Friday, August 31, 2007

'Latin American Populism' At Washington College

Chestertown, MD, August 31, 2007 — South American popular movements have taken multiple forms through the years, and a visiting professor from Argentina is here to provide some insight. Professor Santiago Alles will discuss "Latin American Populism: Left vs. Right" at Washington College's Hynson Lounge on Wednesday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is presented by the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs.

Professor Alles is currently a Visiting Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Washington College as part of the faculty exchange program.

Professor Alles graduated from the Catholic University of Argentina with a degree in political science and a specialization in international affairs. He has an M.A. in Latin American studies from the University of Salamanca, Spain. He is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science and International Affairs at the Catholic University of Argentina.

The Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs was established in 1990 to encourage students to enter public service by introducing them to exemplary leaders, both in and out of government. The Goldstein Program has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders and government officials of both national and international stature.

The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy.

Hynson Lounge is located in Hodson Hall. Admission to "Latin American Populism: Left vs. Right" is free and open to the public.

Cell Phones + Audience = Interactive Performance Artistry at Washington College

Chestertown, MD, August 31, 2007 — Fueled by advances in technology, art continues to morph into new and interesting forms—and even cell phones can lead to a collective creativity. "SimpleTEXT," a cutting-edge combination of technology, artistry and performance that gets the audience involved, will be presented by Family Filter at Washington College's Casey Academic Center Forum on Tuesday, September 11, at 7:30 p.m.

"SimpleTEXT" is a collaborative audio/visual public performance that relies on audience participation through input from mobile devices such as cell phones or laptops. The performance creates a dialogue between participants who submit messages that control the audio/visual output of the installation. These messages are parsed according to a code that dictates how the music is created, and then rhythmically drive a speech synthesizer and a picture synthesizer in order to create a compelling, interactive celebration of sight and sound.

"SimpleTEXT" was originally funded by a commission from Low-Fi, a new-media arts organization based in the U.K. Since 2003, "SimpleTEXT" has been shown 16 times in eight countries across Europe and North America.

The Washington College presentation of "SimpleTEXT" is sponsored by the Rose O'Neill Literary House, the Office of Information Technologies and the Office of Student Activities.

The event is part of "Storytelling in the Digital Age," a semester-long theme jointly presented by the Rose O'Neill Literary House and the Office of Information Technologies. For more information, visit and

Admission to "SimpleTEXT" is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poetry, Film Noir and a Pulitzer Winner: Washington College's 2007-2008 Sophie Kerr Series Announced

Chestertown, MD, August 28, 2007 — From celebrated poets to Washington College's film-noir connection to a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, the 2007-2008 Sophie Kerr Lecture Series at Washington College is rich with literary offerings open to the public.

The series honors the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has enriched Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to Washington College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most "ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor"—the famed Sophie Kerr Prize—and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships and to help defray the costs of student publications.

The 2007-2008 Sophie Kerr Series will feature:

Poetry Reading with David Wojahn

Sophie Kerr Room, Wednesday, September 19, 4:30 p.m.

David Wojahn is the author of seven books of poetry and has been the recipient of many awards and prizes: the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the William Carlos Williams Award and the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America, Vermont College's Crowley/Weingarten Award for Excellence in Teaching, Poetry magazine's George Kent Prize and three Pushcart Prizes. This year Wojahn was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book Interrogation Palace His poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry and elsewhere.

R. Barton Palmer Film Lecture, "James M. Cain and the Coen Brothers"

Sophie Kerr Room, Thursday, October 4, 4:30 p.m.

Perhaps the most famous scribe to emerge from Washington College was pioneering hardboiled author James M. Cain, who along with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler rewrote the rule book on crime fiction, creating a uniquely terse, tough American style that influenced literature, cinema and pop culture in general. As part of a two-day celebration of Cain and his legacy, the Sophie Kerr Series will present a talk by R. Barton Palmer, author ofHollywood's Dark Cinema: The American Film Noir, a standard in the field. He also is the author of a recent book on the Coen brothers' films and, interestingly, several books about medieval literature.

Poetry Reading with Josh Weiner

Sophie Kerr Room, Thursday, November 15, 4:30 p.m.

Josh Weiner is the author of two books, The World's Room and From the Book of Giants. He has won the Whiting Award and the Rome Prize. His poems appear in The New York Review of Books, Poetry, Slate, Threepenny Review and elsewhere. The poetry editor of Tikkun, Weiner is an associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Huston Diehl Reading, "Dream Not of Other Worlds"

Sophie Kerr Room, Monday, February 25, 2008, 4:30 p.m.

When Huston Diehl began teaching a fourth-grade class in a "Negro" elementary school in rural Virginia, the school system's white superintendent assured her that he didn't expect her to teach "those children" anything. It was the waning days of the Jim Crow South, and Diehl soon discovered how low expectations impeded her students' ability to learn. With its overcrowded classrooms and poor facilities, her segregated school was vastly inferior to the county's white elementary schools, and the message it sent her students was clear: "Dream not of other worlds."

In her memoir Diehl reveals how her students reached out to her, a young white Northerner, and shared their fears, anxieties and personal beliefs. She reflects on what the students taught her about the hurt of bigotry and the humiliation of poverty as well as dignity, courage and resiliency.

Today, Diehl is professor of English at the University of Iowa and a widely published authority in the field of Renaissance literature. Her memoir, Dream Not of Other Worlds: Teaching in a Segregated School, 1970, chronicles an important moment in American history and the struggle to integrate schools in the South. The presentation at Washington College will be a reading from her memoir. Professor Diehl will be joined in the reading by Polly Sommerfeld, Lecturer in Drama at Washington College.

Fiction Reading with Jane Smiley

Norman James Theatre, Friday, March 28, 2008, 4 p.m.

The jewel in the crown of the Sophie Kerr Series each year is Sophie Kerr Weekend, and the keynote event of Sophie Kerr Weekend 2008 will be a much-anticipated reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley. Smiley, who holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, is the author of 11 novels, including A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1992. She also is the author of four books of nonfiction, includingThirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005). Her essays have been published in Vogue, The New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times, The Nation and many other publications.

Smiley's latest novel, Ten Days in the Hills, was published earlier this year by Knopf/Random House. A re-imagining of Boccaccio's Decameron set among the Hollywood crowd in the opening days of the Iraq War in 2003, Ten Days in the Hills has enjoyed universal acclaim. "The book is generating early buzz," observed The Wall Street Journal. In a starred review,Publishers Weekly hailed the hot new novel as a "scintillating tale... Smiley delivers a delightful, subtly observant sendup of Tinseltown folly, yet she treats her characters ... with warmth and seriousness." The Philadelphia Inquirer praises the author for "delivering a Tinseltown classic." The Los Angeles Times Book Review declared the novel "a blazing farce, a fiery satire of contemporary celebrity culture and a rich, simmering meditation on the price of war and fame and desire." The Times U.K. called it a "highly entertaining yet thoughtful examination of postmillenial America."

Dubbed "the reigning master of social satire" by Elle magazine, Smiley received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature in 2006.

Poetry Reading with Erin Murphy

Sophie Kerr Room, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 4 p.m.

Washington College graduate Erin Murphy (class of 1990) is the author of Dislocation and Other Theories, Science of Desire (a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize) and Too Much of This World (winner of the Anthony Piccione Poetry Prize). Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Random House's 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day. Murphy has received the Foley Poetry Award, the National Writers' Union Poetry Award, a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and a $5,000 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize.

Valerie Traub Lecture, "The Nature of Norms: Anatomy, Cartography, King Lear"

Sophie Kerr Room, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 4:30 p.m.

Valerie Traub is professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, where she is Director of the Women's Studies Program. Her publications include Gay Shame, The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England, Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects and Desire and Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama. Traub's essays have appeared in the GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, English Literary Renaissance, Feminist Studies, Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies and elsewhere. Her book in progress is Mapping Embodiment in the Early Modern Text: The Prehistory of Normality.

Admission is free to all Sophie Kerr Series events. For more information, call 410-778-7879.

Boat Building Demo, August 30

Chestertown, MD, August 27, 2007 — Ahoy ye mateys! Learn the tips and tricks of cardboard boat building with Jon Wasserman on Thursday, August 30, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Miller Library Terrace. Wasserman, 33, grew up on the Chesapeake Bay sailing everything from Lasers to Log Canoes. He lives in Chestertown and is a Project Manager/Mechanical Engineer for Paul Reed Smith Guitars in Stevensville.

Washington College is hosting its first annual Cardboard Boat Regatta along the Chester River as part of its Waterfront Festival in Wilmer Park on September 22, 2007.

A cardboard boat regatta challenges participants to build a human-powered boat made of corrugated cardboard and a few other approved materials that is capable of completing a lap around a 300-meter course. The idea is to have fun on the water and be as creative as possible in designing, building and decorating the rafts. Points are also garnered by wearing costumes appropriate for the theme of the vessel. Every boat must have a captain, and there can be up to six people on a team. Entries are limited to the first 30 boats registered. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Washington College may participate.

Brave mariners will be competing for $1,125 in prizes that range from the Cape Horn Award ($300 for first around the course) to the Cutty Sark Award ($100 for best design and construction) to Titanic prize ($50 for the most spectacular sinking).

A complete list of rules and approved building materials (PDF) can be found at or contact 410-778-7295 for more information.

Events are sponsored by the Washington College 225 Anniversary Committee, Student Affairs, and the Center for Environment & Society. Student Affairs orchestrates a range of programs, workshops, and other offerings for student development and enrichment. The Center supports interdisciplinary research and education, exemplary stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and the integration of ecological and social values.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Princeton Review Ranks Washington College among America's Best

Chestertown, MD, August 24, 2007 — Washington College is one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to the Princeton Review.

The New York-based company known for its test-prep courses, books and other education services has honored Washington College by selecting it for inclusion in the newly published edition of the popular annual Best Colleges guidebook.

The Best 366 Colleges: 2008 Edition (Random House/Princeton Review Books, $21.95) was released August 21 and is now available in bookstores.

"Only about 10 percent of the colleges in America are in this book," said Robert Franek, Vice President of Publishing at the Princeton Review and lead author of The Best 366 Colleges. "It is our flagship guide to the cream-of-the-crop institutions for undergraduates."

To be counted among the ranks of the very best, Washington College and the nation's other top schools were judged on a spectrum of factors, Franek explained. "We chose them as our best based on several criteria, including our regard for their academic programs and other offerings, institutional data we collect from the schools, and the opinions of students, parents and educators we talk to and survey."

The Best 366 Colleges includes public and private schools, traditional and non-traditional colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and science and technology-focused institutions.

What sets the Princeton Review's annual Best Colleges guide apart from all other higher-education guidebooks is that it is the only one offering two-page profiles on the schools along with college-ranking lists in more than 60 categories, based on surveys of 120,000 students.

Thus, the students themselves rate their own schools and report on their experiences at them.

When each edition is published, the Princeton Review posts the book's ranking lists and excerpts from the college profiles on its influential web site,

Washington College's Chestertown setting is described as "rural, small quaint and beautiful" by students quoted in the book. They also laud the College's "individualized attention" and point out that the small size of the liberal arts school "allows everyone, including professors and the administration, to get to know students both inside and outside of the classroom."

Washington College students interviewed for the book heap praise on their faculty: "The professors are amazing; there is plenty of opportunity to meet with them and to further discuss any issues in class. They are wonderful at helping students advance their careers in their chosen fields."

The school also fared well regarding its social scene. Its students, according to the book, are "driven to succeed but know how to relax and have fun." Another student adds, "Since WC is a liberal arts college, there is an easy mix of different types of students. All of the groups easily intermingle and are friendly across campus. It is a very genuine and pleasant mix of students."

Billing itself as "the most talked-about college guide," The Best 366 Colleges is widely considered to be at the head of its class; CNN hails it as "a great book," and Seventeenmagazine calls it "our favorite college guidebook."

"We present a wide range of colleges in the book," noted Franek. "They vary by region, size, selectivity and character, but each one is an outstanding institution."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Washington College's Rose O'Neill Literary House Explores Blogosphere

Chestertown, MD, August 23, 2007 — Washington College's Rose O'Neill Literary Housecelebrates its renovation with events both classical—a vintage printing-press demonstration—and cutting-edge—a presentation on the blogosphere—on Tuesday, September 4, and Thursday, September 6.

The Rose O'Neill Literary House underwent a renovation this summer and is inviting the public to an open house and print-shop demonstration on September 4 at 4:30 p.m. It is an opportunity to see the literary hub's new look, meet the staff, visit the new publishing lab and partake of refreshments. The College's master printer will be on hand to give demonstrations on the century-old letterpress.

From the communications technology of yesteryear to the Internet hegemony of today, the Rose O'Neill Literary House continues its semester-opening offerings with "The End of the World As We Know It: How Blogs, Social Networking and Digital Media Are Changing Everything About How You Communicate, What You Create and Who You Are" at the John S. Toll Science Center on September 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The lecture will be presented by Noah Robischon, managing editor of Gawker Media, the New York-based publisher of and other trendy sites. Gawker Media is considered one of the most visible and successful blog-oriented media companies today. Robischon's talk is free and open to the public.

The event kicks off "Storytelling in the Digital Age," a semester-long theme jointly presented by the Rose O'Neill Literary House and the Office of Information Technologies. For more information, visit and

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fall Convocation Welcomes 326 Freshmen, Honors Senator Miller, Philanthropist Griswold, August 23

Chestertown, MD, August 16, 2007 — On Thursday, August 23, 2007, Washington College will welcome 326 new freshmen and their parents during the college's annual Freshman Convocation. The Convocation also will honor Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., President of the Senate of Maryland; and Jack S. "Jay" Griswold, former Chairman of the college's Board of Visitors and Governors. Miller will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the college, and Griswold will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service. Ceremonies will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Cain Athletic Center.

Representing the citizens of Prince George's and Calvert counties for more than 35 years in the Maryland General Assembly, Senator Mike Miller is concerned with issues relating to education, health, transportation, the environment and the economy and how they affect Marylanders. He has been active in Democratic Party politics since his early teens and has served in positions of influence in both the Maryland Democratic Party and National Democratic Committee.

Miller has held his current position as President of the Senate of Maryland—Maryland's second highest office—for 20 years, making him the longest serving Senate President in the entire country. He is the recipient of the William P. Coliton Community Service Award from the Johns Hopkins University, the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Maryand, the Tyser Medallion from the University of Maryland Alumni Association, and the John R. Hargraves Distinguished Legislative Fellow Award from Salisbury University. A native of Prince George's County, Miller received both his bachelor's degree and a law degree from the University of Maryland. An avid reader, he is especially interested in Maryland and Civil War history.

Jay Griswold is Director and Senior Advisor of Brown Advisory and Trust Company, and a seasoned philanthropist. The Baltimore executive and Washington College parent has been on the College's Board of Visitors and Governors since 1993 and served as Board Chair for the last six years. In 1997 he agreed to chair the College's $72 million capital campaign, pledging a leadership gift and one day a week of his time—a commitment he far exceeded. The Campaign for Washington's College concluded with $103.4 million raised.

In recognition of his work leading the largest capital campaign in the College's history, the Maryland Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals named Griswold the 2005 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser in Maryland. A graduate of Gilman School, Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania, Griswold has also been active with the Maryland Historical Society, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Living Classrooms Foundation.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Entries Sought for 1st Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta

Chestertown, MD, August 15, 2007 — Organizers for the Waterfront Festival are taking entries for the 1st Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta to be held along the Chester River at the Lelia Hynson Pavilion on September 22, 2007 at 4:30 PM. Entries are limited to the first 30 boats registered. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Washington College may participate. Registration costs $5 in advance or $15 on the day of the event. Total awards and prizes are valued at $1,125.

A cardboard boat regatta challenges participants to build a human-powered boat made of corrugated cardboard and a few other approved materials that is capable of completing a lap around a 300-meter course. The idea is to have fun on the water and be as creative as possible in designing, building and decorating the rafts. Points are also garnered by wearing costumes appropriate for the theme of the vessel. Every boat must have a captain, and there can be up to six people on a team.

John Seidel, Director of the Center for Environment & Society said, "We're expecting a great turnout for the regatta and hope to make this an annual event for the campus community." Seidel said he's already heard from several students hard at work building some very creative boats.

Every boat will be an original work of art. Awards recognize creative use of cardboard and brave mariners will be competing for prizes in the following categories:

  • Cape Horn Award - 1st around the course - $300
  • Captain Cook Award - 2nd best circumnavigator - $150
  • Robert Peary Award - 3rd across the finish line - $75
  • Horatio Nelson Award - best overall design, name, costumes - $300
  • Cutty Sark Award - best design & construction - $100 gift card to Subway
  • Kon-Tiki Award - best theme & costumes - $100 gift card to Old Mill Cafe
  • Linda Greenlaw Award - most team spirit - $50 gift card to Imperial Hotel
  • Titanic Award - spectacular sinking - $50 gift card to Play It Again Sam

According to John Wagner, Director of Waterfront Programs, "It will be a surprise to see what people come up with, and even more fun to see which boats will remain 'seaworthy' out on the river."

Wagner suggests checking out boatbuilding tips on the college's website or Google "cardboard boat" if your team is having trouble coming up with a great design. "Hopefully, people will find something that stirs their imaginations and they'll be inspired to join us on September 22," he said.

The College is offering a free Cardboard Boat Building Demo on August 30 at 5:30 PM on Miller Library Terrace (or Hodson Hall in case of rain). On the day of the Festival, there will be a comprehensive Cardboard Boat Building Workshop from 12 noon to 4:00 PM at the Pavilion. The $15 workshop fee includes materials and instructions for those last-minute mariners who want to enter the competition.

Each team must have a captain and all regatta participants must be members of the Washington College campus community (student, faculty, staff, or alumni). Participants agree to abide by Washington College waterfront policies and other rules that govern these events. A complete list of rules and approved building materials can be found through the online registration.

Spectators are welcome to enjoy the bluegrass music of Chester River Runoff and watch the Waterfront Festival activities—including the "survivor kayaking" competition, sailfest, volley ball and tug-o-war tournaments, and the card board boat regatta—in Wilmer Park from 12:00-5:00 PM on September 22.

Immediately following the activities, Student Affairs is hosting a picnic in the park with the music of Ewabo, a Caribbean Steel Drum band. The music is free for all to enjoy. Students on the meal plan are covered and the picnic cost for faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College is $10 per person. Reservations must be made in advance. R.s.v.p. by September 17 to

In case of foul weather, waterfront activities will regrettably be cancelled but Chester River Runoff will perform at the Student Center in Hodson Hall. The picnic and Steel Drum band will move to the Dining Hall on the main campus. For information, contact JoAnn Fairchild at 410-778-7295 "oar" Beth Anne Roy at 410-778-7277.

Events are sponsored by the Washington College 225 Anniversary Committee, Student Affairs, and the Center for Environment & Society. Student Affairs orchestrates a range of programs, workshops, and other offerings for student development and enrichment. The Center supports interdisciplinary research and education, exemplary stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and the integration of ecological and social values.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Washington College Foursome's Continent-Crossing Bike Trek Concludes Sunday

Local Bicyclists Invited to Accompany Last Lap to the Atlantic

Chestertown, MD, August 9, 2007 — A quartet of Washington College students and alumni—Jamie Beaber, Katherine Wilson, Brian Gamble and Spencer Case—embarked on an epic trek for a good cause this summer: bicycling across the United States, more than 3,500 miles in nine weeks. That's a lot of pedaling—and it all comes to its conclusion this Sunday, Aug. 19, with a long last lap from Chestertown to Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Attention, local bicyclists: you are cordially invited to join these trans-American travelers on the final day of their continental crossing, and be with them for the victorious dipping of weary feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

The team, which has been dubbed "the Awesome Foursome," has been making the journey as a fund-raiser and awareness-raiser for the American Lung Association, as part of the ALA's "Ride for the Future" campaign. The stalwart cyclists' motto is, "If WE can ride across the country, YOU can quit smoking!"

Chestertown is a long way from Washington State, which is where the Awesome Foursome began the bicycling feat in July. Slated to arrive in Chestertown this Saturday, they will head off Sunday morning for the final 70-mile run to the coast. Any bicyclist interested in accompanying the Sunday "Victory Ride" should gather in the parking lot in front of Washington College's Casey Academic Center at 8:30 a.m. this Sunday. For more details, call 303/513-9946.

Before and during the cross-country journey, the Awesome Foursome got smokers to sign a pledge to kick the habit. Upon completing Ride for the Future, "We want to keep our vision alive by setting up a fund that will allow dedicated students to pursue their adventurous dreams while impacting the world in a positive way," said Case.

"We want not only to ride for a good cause, but also to spread the word of the fine institution to which we belong. We believe that we will show people across the nation that this college can provide circumstances for its students to impact the world."

To learn more about the Foursome's journey, go to