The Columns

Helen MacDermott: Always on the Run Helen MacDermott, office manager for the Center for Global Learning, is an avid runner and mother of two who would rather have coffee with her mom than any celebrity on earth.

— by on February 22nd, 2017

“I love air-popped popcorn, leafy sea dragons and running in the rain. I despise blue ball point pens, overripe fruit and making more than one trip to haul groceries into the house.”

What is your official job title?

Office manager, Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning

How long have you worked at W&L?

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working here since April 2014. I was part-time with Academic Technologies (ITS) and now I’m tickled pink to be the den mother for the — arguably — most innovative and visually pleasing facility on campus.

Helen MacDermott

What do you like best about working at W&L?

Like a small business, a smaller school like Washington and Lee has less hierarchy, which means you can actually work with (and not just for) your boss. This has opened the door to wonderful mentoring and opportunities for collaboration.

What advice do you have for students (or parents)?

Do NOT get too caught up in your romantic life. There’s waaaaay more to college than dating. Instead, take advantage of this time to become the most amazing version of yourself possible. Think of college as an incubation period, a place to develop your skills and character. You are NEVER going to have as many resources, like-minded peers, free time and opportunities as you do now, so use them wisely.

In that same vein, build yourself, not your resume. Don’t do extracurriculars to impress future employers. Focus on developing yourself as a strong, well-rounded person, and you’ll be far more memorable in interviews and in the working world.

Where did you grow up?

Bridgewater, New Jersey. And for the record, I just want to say that I suffer from the triple whammy of being female, Asian, and from the Garden State — but dammit, I can drive.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

I’m 38. Scorpio. My husband, Raymond, teaches economics and marketing at VMI, and we have two daughters, Aine (12) and Aoife (20 months).  I *love* air-popped popcorn, leafy sea dragons and running in the rain. I *despise* blue ball point pens, overripe fruit and making more than one trip to haul groceries into the house.

If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?

I’m quite happy here in Rockbridge County, actually, but I suppose a summer home at the beach would be nice.

Who most inspires you?

My buddy, Tom Green. Tom is a 65-year-old carpenter and the most soft-spoken and humble ultrarunner I know. He’s run 300+ ultras and happens to be the first runner to have ever completed The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, four 100-mile races in one calendar year. Tom was gravely injured and nearly died in a freak accident last year. After two weeks in shock trauma and another five weeks in a rehab hospital, he finally returned home. Since then, he’s made an amazing comeback and is running (and racing!) again. He’s the epitome of pure determination, grit and keeping the faith.

What book are you reading now?

“Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread” by Chuck Palahniuk

What music are you listening to these days?

Errr, the same music I was listening to in college: reggae.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

“Showgirls” (I’m kidding, I’m kidding!)

What is a website and/or blog you visit often?

irunfar.com

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Pretty sure average folks don’t become well-known historical figures, so I can’t say I know any with whom I can identify!

If you could have coffee with one person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?

I don’t have a cool answer, sorry. My mum. My folks live outside of Houston so I don’t see them often and I miss them terribly!

Tell me something most people don’t know about you?

I was cast as a contestant on the first season of “The Mole,” one of the first reality shows on ABC 15 YEARS AGO. The audition consisted of a three-minute monologue in which we were told to insert a significant lie about ourselves. I blathered on about being a college student (true), paying my way through college (also true) … by stripping (not true). Apparently, they loved it and I was flown to L.A. for another round of interviews and tests. We were about to begin filming when my grandmother, who helped raised me, passed away. Much to the annoyance of the directors, I refused to miss her funeral, so they cast someone else. I never did actually watch the show!

If you would like to nominate a co-worker for a Campus Connections profile, please email Kevin Remington at kremington@wlu.edu.

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From ‘Wheel of Fortune’ to the President’s Office Tudy Moncure, Executive Assistant to the President

— by on December 1st, 2016

“The people here are the best, and I know everyone is trying to do a great job for the university.”

What is your official job title?
Executive assistant to the president.

How long have you worked at W&L?
Over 10 years.

What do you like best about working at W&L?
The people here are the best, and I know everyone is trying to do a great job for the university. I feel like we work in a team atmosphere, and the employees exemplify the honor and civility that the students have. So for me, it’s the people, although it doesn’t hurt being able to work on such a breathtaking campus.

What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
I would hope that all students would get involved in some form of activity. I would also hope that they look outside their normal comfort zone and try something different, outside their box. College is a place to experience, learn and try new things. For parents, I’d hope they would give their children the autonomy to experience these things.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up on George Washington’s boyhood plantation outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Same house my whole life.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I have three children, all finished with college. I also have a dog, chickens and bees. I have an organic garden and love to cook, hike, crochet, sew and do puzzles. My family is old Virginia, and I enjoy researching genealogy, belonging to several genealogy groups.

If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
I grew up on a river, so I’d pick somewhere on the Potomac where I could boat, fish and crab. I think I’d enjoy a simple life.

Who most inspires you?
I’ve had a handful of people throughout my life inspire me, and I hope that I’ve captured some of their qualities. Since I’ve been at W&L, I’ve taken a keen interest in how President Ruscio handles conflict. He is a master at listening to a concern, trying to understand it, and responding in a most unique way. It is the way that he approaches each situation that inspires me.

What book are you reading now?
I am reading a book-diary of my great-grandmother’s brother. He was a young boy during the Civil War and wrote about things he saw. It is a unique perspective. Some of his observations are not so pretty, but I wanted to read and hear stories firsthand.

What music are you listening to these days?
I listen to current hits on the radio. My downloads have similar beats per minute so that I keep pace when exercising.

Your favorite movie of all time?
“Wizard of Oz.” It has all the themes I love.

A website and/or blog you visit often?
Banking and all social media. Boring, huh?

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Historical figures help to give us valuable perspective, and I appreciate that, but I think we should take the best from all of them. I also try very deliberately to live in the present.

If you could have coffee with one person (living or deceased), who would it be and why?
I love art and music during the Impressionist period, so I’d have to pick an artist. Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers, and I’d love to pick his brain.

Tell me something most people don’t know about you.
Kevin, this is a tough one. I think most people know how boring I am! I’m deaf. I’ve had my nickname my whole life. I have had the same best friends my whole life. I’ve always thought I was funnier than I am. I won third place in the Long-Haired Contest at the Tri-Centennial Celebration in Stafford County when I was four. I was Stafford High School homecoming queen my senior year. I animate people in my brain. Because I love puzzles, my dad had to make up a code similar to Braille for his crossword puzzles so I wouldn’t mess them up. I can pick up a blue crab with my hands. I’m a Carolina Panther fan. I’m scared of heights and bridges. I started out in college as a performance flute major. I have been working for years to perfect the art of making caramels. When I was on “Wheel of Fortune,” Pat Sajak had a hard time coming up with interesting things to say about me.

If you would like to nominate a co-worker for a Campus Connections profile, please email Kevin Remington at kremington@wlu.edu.

John White Loves Fixing Things What do the Peace Corps, Blade Runner and bagpipes have in common?

— by on November 11th, 2016

What is your official job title?

Help Desk and Shared Services Manager

How long have you worked at W&L?

15 years

What do you like best about working at W&L?

I love the collegial atmosphere here. I have been here for fifteen years and I have always been treated with respect and kindness by everyone. That has made me very loyal to this institution and the people here.

What advice do you have for students (or parents)?

Study abroad, do internships, take as many opportunities to have experiences outside the classroom as possible.

Where did you grow up?

Walled Lake Michigan

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I have been married for 20 years and we have two teenaged kids and a dog. Mostly, I just like to do dad stuff like gardening, tinkering and bagpiping. My ideal weekend doesn’t involve me leaving my yard.

I am also trying to learn the concertina because there are some things a bagpipe just can’t do.   

I have been here for fifteen years and I have always been treated with respect and kindness by everyone.

If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?

The coast of Oregon for my summer home and the mountains of Costa Rica for my winter home.  My Dream home would be about 1200 square feet and solar powered. 

What book are you reading now?

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville and a Collection of Walt Whitman’s letters from his time volunteering in hospitals during the war.  

What music are you listening to these days?

My current favorites are Treacherous Orchestra and Broom Bezzums.

Your favorite film (movie) of all time?

Either Blade Runner or Wings of Desire, I am a big fan of internal dialog I guess. 

A website and/or blog you visit often?

Bob Dunsire’s Bagpipe Forums

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Elias Hicks

If you could have coffee with one person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?

My Dad. He was a good friend and fun person to be with. He was also a very wise man and most of the advice he gave me when he was alive I ended up taking. I’d really like to hear his perspective now that he is dead.

Tell me something most people don’t know about you?

That I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya and a social worker in Rockbridge County before I started my first IT job at Rockbridge Global Village. People were pretty surprised when I got my first IT certification, but they shouldn’t have been, I have always loved fixing things.

If you would like to nominate a co-worker for a Campus Connections profile, please email Kevin Remington at kremington@wlu.edu.

Field Hockey defeats Roanoke in the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament

— by on November 2nd, 2016

The third-seeded Generals defeated sixth-seeded Roanoke, 3-0, on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the ODAC Tournament at the W&L Turf Field.

The semifinal game against Bridgewater College will be played Friday, November 4, at 7:30 p.m., at Lynchburg College. GO GENERALS!

 

 

 

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SOC 7.1.16

— by on June 29th, 2016