FROM THE FOREST • GUESTS
David Ignatius addressed the community as
the forty-sixth speaker in the Fitzpatrick Lecture
Series. An opinion writer for the Washington
Post and the author of ten best-selling spy novels,
Mr. Ignatius shared not only his expertise on
international affairs, but also memories of his own
prep school experience as a student at St. Albans
School. “Schools like Woodberry Forest and my
own school exist to develop character,” he said.
“Character means choosing the hard right over
the easy wrong.”
Mr. Ignatius spoke of “the paradox of our
simultaneous mastery of the economy and the
dysfunction of our political system.” Trained as
an economist, Mr. Ignatius said he believes in
the market economy and the ability of business
in the United States to solve problems. But he
contrasted that success with the inability of the
US legislature to pass legislation, the thousands
of false claims made by the executive branch,
and the role of the media in inflaming divisions.
He shared polling results describing a public
exhausted by news coverage of the current
political situation and presented research
explaining why facts often don’t persuade people
to change their opinions.
Having just days earlier returned from HongKong, where he reported on pro-democracyprotests, Mr. Ignatius concluded his talk byreturning to the idea of character. He expressedadmiration for the millions of protestors whoare putting aside their fears of retaliation by theChinese government because of their belief infreedom and democratic ideals. “I encourage all ofyou to do what you can to look at the facts, let yourpoint of view be challenged, and find an Americanversion of what I was witnessing on the streets ofthat Asian city.”
Former college basketball player and currentcollege sports analyst Jay Bilas visited the Forestin September to talk about his 2013 memoir,Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Offthe Court. Every student had read the book as theheadmaster’s summer reading selection. Mr. Bilaswon the hearts of his audience when he openedhis talk with a video urging the Tigers to victorythat he had recorded before a past Game againstEpiscopal High School. He went on to illustratehis definition of true goal setting with exampleselicited from student athletes and stories fromhis time playing for and working with DukeUniversity basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Winning games, capturing championships, or
beating a rival, Mr. Bilas said, “are destinations,
not goals. Outcome-oriented goals won’t help
you work harder today.” He advised students to
make athletic, academic, or personal goals more
effective by adding the word “together” at the
end. “We’re not going to play hard — we’re going
to play hard together.”
Jay Bilas’s visit to Woodberry Forest was
facilitated by Frank Edwards ’88.
Toughness, as I
define it, . . . has more
to do with attitude,
way you approach
things, the way you
handle failure. The
only things you can
really control in any
situation is your
attitude and how
hard you work.
”During his visit, Mr. Bilas also sat down for an interview with WFSPN chair and aspiring broadcaster Taft Gantt ’ 20.