WC’s Dam the Debt Project Provides $325K to Students to Reduce Education Loans

Washington College President Sheila Bair today announced that the Dam the Debt program will provide $325,581 to reduce the federal subsidized loan debt of 122 seniors who are graduating this May. The grants amount to a back-end scholarship that will award the seniors an average of $2,640, lowering their average federal student loan debt by nearly 10.3 percent.

“When we launched this program last year, it was something of an upstart in higher education, as no college had done this before,” President Bair says. “Now, thanks to our corporate and individual donors who understand the consequences of high student debt, we can continue sending our students into their careers and lives with one less loan to worry about. Hopefully this will enable them to save more, invest sooner, and have more freedom of choice as they move forward into the world.”

Washington College President Sheila Bair

he seniors who qualify for the program have taken out federally subsidized loans for the spring 2017 semester. Through Dam the Debt, those students will receive a grant from the College toward their financial aid package intended to replace the amount of those loans. As a result, the students will see, on average, a 10.27 percent reduction in their total federal loan burden before they even leave campus on graduation day. 

Since its inception in May 2016, the program to date has awarded a total of $659,000 to 252 eligible graduating seniors, with an average grant amount of $2,615.

Dam the Debt is one of several initiatives that President Bair has implemented since her inauguration in September 2015 to make college more affordable and accessible, and to tackle the problem of student loan debt. Funded entirely by donations, the program so far has raised $1.2 million. Among those who have donated to the program are BB&T, bloooom, inc., TD Bank, Santander Bank, Avant, John and Peggy Bacon, and Philip and Joan Riggin.

“We know that when students are burdened by debt, they delay buying homes, cars, and investing for their futures. This becomes a drag not only on them as individuals but on the economy as a whole,” President Bair says. “Anything we can do as an institution to break that cycle, we are working to do.”

In addition to Dam the Debt, the College has launched FixedFor4, which will fix tuition for four years for incoming freshmen, beginning with this fall’s incoming Class of 2021. Last year, the College also announced the Saver’s Scholarship, which will match the amount that families contribute from a 529 college savings plan or an Educational Savings Account, up to $2,500 per year, to pay for their student’s tuition. And through George’s Brigade, another donor-funded program, high-need, high-potential students can receive a full tuition scholarship, in addition to having all of their room and board covered, for four years.

In addition to these new programs, Washington College annually provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90 percent of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.

Learn more at http://www.washcoll.edu/value/ .

 

 

PRS Guitars’ Founder Receives Honorary Doctorate from Washington College

Paul Reed Smith, founder and Managing General Partner of PRS Guitars, has received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Maryland’s Washington College. The degree, which was in recognition of Paul’s significant achievements as an innovative and creative thinker, was presented to Smith by Washington College President Sheila Bair during a public ceremony on Thursday, April 13.

Paul was recognized for both PRS Guitars, his successful business that has been designing and manufacturing electric guitars and basses, acoustic guitars, and amplifiers for some of the world’s most prestigious musicians for more than 30 years, and also his new cutting-edge company: Digital Harmonic, LLC, which marries art and science with developed image and waveform technology.
“Paul is a remarkable example of entrepreneurial spirit; a kid builds a guitar in high school woodshop and ends up as Managing Partner and Founder of the third largest guitar manufacturer in the US. Many would tell you that the company makes the best electric guitars that have ever been made,” said George Spilich, a professor of psychology and director of the Cromwell Center for Teaching and Learning at Washington College who treasures his own PRS guitar. “Now Paul is taking his expertise in signal processing and pivoting that knowledge into the creation of a signal processing company that has the promise of greatly improving medical imaging. If all that does not merit recognition in the business world, I don’t know what does.”

“I am very appreciative to be recognized by the Department of Business Management at Washington College,” said Paul Reed Smith. “I hope it serves as inspiration to the students, that regardless of where you start, things are possible with determination, a plan and great work ethics.”

Paul joins a prestigious circle of honorary degree recipients that includes U.S. Presidents (including George Washington) and nationally renowned scientists, writers, artists, historians, and statesmen. Paul has visited Washington College on several occasions, offering master classes in music, and performing with the Paul Reed Smith Band.

Aside from Smith’s professional success, he is also dedicated to giving back to the community through PRS Guitars’ fundraising efforts for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Living with Cancer program and his mentorship program, which he personally has delivered at dozens of area secondary schools and colleges including Washington College. The mentorship program, which is largely funded by Smith himself, focuses on achieving goals and dreams through positive work ethics and responsibility. Paul is convinced that if he can reach even one student at each program that it is worth his time and effort.

Washington College Alumna and Trustee Gives $1 Million for Career Center

President Sheila C. Bair today announced a gift of $1 million from alumna and trustee Rebecca Corbin Loree and her husband, Jim, that will catalyze a new level of strategic planning and programming to help students launch their careers upon graduation. The funds for the College’s Center for Career Development will make possible new and enhanced internships, job shadowing, crucial program assessments, and other related initiatives, giving students an extra edge as they plan their professional futures.

“We are not successful as a College unless we can give our students every tool possible to help them pursue their careers and to enter today’s competitive, quickly changing job market with both flexibility and a solid grounding in real-world experience,” President Bair says. “The work of the career center is increasingly crucial, and this gift reflects that. We are grateful for Rebecca’s insight into this vital part of the Washington College education and the generosity and foresight she and her husband, Jim, have shown with this wonderful gift.”

“Ideally, the funds would be used to develop a best-in-class, four-year career development program that yields a significant increase in job placement, both in terms of quantity and quality, as well as other positive outcomes,” Loree says. “I would like to see this program be a recognized strength and differentiating factor in the college search process. To do this, we must invest in leadership, technology, and other resources.”

Loree graduated cum laude and with honors in business management. In 2007, she founded Corbin Advisors, a specialized investor relations advisory firm assisting public companies with creating shareholder value.She serves as editor-in-chief of Inside the Buy-side®, the firm’s leading-edge investor sentiment research, and is a regular guest on CNBC. Loree is also president of the Jim and Rebecca Loree Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization that she co-founded with her husband in 2009.

As a college student, Loree was the first recipient of the Schottland Business Leadership Award, which honors a Washington College senior who has demonstrated outstanding leadership potential and academic excellence. She also received the Department of Business Management Award, which recognizes a graduating business major who has demonstrated exceptional qualities of scholarship, character, and leadership.

With this gift, the building that houses the College’s career center will be named the Rebecca Corbin Loree Center. Loree has also supported the Terrence Scout Endowed Scholarship and The Washington Fund, both of which help defray the cost of a WC education. In 2013, she established the Rebecca Corbin Loree Internship Fund, which helps business and economics students pursue summer internships leading to careers in the financial industry. Further underscoring her commitment, Loree’s company has employed several students as summer interns and recently hired a graduating senior.

“Rebecca has already given Washington College business students a boost by helping fund experiential learning, as well as taking the time to speak with students about the importance of real-world experience and developing networks and connections,” President Bair says. “Her generosity will now give all of our students a similar chance to pursue career goals with confidence.”

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 washcoll.edu.

2017 Spring Series by Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture

Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture announces its new Spring 2017 series entitled “Faith And” at Washington College in Chestertown. The six-part series features:

Faith and Leadership
Al Sikes, former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission
“Faith & Leadership: A Discussion of a Life of Public Service”
6:00 PM, Wednesday, March 22
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College, Chestertown

Faith, Politics & The Ivory Tower
Josh Dunn, Director, Center for the Society of Government and the Individual, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Faith, Politics & The Ivory Tower: Conservatives and Higher Education
5:00 PM, Friday, March 24
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College, Chestertown

Faith & Science
JP Moorland, Distinguished Professor ofPhilosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
7:00 PM, Thursday, April 6
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

Faith Law & Liberty
Shannon Holzer, award winning author and scholar
7:30 PM, Wednesday, April 12
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

Faith & The Emotions
James K. A. Smith, Gary and Henrietta Byker, Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College
6:30 PM, Tuesday, April 18
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

Faith & Music
Andrew Balio, Principal Trumpet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Director of the True Symphony Institute
6:00 PM. Tuesday, May 3
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

MD Department of Commerce Awards Washington College an E-Nnovation Grant

For the second year in a row, Washington College has been awarded a grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce as part of its Maryland

E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a program designed to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields. Coupled with gifts of $1 million from donors, the MEI grant of $944,000 will support nearly $2 million for an endowed chair in sustainable food systems for the College’s new Eastern Shore Food Lab.

The MEI grant was made possible by a pledge of $1 million from Daryl Swanstrom ’69, a member of the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors, with transitional funding by board members Edward P. Nordberg ’82, Ann Horner ’80, and Patrick W. Allender P ’11, who helped meet the immediate grant requirements.

2016-10-03-schindler-clay-foraging.small

Bill Schindler, shown here teaching students about foraging for foods from trees and plants that grow on campus and nearby, will be the first chair in sustainable food systems.

“Problem-solving and analytical skills are the heart of the liberal arts education. When our students bring those skills to bear on innovative opportunities like the Eastern Shore Food Lab, creative solutions to complex problems are the result,” says College President Sheila Bair. “The funds from our generous donors—Daryl Swanstrom, Ed Nordberg, Ann Horner, and Patrick Allender—and the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative will help Washington College propel new thinking and action toward creating more sustainable food systems on the Eastern Shore and well beyond.”

The Eastern Shore Food Lab (ESFL) will be an interdisciplinary research, teaching, and innovation laboratory dedicated to studying and experimenting with sustainable food systems, using the Eastern Shore food-shed as its primary context. By studying the resources unique to the region, based on weather, climate, soil chemistry, and microbial biology—and fusing historical foodways with modern technologies—faculty, students, and collaborative researchers will re-envision our food system, from how we define food to how we grow and prepare it. The lab will address issues of food, diet, health, access, sustainability, and human and environmental relationships through innovative teaching and learning, cutting edge research, and meaningful food production. Ultimately, although the lab’s work will spring from the local, the solutions it envisions will be scalable to other food-sheds around the country and the world.

Funded through the MEI grant, the first chair of the ESFL will be Bill Schindler, chair of the Department of Anthropology and associate professor of anthropology. A behavioral science expert in primitive technologies and foodways—food production, dietary health, and cultural meanings of food—Schindler is especially interested in how the ESFL can work as a catalyst to change modern Western perceptions of food.

Created by the General Assembly in 2014, the MEI program aims to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the state’s colleges and universities. This year, in addition to Washington College, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, Hood College, and Stevenson University were endowed a total of $8.3 million in four new research professorships. The schools raised $4.3 million in private funding for each chair, and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of $4 million to support the endowments.

In 2016, Washington College received an MEI grant of $1 million to create a newly endowed position at the Center for Environment & Society, the chief of entrepreneurial science.

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 washcoll.edu.

Maryland Senator Mikulski and News Commentator Roberts at Washington College

Milkulski-web

Former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski

Two influential and iconic Washington women—former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and news commentator and political analyst Cokie Roberts—will kick off a new series at Washington College on Friday, March 3.The event launches a new series of programs commemorating the upcoming centennial of the amendment that gave American women the right to vote.

In “Climbing the Hill,” Roberts will lead a conversation with Mikulski about the changing roles and influence of women in public life over the course of her 40-year congressional career. John Harwood of CNBC and The New York Times will introduce the speakers.

The free, public event, sponsored by the Harwood Lecture Series,is at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. It will be followed by a reception in the Underwood Lobby, and copies of Roberts’ books will be available for purchase and signing.

The Hon. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., served in the U.S. Congress longer than any other woman in American history. At her retirement in 2017, she had represented Maryland for 30 years in the Senate, preceded by 10 in the House of Representatives. The first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee, she began her career in public service as a member of the Baltimore City Council, and while she rose to the heights of power in Congress, she never neglected her Baltimore roots, a commitment that earned her enormous loyalty in her home state. Her legacy includes major achievements in women’s pay equity and healthcare, as well as in advancing political engagement for new generations of American women. In 2015 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. She is now professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

Cokie-Roberts-web

News Commentator and Political Analyst Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts, an acclaimed reporter and commentator for ABC News and National Public Radio, served as NPR’s congressional correspondent for more than 10 years. From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won three Emmys and has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. American Women in Radio and Television named her one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. A prolific writer, she has written six New York Times bestsellers, several of them on women’s political lives in early America—We Are Our Mother’s Daughters, Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, and Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868.Her children’s book Founding Mothers, illustrated by Caldecott award winner Diane Goode, was also a bestseller, and the children’s version of Ladies of Liberty, also illustrated by Goode, was published in December 2016.

The event, sponsored by the Harwood Series in American Journalism and the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, leads off a new series at Washington College, the Women’s Centennial. The series looks ahead to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. Over the next four years, leading up to the 2020 anniversary itself, the Women’s Centennial will bring outstanding American women to campus, honoring and chronicling the achievements of women in leadership and public life from 1920 to the present day.

With its distinctive connection to the history of American freedom and its tradition of educating women and men as citizen leaders—and now under the leadership of its first female president, Sheila Bair—Washington College is uniquely suited to host the Women’s Centennial. The College has deep traditions of gender inclusivity: in 1783, it hired the first recorded female faculty member in American higher education, the art instructor Elizabeth Callister Peale. In May 1942, Washington College bestowed an honorary degree on First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

About the Washington College’s Harwood Lecture Series in American Journalism

The series was established to honor the distinguished career of the late Washington Post columnist and ombudsman Richard Harwood, who served as a trustee of the College, as well as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate journalists. The Harwood series has featured David Axelrod, Susan Goldberg, Tom Wheeler, Howard Dean, Robert Novak, John McCain, James Carville, Judy Woodruff, Al Hunt, Mark Shields, and Paul Gigot, among others. The journalistic tradition has also continued in Harwood’s own family; his son, John Harwood, has had a distinguished career as a political correspondent and columnist for CNBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

About the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience

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 with a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.

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 washcoll.edu.

Profiles in Spirituality: WC Professor Joseph Prud’homme Connects Politics, Religion and Culture

For almost the entire length of his academic career, Joseph Prud’homme, Easton resident, Washington College professor, and founder of the school’s Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture, has investigated the extraordinary links that connect our country’s political life with its religious and cultural heritage. While he is the first to say that he is not a preacher nor a politician, but “just a professor,” he believes the time is right for his institute to move beyond the college classroom and enter into the much larger orbit of public discourse with outreach programs and lecture series designed to inform the Mid-Shore community of these multidisciplinary links.

In his first Spy interview, Joseph highlights how these three of these components interacts in our current state of affairs by using the example of the abolitionist movement in the early part of the 19th Century, where  politics, religion, and American culture were vividly seen as important and co-equal influences on how the United States saw the institution of slavery. In Professor Prud’homme’s mind, that trinity is just as important to consider when talking about abortion rights or the Black Lives Matters movement in 2017.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Washington College’s Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture please go here

Colonial American History Through the Eyes of the Anishinaabeg

Michael-McDonnellYou’ve probably never heard of the Anishinaabeg tribe, but their influence is present in much of what you know about early American history. And at a February 16 lecture, you can learn more when Michael McDonnell presents “Mastering Empires: The Anishinaabeg of the Great Lakes and the Making of America.”

Sponsored by the Washington College Department of History, the talk takes place at 4:30 in Litrenta Lecture Hall on the WC campus. A book signing will follow, and the public is welcome.

McDonnell is an associate professor of history at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the co-editor of Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation-Making from Independence to the Civil War, and the author of The Politics of War: Race, Class, and Conflict in Revolutionary Virginia, winner of the 2008 NSW Premier’s History Prize, as well as Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of North America, winner of the 2016 Michigan State History Award and the Western History Association’s Robert M. Utley Prize.

In his talk, McDonnell will reveal the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known today than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential. By dictating terms at trading posts and frontier forts, they played a crucial part in the making of early America, including, as McDonnell argues, ultimately helping to light the fuse that would ignite the American Revolution.

Washington College President Issues Statement on Immigration Ban

The following statement was issued by Sheila Bair, President of Washington College, in regard to President Trump’s recent executive order that calls for a temporary immigration ban on certain visitors to the United States:

“I would like to reassure every member of the Washington College community, whether you are from this country or any other, that you are welcome here. Washington College is a vibrant institution because it fosters intellectual inquiry and diversity of background and belief. More than 150 international students coming from almost 30 different countries form an integral part of the Washington College community. Our collective diversity is one of the greatest resources for a liberal arts education. As the Washington College community, we are diverse but share a commitment to key values. Two of these values are civility and moral courage, and I am proud to see these values on full display at the College.”  – Sheila Bair, President

Students who have questions or concerns about the executive order and how it might impact them or their families have been directed to the College’s Global Education office and Student Affairs. While we continue to review the order, it appears at this point that no Washington College students, faculty, or staff will be impacted.

 

Mary Ball Washington’s Place in History on February 9

Current events in Washington, D.C. and around the world have brought attention to women’s rights, but women’s roles in shaping and defining American history span centuries. Distinguished author and professor Martha Saxton is a leading scholar in the field of gender studies and women’s history, and she is the spring 2017 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow at Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

martha-saxton

Martha Saxton

Her most recent work is on the life of Mary Ball Washington—the mother of founding father George Washington. To kick off her residency, Saxton will give a presentation on “The Widow Washington,” at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9 in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the College campus. Sponsored by the Starr Center and the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Saxton’s upcoming book The Widow Washington is a biographical study of Mary Ball Washington. Minimally educated, Mary Ball left few records.Generations of George Washington’s historians have filled in around the sparse evidence that remains about her with increasingly unpleasant and frequently unfounded interpretations of her and her relationship with her son. Saxton’s book reevaluates this picture against the background of her life that spanned the dramatic changes of 18th-century Virginia. An orphan by the age of 12, Mary Ball went on to become a wife, mother, widow, planter, slave-owner, and devoted Anglican. Historians have tended to see George Washington as a self-made man, but Mary’s exacting temperament and reliance on her son in early widowhood to help her steer the family through precarious times strongly shaped his ideas about duty and his outsized sense of responsibility.

The genesis for The Widow Washington grew out of Saxton’s Being Good, Women’s Moral Values in Early America (2003), which had a section on 18th–century widows in the Chesapeake region. More broadly, the book is part of Saxton’s lifelong interest in locating the lives of women within their historical and social contexts so that their struggles with prevailing conventions can help restore to their memories meanings that have been lost. This was the goal of her earlier biographies— of the sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield (1976) and Louisa May Alcott (1977).

Martha Saxton retired in 2016, after teaching at Amherst College for 20 years in the History and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Departments. She has also taught at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia and for several years in the Inside/Out Program at the Hampshire County House of Corrections in Northampton. Saxton has garnered numerous awards and fellowships for her work as a scholar and a teacher and has published in the Women’s Review of Books, Journal of American History, and William and Mary Quarterly among other scholarly publications.

Based in an office at the Starr Center in the circa-1746 Custom House on the Chester River, Saxton will work on completing her book and teach a seminar in the Department of English. The course, “From Biography to Fiction: Transformation and Revision,” explores the relationship between biography and the imaginative process of writing fiction using the accounts of three well-known early American novelists: Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Louisa May Alcott, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Saxton will live in the restored Patrick Henry House, a 1730s-era house in Chestertown’s historic district. Washington College acquired the Patrick Henry Fellows’ Residence in January 2007 through a generous gift from the Barksdale-Dabney-Patrick Henry Family Foundation, which was established by the Nuttle family of Talbot County, direct descendants of the patriot Patrick Henry.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2008, the Patrick Henry Fellowship aims to encourage reflection on the links between American history and contemporary culture, and to foster the literary art of historical writing. It is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College’s center for literature and the literary arts. The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship’s funding is permanently endowed by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with further support provided by the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, and other donors.

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 explores the complexities of the American experience through collaborative and creative approaches to understanding the past. For more information on the Center and the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.