CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College will install Mitchell B. Reiss as its 27th president Saturday morning October 2 on the College Green with traditional pomp and ceremony. Beginning at 11 a.m., a brass quartet, an academic procession and welcoming remarks from representatives of campus and state-wide constituencies will lead up to remarks from the new head of campus. The installation ceremony will be the centerpiece of a weekend filled with special activities, speakers and panels designed to celebrate the academic excellence, artistic creativity and athletic prowess of the College.
Reiss, who began his tenure as president on July 1, is a scholar and diplomat best known for his work negotiating with North Korea over nuclear issues and moving Northern Ireland toward a peaceful resolution of “The Troubles.” He received the rank of Ambassador as President George W. Bush’s Special Envoy for the Northern Ireland Peace Process from 2003 to 2007. For two of those years he served concurrently under then-Secretary of State Colin Powell as Director of the Office of Policy Planning in the U.S. Department of State.
Reiss and his family—wife Elisabeth, son Mathew and daughter Michael—moved to Chestertown from Williamsburg, VA, where for nearly a decade he served the College of William & Mary in a variety of teaching and administrative positions. Those posts included Dean and Vice Provost of International Affairs, Director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies and, most recently, Diplomat in Residence.
A cum laude graduate of Williams College, Reiss went on to earn a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, a law degree from Columbia Law School, and a D.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University. He has written and spoken extensively on international security. His newest book, Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists, was released earlier this month by digital publisher Open Road Media as its first original e-book.
To celebrate the inauguration, the College has planned a variety of offerings that range from Irish music and dance to speakers on Revolutionary history and the value of the liberal arts. All events are free and open to the public. For a full listing of events, please visit http://inauguration.washcoll.edu/. The following are select highlights:
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
“The Founding Fathers of 1787: Lessons in Political Leadership,” a lecture by historian Richard Beeman, 5 p.m., Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts.
Winner of the prestigious 2010 George Washington Book Prize for Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (Random House, 2009), Beeman teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and is a trustee of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In Plain, Honest Men he explores the passionate intellectual and political conflicts that arose when the Founders met in Philadelphia over the summer of 1787 to design a radically new form of government.
(CANCELLED --- A Poetry Reading by Erika Meitner originally scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Rose O’Neill Literary House has been cancelled.)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1
Making History: A Public Conversation on the Historian’s Craft, 9:30 a.m., Center Stage, Hodson Hall Commons.
Plain, Honest Men author Richard Beeman joins C.V. Starr Center director Adam Goodheart for an informal discussion and Q&A on how history is written. The talk also will focus on how the Founders’ view of the Constitution they created in 1787 compares to the ways Americans view the document today.
“History on the Waterfront: A Journey into Chestertown’s Past,” Audio tours, noon to 4, from the Custom House, corner of High and Water Streets.
A multimedia program created by the C.V. Starr Center in collaboration with Washington College and the wider Chestertown community, the 30-minute tour offers a walk back in time, into an era when the streets of this port town bustled with revolutionaries and convicts, slave traders, British soldiers and heroes of the Underground Railroad. The audio tour begins at the c. 1746 riverfront Custom House and extends along Chestertown’s historic waterfront.
W.C. Men’s Soccer vs. McDaniel College, 2 p.m., Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium
The Girls from Galway, Irish music and dance, 8 p.m. Martha Washington Square.
The College, in cooperation with the Mainstay in Rock Hall, presents popular Irish singer Carmel Dempsey along with percussionist and guitarist Michelle Mulhaire and button accordion player Éilís Egan of Riverdance fame. Also joining the fun will be two master Irish dancers.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2
Marc Castelli: The Art of the Waterman – The Simison Collection, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Kohl Gallery, Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts.
This special exhibition features more than 20 paintings of working watermen and their boats by beloved Chesapeake Bay artist Marc Castelli. Seventeen of the paintings are on loan from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s. Tilghman Island collector Diane Simison donated them to the museum at her death.
Curated by Lindsley Rice, the exhibition is co-sponsored by the Maritime Museum and the College’s Center for Environment & Society. It will continue during Kohl Gallery hours through October 30. (Gallery hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 5 p.m.; Fridays noon to 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.)
Inauguration of Mitchell B. Reiss, 11 a.m., Campus Lawn (Rain location: Benjamin A. Johnson Lifetime Fitness Center).
Dignitaries expected to bring official greetings include U.S. Congressman Frank Kratovil; national Phi Beta Kappa Society secretary John Churchill; Chestertown mayor Margo Bailey; and Notre Dame College of Maryland president Mary Pat Seurkamp, Chair of the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association.
Speaking on behalf of campus constituencies will be Student Government Association President Andrew Antonio, Career Center counselor Vicky Sawyer, Alumni Board chair Timothy Reath and drama professor Michele Volansky.
The chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors, Edward Nordberg, will bestow the presidential medallion on Mitchell Reiss, who will then deliver his inaugural remarks.
Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Perspectives from the Alumni, 2 p.m., Litrenta Lecture Hall, John S. Toll Science Center.
The Washington College chapter of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa invites four alumni to talk about the skills and talents they honed as undergraduates and about other ways Washington College prepared them for leadership roles in their workplaces and communities. Panelists include Barry Drew ’70, Chris DePietro ’87, Michele Volansky ’90 and Kim Last ’07. Michael Harvey, Associate Professor of Business Management, will moderate.
Roundtable Discussion on Religion and Politics in Europe, 2:30 p.m. Hotchkiss Recital Hall, Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts, sponsored by the Goldstein Program’s Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics and Culture.
Led by Washington College political science professor Joseph Prud’homme and guest speaker Stephen Strehle of Christopher Newport University, this discussion will focus largely on the rise of Nazism and its lingering effects on European politics and religion. Strehle, author of numerous publications on religion and politics in Western culture, will address how the Nazi ideology displaced traditional religious views in Europe from the 1920s through the 1940s.
Prud’homme, who directs the Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics and Culture, will update how the Nazi tragedy continues to influence religion and politics in Europe today. Two Junior Research Associates of the Institute, Washington College students Beverly Frimpong and Nicholas Paridon, will weigh in with what they learned studying religion and politics at Oxford and at Charles University (in Prague) over the summer of 2010.
Founded in the fall of 2009 as part of the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture is dedicated to the objective study of religion and its influence on political and cultural affairs. It stresses respect for differences, openness to argument, and sensitivity to contending viewpoints. Programs include a distinguished speakers series and a new book series: Washington College Studies in Religion, Politics and Culture.
Reprise of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) presentation at the 2010 National Exposition, 3:30 p.m., Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall.
SIFE is all about using the power of business to make a better, more sustainable world; hence their slogan: “A head for business. A heart for the world.”
The Washington College SIFE chapter will showcase the presentation that earned its members the Regional Championship title last spring and took them to the national competition in Minneapolis in May. Competitors were required to focus on six areas: market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, environmental sustainability and business ethics.
Among the projects that will be presented is “Shoes For Ghana.” Students will explain how 600 pairs of running shoes donated by the Washington College community ended up funding a sustainable family farm in Ghana, a farm that feeds its own family of five plus others in the community.
Presenters will include current SIFE officers Brittany Dunbar, Liam Delap, Joshua Tex, Andrew Antonio and Nicholas Longworth.
Open House Events, 2 to 4:30 p.m. throughout campus.
In downtown Chestertown, the College’s research vessel Callinectes will be docked at the High Street Public Landing, and the Public Archaeology Lab on the ground floor of the Custom House will be open for informational tours.
On main campus, student art will be exhibited in the Gibson Center for the Arts, Inaugural Greetings will be on display in Miller Library, and Alumni House will showcase a photographic history of the College. The Washington College bookstore will offer a special display of books and other publications by faculty and staff. And the Rose O’Neill Literary House will demonstrate its letterpress by printing Inaugural Bookmarks.