Seven Finalists Named for $50,000 George Washington Prize

Seven books published in 2018 by the country’s most prominent historians have been named finalists for the 2019 George Washington Prize. The annual award recognizes the past year’s best written works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history.

“A gifted historian sheds light on the present as well as the past,” says Adam Goodheart, director of Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, one of the prize’s three cosponsors. “Each of these seven authors helps illuminate a nation still struggling to understand and define itself after nearly two and a half centuries. We at Washington College—whose own history goes back to the nation’s founding—are pleased to honor them.”

Created in 2005 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and Washington College, the $50,000 George Washington Prize is one of the nation’s largest and most notable literary awards. Written to engage a wide public audience, the books provide a “go-to” reading list for anyone interested in learning more about George Washington, his contemporaries, and the founding of the United States of America.

The 2019 George Washington Prize finalists are:

Colin CallowayThe Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation (Oxford University Press)

Stephen FriedRush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown)

Catherine KerrisonJefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America (Ballantine Books)

Joyce Lee MalcomThe Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life (Pegasus Books)

Nathaniel PhilbrickInto the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown (Viking)

Russell ShortoRevolution Song: A Story of American Freedom (W.W. Norton & Company)

Peter StarkYoung Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father (Harper Collins Publishers)

The winner of the 2019 prize will be announced, and all finalists recognized, at a black-tie gala on October 24, 2019, at The Union League Club in New York City. More information about the George Washington Prize is available

The Books in Brief

The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation

Colin Calloway tells the fascinating story of Washington’s lifelong engagement with Native America. The book paints a new and, at times, disturbing portrait of the nation’s first president as an untested militia officer on the banks of the Ohio, as a diplomat who gradually learned to work with Indians on their own terms and, during his final years, as a disappointed Indian land speculator. Unusual for a Washington biography, Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Cornplanter, Red Jacket, and Little Turtle, among many other native leaders, play leading roles in Calloway’s account. America’s first inhabitants, the book shows, were as central to the founding of the American republic as the nation’s first president.

Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father

Benjamin Rush comes alive in Stephen’s Fried’s biography of this versatile, multi-talented founder. Fried captures Rush’s ambition to better the world by founding hospitals and asylums, calling for the abolition of slavery, and championing public education. As the Continental army’s surgeon general, Rush pushed to reform battlefield medicine during the Revolutionary War, and he played a key role in the creation of the United States’ political system. In Fried’s skillful hands, we learn about Rush’s life as a devoted husband and father, as well as his lasting legacy for so many areas of the early American Republic.

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

Catherine Kerrison tells the story of Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters, freeborn and enslaved. The first half focuses on the lives of Jefferson’s daughters by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, while the second part chronicles the difficult and precarious life of his third daughter, Harriet, born to his slave, Sally Hemmings. Well documented and powerfully told, Kerrison’s book is as much an account of America’s mixed and often-troubled heritage as it is about three strong women fighting to define their own destinies in a new nation.

The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life

Joyce Lee Malcolm writes a bracing account of America’s most famous traitor. Along with Arnold’s well-known frustrations as a Continental army officer, Malcolm recounts the story of his difficult childhood and his father’s descent into alcoholism and bankruptcy, which fed Arnold’s ambition as an adult. The book also takes a fresh look at Arnold’s lifelong hatred of France, dismissed by many scholars as a pretext for switching sides in 1780, but that Malcolm depicts as a genuine expression of attitudes that Arnold first acquired as a teenager in the Connecticut militia during the French and Indian War. Malcolm displays particular sensitivity in her treatment of the women in Arnold’s life: his heroic mother Hannah Waterman, his sister Hannah, and his second wife Peggy Shippen, whose life was destroyed by her husband’s treason.

Into the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

Nathaniel Philbrick’s page-turning narrative describes the last and greatest American victory of the Revolutionary War. Philbrick gives the various global players at Yorktown their due, including the young nation’s French allies, who had their own complicated politics and motives, and the defeated British, but the book’s central character is George Washington. The American general’s insights, leadership, and attentiveness to his allies were instrumental in forcing the British to surrender. So too, the book suggests, was a dose of good fortune. Philbrick sheds new light on the often-misunderstood battle that finally secured American independence.

Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom

Russel Shorto studies the American struggle to define the meaning of individual freedom in his book that takes us to America’s founding and weaves together the stories of six individuals whose very lives test a philosophical idea through the force of action and sometimes violent change. From the story of an African who liberated himself and his family from American slavery, to the exploits of George Washington during and after the American revolt, Revolution Song is a wide-ranging, gripping history of a people trying to define what it means to be free.

Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father

Peter Stark recounts the drama of George Washington’s formative years during the 1750s fighting the French and their Indian allies in the Ohio Valley. Mortified by his initial encounter with a mixed-race French-Seneca officer in western Pennsylvania, Washington worked to master the ways of his European and native foes, and eventually, Starks shows, of the British soldiers, allied Indians, Tidewater gentry, frontier squatters, and imperial politicians whose help he needed if he was to realize his own ambitions. By the time he married Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759 and moved to Mount Vernon, Washington had perfected the chameleon-like ability to adapt to his surroundings that would define the rest of his storied career. The wilderness, Stark shows, is where Washington became the leader we remember today.

The Sponsors of the George Washington Prize

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Founded in 1994 by visionaries and lifelong proponents of American history education Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K-12 education. With a focus on primary sources, the Gilder Lehrman Institute illuminates the stories, people and moments that inspire students of all ages and backgrounds to learn and understand more about history. Through a diverse portfolio of education programs, including the acclaimed Hamilton Education Program, the Gilder Lehrman Institute provides opportunities for nearly two million students, 30,000 teachers and 16,000 schools worldwide. Learn more at

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Since 1860, more than 85 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. In 2013, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association opened the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which safeguards original books and manuscripts and serves as a center for research, scholarship, and leadership development.  Learn more at

Washington College
Washington College was founded in 1782 as the first institution of higher learning established in the new republic. George Washington was not only a principal donor to the college, but also a member of its original governing board. He received an honorary degree from the college in June 1789, two months after assuming the presidency. The College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores the American experience in all its diversity and complexity, seeks creative approaches to illuminating the past, and inspires thoughtful conversation informed by history. Learn more at

Thad Bench of Benchworks Appointed to Washington College Board

Thad Bench, CEO of the Chestertown-based international marketing and branding firm Benchworks, will be the newest member of Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors. Bench was nominated in May to Governor Larry Hogan for designation to one of the 12 governor-appointed seats on the 36-member board.

Bench, whose daughter Morgan graduated Washington College in 2018 with a double major in environmental studies and art and art history, has had a long relationship with the College, with many of its students getting hands-on experience as interns at Benchworks and alums signing on as full time employees, including Melissa Johnston ’98, Benchworks’ president.

As CEO of Benchworks, Inc., a family of companies that specializes in the health care and pharmaceutical industry, Bench is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in marketing, brand positioning, and product launch management. Under his leadership, Benchworks has grown sixfold since 2014 and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the last four years.

Bench was named one of the 2016 ELITE 100 in the Entrepreneur category by PM360 magazine, an honor given to the 100 most influential people in the health care industry. He has managed hundreds of large-scale marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies with a particular emphasis in the pharmaceutical industry, including nine product launches. He has owned and continues to own a number of closely held family businesses, including manufacturing and distribution operations and commercial real estate holdings.

Bench graduated from Elmira College in 1984 and lives with his wife Renee in Chestertown.

Eastern Shore Food Lab Director Bill Schindler to Speak at Aspen Institute Event

Bill Schindler, director of Washington College’s Eastern Shore Food Lab, will be the speaker at an event in Easton on June 19 presented by The Aspen Institute Wye Fellows and Washington College. Sponsored by Out of the Fire restaurant, “Food Evolution Revolution: The Cutting-Edge Fusion of Archaeology, Anthropology, and the Modern Kitchen,” will challenge contemporary notions of food systems and encourage people to rethink our historical relationship with food.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Temple B’nai Israel, 7199 Tristan Dr., in Easton. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with light refreshments, and the program will begin at 6:30. While the event is free, registration is requested here:

Eastern Shore Food Lab Director Bill Schindler

Schindler, who teaches in Washington College’s Department of Anthropology, is also the director of the College’s new Eastern Shore Food Lab. He is known worldwide for his expertise in primitive and ancestral technologies, and National Geographic Channel chose him to co-star in its reality series on human evolution called “The Great Human Race.” More recently, he has traveled the world studying traditional and ancestral foodways to learn as much as possible about how to transform our food systems by fusing the most cutting-edge, insightful processing technologies in food today with his deep understanding of our three-and-a-half-million-year dietary past.

The Eastern Shore Food Lab is now the crucible of these efforts. In this a one-of-a-kind teaching and learning space, Schindler is drawing international chefs and food innovators to rethink our food systems by using primitive and ancestral food knowledge and technologies to create food for today’s palate that is more nutritious, meaningful, and sustainable. He calls it “learning to eat like humans again.”

In the program “Food Evolution Revolution: The Cutting-Edge Fusion of Archaeology, Anthropology, and the Modern Kitchen,” Schindler will discuss the role that technology played in our dietary past, and how far our food systems have strayed from our species’ history of creating technologies to maximize food’s nutritional value. By fusing lessons from our dietary past with modern culinary techniques, Schindler believes we can create a food system that is meaningful, accessible, relevant, and delectable.

About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Aspen Institute has earned a reputation for gathering diverse thought leaders, creatives, scholars, and members of the public to address some of the world’s most complex problems. The Aspen Wye Fellows is a group of Chesapeake Bay area residents who share the Aspen Institute’s interest in global dialogue and who play a key role in sustaining the Institute’s mission. Learn more at  For information on Wye Fellows membership contact Susan Langfitt, Manager of Aspen Wye Fellows, at or call 410-820-5375.

About Out of the Fire
Out of the Fire in Easton, Maryland, is restaurant whose owners’ passion for food and community is reflected in every dish we serve. We are driven by the pursuit of supporting those who engage in social and environmental stewardship. We believe that the combination of awareness and knowledge are a powerful catalyst for a vibrant community.

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 39 states and territories and 25 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

Baltimore Woman Wins Washington College’s $64K Sophie Kerr Prize

Shannon Moran, an English major from Baltimore with minors in music and creative writing, has won the 2019 Sophie Kerr Prize, this year worth $63,912. Moran, whose poetry and prose “deftly relates issues of gender, trauma, and the body,” accepted the award at Washington College this evening.

Shannon Moran thanks her friends, family, and faculty after winning the Sophie Kerr Prize.

“This dream was built on four years of hard work, dedication to a craft, and a love for it. Thank you for every single person who has helped me become a better writer,” Moran said on receiving the award. “May we never stop loving, giving support, and caring for the arts and for those who live within them.”

The poetry editor for student literary review The Collegian and the blog and social media editor for the student newspaper The Elm, Moran’s poetry and prose frequently examines the body and its relationship to familial and romantic relationships. Several of her poems address in searing understatement the lasting trauma of sexual assault.

“The committee found Shannon’s poetry to be unforgettable and remarkable in its impact and coherence,” says Sean Meehan, Chair of the Department of English and the Sophie Kerr Committee. “We marveled at the creative and intellectual integrity of the work overall, the ways that she deftly relates issues of gender, trauma, and the body across her poetry, her senior thesis on Renaissance tragedy, and a screenplay. Amongst an impressive group of finalists, and a very strong field of Washington College writers graduating this year, the committee recognized in Shannon a writer already creating publishable work, and with great promise for her future literary efforts.”

Now in its 52nd year, the Sophie Kerr Prize is the nation’s largest undergraduate literary award and is conferred annually to the graduating senior whose work shows the most “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor.” Moran was chosen among six finalists who represented majors across the liberal arts including political science, English, music, and Hispanic studies.

“Shannon Moran’s work strikes an unforgettable, haunting chord in you,” says James Allen Hall, Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. “Already her poems balance precisely drawn imagery with clarifying interpretive statement, so that the poems sing out, reverberate, and echo endlessly. Shannon’s voice exhibits a ferocious vulnerability, honed through a clear dedication to craft.”

Moran is a member of the College’s vocal group WACappella and a sister of Alpha Omicron Pi. Her poems frequently visit the theme of the body and the trauma of assault. In “Persephone Sings Drunk Karaoke” she writes: “She forgets the sounds/of earth/cracking/sky turning to/void/fingers wrapped around wrist./She steps up to a microphone and clears/submission/from her larynx./She screams/Man, I feel/like a woman.”

In her poem “list of texts i typed but never sent to my mother on the day of Dr. Christine Blasé Ford’s testimony,” she writes: “1. I haven’t gotten out of bed yet/2. Do you know?/ 3. Send pics of the dog :)/4. If one in every four women is sexually assaulted, what did you think would happen when you had four daughters?”

After graduation, Moran intends to take a gap year, spend some time exploring her art, and then attend graduate school.

The 2019 Sophie Kerr Prize will Go to One of Six WC Seniors

Six Washington College seniors today were named finalists for the 52nd annual Sophie Kerr Prize, at $63,912 the nation’s largest literary award for college undergraduates. Representing the liberal arts and sciences in majors and minors from political science and music to English and Hispanic studies, the finalists were chosen from a group of graduating seniors who submitted portfolios that included fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and music.

The winner will be announced this Friday, May 17, by Sarah Blackman ’02, a poet, fiction, and creative non-fiction author, and College President Kurt Landgraf. All of the finalists will read from their work at the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall, Gibson Center for the Arts, and is free and open to the public. It will also be livestreamed at .

“It’s an incredible honor to read such terrific, polished work from so many different kinds of writers,” says James Allen Hall, Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and associate professor of English. “The finalists are so impressive. One already has published a book of poetry with another coming out soon. A few are going on to graduate school (creative writing, political science, library science), and others are pursuing professional and artistic lives that are sure to yield incredible work. Sophie’s will guides us to choose finalists who have ‘promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavors,’ and it is certainly easy to imagine the literary lives ahead for these six.”

“The committee was impressed by the strength and diversity of the writing submitted this year, both in the range of genres as well as the multidisciplinary interests of the students,” says Sean Meehan, chair of the Department of English and the Sophie Kerr Committee. “Majors and minors include biology, chemistry, creative writing, English, environmental science, history, international studies, and philosophy, among others.

“About the six finalists, the committee kept returning to an apt phrase in our deliberations: the integrity of the work. We delighted in the achievement of individual works within each portfolio, but at the same time, we marveled at the coherence of the work as a whole. The writers tell a story in their work that speaks to a remarkable promise for their future endeavors, a key criterion of the prize.”

The 2019 Sophie Kerr Prize finalists are (L to R) Emma Hoey, Erin Caine, Shannon Moran, Shannon Neal, Mai Nguyen Do, and Charlotte Lindsay.

The finalists are:

Erin Caine is an English major and creative writing minor from Owings, Maryland. She is the lifestyle editor for The Elm and a recipient of the Sophie Kerr Gift in English Literature scholarship. Additionally, she has served as dramaturg for Washington College’s theater productions of Major Barbara and These Shining Lives. Caine’s writing portfolio is a collection of short stories, short plays, and excerpts from larger pieces of her fiction that emphasize, among other themes, queer identity, the weight of memory, and the pursuit of a more genuine self. After graduation, she plans to continue to work in theater and write fiction.

Mai Nguyen Do is a Santa Clarita, California, native majoring in political science, and she is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. Her portfolio includes historically rooted and speculatively driven work centered on her experience as a daughter of Vietnamese refugees. After graduation, she will be continuing her work in electoral and legislative research with Courage Campaign and will be pursuing a doctoral degree in political science at the University of California, Riverside.

Emma Hoey is an English and music double major from Baltimore County, Maryland. The poetry in her portfolio focuses on sonic aestheticism and experiences of impaired cognition. After graduation, she will return to Baltimore city in the interest of beginning a career in live music performance.

Charlotte Lindsay, an English major and New Jersey expat, was the prose editor of The Collegian and a member of Sigma Tau Delta. Her portfolio includes samples from her Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) on alternative literature, but is mostly centered on her poetry, which focuses on grief, gender, and formal invention. After graduation she is attending Rutgers Newark’s MFA program for poetry.

Shannon Moran, an English major from Baltimore with creative writing and music minors, was the poetry editor for The Collegian, the blog and social media editor for The Elm, a member of WACappella, and a sister of Alpha Omicron Pi. Moran’s portfolio contains poetry, her SCE, and an excerpt of a screenplay. She often writes about the body and its relationship to familial and romantic relationships.

Shannon Neal is an English major from Frederick, Maryland, with minors in Hispanic studies, creative writing, and gender studies. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Tau Delta. She interned at the LGBT Community Center National History Archive in New York City and the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She was a poetry screener for Cherry Tree, and her portfolio consists of poems, prose poems, and a prose excerpt from her SCE, many of them centered around trauma, gender, and sexuality. After graduation Neal is interning at the National Portrait Gallery.


Sarah Blackman, a former Sophie Kerr Prize winner, graduated from Washington College in 2002 with a degree in English and earned her MFA from the University of Alabama in 2007 with concentrations in fiction and poetry. She is director of creative writing at the Fine Arts Center and College, an arts-dedicated public high school in Greenville, South Carolina. Her poetry and prose has been published in numerous journals and magazines, and her story collection Mother Box, published by FC2 in 2013, was the winner of the 2012 Ronald Sukenick/American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. Her most recent publication, the novel Hex, was published by FC2 in April, 2016.

About the Sophie Kerr Prize and Legacy
Eastern Shore native Sophie Kerr published 23 novels, hundreds of short stories, and even a cookbook. When she died at 85 years old, she bequeathed the College a half-million-dollar trust fund, requiring that half of the annual earnings go to a graduating senior who shows the most promise for future literary endeavor. The other half funds student scholarships, visiting writers and scholars, and library books. Through this remarkable gift, Washington College has been able to host some of the nation’s most gifted writers, as well as provide its students with extraordinary opportunities to explore their creative potential in writing and literature. Learn more at

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

WC Bird Banding Lab Joins International Motus Wildlife Tracking System

Washington College’s Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory (FBBO) has become part of an international network that is revolutionizing scientists’ ability to understand the lives and migratory patterns of birds, bats, and even large insects. Two stations installed in late April, one atop a grain elevator at the River and Field Campus and another on the James Gruber Banding Laboratory, are among the first ten Motus Wildlife Tracking System stations in the state and the only ones associated with a college or university in Maryland.

Motus is Latin for “movement.” Developed in Canada, the Motus Wildlife Tracking System now has more than 500 stations—and counting—that can track animals tagged with nanotags, digitally encoded radio transmitters which emit a specific signal with an individual identifier. As it passes within range of a station, a tagged animal can be identified, and as the network expands, it’s giving scientists the opportunity to ask entirely new questions in their research into migration patterns and methods.

“While this system probably won’t replace banding in the near future because of economics, it will clearly play a role in tracking a single bird’s migratory pathway from start to finish and return, now and in the future. It will require numerous towers throughout the country to accomplish that,” says Jim Gruber, founder and master bander of FBBO. “With the antennas in place, Washington College students could potentially develop their own localized studies using not only birds, but insects, bats, and other small flying organisms.”

“Once you let a bird go from [traditional] banding, only a handful are picked up,” says Luke DeGroote, avian research coordinator at Powdermill Nature Reserve and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. “But the Motus network can detect 50 percent or more of the birds we tag.”

The new stations at Foreman’s Branch are part of a $500,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, coordinated through a collaboration of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and eight organizations, to dramatically expand—by 46 stations—the Motus network in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. This expansion is aimed specifically at eight species deemed in need of conservation in the mid-Atlantic—Bicknell’s, Swainson’s, and wood thrushes; blackpoll and Canada warblers; rusty blackbirds; American woodcock; and northern myotis bats.

An American woodcock that was stunned after hitting a building in Baltimore. Credit: Lights Out Baltimore

“These two stations will provide a whole new way for our students to understand bird migration, life cycle, and how what we do at Foreman’s Branch contributes to that knowledge base,” says Maren Gimpel, field ecologist and outreach coordinator at Foreman’s Branch. “Maps at the banding lab already show where birds we have banded have been recovered, but Motus takes this data to a much more detailed resolution for some individual birds, and students and faculty can use the Motus website to see examples of these migratory pathways for birds that we band here.”

The Foreman’s Branch stations are supporting DeGroote’s first-of-its-kind, three-year study into the long-term effects of what happens to birds after they’ve survived a collision with a building. While the greatest threats to birds include habitat loss and climate change, billions of birds are killed every year directly by cats and buildings. According to a 2014 study led by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, approximately 600 million birds are killed annually in the U.S. in building collisions, a direct human threat second only to birds killed by feral and domestic cats.

Still, thousands of birds that hit buildings survive, and many are found and brought to rehabilitation centers and then released. No one knows, though, how well they survive after rehabilitation, DeGroote says.

Along with Gruber and Gimpel, DeGroote is working with Lights Out Baltimore and the Phoenix Wildlife Center in Phoenix, Maryland, which rescue and rehabilitate birds injured in building collisions in Baltimore. Specifically, he’s studying American woodcock and wood thrushes, two of the species identified as in need of conservation.

When a wood thrush or woodcock that’s been hurt through a building collision is ready to be released from Phoenix Wildlife Center, it will get a Motus network nanotag. At the same time, Gruber and Gimpel will similarly tag a woodcock or wood thrush at Foreman’s Branch. Since the birds are likely on the same migratory path and timing in the same region, DeGroote will be able to track differences in their behavior.

“It makes sense that birds may be affected by this terrible collision, not unlike concussions in humans,” he says. “The question is, are the rehabilitated birds surviving, are they migrating, how many days does it take until they migrate, and when they do migrate, do they have a normal migration?”

Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, on Washington College’s River and Field Campus, is part of the College’s Center for Environment & Society. It’s the only bird banding station on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In 2018, staff and student interns banded 16,064 new birds of 135 species; as of the end of 2018, the station’s 20th year in operation, it had banded 272,446 birds of 174 species.

Lights Out Baltimore is a nonprofit project of the Baltimore Bird Club, a local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society. Its mission is to make Baltimore safe for migratory birds by turning out decorative lighting in the city during peak migration months, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and to advocate for bird-safe building design that makes glass and windows visible to birds. Each migration season, volunteers walk downtown Baltimore to rescue injured birds from collisions and collect the dead. Injured birds are taken to Phoenix Wildlife Center and dead birds are taken to Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and John Hopkins University School of Medicine for research. Since 2008, 4,000 birds have been collected and more than 1,000 have been rescued and released.

Click here for more information about Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, here for theMotus Wildlife Tracking Network, and here for information on Lights Out Baltimore.

Leo E. Strine, Jr., Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice at WC Commencement

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., whom Business Insider has called “one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in American business,” will be the speaker at Washington College’s 286th Commencement on May 19th. Strine, who became chief justice of Delaware’s highest court in 2014, will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.

Known for his forthright outspokenness and rapier wit, Strine is “about the closest thing to a celebrity in the buttoned-up world of corporate law,” according to The Wall Street Journal. His opinions “are considered among the most influential rulings in corporate law,” says The New York Times.

Before becoming the eighth chief justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court, Strine, at 34 years old, was one of the youngest judges ever to sit on the Delaware Court of Chancery, becoming Vice Chancellor since 1998. In each of these positions, he has issued some of the most influential decisions affecting corporate law in the nation, because more than half of publicly traded U.S. companies—among them 66.8 percent of the Fortune 500—are incorporated in Delaware.

As chief justice, Strine has emphasized the need to address persistent racial inequality and to provide more equitable access to justice for all Delawareans, regardless of wealth. Among his many decisions as chief justice, Strine authored the decision striking down Delaware’s death penalty statute because it denied defendants the right to have their fate determined by a jury.

Strine holds long-standing teaching positions at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches classes in corporate law addressing, among other topics, mergers and acquisitions, the role of independent directors, valuation, and corporate law theories. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Program on Corporate Governance, as well as acting as an advisor to Penn’s Institute for Law & Economics.

He speaks and writes frequently on the subject of corporate law, and his articles have been published in The University of Chicago Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewHarvard Law Review, and Stanford Law Review, among others. Before joining the court, Strine served as counsel and policy director to former Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper, who awarded him the Order of the First State in 2000. In 2006, he was selected as a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Washington College’s 286th Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. on the campus green, weather permitting. If outdoors, it is free and open to the public. If inclement weather drives the ceremony into the Johnson Fitness Center Field House, admittance is by ticket only. Each graduate is given nine tickets to distribute to family and friends.

Barry Glassman ’84, County Executive of Harford County, Maryland, and Carolyn Choate-Turnbull ’80 P’15, a retired television producer and breast cancer survivor, activist, and advocate, will receive Alumni Citations for Excellence in their fields during Commencement ceremonies.

The event will also be livestreamed here:

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 39 states and territories and 25 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

Adam Goodheart, Director of WC Starr Center, to Speak at Talbot County Event

Adam Goodheart

Adam Goodheart, director of Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, will discuss the Revolutionary–era origins of America’s liberal arts colleges on May 23 at the Talbot Country Club in Easton.

Goodheart will present his talk “America Goes to College” at the event, which is open to the public for a fee of $15 and includes a reception that begins at 5:30 p.m. He will discuss why independent liberal arts colleges were radical new American institutions when the first ones were created – and none more so than Washington College, the first institution of higher learning chartered in the United States, just months after the nation won its independence on the battlefield. Goodheart will tell a little-known story of how the American Revolution launched a revolution in higher education, with a central chapter unfolding on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Goodheart is director of Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, an institute that fosters innovative approaches to the nation’s history and culture. A historian, essayist, and journalist, he is the author of the New York Times bestselling book 1861: The Civil War Awakening. His essays and articles have appeared in National GeographicOutsideSmithsonian, The Atlantic, Politico, and The New York Times Magazine, among others. He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore.

Goodheart will be joined at the event by Washington College alumni who are making an impact on the Eastern Shore through work in education, community service, and nonprofit leadership. Washington College and Talbot Country Club are co-sponsoring the presentation at 6142 Country Club Drive in Easton. The $15 fee pays for the reception and admittance, and is payable by credit card or check to Talbot Country Club at the event. Washington College is not accepting payments. Please RSVP by May 16 to Victoria Corcoran at 410-778-7805 or

WC to Host Meet and Greet Event Featuring Justice Leo Strine, Jr.

Washington College is hosting a meet and greet event featuring Justice Leo Strine, Jr. on Saturday, April 27th at 4pm in Hynson Lounge. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme court. He will be making some remarks and there will be a networking opportunity afterwards.

There will also be 25 special law affiliated alumni, faculty members and Board members scheduled to attend including Joe Getty, who is a judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals. Getty was appointed to that court in 2016, by Governor Larry Hogan. He is a former state senator and delegate, where he represented Maryland’s 5th district.

Here is the event invitation on the WC site:

And more information about Leo Strine:

This event is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us!

Exploration of the History of the African America Church

On Monday, April 15th the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College will host the latest installment in its Program on the African America Church and American Ideals. Join us at 6pm in the Hynson Lounge of Hodson Hall on the campus of Washington College for a presentation on the history of the African American church by Reverend Dr. Leroy Fitts. Rev. Fitts was for many years the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in East Baltimore, one of the area’s largest and most dynamic historically African American congregations. Rev. Fitts is the author of the new book titled The History of the African American Church as well as numerous other works on African American church history. His latest book will be available for sale at the event at the reduced price of $25 (payable by check). Rev. Fitts has been a Visiting Fellow at Princeton and has taught for many years at St. Mary’s Seminary in its Ecumenical Institute. Please consider joining the Institute for this important and engaging event. The event is free and open to all.

The Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College explores the historic and continuing contributions of religion to political and cultural life. For more information, contact Director Joseph Prud’homme at

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