Archive for February, 2009

Lincoln Bicentennial Keeps W&L Professor Busy

Lucas Morel

Lucas Morel

As one of the country’s foremost Lincoln scholars, Washington and Lee politics professor Lucas Morel is in demand during this year of the Lincoln Bicentennial. His calendar is particularly crowded with major presentations in the coming weeks. Next week (March 4) Morel will speak at the Library of Congress’ national symposium on Lincoln. His topic for that event is “Lincoln on Race, Equality, and the Spirit of ’76.” That’s followed on April 4 in Richmond where he will lecture on “Lincoln, God, and Emancipation: A Promise Fulfilled” at the Library of Virginia as part of Steps Toward Freedom: Lincoln’s Walk in Richmond . Then, on April 20, he will be part of a panel at Ford’s Theatre for the Living Lincoln Series. The panel is titled “Race and Emancipation In the Age of Lincoln.” And on April 28, he will be at the U.S. Supreme Court to speak as part of the Supreme Court Historical Society’s Leon Silverman Lecture Series. His title for this event is “Lincoln and the Constitution—His Views of Liberty.” Morel, author of ” Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government,” is on sabbatical this year as the Garwood Visiting Research Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutes at Princeton.

Mike Allen ’86 and Journalism’s Brave New World

Mike Allen

Mike Allen

Anyone who was on the Washington and Lee campus in the mid-1980s can’t be surprised about the career path being followed by Mike Allen, Class of 1986. Currently chief political reporter for Politico, Mike is renowned in political journalism circles for the workaholic habits that began in his days with the Ring-tum Phi. In the current issue of New Republic, Gabriel Sherman has a feature story about Politico, which he characterizes as “the brave new world of post-print journalism,” and he spends several paragraphs describing Mike’s reputation for “marathon work hours.” But if anyone is suited to the new media model, it’s Mike. That’s why his daily blog, Mike Allen’s Playbook, is a must read; he was born to blog. And it’s also no surprise that Mike has now embraced the latest craze by wholeheartedly adopting Twitter. Join up as a follower of Mike’s Tweets, and you’ll be bombarded with some pretty fascinating political news. At any rate, The New Republic story apparently prompted a pointed exchange between Mike and New York Times editor Bill Keller that is reported on the Columbia Journalism Review’s Web site.

Follow W&L’s Christine Robinson in Jordan

Christine Robinson

Christine Robinson

Christine Robinson, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2009, has been named the winner of a Diversity Abroad Scholarship and also has been selected as one of nine students from around the country who are blogging about their study abroad experiences on Christine is writing about her experiences in Jordan where she is participating in a Council on International Educational Exchange program. Diversity Abroad was founded to address the under-representation of non-traditional students in education abroad. The mission of Diversity Abroad is to ensure that students from diverse economic, educational, ethnic and social backgrounds are aware, have equal access and take advantage of the benefits and opportunities afforded through global education exchanges. Stop by Christine’s blog and leave a comment.

J-Students Hear a Broadcast Legend

Bob Schieffer met with journalism students on Monday.

Bob Schieffer met with journalism students on Monday.

Bob Schieffer is one of America’s premier journalists,  so students in one of Washington and Lee’s journalism classes had a rare treat Monday when he spent an hour in Stackhouse Theatre telling them some stories and answering their questions. Schieffer, who has been with CBS News since 1969, was visiting the class titled “Saving Television News,” which is being offered this semester by Tom Mattesky, a 1974 W&l graduate and an Emmy-winning journalist and producer with the CBS bureau in Washington. Mattesky is this year’s Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visting Professor. Schieffer provided his take on the recent presidential election, during which he served as moderator for the third debate. But he also shared numerous other anecdotes and provide some valuable career advice (“do what you love”). It’s a safe bet the students were surprised to learn that Schieffer recalls his most dangerous assignment was not his tour in Vietnam, where he did stories on Texas servicemen for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Instead, he said it was the September night he spent in Oxford, Miss., where riots broke out when James Meredith tried to integrate the University of Mississippi. That, he said without hesitation, was as frightened as he ever was as a reporter. Schieffer started as print reporter in Texas and moved to television not as part of some great plan, but because he got a raise — $20 a week — to move to television. You can see some of Schieffer’s comments in the piece by Joe Dashiell (W&L ’80) that ran on Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV, Channel 7:


Extended WDBJ Interview

“60 Minutes” Addresses Drinking Age

W&L Trustee John McCardell on "60 Minutes"

W&L Trustee John McCardell on "60 Minutes"

Washington and Lee Trustee John McCardell, a 1971 W&L graduate and former president of Middlebury College, was featured on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night on a segment about lowering the drinking age. McCardell was interviewed by Lesley Stahl who also spoke with the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the chief of police in Boulder, Colo. If you missed the program, you can watch it on the CBS site here. McCardell is the head of Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit organization at supports changes in the drinking laws. He is also the moving force behind the Amethyst Initiative, a statement signed by 134 college and university presidents, including W&L President Ken Ruscio, to encourage a national debate about the drinking age.

Columbia Journalism Review Features W&L Health Care Expert

Timothy Jose

Timothy Jost

Timothy Jost, Robert L. Willett Family Professor of Law and Ethan Allen Faculty Fellow at the W&L School of Law, is one of the nation’s leading experts on the consumer-driven health care movement. Last week the Columbia Journalism Review featured a Q&A with Jost in its “Excluded Voices” feature. It’s an in-depth interview covering a range of issues that have been in the news and, more importantly, will continue be in the news more and more as the health care debates heat up. Jost has written a book on the subject, Health Care at Risk: A Critique of the Consumer-Driven Movement, which was published by Duke University Press in 2007. The interview was conducted Trudy Lieberman, a contributing editor to CJR and professor of health and medical reporting in the graduate school of journalism at City University of New York.

Follow the Generals’ Wrestling Blog


Generals on Jump Mountain

A relatively new entry in the blogosphere belongs to Washington and Lee’s wrestling team. Assistant coach Mike Bennett is the head blogger, and he’s put some interesting posts up already. For instance, there are photos and an account of the team’s run up Jump Mountain from earlier this week. Not a bad little run. The primary trial up the mountain is allegedly 5.6 miles to the summit, which is 2,451 feet above sea level. But the blog also has other good material about the Generals’ wrestling team, including a series of photos of the new A.E. Mathis Wrestling Room.


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