Archive for February, 2010

An Era Ending

Sometime in the next several weeks, the White Family Era in Washington and Lee men’s basketball will end when the Generals finish their season. After seven seasons of having a member of the family on the floor, Zac White will play his final game. Fans hope it will come later rather than sooner, as the Generals are in the lose-and-out portion of the schedule, playing today in the quarterfinals of the ODAC tournament.

Earlier this week, Roanoke Times writer Randy King did a feature story on Zac and his brother, Alex, a 2007 graduate and now a law student at Georgetown. The piece described the impact that Zac and Alex have had on the rebuilding that head coach Adam Hutchinson has done in his seven seasons. Alex was on Adam’s first team, and Alex and Zac played together during the 2006-07 season.

Here’s a link to the Roanoke Times piece. Be sure to have a look.

But also take a look at the Zac’s dunk in a game against Randolph-Macon earlier this year on an alley-oop pass from Jason Cimino:

Zac’s Dunk against Randolph-Macon:

“The Guiding Light” Is Off, But Alumnus is Still On

Long-time viewers of the recently departed CBS soap opera “The Guiding Light” who are still undergoing withdrawal may not have realized that they were watching a Washington and Lee alumnus in one of the show’s key roles. Grant Aleksander (Grant A. Kunkowski in W&L’s Class of 1982) played Phillip Spaulding on the series, which left the air last September after 58 seasons and 15,761 episodes.

Grant was not around for all 15,761 episodes, but he was a featured member of the cast for many years. He was on the show from 1982 to 1984, was replaced for two years by another actor, returned from 1986 to 1991, left again until 1996, and was part of the central story line until 2004, when he was apparently murdered. But, as it turned out, he wasn’t actually dead and rejoined the cast in February 2009 for the final few months of the show.

Now that “The Guiding Light” is off the air, the cast, including Grant, continues to make personal appearances. For instance, earlier this week Grant was on a radio program on WRCH radio in Connecticut, and he and other cast members will participate this summer in a So Long Springfield Tour on a five-day Carnival Cruise.

Grant was nominated for seven Soap Opera Digest Awards and, with actress Beth Ehlers, won for Favorite New Couple in 1999. He was also nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards and has been in several movies and other TV series and shows. You can see all his credits on Grant’s IMBD page here.

Even More Poetry News

“Oral Culture,” a poem by Washington and Lee English professor Lesley Wheeler, is Slate’s Weekly Poem this week. You can read the poem and also listen to Lesley read the poem. Here is a link to the poem on Slate.

Meantime, W&L alumna and poet Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon of the Class of 1993 is one of five finalists announced this week for a 2009 Los Angeles Times book prize for }Open Interval{, which was also a finalist for a National Book Award. Lyrae is an assistant professor of English at Cornell University. She was the subject of a blog post in October.

Alum Joins National Higher Ed Organization

Ned Moore

A Washington and Lee alumnus, Edward G. “Ned” Moore, has moved from directing one of the state’s most successful, statewide, private higher-education consortiums to a national stage. A 1972 alumnus, Ned has been appointed an executive director of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education (FIHE), the national office for state associations that focuses on consortial fund-raising and collaborative programs for independent colleges and universities.

Since 2002, Ned had been head of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. VFIC comprises 15 private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth, including W&L, and is involved not only in fund-raising but also programs and workshops for faculty and staff development, minority student recruitment and retention, undergraduate research, and career connections for students. One of the most visible VFIC programs is the popular Ethics Bowl competition, which W&L teams have won four times in the last 10 years.

Now Ned will oversee the network of 32 state organizations like the VFIC. He’ll also be vice president of the Council of Independent Colleges, with which FIHE is merging. He previously worked in development at Randolph-Macon College and Austin College and as director of alumni and church relations at Rhodes College.

34 Across

Fans of New York Times crossword puzzles that have W&L connections got a freebie on Sunday. The clue for 34 Across? “Washington and _ _ _ University.”  Amy Grattan, a 1982 law alumna and parent of sophomore Robert Grattan, was among those who opened the Times on Sunday morning and found the reference to her alma mater. Amy wrote, “As a longtime avid NYT crossword-puzzle solver, I was thrilled to see today’s 34 Across clue.” When we tweeted about it on Sunday morning, we received a series of re-tweets in quick succession as followers of our Twitter spread the word. (That’s also a plug for the W&L Twitter feed:  If you’re not following yet, see what you’re missing?)  And on his own Twitter feed, Aaron Toomey, a 2009 grad, tweeted about the puzzle and added, “Will Shortz, I like your style.” Shortz is, of course, the famed editor of the New York Times crossword, and he might well be familiar with W&L, since he earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He edited Sunday’s puzzle, which was was created by Eric Berlin, a puzzle maker and author of young adult novels about puzzle addict Wilson Breen. By now, you’re finished with the puzzle and don’t mind seeing the solution to this particular clue. Of course, if you put the crossword aside for later, the Honor System still applies.

Keeping Newcomb Debris Out of Landfills

Waste-Recycling Center on north end of campus

Back in December, a story on our W&L news site related the efforts being made to get LEED certification for both the Newcomb Hall renovation and the new construction of Hillel House. A major focus for the Newcomb project was its waste management program, where the original goal had been to divert 75 percent of all the construction and demolition debris from landfills.

Tom Kalasky, director of design and construction at W&L, explained that the waste from Newcomb consists of four basic products — cardboard, metal, wood and concrete (including brick and stone) — that were being removed from Newcomb, trucked first to a waste-recycling center created on the north end of campus and then taken to a Richmond firm where they were processed.

Through last November, that process had resulted in 84 percent diversion. The latest figures, as of Feb. 1, show that number holding steady at 84 percent, way above the target. Thus far, the project has generated 148.14 tons of total construction and demotion debris. Of that total, 123.7 tons have been diverted from landfills.

Fantastic Fantasy

The third edition of the anthology Best American Fantasy has just been published and features what Publisher’s Weekly calls “20 eclectic and exceptional stories that graft fantasy with realistic fiction.” Included among the authors is none other than Stephen King. But two of the 20 stories are by writers with Washington and Lee ties.

Chris Gavaler is visiting assistant professor of English at W&L. An award-winning playwright, Chris is the author of “Is,” a story that appeared first in the New England Review. Rebecca Makkai is a 1999 graduate of Washington and Lee and was the subject of a September 2009 blog entry about her inclusion in Best American Short Stories. Her story is titled “Couple of Lovers on a Red Background,” and it was previously published in Brilliant Corners.

The anthology was edited by novelist Kevin Brockmeier, who cites both Chris and Rebecca in his introduction when he writes, “there are stories in which ordinary people are confronted with the fantastic and use its mechanisms to understand their own histories, such as … Chris Gavaler’s doorway between a forgotten childhood and an inharmonious present, … and Rebecca Makkai’s teasingly yearning composer-out-of-time fable. (Makkai’s story “The Briefcase,” by the way, from the same issue of The New England Review as Chris Gavaler’s, was bar none the finest non-fantasy story I read this year. Seek it out.)”

While you’re seeking out that edition of The New England Review (you can read “The Briefcase” online on its Web site) be sure to seek out Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy 3, which is available on Amazon. Congratulations to both Chris and Rebecca.



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