Notable and Quotable

Girls Orphanage Opens in Honduras

Twelve orphaned girls in Honduras now have a secure, stable home thanks to two organizations founded by Shin Fujiyama ’07. The Villa Soleada Girls Home, which opened in August, provides young residents with housing, food, education, supervision, sports programs, and medical and psychological care – and someday, college. The orphanage is the culmination of a longtime dream for Fujiyama. He first volunteered in Honduras as a UMW undergraduate, and the experience opened his eyes to “the state of children, especially girls, who struggle against poverty and unimaginable violence in the developing world,” he said in a video about his time there. While still a UMW student, Fujiyama founded Students Helping Honduras, an organization that has since grown to encompass dozens of college and high school chapters. More recently, Fujiyama and SHH created Central American Children’s Institute, specifically to help Honduran children. The home for girls cost $50,000 to build and furnish. It … [Read more...]

Lacy Moves to HBO

After 27 years as creator and executive producer of the acclaimed PBS biography series American Masters, Susan Wagner Lacy ’70 has signed a deal to produce and direct documentaries for HBO.Lacy will create a biographical series for HBO. “This was a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to make films,” she told The New York Times. Lacy created American Masters in 1986, and for the series’ first decade she produced the work of other documentarians. Eventually, she made films of her own, covering subjects including Paul Simon, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, John Lennon, Leonard Bernstein, and Joni Mitchell. Successful as American Masters has been, Lacy faced a challenge getting it off the ground, she recalled in a 2010 interview with University of Mary Washington Magazine. “Everybody laughed at me when I had the idea for the series, and now I’m getting lifetime achievement awards.” The series also has won numerous Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, and Grammys. … [Read more...]

Diva of Distinction

Natalie Joy Johnson ’00 shares some traits with her self-titled character in Natalie Joy Johnson: Full Bush, an adults-only show about a down-on-her-luck woman who is looking for love everywhere except where she’ll find it – deep within herself. The performance, described as “riveting” and “heart-stopping,” earned a 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence for outstanding individual performance. The character “is a bit more grand…boozy…and over the top than I am,” Johnson told “That’s saying a lot.” The Mary Washington theater major, one of Time Out New York’s Top-10 Downtown Divas, might be best known for her two roles in Legally Blonde – on Broadway as high-strung law student Enid Hoopes and on the national tour as divorced manicurist Paulette. The Village Voice called her weekly performance at Brooklyn’s Therapy bar “zingy…and fun…Bette Midler meets Courtney Love.” Her first self-titled piece, Natalie Joy Johnson Is Relentless, was named … [Read more...]

Driven to Succeed

An internship Pionne Young Corbin ’94 landed as a student at the University of Mary Washington has taken her more than 400 miles – from Stafford County, Va., to Buffalo, N.Y. – and launched her even further in her career. Corbin, who has worked for GEICO for two decades, was promoted this summer to assistant vice president of underwriting for the company’s Buffalo regional operation. The country’s largest direct marketer of car insurance, GEICO insures more than 18 million vehicles and is, according to A.M. Best’s 2011 market share report, New York’s top auto insurer. Corbin’s journey with the company began in 1993, when she signed on as a college intern. She graduated cum laude as an economics major the next year and completed a management internship in 1996. She moved on to hold the titles of claims service representative supervisor, sales supervisor, and service manager. By 2004, Corbin was managing the company’s new business underwriting and reunderwriting divisions; by … [Read more...]

West Virginian Preserves Wheeling’s Buildings

Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting ’56 fell in love with Victorian architecture when a Mary Washington professor assigned her class to draw some of Fredericksburg’s historic buildings. Sixty years later, the Wheeling, W.Va., resident is still hooked on stained glass, fretwork, and all the flourishes of the 19th century. Nutting’s efforts to preserve and restore Victorian buildings are nationally known. And, for them, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin bestowed on her the Distinguished West Virginian Award this spring. An art major at Mary Washington, Nutting studied biology at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. But architecture called. In the past several decades, Nutting has overseen the refurbishment of more than 20 Wheeling structures, including the John List House and other historic-district buildings. She’s also worked to restore the Wheeling Suspension Bridge; participated in an “Operation Look-Up” newspaper series showcasing unaltered upper stories of historic facades; and … [Read more...]

Young and Influential

Because of her work for human rights, Mary David ’07 was named among the “2013 Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders Under 33.” In the international list, Diplomatic Courier magazine and the nonprofit organization Young Professionals in Foreign Policy teamed up to identify the most influential foreign policy leaders younger than 33. “An ardent defender of human dignity, Mary David fights against human trafficking and ceaselessly works for the rights of women and children worldwide,” said Ana C. Rold, editor-in-chief of the Diplomatic Courier. David, director of public relations for the Foundation for Post Conflict Development, helped draft some of Maryland’s first laws against human trafficking. She was deputy chair of public awareness for the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force and assists the Office of Children’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. She was the United Nations adviser on women and children for the ambassador of East Timor to the U.N. A lecturer on human rights and … [Read more...]