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 as the Coordinator 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 lively springer spaniel 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.
Kelly Reeder-Lafferty, Program Assistant for Great Lives, graduated from UMW in 2011, earning a Bachelor of Arts, and has been a part of the Great Lives team ever since. A History major, she was the Department of History and American Studies Almont Lindsey Award recipient for superior academic achievement and service to the department. When not helping Dr. Crawley with Great Lives Q&A, she supports the United States Marine Corps as an Analyst.
Courtney Kuzemchak, Communications Assistant for Great Lives, is back with the Great Lives team after previously serving as a student assistant for the program. Courtney graduated summa cum laude from UMW in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Historic Preservation. In addition to assisting with Great Lives, she supports the Smithsonian Associates within the Smithsonian Institution as an Operations Coordinator.