The William & Mary Alumni Association’s awards and review process is a way to recognize regional alumni network leadership teams for exemplary programming and a commitment to engaging fellow alumni, parents, family and friends with alma mater. Below are the winning networks and events from FY22 (July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022), as selected by the William & Mary Alumni Association.
Family BBQ and Games Day: The Charleston Network’s first in-person event since the pandemic began, BBQ and Games Day was hosted by Gary Gerald ’88 and Dama Gerald on Sept. 19, 2021, at their home alongside a picturesque tidal creek. Attendees competed in horseshoes, cornhole, croquet, golf chipping and the Finnish game Molkky (the latter was particularly popular!). Barbecue and beverages were provided, and participants brought side dishes and desserts to share.
Charter Day Celebration at the American College of the Building Arts: Attendees at this March 6, 2022, event enjoyed an eye-opening tour of the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA), led by Director of Development Leigh Handel. The ACBA provides its students with a liberal arts curriculum integrated with expertise in a journeyman trade such as blacksmithing, carpentry, plaster, stone carving and timber framing. The faculty and facilities required to support this training are one-of-a-kind, and ACBA graduates have skills which are in high demand to support historic restoration in places such as Charleston and Colonial Williamsburg. The post-tour reception was hosted and arranged by Carter Hudgins Ph.D. ’84 and Donna Hudgins in the backyard of their downtown Charleston home.
Tour of the Paramount Theater: Attendees enjoyed a private tour of the 90-year old theater in downtown Charlottesville on May 24, 2022. After an informative history including an explanation of recent renovations, participants toured the stage, dressing rooms, behind-the-scenes areas and balcony. A social hour with wine and charcuterie followed in the theater’s lounge area, where knowledgeable guides were available to answer further questions.
Tour of Pine Knot and Eastwood Farm and Winery: Alumni and friends of the Charlottesville-Highland Network donned their hiking boots to enjoy a private tour of the hidden gem Pine Knot, the rural retreat of President Theodore Roosevelt, on June 11, 2022. Purchased in 1905 by first lady Edith Roosevelt and nestled on 90 wooded acres south of Charlottesville, this rustic cabin served as a place for “rest and repair” for the 26th president. After the tour, the group had their own relaxing retreat at the Eastwood Farm and Winery. It was a lovely day for history buffs and wine enthusiasts alike!
Yule Log: Nearly 40 William & Mary alumni, family and friends gathered for a traditional Yule Log celebration — with a twist! This was the Chicago Network’s first in-person event since the pandemic began, and, to accommodate varying comfort levels with gatherings amid COVID-19’s continued prevalence, the event was held outdoors at Lincoln Park Zoo on Dec. 12, 2021. Although the location didn’t have a fireplace, attendees tossed holly into a fire display on a laptop screen, kept warm with hot chocolate and enjoyed cookies before touring the “ZooLights” show.
Chicago River Architectural Tour and Ice Cream Outing: The Chicago Network hosted this event on May 22, 2022, a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Admitted students, alumni of all ages, family and friends boarded a Wendella boat for a 90-minute river cruise that detailed the history of Chicago and highlighted the architectural significance of many buildings along the iconic waterway. The tour provided local attendees with the opportunity to be tourists in their own city. After the excursion, attendees enjoyed ice cream at a nearby creamery.
W&M D.C. Metro
Adopt-A-Block: The D.C. Metro Network hosted Adopt-A-Block cleanup events on Sept. 26, 2021, and March 20, 2022, for two adopted blocks in the city: 1700 Massachusetts Ave. NW and 1700 P St. NW, the original home of the W&M Washington Center! The network has combined social gatherings with service, showing Tribe Pride in the city while working to make a difference and engage with the local community. Social gatherings included an annual Meet the Board event and grabbing snacks and drinks at a local restaurant or bar after a day of cleanup.
Evening at the Embassy: The D.C. Metro Network’s annual Evening at the Embassy was held at the House of Sweden this year. On Feb. 23, 2022, alumni and friends were able to tune in virtually for a fireside discussion with Swedish Ambassador H.E. Karin Olofsdotter, moderated by Kirsten Fontenrose ’94, former senior director of the White House National Security Council. The two discussed security, sustainability and U.S.-Sweden relations. A few months later, on May 26, 2022, an in-person event was held at the House of Sweden with over 200 alumni and current students in attendance! The evening began with a panel of W&M alumni and Swedish experts speaking on the topic of disinformation. Participants also heard from Swedish Deputy of Mission Ingrid Ask and Teresa Longo, executive director of William & Mary’s Reves Center for International Studies, while dining on Scandinavian food prepared by chef Mikko Kosonen.
Watergate Scandal Suite Tour: Nearly 50 participants gathered to enjoy a tour of the Watergate Scandal Suite on June 26, 2022, just after the 50th anniversary of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex. During small group tours, attendees learned about one of D.C.’s most infamous landmarks and asked many questions. Afterward, the group enjoyed cocktails at The Next Whisky Bar and watched the sunset at the Top of the Gate overlooking the Georgetown Waterfront. The event appealed to all ages in the network, with attendees ranging from alumni in the Class of 1978 to future alumni in the Class of 2025!
Museum Series — Goddard Space Flight Center and the Chinese American Museum: This year, the network sought to improve engagement with W&M alumni and families by hosting interactive museum visits. On Jan. 21, 2022, participants enjoyed a virtual visit to Goddard Space Flight Center, learning about NASA’s work at the intersection of disciplines including earth science, planetary science, heliophysics and astrophysics. On May 17 and July 9, 2022, respectively, the network offered virtual and in-person visits to the Chinese American Museum, led by Executive Director David Uy ’93, M.B.A. ’96. The groups explored special exhibitions on topics ranging from porcelain to early American trade.
Spring Garden & Games: For more than 10 years, the Richmond Network has hosted the annual Garden & Games party in late May. Justin Ayars ’03 has spearheaded the planning of this event since 2018 and chose the location for this year’s gathering: the historic Mankin Mansion. The estate’s builder, Edward Thurston Mankin, provided the majority of the bricks used to restore structures in Colonial Williamsburg during the 1920s and 1930s. Over the years, the Richmond Network has welcomed guest speakers to the event; this year’s Garden & Games featured remarks by Mike Tierney ’87, M.A. ’88, director of W&M’s Global Research Institute (GRI). Attendees enjoyed hearing from Tierney about the hands-on research opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students alike through the GRI. This year’s event, on May 25, 2022, was the first Garden & Games party since 2019 and boasted the most diverse representation of alumni at a Richmond network event to date!
Yule Log: The Triangle Network’s Yule Log Celebration was held Dec. 9, 2021, at Cloer Vineyards and was attended by nearly 40 alumni, ranging from members of the Class of 1979 to recent graduates. Attendees enjoyed food, a wine tasting and the chance to connect with local members of the Tribe.
Paint Night: After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Williamsburg-Peninsula alumni were eager to put on smocks and return to easels for the annual Paint Night event! Paint Night is an opportunity for alumni to gather for a social hour featuring craft beer and appetizers, followed by a guided painting session led by a local artist. The May 3, 2022, event was held at Virginia Beer Co., a brewery owned by two W&M alumni, Robert Willey ’05 and Chris Smith ’07. The 20 attendees each created a painting of the William & Mary Alumni House to take home; previous Paint Night subjects include Crim Dell and the Wren Building cupola.