A Conversation with the Parents Leadership Council Chairs Wimberly and Richard McPhail P’24 share their thoughts on the W&L Experience, community and the Parents Leadership Council
This year kicks off Wimberly and Richard McPhail’s two-year term as Parents Leadership Council (PLC) chairs. The volunteer role promotes parent engagement and philanthropy to support W&L and connects families to strengthen the university’s sense of community. The McPhails’ son, Walker ’24, is double-majoring in business and history and is a member of the men’s golf team, the Williams Investment Society, Mock Convention’s finance team, the Chi Psi fraternity and the Fly Fishing Club.
Q: Share a little bit about yourselves.
[Wimberly] I graduated from the University of Virginia and worked in marketing and event-planning in Atlanta before Walker was born. Afterward, I was a stay-at-home mom and active community volunteer. I served on the Alumni Board of The Westminster Schools and volunteered with my children’s schools and with local charities in Atlanta. I enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling with family and photography.
[Richard] I graduated from NC State University and earned an MBA from Duke University. I am the chief financial officer of The Home Depot, Inc., and I serve on the board of The Westminster Schools. In addition to being outdoors and traveling with family, I enjoy playing golf and fishing.
Q: What inspired you to get involved with the Parents Leadership Council, and what were your top reasons for agreeing to serve as chairs?
[Richard] We were lucky that in the first week after Walker decided to attend W&L, several friends told us that we had to join the PLC because it was a great way to meet people. We had always heard about how closely-knit the parent community was at W&L, but once we joined the PLC we had an even greater appreciation for how supportive W&L parents are.
Agreeing to serve as chairs was a very easy decision for us. Because W&L parents are so eager to get involved and build relationships, we felt that the role would be fun and that, with a little effort, we could help the school have great success in bringing parents together.
“Our students will be part of a W&L family that spans generations, and we know that supporting the school’s continued success will directly benefit the students throughout their lives.” ~ Richard McPhail P’24
Q: What are you most looking forward to in your role as PLC Chairs?
[Wimberly] We are excited to meet more parents and hear about the variety of student experiences. We would like to create more excitement around the PLC, Parents and Family Weekend and Spring PLC Weekend events. We hope that some of our parents who are new to the W&L community hear about the PLC as a special way to engage with the school and have fun with other supportive families.
Q: What aspects of the W&L experience do you appreciate most as parents? What insights have you gained through Walker’s experience?
[Wimberly] Hands down, the best aspect of the W&L experience is the people that Walker has met. His peers, the faculty and the parents of his peers are what have made his experience exceed our expectations. W&L is a special community that seems more like a family. It could be the size of the school that contributes to this close-knit atmosphere, but it is more likely the type of motivated, genuine and kind students that it attracts.
Q: What aspects of the W&L community resonate with you as parents and donors?
[Richard] We appreciate the small class size and the close relationships that the professors foster with their students. Their willingness to go beyond the classroom to help these students expand their minds and succeed is exceptional.
Q: What has been your favorite W&L event or tradition so far?
[Wimberly] Parents Weekend! We get to come to Lexington and be part of the amazing W&L community for a few days. Not only is it special to see your child happy in their environment, but it is so much fun to meet their friends and other parents. We also enjoy the beautiful campus and surrounding area.
Q: Would you share your personal inspiration for supporting W&L?
[Richard] We give to W&L because we believe the school offers a uniquely compelling academic experience and provides the opportunity to develop lifelong relationships with exceptional people. Our students will be part of a W&L family that spans generations, and we know that supporting the school’s continued success will directly benefit the students throughout their lives.