It took some sleuthing, but we now know the student pictured in a former chemistry lab in Combs Hall is Orita Whitehead Martin, who attended Mary Washington from 1967 through 1969 before earning a degree from a college in Colorado. Anita Whitehead Scott ’71 confirmed her sister’s identity for the magazine.
We’re grateful for help from Susan Brown Strong ’68 and retired Mary Washington employee Jane H. Marra, both of whom thought the photo was from the 1960s rather than the attributed 1980s date.
To be sure, we asked Professor Emerita of Chemistry Judith A. Crissman. She recognized the setting as the former analytical chemistry laboratory and noted that the student was wearing a dress, a formality rarely seen after the late 1960s. And she pointed out that by the 1980s, safety goggles would have been required for lab work.
With the 1960s date in mind, Head of Special Collections and University Archives Carolyn Sydnor Parsons ’83 pointed us toward the Whitehead sisters, and we soon had our answer.