Andrew Oros to Speak at the Rose O’Neill Literary House Feb. 11


Washington College’s Andrew Oros, Professor of Political Science and International Studies and author of Japan’s Security Renaissance, will be at the Rose O’Neill Literary House for a faculty tea and talk on Monday, Feb.11, as part of the spring Literary House Series. The event at 4:30 p.m. is free and open to the public.

Oros will discuss some themes from his latest book, Japan’s Security Renaissance, in relation to the accession of a new emperor in Japan on May 1. This shift will be marked by the naming of a new era for Japan, yet to be announced—officially ending the Heisei era (“shining peace”) of Emperor Akihito that began in 1989. Japan will face many challenges in this new era, including the threats of a nuclear-armed North Korea, growing military power and ambitions in China, and uncertainty about the continuing U.S. role in East Asia under President Donald Trump.

Oros is a specialist in the international and comparative politics of East Asia and the advanced industrial democracies, with an emphasis on contending approaches to managing security and the linkage between domestic and international politics. He also serves as Associate Dean for International Education, providing oversight and strategic guidance for Washington College’s Global Education Office, the Office of English Language Learning, and international education-related issues College-wide.

He is the author of Japan’s Security Renaissance: New Policies and Politics for the 21st Century (Columbia University Press, 2017) and of Normalizing Japan: Politics, Identity, and the Evolution of Security Practice (Stanford University Press, 2008). He is also the co-author of Global Security Watch: Japan (Praeger Press, 2010) and the co-editor of and contributor to Japan’s New Defense Establishment: Institutions, Capabilities, and Implications (Stimson Center, 2007), Can Japan Come Back? (Pacific Council, 2003), and Culture in World Politics (Macmillan Press, 1998). Oros has shared his research in over a dozen scholarly articles and newspaper opinion pieces, in numerous mass-media quotations in publications like The New York Times and Time Magazine, and on air on BBC, NPR, CNN International, and CCTV, as well as in lectures to policymakers in Washington D.C., Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin, and elsewhere.

For more information on these events or the Literary House, visit the website at, or view the annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: For more information about Washington College’s international programming, visit the Global Education Office’s website here:

Washington College to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 21


Students and faculty at Washington College have planned a series of events that will take place throughout campus on Monday, January 21 to honor the great American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A concert by the Grammy-nominated M.S.G. Acoustic Blues Trio caps off a day of community service and learning led by the college’s Black Student Union.

The M.S.G. Acoustic Blues Trio concert will take place at 5:30 pm in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. The trio offers an evening of classics for the community to sing along to – acoustic blues, roots, spiritual music, and house-party tunes that are both uplifting and heart-wrenching, performed in the legendary Piedmont style. The band includes the accomplished harmonica player Jackie Merritt, Miles Spicer on guitar, and lead vocalist and percussionist Rosa Gibbs. Sponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the concert is free and open to the public.

The Martin Luther King Day of Service and Learning kicks off with an “MLK Read-In” at 2:00 p.m. on Martha Washington Square (in the case of inclement weather, the location will be Gibson Center for the Arts). Washington College students, staff, and faculty will recite some of King’s most famous readings and speeches, including the I Have A Dream speech. Local students and community members are invited to join in with their own selected readings, poetry, and reflections on what Martin Luther King, Jr. means to them. Participating students and community members will be given priority to share their thoughts and readings at the speak-in.

From 4:00 – 5:00 pm volunteers will gather in The Egg in Hodson Hall to pack supplies for the Caring for Kids Backpack Program. This program provides lunches to qualifying elementary and middle school programs throughout the weekends when they do not have the support of school lunches.

“I have never looked at MLK Day as a day off, but instead as a day of serving those around me…our vision is to allow the community and students to have a day where they can serve each other in a meaningful way that would honor MLK and his service to the nation,” says Paris Mercier, president of Washington College’s Black Student Union.

This year’s campus event celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. coincides with the return of Washington College students from winter break. It offers an ideal opportunity for the community to come together in a meaningful way to renew their own commitment to King’s work in civil rights, social justice, and economic equality.

For more information contact Starr Center Deputy Director Patrick Nugent at or 410-810-7157.

Washington College Donates $43K to United Way of Kent County


Washington College will donate $43,130 to United Way of Kent County this year, a sum made possible through payroll deductions and donations from 89 participating staff and faculty and a match from College President Kurt Landgraf.

“I want to thank all of the staff and faculty who have stepped up to donate even a small amount, and in the coming year I hope we can top 100 employees who are donating,” Landgraf said. “I know that it’s not always easy to choose how you’re going to give back to your community, but I can’t think of a better organization to support. United Way can lift up whole segments of our community’s population that need help the most, and that in turn helps us all.”

Landgraf also specially thanked Adam Goodheart, the Director of the College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, who on his own made a substantial one-time gift. Including that gift, staff and faculty raised $18,130, which Landgraf “matched” with a donation of $25,000.

Members of Washington College’s staff and faculty stand in Martha Washington Square to celebrate the United Way contribution this year.

“If United Way of Kent County can meet its $220,000 campaign goal, Washington College will have accounted for 20 percent of that total,” said Sarah Feyerherm, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and a member of United Way of Kent County’s Board of Directors. “Combined with all of the ways members of the College community support the United Way in other capacities, this really illustrates the College’s commitment to the greater community.”

Landgraf energized the College’s giving to United Way last year, when he asked employees to consider signing up for a payroll deduction and pledged to match whatever they raised. The total donation in 2017 was $28,154, which included $14,154 from staff and faculty, and $14,000 from Landgraf.

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.

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

Garnet Fourth-Graders Open Exhibit Dec. 4-9 at WC’s Kohl Gallery


A whole new kind of exhibit opened at Washington College’s Kohl Gallery this week, when local fourth-graders invited their families to see their work on display in Gibson Center for the Arts. The exhibit, “Artworks by Fourth Grade Students at Henry Highland Garnet Elementary, inspired by the collage works of Jo Smail,” will be up Dec. 4-9 in conjunction with the final week of “Clippings, Voids & Banana Curry,” featuring work by Smail, who teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

At the exhibit opening on Tuesday, Dec. 4, students and their families joined Julie Wills, assistant professor of studio art and Kohl Gallery’s interim director, Benjamin Tilghman, assistant professor of art history, and Sara Clarke-Vivier, assistant professor of education, for a reception and showing. Students excitedly pointed out their work for their moms, dads, and siblings, posing for photos and snacking on cookies and veggies.

“This is really exciting,” Tony Hicks, whose daughter Seiauna Thompson showed her work to her family. “It’s awesome.”

Seiauna Thompson shows her work to her father, Tony Hicks, while her little sister Takayla Hicks, watches.

The exhibit is the result of a collaboration between Clarke-Vivier, Tilghman, and Garnet teachers that began last year, when two classes from the second and third grades came to Kohl Gallery to create art in response to an exhibition of works inspired by Islamic art. This year, the entire fourth-grade art class—45 students—studied Smail’s collage art, which addresses the racism and social violence she witnessed as a child in South Africa through collages that combine family recipes with newspaper clippings and other material.

Students learned about Smail’s art in class, then traveled to the Kohl Gallery to see it in person and engage in a conversation facilitated by Tilghman. Then, Clarke-Vivier and several Washington College students, some of them majoring in art or education, helped the students create their collages using their own family recipes, assorted newspaper clippings from the present day, and other materials.

Clarke-Vivier and Tilghman, whose children attend Garnet, came up with the concept to help to bring more art into the lives of local kids, and to bring them to the campus and introduce them to the Kohl Gallery—for some, one of their first art museum experiences. Clarke-Vivier also wants to give her students a hands-on opportunity to see the challenges and rewards of teaching in an informal education environment, such as a museum. And together, as parents and as College faculty members, they wanted to show direct support for Kent County schools.

“We want them to know that both art and the College are available to them, and they are there for everyone, and they can have both those experiences here,” Clarke-Vivier says. “We reinforce to students that it’s free and it’s open and they can bring their families back.”

WC students Noah Smith ’22, Holly Shaffer ’21 and Anna Watts ’19 (center) help the fourth-graders with their collages.

Both professors have backgrounds in museum-related work. Clarke-Vivier’s research relates to school-museum partnerships for learning (some of this research led her to help create a new cultural museum in Belize.) Tilghman worked at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore for four years, and worked in children’s museums throughout high school—a touchstone for his understanding of museums as welcoming, joyful places.

“That has always been a part of how I think about museums, that it’s not just a repository for old beautiful things you can’t touch, but that it should be flexible and lively,” he says. He and Wills hope projects like this will broaden the purpose and popularity of Kohl Gallery.

“One of the barriers to entry to museums is people think they are stuffy places,” Clarke-Vivier says. “We want [students] to know they can talk, and ask questions, and interact, it’s not like a library where they have to be quiet. And those preconditions allow for pleasurable learning experiences related to art. That’s really important too, to helping people feel like it’s something for them.”

Clarke-Vivier says the project is already yielding results that she and Tilghman had hoped in terms of forming new bonds between the College and Garnet.

“Now when I walk to Garnet there are kids who are like, ‘Dr. C-V, from the art museum! Hey, remember me?’ They’ve made a connection with us as part of the people they know in their existing community at Garnet, but also transition people between the College and the school,” she says. “I think there’s something really important about that in terms of creating this sense of accessibility.”

Washington College’s Phi Delta Theta Raises $10K for ALS Research


Brothers from Washington College’s Phi Delta Theta today presented a check for $10,000 to representatives of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, matching for the second year in a row the highest donation the fraternity has raised with its annual crab feast.

“I’m so proud of these young men, whose hearts are so clearly in the right place,” said College President Kurt Landgraf, who took part in the presentation. “The effort and commitment they put into this event is substantial, and their support of this cause is something to celebrate.”

“We can’t thank Phi Delta Theta enough for their generous donation,” said Emily Baxi, Director of the Robert Packard Center. “Their energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to finding a cure for ALS is inspiring. We look forward to partnering with Phi Delta Theta and taking part in many future crab feasts.”

Photo: Members of WC’s Phi Delta Theta present an honorary check to Heather Culp ’00 of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Also attending the presentation are College President Kurt Landgraf, and (L to R upper right) Sarah Feyerherm, Dean of Students, and Gina Scalise and Laura Renaud of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research.

Phi Delta Theta has been hosting its annual crab feast fundraiser for 28 years, raising money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a motor neuron disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Two years ago, the fraternity began partnering with the Packard Center, which is the only international scientific operation dedicated solely to curing ALS. The Center is unique in its approach to fighting ALS, in that it combines and facilitates scientific collaboration and ALS research with fundraising for the development of new treatments and with a goal of finding a cure to the disease.

“We saw an opportunity to have an impact with an organization that we could have a more personal relationship with, and is nearby,” says Phi Delta Theta’s Jacob Yollof ’19. To date, the fraternity has raised $22,290 for the Packard Center.

As Phi Delta Theta’s biggest fundraiser, everyone in the fraternity pitches in to help make the event a success. Between 250 to 350 people come out during Fall Family Weekend to crack crabs and socialize on the waterfront at Lelia Hynson Pavilion.

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

WC’s Caring for Kids Club Helps Local Youngsters Who Need Extra Food


It’s Wednesday evening, and the Student Events Board resource room looks a little like a grocery store stockroom as about half a dozen students pull foodstuffs from cardboard boxes, stacking them neatly on the tables in the center of the room and counting as they go.

Sophomores Zachary Blackwell and Hanna Flowers count out cans of food.

Chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, ravioli, fruit cups, juice boxes, milk boxes, cereal, macaroni and cheese—all get stacked and counted. And then begins the coordinated ballet of bagging, as the students circle the table over and over, filling small back plastic bags with one of each item.

“It’s a pretty whirlwind kind of a thing,” says sophomore Hanna Flowers of the weekly job of the College’s Caring for Kids Club. “You just come in and get stuff done.”

On Friday morning, two of the club’s representatives will deliver the bags to Maureen Ranville, the guidance counselor at Garnett Elementary School, who will then distribute the packages to students from pre-K through fifth grade who qualify for the Weekend Backpack Program.

“Right now we have 65 students on the program,” Ranville says. “They are free- and reduced-lunch students or students who are homeless … who have a need for extra food on the weekends.”

: Sophomores Jada Aristilde and Hanna Flowers share a laugh as they fill food bags

For senior Courtney Vicisko, a biology major and French minor who is co-president of Caring for Kids, it’s something that she’d never even thought about until she joined the club as a freshman. Now, she says, “It’s become something I care so much about.”

“It really puts things into perspective for people,” she says. “It’s really hard to wrap your head around the idea that this could even be a problem, that there are kids in Chestertown without enough food to eat.”

Ranville says there’s definitely a need. Garnett has 370 students, and although 65 are signed up for the program this fall, that number is frequently higher. The limit the school can manage, she says, is 75.

“Most of the kids’ parents receive assistance for food stamps or food assistance, but this just helps give them extra for the weekend,” she says.

The club coordinates with the Maryland Food Pantry, which provides the food. The students meet to pack that week’s delivery, also stockpiling bags for the weeks when they are gone over winter break. Sometimes, the WC students throw a little something special into the bags, like cookies or notes.

“It may seem like a small thing,” Vicisko says of the backpack program, “but it’s a huge deal to the people it’s helping.”

Italian Culinary Institute Master Chef at WC’s Eastern Shore Food Lab


Bringing traditional nose-to-tail cooking techniques from Calabria, Italy, to local residents and Washington College students, Italian Culinary Institute Master Chef John Nocita opened the College’s Eastern Shore Food Lab today with two delectable presentations focused on preparing ancestral meals while leaving nothing to waste.

“When we talk about no waste, it’s because traditional people could not afford to waste,” Nocita told some 50 people at the hours-long morning presentation. (He would follow it up with a second presentation to a packed house later in the afternoon.) “Living in a war-ravaged country [post World War II], not knowing if you’re going to find food, it’s one reason we don’t waste anything. And it’s not just a matter of being conscious of not throwing things away; it’s our creativity. We love to cook!”

Close-up of John Nocita speaking at the Eastern Shore Food Lab.

Nocita was the first chef to visit the brand-new Eastern Shore Food Lab (ESFL), an innovative, one-of-a-kind teaching, learning, and production space, led by Bill Schindler, associate professor of anthropology and a world expert on primitive technologies and ancient foodways. Drawing international chefs and food innovators to rethink our food systems by using ancestral food knowledge and technologies, the ESFL aims to create food for today’s palate that is more nutritious, meaningful, and sustainable. Schindler calls this “learning to eat like humans again.”

Schindler met Nocita two years ago when he traveled to Italy to take one of Nocita’s classes in charcuterie, and the two worked together again last year as Schindler was in Europe gathering information for the ESFL as part of his Food Evolutions project. As soon as he met Nocita, Schindler says, “I knew right away I had found a mentor … this was the information, the techniques, and the approach I wanted to bring back here.”

“John is always looking for understanding into traditional foodways,” Schindler said. “Our approach is the same, even though our backgrounds are very different.” He said that as soon as Nocita heard that the lab was ready to open, he offered to be its first guest chef.

“This is a beautiful town,” Nocita told the audience. “For us in Italy, it really personifies what we think about America. It seems a little more in touch with the earth and nature than some of the big cities.”

The pair and members of the ESFL team—which included Assistant Director Shane Brill, student intern Melia Greene, administrative coordinator Eden Kloetzli, students from Schindler’s Food, People, and the Planet class, and Schindler’s son Billy and wife Christina—had butchered a pig from Kent County’s Langenfelder Farm and created a series of dishes from every part. Nocita started with “bollito,” boiled meat served over stale focaccia with a sauce made of parsley, olive oil, lemon, and salt.

“It’s the worst cuts of the meat,” Nocita explained. “It’s peasant food. People did not have a lot of money, and the best cuts of meat went to wealthy people.” Students served the flavorful, tender dish in small bowls to the visitors as Nocita answered questions. He followed with a variety of other dishes, including seared tenderloin and a dish made with boiled nerves, fat, and parts of the head.

Nocita said the trendy buzzwords around food—local, sustainable, fresh, in-season, for example—are not trends in Italy.

“It’s what we live every day. In Italy, we are blessed with terrible distribution … we’re able to retain our regional identity,” something he says it seems much of the U.S. has lost as food has become more culturally homogenized. “When we identify with our cuisine, we identify with ourselves.”

John Nocita addresses the Eastern Shore Food Lab’s first audience.

Between courses, Schindler answered questions about the food lab, which he has been conceptualizing for about eight years. The fundamental goal, he says, is to reconnect people to their food. Although some of the lab’s work will be focused on more cutting-edge foods like insects as sustainable sources of protein, he initially wants to connect people to what they are already eating every day.

“You should know what you are eating, but the reality is, how many of us have eaten a hot dog? How many of us have actually made a hot dog? From scratch? From choosing the pig?”

While ultimately working for global food system change, the ESFL will be grounded in the local, propelled by the notion that environmental and cultural sustainability should be at the forefront in our approach to food. 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 and methods, 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.

Marguerite Miller, who had taken a class with Nocita in Italy, drove from Washington, D.C., to attend the morning event. Nocita had told her about Schindler, knowing D.C. wasn’t far from Chestertown.

“I went to Italy to learn to make artisan cheese,” she said. “He said, ‘You gotta meet Bill,’ so here I am.’’

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

WC’s College Relations and Marketing has Won an Array of Awards


The College Relations and Marketing team has won an array of awards from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP), including gold in the MarCom Awards for a new admissions campaign, and platinum in the dotCOMM Awards for virtual reality campus tours.

Both the MarCom and dotCOMM awards are sponsored annually by the AMCP, whose judges “look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.”

The MarCom Awards this year drew more than 6,000 entries from corporate marketing and communications departments, ad agencies, PR firms, production companies, and design shops. Winners included AARP, Hilton Worldwide, IBM, and Microsoft. Washington College won gold in strategic communications/marketing and promotion for the “Do You” campaign for prospective students, as well as honorable mention for The Academic Minute in strategic communications/media relations and publicity, and for strategic communications/ marketing and promotion for the Athey Athletic Club.

“The ‘Do You’ campaign takes the typical admissions viewbook to a new, more personal level for generation Z,” says Rolando Irizarry, Vice President of College Relations and Marketing. “It is physically designed to feel almost like a personal gift, with the message emphasized throughout that at Washington College, it’s possible for students to find their best, truest selves. From concept through writing, editing, and design, the deep pool of CRM’s talent and creativity really shines through on this project.”

The CRM team also won two platinum awards in the AMCP’s annual dotCOMM awards in website element/virtual reality, one for the 360 interactive virtual campus tour and one for the 360 interactive VR tour of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. An international competition honoring excellence in web creativity and digital communication, the dotCOMM Awards drew more than 2,000 entries this year.

“The print studio is one of the most unique things about Washington College; fewer than 10 colleges in our country have something like it,” says James Allen Hall, Director of the Rose O’ Neill Literary House. “I’m so glad that with the VR tour, now anyone from anywhere can experience the warm, special environs of the Lit House. I hope prospective students will take the tour and see what a fabulous home awaits them at WC.”

Irizarry also noted that because Chestertown is such an integral part of the student experience at Washington College, the virtual tours also include much of the town.

“In addition to documenting the campus, Google photographers shot seven local businesses, including Radcliffe Creek School, Kingstown Home and Garden, the Robert Ortiz Studios, and the Chester River Packet,” he says.“So these will also now be searchable as virtual tours within Google Maps, and hopefully when we expand these tours, we can also show more of Chestertown and Kent County.”

View the award-winning Campus Tour and Lit House tour .

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

Jessica Asch to Speak at Washington College Nov. 16


Jessica Asch, a creative arts therapist and drama therapist, will visit Washington College on Nov. 16 to talk about “Healing Collective Trauma Through Creative Arts Therapy.”

The talk at Norman James Theatre starts at 4:30 and is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the departments of Art &Art History, Education, Music, Sociology, and Theatre & Dance, the Gibson-Wagner Psychology Department Fund, and the offices of Intercultural Affairs and Prevention, Education, and Advocacy.

Asch focuses on the use of art and theater in her therapeutic work because she finds that trauma often “disconnects you from your body and your emotions and your heart.” Drama therapy is one approach that helps people reconnect with themselves and others in their communities.

Asch’s practice is based in New York City where she works with a variety of individuals and groups including Holocaust survivors, youth in the juvenile justice system, and veterans struggling with PTSD. Some of her recent work involves contributions to Camp Shine, a therapeutic summer camp for high school students who survived the 2018 school violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. More information about her work can be found at

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

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