Washington and Lee University. Courtesy of Bobak Ha'Eri.
Washington and Lee University. Courtesy of Bobak Ha'Eri.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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W&L produces record number of Fulbright students

For the fifth straight year, Washington and Lee University more 2022-2023 Fulbright U.S. students than any other school in Virginia.

In the category of bachelor’s degrees, only Bowdoin College in Maine produced more — 19 versus 15 for W&L. This year’s ranking is W&L’s highest ever among top-producing Fulbright institutions.

Here’s the full list of the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

Fifteen W&L students were offered grants, and 13 of them accepted the grant.

  • Erin Addison ’22 was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Uruguay.
  • Samantha Carley ’22 was awarded a Fulbright ETA to Georgia.
  • Katie Cones ’21 was awarded a Fulbright ETA to Bulgaria.
  • David Gálvez ’22 was awarded a Fulbright ETA to France.
  • Elizabeth Grist ’22 was awarded a Fulbright research grant to Melbourne, Australia, to study the stigma and barriers associated with receiving medication for opioid use disorder (OUD) under Suzanne Nielsen, a leading addiction researcher in Australia.
  • Maggie Hardin ’22 received a Fulbright ETA to Germany.
  • Graham Kingwill ’22  was awarded a Fulbright ETA to teach English at Fergana Polytechnic Institute in Fergana, Uzbekistan.
  • Troy Larsen ’22 was awarded a Fulbright grant to Hungary to study at the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) and participate in a research group at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics.
  • Sydney Lee ’22 was awarded a Fulbright ETA to Costa Rica.
  • Elyssa McMaster ’22 was awarded a Fulbright research grant to Italy to complete a hybrid art history and computer science project titled “Computational approaches to Florentine manuscript paintings.”
  • Nick Mosher ’22 was awarded a Fulbright ETA to Kazakhstan.
  • Anne Riter ’22 was awarded a Fulbright to Austria for her project, “Supporting Syrian Refugee Integration into Austria.”
  • Mansi Tripathi ’22 received a Fulbright ETA to Colombia.

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Oak Grove Plaza changes hands

Oak Grove Plaza in Roanoke County has been sold, according to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which handled the sale of the property at 2061 Electric Road.

Omma Management, LLC purchased the 49,881 square foot retail center, situated on 4.08 acres, from CXL, Inc. for $4,800,000 as an investment, according to the release. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer will continue to provide exclusive leasing and management services for the center.

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Event about Gainsboro’s history will be held Wednesday

“Celebrating Gainsboro,” a presentation about Roanoke, Virginia’s Historic Gainsboro neighborhood, will be hosted at the Roanoke Higher Education Center on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 from 11:30-1:00 pm in honor of Black History Month. The presentation is sponsored by the Roanoke Higher Education Center, Virginia Tech Roanoke Center, and Roanoke Public Libraries. The event is free, open to the public, and will include presentations from three speakers on their roles in preserving and sharing Gainsboro’s history.

The Gainsboro neighborhood of Roanoke was once a thriving business and entertainment district for African Americans. The original 1835 settlement of “Gainesborough” became a vibrant center of Black culture and business, bustling at one point with over 200 African American owned businesses. Filmmaker Oscar Mischeaux had ties to Gainsboro, along with other Black historical figures such as civil rights attorney Oliver Hill and educator Lucy Addison. Beginning in the 1950s, urban renewal projects in Roanoke devastated the Gainsboro community, displacing families, and destroying homes and businesses. Many individuals have worked to preserve and share the history of what was lost, including the three presenters:

Jordan Bell – Local historian, educator, and activist, Jordan Bell began the initiative Gainsboro Revisited in 2017 to preserve, learn, and teach the history of the Gainsboro community. Bell conducts regular walking tours of the Gainsboro neighborhood where he points out historic locations, talks about prominent community figures, and discusses urban renewal’s destructive role in displacing African Americans in Roanoke City.

Evie Slone – Director of community planning for Roanoke’s Hill Studio, Evie Slone played an instrumental role in creating signage in the Gainsboro neighborhood to honor and share its history. This includes the Gainsboro History Walk panels along Wells Avenue, as well as interpretive panels on the exterior of the renovated Claude Moore Education Complex along Henry Street.

Carla L. James, PhD – In collaboration with Slone, Senior Director of Academic and Student Services for the Roanoke Higher Education Center (RHEC) Dr. Carla L. James played an integral role in the creation of historical markers for the RHEC’s Central Walkway Plaza, as well as The Gainsboro History Project website. Located on the RHEC campus, the Central Walkway Plaza features granite markers engraved with local historical themes and events from 1835-1970. Complementing the walkway is The Gainsboro History Project, an interactive history and walking tour of African American influence in Gainsboro. Utilizing text, graphics, and video, the website provides stories reflecting the contributions of the people who lived and worked in Gainsboro.