Obituary: Col. John Kinniburgh

Marine Col. John Kinniburgh, a former rector and member of the UMW Board of Visitors, passed away June 9, 2019. He was 89. Col. Kinniburgh served on the Board of Visitors from 1983 to 1987 and was rector from 1984 to 1986. He was in the Simpson Circle, an organization of former Board of Visitors members dedicated to engagement in the university’s activities, academic programs, and fundraising initiatives. Col. Kinniburgh also was a member of the Board of Regents for the James Monroe Law Office Museum and Memorial Library from 1986 to 1988. The museum is administered by the University of Mary Washington. Born June 19, 1929, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, he held a bachelor’s degree from Bryant College and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He also was a graduate of the College of Naval Warfare in Newport, Rhode Island. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and rose to colonel, retiring in 1977. He and Virginia Mae Poole Kinniburgh ’53 met during her senior … [Read more...]

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Rucker Helps Virginians Get Going

Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Cedric Rucker ’81 to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in June. The UMW associate vice president and dean of student life serves on the 17-member board that oversees the state’s transportation projects and initiatives, including the construction, maintenance, and operation of roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, seaports, railways, buses, public transportation, mass transit, and more. A world traveler, Rucker earned a master’s degree at the University of Virginia, where he served briefly as assistant dean of admissions before returning to his alma mater to work in Student Affairs. Rucker, who was named to last winter’s Richmond Public Schools Black History Month Influential list, served previously on Virginia’s Board of Medicine. … [Read more...]

Tafoya Leads NM State Parks

Christy Comer Tafoya ’91 is director of New Mexico State Parks, the first woman to hold that position since the state park system was founded in 1933. After graduating from Mary Washington with degrees in history and historic preservation, Tafoya headed to her first job at New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest. While pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology at New Mexico State University, the Maryland native did a project at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park. In 1998, she was named the first archaeologist for the park system. Tafoya, who lives in Santa Fe, was appointed to the top leadership role of the 34-park state system in 2015 and was reappointed this spring. … [Read more...]

Scientist-Turned-Winemaker Wins Prestigious Award

Saltbird Cellars owner and winemaker Robin Epperson-McCarthy ’03 received one of seven 2019 Legacy Awards from Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI). Epperson-McCarthy’s “beverage and hospitality award” from LDEI member Wente Family Estates in Livermore, California, afforded her a weeklong mentorship at Wente Vineyards. Epperson-McCarthy, who studied biology and pre-med at UMW, started the Saltbird Cellars on the North Fork of New York’s Long Island in 2003. According to her website, while studying for the MCAT exam and a future in medicine, she heard about a job that could use her science education, and her career in wine was born. She never sat for the MCATs. LDEI, supported by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, is an international organization of female leaders in food, fine beverages, and hospitality, whose mission is education and philanthropy for the good of the global community. … [Read more...]

Aby Diop Named Averett Head Coach

In June, Aby Diop ’14 was named women’s basketball head coach at Averett University in Danville, Virginia. Before her appointment, she spent three years as an assistant coach at Shenandoah University in Winchester, where she helped guide the Hornets to the 2019 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament title and an NCAA appearance. Diop, who grew up in Northern Virginia, was a two-year team captain for UMW Eagles women’s basketball. During her four seasons, the Eagles went 88-22 overall, won the 2012 Capital Athletic Conference championship, and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Diop worked with the NFL’s Washington, D.C., professional football team from 2014 to 2016 as an account executive and later as a ticket operations coordinator. … [Read more...]

Editor Earns Emmy

Video editor Janelle Pierangelino ’17 and a news team at Richmond’s WTVR CBS 6 won an Emmy Award in June from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter. Pierangelino was editor of the video Central Virginia Under Water, which earned the honors. The newscast, one of two nominated videos Pierangelino edited, covered flooding around Richmond in May 2018. A communications, digital studies, and creative writing major, Pierangelino now is a photojournalist for WTVR. … [Read more...]

2019 Alumni Award Winners

Winners of the 2019 Alumni Awards were announced in June during UMW Reunion Weekend. Attorney Jay Sinha ’07 earned the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. The data privacy and cyber security specialist, who graduated from William & Mary Law School in 2012, is staff counsel for data privacy and cybersecurity compliance at Verizon. Sinha started the UMW Legal Eagles alumni affinity group, is a mainstay of alumni activities in the D.C. area, and frequently returns to campus for career programming and other events. Before law school, Sinha served as a fellow in Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration and as a law clerk for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Abas Adenan ’85 received the Frances Liebenow Armstrong ’36 Service Award. Adenan, director at Chevo Consulting, was a student leader at Mary Washington, serving on Student Senate, as vice president of the Student Association, and as a member of the French Club. As a member of the College Democrats, he was known for his ability to work … [Read more...]

Alum Gets Social

Social media strategist Jeremy S. Thompson ’13 recently served with Kamala Harris for the People as its social media director. After serving for two years in a similar position at the Baltimore-based Under Armor corporation, Thompson joined Harris’ presidential campaign in April 2019 to build its social media platform as the race for U.S. president unfolded. Thompson earned a degree in history and political science, then received a master’s degree in strategic communications from American University in 2017. He is a director on the UMW Alumni Board and volunteers with CASA Baltimore as a court-appointed special advocate for children. … [Read more...]

BOV Welcomes Santiago

Gov. Ralph Northam has appointed one new member to the UMW Board of Visitors and reappointed members Rhonda Van Lowe and Heather Mullins Crislip ’95. All will serve four-year terms expiring in 2023. Northam appointed Deborah Santiago ’90 to succeed Davis Rennolds ’06. Santiago is CEO and co-founder of Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C., policy group that provides data and research on higher education and Latino student success. The Arlington, Virginia, resident has initiated and led local and national programs for 20 years. Her work has been cited in The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other publications focused on higher education policy and practice. Before founding Excelencia in Education, Santiago held high-level data and policy analysis positions including serving as deputy director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Her many honors include the prestigious … [Read more...]