Washington and Lee University recognized five retiring members of the University’s faculty during commencement exercises on Thursday, May 24.
The five retirees have a combined total of 135 years of service to W&L.
They are Denis Brion, professor of law; Michael J. Evans, the Lillian and Rupert Radford Professor of Mathematics; Frank Miriello, head football coach; Gordon Spice, the Edwin A. Morris Endowed Professor of Music and head of the Department of Music; and Cecile West-Settle, professor of Spanish.
Denis Brion joined the School of Law faculty in 1978 and has taught courses in real and personal property, private land regulation, law and economics, real estate transactions, and jury advocacy. He is the author of “Essential Industry and the NIMBY Phenomenon” (Quorum Books, 1991) and numerous book chapters, law review articles and scholarly papers.
Brion received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern Unviersity and his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was editor-in-chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law. Prior to joining the W&L law faculty, he served as a staff attorney with the Communications Satellite Corp. and senior counsel for RCA Global Communication before joining the law faculty at the College of William and Mary in 1978. He served as visiting professor at the Boston College Law School. He was named Professor of Law, Emeritus.
Michael J. Evans came to Washington and Lee in 1993 as the Radford Professor of Mathematics and also served as head of the department from 1993 to 2001. He received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and his master’s and PH.D. in mathematics from Michigan State University.
Prior to W&L, Evans was on the faculty at North Carolina State University, where he also directed the undergraduate programs in mathematics. He won an Outstanding Teacher Award and membership in the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at N.C. State in 1992.
At Washington and Lee, he received three Glenn Summer Research Grants and was part of a team of faculty members who wrote a successful $500,000 grant proposal to the W.M. Keck Foundation to initiate a multidisciplinary program in nonlinear dynamics. He also received a National Science Foundation Grant to host the 26th Summer Symposium on Real Analysis at W&L in June 2002. He was named Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus.
Frank Miriello finished his career as Washington and Lee's head football coach with the most wins in school history. During 17 years as the Generals’ head coach, his teams won 90, lost 79 and tied one for a winning percentage of .532. Under his leadership, W&L finished at .500 or better in 12 of his 17 seasons. He guided the Generals to a pair of Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) titles and the only two NCAA Tournament berths in program history.
Miriello earned his bachelor’s degree at East Stroudsburg State University. He first joined the W&L athletic department as an assistant football coach from 1978 to 1982. He then coached at Hampden-Sydney and VMI before gaining his first head coaching position at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania in 1986. In 1990, he returned to W&L as assistant coach of both football and lacrosse. In 1995, he was appointed interim head coach of football in June, permanent coach in November.
Miriello was named the ODAC Coach of the Year five times (1996, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2010). In 2006, he was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) South Region Coach of the Year and SportExe Division III Coach of the Year. He was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and taught physical education courses throughout his career. He has been appointed Associate Professor of Physical Education, Emeritus.
Gordon Spice became a member of Washington and Lee’s faculty in 1973. He received bachelor’s degrees from both the University of Toledo and Ohio State University, a master’s degree in music history from Ohio State and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina.
In addition to teaching music history courses, he directed W&L’s vocal program, which grew into the University Chorus and Chamber Singers. His research into the choral music of the classical and other periods, with emphasis on the German tradition, greatly expanded the range and variety of the pieces that his vocal groups performed in concert and on important University occasions.
In 1990 Spice became the first head of the newly created department of music. From 1975-1986, he conducted the Rockbridge Community Chorus, and from 1979 to 1983 he was conductor of the Rockbridge Community Orchestra.
He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the Music Educator's National Conference. He is past president of the Intercollegiate Men's Choruses Inc. and the Virginia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He has been appointed Professor of Music Emeritus.
Cecile West-Settle joined the department of Romance languages at Washington and Lee in 1987. She served as department head on two different occasions and as associate dean of the College from 1995 to 1998.
West-Settle received her B.A. in Romance languages from Agnes Scott College and her Ph.D. in Spanish from Emory University. Before coming to Washington and Lee, she taught Spanish at neighboring Virginia Military Institute. Her academic specialties are 19th- and 20th-century Spanish poetry and 20th-century Spanish prose. She was coeditor of the 2005 volume "Contemporary Spanish Poetry: The Word and the World" and is the author of numerous articles and conference papers in her field.
She has participated in two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars, was a fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas in 1991 and 1992 and was a visiting scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women in 1998 and 1999. She has been named Professor of Spanish, Emeritus.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs