Archive for January, 2010

W&L Alumna Records with Porterfield Rose

Lovancy Ingram

Lovancy Ingram, a 2001 alumna, is part of a relatively new instrumental group called Porterfield Rose, which was formed in late 2008 and has just released its first CD, Echoes of Rose. A journalism and mass communications major who lives in Washington, D.C., Lovancy served as assistant concertmaster for the University Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra. Porterfield Rose performs jazz/pop instrumentals. In addition to Lovancy’s violin, Porterfield Rose features clarinet, saxophone, piano, bass and guitar. What’s pretty cool about this group is that the clarinetist is Lovancy’s father, Vedoster “Spike” Ingram. You can read more about the group and sample its music on its Facebook fan page. You can also order or download the album from the CDBaby Web site.

Studying Sleep — Or Lack of It

Jennifer Peszka

A story in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette earlier this month focused on the research being conducted at Hendrix College in Conway by Jennifer Peszka, a 1994 Washington and Lee graduate and an associate professor of psychology and head of the department at Hendrix. Jennifer received the M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Mississippi and joined the Hendrix faculty in 1999. Her current research is examining whether or not there is a connection between college students’ grades and sleep (or lack thereof). Jennifer and two other researchers, including her husband, David Mastin, associate professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, have been studying a group of students since 2006. The group was divided into owls, who do their best work at night, and larks, who do their best work in the morning after going to bed early the night before. The study is scheduled to be completed this year. In the Arkansas Gazette piece, Jennifer explained how she first got interested in sleep research. It was back at W&L. She was studying for a test in the middle of the night when she noticed a poster that was promoting the importance of sleep.

W&L Student Groups Begin Haitian Relief Efforts

Caitlin Edgar introducing the Haiti efforts in Lee Chapel Sunday night

Several students groups at Washington and Lee are joining forces to support Haitian earthquake relief. The Bonner Leaders Program, the Caribbean Society, the Nabors Service League and the Student Association for International Learning (SAIL) are joining together to take the lead in developing fundraising strategies that will kick off at Sunday night’s (Jan. 17) MLK Keynote address, which will feature Julian Bond at 7 p.m. in Lee Chapel. According to Caitlin Edgar, a sophomore from De Pere, Wisc., and a member of Bonner Leaders Program, the groups will place donation receptacles at strategic locations around the campus beginning with Lee Chapel for the MLK event. “We have some additional fundraising strategies in mind and hope to get those launched during the next week,” Caitlin said. Listen to her remarks at the MLK Celebration Keynote in Lee Chapel Sunday night:

Caitlin and Yasmine Espert, vice president of the Caribbean Society, are spearheading the coordination efforts. Yasmine of Dix Hills, N.Y., was born in the U.S. to Haitian parents. The funds raised by the effort will be distributed equally to three different organizations involved in Haitian relief — Yele Haiti, the Salvation Army, and the Fellowship International Mission’s Haiti Relief Fund. For information, contact Caitlin at or Yasmine at .

All About the Shirts

Paul Trible '03 (from a YouTube video for Ledbury)

An article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch last month reported on Washington and Lee alumnus Paul S. Trible’s new venture — an online store selling men’s shirts offering “European quality, English fit and American style; all at an attainable price.” Paul and his business partner, Paul Watson, planned Ledbury while they were in Oxford, pursuing M.B.A. degrees and getting accustomed to shirts tailored by the London shirtmakers of Jermyn Street. Not only did they create their business plan, they worked with a British tailor to learn the trade before launching the store. You can read the story of the company’s founding  on both the Web site and on their Facebook fan page. And be sure to check out the video in which Paul discusses the shirts here on YouTube.

Alum’s Bright IDEA Moving Forward

Reuben Munger '95 testifying before Congress on energy independence and the auto bailout

A story in Tuesday’s edition of Automotive News reports that Bright Automotive, the Indiana-based company of which Washington and Lee alumnus Reuben Munger ’95 is chairman, is set to sign an agreement with a major automaker for the company’s plug-in hybrid vehicles. Bright Automotive made a big splash last April when it unveiled the prototype of its plug-in electric hybrid delivery van, the Idea — i.e., the Bright IDEA — on Capitol Hill. Reuben has been managing director of The Baupost Group, L.L.C., a $16 billion investment firm, and also founded Vision Ridge Partners in 2008. Reuben is also a member of what is called the Electrification Coalition, a group of business leaders led by the CEO of Nissan Motors that issues a report last fall, setting a national goal of having electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles account for 75 percent of all light-duty vehicle miles traveled in the United States by 2040. This week’s Automotive News article said that an agreement with a major automaker is likely to come in the next six months. In addition, Bright waiting for a U.S. Energy Department decision on its application for a $280 million loan to build a manufacturing facility and develop its vehicles. Bright hopes to produce its first electric vehicles in 2013 and believes it will be able to sell about 50,000 in a year. In reporting on the IDEA last year, Forbes magazine noted that Bright’s strategy to get more plug-in hybrids on the road was to concentrate not on consumers but fleet operators who can save with their delivery vehicles.

Burr Datz ’75 Moves to New Position

Burr Datz '75

Burr Datz ’75, director of leadership development and coordinator of religious life at Washington and Lee since 2000, has been named the campus minister for Lexington’s St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. His last day in his W&L position was Dec. 31, but he’s still going to be much in evidence around his alma mater since he’ll be working with both W&L and Virginia Military Institute students in the new position. Burr held a number of positions at W&L, including assistant food service director under Jerry Darrell from 1977 to 1979 and then assistant proctor and later assistant director of security under the late Charles F. (Murphy) Murray from 1979 to 1988. He previously served as St. Patrick’s campus minister from 1988 to 2001. Generations of alumni will remember Burr in all those different positions, but they will also know him for his music. He has played guitar with a number of different groups, including Greenhouse, Loose Change and Monrovia. The community will have a chance to thank Burr for his years of service at a reception in the Elrod Commons Living Room on Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.

W&L Alum Honored by S.C. Bar Foundation

Dewey Oxner

Congratulations to Dewey Oxner, ’56, 58L, on his selection to receive the 2009 DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award from the South Carolina Bar Foundation. Dewey is a Shareholder Emeritus of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., in the firm’s Greenville office. He will receive the award on Jan. 22 at the South Carolina Bar’s Annual Convention’s plenary luncheon. The award is the most prestigious statewide award members of the Bar can bestow on a fellow attorney. Dewey served as president of the South Carolina Bar and is know nationally for his defense of medical malpractice, products liability and consumer litigation cases. Here is a link to the official announcement.