A New York Times bestselling author. An Emmy-nominated television host. A past poet laureate. Two previous U.S. ambassadors. The former CEO of Rolls Royce North America. An award-winning chef and restauranteur. And the newly minted assistant general manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Those are just a few of the individuals recognized in the University of Mary Washington’s inaugural Alumni of Distinction class, featuring 35 exceptional graduates who excel in the fields of business, law, medicine, arts and entertainment, sports, literature, human rights advocacy, philanthropy, scientific research, higher education and more. Spanning generations and professions, their accolades can be found displayed on the first floor of George Washington Hall and in an online gallery. The University is accepting new submissions – grads can nominate themselves or others on the UMW Alumni website – and fresh faces will be added every five years.
“For the past 115 years, Mary Washington graduates have gone on to become accomplished leaders in every discipline, highlighting the power of a liberal arts and sciences education,” said Executive Director of Alumni Engagement Mark Thaden ’02.
The new gallery will help provide a fuller picture of the Mary Washington story, Thaden said, accompanying the restored murals originally painted by late art professor Emil Schnellock and his students in the 1940s. “I’m so excited that we are able to prominently display these amazing alumni in one of the most iconic buildings on campus.”
So are the members of the Alumni of Distinction class themselves. Jin Wong ’97, who was recently named assistant general manager for baseball administration of the Chicago White Sox, visited the gallery when he came to campus earlier this month to speak to students in the College of Business, student-athletes, fellow alumni and the UMW baseball team. He previously worked his way up through the Kansas City Royals organization, serving the team for 24 years, including during its World Series-winning season in 2015.
“Mary Washington holds a special place in my heart,” said Wong, who majored in business administration at Mary Washington and was a Division-III All-American outfielder on UMW’s baseball team. “I’m very proud and humbled to be honored by my alma mater.”