William B. Crawley earned a BA in Latin from Hampden-Sydney College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a PhD in History from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the Raven Society. During more than 50 years at the University of Mary Washington he has won multiple awards for excellence as a teacher. He has also been an innovator, largely responsible for founding the program in Historic Preservation, as well as the Great Lives program. He is the author of a biography titled Bill Tuck: A Political Life in Harry Byrd’s Virginia, published by the University Press of Virginia, and A Centennial History of the University of Mary Washington, published in 2008. In 2016, the Great Lives series was named in his honor.
Ali Gauch Hieber returned to the University of Mary Washington in January 2016 and currently serves as the Director of Community Events. She manages the day-to-day operations of the Great Lives Series and coordinates commencement ceremonies for the University. Previously, Ali served as Associate Dean of Admissions at UMW and Dean of Enrollment Services at Germanna Community College. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master’s degree in Education at the University of South Carolina. Ali resides with her husband Mark, three children and a rescued kitten in Spotsylvania County.
Jack Bales, recently retired Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus at UMW’s Simpson Library, serves as research consultant for the series. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree in English from Illinois College and his master’s in library science from the University of Illinois. Although a librarian by vocation, he is a writer by avocation and is the author of a number of books and articles on his own “great lives,” including authors Horatio Alger, Kenneth Roberts, and Willie Morris. He has spent the last few years researching the history of the Chicago Cubs and has written articles on the team for Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture and the Baseball Research Journal. His book Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team was published in 2019.
Jonathan Windsor, senior and Communication and Digital Studies major at the University of Mary Washington, currently serves as Media Assistant for the Great Lives series. His undergraduate background primarily consists of digital marketing and design. In July 2023, he participated in a faculty-led study-abroad program in Paris, France, working to produce the sixth iteration of the “Are We Live” weekly SNL-esque show. This program included multimedia collaboration and design in the heart of Parisian life. In his free time, he engages in wildlife photography and independent film-making, with the latter being directly tied to his role as Vice-President of UMW’s film prodution club, “Fourth Wall Studios.”