These are the unedited class notes as submitted by class agents and other alumni. Edited notes appear in the print edition.
If you prefer to submit Class Notes by mail, send to:UMW Magazine – Class Notes
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Susan Crytzer Marchant
Sad news for our fellow classmate, Roberta Rouse, who suffered two significant losses in 2018. Roberta’s father passed away in July and her husband recently passed away in mid October. Sending prayers to Roberta and hoping friends and family nearby in AZ have been able to provide comfort.
On a lighter note, I received news from Rebecca Fox. She and husband, Michael, now live in Ashland, VA. Rebecca has been working at Chesterfield Co. Public Schools for 17 years and has 2 grown children. Her son, Matthew, graduated from VA Tech and is an engineer in Norfolk working on ships. Her daughter, Jordan, is graduating in May ’19 from The University of Maryland. Jordan is in Army ROTC and is a Distinguished Military Graduate in the top 10% in the nation; she will branch Aviation when she graduates. Rebecca and Michael are proud parents!
From Joseph “Jay” Comfort ’90:
Hello to Class of ’90.
Hi all! After the last ten years, keeping a foot both in Ashland and Northern, VA, my family and I have relocated permanently to Arlington, VA! My wife Lara and I travelled to Thailand in February to attend one of Lara’s great friend Andrew’s wedding in Phuket and to visit with her sister in Bangkok who is DOJ Attache for East Asia to the US Embassy there. For Lara, returning to East Asia meant that we met up with many friends and colleagues from her tenure in Hong Kong w/Star TV and BBC. Both Lara and I have celebrated “that” birthday and have done so in grand style with great parties, surrounded by friends and family. We travelled to New Orleans in July to celebrate Lara’s big day and I travelled to New Mexico to (successfully) hunt elk last Fall. Lara will travel to Argentina with her mom in March ‘19 (Campana is Lara’s mom’s childhood home) in her family tradition of a Mom/Daughter trip to anywhere for the “big” birthday. In September of this year, IRON HORSE staged a gala fundraiser for the Ashland Theatre Foundation that raised over $70,000 for the benefit of the restoration and re-opening of the historic Ashland Theatre which is set to reopen in early 2019. The IRON HORSE restaurant, which I have owned for the last 11 years and operated remotely for 7, continues to thrive under our tenured management and a great sales/service team. You are invited to join us in the “Center of the Universe” anytime for a bite and a pint. We are just steps from Randolph Macon College in Ashland’s “old town”. in September, after 10 years managing operations for the Lebanese Taverna Group, I joined Jamie Leeds’ Restaurant Group in Washington, DC as Vice President of Operations. JLRG operates six properties (Hank’s Oyster Bars, Pasta Bar and Cocktail Bar) in Washington and Virginia. The restaurant business NEVER gets boring and I say that looking over the top of my glasses, grinning. Lara and I live with our daughter Zoë (7) and son Grayson (14) just two miles from the homes where we spend our school age years. Our kids play in the same parks we did and we all ride the WO&D trail on the weekends. Life is good.
Re Nicola Mason ’90 from her husband:
I’m writing to brag on a UMW alumna who would never do so herself—my spouse, Nicola Mason (class of 1990). Since graduation, Nicola has made a career as a fiction writer (she’s been the recipient of an NEA Individual Artist Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in the annual New Stories from the South prize anthology, among other distinctions), a visual artist (with paintings, mixed-media work, and ceramic sculpture exhibited widely), and an editor. After several years at The Southern Review and LSU Press (where she edited the late, great Claudia Emerson, among many others), she moved to Cincinnati in 2002 and in fourteen years as managing editor led the fledgling Cincinnati Review, less than a year old when she took over,to its current status as one of the most prominent literary magazines in the country. Last year she moved on to start a new venture, Acre Books—a book-publishing offshoot of the magazine—and this month the very first book she acquired for Acre was named to the short list for PEN America’s prize for best debut.
From the Marchant household, my oldest son, Adam, took his SAT and we have begun the search for the right college; at a recent college fair he downselected to four VA state schools…and Mary Wash was one of them! No pressure, but we shall see what happens.
Shannon Eadie Niemeyer
Hello, Class of ’91! Hope you all are well. I didn’t receive much news this time; I hope to hear from more people the next time!
DeAnna Toten Beard was recently appointed Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts at Baylor University, where she is Professor of Theatre History and Co-Director of Baylor in Oxford. DeAnna and husband Kemper celebrated 27 years of marriage this summer.
Courtney Hall Harjung
In August my husband Tom and I moved into a 150 year old home in Midtown Mobile, AL, and two days later a 200-year old, four-ton live oak crashed through their backyard onto our garage. What a welcome to the neighborhood! In October we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary in Navarre Beach, FL. In November we attended our niece’s wedding in Phoenix, AZ. I serve on the Mobile Arts Council and the SouthSounds Music Festival Boards and volunteer with several other local nonprofit organizations. We’re looking forward to the start of Mardi Gras season which means weeks of balls, parades, and float barn parties. This spring we plan to get Rescue Diver certified on a Caribbean scuba vacation. Please email your Mary Wash memories and personal and professional news to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rene and Sonya (Snider) Rios ’91 live in Ashburn, VA with their two kids attending VA Tech. Nicholas is a Senior graduating from VA Tech this spring, and Natalie is enjoying her freshman year at VA Tech.
Christine Harrison Casey ’92 was recently promoted to Director of Philanthropy at Transitions LifeCare (Hospice of Wake County) in Raleigh, NC. She is responsible for managing a team of three and raising more than $1.5 million in Unrestricted Funds for the agency each year. She won a scholarship from the Association of Fundraising Professionals local Chapter to attend the International AFP Conference in San Antonio, TX in late March. She and her husband Tom recently welcomed his oldest daughter April to live with them after her year of living abroad in Thailand.
Kate Stanford McCown ’92 and her husband John enjoy the Canton, GA, home they moved into in the summer of 2017. Kate got back into the working world in August 2018 as an Area Director for a national au pair agency, AuPair Care Inc. They recently traveled to her nephew’s wedding in Leesburg, VA with their kids, Mary Ella (15), Jack (14) and Ashlyn (7). Oscar, their 100 pound Bernese Mountain, was a wonderful new addition to their family in 2017 and keeps the family busy.
Donald Fuller ’92 retired in January from the Army after 26 years of service as a Chief Warrant Officer 5 and attack helicopter pilot/instructor. After six long deployments and several shorter ones, he decided it was finally time to move on to an adult job and focus on family and the rest of his life. His first post military career takes him to the Dubai, UAE where he will be flying as part of a contract, still remaining in the attack aviation world. He’s excited to be close to Europe where he grew up. He plans on working overseas for a little while and then come back stateside for good. His long term plan is to get a post graduate degree in something completely useless, but interesting, and also opening up an animal sanctuary of some kind. He hopes to end up in the Boise, Idaho area, where his family is.
Tevin Chaney ’92 still lives in McLean, VA and works with data analytics for the federal government. He took some time off from work since he was diagnosed with Stage 4a colorectal cancer in late August. Treatment has been aggressive but is going very well. He finished chemotherapy in December, earlier than expected due to very positive results. He began chemoradiation in late January, and surgery is expected to take place in April. He maintains a very positive outlook despite an initially disappointing prognosis, and his body is responding to treatment better than expected. He reminds everyone of the importance of getting a colonoscopy and not to delay.
Cheryl Roberts Heuser
Stephen Covert is in his 26th year as an educator and serves as Principal at Pine View School in Sarasota, which is a school for the gifted and ranked #6 in the United States amongst magnet Schools. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in the master’s in Education leadership program. His wife, Cara, teaches 3rd grade gifted at a Sarasota school, and all four of their kids (two juniors, a freshman, and a fifth grader) attend Pine View. Stephen and Cara both love what they do do! They are starting the college search process for their two oldest children and are quite busy!
Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio reports that After graduation, she went to grad school at Rutgers, where she got her MA and PhD in Art History. She moved to Italy, where she lived for seven years, during which time she married her husband, Giuseppe, and had their first child, Tommaso. She had a post-doc at the state archives in Florence. We then moved to Burlington, Vermont, in 2003, when she became a professor of art history. In 2007, they had their second child, Elisa. Kelly is now a full professor and an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at UVM. She has published six books and dozens of essays and articles. She has lectured across Europe at major institutions like the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Collége de France in Paris; and at universities in Poland, Spain, Italy, and across the U.S. Their kids are now 16 and 11, and they love to travel; they make frequent trips back to Italy to see Giuseppe’s family.
At UVM, one of the hardest moments she had was when a prospective student told her that she was trying to decide between UVM and Mary Washington! Kelly reports that she had to be honest with her because she owes so much to Mary Washington. Kelly is so grateful that she was trained there as a scholar by a wonderful art history faculty, that she had opportunities for leadership like Class Council, and that she had such an amazing group of dear friends that truly taught me the value of supporting each other through thick and thin. She cherishes her friendships with such great women there which have continued, particularly with Janet Marshall Watkins, Lori Rose Drew, Devin Williams Cushman, and Lydia Cordes. She wishes they could get together more often!
As for me, I had a wonderful time at the Class of 1993 Reunion in June 2018: 25 years! I had a great time catching up with everyone who attended. In August I made a career move and accepted a position at Navy Federal Credit Union’s headquarters in Vienna, Va in the President’s Office. I am using my legal and financial services regulatory compliance background in the Regulatory Compliance and Public Policy Group as Senior Compliance Officer. I love Navy Fed and the new opportunity! This has brought me back to Virginia where I have enjoyed reconnecting with my many friends from Mary Washington and being closer to my family. It has been great catching up with Jen Studt Schimmenti, Jean Sudlow Simpson, Aimee Cooper Starr, Kathy Opiela King and Bethany Zecher Sutton! If you are in the area, hit me up! I would love to catch up!
Jennifer Dockeray Muniz
Fannie Davidson Gray has been reconnecting lately with some other alums. She says that it was cool to catch up with the Jill and Andrew Salp while they were all briefly in San Fran and she also hiked with Kari Ellis (93) while in San Diego (there was a man hunt for a fugitive AND a massive snake sighting on our hike and then hours later part of the cliff we had been under collapsed making the news. She’s also been messaging with Ken Fulk trying to get him to be her date for Reunion. Fannie still lives in Montclair NJ where Stephen Colbert has been actively trying to avoid her for the last 4 years.
David Janes – has taken up a new position as Senior Advisor, Office of the President, at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Okinawa, Japan.
Karen Hatwell- After MWC, she completed graduate school at UMass Amherst and received a PhD in chemistry in 1999. She had a two-year postdoctoral position shared between the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Basel (Switzerland) and taught college for seven years (Swarthmore, Vassar, and Stevenson University). She’s been working for the US Food & Drug Administration for the last 10 years and is currently Senior Advisor for Chemistry in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. In her free time, she volunteers with several organization: Dogs XL Rescue, Girls on the Run, and Bike MS, as well as for my local neighborhood. She continues to keep fit through rock climbing and running. She’s now living in Silver Spring, MD, close to family and hopes to attend our 25th reunion in 2019. She can be reached on Facebook.
We’re all looking forward to seeing who can make it back to UMW this spring for our 25th reunion! Wow.
Congratulations to Dianna Rowell Boschulte and her husband, Rich, who welcomed Liam Patrick to the world on January 10, 2019. He is their first child and they are thrilled to become a family of 3.
Jennifer Wilson Watson and her husband, Chris Watson ’96, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. They still reside in Fredericksburg. Jenifer was recently promoted to Director of Membership Engagement at the FBI National Academy, and she is enjoying the new work challenges and opportunities to travel. You can still find Jennifer out on the track playing for Fredericksburg Roller Derby, now on her 6th season.
Amy Costello Miller and her husband have two teenage boys in 8th and 10th grades. This is her 4th year homeschooling their younger son, Ben. The Millers are a rugby family, Amy married a prop, and they enjoy watching their eldest son Andrew who plays the same position for his school team and summer league. Amy accidentally restarted her vintage and antiques business last year via Instagram after a five year hiatus, and it has really taken off. College conversations with their oldest have begun, and they already visited Mary Wash to see the rugby team and tour campus. When Jenifer turned 44, she realized we graduated MORE than half our lifetime ago and had to share that crazy thought with our class.
Jamie Simpson started a new job at the end of January as Director, Meetings for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Jamie and Phil Stoneman ’94 have been married for 18 years and live in Vienna, VA with their 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. I also started a new job in January, as Director of Product Innovation for Surescripts. I am working in the Minneapolis office, but will be at Surescripts headquarters in Northern Virginia often and am looking forward to seeing friends and campus more. I’ve been quite spoiled seeing Kira Stchur Villarreal a few times a year despite our living far apart. She and her husband, Eddie, celebrated Thanksgiving with us in Minnesota, and then we celebrated a mutual friend’s birthday in Vegas. We are already planning to see Kira and Eddie at their home in San Antonio later this year.
Erika Giaimo Chapin
Jen Carter Tsimpris still lives in Richmond, VA, working as the Resident Life Services Manager at Cedarfield, a premier retirement community in the West End. She and her husband Basil just celebrated nine years of marriage this past July and their children, John Landon and Anne Kathryn, just turned seven years old and three years old this Fall, respectively. They are happy and well and hope all fellow Mary Wash alums are, too!
She adds that the 20th Class Reunion this past June was amazing and it was so wonderful to see so many old friends (and meet some remarkable new friends, too)!
We had a mini-reunion of sorts in Seattle this summer, hosted by Darien Berkowitz Jacobson, her husband Andy, their sons Alex and Ben, and their dog Snack. Attendees included Katie Shea Britton, Caitlin Jenkins Losh, Courtney Lamb Whitworth, Alexis Kingham Fuge, Clint McCarthy, Kelly Sutton Russell, Deacon Chapin, and me. We had lots of laughs in Darien and Andy’s new home on the West Coast.
Marc Williams is an assistant professor and co-chair of the Department of Theatre at Arkansas State University. He earned an MFA in directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and holds a certification as an actor combatant from the Society of American Fight Directors.
Please send your updates when you get the email from MWC!