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.

Aztecs to Zentangle ™ – WC-ALL Covers it All in 26 Courses


Here they are!  The Washington College -Academy of Lifelong Learning Fall 2017 Courses.  The registration deadline is Tuesday, August 22.  There are two sessions.  Session 1 runs from Sept 5 to October 13.  Session 2 starts on October 22 and runs through December 8.

Session 1 (September 5 – October 13*)

  • “Hidden Treasures” Movies, Part I – Nancy Hartman (Sunday)
  • Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse”: A Close Reading – Jim Block (Monday)
  • Spies, Codebreakers & Deception Artists – Mike Roberts (Monday)
  • Counter Parts – Jane Hukill/Dick Hawkins (Tuesday)
  • Aztecs & Incas: Their Cultures & the Spanish ConquestJ. Sherbondy/G. Shivers (Tuesday)
  • They Also Ran: 19th Century Presidential Losers – Conway Gregory (Wednesday)
  • When Poetry & Music Meet – Jay & Sierra Stearns (Wednesday)
  • Current Topics in BusinessWashington College Dept. of Business Mgmt Faculty (Wednesday)
  • Darwin & Darwinism – John Ames/Don Munson (Thursday)
  • iPhone Photography-A Gentle Introduction – Dick Lance (Thursday)
  • Bond and Beyond – John Wieczoreck (Thursday)
  • The Magic of the Opera XIV – AIDA – Judie Oberholtzer (Friday)
  • Gun Control & the Second Amendment – James Astrachan (Friday)

Session 2 (October 22 – December 8*)

  • “Hidden Treasures” Movies, Part II – Nancy Hartman (Sunday)
  • Zentangle ™ Drawing – Charlotte Hawes (Monday)
  • Middle East Outlook: 2017 & Beyond – “Great” Again?! – Pat Patterson (Monday)
  • Stories of Knightly Combat & Courtly Love – Jim Campbell (Tuesday)
  • Talking About Islam – Sue Kenyon (Tuesday)
  • Why We Do What We DO – Ralph Surette (Tuesday)
  • Ancient Middle East & Egypt Through Their Art – Beverly Hall Smith (Wednesday)
  • Notable & Notorious American Men – Lucia Rather (Wednesday)
  • Learn to Edit Your Photos to Create Your Own “Masterpiece” – Steve Kane (Wednesday)
  • Windows 10-A Gentle Introduction – Dick Lance (Thursday)
  • Climate Change: A Primer on an Unfolding Disaster – Ben Orrick (Thursday)
  • The Music of James Bond – John Wieczoreck (Thursday)
  • The Supreme Court: Top Hits of the 2016 Term – John Christie (Friday)

The full catalog and registration information are available on the WC-ALL website.or call 410-778-7221.

Showcase is Thursday, August 17 at 4:00 pm at the Hotchkiss Recital Hall on the Washington College Campus. Learn about each course and meet instructors.  Refreshments will be served; all are welcome. Registration by web or mail-in begins on August 1 and closes on August 22, and may also be done at Showcase.

*No classes held Labor Day weekend or the week of Thanksgiving.

WC-All Registration Deadline Tuesday, August 22

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 .





Washington College Academy of Life-Long Learning Invites Community to Fall Showcase


Fall semester courses and upcoming special events for Washington College’s Academy of Lifelong Learning will be showcased at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 17 at the Hotchkiss Recital Hall on the college campus. The program is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required.

Showcase is an opportunity for WC-ALL current and potential members to learn about fall semester classes from the instructors themselves as each presents a brief overview of his or her course. At a reception afterwards, there will be an opportunity to meet instructors personally, ask questions, discuss classes in more depth, and enjoy refreshments and conversation with fellow learners.

Twenty-six courses will be offered over two six-week sessions, running September 5 – October 13 and October 22 – December 8, with no classes Labor Day weekend or the week of Thanksgiving. Courses range from history to music, the environment to photography, foreign policy, literature, movies, and more. Click here for fall catalog and registration information or call 410-778-7221. Registration and course selection begins on August 1 and closes on August 22, and may also be done at Showcase.

Founded in 1992 and now in its 25th year, WC-ALL was created for adults who seek intellectual stimulation without requirements for educational credit. There are neither age nor academic restrictions to membership. Each semester approximately 400 members register for as many classes as they wish for one inclusive fee.

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.

Hands-on Archaeology for Washington College Students


Washington College students work with scientists at an Indian archaeological site  near the Patuxent River

Just about every little kid loves digging in the dirt. For anthropology major Barbara MacGuigan, it’s a passion she has yet to outgrow, and her experience this summer as part of a new archaeological collaboration between Washington College and the Lost Towns Project is only feeding that fire.

Barbara MacGuigan

“I like finding things, and the stories the artifacts can tell, and what they tell us about the people who owned them and made them. That’s really the big reason I got into archaeology,” she says. “A lot of stories get lost, and I’d like to see if we can find them again, try and piece things together and try to understand them better so we can relate to each other as humans and try not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

MacGuigan, a rising junior, and Shannon Lawn, a rising senior who is also an anthropology major, are spending four weeks at River Farm on Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, an area of the Patuxent River about 45 miles upstream from the Chesapeake Bay. Under the guidance of Julie Markin, assistant professor of anthropology, the two are helping excavate a site where Native Americans lived as many as 12,000 years ago, and which now is being threatened by higher tides and sea level rise.

Shannon Lawn examines an artifact

The site, under excavation through a collaboration of the Lost Towns Project, Anne Arundel County, the Archaeological Society of Maryland, and now Washington College, is part of a larger region of historical and archaeological significance, says Stephanie Sperling, River Farm field director.

“This is a 1,300-foot-long flood plain, and this site is continuous with Native American occupation and colonial occupation as well,” Sperling said.

Markin was looking for a way to engage students with her research and expand the kinds of archaeological internships available when she approached Sperling with the possibility of a long-term research collaboration. Sperling said the new partnership with Markin at Washington College will help accelerate a long-term research plan to understand the cultural landscape through the years. “Their students, resources, and academic abilities will help us understand the site in a completely different way,” Sperling said.

According to Markin, “As the employment market has become more competitive, working on a professional excavation provides our anthropology graduates the skills that will make them more marketable and gives them a leg up in terms of archaeological networking.”

For MacGuigan and Lawn, it’s an excellent opportunity to literally get their hands dirty, applying what they learn in the classroom with field techniques. Lawn says she has learned how to use a magnetometer to discern subterranean abnormalities, how to survey and lay out grids, how to open a unit—a 5-by-5 foot square which is systematically excavated—how to collect artifacts, use screens to find them, and properly identify features such as soil layer changes that are clues to the past.

Barbara MacGuigan and Julie Markin at the site

“It’s not the stereotypical internship experience you would expect,” Lawn said. “It’s more like an expanded classroom where everyone is trying to help you because they know it’s beneficial to the dig and it’s beneficial to you as a person and an archaeologist to move forward.”

Markin said the collaboration at River Farm gives the students invaluable perspective that classroom learning simply can’t provide.

“They can actually see the field methods and theories learned in a traditional classroom out here by being engaged in archaeology and developing their own research questions, and thinking ‘How can I answer this with a shovel, a window screen, and a few Sharpies?’ ’’ she said. “You don’t get that without being in the field. They have a much better appreciation of what archaeology is, and a better grasp of what they can do with that information and communicate it to the public.”

Working at the River Farm site also affords Markin a greater opportunity to explore questions about how food production moves from small-scale, household systems to intensive, large-scale systems that support chiefs and a growing elite class.

“What historical accounts of American Indian societies in the early 17th-century mid-Atlantic tell us is that not every social group inevitably moves in this direction,” Markin said. “So what we try to piece together from the archaeological record is the constellation of factors —environmental, social, religious—that come together to set a society on this path to inequality.”

WC Receives $1 Million Gift to Support Study of Classical World


Andrea Trisciuzzi, vice president for college advancement, accepts two checks totaling over $1 million from William Creager, executor of the estate of a couple who made the gift anonymously to Washington College.

A couple who visited Chestertown regularly for over 30 years has bequeathed more than $1 million to Washington College as an endowment for the study of the Classical world. The couple, who chose to remain anonymous for their gift, were not College alumni, although they were members of The 1782 Society, the College’s leadership giving society, and often attended events on campus.

“They enjoyed Chestertown and the influence the College had on the quality of life here,” says a local resident, also choosing anonymity, who was friends with the pair for some 50 years. “They particularly enjoyed the Washington College Concert Series every year.”

The donors intend for the bequest to encourage development of new academic opportunities and to sustain the work of faculty members already involved in areas of study related to the Classical world. The funds could support the hiring of instructors; library materials; new and existing courses in the literature, history, art, philosophy, or religion (including the study of mythology) of the Classical world; faculty research; and honoraria and expenses for visiting lecturers.

“The study of the Classical world has always been a key component of a liberal arts education,” says Patrice DiQuinzio, Provost and Dean of the College, “and we are thrilled to have this fund to support the work of Washington College faculty who teach courses related to that era.”

“This is truly a remarkable and generous gift,” says College President Kurt M. Landgraf. “It’s clear that Washington College connects with people in sometimes unexpected ways that remind us why we do what we do. The relationship between the College and the town of Chestertown is strong, with powerful potential. This couple saw a local opportunity to affect generations to come, in a meaningful way, and we are deeply grateful.”

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.