WC’s Spring 2018 Concert Series Begins February 2, Offers Four Performances

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Washington College’s Spring 2018 Concert Series begins on February 2 and will include genres from chamber music to spirituals.

Each performance will be in Hotchkiss Recital Hall and begin at 7:30 p.m., except for the free concert on February 2, which will be held at noon. Tickets for all other performances are $20 (adults), $15 (non-WC College students/seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff), and $12 (1782 Member). WC students and youth 18 and under are free.

Trio Simpatico

On February 2, The Concert Series welcomes Trio Simpatico, which performs eclectic chamber music with an orchestral bent. Simpatico’s unusual instrumentation of clarinet, horn, and piano borrows from orchestral timbres. Audiences have remarked, that the trio “sounds like a whole orchestra.”

Simpatico’s members are Phyllis Crossen-Richardson (clarinet), Heidi Brown (French Horn), and Matthew Bachman (piano). All three are active performers and teachers in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore metropolitan area and have collaborated on many projects for the past six years.

Lori Kesner, Dan Shomper, Woobin Park

On February 8, The Concert Series presents The Evolution of Negro Spirituals, a performance by lyric-dramatic baritone, Thomas Beard, accompanied by Julia Morris-Myers and dancer Leandria Gilliam. Beard is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 2003 he became the first African-American male singer to be chosen by tenor Placido Domingo to be a part of Washington National Opera’s Placido Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, working directly under the maestro’s tutelage. Beard has performed for U.S. senators, governors, and ambassadors in concerts at embassies and concert halls across the country. He was also invited to perform as special guest soloist by former First Lady Laura Bush at an invitation-only event at the White House.

There will be a reception after the concert.

On February 15, Washington College presents Lori Kesner (flute), Dan Shomper (cello), and Woobin Park (piano), performing works by George Crumb, Carl Maria von Weber, Bohuslav Martinu, and Astor Piazzolla. All three performers currently teach at Washington College.

An award-winning musician and scholar, Kesner enjoys a distinguished and active career as both a performing flutist and world music lecturer. As an experienced and actively sought orchestral flutist, she performs regularly with the Annapolis Symphony, Annapolis Opera, and Mid-Atlantic Symphony in Maryland. Shomper is a performer and teacher in the Washington DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area. The Baltimore Sun praised his virtuoso playing, masterful performance, and lyrical expression. Noted for her commanding stage presence and elegant musicianship, Park has appeared throughout the United States and South Korea with various types of solo and chamber recitals as well as collaboration with renowned orchestras.

On March 29, The Concert Series presents John Thomas (saxophone) and Teodora Adzharova (piano), performing a mixture of classical chamber works and jazz standards. John Thomas spans the chasm between the concert and jazz saxophone worlds. He is currently a lecturer in music at Washington College, teaching applied clarinet and saxophone as well as leading the Woodwind and Jazz ensembles at the college. Teodora Adzharova was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and began piano study at age 7.  By the time she graduated from high school, she had won national and international competitions in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Macedonia, and the Czech Republic. She is currently the Peabody Accompanying Coordinator, and teaches piano at the Conservatory.

Individual tickets for these events can be purchased online with a credit card via EventBrite on the Concert Series website (http://washcoll.edu/concert), or with cash or check at the door.  Inquiries and ticket holds can be sent to Debbie Reed at 410-778-7839 or concertseries@washcoll.edu.

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 washcoll.edu.

Exhibit on the Ongoing Impact of Islamic Art at WC’s Kohl Gallery

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In its first show of 2018, Washington College’s Kohl Gallery is presenting “Geometric Aljamía: A Cultural Transliteration,” an exhibition revisiting the ongoing impact of Islamic art, science, and philosophy throughout the world today. The show runs from Jan. 25 through March 6, and an opening reception, free and open to the public, will be Jan. 25 starting at 5 p.m.

“Geometric Aljamía: A Cultural Transliteration” is a group exhibition of American and Middle Eastern artists who consider two-dimensional geometry in art, showing hybrid connections between Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and the Middle East. Geometric ornamentation and diverse ethnic patterns from the Islamic world are incorporated into works of art.

The six artists first met during the 2013 Tasmeem Conference in Doha, Qatar: Tamin Sahebzada, Mohammed Saleh Amin, Reni Gower, Hanane Korchi, Sahebzada, Jorge Benitez, and Julia Townsend. The exhibition examines an extended cross-cultural integration of the arts into life.

On Feb. 1, Benjamin Tilghman, assistant professor of art and art history, will give a talk in the gallery delving into the exhibition. The talk runs from 4:30 and is free and open to the public.

Partial funding is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University, VCUarts, and the VCU Printing and Printmaking Department.

Kohl Gallery at Washington College’s Gibson Center for the Arts is open Wednesday to Friday, 1-6p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 11-4p.m.

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 washcoll.edu.

The Legacy of Fireworks at Washington College

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An artist’s rendering of “Radiant Echo,” the light sculpture to be installed  at Washington College as seen from the green

Former Washington College President Joseph McLain is remembered for many things – but his most enduring legacy may well be the tradition of fireworks displays at the college.

Joseph McLain shares a laugh with students

McLain, a chemistry professor with a lifelong interest in pyrotechnics, attended Washington College as an undergraduate. After college, he served in the World War II chemical corps, working on such projects as an improved hand grenade fuse and underwater cutting torches. After the war, he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Johns Hopkins, then returned to Washington College to teach. Over the course of his career, he made the college a center for the study of fireworks, both in the academic community and in the commercial fireworks industry. His work focused, among other things, on improving fireworks ignition systems so as to avoid timing errors, which can be dangerous as well as spoiling the artistic effect of a display. He became the 22nd president of the college in 1973 and served until his death in 1981 — the only alumnus ever to fill the position. McLain was also responsible for establishing the annual Fourth of July fireworks show in Chestertown, which he staged on the Washington College campus.

John Conkling

In 1969, McLain hired one of his former students – John Conkling, also a Hopkins Ph.D. – to join the chemistry faculty at the college. McLain steered Conkling toward the study of pyrotechnics, which resulted in the first federal safety standards for fireworks, jointly created by the two and enacted in 1976 by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. In 1985, Conkling resigned his full-time teaching position to become Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association– a position he held until 1998. He continued to teach adjunct courses without taking a salary, and hosted the annual Summer Pyrotechnics Seminars at Washington College.

Largely because of the legacy of McLain and Conkling, fireworks displays have become a tradition at Washington College, welcoming students back to campus in the fall and celebrating graduation and other occasions such as the inauguration of current president Kurt Landgraf. Residents near the college often come out to see the shows, which are visible and audible from a wide area of the town.

Chestertown also had a history of fireworks before McLain, most notably with the Kent Manufacturing plant, which, beginning in 1941, produced defense materiel for World War II and then added fireworks to its line after the war. After his return to Chestertown, McLain became a partner in the business, along with founder Tony Fabrizi, whom he had met during his time in the service. That venture came to an end when a fire and explosion destroyed the plant in 1954. But McLain continued to work with the pyrotechnics industry, with a special interest in safety standards.

Now, to create a more permanent monument to McLain, Conkling and their pyrotechnics work, McLain’s daughter Lynn McLain, is raising funds for “Radiant  Echo,” an innovative art installation planned for the atrium of the Toll Science Center at the college. Intended to serve as an enduring art piece for the college and the town of Chestertown, “Radant Echo,” designed by Flux Studio of Baltimore, will be a three- dimensional grid of LED fixtures suspended in the 3-story atrium. The fixtures, which will hang to within 14 feet of the floor, will flash and flicker in emulation of a fireworks display, with chrome spheres suspended within the field to reflect and amplify the lights. According to a prospectus for the program, “As with fireworks, spectators will know that something will happen, but they won’t know exactly what, or exactly when.”

An artist’s rendering of”Radiant Echo” as seen from inside the atrium

The prospectus adds, “The choreography of the sculpture will draw from both the chemical behavior of fireworks and the phenomenal experience of observing them, contrasting familiar aerial exploding with inward collapsing at the atomic scale.” It will be programmed to operate in two states, depending on the time of day. Its default, resting state will feature short bursts of light at the outer edges of the sculpture, a “momentary flickering at the corner of one’s eye that vanishes almost as soon as it appears.” In its nighttime, or active, state, the tentative flickerings will “crescendo and then explode, piercing the darkness and dissolving into a cascading shower of light. At times the whole sculpture will erupt in a cacophony of explosions, recalling the grand finale of a fireworks show.” The displays will be visible from the campus green outside Toll Science Center and from Washington Avenue.as well as to those inside the building.

“Radiant Echo” will also have an educational function. Glenn Shrum, who designed the sculpture, plans to teach an interdisciplinary workshop while the piece is being installed. Also, college faculty will be able to use the sculpture in their classes on physics, chemistry, psychology, computer programming, and art. And as part of its installation, there will be a symposium on fireworks drawing on many different disciplines. There will also be a public honoring of Dr. Conkling and his wife Sandy.

Lynn McLain said on Jan. 7 that she hopes fundraising for the project will be completed within the year. Installation of the project is expected to take 14 to 16 months, she said. The final contacts for the construction of the project are in process.

To help promote the project, Lynn McLain has written an illustrated coffee-table book, For the Love of Fireworks, published in 2017. Proceeds from the book will help to fund the creation of “Radiant Echo.” The book is full of fascinating detail and would make a great gift. The book explores the history and cultural associations of fireworks, and includes a series of trivia questions such as when fireworks were invented, where the largest fireworks display on record took place, components used in their manufacture, and so forth. For the Love of Fireworks is available online at $56.99 from Amazon and other online booksellers.  Or buy the book, hard or softcover, directly from author McLain at http://www.loveoffireworks.com .   The price is the same and a direct purchase, McLain said, will result in a larger contribution to the project.

Fundraising is underway to cover the estimated $250,000 cost of building and installing “Raidant Echo.” McLain said on Jan. 7 that the campaign had raised just over $100,000. To contribute to the effort, contact Lynn McLain at 410-778-4515 or lmclain@ubalt.edu.  You can also contribute through the Washington College Office of Advancement at 410-778-7801. Checks can be made out to the Washington College Office of Advancement, with “Atrium Sculpture Project” in the memo line. The address is Washington College Office of Advancement,  300 Washington Ave.,  Chestertown, MD 21620.

And then look forward to fabulous firework displays on Washington College campus, both real and simulated via “Radiant Echo.”

 

 

 

Need a New Year’s Resolution? Sign Up for Lifelong Learning at Washington College

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Make a New Year’s resolution to rediscover the joy of learning with Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning’s exciting Spring Semester course line-up! There will be no quizzes, papers, or final exams – just learning for the joy of it. Plan to attend Spring Showcase on Thursday, January 11 at 4:00 pm in Hotchkiss Recital Hall on the Washington College Campus to meet teachers, enjoy refreshments and conversation, and learn about the 22 afternoon classes being offered between January 28 and April 27, 2018.

There are classes for every interest and passion.  Highlights of Session 1 (January 28-March 9) include “Sunday at the Movies: A Foreign Touch” with Nancy Hartman, featuring movies from 6 different countries. “From Fake News to Facebook” by Patrick McNabb will explore the new science of media psychology and offer ways to keep up with the breakneck changes in modern mass media and discern fact from fiction. “Technology in Kent County” with Dick Swanson will host a representative from a different local company each week to talk about their business and how technology is used as a key component in bringing their products to market. Health and wellness, astronomy, history, philosophy, and current topics in literature round out the offerings for the first session.

Session 2 (March 18-April 27) has more for literature lovers with “American Immigrant Literature” by Jean Austin and a reading of John Barth’s Eastern Shore historical satire, The Sot-Weed Factor with Jim Block. Cinema offerings will continue with “Latin American Film” by George Shivers, “Silent Cinema: An Introduction” by John Wieczoreck, and another round of “Sunday at the Movies” featuring Asian films. Nautical enthusiasts will enjoy “They Call It a Ditch” about the history and commerce of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by Jack Shaum and the “History of Yacht Design” by Hanson Robbins. Great Decisions, 21st century international art, how to write an op-ed piece for publication, and many more courses on topics of high interest will also be offered.

Ready to learn? WC-ALL is the place for you! You can check out the full course catalog at http://www.washcoll.edu/offices/wc-all/what-were-studying.php/. Sign up for classes at Showcase, on-line, or by mail by Tuesday, January 16. For more information call the WC-ALL office at 410-778-7221.

Really Good Stuff: Washington College, Faculty and Staff Donates $28,000 to Local United Way

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Washington College is donating $28,000 to United Way of Kent County, after 82 faculty and staff responded to President Kurt Landgraf’s pledge to match whatever they contributed.

“I am just so proud of the Washington College community, and I appreciate the generosity and caring of this faculty and staff,” Landgraf says. “This United Way campaign result is yet another indication that we take our mission seriously—they’re not just words on a document, but a living action statement to support our community.”

In late fall, Landgraf asked College employees to consider signing up for a payroll deduction to United Way of Kent County, pledging that he would match whatever they raised. Last year, eight employees gave through the payroll deduction for a total of $1,248. As of December 14, 82 employees had signed up for a total donation of $13,944. Landgraf matched this with $14,000.

“Many members of our Washington College community, including students, staff, and faculty, have had close associations with United Way agencies in a number of capacities,” says Sarah Feyerherm, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and a member of United Way of Kent County’s Board of Directors. “But this recent financial commitment is emblematic of a recognition that we are all partners in improving the lives of Kent County residents. Kurt’s leadership and generosity was just contagious, and the response from our employees was heartwarming. My hope is that this is just the start of a sustained partnership between the College and the United Way of Kent County.”

United Way of Kent County raises and distributes funding to multiple organizations, with a focus on improving the health, education, and financial stability of Kent County residents. In addition to the College’s donations through the workplace campaign, the College has directly supported or provided resources for many United Way member organizations including Character Counts! Kent County, the Kent Center, St. Martin’s Ministries, the Community Food Pantry, Camp Fairlee/Easter Seals, Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council, Kent Forward, For All Seasons, Echo Hill Outdoor School, and the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence.

Early in his tenure as Washington College President, Landgraf made United Way of Kent County a priority as a way for the College to do more to support the surrounding community.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I grew up an orphan. I know what it’s like to seriously need the help of others,” Landgraf says. “This is one of the reasons that I have always been a big supporter of the United Way, and why, as soon as I came to Washington College, I got involved in United Way of Kent County. I know how much good this organization can do. And I want to make sure that everybody at our College knows how much good it can do, how it can lift up whole segments of our community’s population that need help the most.”

Washington College Students Bring Food, Fellowship to Community Table

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Margot Patois (foreground, left) and other WC students serve local residents who are attending the Community Table dinner.

In the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church in Chestertown, excitement comes on a Monday evening in the form of enormous tin trays, as Washington College students Rose Adelizzi, Felicia Attor, and Lizzie Massey uncover them one at a time.

“Oh, that looks yummy!” says Cheryl Hoopes, a neighbor and volunteer at the Community Table, a dinner that happens every Monday night in the church’s fellowship hall. “Oh, my goodness, it’s still coming, guys! Turkey!” She helps the students and other volunteers uncover the dishes one by one—rice, some kind of mushroom and pasta casserole, roasted veggies—prepping them to go out onto three long tables that will serve as the buffet line once dinner begins. “We love it when the students come,” Hoopes says. “They’re just wonderful. It’s like Christmas every week for us.”

The students are members of Washington College’s Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) and its Food Recovery Network (FRN) chapter. Every Monday evening, they show up with leftover food from the College’s dining hall and contribute it to other food prepared for the Community Table, a weekly gathering that draws a wide range of local residents to share a meal together. The students help set up, serve, and dine with those who have come to dinner. Sometimes only a few are able to come; tonight, nearly a dozen students are helping.

Melia Greene, Felicia Attor, and Rose Adelizzi deliver food to the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church.

“We usually sit down and eat with them, get to know them, and it’s fun when you go into town and someone says, ‘Oh, you served food at the dinner!’ It’s nice to be connected to the town in that way,’’ says sophomore Gillian Heckert-Mitchell, an anthropology major who is now in her second semester of participating in the FRN. “It’s by far my favorite thing of the week. It gets you off the campus, and I just like to serve and meet the community.”

Like many other clubs on campus, the Student Environmental Alliance wanted to become more directly involved with something that served the larger community, says junior Samantha Trikeriotis, a psychology major and the current head of the FRN. Last year, several students worked to create a local chapter of the FRN, a national organization that mobilizes students on college campuses to prevent food waste by donating food that would not otherwise be used.

Don Stanwick, Director of Dining Services, helped the students get organized. The program is now in its third semester, going strong, and he’s encouraging the students to expand it. Stanwick says that Dining Services tries to forecast its menu for the day, estimating how much of a particular dish it will need for the College. Much of the time, leftover food goes into another meal for students, especially soups, he says. But if there’s a large portion that can’t, for whatever reason, be used in time or for another meal, Stanwick says that becomes food for the FRN.

“In the past, it got tossed, and it was just a waste,” he says. “This allows us to give food to somebody who needs food, and that’s why we like the program and we like to support it. It helps out. It’s one of those things that everyone can be involved in. You just have to give a little bit of your time.”

As of November 20, students had recovered 1,207 pounds of food during the fall semester, Trikeriotis says. They head to the dining hall at about 4 p.m. in the afternoon on Mondays and get trays of food, already heated and in a rolling food insulator that the students then drive down to the church. Working with other volunteers from the community, they set up and serve soup, salad, fresh veggies, and multiple entrees. A new addition this year is composting; the students have expanded the College’s composting program to include as much as possible from the Community Table dinner.

“It’s just another way to close the gap on food waste,” says sophomore Melia Greene, who heads up the SEA’s composting program. “It’s fun to teach people about it. Instead of wasting so much, we can teach them to give back.”

Students serving soup and salad wear their FRN ballcaps.

Pastor David Ryan says the Community Table typically draws 100 to 125 people each week. Some of them depend on the meal financially, and for others, it’s a way to connect to their community. People of all ages and backgrounds attend. About six volunteer cooks join up to 10 other volunteers who team up with the College students to provide the food, set up, serve, and clean up.

“It’s for everyone to participate,” Ryan says. “What’s wonderful to me is that people talk about diversity, but here they sit together and stand in line together. There are older people who are fine financially, but they don’t want to eat alone. We really try to serve everyone… being together is part of why we are doing this.”

Chestertown resident Pat Pardee attends nearly every Monday with her husband, Alvin. “It’s always very good,” she says. “You get all kinds of people. No matter who you are, you’re welcome. And it’s nice they have so many College students helping.”

Like many of the students, Trikeriotis says she’d never done anything like this before, and now, it’s something she looks forward to every week.

“Everyone here is really friendly,” she says. “Everyone is really kind, and they’re excited to see all the Washington College students.”

WC-ALL Spring Courses

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Make a New Year’s resolution to rediscover the joy of learning with Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning’s exciting Spring Semester course line-up! There will be no quizzes, papers, or final exams – just learning for the joy of it. Plan to attend Spring Showcase on Thursday, January 11 at 4:00 pm in Hotchkiss Recital Hall on the Washington College Campus to meet teachers, enjoy refreshments and conversation, and learn about the 22 afternoon classes being offered between January 28 and April 27, 2018.

Jim Block wears cap and Sandwich Board at First Friday to let people know about WC-All’s fall schedule. while George Shivers studies the course selection.

There are classes for every interest and passion.  Highlights of Session 1 (January 28-March 9) include “Sunday at the Movies: A Foreign Touch” with Nancy Hartman, featuring movies from 6 different countries. “From Fake News to Facebook” by Patrick McNabb will explore the new science of media psychology and offer ways to keep up with the breakneck changes in modern mass media and discern fact from fiction. “Technology in Kent County” with Dick Swanson will host a representative from a different local company each week to talk about their business and how technology is used as a key component in bringing their products to market. Health and wellness, astronomy, history, philosophy, and current topics in literature round out the offerings for the first session.

Session 2 (March 18-April 27) has more for literature lovers with “American Immigrant Literature” by Jean Austin and a reading of John Barth’s Eastern Shore historical satire, The Sot-Weed Factor with Jim Block. Cinema offerings will continue with “Latin American Film” by George Shivers, “Silent Cinema: An Introduction” by John Wieczoreck, and another round of “Sunday at the Movies” featuring Asian films. Nautical enthusiasts will enjoy “They Call It a Ditch” about the history and commerce of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by Jack Shaum and the “History of Yacht Design” by Hanson Robbins. Great Decisions, 21st century international art, how to write an op-ed piece for publication, and many more courses on topics of high interest will also be offered.

Ready to learn? WC-ALL is the place for you! You can check out the full course catalog here. Sign up for classes at Showcase, on-line, or by mail by Tuesday, January 16. For more information call the WC-ALL office at 410-778-7221.

Hodson Trust Grants $3.5 Million to WC for Student Scholarship Endowment

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The Hodson Trust, whose generosity has supported hundreds of Washington College students over 81 years, this year is donating $3.5 million to endow student scholarships. Representatives of the Trust, which has been the largest single benefactor to the College, presented the gift to College President Kurt Landgraf on December 7.

“It is hard to overstate how critical this funding is for our students and programs, and how much we appreciate the loyal support that The Hodson Trust continues to show Washington College,” Landgraf says. “We believe that the education and opportunities we offer to undergraduates are unparalleled, and we are grateful to Chairman Gerald Holm and the Hodson trustees for seeing that value and consistently supporting it with this endowment funding.”

This year’s donation provides$2.75 million to the Hodson Merit Scholarship endowment, and $750,000 to the George’s Brigade scholarship endowment. Already this academic year, as a result of previous Hodson gifts, 105 students are receiving an average merit scholarship in the amount of $21,000, for a total of $2.2 million from Hodson Trust-funded scholarship endowments.

“The need is great,” Landgraf says. “Gifts such as this generous scholarship funding from The Hodson Trust are invaluable for our students in their ambition to attain the strong foundation that a college education in the liberal arts and sciences provides.”

The Hodson Trust is the school’s largest single benefactor. Starting with a grant of $18,191.12 in 1935, the Trust has given Washington College nearly $80 million. The Trust that was established in 1920 by the family of Colonel Clarence Hodson benefits four Maryland educational institutions: Washington College, Hood College, St. John’s College of Annapolis, and The Johns Hopkins University. Colonel Hodson, who received the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws,from Washington College in 1922, served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors from 1920 until his death in 1928.

Colonel Hodson, who grew up in Somerset County, Maryland, founded the Beneficial Loan Society to make small loans available to working-class Americans at affordable interest rates.  This groundbreaking business grew into the Beneficial Corporation, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the United States.  An initial investment of $100 grew over the ensuing decades into a trust that has awarded more than $240 million to the four beneficiary institutions. For more information, visit www.hodsontrust.org.

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 washcoll.edu.

“The “Greening” of the Past – “The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” on December 9 at Washington College

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Illustration of the French Religious Wars between Catholics and Huguenots by a contemporaneous artist Frans Hogenberg (1535 – 1590)

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The human casualties of four decades of intermittent civil “Dominion and Domain: The French Wars of Religion and the Environment” will discuss this question and the development of a history of modern eco-consciousness–the “greening” of the past. Jeff Persels, associate professor in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures, will lead this conversation of 16th-century France’s potential contributions to that history.

The French Wars of Religion, also known as the Huguenot Wars, lasted from 1562-1598 — 36 years and one month — although there was not constant fighting. It began in the era of Catherine de Medici, the queen-mother of France, and was the second deadliest European religious war. (The deadliest was the Thirty Years’ War, 1618 -1648, which took over eight million lives in what is now Germany.) But there was more than religion at stake.

The talk, sponsored by the William James Forum and the Center for Environment & Society, is set for December 9 at 11:15 a.m. in Hynson Lounge and is free and open to the public.

Persels’ research interests focus on early modern French prose and verse polemic. He teaches courses in early modern French literature and culture, French theater, contemporary French culture and society and European Studies. He also stages student and amateur French-language plays, most recently an original co-authored creation at the Columbia Museum of Art, Tableaux vivants, tableaux parlants (March 2013). He and his wife Brigitte write, produce, and perform puppet shows in French based on classic children’s tales. His publications include FLS 39. The Environment in/and French and Francophone Literature and Film (editor and introduction, Rodopi 2012), and he is currently working on a manuscript called Man Bites God: The Ludic Quality of Early Modern French Religious Polemic, as well as an adaptation for the English-language stage of Montaigne’s Essais.

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 washcoll.edu.

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