Monday, January 30, 2006

Forensic Anthropology in the Service of Human Rights, Talk February 8

Chestertown, MD, January 30, 2006 — Washington College's Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs present "Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights in Peru," a lecture by Professor Elsa Tomasto, Wednesday, February 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Litrenta Lecture Hall of the Toll Science Center.

Tomasto teaches Andean archaeology and biological anthropology at the Pontifical University in Lima, Peru, with which Washington College maintains a study-abroad exchange program.

A specialist in the analysis of human bone remains, Tomasto has performed valuable forensic work for Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, examining the remains from clandestine burials sites in the district of Lucanamarca where members of the Maoist guerilla group Shining Path massacred 62 local villagers in 1983.

The event is free and open to the public.

Paul Reed Smith Band to Play Prince Theatre, February 10

Chestertown, MD, January 30, 2006 — The Prince Theatre—in cooperation with Washington College's Student Events Board and SGA—presents the Paul Reed Smith Band in concert, Friday, February 10, at the historic Prince Theatre, 210 High Street, Chestertown. Show begins 8 p.m., doors open 7:30 p.m.

The first 100 Washington College students are admitted free with valid student I.D.

Tickets are $20 per person and benefit the fundraising efforts of the Prince Theatre Cultural Center and Foundation for the Arts. There will be a cash bar, but those 18 and under are welcomed. Tickets can be purchased at the Prince Theatre box office, 210 High Street, during business hours, Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by calling the box office at 410-810-2060 during business hours.

The Paul Reed Smith Band is guitar maven Paul Reed Smith's international touring band, showcasing the dynamic talents of seasoned, high-caliber musicians. With bassist Gary Grainger—whose seamless approach to virtually any style of music makes him one of the most sought after bass players in the world—guitarist Michael Ault, the showmanship of vocalist Derek St. Holmes, and the rhythms of drummer Greg Grainger—one of the best session drummers in the music business today—the Paul Reed Smith Band performs and records original rock and covers the classics as well.

The Band has performed throughout the U.S. at music industry events, tradeshows, music stores, and nightclubs for customers, artists, music industry peers, and diehard fans, in addition to playing for audiences in Canada, Japan, China, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and England. The Paul Reed Smith Band is currently working on a new CD project, with a probable May 2006 release date.

The Prince Theatre, located in historic Chestertown on Maryland's Eastern Shore, was built in 1926 as a vaudeville theatre and movie house. The meticulously restored theatre now presents a wide range of musical acts, special events, children's workshops and educational lectures. For more information about concerts and events at the Prince Theatre, visit

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

From Segregation to Success: Surgeon LaSalle Leffall Tells of His Personal and Professional Odyssey, February 21

Chestertown, MD, January 24, 2006 — Washington College's Office of Diversity Affairs presents "No Boundaries: A Cancer Surgeon's Odyssey," a talk by LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., the Charles Drew Professor of Surgery at the Howard University College of Medicine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006, at 7 p.m. in the college's Hynson Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Leffall's autobiography,No Boundaries: A Cancer Surgeon's Odyssey, was just released in September by Howard University Press. A book signing will be held immediately following the talk.

The first African-American president of the American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Leffall grew up in the Depression-era South and triumphed over segregation and discrimination to become a renowned surgeon, oncologist, educator, and medical spokesman. Graduating first in his class in 1952 from the Howard University College of Medicine, he has been the recipient of numerous professional and civic awards during a professional career that has spanned more than 50 years. His professional life has been devoted to the study of cancer, especially among African Americans, and, as president of the American Cancer Society, he worked to focus national attention on the disturbing disparities between blacks and whites in cancer prevalence, treatment, and mortality.

Dr. Leffall has taught thousands of medical students and has held numerous high-level positions in surgical and cancer-related organizations. In 2002, he was selected by President George W. Bush to chair the President's Cancer Panel, working with cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. As the current board chair of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation-renowned for its "Race for the Cure" awareness campaign-he stresses the need for early detection and treatment of breast cancer. In addition to research and clinical work in oncology, Dr. Leffall's career has also focused on the ethical issues related to cancer survivorship. Along with his teaching and organizational duties, Dr. Leffall maintains a busy private practice, seeing hundreds of patients each month. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Ruthie.

Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in historic Chestertown on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, it was the first college chartered in the new nation.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

More Like Not Running Away: Novelist Paul Shepherd Reads from His Fiction, February 8

Chestertown, MD, January 19, 2006 — Washington College's Sophie Kerr Lecture Series presents Paul Shepherd, winner of the 2004 Mary McCarthy Prize in Fiction, reading from his newly released novel More Like Not Running Away (Sarabande Books, 2005), Wednesday, February 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room of the Miller Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Shepherd is a Writer in Residence and former Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University, where he earned a Ph.D. with distinction. He attended the University of Virginia, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UNC-Greensboro. His work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Fiction, Omni, Prairie Schooner, William and Mary Review, Folio, Pacific Review, U.S. Catholic, St. Anthony Messenger, Portland Review, The Quarterly, Beloit Fiction,and Maryland Review. He has served as Senior Editor of International Quarterly and has taught college classes in creative writing, magazine and newspaper writing, and modern literature. He speaks on a variety of topics including faith in fiction and the imagination. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife Lois, and their three children.

A finalist for the Associated Writing Programs Award in the Novel, the Bakeless Prize, and twice for the James Jones prizes, More Like Not Running Away is the story of Levi Revel, a boy in danger of losing his family and maybe his mind. He is in awe of his father, Everest, a majestic dreamer, a master builder, and a man with a violent, secret past that still haunts the family. As the family moves from state to state, Levi hears solace in the voice of God, a voice that sends him to preach from treetops and roofs. But the family begins to fall apart, and as Levi enters adolescence, he hears more troubling things-other voices, terrifying sounds, warnings.

When Everest takes him on a high-speed cross-country chase to win back Levi's mother, by force if necessary, Levi realizes how much danger they all are in. From a boy lost in a world of imaginary voices and chilling destruction to a young man who can rebuild steeples, laugh, and climb, the story Levi tells is the triumph of persistence and reaching out over moments of isolation and despair.

The reading is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, which works to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most "ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor" and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.

Genocide Ignored: Documentary Producer Peter Raymont Screens, Discusses His Film Shake Hands with the Devil, February 2

Chestertown, MD, January 19, 2006 — Washington College's Goldstein Program in Public Affairs invites the public to a special screening of the film Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire, Thursday, February 2, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. in the College's Norman James Theatre. The film will be followed by an open question-and-answer session with the documentary's producer, Peter Raymont.

A gut-wrenching indictment of the United Nation's and the world's lack of response to the horrors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide as witnessed by Canadian Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, the film has been screened at The White House and at the United Nations and has received the prestigious Audience Award for World Documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. The event is free and open to all.

Documentary filmmaker, journalist, and writer Peter Raymont has produced and directed more than 100 documentary films during a 33-year career. His films have taken him to Ethiopia, Nicaragua, India, Rwanda, the High Arctic, and throughout North America and Europe. He is the recipient of 35 international awards including the Canadian Genie for Best Documentary for The World Is Watching (1988)—a critical examination of the role and responsibility of the international media reporting from Nicaragua—and Gemini Awards for his six-hour fly-on-the-wall series on the business of hockey, The New Ice Age (1998), Arctic Dreamer: The Lonely Quest of Vilhjalmur Stefansson(2003), and The World Stopped Watching (2004).

Raymont's films are often provocative investigations of the "hidden worlds" of politics, the media, and big business, as well as Native, social, and human rights issues. His career began in 1971 at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal where he worked as an editor, director, and producer for seven years. While at the NFB, he also taught film and video production in the Canadian Arctic. In 1978, Raymont moved to Toronto and established his own independent film and television production company, Investigative Productions.

With his new company White Pine Pictures, in partnership with Lindalee Tracey, Raymont recently completed Bhopal: The Search for Justice and The Undefended Border, following the work of Canadian Immigration Officers post 9/11. With such films as Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire and Bhopal to his credit, Raymont has had a significant impact on shaping attitudes about personal and collective responsibility and in bringing to light the important stories the world needs to hear. Since its release, Shake Hands with the Devil has been broadcast in 18 countries and translated into 13 languages.

Raymont has written for the Toronto Globe and Mailand Canadian Business Magazine and has produced a number of radio documentaries for the flagship CBC Current Affairs radio program, Sunday Morning.He is a founding member of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus, a lobby group that argues for an independent voice in Canada's film and television industry.

The film screening and discussion are sponsored by Washington College's Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, established in honor of the late Louis L. Goldstein, 1935 alumnus and Maryland's longest serving elected official. The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, visiting fellows, travel, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders in public policy and the media.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Question America: The Fannie Lou Hamer Legacy Onstage at Washington College, January 31

Chestertown, MD, January 18, 2006 — Washington College welcomes award-winning writer and performer E. P. McKnight portraying the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer in the one-woman play, I Question America, on stage in the College's Tawes Theatre, Tuesday, January 31, 2006, at 7 p.m. This Martin Luther King Celebration event is free and open to the public.

Hamer (1917-1977), field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was an outspoken advocate for civil rights for African Americans. For more than half of Hamer's life, she was a rural agricultural worker who saw no end to the cycle of poverty and humiliation that was the plight of many southern African Americans.

I Question America begins with Hamer as a young girl living and working with her parents and siblings as sharecroppers. It depicts her years of grueling subsistence labor and her growing awareness of the inequality between the blacks and whites in America. As she becomes more aware of this inequality, she is provoked to seek a better way. Her determination takes her around the country, protesting and speaking against racism and distinguishing herself as a successful grassroots organizer from her rural Mississippi town to the Halls of Congress. Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hamer achieves her life's calling to change America through her work during the Civil Rights Movement to promote voting rights and farm worker's rights and to break the hold of white racism on the Southern Democratic Party.

E. P. McKnight is a graduate of Fordham University, where she received her master's degree in educational psychology. As an educational psychologist, she founded the Nikao Imani, Inc., a marketing and consulting firm for careers in the corporate industry and entertainment industry. She is a poet, actress, writer, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actor's Equity, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

The performance of I Question America is presented by Washington College's Office of Diversity Affairs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Senator Birch Bayh Discusses the Separation of Church and State in Principle and Politics, January 30

Chestertown, MD, January 17, 2006 — Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience will host retired Senator Birch Bayh, one of the nation's most respected elder statesmen, speaking on "Church and State: 18th-Century Principles, 21st-Century Politics," Monday, January 30, 2006, at 4:30 p.m. in the College's Tawes Theatre, Gibson Performing Arts Center.

The event is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow the talk.

During the spring semester of 2006, the C.V. Starr Center is honored to host Sen. Bayh as a visiting fellow who will teach a Senatorial Colloquy on American History and Politics for Washington College students. As U.S. Senator from Indiana between 1963 and 1981, Sen. Bayh won renown as a passionate champion of civil rights and a master of constitutional law, helping to draft the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act. Civil rights leaders hailed his singular effort, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in defeating President Nixon's Supreme Court nominations of Judges Clement Haynesworth and G. Harrold Carswell, both having strong segregationist records. Sen. Bayh also authored two successful amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the 25th and the 26th—as well as the Equal Rights Amendment, which was not ratified. No other lawmaker since the Founders has authored two constitutional amendments.

In this, his first appearance at Washington College, Sen. Bayh will address a topic with both historic resonance and contemporary importance: the separation of church and state. From the principle's articulation by the Founders two centuries ago to its oft-contentious political role today, what was once a widely shared ideal has become a perennial battleground in America's local and national public square.

Sen. Bayh's talk is sponsored by the College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. Drawing on the special historical strengths of Washington College and Chestertown, the C.V. Starr Center is dedicated to exploring the early republic, the rise of democracy, and the manifold ways in which the founding era continues to shape American culture.

News about upcoming events sponsored by the Center is available online at

Monday, January 16, 2006

President's Address to the Kent County Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

Chestertown, MD, January 16, 2006

Baird Tipson's Speech at the Rock Hall Fire House

[I recognize that the Chester Valley Ministerial Association was moving a little outside-the-box when it asked me to be this morning's speaker. When I told several of my friends that I had been asked to speak, they all said, "oh," and that "oh" meant, "what gives you the credentials to speak about Martin Luther King, Jr.?" So I want to begin by saying how grateful I am to be offered this chance to give the address this morning. I am honored that you have given me your ears, honored to have been asked by the Chester Valley Ministerial Association, and above all honored to have a chance to speak about one of the great Americans of my lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]

As we Americans have come together to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, too often we succumb to the temptation to simplify. We think of Dr. King's remarkable "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, and we imagine that in that speech were contained the hopes and fears of all Americans. We imagine that America recognized in Dr. King someone who could put into words a basic American value: that people should be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We imagine that citizens and their leaders came to see the light, and that racial discrimination would shortly disappear.

But anyone who looks carefully at the events of those years comes to a different conclusion. Far from being universally admired, Dr. King was under constant attack throughout his lifetime, attack so unremitting that it required his utmost resolve just to continue his work. Yes, the goals he worked for were high goals, but the forces that opposed him were powerful. As we attempt to follow his example, we have to recognize that the struggle continues to be hard and the goals elusive. Like Dr. King, we cannot afford to lose heart.

Let me take us back forty-one years to December, 1964, about a year after the March on Washington [August 28, 1963]. Dr. King has just arrived in Oslo, Norway, to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. It had to be one of the crowning events of his career. Dr. King was not just thefirst African-American to be awarded this honor, he was also the youngest person ever to be receive it. A preacher from the segregated south was speaking to a distinguished audience that included the King and Crown Prince of Norway. But Dr. King did not bask in the glory of the moment. "Why [is] this prize awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle," he asked, "a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize?"

"Only yesterday," he pleaded, "in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death... only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking the right to vote were brutalized and murdered." The following day, he concluded his formal Nobel lecture at Oslo University by proclaiming that "mankind's survival is dependent upon man's ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war." These were not the words of a satisfied man. These were not the words of a man who believed that the fight was won, that it would be all downhill from there, that he could now turn his attention to other things. Dr. King understood that there would be no cheap victories, that nothing less than "unrelenting struggle" would be required, and that final success lay many years in the future.

And so it proved. A few weeks before he and his party left for Norway, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover called Dr. King "the most notorious liar in the country." We know now that Hoover and the FBI conducted persistent behind-the-scenes efforts to discredit Dr. King. Whenever he saw the opportunity, Hoover would send secret reports to politicians, branding Dr. King a communist agitator and dangerous radical. Hoover also deliberately kept the FBI from preventing much of the violence visited upon the civil rights demonstrators by the Ku Klux Klan and its sympathizers. [I personally believe that the abuse of power by the leaders of the FBI during the King era must rank as one of the most disgraceful incidents in American history.]

But King also faced criticism from within the civil rights movement. The student leadership of SNCC and CORE called him too middle-class, too committed to an outmoded strategy of non-violence, too willing to trust white politicians. Those of you who have heard Malcolm X's famous "Speech to the Grassroots" know that Malcolm called Dr. King a dupe of the Kennedys and denounced non-violence as unmanly. [It was on November 24 of that same year that Malcolm X returned from Africa, already denounced as a traitor by Louis Farrakhan and marked for assassination by the Nation of Islam. The assassination came just a few months later.]

For many other African-Americans, on the other hand, including the NAACP, Dr. King was far too radical. Although he was proposed for an honorary degree at Morehouse College, for example, the College declined, because Dr. King had been in jail too often, and giving him a degree might hurt the College's fund-raising.

What about our political leaders? Even after Brown vs. Board of Education, the Eisenhower administration tried to keep aloof from the struggle to achieve equal rights for all Americans. And even though African-American voters were widely credited as having made the difference when they swung to John Kennedy in the 1960 election, Kennedy, too, was careful not to be seen as getting involved. Why? Because both parties were more concerned not to lose the votes of white segregationists in the South than they were to enforce the law. And their concern was not misplaced. It was Democratic support for civil rights, under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, that began the process of alienating conservative white southerners and led to the Republican control of the South that we have today. So despite some visible exceptions, Dr. King's urgent requests for protection for civil rights workers usually went unanswered.

Why am I taking us back to 1964? Because I want us to remember that the Dr. King we often like to remember, presiding over a unified civil rights movement and uniting most Americans behind the vision of non-violence and loving those who persecute you, never existed. Dr. King's life was a constant struggle, full of ups and downs, and for every peak—such as the March on Washington or winning the Nobel Peace Prize—there were valleys, when his segregationist opponents or his civil rights critics seemed to get the better of him.

How were things in Kent County? Let me start right at home. For the first one hundred and seventy five years of its history, Washington College was a segregated institution. Shortly after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, in 1954, The New York Times asked college presidents across the country when they expected real desegregation to be effected in their region. President Daniel Gibson responded "in 100 years," or in any case "no sooner than 50 years." The first African-American student, Thomas Morris, was not admitted until 1958, after faculty members put pressure on a reluctant Board, and the number of African-American graduates by 1967 can be counted on the fingers of one hand (One of these graduates, Dale Adams, '65, is now on our Board of Visitors and Governors, as is Norris Commodore, '73, who grew up right here in Kent County).

On the other hand, when the "Freedom Riders" come to Chestertown in the mid-sixties (especially from Quaker schools like Swarthmore and Haverford), they were welcomed by some students and members of the faculty. The community reaction was more mixed; Pat Vickers Smith remembers that her sheriff father advised people to avoid getting involved with "outsiders"; and although resistance never reached the level it did further south, some local citizens did react violently by assaulting those who were marching to protest segregation in public accommodations, leading to at least two criminal trials. The movie theatre was still segregated late into the 1960s, and the Kent County schools were among the last in the country to integrate. Segregation died hard in Kent County.

This slow pace should not surprise us. Citizens of the Eastern Shore have always been especially cautious to accept ideas from "outsiders." When the Governor of Maryland, J. Millard Tawes, called a special session of the Maryland legislature to consider a bill that would outlaw racial discrimination in inns, hotels, and restaurants, the entire Eastern Shore delegation lined up in opposition.

So I give you a picture of a Dr. King who was constantly being attacked, openly and secretly, by white segregationalists, by less moderate African-Americans, by more moderate African-Americans and whites, and by the federal government. How did he persevere?

Let's ask first what Dr. King wanted. What was the goal of the "Civil Rights Movement," as Dr. King understood it? Some of you might answer, "integration," but that's not quite true. Dr. King himself was more likely to speak of equal justice for all Americans, the dignity of every person, and self-respect.

When asked in what areas of life unequal treatment persisted, he was most likely to answer, in jobs, housing, schools, voting, and access to public accommodations (hotels, restaurants). Remember his Nobel Prize speech. Dr. King did not confine his remarks to "racial injustice," he was just as concerned with poverty and war. Dr. King did not come late to side with the poor, nor was his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War inconsistent with his larger message. He always saw the connection between poverty and lack of opportunity. So Dr. King never dreamed that a single event—passing a civil rights bill, electing a certain person, something like winning the Super Bowl—would mean victory. He imagined a protracted struggle, and he believed he would be killed long before the end.

If we want to imagine Dr. King's dream for Kent County, I think it would look something like this. I believe Dr. King would certainly want all of us to respect each other, to be kind to one another, and in a Christian way, to love each other.

[I have to admit to you that it has been very difficult for me to prepare for this talk. Not because of the time to do the research; I enjoy history, and I was pleased to have a reason to go back and learn even more about Dr. King and the civil rights movement. No, it's been emotionally difficult. I think I've been depressed for the past several weeks, and I'm sure my family and my co-workers have been wondering why I seem so low in my mind. It's because I'm ashamed, ashamed that so many of my fellow Americans during the King years could have been so cruel, so just plain mean, mean to people who were acting with Christian non-violence simply to gain justice and respect, and ashamed that the rest of us didn't do more to help. I wonder, as Dr. King must have done, whether his faith in white Christians was misplaced, whether all their belief was ultimately hollow.]

But I know it wouldn't have been enough for him to know that we were all just friends. He'd ask about our schools: do all students, children of recent immigrants as well as long-timers, black as well as white, succeed at the same rate? He'd be pleased that anyone can stay in any hotel or eat in any restaurant, but can everyone afford those hotels and those restaurants? He'd want to know whether good jobs are available to everyone, whether anyone can succeed with enough hard work. He'd want to know whether everyone had access to good, affordable health care. I can't believe that Dr. King would be pleased that the gentrification of Chestertown has forced many low- and moderate-income people, black and white, to live elsewhere because they can't find affordable housing.

So I can't imagine that Dr. King would say that the Civil Rights Movement was over in Kent County, and I hope we wouldn't, either. But would he have let his disappointment overcome him? Would he have thrown in the towel? No one who has studied Dr. King's life can say that he would. Because Dr. King's personal struggle was fueled by convictions that lay deep in his soul. These convictions often found expression in words drawn from his seminary and graduate study, but they were rooted in his experience in the African-American church. In other words, Dr. King's struggle was a deeply Christian struggle. I want to conclude by holding up three Christian principles that governed his struggle.

First, and most famous, was his commitment to non-violence. Yes, this was a tactic, learned from Mohandas Ghandi, a Hindu, a strategy to force oppressors to confront their own behavior and to expose it to the world. But Dr. King made it thoroughly Christian. It was Jesus who said, "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you [Matt. 5:43]."

Second, even more deeply Christian, was his belief in redemptive sacrifice. Those struggling for the good would be called to suffer, should expect to suffer, but through that suffering would come healing. Dr. King endured hardship, jail, and arrest because he believed that through these experiences he and those around him would further God's purpose to heal the nation.

Third, Dr. King believed in God's providence, that God had a purpose not only for his own life but for all of history, and that God's purposes could only be good. On those occasions, and there were many, when Dr. King was tempted to lose hope, he would fall back on his belief that in some way known only to God, things were working together for good.

Dr. King was no fundamentalist; he would be much too liberal for today's "Christian right," and one does not have to be Christian to share these convictions. But he did believe that all Christians, white and black, would come to see that his struggle was at its heart deeply Christian, that they would come to identify with it, and together all people of faith—Christian and non-Christian—would continue the struggle. Thank you.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Urban Land Institute's Ed McMahon Explores the Dollars and Sense of Sustainable Development, January 25

Chestertown, MD, January 13, 2006 — Washington College's Center for Environment and Society and the Eastern Shore Heritage present "The Dollars and Sense of Sustainable Development," a lecture by Ed McMahon, the Charles Fraser Senior Resident Fellow for Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute, Wednesday, January 25, at 7 p.m. in the Litrenta Lecture Hall of the Toll Science Center. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Renowned for his dynamic and engaging presentations, McMahon is an expert on sustainable development, land conservation, urban design, and historic preservation. As an attorney, community planner, lecturer, and author, McMahon has overseen many successful efforts to acquire and protect urban parkland, wilderness areas, and other conservation properties. He is also the co-founder and former president of Scenic America, a national non-profit organization devoted to protecting America's scenic landscapes. He has an M.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School, where he taught law and public policy.

Launched in 2000, Washington College's Center for Environment and Society brings significant new perspectives to the study of natural and human-influenced systems and their mutual interdependence globally and here in the Chesapeake Bay region. Through programs such as the Rural Community Leadership seminars and its Geographic Information Systems lab, the Center seeks to provide a neutral academic forum for addressing difficult policy issues and to promote interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to solving environmental and quality-of-life issues. Throughout its varied projects, the Center encourages and supports the active involvement of Washington College students from all majors.

Celebrate the Release of Here on the Chester: Book Signing, Readings and Refreshments, January 25

Chestertown, MD, January 13, 2006 — Washington College's Literary House Press invites the community to celebrate the publication of its new anthology, Here On the Chester: Washington College Remembers Old Chestertown, as we kick off Chestertown's 300th anniversary year, Wednesday, January 25, at 5 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge.

Enjoy refreshments, live music, a local trivia contest with prizes, and readings by contributors to this collection of essays, reflections, poems, and photographs honoring unique people, places, and moments from 300 years of Chestertown history.

Our Contributors
Sheila West Austrian '03
Sarah Blackman '02
John Bohrer '06
William Chapman Bowie '75
John Buettner '89
Elizabeth Clay '08
Professor Robert Day
Kees DeMooy '01
James Dissette '71
Jack Gilden '87
Adam Goodheart, C. V. Starr Fellow
Meredith Davies Hadaway M'96
P. Trams Hollingsworth '75
Roy Hoopes
Jim Landskroener M'91
Marcia Landskroener M'02
John Lang
Andrew McCown '77
Pat Herold Nielsen
Leslie Prince Raimond '63
Jean Dixon Sanders '79
William Thompson '70
Nicole Vattimo '06
Professor Kathy Wagner '79
Marshall Williams M'92
P. J. Wingate '33
Mary Wood '68
Peregrine Wroth, Class of 1803

The event is free and open to all. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Did the Tea Party really happen? Did George Washington really visit Chestertown? What was it like to celebrate Christmas in Kent County 200 years ago? Compiling the work of 28 Washington College writers, Here On the Chester delves into these questions and more as it looks at the multifaceted history of a town that has become a Maryland treasure, a colonial jewel, and an eccentric's haven.

Life is very interesting Here On the Chester—join us Wednesday, January 25, to find out just how much!

For more information contact JoAnn Fairchild at Washington College's Literary House Press, 410-778-7899, or via

Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in historic Chestertown on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, it was the first college chartered in the new nation.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

C. V. Starr Center Director Ted Widmer Accepts New Position at John Carter Brown Library

Chestertown, MD, January 12, 2006

Message from President Tipson

As some of you might have heard by now, Ted Widmer has resigned his position as Director of the C. V. Starr Center, effective June 30, 2006, to accept the position of Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library, located at Brown University. The John Carter Brown Library is an internationally renowned collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the early history of the Americas, serving scholars from all over the U.S. and abroad. Though I am very sorry to see Ted leave Washington College, I understand why he would view this as a unique opportunity to pursue his work in early American history and to return to his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.

In the just-released C.V. Starr Center newsletter, Ted describes the difficulty of his decision to leave and his affection for Washington College:

"When I think of Washington College and Chestertown, I often feel sorry for my colleagues at bigger universities. No institution is perfect, but in many ways this small college and town felt like an academic paradise, closer to the contemplative spirit that colleges were supposed to encourage when they were first created, a Virgilian Arcadia just far enough away from Washington to be interesting. The Starr Center has tried hard to reflect in new ways on the old ideas at the center of our national experience, and I feel enormous pride in our achievement."

Ted has assured me that his relationship with Washington College will not end with his departure. In addition to helping us locate good candidates for his successor, Ted is envisioning cooperative projects that would help deepen the network of support for Washington College and the C. V. Starr Center. He has offered to serve on the Center's advisory board and will certainly return as a frequent visitor.

As inaugural director, Ted has laid a solid foundation for the C. V. Starr Center. Thanks to his efforts, Washington College is off and running as an important locus for the study and celebration of the American experience. I am immensely grateful for his dedication to that task and know you will join me in wishing Ted, Mary, and Freddy all the best in their new home.

We will begin a national search as quickly as possible to identify a successor for Ted. Provost and Dean Joachim Scholz will chair the search committee.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Drumming to a Global Beat: Ethos Percussion Group in Concert at Washington College, January 29

Chestertown, MD, January 6, 2006 — The Washington College Concert Series invites the public to enjoy the innovative arrangements and cross-cultural rhythms of the Ethos Percussion Group at the College's Tawes Theatre, Daniel Z. Gibson Performing Arts Center, Sunday, January 29, at 4 p.m. Single tickets can be purchased at the door, $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for youth 18 and under.

For more than a decade, the Ethos Percussion Group has delighted audiences with a repertoire dedicated to the advancement of the percussive arts in performance and education. "Remarkably disciplined and cohesive...spellbinding...Ethos had the audience up and cheering," wroteThe Washington Post, and The Macon Telegraph praised the ensemble for its "glorious cacophony of sensational tones."

Ethos' success is a result of virtuosic and entertaining performances that demonstrate a wide variety of musical styles on an eclectic battery of instruments from around the globe. Ensemble members Trey Files, Eric Phinney, Yousif Sheronick, and David Shively are accomplished classical and world music artists, each with a distinctive background and musical perspective. Their substantial combined expertise is the source of Ethos' innovative programming, which integrates global instruments and playing styles into the conventions of Western chamber music to create a visually and aurally compelling experience. The ensemble's critically-acclaimed performances regularly feature numerous commissions and world premieres; traditional rhythms from India, West Africa, and the Middle East; and landmark works by composers such as John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Steve Reich.

For ticket information and a 2005-2006 season brochure, call 410-778-7839 or 800-422-1782, ext. 7839. Individual tax-deductible patron memberships begin at $75.00. Contributing patron memberships begin at $150.00, supporting at $250.00 and sustaining at $500.00. All membership packages include two tickets, and all donations over the price of the tickets are tax-deductible.

Christopher Ames Appointed New Provost and Dean of the College

Chestertown, MD, January 6, 2006

Message from President Tipson

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Christopher Ames as our new Provost and Dean of the College. Dr. Ames, who is currently the Provost and Senior Vice President at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, will bring significant experience and expertise in both teaching and administration to Washington College. He will begin his new position on July 1.

In an exceptionally strong pool of candidates, Christopher Ames stood out. We are eager to welcome him and his wife, Lauren, to Chestertown.

A graduate of the University of Texas-Austin with a Ph.D. in English literature from Stanford, Dr. Ames has had a long academic career distinguished by numerous awards and fellowships and by the publication of two books and many articles on twentieth-century literature and film. At Oglethorpe he worked hard to achieve gender and racial diversity within the faculty while elevating scholarly expectations and opportunities for development and collaborative research. He also served as a policy-maker, participating in campus master planning, marketing and campaign strategy, board development, and residential life issues.

Prior to his arrival at Oglethorpe in 2001, Dr. Ames was the Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Agnes Scott College. In addition to a fifteen-year teaching career there, Dr. Ames ran the Agnes Scott Writers' Festival, bringing authors such as John Updike, Jamaica Kincaid, and Joyce Carol Oates to campus.

"I am thrilled to be joining the faculty and administration of Washington College," Dr. Ames said in accepting the appointment. "Washington College has impressed me as an excellent liberal arts college with a truly distinctive character that takes advantage of its history, its location and its strong faculty. I look forward to working with President Tipson and the faculty to implement the new strategic plan and to enhance the college's strengths and national reputation."

I commend the Search Committee for their tireless dedication to the important task of finding a successor for Dean and Provost Scholz. Joachim has done a masterful job and will be a difficult act to follow. I feel certain Dr. Ames is up to the challenge.

Drama Department Announces Schedule of Spring 2006 Stage Productions

Chestertown, MD, January 6, 2006 — Washington College's Drama Department promises a rich and exciting series of productions for Spring 2006 semester. All shows are open to the public and begin at 8 p.m. in the College's Tawes Theater.

The following productions are scheduled for the Spring:

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Directed by Professor Jason Rubin. A senior design thesis by Heather Holiday.
March 2, 3, 4

Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe Dipietro
A Senior Thesis directed by Cindy Orndorf
March 24 and 25

Buried Child by Sam Shepard
A Senior Thesis directed by Harry Wright
March 31 and April 1

Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh
A Senior Thesis directed by Joe Gates
April 7 and 8

For ticket reservations and information, call 410-778-7835 or e-mail

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Local Community Members Invited to College Strategic Planning Presentation, January 17

Chestertown, MD, January 3, 2006 — Washington College's Office of the President invites citizens of Chestertown and Kent County to attend a special community presentation of the College's draft strategic plan, initial directions for the new master plan, and preliminary concepts for a new campus landscape plan on Tuesday, January 17, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. in the Litrenta Lecture Hall, John Toll Science Center.

"On the eve of our 225th anniversary, we have been working intensively to develop plans for our next five to ten years," says Baird Tipson, President of the College. "In December we shared a draft strategic plan with our Board of Visitors and Governors and would now like to provide members of the greater Chestertown and Kent County communities with a similar opportunity to comment. As we go forward in this planning process, I look forward to receiving community input and perspectives."

The presentation will give members of the community a chance to review the preliminary plans and address questions, comments, and suggestions to the College Administration. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to the Office of the President at 410-778-7201 by January 13 to ensure an appropriate quantity of handouts and materials. Complimentary refreshments will be available before and after the presentation.

In addition to drafting new strategic and landscape plans, the College has enlisted the help of the architectural firm of Ayers/Saint/Gross of Baltimore to update the College's master plan for guiding the future development of campus buildings and grounds. A full draft of this initial plan will be available in April 2006 for community comment.

Abraham Lincoln: Compromising Politician or Cunning Idealist? WC Professor Looks Anew at "The Great Emancipator"

Chestertown, MD, January 3, 2006 — Should we remember Abraham Lincoln as "The Great Emancipator" with an ingrained vision of justice and human equality? Or, as a compromising politician who held the common racist ideas of his era and who pragmatically-and reluctantly-chose to free the slaves? Richard Striner, Professor of History at Washington College, challenges recent theories of Lincoln's "passive abolitionism" in his new book Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery, just released by Oxford University Press.

While recent scholarship has tended to focus on Lincoln's contradictions and dualities, Striner sees instead a moral genius utilizing a shrewd logic to manipulate the political and social forces of his day to achieve a larger vision of justice and equality in the United States.

"The genius of President Lincoln was his ability to harmonize morality and cunning to save the nation by changing it," Striner asserts.

According to Striner, if you examine the speeches that Lincoln made in the 1850s, you will have no doubt of his passion to end slavery. These speeches illuminate the anger, vehemence, and sheer brilliance of candidate Lincoln, who worked up crowds with charismatic fervor as he gathered a national following. But if he felt so passionately about abolition, why did he wait so long to release the Emancipation Proclamation?

"Lincoln was driven by an ethical sense, but he was also driven by a Machiavellian understanding of politics," he says. "He was a genius at orchestrating power. Indeed, his strategic sense could lead him to some compromises with the truth, but these compromises were always ethical in intent. Lincoln was never a shortsighted idealist. Quite to the contrary. He would readily juxtapose truth and calculated deception if it served a higher good."

As Striner points out, politics is the art of the possible, and Lincoln was a consummate politician, a shrewd manipulator who cloaked his visionary ethics in the more pragmatic garb of the coalition-builder. He was at bottom a Machiavellian prince for a democratic age. When secession began, Lincoln used the battle cry of saving the Union to build a power base, one that would eventually break the slave-holding states forever.

Striner argues that Lincoln was a rare man indeed: a fervent idealist and a crafty politician with a remarkable gift for strategy. It was the harmonious blend of these two qualities that made Lincoln's role in ending slavery so fundamental. According to Striner, Father Abrahamchallenges the conventional views of Lincoln in a number of ways. It challenges the notion of Lincoln as a "moderate" by demonstrating the strategic dynamism of his program. It puts the "unionism" of Lincoln in better perspective by showing how his fight to save the Union was always contingent on the ultimate phase-out of slavery. It also challenges the claim that Lincoln was a racist. To the contrary, Striner suggests, Lincoln's goal was to hold white supremacy at bay while he reduced the power of the slave states.

Ultimately for Striner, Lincoln's presidency is a case study in the problems of democratic leadership. By perfectionist standards, Lincoln's leadership was problematical, but he argues that Lincoln's willingness to balance lesser evils with greater good led to a moral success of even greater magnitude.

Striner has taught history at Washington College since 1988 and is a Senior Writer with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission. His academic study and research have focused on the history of ideas, using this field to delve into subjects as diverse as the evolution of conservative and liberal ideology to the poetry of Alexander Pope, from the symbolism of Art Deco architecture to the problem of ethics in the field of historic preservation. His writings on history, politics, economics, and historic preservation have been published by outlets as diverse as William & Mary Quarterly, Smithsonian Institution Press, and The Washington Post. Striner's interest in the concept and arts of moral leadership in democracy led him to the subject of Lincoln. His next book project is a study of the long-forgotten modes of statecraft that passed from Lincoln to both of the Roosevelts, Theodore and Franklin.

Striner lives with his wife, Sara, in Pasadena, Maryland.

Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in historic Chestertown on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, it was the first college chartered in the new nation.