming, Charter Day, sporting events and other College functions. Their gifts made possible the new scoreboard in Zable Stadium and the Mathews Family Athletic Scholarship Endowment.
Nancy’s early years as a social worker brought her in contact with many for whom a college experience was unimaginable. Since then she has worked tirelessly to serve her community. She recently completed service as a board member of Colonial Court Appointed Special Advocates, a local volunteer organization that focuses on the safe, timely and permanent placement of more than 100 childhood victims of abuse and neglect each year. She served for seven years on the Williamsburg Community Foundation Board of Trustees, including more than four years as the chair of the Grants Distribution Committee.
Nancy and Hal live in Williamsburg and have two children, Emily and Julie. In the past few years they have welcomed to Williamsburg Nancy’s brother Donn Wonnell ’69 and his wife, Karen, and her sister Jeanne and her husband, David. And yes, they now have Tribe Pride too!
Donald Owens ’65, J.D. ’71 embodies the spirit, idealism and historical character of William & Mary. An alumnus of high ethical standards and integrity whose life has been hallmarked by helping others and furthering the public good, Owens’ introduction to service began with ROTC at the College, where he was designated a Distinguished Military Student.
His service to his country continued as a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he served as a company commander and in other leadership positions with our forces supporting NATO. Later, he served as a senior branch attorney with the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission. His desire to help his state led Owens to join the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and later the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
The high level of dedication and professionalism displayed in service to the public sector continued in private practice at Troutman Sanders. Owens has represented some of the largest U.S companies, while also providing pro bono legal representation to those in need. He is well respected by his peers as evidenced by his recognition in Best Lawyers in America and by receiving the Citizen Lawyer Award from the William & Mary Law School.
Owens’ sense of duty to the community has led him to a variety of causes. His leadership and vision helped found the Richmond Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, for which he also served as a board member, legal counsel and a builder of homes. He has been a member of the State Advisory Council to the National Legal Services Corporation, a deacon and elder at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and a mentor to children at Swansboro Elementary School. He has been a long-time volunteer with the Richmond CARITAS program, which provides winter shelter for the homeless. Through the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society Protective Order Program, Owens has represented women who have been victims of domestic violence and he has helped troubled youth through his work with Wilderness Alternatives.
Owens’ commitment to William & Mary spans more than 40 years. Through lecturing, serving on the William & Mary Foundation, the William & Mary Real Estate Foundation, the Foundation’s Executive Committee and a number of Foundation-related committees and organizations, Owens continues to actively give back by helping to raise funds for both the College and the Law School.
When it comes to loyalty and dedication to the College, Owens excels in his faithfulness. Whether it is helping with his class reunions, a football game, Charter Day, a Muscarelle or VIMS event or other College events, Owens and his wife, Harlean, are there supporting the College and the students. As one of 12 William & Mary alumni in his immediate family, Owens has continued this tradition of steadfast love and commitment to the College.
Donnie and Harlean live in Richmond, Va. Their two sons, Scott and Daniel ’05, live in Richmond and San Francisco respectively.
For a complete list of previous Alumni Medallion Award recipients, see http://wmalumni.com/medallion_recipients
For videos of the Alumni Medallion recipients since 2010, see our playlist on YouTube.
Nominations for the 2014 Alumni Medallion Awards are due by July 1, 2013. Nomination forms are available at www.wmalumni.com/awards.
What if big data was used to conceptualize, visualize and analyze the persistent problems of foreign aid and international development? What if there was a Yelp for foreign aid? Brad Parks ’03 is answering those questions.
In 2002, Parks began working with William & Mary Professor Michael Tierney ’87 on his honors thesis to track environmental assistance to developing countries, but was confounded by the lack of accessible and standardized information on foreign aid distribution. Recognizing this critical information gap, Parks, Tierney and an interdisciplinary team of faculty members and more than 130 W&M students set out to develop a database that would allow scholars to better understand the distribution and impact of foreign aid while increasing transparency.
The original project was known as Project Level Aid Data (PLAID), and students were involved at every level: undergraduate students collected primary data, interviewed development staff and government officials in the U.S., Europe and developing countries, coded development projects, analyzed statistical data, developed new software applications, presented research at professional conferences and wrote scholarly articles that have been published in peerreviewed journals.
Parks went on to graduate school, completing his graduate degree at the London School of Economics in 2005, and began working for a U.S. government foreign aid agency, the Millenium Challenge Corporation. In 2008, he coauthored the book Greening Aid? Understanding the Environmental Impact of Development Assistance with J. Timmons Roberts, Rob Hicks and Tierney, which was published by Oxford University Press. It would not be long, however, before the project that Parks began as an undergraduate would lure him back to W&M.
In 2009, PLAID, which had been a partnership between William & Mary and Brigham Young University (BYU), merged with Accessible Information on Development Activities (AiDA), a project of the Washington, DC-based non-profit organization Development Gateway, to create AidData. Today, it is recognized as the largest public access database on project-level development finance in the world, tracking more than $5.5 trillion and one million development projects from more than 90 donor agencies.
“AidData’s success is proof that W&M’s support of internationalization, interdisciplinarity and student-faculty collaboration leads to research that is changing the world,” said Tierney, codirector of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations and cofounder of AidData.
In 2010, AidData partnered with the World Bank and the African Development Bank to geocode exact locations of all active aid projects in Africa, the first-ever project of its kind. The successful geocoding of a portfolio of 2,500 projects in 30,000 locations across 144 countries in six weeks was a remarkable feat.
Alena Stern ’12 worked on AidData for all four years she was a student and played a key role in the pioneering work to pinpoint the geographic locations of aid projects. “I spent six weeks in a conference room with 12 other students and we achieved something that the skeptics said would be too costly and complicated,” she said. “By combing through mountains of project documents, we managed to assign latitude and longitude coordinates to the World Bank’s entire active project portfolio. Now, just two short years later, geocoding is fundamentally changing the way the development community tracks aid distribution and impact.”
Geocoded aid information has enabled aid agencies and ministries to reduce duplication, improve coordination and better target overand under-served areas. For example, a map that overlaid the location and size of projects on top of district-level poverty rates within Kenya showed that antipoverty assistance was not going to the most impoverished parts of the country. “This was an eye-opener within the World Bank,” said Stern.
Simon Mizrahi, a manager at the African Development Bank’s Quality Assurance and Results Department, said “[AidData’s geocoding work] is a critical step toward being able to ask the right questions about whether aid is going to the right place and what impact it has.”
In partnership with the Government of Malawi, a team of students and faculty from AidData and the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) took on a this challenge. In 2011 the team set out to geocode the foreign aid activities of 32 donors to the country. The results enabled donors to coordinate with each other and assisted the government in reducing duplication and inefficiency.
Describing the impact in his country, Malawi’s Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga said, “being able to see in a map all the donor funded activities ... has transformed the way we think about development and positively helped our own planning effort.”
On Nov. 8, 2012, USAID announced that William & Mary would lead a five-year, $25-million award to create the AidData Center for Development Policy. The center will create data and tools that enable the global development community to more effectively target, coordinate, deliver and evaluate their overseas aid investments. Leading the new center from W&M will be Tierney and Parks. The award, the largest single award in William & Mary history, is a part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) program, which aims to establish institutional partnerships that will help USAID solve distinct global development challenges.
“I am very proud of William & Mary’s leadership in this important international endeavor,” said William & Mary Chancellor and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98. “AidData is fundamentally improving the way the U.S. development and defense communities track the distribution and impact of their overseas investments. The AidData Center for Development Policy at William & Mary will play a key role in ensuring that limited foreign assistance resources are put to more effective use.”
At the HESN launch event at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, DC, each of the seven universities that received USAID awards appointed a spokesperson to explain the activities of their center to the assembled audience of 500 researchers, policymakers and aid practitioners. While deans, directors and professors represented other universities, W&M was represented by Stern. “We both immediately agreed that nothing would be more fitting than to choose a student who had worked on this project for four years,” said Tierney. “AidData was a direct result of undergraduate research and the breakthroughs that we have pursued over the past decade have been the result of student creativity and student sweat equity. I could not have been more proud of Alena’s performance.”
The new AidData Center for Development Policy, headquartered at William & Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations, is a joint venture among William & Mary, Development Gateway, BYU, UT-Austin and ESRI, a GIS technology company.
“This is truly great news, a game changer,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “Our faculty is leading the way in aid policy, practice and research among U.S. universities. Mike Tierney, Brad Parks and their interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff and students have helped position the AidData initiative, and the university, at the forefront of the aid transparency movement and the global development research community.”
But even as AidData expands its capacity to develop data and tools that improve aid distribution and management, there are new projects on the horizon that are poised to make an impact in an entirely different way. AidData has recently launched a studentfaculty project to collect foreign aid information for donors who have effectively opted out of the global aid-reporting regime. Donors like Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Venezuela provide billions of dollars of overseas aid each year, but they lack either the capacity or the political will to provide detailed information about their aid activities.
In response, AidData has developed a unique media-based data collection methodology in order to track aid from these donors and to understand the causes and impact of aid from these non-traditional donors. This past summer, Austin Strange ’12 led an interdisciplinary team of student researchers that produced detailed and comprehensive data on Chinese aid flows to Africa from 2000 to 2011.
The project required collaboration among students who could speak multiple languages, write computer code, apply a detailed sector coding methodology and analyze statistical data. The initiative uncovered more than 3,000 Chinese projects worth nearly $200 billion. AidData will soon release this dataset and accompanying analysis in partnership with the Center for Global Development, a leading global development think tank in Washington, DC.
“I am blown away by the amount and quality of work these students did on a shoe-string budget. These data are not only drawing interest from economists and political scientists, but from folks on Capitol Hill and within a variety of U.S. government agencies,” said Parks. “Our students are employing rigorous social science methods to create knowledge that matters in the policy world.”
As AidData continues to grow and innovate, Tierney believes that it will not only have a large impact in the world of development, but also on the lives of students at W&M. “In addition to providing better data and evidence to policymakers who make decisions with far-reaching consequences, this award will dramatically increase our capacity to engage students and faculty in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research geared towards solving real world problems.”
It is truly an exciting time to be at William & Mary. Fall is my favorite season and the turning of the leaves in Williamsburg was stunning this year. The many wonderful things that have transpired during the last few months, however, overshadow the beauty of campus.
In October, William & Mary was privileged to welcome His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to campus. It was a day that many will remember. Campus was abuzz with excitement as William & Mary Hall filled to capacity for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting many proud alumni at Homecoming and listening to stories of the good ole days, even from the newest graduates. The sense of delight in the eyes of alumni as they revisit this special place always reminds me of the years of tradition and history conveyed in each brick.
November brought Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist best known for helping uncover the Watergate scandal, to speak to faculty, staff and students the night before the presidential election (see p. 12).
Also in November, I was at the National Academies in Washington, DC, for USAID’s announcement of their $25-million award to William & Mary. What makes this an exceptionally special story is that the AidData project initiated from a student honors thesis and has since included more than 130 additional student researchers.
It is amazing to be part of this thriving university and to experience it first-hand each and every day. I hope that at least a small portion of the excitement felt by the entire alumni communications staff is conveyed in this and every issue of the Alumni Magazine.
Best wishes on a joyous holiday and a happy New Year!
Comments, suggestions and submissions can always be sent to Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Vice President: Karen R. Cottrell ’66, M.Ed. ’69, Ed.D. ’84
Editor: Mitch Vander Vorst
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Graphic Designer: Megan M. Morrow
Online Editor: Del Putnam
Copy Editor: Sara Piccini
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Class Notes Intern: Dee Dee Gatton ’12
Interns: Elizabeth Bloxam ’15, Ashley Chaney ’14, Shannon Crawford ’13
Contributing Photographers: Steven Biver, Sarah Ebert ’11, Dan Ewart ’71, M.S. ’77, Rebekah Girvan, Jay Paul, Bob Keroack ’79, Jeff Nelson, Wendy Nelson, Skip Rowland ’83, Stephen Salpukas, Erin Zagursky
Contributing Writers: Andrew Clark, Jim Ducibella, Joseph McClain, W. Taylor Reveley III, John Wallace, Erin Zagursky
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A lthough he studied at the College of William & Mary 50 years ago, Robert Sturdivant “Bobby” Flinn ’66 can still be found on campus. He returns frequently, often during Homecoming weekend and Charter Day, to play the piano at Alumni Association events. An accomplished songwriter and pianist, Flinn has written several popular pieces now performed by orchestras and bands. His work has been recognized by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and was played at a celebration in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Even a half-century later, Flinn says he still remembers his first visit to campus at Christmastime.
“I had taken five years off after high school to work,” says Flinn, “but something kept gnawing at me: ‘You’re 23 years old and you haven’t given it the college try.’
“When I came to look the campus over, there was snow on the ground. I walked around the Wren Building and I said to myself, ‘This is where I want to go.’”
Flinn arrived as a student at the College in the summer of 1963 and began studying English and German. He was not involved in musical groups during his years at school, but Flinn, who had been taking piano lessons since the third grade, still found time to play. “I would go to Ewell Hall and when no one was in the studio, I’d play piano just to relax,” he remembers.
Flinn left the College in June 1965 and returned to his home in Alberta, Va., to work. But he never lost his passion for music. When given a chance to take a tour of Europe, he even made what he refers to as his “European debut.”
“We were stopped for the night at the Hotele Metropole in a small town in eastern France, on our way from Vienna to London,” remembers Flinn. “One of the members of the group knew I played piano and said, ‘We’ll have some music by Robert Flinn.’ Several of the couples got up and started dancing as I sat at the piano and played.”
In August 1968, three years after his trip to Europe, Flinn wrote his first song. He penned “The Swamp Stomp” while passing through the Great Dismal Swamp on the way home from a family trip to Nags Head, N.C. Flinn describes his first work as a Charleston-type number inspired by the music of the late 1920s. “I liked the music of that era. It’s a sound you don’t hear very often,” he says.
Two years later, while returning from another family vacation, Flinn was inspired once again by the Great Dismal Swamp. This time, he wrote “Forever, August Moon,” a song with “a stardust-era sound” that imitates the style of the early 1930s. The song was a success, winning several awards and immediately becoming a band and orchestra favorite. “Forever, August Moon” and Flinn’s other works — including numbers like “You Came Along without Warning Me” and “The Bluebird Goes Over to Dover” — have since been performed at such venues as the Chrysler Museum Theater and the historic Chamberlin Hotel.
On New Year’s Eve 1997, Flinn’s “Forever, August Moon” was performed by the Hotel Parade Roof Garden Orchestra as part of a celebration in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 50th wedding anniversary. His work has remained a staple at other performances by the orchestra, which specializes primarily in music from the 1920s. Flinn often makes guest appearances with the orchestra, playing his own songs on the piano. He also remains involved as a pianist for the Jamestowne Society and accompanist at many Alumni Association events, including Homecomings and Alumni Medallion receptions.
Although Flinn spent just two years at the College, he looks back fondly on his years as a student. “If I hadn’t come to the College, I would never have made some of my lifelong friends,” he says. “It was a wonderful experience. I just think this school is a very special place. I like tradition and I feel that tradition belongs here.”
D avid Friedman ’83 is not the nicest guy on the planet, nor does he claim to be. But Friedman has been performing intentional acts of kindness for strangers every day for the past year. The philosophy major turned entrepreneur has a unique perspective on life and how to live it, and his highly acclaimed book Fundamentally Different outlines his unconventional but successful methods for building better businesses.
But what if it could mean even more?
“It was an advantage not knowing anything about the business world,” says Friedman. “It left me free to do what I thought made logical sense. I developed my own way to treat clients and employees and create a great organization. I had no preconceived notions about how a business should be run; I acted intuitively and learned as I went.”
Fast forward 26 years and Friedman is now teaching other business leaders about his journey and the philosophies that have proven effective for him. However, 2012 marked the beginning of an entirely new kind of journey — he resolved to perform an act of kindness every day for 365 consecutive days and blog about his experience.
“I wanted to develop in myself a greater habit for kindness,” he says. “My wife is one of those incredibly kind people whose first instinct is to help others. That isn’t me, but I wondered if I could cultivate that habit in myself and be more aware of opportunities to help those around me.”
Friedman also saw this journey as an opportunity for selfdiscovery, recognizing the potential change it could have on his own life, despite the daunting task of staying on track for an entire year.
“What intimidated me was the thought of doing it every day,” Friedman says. “I knew it would be a pain in the neck some days, but the only way to make a habit is to be consistent. That’s why I started the blog, not only to help facilitate personal reflection, but to keep me accountable.”
Friedman has seen the whole process as a chance to learn about himself while doing kind things for others. More than nine months later, he has performed a multitude of different acts, but one of his favorites is writing to his adopted soldier in Afghanistan, a 25-year-old stranger who has become a true friend through their correspondence. He has also given out gift cards to strangers in parking lots, brought hot chocolate to school crossing guards and made a meal for a family who lost their mother in a car accident.
On his blog, Friedman asks his followers to spread the word of his journey by doing kind things themselves and asking others to pay it forward.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the ‘pay it forward’ idea,” he says. “It’s a simple, incredible concept. It’s great for me to do something nice, but if I can inspire that person to do a kindness, that’s even better.”
Friedman has learned a lot about himself in the last many months, but the greatest lesson has been learning to be more aware of kindness existing all around him.
“As I have focused on doing more positive things, I notice a lot more good things being done,” says Friedman. “The news is so full of stories about bad things happening, but there are so many great things happening too, if you just look for them. Most people are really kind and really want to help each other.”
When asked what his next New Year’s resolution will be, Friedman admits he’s been considering another book, this time about his Kindness Project and the wonderful people he has encountered along the way.
“I have met some truly great people throughout this process, people who do amazing things in very ordinary situations,” he says. “I want to discover the common denominators between those who choose kindness and positivity on a daily basis. People aren’t just born that way; it’s an active choice. Look at me — I just made a choice to do nice things every day for a year.”
You can read more about David’s Kindness Project at http://intentionalactsofkindness.blogspot.com.
W hen Grace Golden ’11 hung up her cleats after a loss in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) women’s lacrosse semifinals to the JMU Dukes, she was uncertain if she would ever wear them again. She spent her time at William & Mary playing midfield better than anyone else in the game. Garnering four consecutive selections to the All-CAA first team and leaving shattered records in her wake, Golden seemed to have topped off the perfect college career. But even then, she had plans to take her athletic talents to the next level. She had her sights set on the U.S. National Team.
“I knew I was going to try out for the national team,” Golden recalls, “but it would be my first national tryout so I was unsure how it would go.”
When she arrived at the first round, she was immediately surrounded by competitive collegiate athletes from across the country and seasoned veterans who had years of playing for the national team under their belts. Golden knew what she had to do to stand out: “As cliché as it sounds, I just focused on what I can do and relied on all the training I had leading up to the tryouts.”
The tryout consisted of three days of grueling drills and scrimmages. Golden describes the process as “both mentally and physically difficult.” But it was well worth it when she won herself a roster spot. When the number she had been assigned for tryouts was announced at the end of the long process, Golden was in shock.
“Being selected to the team is an incredible feeling and one that is impossible to fully put into words,” Golden says. “It was something I had wanted so badly, and it came to fruition.”
Of course, the hard work had just begun. Instead of juggling syllabi and lacrosse practices like she’d done for four years in Williamsburg, she now had to balance a job and a hectic training schedule.
“I had my days down to a routine,” she remembers. “Wake up at 5 a.m., go to work, come home and watch about an hour of television, go to CrossFit, come home, eat, then go to bed.”
This schedule applied only when Golden didn’t fit in a morning run as well — the days she did meant greeting the day at 3:30 a.m.
The U.S. National Team competes in three to four tournaments each fall, which consist of multiple practices, games and fundraisers. The team will serve as the selection pool for the squad to represent the United States in the 2013 Federation of International (FIL) World Cup squad. True to her ambitious nature, Golden has had the goal of playing in the FIL World Cup for quite some time.
“It has been a dream of mine to go to a World Cup since I started playing lacrosse,” she says.
However, playing abroad wouldn’t be just another check on her to-do list. “I don’t think that I am able to put into words what it would mean to make the World Cup travel squad,” Golden muses. “I am so proud to be an American and to be given the chance to potentially represent the country is an absolutely indescribable feeling.”
The rare spare time Golden finds is usually spent in airports as she waits to be whisked away to another city and another competition. She also continues to plan for the future by preparing in the present. “I am going to keep going after my dream of a World Cup and keep training as hard as I can to prepare for our next weekend,” she affirms.
Golden has accepted a new position working for Mindshare in her native New York that will allow her to keep up with her workout program. Even though she is hundreds of miles and two years removed from the Tribe lacrosse program, she still keeps in touch with teammates and feels fortunate for their unlimited support.
“I feel so blessed to have had all the opportunities in front of me,” she reflects. “At the end of the day I can only thank all the people that helped me achieve my dream”.
~ Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Education: B.A., University of Virginia at Wise
M.P.A., University of Virginia
Ph.D. (ABD), University of Virginia
Where are you from? I’m from Norton, Va., which is about 10 minutes away from Wise. I am the 12th of 13 children, with five brothers and seven sisters. I grew up adjacent to the Jefferson National Forest and the Appalachian Mountains. I really loved the close-knit community, beautiful scenery, hiking and mountain climbing.
Do you have family in the area? My family is in the Charlottesville area. We still have a home there. I have a 17-year-old son who is graduating next year from high school, and then he and my wife may come down to Williamsburg. I came here by way of Utah Valley University, which was 2,000 miles away from home. Now, it’s only two hours of travel time to get back to them.
What’s a typical day like for you? Crazy. A typical day in the office starts at 6 or 6:30 a.m. (I’m an early bird; I’m up by 5 or 5:30 a.m.). Since my office is on the second floor, I have to make sure to go and visit all the other offices. There’s probably not a typical day — I never know which way I’m going to be pulled — whether it’s an employee relations problem or whether it’s a question that spins off into conversations and meetings.
What is your favorite thing about your job? My favorite thing is getting to help people. HR professionals are helpers by nature. I like being able to help a person solve a problem with their pay, their performance or just in general. One of my favorite pastimes is connecting employees’ thoughts and ideas to what might be a real career path. Whether it is helping a custodian figure out how to be an IT person, or helping an administration assistant become a manager, I really enjoy being able to connect the dots and do some coaching for the employees.
What do you do in your spare time? I still like hiking and getting out. I do some biking and I play the guitar. I also love technology, whether it is a new game on my iPad or whatever else. I’m a gamer. My son will beat me if I don’t keep my Xbox thumbs in practice!
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