Diplomat Welcomes New Challenge in China

Ambassador Clifford A. Hart ’80 calls his upcoming diplomatic assignment a choice job that any China hand would aspire to. Starting later this year, Hart will be consul general for Hong Kong and Macau. His fluency in Mandarin and Cantonese will serve him well, and so will the 30 years of State Department experience he brings to the role. Hart is ready for whatever frustrations his new job may bring, as his most recent position proves. He is wrapping up an assignment as special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, with the challenging task of persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. “The talks themselves haven’t convened since ’08 for a whole bunch of reasons, most to do with North Korea’s misbehavior,” Hart said. But as special envoy since 2011, Hart has worked with China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea to further a shared interest in North Korean denuclearization. Hart’s interest in the Foreign Service dates to his teen years. He skipped his last year of … [Read more...]

Potter’s Fire

Spotsylvania County resident Charles Shoemake wanted to build a lasting gift to wife Ellen, who is a potter. But as the couple worked on a wood-fired kiln on their farm, his health declined. He passed away in May 2012, the project unfinished. Ellen Shoemake was determined to see the dream realized. She turned to the University of Mary Washington and Assistant Professor of Art Jon McMillan, an expert in building and firing kilns. For two semesters, McMillan and a group of his students made trips to the Shoemake farm, contributing countless hours to the project. Through their work, the students learned the principles and practicalities of an ancient method of firing pottery. At last the kiln was completed and filled with works by McMillan and his students. For research, they tried different combinations of materials – in all, seven kinds of clay and 50 glazes. For 36 hours in early May, McMillan and students including Christina Bendo ’13, Trey Foster ’13, Anna Moulis ’13, … [Read more...]