September 2013 Wilson Center Newsletter

Wilson Center for Leadership


David MarionDr. David Marion, Director of Academic Programs at the Wilson Center, served as an academic consultant for "We the People," an IMAX film narrated by Morgan Freeman and Kenny Rogers that was launched with a special screening on Wednesday, September 18, in the Warner Bros. Theatre located in the Smithsonian's American History Museum. Dr. Marion currently is working on a civics textbook project with The Bill of Rights Institute (Washington, D.C.) that is funded by the Templeton Foundation. 


Opening Convocation

Hunter Gibson '15 with President HowardHolden McLemore '16 and President HowardOn September 10, Everett Stadium filled with a record number of students, faculty, staff, parents and friends as President Christopher Howard opened the 2013-2014 year with convocation ceremony.  Dr. Howard administered oaths of office for the student government officers.  Awards were presented to a number of students for leadership and academic excellence.  Holden K. McLemore '16 received the ODK Award for demonstrating real leadership during his freshmen year.  Hunter W. Gibson '15 received the Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award for academic excellence in history.


Current Events Series
"What Did you Do Last Summer?

Gaskill '15 and Wirges '15Josh Gaskill '15 and John Wirges '15 spent ten weeks in Kenya in several different capacities, learning about language, culture, and development. Through a DoD language program called Project GO and the James Madison Study Abroad Kenya Program, the guys spent six weeks taking Swahili classes and formal classes on the social and political history and development of Kenya. During this portion of the program they spent time in almost every area of the country, learning about different ethnic groups and the political struggles a multi-ethnic society can have. The final four weeks of their time in Kenya was spent interning for the non-governmental organization, Carolina For Kibera. CFK is a US-based NGO that does participatory development, meaning the development process is run by Kenyans to empower local community leaders, in the Kibera slum of Nairobi. Kibera is one of the largest urban slums in the world, with a population of about 250,000. 


Freshmen Leadership Program
American Shakespeare Center

American Shakespeare Center Freshman Leadership ProgramOn September 17, the Freshmen Leadership Program hosted a workshop with the American Shakespeare Center.  The actors from the Center performed various monologues and scenes from Shakepeare's plays emphasizing the importance of rhetoric and speech in presenting ones self.  The workshop was followed by a full production of The Merry Wives of Windsor at Jarman Auditorium.  The event was co-sponosred by Hampden-Syndey College and Longwood University.


9/11: Twelve Years After
"Are We Better Today?"
By Trey Price '14 - Wilson Center Student Fellow

Gerencser, Howard at 9/11 talkOn the 12th anniversary of 9/11, the Wilson Center hosted Mark Gerencser, author of Megacommunities, for a session of remembrance, reflection, and learning. Gerencser, who serves as a member on the Board of the Secretary of Defense, developed a passion for improving our nation’s security following the loss of three of his friends and coworkers in the attack on the Pentagon.  In 2008, Mr. Gerencser was nominated by the White House and confirmed by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee as a member of the National Security Education Board.  He currently serves as a special advisor on committees addressing both national security and energy. He played an integral role in the formation of homeland security practices, and urged the creation of a cohesive department in the federal government with a unified way to deal with threats to national security. Gerencser asserts that the US is proportionately better today in its ability to deal with security threats than it was in 2001, yet there is always more to do. He argues that we need unique leaders that can create partnerships between the public sector, private sector, and civil society. Gerencser believes that by developing these networks, the US can turn its idle capacity, and the idea of individuals as self-maximizing beings outward, focusing on what each of us can do to better society as a whole. By developing networks, private and public groups can work together to deal with ever-advancing threats, such as the rise of cyber security, and other potential forms of terrorism. Only then, according to Gerencser, can we attempt to address national concerns like infrastructure. While the US has come a long way since 9/11, Gerencser educated students on how much more there is to be done.


Constitution and Leadership
By Trey Price '14 - Wilson Center Student Fellow

Constitution Day, Hickok

On September 19th, Hampden-Sydney College hosted Dr. Eugene Hickok for a Constitution Day program. Dr. Hickok, a Hampden-Sydney graduate from the class of ’72, served as Deputy Secretary of Education for the United Stated under the Bush Administration in 2001. In 2004, Dr. Hickok became a lobbyist for Dutko Worldwide, heading their education program. He currently serves as a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College. In celebration of Constitution Day, Dr. Hickok presented students with a clear message, the Constitution continues to live and breathe as it was created to do. Using a story of Washington’s revulsion at the non-gentlemanly conduct of a man grabbing his shoulder, Dr. Hickok emphasized the esteem, class, and intelligence of our founders. He continued by asserting the relevance of original interpretation in today’s society and educational system. When we look at the intent of the founders, we see the desire for a nation of independent thinkers, focused on the advancement of learning and cooperation as a whole. Dr. Hickok concluded his program by reinforcing the importance of our constitution in the pursuit of cooperation in government over contemporary policy issues that keep Americans divided. At some point, we must reach across the aisle and remember what our nation was founded on.  


Happy Birthday Gen Sam!
General Sam Wilson's BirthdayOn September 25, the staff and faculty visited Gen Samuel Wilson at his farm in Rice.  The occasion was the celebration of his 90th birthday.  We wish him many more happy days!


Munich Conference: 75th Anniversary
By Trey Price '14 - Wilson Center Fellow

Munich Conference, Dr. Simms

On September 25th, the Wilson Center commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Munich Conference with a symposium hosted by Dr. James Simms. Dr. Roger Barrus of the Government department, and Dr. Robert Blackman of the History Department, joined Dr. Simms in a discussion on the importance of the Munich Conference of 1938, and its misinterpretation by historians and politicians in modern history. The conference was the result of German action starting in 1933, with the German withdrawal from the League of Nations. By 1936, Germany had remilitarized the Rhineland - the true turning point in the coming of WWII and not the Sudentenland crisis.  In response to the German demand for the Sudentenland in 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain of England issued an ultimatum that the Sudentland be acquired diplomatically. The Munich Conference was a culmination of these events, leading to a disappointed Hitler. He felt as though he had been cheated out of war. Today, the Munich Conference is wrongly seen as being synonymous with appeasement. The United States used the Munich Conference in an attempt to validate its actions in Vietnam. Modern misinterpretation of the conference has led nations to support pre-emptive uses of force in fears that a lack of action will result in another form or German aggression, or perhaps worse, another Hitler.  Dr. Simms concluded the symposium with the assertion that the Treaty of Versailles was the underlying cause of the Munich Conference, a significant and misinterpreted historical event that led to a temporary halt in Hitler’s pursuit of a Second World War. 

Dr. James Simms article was printed in the Charlottesville Daily Progress   

Upcoming Events

20th Anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu
Lt. Gen William Boykin USA Ret
MSG Matt Eversmann '88 USA Ret
Capt. Tom Matthews USA Ret

Crawley Forum, October 2, 7:30 PM

Alumni Public Affairs Forum
Dr. Sofi Bin Salamon ’00 -  International Program Manager, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Dr. Reynolds Reed Skaggs ’92 - Associate Director for Plans and Programs U.S. Army Research Laboratory
Gilmer Hall, October 25, 2 PM

Alumni Public Affairs Forum
Adam LaVier '97
Managing Director, Millstein & Co,
former Deputy Director at the Department of Treasury
Wilson Center, October 25, 4:15 PM

Alumni Public Affairs Panel
SSG Jay Daniels, Capt. Brad Israel, & Capt. Mike Handlan
US Special Forces
Wilson Center, October 26, 10:30 AM

General Sam: A Biography of Lieutenant General Sam Vaughan Wilson     
Book signing with Drew Prehmus '08
Wilson Center, October 26, 11:30 AM