Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WC to Develop Computer Mapping Course to Bolster STEM Learning n Elementary Schools

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The College’s Education Department and Geographic Information Systems Lab (GIS) will collaborate on a science and engineering initiative for Maryland’s public elementary schools, thanks to a new grant from the state. Michelle Johnson, the Education Department’s Coordinator of Field Experiences, wrote the successful grant proposal, which provides $76,251.20 in funding over four years. She will be working with GIS Lab director Stewart Bruce and analyst Samantha Bulkilvish to adapt and broaden the program’s “What is GIS?” course to appeal to elementary school teachers.

The grant from the Maryland Department of Education is part of an overall federal and state initiative to introduce and bolster more effective teaching of what educators refer to as STEM—an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “STEM-influenced classrooms integrate science and engineering into the curriculum in ways that encourage inquiry and problem solving over rote learning and memorization,” explains Johnson. “At the elementary level, the goals are to make the classroom work engaging, stimulate the students’ curiosity, get them engaged in the scientific method, and introduce careers in the STEM areas."
“It is also teaching perseverance,” adds Johnson. “In science, there are few quick and easy answers. Instead, it’s a process of trial and error, of posing questions and persisting until you find the solution.”
In addition to the online course being developed in the Washington College GIS Lab, the grant also will support field experience for education students. As part of the required “Education 212: Field Experience” course, students will be able to learn the GIS curriculum and take it into the elementary-level classroom to work directly with the children and their teachers. Johnson and her Washington College colleagues will network with peers from other colleges and universities that offer teacher certification to help the state design STEM certification programs for Maryland’s elementary schools.
GIS is a computerized mapping system that stores, displays and analyzes any type of data that has a geographic location. Using sophisticated software, it can take data from a table, spreadsheet, or database and create a map, allowing the viewer to better visualize and understand the information in a useful way. For more information:
Photo: Elementary Education Field Experiences Coordinator Michelle Johnson, middle, will work with GIS Program Coordinator Stewart Bruce and GIS Educator Samantha Bulkilvish to create engaging online courses in computer mapping for elementary school students in Maryland. The goal is to bolster learning in STEM areas--science, technology, engineering and math.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

College Merchandise Now Available at Scottie’s in Downtown Chestertown

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College merchandise is now available in downtown Chestertown, at the place where many Kent County residents pick up their newspapers, Scottie’s Shoe Store. The store’s owner/operator Anna Cole, known to her customers as “Miss Anna,” now sells College t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs and Teddy bears.

Cole says she approached WC President Mitchell Reiss, one of her newspaper customers, about the idea, and he put her in touch with Shannon Wyble, the director of the WC Bookstore on campus, to work out the business arrangement. The first items went on display in early June. “Miss Anna is fantastic, completely enthusiastic about Washington College and what we’re doing here. She’s a wonderful supporter and I can’t talk about her enough,” states Wyble about the partnership.
Cole says her WC offerings are convenient for those who can’t get to the campus bookstore and that Scottie’s especially fills the void on summer weekends, when the campus bookstore is closed. “I thought College merchandise was needed downtown, and that the customers wanted this,” says Cole. A recent case in point was a Scottie’s customer from Florida who was thrilled to find a WC sweatshirt for her nephew, an incoming first-year student.
The Washington college paraphernalia that Scottie’s Shoe Store offers includes white t-shirts, gray sweatshirts, a vintage-look baseball cap, mugs, and teddy bears embroidered with “Someone At Washington College Loves Me.” So far, the best selling item is the classic t-shirt. Customers can also request other items from the WC line and campus bookstore staff will deliver them to Scottie’s, usually the same day.
Scottie’s is open for business Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Washington College bookstore summer hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the school year, the bookstore is open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is closed on Sundays year round. For more information, contact Scottie’s at 410-778-4944 and the Washington College bookstore at 410-778-7749.
Photo: "Miss Anna" Cole shows off her best-selling WC item, the classic t-shirt.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

College Hosts Contemporary Folk Duo "Magpie" for Riverfront Concert Thursday, June 30

CHESTERTOWN, MD— Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner, who have played together as the contemporary folk duo Magpie for nearly 40 years, will bring their eclectic blend of blues, jazz, country, and swing to Chestertown for the second concert of the Washington College Riverfront Concert Series on Thursday evening, June 30.
Sponsored by the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the riverside lawn behind the Custom House, located at the corner of High and Water streets. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics. Lemonade and cookies will be provided free of charge, and special boxed dinners will be available at Play it Again Sam cafe, 108 S. Cross St., (call for details 410-778-2688). In case of inclement weather, the concert will take place in The Egg, a performance space in Hodson Hall Commons on the main Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.
A gifted singer of jazz and blues in the tradition of Connie Boswell and Billie Holiday, Terry Leonino also plays the mandolin, rhythm guitar, harmonica, and fretted dulcimer. Greg Artzner’s fingerstyle approach to the guitar, influenced by legends such as Rolly Brown, Phil Ochs, and Big Bill Broonzy, gives Magpie a unique “core” sound that ties together its work across styles.
Leonino and Artzner have performed at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. They are master artists with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and spend several weeks a year working to help teachers find new ways to incorporate music into early childhood education. They have also created, and regularly perform, several thematic school programs on historical topics such as the Great Depression, the Underground Railroad, and the civil rights movement.
In 2000, Magpie collaborated with scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to create a “museum musical” about the life cycle of the Chesapeake Bay’s most famous resident, the blue crab. “Tales of the Blue Crab” premiered at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre and is now a traveling show performed in schools around the country. It visited Rock Hall Elementary this past January.
Over the last 35 years, Magpie has recorded 11 albums, including In This World (2008), Raise Your Voice (2005), and Circle of Life (1992), which folk legend Tom Paxton praised as “a challenge to any of us who aspire to putting out music with depth and relevance.” The group has recorded with Pete Seeger, contributed songs to tribute albums such as Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger (1998) and What’s That I Hear?: The Songs of Phil Ochs (1998) and collaborated with duo Kim & Reggie Harris on two albums. For more on Magpie, see
The concert sponsor, the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, explores our nation's history, particularly the legacy of its Founding era, in innovative ways. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit

Washington College Congratulates Colum McCann, Winner of the 2011 International Impac Award

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College congratulates novelist Colum McCann on winning the 2011 International Impac Award for his novel Let the Great World Spin. McCann was selected over nine other nominees to become the second Irish author to win the prize, worth about $140,000 in U.S. currency. The award was presented June 15 in Dublin. For more on the award, see coverage in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, and in the Irish Times.
McCann has been a great friend of Washington College in recent years. He visited campus twice to read from his work and meet with students, and on May 17 at a special reception in New York he delivered keynote remarks before announcing the winner of this year’s Sophie Kerr Prize. He used his keynote thoughts as a jumping-off point for an essay he wrote for the upcoming Summer issue of Washington College Magazine.

In his remarks that evening, McCann commented on the power of literary prizes such as the Sophie Kerr to encourage a writer’s career: “I got my first literary award when I was 21, from the Irish Arts Council. It was a significant thing that allowed me voice. It bought me about two years of writing time—it was a small amount of money, but I parsed it out as much as I could. It was more important to me than virtually any other award that came after, purely in terms of how it enabled me to work.”
To watch a video of McCann’s May 17th remarks about Washington College and the literary life, click here.
Photo: McCann with his Impac Award and the book that earned it. Photo by Niall Carson/PA.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rick Sowell '86 Named Navy Lacrosse Coach

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Those who have followed the career of Rick Sowell ’86 since his days as an All-American lacrosse player at Washington College couldn’t have been too surprised June 7 when he was named to lead the Navy lacrosse program. It was another step up a coaching ladder that has seen him rebuild struggling teams at Dartmouth, St. John’s University, and Stony Brook University, shaping them into conference contenders.
Sowell, who played midfield for Washington College under Coach Terry Corcoran, led the Shoremen in winning seasons, scoring 45 goals in 1985 and earning recognition as the Most Outstanding Midfielder in NCAA Division III that year.
“Watching Ricky Sowell play was so very exciting—he was like the Lebron James of lacrosse!” recalls WC’s Director of Alumni Programs Judie Barroll, who first arrived in Chestertown in 1984, just in time to follow Sowell’s college career. Barroll’s late first husband, Dennis Berry, ran WC’s Casey Swim Center at the time, and her son, Justin, was a high-school player who would eventually play for Towson University. “Ricky was a real-life hero to my son and many of the campus ‘field rats’ growing up,” she says.
Sowell, who transferred to WC his sophomore year, was co-captain of the Shoremen his third year in Chestertown and took home the Dr. Charles B. Clark Team MVP Award. He spent a fourth year at Washington College completing his degree in history and helping coach the team, then stayed in Chestertown one more year as an assistant to Coach Corcoran.
John Nostrant ’86 was Sowell’s teammate for two years at Washington College and later worked with him as an assistant coach at St. Alban’s School in DC. “Ricky was a ferocious competitor in college,” says Nostrant, now athletic director and head lacrosse coach at the Haverford School in Pennsylvania. “Every practice, every game, nobody worked harder.”
Sowell says his work ethic was sparked early in life by sibling rivalry. “Because I have two older brothers who were always so competitive, I was always being told that I was not as good as they were. That made me want to show myself and others that I could succeed. In high school, I learned that if you put in a little extra time, it will pay off. It is not about being the most talented, but about being the hardest worker; if you put in the work, you will see the benefits.
“I also believe the harder you work, the more competitive you become, and the harder it is to surrender. When it’s the fourth quarter and you are running out of steam, you think to yourself, ‘I have worked too hard to not get this ground ball.’ ”
He looks back at his Washington College days with fondness and appreciation. “My time at Washington College had a tremendous impact on me, starting with Coach Corcoran. He helped me both on and off the field. From an athletic standpoint, he maximized my potential on the field. It was there that my game blossomed.
“But I also appreciated how he cared about us not just as lacrosse players but also as young men. He was a father figure to me, which, at that time, I really needed. I came to Washington College from a community college near my home in upstate New York, and the Eastern Shore was a very different environment for me. In fact, because I had so much respect for Coach Corcoran and wanted to give back, I stayed and coached with him for two years. That's when I was bitten by the coaching bug, and 25 years later, here I am!
“I don’t mind admitting that I was not the greatest student,” Sowell continues. “But I am very proud to be the first member of my family to graduate from college. I had a lot of people supporting me at Washington College. I didn’t want to let them down. And when I received my college diploma—that was the best feeling in the world.
“I still have a lot of great friends from Washington College, and I’ve received many texts, emails and phone calls from them since the Navy news was announced. It means a lot that they have followed my career and are still supportive of me.”
Sowell was inducted into the Washington College Hall of Fame in 2000 after playing professionally for the Baltimore Thunder and then taking coaching jobs (head coach for St. Alban’s, and an assistant-coach post at Georgetown) that landed him as Dartmouth’s head coach by 1999.
By 2003, he had taken Dartmouth from last place in the Ivy League to first. He soon moved to St. John’s to rebuild that program before becoming head coach at Stony Brook in 2007. He took Stony Brook all the way to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2010. Nostrant says the traits that sparked Sowell’s stellar college career serve him well in coaching. “Nobody outworks Ricky in recruiting or game prep,” he says. “He demands a lot from his players, but he also has a good relationship with them. His guys will run through a wall for him.”
In announcing Sowell as the Midshipmen’s new coach, Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk described him as “an accomplished educator, proven lacrosse coach, architect of winning programs, inspirational leader of student-athletes, role model in the community and devoted husband and father.” (Sowell and his wife, Catherine, have two daughters, Kennady, 12, and Avery, 4.)
Back in Chestertown, Judie Barroll remembers following the progress of Sowell’s Stony Brook squad last year as it worked its way through the playoffs. “I remember watching their last game, when they nearly made the final four, losing to Virginia by one goal,” she says. “It was one of the most exciting games I've ever watched. I was so moved by Ricky's success and his team that I sent him an e-mail that said, ‘I don't know if you remember me. I was Judie Berry, Justin Berry's mom and Denny Berry’s widow, and I just wanted to tell you how proud we are of you.’”
Monday morning, Barroll’s office phone rang at around 9 a.m. It was Ricky Sowell. “Remember you? Are you kidding, of course I remember you,” he told her. “Thank you so much for remembering me and following my team."
Barroll was impressed, yet again, by the young man she used to watch play as a Shoreman. “I loved that a Division I Coach of his caliber made the time to pick up the phone and walk down memory lane with me because of WC and the family link lacrosse created.
“Ricky will be great at Navy!”

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hadaway Reads Poetry at Spoleto Festival

CHARLESTON, S.C.—Washington College's Vice President for College Relations and Marketing, Meredith Davies Hadaway, participated in Charleston’s prestigious Spoleto Festival on June 3, reading from her new book of poems, The River is a Reason. She was part of the Sundown Poetry Series, organized by the city’s Piccolo Spoleto, a companion festival that highlights outstanding local and regional artists during the 17-day run of the Spoleto Festival.

“I was honored to be part of a festival that has cultivated such an enthusiastic and dedicated audience for poetry,” says Hadaway of her reading, where listeners filled the brick courtyard of Charleston’s historic Dock Street Theatre.
Published in January by Word Press, The River Is a Reason is Hadaway’s second book of poetry. One poem in the collection was selected by the distinguished poet Mark Doty for honorable mention in the 2010 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry contest. Two others were nominated for Pushcart Prizes. A fourth received honorable mention in the New Millennium Writings awards. This year Hadaway also received an Individual Artist Award from The Maryland State Arts Council.
"As they balance between the everyday and the mysterious, as they flow between praise and lament, these poems are dignified throughout by a master’s feel for sentence and line,” poet Peter Campion, editor of Literary Imagination, the journal of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, wrote of the collection.
Hadaway, says her muse and preoccupation is the Chester River. “I live 30 feet from the river and it permeates everything I do,” she says. “The tide is an amazing pulse and provides a rhythm to your day. If you live where I do, where the water is not very deep, you are always aware of it. I love that the river goes away, and thatit comes back again.”
She says that the title of her collection, though it seems a declarative statement, is really a question. In the book’s final poem, “Why the River,” she seems to answer it: “because it traps the clouds so we can sail across/ both heaven and earth/ because it carries our tears, swells/ with our salt/ because it is a body/ because it bears our weight.”

Professor Deckman Offers Political Analysis at D.C. Panel On Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage

WASHINGTON, DC—Washington College professor Melissa Deckman was a panelist at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, June 9, to discuss the results of a major new study that examined attitudes about abortion and support for same-sex marriage among the millennial generation.
Deckman, an associate professor of political science, says millennials, like their parents before them, hold conflicted and often contradictory attitudes about abortion, but are much more supportive of gay marriage than prior generations. The new study, sponsored by the Public Religious Research Institute, considered how religion, education, partisanship, and where a person resides (region and urban/rural divides) factor into this decision.
Deckman says the study broke new ground in finding that levels of support for access to abortion—the notion that at least some health-care professionals in their communities should provide legal abortion—is highest among the millennial generation. Sixty eight percent of millennials say that there should be access to abortion services, yet just 60 percent say it should be legal in most circumstances. “This finding suggests that traditional measures of support for abortion rights may not fully capture how all millennials feel about abortion,” she says.
The study also considered some unique factors in its analysis, such as whether viewing MTV’s reality show about unmarried pregnant teenagers, Teen Mom, impacted views on abortion (yes, it has a positive impact on support for the legality of abortions); and whether seeing an ultrasound impacts views on abortion (yes, it has a negative impact on support for its legality).
Deckman reports that, all told, the study confirms that abortion attitudes have remained fairly consistent over the past four decades. But despite this consistency and the fact that a slight majority of Americans favor the legalization of abortion in most circumstances, pro-life activists have been increasingly successful in restricting access to abortion through state legislative policy. “Pro-lifers are three times more likely than pro-choice supporters to say that abortion is a critical issue for them,” she told the panel audience. “They’re highly motivated. They recruit candidates and become legally and politically savvy. They help promote legislation,” she said.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, the PRRI survey showed the millennials to be much more supportive on this issue than older age groups. Fifty-seven percent of 18-to-29-year-olds favor same-sex marriage, making them the only age group to give the idea majority support. Another 19 percent of millennials support civil unions among gays.
Among other age groups, support for gay marriage declines as age increases: 42 percent of people ages 30 to 49 support it; but the percentage drops to 32 percent of those ages 50 to 64, and 26 percent of seniors 65 and older. “While it is not surprising that younger Americans are more liberal on gay marriage,” says Deckman, “it is important to remember that views on this issue are also colored by religious belief. For many conservative, devout Americans, opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage continue to motivate their political choices.”
The panel discussion was moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne, Jr., and also featured Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI and principal researcher on the survey, and Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Video highlights and full audio from the June 9 event, are posted at

Monday, June 6, 2011

Washington College Mourns Loss of Honorary Alumnus Lawrence Eagleburger

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Washington College community is mourning the passing of Lawrence Eagleburger, the veteran foreign policy expert who received the College’s honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, at Convocation this past February. Ambassador Eagleburger died Friday, June 3, after a long battle with lung cancer.

Ambassador Eagleburger served in policy positions under four presidents, was Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, and chaired the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, which resolved unpaid Nazi-era insurance claims for survivors of the Holocaust. “He was a great American patriot and a passionate defender of the less fortunate,” said Washington College president Mitchell Reiss, who worked closely with him when Secretary Eagleburger was a member of William & Mary’s Board Visitors and subsequently on some trouble-shooting issues in the Middle East.

“One of my favorite memories,” Reiss recalled, “was when Larry spent an afternoon talking to me about his early career—working for Secretary of State Dean Acheson, courting Acheson’s personal assistant, Marlene (who later became Larry's wife), representing the United States overseas during the first few decades of the Cold War and generally sharing the lessons and insights he had gathered from his experiences.”

In the citation for the honorary degree, President Reiss said Eagleburger had “demonstrated a remarkable fortitude in the face of adversity” in resolving diplomatic crises, and that “his propensity for direct and honest responses to sticky problems have earned him the respect of key legislators in Washington and leaders around the world.”

Eagleburger showed his trademark wit and straightforward style when accepting the honorary degree. He endeared himself to the campus community with heartfelt and humorous remarks about what he had discovered during his visit to Washington College and about the nation’s need for small liberal arts colleges like the one in Chestertown.

“Every student in this place is fortunate to be in one of the most remarkable colleges I have ever seen, and one of the most remarkable colleges in this country,” he told the Convocation audience. “It has demonstrated something I have believed many, many years: That education at the college level is far best received in a small college, not one of these huge factories that are now so prevalent in the American educational system—our national disgrace in terms of our educational system. I say to all of you (students, faculty, alumni, Mr. President) that you are fortunate to be associated with this institution.”

A short clip of Ambassador Eagleburger’s remarks can be found at A partial transcript of his full remarks appears below, following the text of the official citation for his honorary degree.

Lawrence Eagleburger

An American statesman who climbed the foreign service ladder to the highest rank ever achieved by a career diplomat, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger remains one of our country’s leading experts in foreign policy and global diplomatic affairs. He is known throughout the world for his role during the Gulf War—he kept the U.S.-led coalition together by persuading the Israeli government to show restraint against Saddam Hussein’s scud missiles. He remains a key adviser on the Middle East and an outspoken figure on the public stage, raising the alarm of nuclear weapon development in North Korea and Iran, as well as concerns over waning U.S. relations with Israel.

Throughout his career of public service, Mr. Eagleburger has demonstrated a remarkable fortitude in the face of adversity. While second secretary in the American embassy’s economics section in Yugoslavia in the early 1960s, he directed a massive relief effort following the ravaging earthquake in Macedonia, almost single-handedly arranging for the construction of an army field hospital. As Deputy Secretary under James Baker during the Gulf War, he negotiated Israel’s measured response to Iraqi aggression. After joining the Bush administration, he was one of the envoys sent to China after the Tiananmen Square massacre to help restore relations with the rulers in Beijing.

Tapped to be the personal aide to Henry Kissinger early in his career, Mr. Eagleburger went on to serve four U.S. Presidents. His propensity for direct and honest responses to sticky problems have earned him the respect of key legislators in Washington and leaders around the world. In his recent assignment as Chairman of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, he oversaw the distribution of more than $300 million in awards to more than 48,000 Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

In recognition of his extraordinary talents directed in service to our nation, we hereby present to Lawrence Eagleburger the honorary degree, doctor of laws.

Mitchell Reiss
February 25, 2011

Upon receiving the honorary degree, doctor of laws, at Washington College Convocation February 25, 2011.

When I first was told that I was going to get this degree, I started writing my remarks about a month and a half ago, then threw them away. And now that I am here and have seen this college, talked to students, and so forth, the word that runs through my head is “fortunate,” or “lucky.”

Every student in this place is fortunate to be in one of the most remarkable colleges I have ever seen, and one of the most remarkable colleges in this country. It has demonstrated something I have believed many, many years: That education at the college level is far best received in a small college, not one of these huge factories that are now so prevalent in the American educational system—our national disgrace in terms of our educational system. I say to all of you (students, faculty, alumni, Mr. President) that you are fortunate to be associated with this institution.

I want to make a few remarks based on what I’ve learned in the last 48 hours:
First of all, your president is very much open to this faculty, the students, and the employees of this institution. I learned that, for instance, yesterday from a young woman who works here. She said, “You can tell the president for me, I want more money.” [laughter].

In addition, this is a very open institution. You’ll notice, if you’ll look at your program, we are all, after this, supposed to go to a room and disrobe [laughter].

When I was coming here, I thought “Well, I’m supposed to meet with students, and since the students that I met with in the past (most places) have hissed, have yelled, and told me I was full of it, I thought I would receive the same. So I was very cautious about what I was going to say and I sort of expected that my reception would probably be similar to that of the governor of Wisconsin appearing before the AFL-CIO convention somewhere [laughter]. It has not been like that. The students here have been very polite, very decent, I haven’t heard one hiss so far. Maybe I’ll get out of here tonight without one [laughter]. But once again, “fortunate” and “lucky” occur in everything I’ve seen here, and I want to say something specific about that.

I’m in a kind of a paradox with my honorary degree, “Doctor of Laws,” because I tried for a year and a half, two years, to get through law school and never was able to do so [laughter]. I’m now very pleased you’ve short-circuited that for me. It’s only that I had to be 80 years of age before I got it, that’s all [laughter].

And then finally, there’s one other thing (no joking here at all), one of the things that I wanted to say about this school that I’ve learned is that it has set aside some scholarships and some assistance for G.I.s who come back from serving their country. And I cannot tell you, how much I think that expresses, for me and I hope for all of you, for the American people in general, our gratitude for people who have gone off, risked their lives (many times lost their lives), in defense of this country of ours. God bless you for doing what you’re doing for them.

So, with all of that and looking forward to disrobing [laughter], I will leave you now with only this remark, one more time: You cannot know, all of you, how lucky you are to be associated with this educational institution, when most of us are surrounded by educational factories of 15 to 25 thousand students, and this small college here produces better graduates and cares more about the country they serve than anything I have seen anywhere else.

Congratulations to all of you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

College Begins Installing Geothermal System

CHESTERTOWN—As soon as the tent stakes from the Commencement ceremony came out, the surveyor’s stakes and fence posts went in. Work has begun on the College’s next big capital project: the installation of geothermal fields for heating and cooling the soon-to-be-renovated Miller Library.

For the next month or so, drilling rigs will be digging 168 wells, each 300 feet deep, and the wells will be linked together with a network of underground piping. Next summer, the piping will be integrated into the new geothermal heating and cooling system that is part of the environmentally friendly renovation of the library. The same system will heat and cool adjacent Smith Hall.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems are both green and cost-effective. Geothermal energy originates from the Earth’s stored heat; so that even in winter, the ground temperature below 10 feet is consistently 12.8°C (55°F). The soil on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is particularly suitable for geothermal use. The College is expected to recoup its $900,000 investment in the geothermal system through fuel oil savings in just a few years.

While the earth is opened up, the College also will install an irrigation system. Then the lawn will be regraded and sodded in time to welcome the Class of 2015 in late August. “By the time those students drive across the Chester River Bridge and onto campus, they shouldn’t be able to tell anything ever happened,” says Reid Raudenbush, Director of the Physical Plant for the College.

Riverfront Concert Series Kicks Off Thursday, June 16, with Carribean Trio in the Egg


CHESTERTOWN, MD— The popular Washington College Riverfront Concert Series, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, returns for a second year with a stellar lineup of free Thursday evening concerts on the riverfront lawn of the Custom House. The series will kick off June 16 with Caribbean trio Sweet Lime and Passion, continue June 30 with folk duo Magpie, and conclude July 21 with blues/hot jazz duo The Blue Rhythm Boys.

All three events will begin at 6:30 p.m. behind the Custom House, corner of High and Water streets in downtown Chestertown. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and picnic dinners. Lemonade and cookies will be provided free of charge. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will take place in The Egg, a performance space in Hodson Hall Commons on the main Washington College campus.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2010, the Riverfront Concert Series builds on the Center’s longstanding interest in the musical traditions of the Chesapeake Bay and its rich heritage of storytelling. The series host is the Starr Center’s program manager, Michael Buckley, whose weekly radio program on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM (Sundays, 7 to 10 a.m.) includes the widely acclaimed interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.” Special assistance is provided by Yerkes Construction.

“We were happy that last summer’s concerts drew such an enthusiastic response from the community,” says Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. “We’re delighted to be able to expand the series this year, from two concerts to three, and provide more opportunities for our friends and neighbors to enjoy great music here on the beautiful Chester River waterfront.”

The trio opening the Riverfront Concert Series on June 16, Sweet Lime and Passion, is one of the capital region’s premier arts and education groups. Trio members David Boothman, Major Boyd, and Elizabeth Melvin offer audiences a “Caribbean cornucopia” of musical styles, including calypso, reggae, soca, and zouk (French Caribbean dance music).

A native of Trinidad, keyboardist Boothman has worked with artists and producers from Derek Walcott to Andre Tanker to Scofield Pilgrim, and has toured extensively with the group Kysofusion. Marimba player Melvin has worked for the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and has studied ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. Together, Boothman and Melvin serve as artistic directors of the Annapolis-based Caribbean Arts Central. A 13-year veteran of the Caribbean Arts Jazz Ensemble (CAJE), Major Boyd is one of Baltimore’s top saxophone players. The group’s first album, Sweet Lime and Passion, was released in 2008. For more on the group, visit

The series continues on June 30 with acclaimed contemporary folk duo Magpie. Blending blues, jazz, country, and swing with contemporary folk music, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have been performing together for nearly 40 years, using music to bring people together, teach schoolchildren about history and ecology, and encourage commitment to social and environmental justice.

Leonino and Artzner are master artists with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and have created several thematic school programs on topics such as the Great Depression, the Underground Railroad, and the civil rights movement. In 2000, Magpie collaborated with scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to create a “museum musical” about the life cycle of the Chesapeake Bay’s most famous resident, the blue crab. “Tales of the Blue Crab” premiered at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre, and is now a traveling show performed in schools around the country. For more on Magpie, visit

The Blue Rhythm Boys will round out the 2011 series with a performance on July 21. Blending the blues √† la Mississippi John Hurt with the “hot club” swing of Django Reinhardt, the Blue Rhythm Boys have delighted audiences with their tight vocals and hot guitar playing since 1997. Duo members Tom Mitchell and Jim Stephanson’s smoky mix of jazz and blues has won the group a wide following. For more on the Blue Rhythm Boys, visit

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The college’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit