On Liberia’s Ebola Front Line

By Laura Moyer Lyn Howell Gray ’69 resisted leaving Liberia as the Ebola virus sickened West Africans in 2014. Gray and her Liberian colleagues employed by an aid organization urged pragmatism, not panic. People could stay safe, they emphasized, by avoiding the person-to-person contacts that spread the virus, especially when caring for the sick or preparing bodies for burial. But the aid organization insisted that its American employees return to Washington, D.C., because the epidemic had overtaken medical facilities and airlines were suspending service. “Being forcibly evacuated was difficult because we had to desert our colleagues at such a bad time, and there was important work we could be doing,” Gray said. She and husband Jim left with a few hastily packed belongings, not knowing when or even if they’d be able to return to their home of many years. As it turned out, they were absent only two months, returning when safe medical care and airline service could again be … [Read more...]

Dog Helps Alum Get to Work

By Edie Gross Winter is off duty, so he greets a visitor to his Fredericksburg home with all the tongue-lolling, tail-wagging enthusiasm a Labrador pup can muster – which is a lot. Then he settles with a contented sigh at the feet of Brian Parsons ’85. But when Winter steps outside each morning for the duo’s two-hour commute to Washington, D.C., the Seeing Eye dog is all business. He guides Parsons to a nearby bus stop, onto a train, onto Metro, and finally to an office at the Department of Homeland Security, where Parsons has worked since 2006. “When you put the harness on, he becomes completely locked in,” Parsons says of the dog he partnered with in September 2015. “It’s like a knife through butter going through Union Station now. It’s like a Swedish slalom – he’s weaving me in and out of people, and I’m along for the ride. He’s amazing.” Parsons, who has been legally blind since birth, had used a white cane since middle school to detect obstacles in his path. But in … [Read more...]

Wong Savors World Series Win

By David Driver Being heralded by 800,000 adoring Kansas City Royals fans as he walked a World Series victory parade route last fall, Jin Wong ’97 found himself in a far different place from Mary Washington’s dusty playing fields. But it was as a baseball player and business administration major at Mary Washington that Wong received the guidance and developed the discipline that has taken him to the pinnacle of baseball. He is assistant general manager/baseball administration for the World Series championship team. Kansas City won its first World Series title in 30 years on Nov. 1, 2015, beating the New York Mets to take the fall classic in five games. “It was overwhelming,” Wong said. As for the parade, which he participated in with his wife, Libby, and sons Kai and Tate, “It was an amazing sight to see. Fans came out in droves. “A championship brings every walk of life together. Everyone was wearing Royals blue,” Wong said. “I could not be more proud to be a part of … [Read more...]

Styling on Broadway

By Lisa Chinn Marvashti ’92 Makeup artist Madeline LeCuyer ’11 moves like a ninja. Armed with powder and hairspray, she dodges bright lights and big lenses, stalking stray hairs and slick skin. “You don’t want actors to look shiny because it will read as oil or sweat,” said LeCuyer, who returned to her alma mater last fall to prep the student stars of UMW’s first-ever TV commercial. “We want actors to look pristine at all times.” LeCuyer has helped folks put their best faces forward since a college play got her all tangled up in hair. From She Stoops to Conquer at UMW to Aladdin on Broadway, the theatrical stylist and professional wigmaker has been coiling and crimping her way to the top. Growing up in Newport News, she loved lipsticks and liners, polish and gloss. Live theater? Not so much. Dragged to a performance of The Music Man, she begged to sit in the back near the exit. By intermission, though, she was ready to get close to the action. Her father, a sculptor, and … [Read more...]