Thursday, August 28, 2003

Tea & Talk Series Opens September 2 With A Reading From 1985 Sophie Kerr Winner And Local Novelist Sandy Hiortdahl

Chestertown, MD, August 28, 2003 — The O'Neill Literary House launches it 2003-2004 Tea & Talk Series on Tuesday, September 2 at 4 p.m. with alumna and writer Sandy Hiortdahl reading from two novels. The event is free and all are welcomed to enjoy tea, conviviality and the power of the written word in the eclectic comfort of the Washington College's O'Neill Literary House. Sandy Hiortdahl is a1985 graduate of Washington College who studies English and took the Sophie Kerr Prize that same year. She also holds an M.F.A. from George Mason University and an M.A. in English from the University of Maryland. She has taught at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware, where she was named Distinguished Adjunct Teacher of the year in 2001.
Currently, she teaches part time at Washington College and is a PhD. candidate at the Catholic University in Washington, DC. She recalls writing her first short story (about a trip down an ant hole) at age six and wrote a 60-page novella at age 12 (which she describes as “quite bad”). In high school, she was a finalist in the Mt. Vernon Competition for Young Writers in Washington, DC. During her college years, she continued to write and adopted the late John Gardner as a mentor in spirit. She has been an active member in the John Gardner Society, annually presenting papers and occasionally coordinating the society's annual conference. Her favorite quotation, from Gardner's “On Becoming a Novelist,” is: “Nothing is harder than being a true novelist, unless that is all that one wants to be, in which case, though writing novels is hard, everything else is harder.” Being a true novelist is all that Hiortdahl has ever wanted to be, though, taking a cue from Gardner, she has worked hard to become a teacher of writing and to give back, the encouragement that great teachers of her past offered her. Currently, she lives in a little white house in Chestertown with her Australian Cattle Dog, Kismo Blue. Her novel And There Were In the Same Country is being offered to agents and editors in New York as she works on her next novel, Haley's Comment, which is set at Washington College.

"Does The Left Hate America?" Washington College Republicans Sponsor Talk, September 9

Chestertown, MD, August 28, 2003 — The Washington College Republicans welcome Dan Flynn, executive director of the organization Accuracy in Academia (AIA), who will address the topic “Does the Left Hate America?”, Tuesday, September 9 at 7 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Accuracy in Academia is an educational and advocacy organization whose goal is the return of academia to its original mission, the search for truth and the free, open discussion of all ideas, not the promotion of particular political or social ideologies. Through speakers, conferences and its monthly publication, Campus Report, AIA exposes cases of classroom indoctrination, campus violations of free speech, and unfair discrimination against students and faculty. As executive director of AIA, Flynn lectures widely and edits Campus Report. His articles on higher education have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Washington Times, The Indianapolis News, The Charlotte Observer, Insight and Human Events. Flynn appears frequently on talk radio and has spoken at 35 college campuses during the past year. His book, Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our Nation's Greatness, is now in its 4th printing. He currently serves in the United States Marine Reserves.
The Washington College Republicans is a group of politically engaged students affiliated with the Maryland Federation of College Republicans and the College Republican National Committee. Over the past few years, its student members have participated with the Bush for President Campaign and have been given opportunities to work on various campaigns and to travel to the Republican National Convention and the Inaugural. The club also works on local events and projects with the Kent County Republican Central Committee and the Kent and Queen Anne's Republican Women's Club.

Chiara String Quartet To Perform At Washington College

Chestertown, MD, August 28, 2003 — The 52nd season of the Concert Series brings the Chiara String Quartet to the Washington College. The Chiara Quartet will perform Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2003, in Tawes Theater.
The first prize winners in the 2002 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Chiara String Quartet is one of the nation's most sought-after young ensembles. The Quartet began its professional life in September 2000 as the recipient of a Chamber Music America Rural Residency in Grand Forks, ND. Since then, it has won the Astral Artistic Services Auditions and joined the Astral roster of outstanding young artists on the brink of launching major professional careers. These Julliard-trained musicians bring commitment, ardor and passion to traditional quartet repertoire, and, with an eye toward the next generation of music, perform commissioned pieces from today's talented, working composers, as well. The Quartet derives its name from “chiara,” an Italian word, meaning clear, pure or light.
For ticket information and a free Washington College Concert Series 2003-2004 season brochure, call 410-778-7839, or 800-422-1782, ext. 7839. Season tickets are available for $50.00 per person. Individual tax-deductible patron memberships begin at $75.00. Contributing patron memberships begin at $150.00, supporting at $250.00, and sustaining at $500.00. All membership packages include two tickets, and all donations over the price of the tickets are tax-deductible. Season tickets and memberships can be purchased by check or money order through the mail from the Washington College Concert Series, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, MD 21620-1197.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Washington College Among Top National Liberal Arts Colleges In 2004 U.S. News & World Report Rankings

Chestertown, MD, August 25, 2003 — As Washington College begins a new academic year with the most competitive class of incoming freshmen in the College's history, U. S. News & World Report has just released its 2004 America's Best Colleges rankings placing Washington College among the Top 110 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation. Out of 217 colleges nationwide, Washington College climbed three points to 97th place in the overall ranking, and scored highly in the ranking of colleges with the most international students (35th place nationally) and in student graduation rate performance (34th place nationally).
“We have reason to be proud of our climb in the rankings. Many positive factors have combined to put us in this position,” said Dr. John S. Toll, President of the College. “We're attracting highly competitive students with high GPA and SAT scores. Our capital campaign has been extremely successful and has witnessed a steadily increasing alumni giving rate. Lastly, we maintain our commitment to a small student-teacher ratio, to cooperative student-teacher research, and to teaching excellence of outstanding faculty that inspires our students and transforms the directions of their lives.”
Published since 1983, the U.S. News ranking system relies on quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality. Data for 15 indicators of academic excellence is gathered on an annual basis; each factor is assigned a weight that reflects U. S. News' judgment about how much a measure matters. Indicators include a peer assessment survey of like institutions, student retention numbers, faculty resources and class size, selectivity in admissions, financial resources, graduation rate performance and the percentage of alumni who donate to their college.
Washington College has also been recognized by The Princeton Review as one of The Best Mid-Atlantic Colleges; by Jay Matthews, Washington Post education columnist, as one of the “Hidden Gems” in higher education; and as one of the nations' Top 120 colleges in the forthcoming Colleges of Distinction, to be released this fall.

Princeton Review's Best Mid-Atlantic Colleges Guide To Feature Washington College

Chestertown, MD, August 25, 2003 — Washington College has been selected for The Princeton Review's new college guide, The Best Mid-Atlantic Colleges, just released this August. Based on both statistical information and surveys of college students and recent college graduates, the guide showcases the top schools in five states—Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—and Washington, DC.

Washington College particularly was recognized for great teaching and a small student-teacher ratio that fosters a close, supportive atmosphere for learning. “Each professor cares deeply about each individual student,” said one student in the survey. Another said that Washington College professors “encouraged me to push my limits and try new things.”

The Princeton Review launched its new regional college guides in response to a growing trend for students to attend colleges and universities with two- to five-hour drives of their homes. For all to whom locale is key in their college searches, The Princeton Review created this new line of five regional college guides which feature two-page school profiles with information and data on admissions, financial aid, student body demographics and academics. The profiles also include The Princeton Review's ratings of the schools' academics, admissions, financial aid, and quality of life, plus an “Inside Word” on the schools' admission patterns. The regional guides, like the national one, also present an inclusive cross-section of academically outstanding colleges. Overall, the 604 colleges represented in the five guides comprise only 17% of the nation's 3,500 colleges. Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review's lead author of the guides, “Each college had to meet two criteria. First, it had to meet our criteria for academic excellence within its region. Second, we had to be able to survey its students anonymously, either through our online survey or our paper survey which we distribute and collect on campuses.” Input from students attending the colleges uniquely informs all Princeton Review Best Colleges guides, published and distributed by Random House.

Washington College has been recognized as one of the top 100 Best Liberal Arts Colleges-Nationally by U. S. News & World Report; as one of the “Hidden Gems” in higher education by Washington Post education columnist Jay Matthews; and as one of the nation's Top 120 colleges in the forthcoming Colleges of Distinction, to be released this fall.

Friday, August 8, 2003

Into the Streets: 360 Incoming Freshmen to Volunteer throughout Mid-shore Community, August 22

Chestertown, MD, August 8, 2003 — Washington College will hold its fifth annual "Into the Streets" day of community service August 22, 2003. The incoming freshman class-360 students in all-will volunteer its time and efforts at 18 sites on the Mid-Shore. The day will begin at 9 a.m. with an on-campus pep rally before the students head "Into the Streets."
"This has been a very successful program over the last five years," said Vicky Sawyer, Associate Director of Career Development and Overseer of Service Learning at Washington College. "Through it, our new students are introduced to a sense of connection with the Eastern Shore community in which they will reside. It's a practical way to teach citizenship and to encourage civic responsibility."
Students will assist in a variety of human service, community and environmental projects for various organizations on the Mid-Shore, including the Adkins Arboretum at Tuckahoe State Park, Camp Fairlee Manor Recreation & Education Center, the Chesapeake Environmental Center, the Chestertown Cemetery, the Community Food Pantry at Christ Methodist Church, Eastern Neck Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Kent Family Center, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Kent County Parks and Recreation, Magnolia Hall Nursing Home, and the Pickering Creek Audubon Center.
The "Into the Streets" day of service was started by Washington College alumni Gia Grier '02 and Kathryn Preen '00. After attending the 1999 Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL) Conference as students, they worked with Sawyer to develop and increase service learning programs on and off campus. "Into the Streets" specifically was created to provide incoming freshman and transfer students a day to experience the variety of Mid-Shore organizations that welcome student volunteers.
"'Into the Streets' provides our incoming students their first foray into their new community," said Sawyer. "It is a way to find kindred spirits and friends and encourage student initiative and community involvement." For more information on "Into the Streets," or if you represent a community organization seeking student volunteers, contact Vicky Sawyer at 410-778-7892.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

ACLU President Nadine Strossen

Chestertown, MD, August 5, 2003 — Washington College's William James Forum and Goldstein program in Public Affairs present Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on “Protecting Civil Liberties and National Security After 9/11: How to Strike a Balance.”
Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law at New York Law School, has served as President of the ACLU since 1991, and has written, lectured and practiced extensively in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights. The National Law Journal has twice named Strossen one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” and in 1998, Vanity Fair included Strossen in “America's 200 Most Influential Women.” Since becoming ACLU President, an unpaid, volunteer position, Strossen has made more than 200 public presentations per year and comments frequently on legal issues in the national media. She was a regular guest on ABC's “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher and is a weekly commentator on the Talk America Radio Network. In October 2001, Strossen made her professional theater debut as the guest star in Eve Ensler's award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, during a week-long run at the National Theatre in Washington, DC.
Strossen's writings have been published in many scholarly and general interest publications (approximately 250 published works). Her book, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights (Scribner 1995), was named a “notable book” by the New York Times and was republished in October 2000 by NYU Press. Her co-authored book, Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties (NYU Press 1995), was named an “outstanding book” by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 1972 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1975. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law for nine years in Minneapolis, MN, and New York City.
The talk is sponsored by Washington College's William James Forum and Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, established in honor of the late Louis L. Goldstein, 1935 alumnus and Maryland's longest serving elected official. The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, visiting fellows, travel and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders in public policy and the media.