Meet a Colleague: Florentina Butler Florentina Butler is the Associate Director of Law School Advancement.
Florentina Butler is the Associate Director of Law School Advancement and has worked at the Law School in different capacities since 2004. She has been a member of the Law Advancement team since 2014. Florentina grew up in Romania, where she graduated from the University of Bucharest, and moved to the U.S. in 1998. She currently resides in Staunton, VA with her husband, Graham, a civil litigation attorney who graduated from W&L Law in 2008, and their nine-year-old son, Hardy.
Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
Belfield. I love the architecture, and every time I’m there I discover something new in the layout of the house. I spent the night there a few times, and the views of the back campus and the law school early in the morning are just magnificent. I also like the garden—the landscape is absolutely beautiful.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
This past year I went back to school to work on an MBA, so my free time has been taken up by classes, studying, and zooming with my classmates for our group projects. When I’m not in class, I enjoy reading (both fiction and nonfiction), cooking and baking (I love America’s Test Kitchen and Cooks Illustrated), running (though I’m not running as much as I used to these days), and knitting. On Friday nights I like to make a fire in our front yard’s firepit and hang out with our neighborhood friends over a glass of wine. I also enjoy hiking and have spent the past few summers meeting up with some of my high school friends and hiking in the Austrian Alps, the Dolomites, and the Carpathians. This summer we are hiking in the Tatras.
Q. Book/Podcast/TV Show Recommendation?
I recently read “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel and really liked it. Though it is a book about a devastating pandemic, written a few years before the COVID 19 pandemic, it has a great message of the power of art to inspire and the enduring spirit of humanity in the face of adversity. The prose is also beautiful.
As for Podcasts, I love all the Serial Productions podcasts. The latest one, “The coldest case in Laramie” is a special one to me, as the day after I finished listening to it I had lunch with one of our law alums who went to school with and knew a lot of the people featured in the podcast. It was surreal to hear him talk about it—we live in a small world indeed. Another podcast I enjoy is “Hard Fork” – it helps me keep up with the latest in the rapid changing world of tech.
Q. Who inspires you?
Children. They are full of energy, curiosity, and imagination. They are resilient, and they ignite hope.
Q. If you could have coffee or tea with one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to have a cup of coffee with my mom. Unfortunately, she died 12 years ago, and she didn’t get to meet our son. She was a wonderful mother, and I miss talking to her about everything, especially motherhood. When I was in high school, I used to make Turkish coffee every afternoon when she got home from work, and we would have a cup of coffee together and talk about our day. It was our special time, and I cherish those memories. I also think she would be proud of me for going back to school at this point in my life.
Q. What is an accomplishment you are proud of?
Moving to the U.S. with a suitcase, without knowing anyone, at the age of 23. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, and it keeps things in perspective. No matter what life throws at me, I’m going to be okay. Another defining moment was marching in the Romanian revolution in my hometown when I was 15. The excitement of overthrowing the communist regime far exceeded the dangers of being shot by Ceausescu’s loyalists.
Q. Favorite food/restaurant/drink?
Reunion Bakery in Staunton – legit French pastries, by far the best bakery in the region.
My favorite food is feta cheese. Feta, fresh tomatoes, and fresh baked bread is the taste of summer.
My favorite drink is a Dark and Stormy in the summer (I love ginger beer) and mulled wine in the winter.
Q. Most used/enjoyable app on your phone?
I read the NYT on my phone almost daily. Another app I use a lot is Goodreads – I am constantly adding books I want to read.
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