A Career Sequel

Film Exec Teaches Business of Blockbusters

By Emily Freehling The questions that consume groups of students on a Tuesday evening in Woodard Hall are the kinds of details that can make or break multimillion-dollar motion pictures: Does a film about Formula 1 racing, 2013’s Rush, stand a chance in a country where NASCAR is the dominant motorsport? Is there a way to make the coveted 18- to 24-year-old demographic excited about 1999’s The Hurricane? Does the title October Sky really tell a potential audience much about this 1999 film about Cold War-inspired amateur rocketry? The movies were released in the past, but this is September 2018, and the individuals discussing them are students in Marketing Movies, a first-of-its-kind class in the College of Business. The class is the brainchild of Dan Wolfe ’84, who created this group assignment to introduce students to lessons he learned during a career of movie marketing that included 25 years at NBC Universal. In the 10 minutes he’s given the groups to … [Read more...]

Cherished Daughter, Forsaken Son

Journalist Unravels Family Secret

By Edie Gross Photos by Stephanie Klein-Davis Mary Carter Bishop ’67 grew up firmly believing she was an only child. There had been a boy, 10 years her senior, who lived with her family when Bishop was very young, but she’d been told Ronnie Overstreet was her cousin. Besides, by the time she was 7, he was gone, and what few memories she had of the long-limbed, sullen teen grew hazier as the years passed. “The only really semi-vivid memory I have is of him standing in our teeny-tiny foyer. I remember my mom having him stand there naked and dusting him with some kind of powder, as I recall for his allergies,” said Bishop, who figured she was about 4 at the time. “It was a very sad scene. I remember him looking very distressed, ashamed, humiliated. And she appeared angry to me. I just remember looking at those two and thinking, ‘Something’s not right here.’ ” Bishop was 32 before she stumbled upon the source of that anger and shame: Ronnie wasn’t her cousin at all, but her … [Read more...]

The Art of Living

Painter Changed Campus and United a Community

By Kristin Davis Johnny P. Johnson had taught first through 12th grades for a decade, coached basketball, and given art lessons to inmates. He was also an artist in his own right, with a following of Washington, D.C., professionals who drove to Fredericksburg to buy his work. But in 1968, the year Mary Washington came calling, he’d never instructed on a college campus. In fact, a civil rights group of which Johnson served as president had once been barred from holding meetings on campus because its membership was integrated. Now the college wanted Johnson to teach an art education class. Times were changing. So was Mary Washington. Johnson accepted the job, becoming the first African-American faculty member. He stayed on as an adjunct professor for two decades, as his reputation as an artist, educator, and humanitarian burgeoned far beyond the region. Over the summer, Fredericksburg honored those achievements with the first-ever Johnny P. Johnson Day on July 7. UMW further … [Read more...]