Alumna Has Devoted Her Life to Service

Florence Overley Ridderhof ’50 learned two lessons early on that have guided a lifetime of serving her community and the world. Growing up in a house on Cornell Street in Fredericksburg, she learned from her mother that it wasn’t enough to talk about a need; you had to try to find a solution. And on the Mary Washington campus in the late 1940s, her psychology professors taught her not to judge or generalize about people. Those principles, instilled in Fredericksburg, helped Ridderhof bring about a meaningful change in the region’s attitudes about domestic violence. In the 1970s, when a local elected leader publicly stated that what a man did in his home was his business, Ridderhof and a group of like-minded women helped open the area’s first domestic violence shelter – and ultimately changed a community’s perspective. Today, Empowerhouse operates a 10,000-square-foot facility serving scores of women and children across five Fredericksburg-area localities. Ridderhof … [Read more...]

Marine Corps Led Alumna to Extraordinary Career

When Karen Laino Giannuzzi ’71 arrived at her office at Camp Lejeune in 1977, she found pink curtains hanging from the windows and a sign posted on her door: “Woman Commanding Officer – Do Not Use Bad Language.” Then a captain, she was taking her first command, Lejeune’s Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Radio Battalion, Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic, at a time when there weren’t many women in the Marine Corps, let alone female officers. She could lose the froufrou décor, but it wasn’t uncommon for male colleagues to test how tough she was. Not long after she arrived, one young Marine thought it would be funny to drop his trousers in front of her. He did not enjoy the disciplinary process that followed, she said. “A lot of men hadn’t seen a woman Marine,” recalled Giannuzzi, who was the first female officer in the field of signals intelligence and electronic warfare. “I was first of a lot of things. Every time you went to a duty station, you might be the only woman there, … [Read more...]

Doctor Supports Veterans, the Underserved

As a pre-med student at what was then Mary Washington College, Anthony D. Jones ’99 volunteered at the nearby Lloyd Moss Free Clinic, shadowing doctors as they provided care to low-income residents, including patients with HIV/AIDS. The experience helped set him on a path of serving the underserved. “Back then, having HIV was more or less a death sentence,” Jones recalled. “The physicians at the clinic showed a whole lot of compassion taking care of HIV patients. That left a good impression on me.” Today, the physician is chief medical officer of the Military Entrance Processing Station at Fort Lee, Virginia, and works for Veterans Evaluation Services in Richmond, where he conducts compensation exams for veterans. He also volunteered at a Virginia Department of Health men’s clinic focused on sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Through the nonprofit Minority Health Consortium, he has provided HIV testing and assisted with care coordination for newly diagnosed HIV … [Read more...]

Ultimate Apparel Line Has Roots on Campus

Making T-shirts for friends from his UMW residence hall, Todd Curran ’06 built skills that would help him start a company that now is poised to become the premier outfitter for ultimate teams in the United States and beyond. Curran’s Savage Apparel Co., founded in 2009, recently announced its merger with apparel maker Five Ultimate and disc manufacturer ARIA Discs to create XII Brands, of which Curran is CEO. “Our goal is to be the No. 1 apparel provider in the sport of ultimate,” said Curran, who played on UMW’s ultimate disc team as a student. The company also provides custom gear to teams in other sports, including soccer, spikeball, quidditch, dodgeball, and disc golf. The Savage Apparel team includes four other UMW alumni. Daniel Curran ’09, Todd’s brother, is vice president of production; Dan Lee ’06 is vice president of sales; and Austin Bartenstein ’11 heads international sales from an office in London. Todd’s wife, Erica Jackson Curran ’07, is director of … [Read more...]