William and Mary

Alumni Updates: Class Years 1980-89


Below are archived updates for alumni graduating between 1980 and 1989. Visit the main Alumni Updates page for more updates received this year.

Jane Vance '80 - BA English and Art   Jane Lillian Vance is the subject of a new documentary, A Gift for the Village, narrated by Public Radio International Host and Anchor, Lisa Mullins. The film had its world premiere this past June in Kathmandu, Nepal, and has its American premiere on September 16 at The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia. Vance teaches The Creative Process at Virginia Tech and continues to paint. Please see to read more about the film. (2010)

Jennifer (Costello) Meeks '82 - BA English/Philosophy   Jennifer tells us: "I recently joined the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, as the General Counsel to the Office of Human Resources Management, practicing in the area of employment law with an emphasis on West Virginia law, policy and procedures." (2010)

Beth Barnes '80 – I am the director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications and Associate Dean for Undergraduate and International Studies in the College of Communications and Information Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. I put my English major background to use every day (and encourage my students to do a minor or second major in English). Our biggest on-going project is a partnership with media organizations in Zambia and Botswana. I go over to Africa several times a year to conduct workshops on advertising and other media topics. (2010)

Steve Kistulentz '89 - writes: "I am currently an assistant professor of English at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. I am also the author of the forthcoming poetry collection THE LUCKLESS AGE, which recently won the Benjamin Saltman Award and will be published in early 2011 by Red Hen Press. (2010)

Romana Huk – '81 Ph.D. English & Government "I'm currently an Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. After graduation from W&M in 1981, I did my doctoral work at, and received my Ph.D. from, UND -- so it's weird and wonderful to be back here teaching. I spent the years in between teaching at the University of New Hampshire, which also I loved, and which appointed me to direct their Cambridge University Summer Program -- where I met my English husband. I moved to the UK and taught at Oxford Brookes University, where I served as Fellow in their Centre for Modern and Contemporary Poetry. I moved back to the States and UND in 2002." (2010)

Lana Whited – '81 "On Oct. 10, 2010, I married my partner of 25 years, Katherine Grimes, in Washington, D.C. Katherine and I have four sons, Hailu, Brandon, Berhan, and Tyler. We are both members of the English faculty at Ferrum College, where I also advise the campus newspaper and direct the Boone Honors Program. I am the editor of the first published collection of critical essays on the Harry Potter series, The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter (Missouri 2002)." (2010)

Tracy (Edler) Leduc '86 - writes: "For about the past ten years or so, I have worked for Florida's Second District Court of Appeal as a staff attorney. In doing so, I spend a huge portion of my time drafting legal opinions. Clearly this is not particularly "creative" writing, although some might disagree. But I have to thank Professor Walt Wenska for teaching me in my Advanced Writing seminar how to analyze style and use style to complement the substance of the writing. On a much more creative note, I have been the commissioned author of numerous trial problems, which are fictitious case files prepared for law students to use during their trial advocacy classes and during national trial competitions between law schools. This lets me slip in and out of different characters while creating interesting facts for the students to use in learning to try cases.  I haven't been back to the 'burg in a while and won't make it for Homecoming this year either. But I wear my Tribe colors with pride here in sunny Florida. (2010)

Deidre Mullane '80 is now a literary agent with the Spieler Agency. 

Mullane picHer book Crossing the Danger Water: Three Hundred Years of African-American Writing was published in 1993. (2006)

Robert J. Whitaker '83 obtained a PhD in English from Princeton University in 1991, focusing on early modern and Renaissance culture and religion. His dissertation examined faith, ministry, and art in the work of George Herbert. In 1991 he began work as an ordained minister and became the founding pastor at St. John's Church in Virginia Beach. (2007)

Keith Clark '85 is now Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at Clark picGeorge Mason University. He is author of Black Manhood in James Baldwin, Ernest J. Gaines and August Wilson (2002) and editor of Contemporary Black Men’s Fiction and Drama (2001), both published by the University of Illinois Press. He writes: "As for my experiences at W&M, my years there and specifically my instruction in English were invaluable and provided me with an excellent foundation both as a writer and as an interpreter of literature. I remember a very rigorous and demanding yet nurturing environment; the small class sizes allowed students to work closely with instructors and to get individual instruction. I especially recall several professors and their commitment to my instruction: the late Dr. Cecil McCulley, term instructors David Rosenwasser and Ross Posnock, and especially Professors Walter Wenska and Joanne Braxton; Drs. Braxton, Posnock, and Wenska played a critical role in my decision to pursue graduate study. Dr. Braxton influenced me tremendously and fervently encouraged me to study African American literature on the graduate level. As a professor at GMU, I frequently reiterate for my students the solid training I received as an undergraduate at W&M; not only did W&M hone my critical thinking and writing skills, but it shaped my intellectual development and prepared me for the professoriate." (2006)

Susan Young '88 has been working as a writer and editor at Harvard. In her spare time she takes photos. She writes, "My husband and I were in Williamsburg last December and I showed him around and we agreed that W&M must be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. I felt most nostalgic when visiting Tucker Hall." (2007)

Ann R. Meyer '89 attended graduate school at the University of Meyer picChicago and is an Associate Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College. In 2003 she published Medieval Allegory and the Building of the New Jerusalem (D. S. Brewer). (2006)

Ann Marie (Belair) Pace '87 - Ann Marie writes: "I am pleased to announce the publication of my first children'sbook, NEVER EVER TALK TO STRANGERS, which was published by Scholastic Book Clubs in August, 2010, and available through the Firefly Club. (2010)

Melody (Pitts) Scofield '88 BA; '88, MA Ed. '92 -"After enjoying many years as a stay-at-home Mom, I went back into teaching. I spent four lovely years as an adjunct English instructor at Harrisburg Area Community College, and now I'm back teaching high school English at Dallastown Area High School in Dallastown, PA. My husband (Jim - B.A. '88 and M.Ed. '91) and I return to the 'burg often, and still treasure our experience at W&M! (2010)

Katherine Ragsdale – '80 AB English and Religion The Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale was married on 1/1/11 to The Rev. Canon Margaret Ewing Lloyd at the Episcopal Cathedral in Boston, MA by the bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, The Right Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SJE (10/2011)

Lydia Dambekalns – '81  BA English and Studio Art Right after I left William and Mary, I served in the Peace Corps in Kenya, came back and taught English and Art in Arlington, VA public schools, and then studied for a Ph.D at Penn State University. I am still an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Art Education here at the University of Wyoming (where I have been since 1996). I am on my second sabbatical this coming year (the first I spent in Riga, Latvia on a Fulbright Scholar Award). This time I will be spending six months in Benin, West Africa, working at an organization that integrates all the Arts and focuses on how the Arts can positively affect populations in the developing world. I will be there from October 2011 to April 2012. If you want to check it out further, google The program is supported and partially funded by the U.S. Peace Corps. (10/2011)