Tools of Advocacy, Research, and Persuasion Honed at UMW

The path that led Ben Franklin ’06 to a career in law started out when he was just a kid growing up in Danbury, Conn. In high school, he took part in a mock-trial program and interned at a local law firm to see if he liked the work, and he did. “Law is one of those things I wanted to do ever since I was in elementary school,” Franklin said. Coming to Mary Washington turned out to be a good step toward that goal. Franklin, 27, picked UMW because he wanted a smaller liberal arts college with a good history department. He also wanted a school far enough away from home to allow him what he called “that true college experience.” What he learned in his four years at Mary Washington helped lay the foundation for his chosen career. Franklin got involved in the University’s Debate Program, where he honed his skills in advocacy and oral persuasion. In his classes, Franklin said, the close interaction with faculty taught him about researching and writing. That one-on-one work with … [Read more...]

Honor Council Inspired a Career in Defense

As a member of the Mary Washington Honor Council for four years, Nellie King ’92 heard allegations of cheating, theft, and academic misconduct. These days, her cases are more likely to involve allegations of drunk driving, rape, and even murder. But King, a defense lawyer for 15 years, said her early experience at UMW primed her for the high-profile work she does now. “What I experienced at Mary Washington was an environment that allowed me to ask questions and to challenge situations, and that was a natural transition for me to go to law school,” said King, a married mother of two who lives in Palm Beach County, Fla. “I’ve been asking questions and filing motions – much to the chagrin of prosecutors in my state – ever since.” King recently was elected president of the nonprofit Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The FACDL provides continuing legal education and professional networking for its 2,000 members, champions the constitutional rights of criminal … [Read more...]

Marketing Guru Guides Clients Through Social Media

Even before he became part of it, Dave Saunders ’90 had a feel for the business world and the social scene that supports it. When he graduated from the University of Mary Washington, he said, it was common for colleagues to gather on Monday morning to chat about the weekend or share wallet-sized photos of their kids. “Today we don’t share it with two or three people around the water cooler, we share it with 500 friends on Facebook,” Saunders said. “We live in the information age, but we’re not all cognizant of how information is accessed and disseminated.” Saunders makes it his job to know – and he helps small and midsize companies navigate that fast-paced, quickly changing world. As president, founder, and chief idea officer at Madison+Main, a marketing and new media firm with offices in Richmond and Virginia Beach, Saunders is considered an expert in the field. When he started the firm in 2005, he saw potential in smaller companies and opportunity in emerging media. … [Read more...]

Archivist Focuses on Presidential Pictures

  Janet McConnell Philips ’77 got one of the first glimpses of the iconic White House image captured inside the Situation Room May 1: President Barack Obama, mouth tense, face full of consternation, sits amid his national security team awaiting news from Abbottabad, Pakistan. A photograph taken later that evening shows the president in the East Room. The tension is gone. He is in mid-speech. Osama bin Laden, hunted for a decade, is dead, he announces. Philips sifts through the thousands of daily photographs captured by four White House staff photographers who document a presidency. Some are mundane. Some, like this one, are monumental. Philips takes utmost care with each of them. As the White House photo archivist, she is on the front lines of the record books. She writes the captions and preserves them for the ages. Philips has held this role through five administrations, beginning with Ronald Reagan in 1988. Her road to the White House began at Mary … [Read more...]