Meet a General: Kelly Fujiwara As special events coordinator for Lee House, Kelly Fujiwara works with departments across campus to make sure that all events at the president's house are unforgettable occasions.
Q: Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sonora, California, a small town near Yosemite, and I grew up in a suburb just outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. After high school, I joined my family in Corvallis, Oregon.
Q: How long have you worked at Washington and Lee?
I have been at Washington and Lee for five years.
Q: What does your job as special events coordinator entail?
I coordinate all the events that are held at Lee House. Once an event is scheduled, I reach out to the department or office event contact and begin the planning. Internally, we work most closely with Facilities, Catering, Campus Gardens and Communications. Really, all the departments and offices on campus that schedule events at the house. Externally, I work with multiple partners ranging from florists to tent providers. Once the guest list is identified, I send invitations, follow up as needed and oversee the presentation of the event, through clean-up.
These events can be as simple as a breakfast for three to a reception for 250, and sometimes in the same day. There are many individuals and groups that work extremely hard to make a visit to the Lee House a memorable and special experience.
Q: What do you like best about working at W&L?
Hands down, the people. I have the unique opportunity to interact with a large cross section of students, staff and faculty. President Dudley also hosts numerous events for alumni, parents and families, community members and special guests. Without exception, each event provides me the opportunity to interact with some new and extremely interesting people.
Q: Is there anything about your job or department that you wish more people in the W&L community knew?
I have the pleasure of working with an amazing team of people, all of whom are professionals dedicated to making each event memorable. We work hard and we laugh a lot!
Q: What are some things most people don’t know about you?
This past year, I became a founding member of the Native American Cohort. Although fluid, our goal is to illuminate Native American culture, create a welcoming place for students, staff and faculty to join, continue to solidify and deepen our partnerships with our sister schools, and expand our alliances with colleagues throughout campus.
The response we received when planning and executing the Native American Month events was overwhelmingly positive, and we are so grateful for everyone who supported and joined us. We continue the work to raise awareness and create community and are excited about what the future holds. Please feel free to reach out to me or any of the members. We would love to hear from you.
Q: What is your favorite spot on campus? Why?
There are so many beautiful places on campus, but I am always drawn to the Front Lawn and how it is framed by Washington Hall and Lee Chapel.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I love spending time in my garden. I find joy digging in the dirt, listening to the birds and watching the flowers bloom.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you build your dream home? Why?
I’d split my time between the Pacific Northwest and Australia. One of my favorite places is the Olympic National Park in Washington State. It is a unique mix of mountains, rainforest and ocean. I also loved my visit to Australia years ago and found Sydney an exciting and vibrant city, so I would welcome the opportunity to return.
Q: What is the best book or film you’ve read or watched recently?
After having read the book, I recently watched “Becoming,” the biography of Michelle Obama. I found it insightful as well as hopeful.
Q: What is your favorite kind of music or musical artist?
I have been listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter for years. I love the stories she tells. I am also a huge fan of the live music in this area. We live in such an amazing little corner of the world. A huge shout out to Lime Kiln and the great work they do to bring such talent to this area.
Q: What is your desert island food?
A charcuterie board with smoked salmon accompanied by a gin and tonic.
Q: Favorite quote or saying?
“Life is short, rest when you are dead.”