The Virginia Governor’s Office announced on Friday the appointment of Robert J. Strassheim ’96 of Keswick, Virginia, to the University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors (BOV). In addition, BOV Vice Rector Devon Williams Cushman ’93 of Richmond, as well as members Allida M. Black of Arlington and Patricia “Pat” Gwaltney McGinnis ’69 of Washington, D.C., have been reappointed to subsequent four-year terms on the board.
“I’m honored by this appointment, and in this capacity, I look forward to continuing to advocate for all of Mary Washington’s stakeholders,” said Strassheim, who will finish out the remaining three years of Edward B. Hontz’ term.
Robert Strassheim, a certified project management professional, serves as vice president of business operations for Dickinson + Associates Inc., a midsize software consulting company headquartered in Chicago. He has also held various leadership positions at Electronic Data Systems Inc., working for the Department of the Navy.
In addition, Strassheim has served as a part-time lecturer in UMW’s College of Business (COB) for more than two decades, teaching courses in marketing, management, corporate financial management, retail management and introduction to business, as well as a senior seminar in international business.
Strassheim earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mary Washington, graduating with academic honors. He also holds an MBA and graduate certificate in international business from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, ranking third in his class.
At UMW, he is the current chair of COB’s Alumni Advisory Board and previously served as a Capital Campaign cabinet member. He is the recipient of the 2017 COB Distinguished Business Alumnus Achievement Award and the 2021 Frances Liebenow Armstrong ’36 Service Award.
Returning Vice Rector Devon Cushman has worn many hats during her career: litigation attorney, law professor, general counsel and – most recently – entrepreneur. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mary Washington and earning her J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law, she worked as a litigator at Morris & Morris (now McCandlish Holton) and Hirschler Fleischer, where she was recognized by Virginia Business as “Legal Elite” and by Virginia Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star.”
Cushman also has served as an adjunct professor at Richmond Law and as assistant general counsel at Capital One, where she partnered with the policy affairs team to advance the company’s legislative agenda. Cushman recently founded a design company called Dutch Door. In addition, she supports the greater Richmond community as a pro bono attorney.
Allida Black is a distinguished scholar and human rights advocate who serves as managing director of Allenswood Group, LLC, an organization founded to empower individuals and strengthen democracy through civic engagement, grassroots activism and education.
She is historian and advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a distinguished visiting scholar at the Miller Center for Public Affairs. Prior to this, she served as a research professor of history and international affairs at The George Washington University (GWU). She is founding editor and editorial advisory board chair for the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project. Black also served as executive editor of fdr4freedoms Digital Resource, an online education and advocacy program dedicated to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms. She has been an advisor to documentaries on PBS, The History Channel, A&E and The Discovery Channel, and has authored seven books and multiple articles on women, politics and human rights policy.
Black is a current trustee for the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Foundation and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. She is the recipient of GWU’s Millennium Medal, the 2001 Person of Vision Award from the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women and the James A. Jordan Award from Penn State University. In 2013, she received the Interactive Media Council’s “Best in Class” award and an Independent Publisher Book Award silver medal. She is a member of the Leadership Council of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Survivors of Torture.
Black earned a doctorate in history from GWU, a bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University and a certificate in international humanitarian law from the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Pat McGinnis is a public policy consultant and part-time artist in Washington, D.C. She has held positions in government, business, the nonprofit sector and academia. In government, she served as advisor to the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs in the Obama administration. She has also been on the Senate Budget Committee staff, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services, and the Office of Management and Budget, where she led the effort to create the U.S. Department of Education during the Carter administration.
McGinnis was president and CEO of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Council for Excellence in Government, an organization of business leaders who previously served in government. Founder and principal of public strategy firm FMR Group, McGinnis was a senior associate at international management consulting firm Cresap, McCormick and Paget.
McGinnis has also served as part-time faculty at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University and most recently The George Washington University, where she was Distinguished Professor of Practice at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. Currently, McGinnis is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the board of the Congressional Management Foundation.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Mary Washington and a master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Martha Fickett says
Very, very impressive group of appointees. Once again, so proud of my Alma Mater.
Lisa Barker says
Hello and regards, Martha.
Lisa Barker ‘71.
Vic Fingerhut says
So proud of every group of leaders we’ve had.
Best for the coming year!!
Devon Williams Cushman says
Thank you, Dr. Fingerhut. As an MWC PSCI major, I appreciate the excellent education I received from you and the other professors in UMW’s Political Science department.