Local Leader Gives $1.7 Million for Kent County Scholarships


The late T. Allan Stradley, a county native and successful local businessman who attended Washington College in 1928, has established a scholarship fund for Kent County students with a $1.7 million bequest.

Kent County students can apply for a new scholarship to help pay the cost of tuition at Washington College, thanks to a generous gift of $1.7 million from the late T. Allan Stradley, a former WC student, county native, and successful local businessman. The gift is a bequest from the estate of Stradley, who died in 2000.

The funds will establish an endowment at the college in Stradley’s name for Kent County student scholarships, to be awarded annually on the basis of academic promise and financial need. The first scholarship will be awarded this fall for the 2017-18 academic year.

“As a lifelong member of this rural community who served it in so many significant ways, T. Allan Stradley understood well the economic challenges that face many young people and their families,” said college trustee Ann Horner ’80, who serves as co-chair of the Forge A Legacy comprehensive campaign. “By providing a scholarship for Kent County students to achieve a well-rounded, liberal arts–based education at Washington College, he is ensuring that these students will have the opportunity they deserve to pursue their passions and realize their full potential.”

Stradley attended Washington College for two years before transferring in 1930. He remained a strong supporter of the college, contributing to the Washington Fund and Hodson Hall improvements, and volunteering on the committee of the college’s 1984 Community Campaign. He was a member of the 1782 Society, the college’s leadership giving circle, from as early as 1993. He also was a fan of the lacrosse team, often traveling with his wife, Andretta, to away games.

Stradley served on the advisory committee to the Agriculture Department of the University of Maryland. He was a former president of the Maryland State Farm Bureau for two years, and served as president of the Kent County Farm Bureau for eight years. He was a former member of the advisory board of the Chestertown branch of Signet Bank and former chair of economic development for Kent County. He served for 20 years on the board of Kent and Queen Anne’s Hospital, Chestertown, and as board chair for two years.

College officials recognize Stradley as someone who cared deeply about keeping a college education affordable for future students. “Mr. Stradley clearly had a vision for the impact of a Washington College education on the futures of Kent County students, and we are deeply grateful for his generosity,” Horner says. “These local students—their achievements and realized dreams—will be his legacy and would surely make him proud.”

Washington College President & Faculty Condemn Violence and Hate in Charlottesville


Casey Academic Center at Washington College, Chestertown, MD.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College President Kurt Landgraf and the College’s Faculty Council today condemned the violence and hate that led to three deaths last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, reaffirming the College’s foundational commitment to supporting an education and campus community premised on thoughtful dialogue and moral courage.

“For centuries, race and intolerance have been complicated elements in defining who we are as a nation. Now, the world has witnessed the events in Charlottesville, and it’s time for all of us to speak out, loud and clear: ‘This is not who we are,’” Landgraf said.

“I am disgusted by the violence and hate that we have seen and continue to endure. There is no place for this in our country. No matter your political views, all of us could agree that these actions threaten the foundational values of this great country and who we are as a people. Our history demonstrates there is power behind nonviolence, progress in rational dialogue, and mutual understanding in compassion.

President Kurt M. Landgraf of Washington College with students.

“Washington College will not tolerate this movement of anger and hate—on campus or in the community. As the first college in a new nation, we have an important role to play in educating our students that their future role as thoughtful citizens and leaders of this country requires courage and a moral compass. We can begin by making clear that today, silence is not an option when faced with intolerance, racism, hate, and violence.”

The Faculty Council, chaired by Clayton Black, associate professor of history, said: “In light of the incidents at the University of Virginia on August 10-12, 2017, we, the faculty of Washington College, reaffirm our adherence to the values of integrity, determination, curiosity, civility, leadership, and moral courage expressed in our Mission Statement. We condemn all efforts to masquerade bigotry and prejudice as merely expressions of ‘free speech’ and commit ourselves and our institution to acting as a force for securing and furthering the equality of all peoples, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, physical ability, or class.

“As scholars, we accept that the free and open exchange of ideas from multiple perspectives is the surest means of achieving truthful propositions.  Tolerance of alternative views is a precondition for such an exchange, and Washington College will always be a place where ideas are challenged and debated.  We affirm the equality of all peoples; but we reject the equality of all ideas or ideologies as simply different-but-equal ‘points of view’ when they promote discrimination, exclusivity, or intolerance. Obscurantism and appeals to prejudice are not welcome at Washington College.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at the Washington College website.

College’s Innovative Food Lab to Occupy Blue Heron Space


In an effort to integrate Washington College’s innovative new Eastern Shore Food Lab directly with the local Chestertown community, the college announced on August 15 that the Food Lab will be based downtown in the building that presently houses the Blue Heron Café.

Larry Culp, chair of the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors, purchased the building from Blue Heron owner Paul Hanley, who has operated the popular eatery since 1997. The Blue Heron Café will continue to serve customers through October, after which the space will undergo renovation in preparation for the opening next year of the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College (ESFL).

“Washington College is committed to providing our undergraduates with an education they can’t get anywhere else. The Eastern Shore Food Lab embodies this goal, a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary centerpiece of broader programming that will change the way we think about food, from access to diet and health,” College President Kurt Landgraf said. “Community involvement is key to the lab’s mission, and basing it in this terrific property in the heart of downtown Chestertown will spark that. We are deeply grateful for Larry Culp’s foresight in understanding the key nature of this relationship, and his continued extraordinary commitment to Washington College.”

Anthropology Professor Bill Schindler, shown here teaching students about foraging for foods from trees and plants  on campus,is director of the ESFL

“One of the Food Lab’s fundamental missions is to engage the community as we address this region’s food resources, traditions, and history, with an eye toward how we can make positive changes in the future,” said Bill Schindler, the inaugural director of the lab, chair of the college’s Department of Anthropology, and an international expert in the intersection of primitive foodways, technologies, and contemporary innovations in food systems. “Not only will it enable our students and local residents work together, I fully expect the ESFL to draw experts from all over the world to Chestertown to participate in this hub of innovation as we create food system solutions that are environmentally and culturally sustainable.”

Hanley, who announced the upcoming transition to his staff over the weekend, said it was a bittersweet decision to sell the Blue Heron, although “I’m looking forward to watching the exciting new changes that are ahead for the café.”

The ESFL will be an interdisciplinary research, teaching, and production laboratory dedicated to studying and experimenting with sustainable food systems, using the Eastern Shore food-shed as its primary context. By researching the resources unique to the region based on weather, climate, soil chemistry, and microbial biology—and fusing ancient and historic foodways with modern technologies—faculty, students, community members, and collaborative researchers will re-envision our food system, from how we define food to how we grow it and prepare it.

The ESFL received a huge boost early this year when the Maryland Department of Commerce, as part of its Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative, granted $944,000 to match gifts of $1 million from donors to create an endowed chair in sustainable food systems for the lab.

Schindler, the inaugural chair, is spending the coming academic year on sabbatical as a visiting professor at the School of Archaeology, University College Dublin (UCD), working on a project called “Food Evolutions” in partnership with UCD and Odaios Foods. He is conducting research and training with experts from around the world to deepen his understanding of strategies to transform ingredients such as wild foraged plants, ancient grains, and offal into nutrient-dense foods. Through this research, Schindler will position the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College as an international center that works to transform food systems and improve diet, health, and human and environmental relationships.

In addition to the downtown base, students will work out of Cromwell Hall, the new academic building dedicated to the departments of Environmental Science and Studies and Anthropology. The lab will also utilize the thousands of acres at Chino Farms to create a one-of-a-kind wild food laboratory—an outdoor classroom and laboratory dedicated to experimenting with and pushing the limits of wild food resources, from wild plants, insects, and animals to microflora.

For more information about the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College, visit www.washcoll.edu/ESFL .





Starr Center’s Goodheart Earns National Endowment for the Humanities Award


Adam Goodheart works in the Library of Congress on his new book, 1865: The Rebirth of a Nation.

Adam Goodheart, director of Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, has earned a prestigious Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to research and write the sequel to his best-selling 1861: The Civil War Awakening.

The NEH grant, in the words of its mission statement, supports “scholarship that will be of broad interest and have lasting impact.” It rewards writers who can bridge the gap between academia and popular nonfiction to shed light on a broad range of topics: from diabetes and species extinction to the French Revolution and—in Goodheart’s case—the Civil War. Scholars must have already published a major book to apply, and the acceptance rate is slender, only about 5 percent.

Goodheart, whose 1861: The Civil War Awakening was a New York Times bestseller, is working on its sequel, 1865: The Rebirth of a Nation. He is returning to the same deeply researched narrative techniques for which the Times praised 1861, saying, “Goodheart excels at creating emotional empathy with his characters, encouraging us to experience the crisis as they did, in real time, without the benefit of historical hindsight. He lets the players speak for themselves and make the best case for their own motives and beliefs.”

1861 was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in history, and the audiobook, published by Audible, won the Audie Award in history. President Barack Obama invited Goodheart to an Oval Office ceremony to recognize his role in having Fort Monroe, where part of 1861 is set, declared a National Monument.

“As with 1861, I’m working to evoke the lived experience of a moment in history, through vivid depictions of individual people and places,” Goodheart says. “Doing it successfully requires immersing myself in the primary sources, which is something I love to do. For instance, a few weeks ago I was at the National Archives, delving into the thousands of letters that families wrote to the federal government seeking information on loved ones who hadn’t come back from the Civil War. Reading some of them was an emotional experience, even 150 years later. Those little known but powerful human stories interest me more than troop movements and battle strategies.”

Goodheart has been able to take a part-time leave from his Starr Center duties to pursue the research and perform the writing. The book is to be published in hardcover by Alfred A. Knopf and as a Vintage paperback.

“I’m honored to be supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities,” Goodheart says, adding that he hopes Congress will continue to fund the NEH and its sister institution, the National Endowment for the Arts, both of which are zeroed out in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. “If he succeeds,” Goodheart says, “it will be a disaster for the intellectual and cultural life of our country.”



Why is George Smiling?


Don’t Worry.  We’re Happy! Say Washington College students.

The Princeton Review ranks Washington College among the top twenty schools in the nation with the happiest undergraduates.

According to The Princeton Review, Washington College is among the nation’s very best institutions for undergraduate education, but its distinctive approach to mentoring students has propelled the college to the top of the chart that measures the happiness factor. Washington College is ranked 16th in the nation for Student Happiness, as noted in the 2018 edition of The Best 382 Colleges released Aug. 1.

Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges and two colleges outside the U.S. are profiled in the book, which is one of The Princeton Review’s most popular guides. Published annually since 1992, it has detailed profiles of the colleges with rating scores in eight categories. The book also has ranking lists of top 20 schools in 62 categories, including the Happiest Students category. The Princeton Review’s results are valuable since they are based on surveys of actual students attending the colleges.

Happy WC students on the deck of the Literary House during the 2017 Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference.

“I’m delighted to see Washington College featured in The Princeton Review as one of the best 382 colleges for 2018,” said college President Kurt Landgraf. “Washington College is all about the students, and I am proud to know that our high ‘Student Happiness’ ranking reflects that student-centric focus. This cornerstone of who we are and what we do results in memorable experiences that have a positive impact on students’ personal and professional lives.”

In its profile on Washington College, The Princeton Review praises the college for its “truly personalized education,” and quotes extensively from Washington College students. Among their comments: “Living at Washington College is as good as a college experience can get.”

What a smile! Intern Hebs Guerra-Recinos expresses his approval!

“We chose Washington College for this book because it offers outstanding academics,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and author of The Best 382 Colleges. “Our selections are primarily based on our surveys of administrators at several hundred four-year colleges. We also visit dozens of colleges each year and give considerable weight to opinions of our staff and our 24-member National College Counselor Advisory Board. Most importantly, we look at the valuable feedback we get from each school’s customers—our surveys of students attending them. We also keep a wide representation of colleges in the book by region, size, selectivity, and character.”

The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges from 1 to 382 in any category. Instead, it uses students’ ratings of their schools to compile 62 ranking lists of top 20 colleges in the book in various categories. The lists in this edition are entirely based on The Princeton Review’s survey of 137,000 students (358 per campus on average) attending the colleges. The 80-question survey asks students to rate their schools on several topics and report on their campus experiences at them. Topics range from their assessments of their professors as teachers to opinions about their school’s career services. The Princeton Review explains the basis for each ranking list here.

Other “Happy Schools” include Rice University, College of William and Mary, Colby College, and Vanderbilt.  The University of California at Santa Barbara is also in top twenty happy schools but they’re practically on the beach so, of course, they’re happy.  St. John’s in Annapolis also made the list.


Come and Learn – WC-ALL Offers 26 Fall Semester Courses



The Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning, a continuing education program for adult learners, has announced its schedule of 26 courses for the fall semester, which runs from September 5 to December 8.

Each semester, approximately 400 people join WC-ALL and register for as many classes as they wish for one inclusive membership fee. Courses are taught by community members with interesting life experiences and expertise in a wide variety of fields. There are no educational requirements for membership and no papers or exams!

New Curriculum Chair Ed Minch and wife Shelley chat with a member.

Ed Minch, WC-ALL’s new curriculum chair, has put together an outstanding team of new and returning instructors and stimulating topics for both 6-week sessions. With a few exceptions, classes begin at 4:15 p.m. and are held on the Washington College campus.

Highlights of Session One, which begins September 5, include Judie Oberholtzer’s popular “Magic of the Opera” with a trip to the Kennedy Center for a performance of “Aida”. Movies will be featured in “Hidden Treasure Movies, Part 1” by Nancy Hartman and “Bond and Beyond” by John Wieczoreck. “Current Topics in Business” will be taught by members of the Washington College Department of Business Management and will explore a different topic each week, ranging from finance to strategy to information systems and their impact on local and global communities as well as our personal lives. You can also learn about 19th Century presidential losers, poetry and music, Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse”, the culture of Aztecs and Incas, and much more.

Session Two runs from October 22 to December 8, and offers learners the opportunity to explore the politics, religion, and art of the Middle East with “Middle East Outlook: 2017 & Beyond – Great Again?!” taught by Pat Patterson, “Ancient Middle East and Egypt Through Their Art” by Beverly Hall Smith, and “Talking About Islam” by Sue Kenyon. A perennial favorite, “The Supreme Court: Top Hits” taught by John Chrisite, returns with an examination of several key cases heard during the 2016 term. There will also be classes in digital photo editing, Windows 10, knightly combat and courtly love, and climate change, among many others.

In addition to sponsoring fall and spring classes, WC-ALL hosts a series of Learn at Lunch lectures open to the community, as well as special-event trips. To learn more, visit WC-ALL’s table at the Chestertown Farmers’ Market on August 5 and 12, and plan to attend the Fall Showcase on Thursday, August 17 at 4:00 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall on the Washington College campus. Click here for the full course catalog and registration information or call 410-778-7221 for more information. Registration for both fall sessions runs from August 1 until August 22.

WC-ALL is always seeking community members who have a special interest to share and would like to explore teaching a class in future sessions. Proposals for spring 2018 can be submitted between September 1 and October 15. Check out the WC-ALL website or call the WC-ALL office at 410-778-7221 for more information.

Science Programs for Homeschool Students Begin Sept. 5 at Adkins Arboretum


Homeschool students of all ages can get down and dirty with science this fall at Adkins Arboretum!

In Animals of the Arboretum, an eight-session program for students ages 7 to 10, budding scientists will explore the Arboretum’s wetland, forest, stream and meadow habitats to study the native animals of Maryland. From squirrels to skins, foxes to finches, this program uses a hands-on approach to develop key scientific skills, including observation, experimentation and documentation. Scientific equipment will be part of the learning process. Animals of the Arboretum meets every other Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Dec. 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

In Forestkeepers, for ages 11 and up, students will learn how forestry—the science of planting, managing and caring for forests—is critical to the preservation of healthy forest ecosystems. Homeschoolers will develop their science skills as they explore the field of forestry through hands-on outdoor experiences. Forestkeepers meets every other Tuesday, Sept. 12 to Dec. 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Advance registration is required for both programs. Visit adkinsarboretum.org for more information or to register your student, or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0. 

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Exploring We Will Go! Horizons Visits Smith Island



Island Visit Creates “Memories of a Lifetime” for Kids Who Rarely Travel Beyond Kent County

Chestertown, MD (July 20, 2017)—Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s—a summer academic and enrichment program for promising students with limited economic means—sent its entire middle school class on the program’s first-ever three-day learning excursion to Smith Island, Maryland. This life-altering trip provided Horizons students—who seldom have the means or opportunity to leave Kent County—with a rare view into a much different island world. Students got a firsthand glimpse into Smith Island’s unique maritime culture, including crabbing, traditional watercraft, wildlife, and island life past and present. Students also planned and helped prepared all their meals. The trip was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the John Ben Snow Foundation.

“This trip enabled our middle schoolers to experience the beauty and importance of island life in Maryland,” explains Horizons Executive Director, Bob Parks. “Many of our students have never traveled anywhere overnight, so a three-day trip to this historic island creates memories for these kids that will last a lifetime. It was life-changing for them. ”

 Located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, this tiny three-by-five mile island chain boasts three villages and a total population of 350 year-round residents. Almost everything and everyone that comes to Smith Island arrives by boat—including locals, visitors, and supplies. Captain John Smith first charted the archipelago in 1608, but seasonal occupation by Native Americans goes back more than 12,000 years.

About Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s

Since 1995, the Horizons summer learning program has served hundreds of Kent and Queen Anne’s County children at or below the poverty level, as part of a national initiative to reduce the summer slide. The six-week program headquartered at The Gunston School, Radcliffe Creek School, and Washington College, serves 180 promising local students from Pre-K through eighth grade.

 Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s is one of 51 affiliates of the Horizons National summer learning program that focuses on reading, writing, and math. Students improve academically, learn to swim, and participate in activities that foster creativity, confidence, and good health.

For the latest Horizons news, please visit Horizon’s web site

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Kent County Back to School Fair August 7


On Monday, August 7, from 2 to 5 p.m., Kent County Public Schools will hold a Back to School Fair at the Kent County Community Center 11041 Worton Rd, Worton. The fair is open to all students and their families at the county’s five public schools, and will help students prepare for the new school year.

Families will be able to meet and greet staff from each of the county’s schools. Staff will assist with registration for new students and provide information for signing up for support services, such as free and reduced lunches. Teachers will be on hand with information about the KCPS universal Pre-K program, technology resources, family support services, wellness programs, KCPS School Health services, extracurricular activities, the arts and more.  Representatives of each school’s PTA will also be on hand.

In addition to meeting school personnel, students and their families will be able to meet with partner organizations that provide support to the schools. Representatives of after school programs, Alphabest and Parks & Recreation, will be on hand to walk families through registering for before and after care. Representatives of Reliable Transportation will be participating as well. Families can board one of their school buses and meet some of the drivers set to transport children in the Fall. Other organizations appearing at some 40 tables include Support Our Schools, KidSPOT, Chestertown Police Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Kent County Public Library, Kent County Health Department, Judy Center, Character Counts, Kent Family Center, Kent County Department of Social Services, Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance, Washington College, Boy Scouts, Shore Up!, Kent County Behavioral Health, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Environmental Education and SEEC, Chestertown Elks, Recovery in Motion, along with Discovery Education.

KCHS-FM Radio will be providing music for the event. The event will be a fun, informative way for families to get ready for the school year.

Each county school will hold an open house August 31, when students will be able to meet their teachers and visit their new classrooms. More information will be sent  to students about that event.

For more information contact the Kent County Board of Education at 410-778-1595 or visit www.kcpssos.com/events.