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Quite a Career

A blog entry on the Roanoke Times’ “So Salem” site today features the career of Washington and Lee law school alumna Llewellyn Hedgbeth of the Class of 1980. And quite a career it’s been, too.

A Salem native, Llew was a drama major at Hollins and then earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in theatre history and dramatic literature before she even got to the W&L law school in 1977. It was during her last year of law school, she told the Times, that a friend told her in the snack bar that she should take the test for foreign service.

She took the test and, with a background in both the theatre and the law, spent 28 years on numerous assignments, mostly abroad, for the U.S. Department of State. Included in her posts were chargé d’affaires for the American Embassy in Mongolia, management counselor for the American Embassy in Beirut, and, from July to October 2010, chargé d’affaires at the American Embassy Bandara Seri Begawan in the Sultanate of Brunei. There, among other activities, she assisted with a disaster management training exercise.

Some of her other assignments were a one-year position as project director for China 2000, two years as director of operations for the Bureau of Administration during which she implemented Y2K readiness plan, and three years as executive director of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Llew compared preparing for work overseas to “learning to swim without a pool” and told the Times’ blogger that she wished she had studied more foreign languages as preparation for her career.