Spring/Summer 2023 Issue

Feature Story An Enduring Purpose, a Hopeful Future

Davidson College officially welcomed its 19th president, Douglas A. Hicks, on March 31 with an inauguration ceremony that brought the college community, family and friends together to celebrate one of their own.

A Light In The Dark

Ukrainian students a long way from home find comfort in college community.

Here, we share their stories.

On Course Students Explore Religion, Philosophy & Environmental Ethics

Davidson College Professor of Religious Studies and Holmes Rolston III Chair in Religion Willa Swenson-Lengyel shares how a popular course offers insight into today's world.

REL 253: Religious and Philosophical Environmental Ethics

Innovation in Action

At the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, aspiring entrepreneurs find mentors and paths for their ideas to become reality.

Explore Stories

Moving Beyond The Stigma

As vice president of player services and assessment and team clinician for this year’s Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, Shaun Tyrance ’00 supports the mental health needs of the team’s players, coaches and staff.

Read his story.

The Union



Douglas Battery: A Family Legacy by Thomas S. “Tom” Douglas III ’59 (2022, BookmarksNC).

Douglas recalls former Dean of Students Frontis Johnston’s inspiring message of gratitude and responsibility to incoming freshmen in his book about the life of his family’s business, the largest privately owned battery manufacturer in America.

Reflections on Captivity: A Tapestry of Stories by a Vietnam War POW by Porter Halyburton ’63 (2022, Naval Institute Press).

In 1965, Navy LTJG Porter Halyburton was shot down over North Vietnam and held captive for more than seven years. This collection of short stories recounts difficult times but focuses more on the humor, creativity, friendships, courage, and leadership of an amazing group of Americans and how they helped each other survive and even thrive.

Tell It True by John Pruitt '64 (2022, Mercer University Press).

An African American serviceman is gunned down on a rural Georgia road in July 1964. This shocking murder ensnares a wide range of characters including the journalists who cover it, the lawmen who must solve it, the civil rights leaders who capitalize upon it, the politicians who exploit it, and the Atlanta magnate who fears its impact on the New South image he desperately wants to protect. 

Contagion Chaser by W. Lee Fanning ’66, M.D. (2020, FriesenPress).

Follow an infectious disease detective’s training and then efforts to track contagious diseases on the trail of a criminal that has committed a heinous crime.

Many Colors Make a Rainbow: Diversity & Inclusion Make Us Better Together by David Fisher ’70 (2022, KDP).

In a beautiful little picture book ultimately about diversity and inclusion, we follow four adventurous and diverse kids across all seven colors of an amazing Sky Rainbow to see how all colors stand and shine better together.

Embrace the Chaos, Enjoy the Journey: A Leadership Awakening for Students and Young Adults by William R. McKenzie Jr. ’71 (2021, Palmetto Publishing).

Written from the perspective of a father, business owner and competitive athlete, McKenzie’s book offers select leadership attributes and behaviors every young adult should and can embrace.

Books by Tom Connor ’77: The Communist Temptation: Rolland, Gide, Malraux, and Their Times (2023, Academica Press).

The Communist Temptation traces the evolution of the committed left-wing public intellectual in the interwar period, specifically in the 1930s, and focuses on leading left-wing intellectuals. French Intellectuals at a Crossroads, 1918-1939 (2023, Academica Press) examines a broad array of interrelated subjects: the effect of World War I on France’s intellectual community, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of international communism, calls for pacifism, the challenges of surrealism and more. The Emergence of the French Public Intellectual (2023, Academica Press) provides a working definition of “public intellectuals” in order to clarify who they are and what they do.

The Journey of an Old White Dude in the Age of Black Lives Matter: A Primer by John Gerdy ’79 (2023, Koehler Books).

Whether as an individual, business, or organization, we are all somewhere along a developmental continuum relating to issues around race. Gerdy educates and challenges us to move a bit further along that continuum.

The Judas Case by Nicholas Graham ’81 (2022, Book Guild).

Retired spymaster Solomon Eliades is called back from his vineyard to investigate the death of his protegee. But secrets from his own past–and the search for an inconveniently missing body–put him and his family in danger.

The Fine Art of Not Saying Stupid Sh*t: Adding Depth to Your Organization’s Communications by Janet M. Stovall ’85 and Kim Clark (2022, Publish Your Purpose).

The book to help communicators, leaders and the organizations they represent answer the why, what, when and how of planning, messaging and delivering DEI and social justice subjects.

People Get Ready: Twelve Jesus-Haunted Misfits, Malcontents, and Dreamers in Pursuit of Justice edited by Jacqueline Bussie ’91, Peter Slade, and Shea Tuttle (2023, Eerdmans Publishing).

In a political climate where Christianity is increasingly seen as reactionary, People Get Ready offers a revolutionary alternative. Narrated by some of the most galvanizing voices of the current moment, this collection tells the stories of 12 modern apostles and unsettles what we think we know about Christianity’s role in American politics.

Above Ground by Clint Smith ’10 (2023, Little, Brown and Company).

A vibrant and compelling new poetry collection that traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood, and explores how becoming a parent has recalibrated the author’s sense of the world.

Add yourself to the shelf!

To submit your book for this column,

as well as to E.H. Little Library’s Davidsoniana Room, please send a signed copy to:

Davidson Journal

Box 7171, Davidson College

Davidson, NC 28035-7171

Faculty Notes

Africana Studies

Takiyah Harper-Shipman received an American Political Science Association (APSA) Diversity and Inclusion Advancing Research Grant for Early Career Scholars for her second book project on the political economy of family planning in the U.S. and Senegal.


John Corso-Esquivel presented the paper “Bringing P.A.I.N. to the Sacklers: Nan Goldin’s Campaign Against Pharmaceutical Blood Money” at the College Art Association’s annual conference in NYC. During his talk, John gave a shout-out to research assistants Miles Hilger ’25, Kaiyan Wang ’24 and Yunyue Zhang ’23. Corso-Esquivel also was interviewed for The Charlotte Observer’s “Picasso 101” article in advance of the new Picasso show at The Mint museum.


Bryan Thurtle-Schmidt has published a paper in the journal Membranes, “Borate transporters and SLC4 bicarbonate transporters share key functional properties.” All 12 co-authors are students trained in his lab and include: Erin Carriker ’18, Hartlee Johnston ’19, Becca Collings ’20, Menkara Henry ’21, Tsega-Ab Abera ’22, Valeria Donoso ’22, Lila McGrath ’23, Sophia Caruso ’23, Hana Kamran ’23, Claire Hendrix ’23, and Jean Beltran ’24. Richara Bain (St. Augustine’s University) joined the lab through the DRI-HBCU program.

Chinese Studies

Vivian Shen’s photographs, titled “琴弦上的梦” (The Dreams on the Strings), featuring the street performers in Los Angeles, and images of the Getty Museum Villa, were published on 《阅读公 社》 (Reading Society) of 《光明日报》(Guangming Daily) in June of 2022.

Communication Studies

Amanda R. Martinez co-authored a chapter, “La Raza Mentorship Initiative: Creating a Fortifying Pathway for Mentorship Within Our Caucus” in the recently published book, Mentoring in Intercultural and International Contexts.


An interview with Alan Michael Parker has been published in The Superstition Review, accompanied by five of his cartoons. As a weekly contributor to Identity Theory, he has published nine cartoons there since the start of the year.

Brenda Flanagan was invited to celebrate African American History Month at the 2nd annual HEARTSONGS program, at the Hugh Torance House in Huntersville, North Carolina, where she passionately and precisely examined the African American experience through poetry in the 19th and 20th centuries. Flanagan started with a reading from Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved and shared the tragic story of Margaret Garner, the inspiration for the story. She continued with readings of the poetry of Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni and Derek Walcott while offering her insight into their inspiration and artistry.

Ann Fox and Jessica Cooley ’05 presented work curated this fall from the exhibition Indisposable: Tactics for Care and Mourning, at the Ford Foundation Gallery in NYC, which was featured by ALL ARTS, The Brooklyn Rail and Art in America.

Suzanne Churchill is the co-recipient of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Prize for Collaborative, Bibliographical, or Archival Scholarship for the born-digital, open-source, peerreviewed scholarly website Mina Loy: Navigating the Avant-Garde. Created by scholars, students, and staff at Davidson College, Duquesne University, and University of Georgia, Athens, the project is the multi-media equivalent of a scholarly book. Nevertheless, the project moves beyond the material limits of a book to reimagine Humanities scholarship as a collaborative, interactive, and public-facing endeavor. In addition, Churchill and collaborators have been awarded a 2023 Open Scholarship Award, sponsored by the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute, for the website.

Environmental Studies

Brad Johnson, along with colleagues Jacquie Smith (Union College) and Jared Beaton (Fort Lewis College), published the paper “Using a post-glacial terrace sequence to better understand landscape evolution and paleohydrology in the eastern San Juan Mountains, USA” in Geomorphology.

German Studies

Scott Denham and Barbara E. Mann, Chana Kekst Professor of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, taught a Humanities in Class Webinar together in the fall through the National Humanities Center called “Why Teaching Maus Matters Now More Than Ever.”

Emily Frazier-Rath recently published an article in The German Quarterly, titled “To Be Seen and to Be Whole: Black German FLINTA* on Community, Identity, and Connection.”

Angie Willis’s co-authored The Dissidence of Reinaldo Arenas: Queering Literature, Politics, and the Activist Curriculum (UPF) was awarded the Curriculum Studies Outstanding Book Award for 2022 by AERA [American Educational Research Organization], a premier organization for Educational Studies. Additionally, the book was awarded an honorable mention by International Latino Book Awards in the best biography category for 2022.


John Wertheimer published Race and the Law in South Carolina: From Slavery to Jim Crow. Each chapter began as a collaborative research paper in Wertheimer’s legal history seminar. The book, which lists 80 student coauthors, uses legal disputes from the South Carolina courts to illuminate the complex history of race in the U.S. South, from the 1840s to the 1940s.

Rose Stremlau, Malinda Maynor Lowery (Emory) and Julie Reed (Penn State) co-wrote a response to The 1619 Project in the American Historical Review’s special forum on the project. The essay on the interconnection of enslavement and settler colonialism appears in the December 2022 edition of the journal.

Latin American Studies

Britta Crandall published the article “The Sur Might Make More Sense Than You Think,” about Brazil’s and Argentina’s proposed common currency, in Global Americans. Crandall also published the case study “Dollarization Diplomacy: The Case of Ecuador and El Salvador” with the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

Russell Crandall’s book, Drugs and Thugs: The History and Future of America’s War on Drugs, was reviewed in the journal, Criminal Justice Ethics. In addition, Crandall published the review essay “Castroism in Crisis” for the UK-based journal Survival: Global Strategy and Policy. Crandall’s article, “Gambling the World: The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited,” also appeared in Survival.


Neil Lerner reviewed the book Alien Listening: Voyager’s Golden Record and Music from Earth for the Journal of the American Musicological Society. He presented a keynote address, titled “Pinball’s Voices,” for the North American Conference on Video Game Music, a conference he co-founded 10 years ago.

Political Science

Katherine Bersch’s co-authored article “The Global Survey of Public Servants: Evidence from 1,300,000: Public Servants in 1,300 Government Institutions in 23 Countries” was published in Public Administration Review.

Ken Menkhaus co-authored a chapter with Paul Williams, “The Political Economy of Peace Operations in Somalia,” in Mats Berdal and Jake Sherman, eds., The Political Economy of Civil War and UN Peace Operations.

Melody Crowder-Meyer published “Progress and Failure in Achieving Equal Representation: Understanding Women’s Officeholding by Party in the U.S.” in Contested Representation: Challenges, Shortcomings, and Reforms. The chapter outlines both supply and demand-based explanations for the substantial difference in Republican and Democratic women’s success in achieving political offices throughout the United States.


Julio Ramirez, Amanda Cruz ’22, Jordan Benson ’23, and Emma Jones ’23 presented their research at the Trainee and FUN Poster Session, Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, California. The title of the presentation was “The Effects of a Hippocampal Formation Disconnection Surgery on Spatial Working Memory Performance on a Delayed Alternation Task.” This gathering was the first in-person meeting held by the society in three years and was attended by 25,000 scientists from around the world. Ramirez was the Treasurer of the Society from 2021-2022.

Ramirez and a number of his former students just published a paper in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, entitled “Lesion-induced sprouting promotes neurophysiological integration of septal and entorhinal inputs to granule cells in the dentate gyrus of rats.” Six years of data collection went into this project. The seven students who contributed to it over the years include Matthew A. De Niear, M.D./Ph.D., Vanderbilt; Garrett R. Smith, Ph.D., University of Florida; Mercedes L. Robinson, M.D., Virginia Tech; Malcolm K. MosesHampton, M.D., Wake Forest University; Puneet G. Lakhmani, M.D., Tulane University; Nicholas A. Upright, Ph.D., Mount Sinai; and Emma L. Krause, Ph.D., Harvard University.

Lauren Stutts and Heidi Meyer ’23 published an article called “The impact of single-session gratitude interventions on stress and affect” in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Kristi Multhaup and Tyler McFayden ’14, currently clinical psychology post-doc at UNC-Chapel Hill, are part of a team that updated McFayden’s senior thesis data in light of a new model for approaching working memory errors. The team reanalyzed errors made by deaf signing and hearing nonsigning adults. Deaf signers made more sequencing errors with printed letters but were the only group to make use of spatial cues to decrease memory errors. The findings are available via Advanced online publication in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. Special Issue: Bridging Barriers in Working Memory.

Religious Studies

Anne Blue Wills published “‘The heavens are telling’: Nature as Theology in Ruth Bell Graham’s Poetry,” in Fides et Historia. The article traces Graham’s literary and intellectual influences, situates her in the history of U.S. women’s evangelical writing, and offers readings of poems that understand the natural world as a “second Bible” in which one can discern beauty and joy but also a call to sober duty and a recognition of God’s mystery.


Gerardo Martí was featured alongside sociologist Robert Wuthnow in a new online series on the future of American democracy, titled “Deeper Sources of Polarization in American Religious Life.” Hosted by Heath Carter at Princeton Theological Seminary, this conversation looks back from the Civil Rights era to now to discern patterns of race, religion, and politics and ends by asking, “Where do we go from here?”

Gayle Kaufman published “Familydemic cross country and gender dataset on work and family outcomes during covid-19 pandemic” in Scientific Data with the international collaborative Familydemic team. This team of researchers from Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and the U.S. carried out a survey of parents living with at least one child under 12 in these countries in June-September 2021. This first publication introduces the FCCGD dataset to researchers interested in doing cross-country comparisons of work and family during the pandemic.

Writing Program

Jason N. Blum published “Speechless Meaning or Meaningless Speech: The Science of Ineffability,” in Mysticism, Ineffability, and Silence in Philosophy of Religion.