Author Nathaniel Philbrick Wins 2017 George Washington Prize

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Author Nathaniel Philbrick has won the coveted George Washington Prize, including an award of $50,000, for his book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Viking). One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious literary awards and now in its 12th year, the George Washington Prize honors its namesake by recognizing the year’s best new books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that engage a broad public audience. Conferred by George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Washington College, the award will be presented to Philbrick on May 25 at a black-tie gala at Mount Vernon.

“To have Valiant Ambition recognized in this way means a tremendous amount to me, especially given the extraordinary quality of the books produced by the other six finalists,” said Philbrick. “My heartfelt thanks to the jurors involved in the selection process and to the George Washington Prize’s sponsoring institutions.”

Valiant Ambition is a surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Philbrick creates a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and of the war that gave birth to a nation. He focuses on loyalty and personal integrity as he explores the relationship between Washington and Arnold—an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.

“Philbrick brings both careful craftsmanship and propulsive energy to his storytelling—a hallmark of all his widely read and acclaimed books,” says Adam Goodheart, the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College. “Moreover, Valiant Ambition is also an impressive feat of research: it offers dramatic episodes that have been largely forgotten, such as a naval battle fought by Arnold on Lake Champlain in 1776, which Philbrick turns into a heart-racing adventure story.”

Established in 2005, the George Washington Prize has honored a dozen leading writers on the Revolutionary era including, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical Hamilton. For this year’s prize, a distinguished jury comprised of notable historians David Preston, Kathleen DuVal, and Nick Bunker, selected the finalists from a field of nearly 60 books.

Mount Vernon’s event on May 25 will also honor the six finalists for the 2017 prize:
T.H. Breen, George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation (Simon and Schuster)
Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing)
Jane Kamensky, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (W.W. Norton)
Michael J. Klarman, The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution (Oxford University Press)
Mark Edward Lender and Garry Wheeler Stone, Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle (University of Oklahoma Press)
Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (W.W. Norton)

ABOUT THE SPONSORS OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON PRIZE

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Founded in 1994 by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the nation’s leading nonprofit American history education organization. The Institute’s mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

For more information: www.gilderlehrman.org.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Since 1860, more than 85 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. A privately-owned national treasure, Mount Vernon is maintained and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Since purchasing the estate from the Washington family and assuming stewardship in 1858, the Association has embraced a heroic mission to preserve, protect, and maintain the estate for the American people, relying exclusively on private donations, admission fees, and restaurant and retail proceeds. Through robust education and outreach programs, the Association expands awareness about the exceptional life and character of George Washington, sustaining his legacy through research, interpretation, and public education. In experiences on the estate and through its digital outreach platforms, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” For more information: www.mountvernon.org.

Washington College was founded in 1782, the first institution of higher learning established in the new republic. George Washington was not only a principal donor to the college, but also a member of its original governing board. He received an honorary degree from the college in June 1789, two months after assuming the presidency. The college’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the George Washington Prize, is an innovative center for the study of history, culture, and politics, and fosters excellence in the art of written history through fellowships, prizes, and student programs. For more information: www.washcoll.edu.

IMF Director Christine Lagarde to Address WC Grads in May

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College President Sheila Bair today announced that Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will give the Commencement Address at Washington College’s 234th Commencement on May 20. An international leader and a trailblazer who has repeatedly transcended barriers in male-dominated fields, Lagarde will receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.

“I am thrilled that our seniors will have the opportunity to hear Christine Lagarde speak at their graduation,” says President Bair. “She has long been a role model for young women who aspire to achieve beyond the artificially imposed, but very real, boundaries of gender in many professions. But her accomplishments as a leader in the law, in international monetary policy, and in promoting economic stability as a way to encourage cooperation between nations, clearly eclipse gender and serve as an inspiration to all.”
Appointed to lead the IMF in 2011 and re-elected to a second term in 2016, Lagarde has guided the institution through some of the world’s most challenging economic times in recent history. From 2007-2011, Lagarde served as Finance Minister of France, becoming the first woman to serve as finance minister for any large advanced economy.
In 2016, she was named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People.” In the accompanying profile, U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen wrote, “Christine was central to the effort to stabilize Greece’s economy and prevent a wider crisis in Europe. She has spurred economic reform in emerging nations like China that have appropriately gained more of a voice at the IMF. She has also given the IMF a more human face by addressing issues like gender and income inequality and public-health threats like the Ebola virus.”
An accomplished lawyer, Lagarde was the first female chairman of the Chicago-based international law firm Baker and McKenzie. In 2009, the Financial Times named her “Best Finance Minister” in the Eurozone, and Forbes magazine named her the ninth most powerful woman in the world.

Created in 1945 at a United Nations conference, the IMF’s main purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system while working to promote global stability through monetary cooperation, encourage economic growth, and reduce global poverty.

Washington College’s 234th Commencement begins at 10:30 a.m. on May 20 and will be held on the Campus Green, weather permitting.

Chesapeake to Honor Two Women at 2017 Pride of the Peake

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Jenny Rhodes and Dr. Ruth Ann Jones, both Chesapeake College advocates with decades of community service, will be honored as the 2017 Pride of the Peake: Honoring Scholarship through Service recipients on Thursday, May 11.

Ms. Rhodes is the Senior Agent and Extension Educator for Agriculture/Natural Resources in Queen Anne’s County. She is also a tenured educator with the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  A Queen Anne’s County native, Ms. Rhodes assisted in developing and promoting Chesapeake’s new agriculture program.

Dr. Ruth Ann Jones and Jenny Rhodes

Dr. Jones is Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer with University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. She graduated from the Macqueen Gibbs Willis School of Nursing and is a member of the advisory board for the Chesapeake College MGW School of Nursing. Dr. Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from Wesley College, a master’s degree from Catholic University of America, and a doctorate from Wilmington University.

In a new feature for the annual Pride of the Peake event, a scholarship will be created in each honoree’s name. The Jenny Rhodes Endowed Scholarship and The Ruth Ann Jones Endowed Scholarship will be available to local students.

“There is no better way to honor these individuals than by raising funds for scholarships in their names,” said Chesapeake College President Barbara A. Viniar. “Scholarship recipients will eventually give back to our community and carry on our honorees’ tradition of service.”

For tickets, sponsorship information or to donate to a scholarship, please contact Director of Advancement Elizabeth Devlin at edevlin@chesapeake.edu

A Museum on Main Street Event at KCPL

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Tom McHugh, Director Emeritus of The Mainstay in Rock Hall, and Ron Fithian, Rock Hall Town Manager, will show segments of their award-winning project: “Those Were the Days: The Golden Age of Rock Hall Watermen” and share highlights from their interviews and research for the documentary.

“Those Were the Days” features the amazing life of watermen, the Bay’s wondrous ability to sustain economic life, and the folktales and stories that accompanied this valued work, this way of life.  The full documentary contains eighteen interviews conducted with watermen and women who worked the water between 1945 and 1972 when Hurricane Agnes impacted their lives.  “Those Were the Days: The Golden Age of Rock Hall Watermen”was awarded a grant from Eastern Shore Heritage Inc.

Light refreshments will be served.  All are welcome at this free program.  For more information about this and other programs at KCPL, visit kentcountylibrary.org or call 410.778.3636.

The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland Humanities. For more information about Museum on Main Street events taking place in Kent County, visit Sumner Hall at garpost25.org/the-way-we-worked.

Wednesday, May 10 | 6pm
Chestertown Branch

Guided Tours as Part of “The Way We Worked”

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“The Way We Worked” takes to the streets starting April 29, with guided walking and driving tours of Chestertown and Kent County offering a unique perspective on local history, culture, and the ways in which work intertwines the two.

The series of tours, planned in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” traveling exhibition, begin on Saturday, April 29 with a walking tour of downtown Chestertown. Led by Patrick Nugent, deputy director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the tour will focus on the intersection of work history and African American history. Starting at Sumner Hall, the tour will wind its way through several historic African American neighborhoods, such as Scott’s Point and Santiago, tracking the expansion of African American work and culture from the riverfront to uptown factories and mills. Along the way, current and former residents will share their stories of work with stops at Church Alley, Janes Church, Cannon Street, the former Walley Funeral Home, Henry Highland Garnet Elementary School, and the site of the Uptown Club. For tour reservations email aceruzzi2@washcoll.edu

On Saturday, May 6, the Museums of Kent will host an open-house and driving tour.  Participants will have a chance to visit the wonderfully unique historic sites scattered throughout the county including the Bordley History Center; Massey Air Museum; Kent Farm Museum (agriculture, rural heritage); Knock’s Folly Visitor Center (farming, native American Tockwogh tribe); Betterton Heritage Museum (fishing and old recreation resorts); African American Schoolhouse; Cliffs School Museum; Rock Hall Museum; Tolchester Beach Revisited Museum, Rock Hall Waterman’s Museum; and Rock Hall Marine Restoration and Heritage Center. Maps and other information can be found at the Kent County Visitor Center at 400 High Street, Chestertown.

Tour Dates, Times, and Locations:

A Walk Through Working Chestertown:  Saturday, April 29: 10 AM – 1 PM, starts at Sumner Hall. Saturday, May 6: 10 AM – 1 PM, Starts at Sumner Hall. Reservations are recommended for both of these tours. For tour reservations email aceruzzi2@washcoll.edu

Museums of Kent Driving Tour

Saturday, May 6: 10 AM-4PM. Pick up maps and information at Kent County Visitor Center at 400 High Street, Chestertown.

“The Way We Worked” has been made possible in Maryland by Maryland Humanities and is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service brings high-quality traveling exhibits to small communities through their own Main Street museums, historical societies, and other cultural venues. Residents enthusiastically engage with exhibition content, and diverse community members come together to share and celebrate their heritage. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

WC-ALL is Planning for Fall!

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Washington College’s Academy of Lifelong Learning (WC-ALL) has offered a wonderful selection of courses to the community for well over 20 years.  There are well over 300 community members currently enrolled in WC-ALL’s Spring Semester. Many are retired people who enjoy stimulating discussions, sharing ideas and learning something new. Summer will arrive before we know it and then be gone in a flash; meanwhile WC-ALL is already planning for next fall.

Because organizing multiple classes on numerous subjects is a big task, the curriculum committee is now preparing the course lineup for the Fall Semester.  Members of the general community are invited to submit proposals for classes they would be interested in teaching.  The Fall Semester has two sessions; Session One runs from September 5 to October 13; Session Two from October 22 to December 8.  Classes generally meet once a week on campus in the late afternoon, four to six times during a session, although off-campus venues are occasionally used to accommodate larger classes or for the rare morning or evening course.  Courses may take a variety of forms—lectures, discussions, demonstrations, even off-campus excursions.

Instructors are volunteers as well as members of WC-ALL.  Some are retired college professors who enjoy teaching just for fun; other instructors have been involved in interesting or unusual careers and take pleasure sharing their accumulated knowledge and insights with others.  Lifelong hobbies and avocations also provide a great basis for developing a WC-ALL course that will appeal to like-minded enthusiasts.  The field is wide open and the curriculum committee looks forward to hearing new course ideas from members of the community.

Proposals for courses for WC-ALL’s Fall Semester should be received no later than Thursday, June 1st. They may be submitted online, by email or regular mail to WC-ALL, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, MD 21620.  For a proposal form or more information, please contact curriculum chair Ed Minch at ruby1638@atlanticbb.net or 410-778-0990 or WC-ALL administrator Sue Calloway at wc_all@washcoll.edu or 410-778-7221 during business hours (M,T, Th 9 to 12).  See you in class!

Celebrate Star Wars Day at KCPL

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Young padawans: join us this day you must! Celebrate Star Wars Day we will.

Children of all ages and their families are invited to an afternoon of Star Wars crafts featuring the ever-popular pool noodle light sabers! May the Fourth be with you as you get creative and enjoy the company of other Star Wars fans. Costumes optional, but welcome.

Kent County Public Library | Chestertown Branch
Wednesday, May 4 |4pm

Kent School to Host Preschool Meet and Greet

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Prospective parents and the public are invited to a Meet and Greet in the Little School at Kent School on Friday, April 21 at 9:00 am. Little School at Kent School serves three, four and five year-old children in a play-based learning environment that prepares young learners for success in Kindergarten and beyond.

The Meet and Greet session is designed for prospective parents and interested individuals to see the Little School program in action. Guests will have the opportunity to learn in detail about the School’s mission and approach to teaching preschool-aged children. Children are welcome to join their parent or guardian. The program begins at 9:00 a.m. with an overview and introduction in the Kent School Library. The session will continue in Little School where parents and guardians will be able to see students and teachers engaged in their morning routine. The program will conclude by 10:30 a.m.

The Little School curriculum focuses on phonological awareness, number sense, exploration and discovery through hands-on science activities, as well as Spanish, Physical Education, Music and Movement, Library and Reading Partners with Third Grade students. Julia Gross, Director of Little School said, “A distinction of the Little School at Kent School is our ability to take advantage of what the larger school has to offer. We go to Phys. Ed, Library, and Spanish. Our students have the opportunity to engage in all age-appropriate school activities and use its facilities, yet we have our own space specifically designed to meet the needs of preschool aged children.” Gross continued, “Our low student to teacher ratio allows us to get to know each student. Preschool aged children develop and reach milestones at different rates. Our job is to present new learning opportunities at the right time for each individual child. We have a lot of fun in the process. Little School truly is a joyful place.”

To register for the Little School Meet and Greet email admissions@kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world. For more information about Kent School visit www.kentschool.org.

Kent School to Host Poet Naomi Nye

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Naomi Nye will visit Kent School on May 1 and May 2. Nye is a prolific writer whose work touches all ages. On Monday, May 1, Nye hold a poetry reading and commentary at Kent School at 7:00 pm in the Library. The public is invited to attend this evening event. Books will be available for sale and can be signed by the author. Admission is free. On May 2, Nye will conduct poetry and writing workshops with Kent School students.  Her visit to Kent School is made possible by the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment.

Naomi Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent 40 years traveling the country and the world leading writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, Red Suitcase, Words under the Words, Fuel, and You & Yours (a best-selling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of Mint Snowball (paragraphs); Never in a Hurry and I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay?, Tales of Driving and Being Driven (essays); Habibi and Going, Going (novels for young readers); Baby Radar, Sitti’s Secrets, and Famous (picture books), and There Is No Long Distance Now (a collection of very short stories). Other works include several prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers, including Time You Let Me In, This Same Sky, The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle East, What Have You Lost?, and Transfer. Her collection of poems for young adults entitled Honeybee won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Her novel for children, The Turtle of Oman, was chosen both a Best Book of 2014 by The Horn Book and a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association. The Turtle of Oman was also awarded the 2015 Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature.

In preparation for this visit, Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School, presented each student with a book written by Naomi. The girls received A Maze Me: Poems for Girls and boys received The Turtle of Oman.

“It has been my privilege and great pleasure to know Naomi Nye for a few years and I have seen firsthand the way she engages students in the art of writing poetry and verse. We are truly looking forward  to her visit to inspire our community. I am excited to read the work our students will produce during her writing workshop and hope that our community will take part in the poetry reading. As a school we are celebrating National Poetry Month in April and it is the perfect lead into her visit on May 1 and May 2.Please join me for what promises to be a wonderful evening.”

Kent School, located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world. For more information about Kent School visit www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110.