Archive for May, 2011

Another 40 Under 40 Honoree

Billy Poynter

Last month two Washington and Lee alumni, David Foster, of the Class of 1998, and Paul E. Wright, of the Class of 1995, were named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. That caused us to start looking for other examples of alums who have been so honored recently.

So far, we have located one other — Billy Poynter, of the Class of 1998, in Norfolk, but we’re confident that there are more and invite you to let us know of others.

Billy was named to the list of Inside Business: The Business Journal of Hampton Roads in October. A partner in the Virginia Beach law firm, Williams Mullen, Billy specializes in intellectual property litigation, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. He’s been instrumental in making the firm a leader in intellectual property practice and is co-editor of the company’s blog, Rocket Docket IP Litigation.  Billy received a B.S. in chemistry and a B.A. in medieval and renaissance studies as an undergrad, then received his law degree from the University of Virginia.

In addition to the 40 Under 40 honor, Billy has also been named to the Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars in intellectual property litigation. He’s secretary of the board of the Virginia Opera.

Here’s a link to Billy’s listing in Inside Business.

Be sure to let us know of others on the 40 Under 40 lists.

Mapping the Future

Funny thing about Lexington and Washington and Lee — every year we’re shocked by how quickly the campus becomes deserted after the last diploma is awarded and the last mortarboard is tossed.

That was the case again yesterday, when 395 seniors received their degrees and headed out to, well, everywhere.

To keep track of them, the Office of Web Communications has developed a cool web page called “Where are They Going.” It’s a map where members of the Class of 2011 indicate where they’ll be going and what they’ll be doing once they leave Big Lex. The seniors (now graduates) complete an online form, and their location becomes a flag on the map. Click on the flag and find out who, where, what and, as a bonus, what they’ll miss about the University. Check back as more grads add their information.

And, if you want to know more about what the graduates will miss, we have a random sample of answers to just that question. When the class was assembling for Baccalaureate on Wednesday, News Director Sarah Tschiggfrie roamed around with a Flip camera to get their responses, which are on the video below:

What Will the Class of 2011 Miss Most About W&L?

Live Washington Post Chat Today with W&L’s Beverly Lorig

Beverly Lorig

Beverly Lorig

Shortly after members of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2011 receive their diplomas this morning, Beverly Lorig, director of career services at W&L, was part of a panel talking about their job prospects — and the prospects of all of this year’s newly minted graduates — on the Washington Post’s website.

Beverly joined moderator Jenna Johnson, Post education writer, and Andrea Koncz, employment information manager for the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

You can read the chat archive at this link:

An Alum Reaches Out to Home

Anyone who has seen the images of devastation from Joplin, Mo., cannot help but be affected by the magnitude of the disaster caused by Sunday’s tornado. For one Washington and Lee alumnus, Brent Beshore, of the Class of 2005, the scenes are personal. Joplin is Brent’s hometown. It’s where he was born and raised, and eight generations of his family have lived there.

Although he now lives in Columbia, Mo., about 250 miles northeast of Joplin, Brent had friends among the 124 residents who were killed and neighbors among the hundreds who lost their homes when the monster tornado ripped through the city.

Last November, Youngentrepreneur magazine referred to Brent as “a 27-year-old serial entrepreneur” for his innovative work in new media. So it’s hardly a surprise that Brent has been using his expertise in social media and his membership on the board of the Heart of Missouri United Way to help his hometown recover. He created a Facebook page, Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery, which had 147,000 “likes” by last night. The page provides valuable information of all kinds, including how to donate to the United Way. Brent also took to his Twitter account with updates on the fund-raising efforts. At one point Tuesday, Brent’s Twitter account was trending in the Kansas City area, indicating how many people were following and re-purposing his Tweets about the situation.

Brent explains, “We set up a Joplin Tornado Relief Fund through the United Way, which agreed to 100% of funds going directly to Joplin with zero overhead. By midday Tuesday, we had raised about $115,000 in the last 40 hours through the Facebook page and the donation information. We’re launching a telethon on Thursday night.”

In a story on KOMU-com, Brent’s role in the work was cited, and he made this observation about the disaster: “I have images in my head of what those places used to look like when I was a kid. Looking at the images, I can picture myself there, and it doesn’t look anything like what I have in my head.”

If you want to help, you can pledge to the Heart of Missouri United Way for Joplin Tornado Relief Fund by calling (573)443-4523, by going online to, or by texting JOPLIN to 864833 to make a $10 donation.

Ohio State Coach Goes with a Pro

Gene Marsh '81L

College football fans know who Jim Tressel is. And they probably know that the embattled former Ohio State coach is charged with hiding information about players receiving impermissible benefits and with lying to the NCAA about his knowledge of those violations. They may not necessarily know, however,  Gene Marsh, the man who will be sitting beside Tressel when the Buckeye coach, who resigned late last month, faces an NCAA hearing later this summer.

Gene, a 1981 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law and perhaps the leading expert on NCAA compliance issues, has seen cases from both sides. He served as the University of Alabama Faculty Athletics Representative to the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA from 1996 through 2003. He also chaired the University’s compliance committee. He has extensive experience in the NCAA infractions process: he belonged to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions from 1999 through 2008 and chaired it from 2004 to 2006.

So when Tressel found out he would need his own lawyer for the Aug. 12 hearing with the NCAA, he chose Gene, who practices with the Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White L.L.C. and has considerable experience in a variety of these cases. In fact, just last year Gene and a fellow lawyer from the firm represented the University of Michigan in its case with the NCAA. What’s interesting is that Gene is a Dayton, Ohio, native who received his B.S. and M.S. from Michigan’s bitter rival, Ohio State University. In stories about his decision to represent Tressel, Gene said that he was never a rah-rah Buckeye fan and didn’t even attend a football game while he was a student.

Perhaps a headline in the Birmingham News summed up the way many see Gene’s experience: “Jim Tressel brings out big guns for NCAA hearing: Gene Marsh.” And a columnist for CBS Sports wrote that “Gene Marsh is a pro. Gene Marsh has seen every angle of the NCAA enforcement process.”

That same columnist referred to Gene’s sense of humor, recalling what he once told an audience on academics and athletics: “Being a faculty athletic rep at a big Southern university is like working at a high school as the vice principal in charge of chastity. It’s a tough job.”

Vote Early for Literary Awards

Voting is now open for the 2011 Library of Virginia Literary Awards People’s Choice, and one of the five finalists in the nonfiction category is The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History, by Julie Campbell, the associate director of communications and public affairs at Washington and Lee. 

Online voting can be done here. Voters may also cast their ballots at public libraries around the state.

In the book, Julie traces Virginia’s horse tradition back 400 years and tells the stories of such familiar names as Triple Crown champion Secretariat, Misty of Chincoteague and, of course, Robert E. Lee’s Traveller.

The Library of Virginia Literary Awards are given to outstanding Virginia authors in the areas of poetry, fiction, nonfiction (and, in the case of nonfiction, also by any author about a Virginia subject) and literary lifetime achievement.

Two years ago, W&L alumnus Roger Mudd won the People’s Choice Nonfiction Award for his book, The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.