Archive for June, 2010

McClung Opens Own PR Firm

Brian McClung '95

After six years as a spokesman for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, most recently as deputy chief of staff, Washington and Lee alumnus Brian McClung, of the Class of 1995, has left that position to start his own public relations company,  McClung Communications and Public Affairs, L.L.C., in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

As a column in, noted, “Six years is a long time for a press secretary to survive in the intense modern world of politics and media. Most reporters have had their ups and downs with McClung, which is true for any governor’s press secretary, but he generally maintained good humor with us.”

In addition to the new PR firm, Brian will also direct MN Forward, a new political fund backed by the heads of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Partnership. On his LinkedIn page, Brian describes MN Forward as “working with a broad coalition of Minnesota job creators to elect candidates from both parties who support policies that enhance job growth in Minnesota.”

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press quoted Brian in its story of his move, “This really has been a dream job for me in many ways. “There’s really nothing I can complain about. I had an incredible boss and got to work with some smart reporters.”

Alum on ACFR Executive Committee

Frank M. Young III

Frank M. Young III, a 1963 Washington and Lee alumnus, has been named to the executive committee of the Washington, D.C.-based American Committees on Foreign Relations (ACFR).

Frank is chair of the International Law and Immigration Practice Team of the Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, LLC..

ACFR is as a nonprofit association dedicated to facilitating debate on international events — primarily as they relate to the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy — between Washington and the heartland(s) of the United States. ACFR serves as an umbrella organization for local Committees on Foreign Relations in locations throughout the country. Frank is a past president of ACFR and has also been chair of the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations.

Frank, who earned his law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law,  founded Haskell Slaughter’s litigation practice in 1974 and currently serves as chair of its Litigation Practice Group. He also heads the firm’s international law practice and served as the first chair of the Alabama State Bar’s International Law Section. Frank was instrumental in establishing Haskell Slaughter’s China practice relationships with the firm of Baker & Daniels, an international law firm with offices in Beijing and Qingdao, China.

Chronicling Bonnaroo

Michael Franti and Spearhead by Morgan Harris '09

Earlier this month, two Washington and Lee alumni turned their cameras on the music festival, Bonnaroo. Taylor Crothers of the Class of 1993 has been documenting the work of musicians such as Dave Matthews since the early 1990s and was one of the two official photographers at Bonnaroo, the four-day mega-music festival in Manchester, Tenn., from June 10-13.

If you’re not familiar with Taylor’s work, the best place to start is his website, C. Taylor Crothers Photography. The galleries offer a rich collection of his work from all over the world, including one gallery devoted entirely to the Dave Matthews Band’s 2009 European Tour. Other galleries show the portraits and the live shows he’s shot, plus tearsheets displaying the variety of publications, Rolling Stone to Rock ‘n Roll, where his work regularly appears.

This year, another W&L alum, Morgan Harris of the Class of 2009, joined up with Taylor and came away with his own portfolio of images from the shows and the scene at Bonnaroo, such as the photo at the top of Michael Franti and Spearhead, or the one below of Ozomatli. You can watch a slide show of Morgan’s Bonnaroo photography at this link.

Ozomatli by Morgan Harris '09

W&L Alum’s Key Role in Frugal Millionaire Story

Guy Glenn '67, '71L

Washington and Lee alumni from the late ’60s and early ’70s who are careful viewers of ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” might have seen a familiar face there on June 9: Guy Glenn ’67, ’71L. He was interviewed for a story about the frugal millionaire Verna Oller, who left $4.5 million to her hometown of Long Beach, Wash.

Guy has his own law firm in Long Beach, and a part of his practice involves estate planning. He was Oller’s attorney and, according to stories following her death, one of the few people who knew the extent of her wealth. As the Seattle Times told the story, Oiler was known for her frugality — clipping coupons and never paying to have her hair done — but no one expected the legacy she left.

Oller died in May at age 98. In her will, she donated $500,000 to a public-school endowment and another $500,000 to a foundation to be used for student scholarships and grants to teachers. The rest went to build an indoor swimming pool in the city of Long Beach.

What Guy and his wife, Carolyn, knew— and other residents of Long Beach didn’t — was that Oller was a savvy investor who picked her own stocks and, apparently, made a killing. According to Guy’s comments in the Seattle Times, she was a total equity investor. She did research in the public library, and she’d “borrow” Guy’s Wall Street Journal when he was finished with it.

In more than a typical attorney-client relationship, Guy and his family were among Oller’s closest friends, according to the media reports. When she died she wanted neither funeral nor obituary. As Guy told the Seattle Times, “She said that all cost money, and she didn’t want anybody to feel like they had to do anything for her.” Guy wrote a death notice for his friend anyway.

You can see the ABC News interview with Guy and Carolyn by clicking on the link below:

Frugal Millionaire Leaves Fortune to Home Town.

Big Appetite

Steve Johnson '81/Author Sam McLeod

Author Sam McLeod, known to his Washington and Lee law school classmates as Steve Johnson of the Class of 1981, has just published his newest book, Big Appetite: My Southern-Fried Search for Life. It’s his fourth book, following a trilogy Welcome to Walla Walla, Bottled Walla and Blue Walla. The next edition of the W&L Law Alumni Magazine will have additional details about the books and author.

In the meantime, you’ll find some entertaining examples of Steve’s writing on Sam’s Blog at the Sam McLeod website, where he writes about everything from his publisher’s insistence that he get a cell phone that both Tweets and Facebooks to tales of life on Detour Farm where he lives near Walla Walla, Wash.

Steve’s writing has also led him to a new gig as a storyteller, which he has been doing in front of all different kinds of audiences in his home state. To get a sense of what those stories are like, have a look at this YouTube video:

All Aboard

From left, Herb Smith "64, '67L; Jesse Smith '03; Ed spencer '53

With its W&L Traveller program, the University’s Office of Special Programs tours the world, allowing alumni and other adventurers to explore countries from Vietnam to Turkey, cities from New Orleans to Madrid. What you may not know is that they also make a point of meeting up with other W&L sojourners while they are on the road—and have the photos to prove it.

This past January, the trip was Antarctica: Voyage to the Seventh Continent Aboard the Corinthian II. The guest lecturer was Ed Spencer, W&L’s Ruth Parmly Professor of Geology Emeritus (at right in photo). Ed is also a member of the Class of 1953. When the trip reached Ushuaia, Argentina, where they boarded a ship to cross the Drake Passage, Ed was delighted to have a brief reunion with Jesse Smith (center), Class of 2003, and Jesse’s dad, Herb Smith (left), undergraduate Class of 1964 and law Class of 1967.

Jesse and fellow alumni Frank Burnside (Class of 2004) and Willie Thompson (also 2004) are sailing around the world on board the Obelisk ( At the time, Herb was also on board his son’s ship. “When they saw that W&L had a trip to Antarctica planned, they contacted Rob Fure, director of Special Programs, who put them in touch with me,” says Ed, who taught geology to Jesse. “They found our ship and were waiting for our group to appear.”

And this past May, during a cruise of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, the group met up in the ancient town of Trier, Germany, with Dan Kramer, professor of German at W&L, and his 12 students. “We had planned to meet in Cologne but our boat was delayed,” says Susie Thompson, associate director of Special Programs. “So thanks to cell phones, we planned the Trier rendezvous, and it worked.”

To learn more about W&L Traveller, see

A mini-reunion of Traveller travelers and W&L spring term class in Trier, Germany.