UMW in Trans*ition

By Kristin Davis

The University of Mary Washington stood in virtual silence when Charles Girard ’12 first arrived for a campus tour in April 2008. The University was on the high school senior’s short list of prospective colleges, and that visit was all he needed to make a decision. He showed up on the day of UMW’s annual National Day of Silence, an observance by schools and campuses around the country to draw attention to the harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. “I was walking with my dad around campus,” Girard recalled. “I thought, ‘I should go here.’ ” Girard, who was born female but identifies as a male, grew up outside Charlottesville with a twin brother. He did not always identify as a male, but as a teenager he began to question his identity. “On my first day of college, I introduced myself to my college roommate as Charlie,” Girard said. At age 20, he began taking hormones that deepened his voice. As far as Girard knows, he is the first “out” … [Read more...]

Nights With Mrs. Bushnell Led to “Days of Our Lives”

Corinne “Conni” Conley Stuart ’49 learned at an early age to fib when adults asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She’d tell them she wanted to be a journalist. It sounded respectable, and no one snickered when she answered that way. But Stuart really wanted to be an actress. She can’t remember a time when she did not feel drawn to the stage or to the stories on the radio. (There was no TV when Stuart was a child.) “I guess I was a little bit of a show-off,” she said. Stuart was born in New York, lived for a time in Biloxi, Miss., and then settled in Radford, Va., where her father worked for Hercules Powder Co. manufacturing munitions during “the war years.” Stuart graduated from high school in Radford at 15 and headed to Mary Washington, selected because her older sister had attended the all-women’s college. “I had never been away from home, never even went to summer camp,” Stuart recalled. “It was a great place for me to go. At that time, it was a little … [Read more...]