Mary Washington students hit the airwaves in 1939, when Dramatic Arts and Speech Professor Harold H. Weiss developed a course in beginning and advanced broadcasting. A state-of-the-art studio opened in the newly built George Washington Hall, and Station WMWC was born.
News, interviews, talent, and inspirational talks aired three hours a day by the mid-1940s, and a fancy studio was built in duPont in the mid-1950s. Students still run WMWC, UMW Radio, but the growing popularity of TV had forced broadcasting courses off the curriculum by 1963.
If you know the names of these broadcasters in training or have any other information about this photo taken inside the campus studio, please add a comment below.
Give It Your Best Shot!
Last issue’s photo of a young woman on horseback drew a flurry of letters, emails, and online posts from readers who thought they recognized the rider.
Carmen Zeppenfeldt Catoni ’50 of Caguas, Puerto Rico, posted on the UMW Magazine website that she thought it could be former Cavalry captain Winnifred “Winnie” E. Horton Brock ’51, who died in 2003. Winnie’s Mary Washington roommate, Elizabeth “Betsy” Fletcher Adams ’51 of Southern Pines, N.C., thought so, too.
Beverly Carmichael Ryan ’55 of Lynchburg, Va., flipped through a Battlefield yearbook and figured the rider might be former Hoofprints president and Cavalry captain Lois Maybelle Harder ’53, who died in 1998. Jean “Red” Abbott ’60 guessed it was Bonnie Andrea Sundbeck ’59.
Carol Joan Bailey Miller ’50 of Cumberland, Va., consulted yearbooks and friends to no avail, but she did point out that the Mary Washington cavalry group was a troop, not a club, and presumed the photo was taken in the 1940s or ’50s, when Russell Walther was the instructor.
But it was a flabbergasted Shirley Sinnard Lindell ’53 who finally solved the mystery.
“What a shock!!” she wrote from Iowa City, Iowa. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. THAT’S ME!!!!”
Jean Kimball Gray ’53 also got it right, emailing to peg her classmate as the pictured rider.
A biology major, Lindell thought the photo must’ve been taken in 1952 or ’53, judging by the captain’s bars on her hat.
Now 81, with three children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren, Lindell said her college days stand out.
“I have always said the four years at MWC were the best four years of my life.”
I am nee Ruth White and attended Mary Washington from September of 43 to March of 45 when I left to marry Ben Martin. I was in this class and remember broadcasting. I do believe the girl sitting at the control unit is me. One of my Mary Washington friends gave me the book for the article about Dr. Maureen Marks and after reading the article, I was browsing through the magazine and came across the broadcasting story. I was awed as I so loved my time at Mary Washington. My children also believe it is me as they have seen many pictures of me when I was young. I’m sorry that I can’t remember who the person is that is standing. I rermember her face but not her name.