Alumni and Friends

We love hearing from our alumni and friends. Please send us your news and keep your contact information up to date. We'll post your news item as we receive it. You can check out departmental news on our homepage, in our news archive, or on our Facebook page.

Jeff Berkin '78: My wife, Stephanie Buchanan (Class of 1981, Double Major in Philosophy & Economics) and I are very pleased to note that our son, Andrew, matriculated at our Alma Mater with the Class of 2019. (October 2015)

Bill Harpine '73: I’d love to come this weekend, but it’s not in the cards this year. My philosophy education has served me well over the years. I am Professor of Communication at the University of South Carolina Aiken. I find many opportunities to apply my knowledge of philosophy in my teaching and research, and have been fortunate enough to publish three papers in philosophy journals. Plus, it’s always useful to know the meaning of life.....

My university web page is here:
And my personal blog:

I'll think about all of you, and hope you have a great get-together. I got a great education at William and Mary. (October 2015)

Jay Black '87 (Govenment & Philosophy): I was already interested in government, particularly local and state politics, so that concentration was a no-brainer. In fulfilling area/sequence requirements, I discovered Philosophy. Another professor would have had me triple major, adding French to my sheepskin, but that wasn't going to happen. My time in Philosophy, in Wren at the time, with people like George Harris, Alan Fuchs, Jim Harris, etc. was the most enjoyable part of my academic experience. I am forever indebted to George Harris for teaching me the importance - and the joy - of the rigors of critical thinking. It has made all the difference. Today, I am First Vice President - Investments, at Davenport & Company LLC, an employee-owned, Richmond, Virginia-based, investment management firm, established in 1863. It has been my privilege to be with this company for 23+ years, helping my clients to build and preserve wealth. (October 2015)

Greg Laux '95 (Government & Philosophy): I am a 1995 graduate of William & Mary currently living and working in Cincinnati, Ohio, with my wife and family. I am currently employed as an attorney at the law firm of Kohnen & Patton LLP and practice in the areas of civil litigation, medical malpractice defense, product liability, premises liability, landlord-tenant law, employment law, and real estate. My Philosophy major and the Philosophy classes I took at the College were a tremendous help to me on the law school admission test (LSAT) and in my law school classes, and I will always be grateful for the outstanding professors I had at William & Mary and the passion and enthusiasm they had for teaching their students.

Specifically, Professors George Harris, James Harris, and Thomas Powers in the Philosophy Department had a profound influence on me as a student, and I credit them with cultivating and developing strong writing, critical-thinking, and analytical skills, which I continue to use every day in my profession as a lawyer. I will always be grateful to the William & Mary Philosophy Department for helping shape the person I have become today. (October 2015)

Troy Albert '11: Much time has passed since I last walked the halls of Blair. In fact–and not by my choosing–I haven't yet made it back since I locked up my apartment on Cary Street and drove west for Portland, Oregon. My fiancee, Michelle Tillman, Class of 2012, cherish memories of our alma mater, and endeavor to visit in the near future.

I'm completing my final semester of law school at Lewis & Clark, where I study environmental law. Since 2013, I've been working on animal and environmental law-related issues; of which, in particular, have emphasized the regulatory and normative dimensions of the global wildlife trade. Recently, I wrote "The Elephant in the Room," an article on the rules governing the international ivory trade. That article will be published in the 34th edition of the Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation of University of Oregon School of Law. Currently, I clerk for the Center for Food Safety under the mentorship of senior-attorney, George Kimbrell,  also a W&M alum, on matters of agricultural law and sustainability.

I am very pleased to hear from you and to have been given the opportunity to expound upon the superior education I received from you and other esteemed Philosophy Department faculty members alike. Although I won't be able to physically attend the event in October, you can be sure that I will be there in spirit. (September 2015)

Laura Forester '87: I have been serving as Chief of Medical Prosecutions for the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation since February 2011. I was recently elected to serve as a commissioner (public member) for CAPTE (Commission for Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education). (Septermber 2015)

Thomas G. Snow '77: I am a graduate in Philosophy from W&M.  I am now an Immigration Judge in Arlington Virginia. (September 2015)

Judith Ellen (Robinson) Callahan '58: (From her son and the Seattle Times) Jeri Callahan, known as the "Houseboat Lady" passed away on April 10th, 2015, at age 80. She was a proud Kappa Alpha Theta; and a graduate of Oakwood HS in Dayton.She found her niche in the floating home community of Lake Union, where she resided for over 25 years. She offered tours by water of the floating homes and published the book, Staying Afloat, a collection of vignettes about past and present daily life in Settle's floating homes. (August 2015)

Jason Swartwood '06: I received my Ph.D. in philosophy in 2013 from the University of Minnesota, and I now have a tenure-track position teaching philosophy at Saint Paul College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (October 2014)

Bill Gorton '89: The news is I'm an associate professor of political science at Alma College in Michigan, where I teach political theory (aka political philosophy). Right now I'm re-reading Rawls for the millionth time in preparation for my senior seminar on justice. So that's what you can do with your philosophy degree: teach philosophy. I haven't been back to W&M in ages. I heard they kicked the philosophy department out of the Wren building. Is that true? (October 2014) (Yes - it's true: we're now in James Blair Hall)

Melanie Morgan '84: I went directly to law school after graduation, and have now been practicing 27 years. I spent many years as in-house counsel for Frito-Lay, Pizza Hut, and JCPenney. In 2009 I started my own solo family law and mediation practice. I have lived in McKinney, Texas since 1991, and I have three children who are now 16, 19, and 21. (September 2014)

Patti Faini '81: Since graduating, I have a had a number of jobs, none of which were tied to Philosophy, but which were tied to the logical thinking processes and writing skills learned as a Philosophy major. I have been a corporate trainer, a stay at home Mom, and now am a 5th grade teacher. I earned my Masters of Science in Education at Longwood University and am an endorsed reading specialist and am currently pursuing my gifted education endorsement from VCU. I will never forget the feeling, in a class on Plato, that I had, when the student next to me had retranslated the text from the ancient Greek, so that the grammar held more value. As a teacher, I remind myself that any of my students could be filled with that same dread of knowing that they don't know enough to be the A student, but that they will still have the skills to be successful in their chosen field. For the people in that class, I am still pondering the beauty of a hammer. (September 2014)

Gregory Pence '70: is Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and expert on cloning. (September 2014)

Kaley Middlebrooks Carpenter '92: relives on a daily basis her experience of delving into the big philosophical questions of life that she enjoyed while an undergraduate. As the Rocco & Gloria Barbieri Fellow in the Humanities at Villanova University, Carpenter teaches the Augustine & Culture Seminar, an interdisciplinary "Great Books" course that combines philosophy, literature, history, biblical and religious studies. (September 2014)

Barton Hellmuth '53: I'm 82 years old and I still believe that the most profound question ever asked is "Why is there something and not nothing?" And the most profound statement is "I AM" from Exodus. (September 2014)

Jennifer Lodi-Smith '01: After learning I could collect data in the psychology department on what I learned about faith development in the philosophy development, I got my M.A. in psych at W&M and my Ph.D. in personality psych at the University of Illinois. After a postdoc studying neurocognitive aging, I am now an assistant professor of psychology at a small liberal arts college in Buffalo NY. I study identity development (including faith identity) across adulthood, mentor a variety of student research, teach, run, and spend time with my two amazing kiddos. (September 2014)

Daniel Hieber '08: I just started grad school at the University of California, Santa Barbara working towards my PhD in linguistics. My work is on documenting endangered languages of East Africa, and analyzing archival manuscripts from extinct languages of the US Southeast. (February 2014)

Judy Cushing '68: I'd love talking to some current students about life after undergrad philosophy--I think computing would be a great thing.  My study of Philosophy was at least as helpful, if not more, than my study in math....

I really, really enjoyed Philosophy at W&M--after 101-2 with Frank MacDonald and Tom Hearn, I switched majors from Math to Philosophy....  I still almost completed a full math as well as the Phil major. I also took all the Computer Science W&M had then--2 courses (Machine Language, Fortran), and I think I worked on the IBM 1620.  I was awarded an NEH somewhere--maybe University of Georgia, but chose Brown instead for grad school.

After a quick Master's in Philosophy ('69 thesis on Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions), I worked in computing in many jobs--IBM, TI, Cornell, startup firms--and eventually settled into a faculty position at another liberal arts college, The Evergreen State College.  My Ph.D. is in Computer Science and Engineering from Oregon Grad Institute--scientific databases--and I have a fairly extensive research record with NSF grants on interdisciplinary and undergrad CS ed. projects.  I’m now working on a scientific visualization problem.  My philosophy background is ever and always a help! (October 2013)

Kevin Morgan '78: I was a history and philosophy major from the class of 1978 and am now a philosophy professor at St. Petersburg College for the past 15 years. My academic experiences at William and Mary represent the most formative period of my intellectual life, resulting in my life-long pursuit of knowledge. Philosophy is the mother discipline of the liberal arts and a vital part of any liberal arts institution, especially William and Mary. (September 2013)

Robert Boyles '75: Robert is retired and is now writing full time. He has an e-book on Amazon, B&N, and Apple's iBooks entitled Crashing from Coast to Coast. He is also working on a memoir, a novel, and a work of non-fiction as well as short stories. (September 2013)

Mike D'Orso '75: Mike is currently at work on his seventeenth book, a memoir of his career as a journalist. That career includes thirteen years writing for magazines and newspapers and nearly thirty years writing books of narrative nonfiction. Honors for his books include the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the New York Times Notable Book of the Year list, Newsweek Magazine's 2009 list of "50 Books For Our Times," the American Library Association's Nonfiction Book of the Year, the Lillian Smith Book Award for writing on social justice, the Christopher Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the American Library Association's Alex Award, selection among the New York Public Library's "25 Best Books of the Year", and inclusion three times in The Sporting News' annual Best Sports Stories anthology.

Eight of Mike's books have been national bestsellers. Three have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His newspaper work as a feature writer at the Virginian-Pilot was also nominated three times for a Pulitzer. He has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," C-Span's "Book TV," MSNBC and numerous National Public Radio programs, including Michael Feldman's "Whad'Ya Know?" Besides his books, Mike's writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Fortune, The Oxford American, Reader's Digest, People magazine, and The Washington Post. A chapter Mike wrote on journalistic research methods was included in The Complete Book of Feature Writing (Writer's Digest Books, 1991), and his writing on Jack Kerouac has been included in Studies in American Fiction and the QPB Literary Review. 

Mike is on the Editorial Advisory Board of DoubleTake magazine, and he has taught narrative nonfiction writing at the College of William and Mary and at Old Dominion University, where he delivered the Commencement Address to ODU's Class of 2006. (September 2013)

Peter King '82: I am a full-time Assistant Professor at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ in the Justice Studies program teaching Jurisprudence (among other topics) to undergrads - and loving it! (September 2013)

David Rutledge '68 I am concluding a career in college teaching as Pitts Professor of Religion at Furman University in Greenville, SC. I received my M.Div. at Duke, and my Ph.D. from Rice University. My primary focus has been on issues in religion and science, religion and the environment, and the thought of scientist-philosopher Michael Polanyi. I published Humans and the Earth: Toward a Personal Ecology (Peter Lang, 1993), developed from the Rockwell Lectures delivered at Rice in 1988. (September 2013)

Gregory Pence '70 I am the new Chair of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a department started by my former W&M philosophy professor, Thomas K. Hearn. I just published How to Build a Better Human: An Ethical Blueprint with Rowman & Littlefield. This is my 37th year teaching Philosophy at my university. September 2012

Andrew Kukla '98 I had three major changes this year. I earned my Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary (where I previously also earned my Masters of Divinity in 2003), took a new position as the Pastor/Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho, and will welcome my fourth child in November (with fellow William and Mary alumnus Caroline Kukla, also '98 with a B.S. in Accounting). September 2012 

Stephen Chanderbhan '07 I received my doctorate in Philosophy from Saint Louis University in Spring 2012. My dissertation was a study of emotions in the thought of Thomas Aquinas - what they are and the roles they may have in moral reasoning and knowledge. As of Fall 2011, I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Canisius College, in Buffalo, N.Y. September 2012

Laura Stevenson Canfield '97 I've been at IBM for nearly 10 years and was just promoted for the 4th time. I am now the Global Compensation Program Manager for IBM's consulting division. I am also married with two children, aged 4 months and 3 years. I live with my family in Westchester County, New York.  September 2012

Laurens Sartoris '67 Certainly I rank among the least of those who majored in philosophy...but there is a value to this major along life's path...critical thinking and a skill for discovering the nut of any issue or problem. Philosophy majors are the enemies of muddle-headed thinking or should be. September 2012 

Scott Gauthier '82 (Philosophy and Kinesiology) I have found a career that merges the information in the two majors that I gained at William and Mary. I am a practitioner of Structural Integration. It is a form of working with the human body to create a more harmonious interaction with the field of gravity. It is a phenomenological study of what it means to have a human body. September 2012

Alan Clarke '72 My second book is now out: Rendition to Torture, published this year by Rutgers. September 2012

Mark Smith '91 (Philosophy and History) I'm putting my philosophy degree to work by team-teaching a BioEthics at the high school where I also teach history. September 2012

Jeff Berkin '78 Currently a Senior Vice President and the Chief Security Officer for CACI International Inc, a $4B professional services company focused on the defense and intelligence sectors. Retired from the Federal Senior Executive Service as Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI. Received a J.D. from The American University. September 2012 

C. Michael Stinson '86 I'm a professor of biology at Southside Virginia Community College, where I also occasionally teach philosophy and religion classes. My main research interests are birds and the interaction between biology and the humanities. February 2012

Geoffery Gunter '93  (Philosophy and Computer Science) I am indebted to the philosophical education I received from the great professors at William and Mary. It's because of J. Harris, G. Harris, E. McLean and L. Becker that Tarski, Descartes, Heidegger, Gadamer, Whitehead and Russell continue to influence my thinking. These thinkers prepared me to navigate the constant change/challenge in my 20 year IT career with openness and courage. I am now a Sr. Vice President for a Regional Bank in New England. I am certain that I have achieved this level based in part on the discipline of thinking that the W&M philosophy eduction gave me. Even today I am still reading in the subject: Speculative Realism (Graham Harman), Truth (Burgess and Burgess) and Meta-Philosophy (Williamson). November 2011

Devin DeBacker '08 I am graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in May 2011, where I served as Articles Development Editor of the Virginia Law Review and had the privilege to work on the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. After taking the bar exam this summer, I will serve as a law clerk for one year to Judge Thapar on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and then as a law clerk for one year to Judge Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. After my clerkships, I am joining the D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis as a trial and appellate litigation associate. Of the more philosophical moments I've enjoyed during law school, one of the most memorable has been the privilege of taking Jurisprudence with Professor Fred Schauer, which served as a nostalgic reminder for my days in the W&M Philosophy Department. (In more personal news, I have been married to a (soon-to-be former) third-grade teacher for three years and am expecting my first child - a daughter! - 12 days before the bar exam!). April 2011

Rubén Rosario Rodríguez ('91): My first book, Racism & God-Talk: A Latino/a Perspective (NYU Press, 2008) just won the 2011 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award in Theology. (2011)

Christian Colton ('84): I am currently living in Wilmington, Del., with my wife, Donna, and our two sons, CJ and Alex. My business partner and I run a power trading company that executes risk positions in four North American power markets. (2010)

William Harpine ('73): I'm a Professor and Chair of the Department of Communications at the University of South Carolina, Aiken. My philosophy education has been endlessly useful. I often cite philosophical literature in my research, sometimes even my former professors! (2010)

Arthur Traldi ('03): I'm working in the Hague right now. Am glad to hear that the department has been so well and active. (2010)

Thomas Reiser ('73): About 27 years ago the department asked for an update on careers, etc., and that was the last time I provided one. Since then I have formed several insurance brokerages, sold several, and currently run a boutique insurance brokerage trading with independent oil and gas producers. I suppose my philosophy background helped me deal with the logic, etc., that insurance underwriters employ in writing covers. Three years ago I formed/founded a bank, here in Houston with several friends: Allegiance Bank Texas. It has about $400MM in assets and is doing well, in spite of the current business atmosphere. I serve the Reves Center as an advisor. (2010)

Gregory Pence ('70): I led a team of undergraduates last year to the national championship of the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl and hope to meet soon a team from William & Mary. I have taught Philosophy at UAB [University of Alabama at Birmingham] for 35 years. A former W&M professor, Tom Hearn, started the UAB department and hired me for my first job. (2010)

Laura Stevenson Canfield ('97): Married with a 12 month old daughter. Working at IBM since 2003 in Human Resources. Now responsible for all senior executive mobility. (2010)

Andrew Coombs ('03): After completing my Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008, I was awarded a two-year position as Artist in Residence at the Clay Art Center, a nonprofit ceramic studio and school in Port Chester, N.Y. I have just finished my residency and am continuing to work as an artist, teacher, and Programming Associate at the Clay Art Center. In addition I teach at several other art centers in the area. (2010)

Daniel Hieber ('08): I just had an article published on, an institution dedicated to advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School of economics. The article looks at the issue of language endangerment and how it relates to governments from a praxeological perspective, in the tradition of libertarian thinkers like Ludwig von Mises. (2010)

Robert Fanuzzi ('83): Just a long overdue thank you to the department. As a professor of English at St. John's University in New York, I am always reminded of the great training I received as an undergraduate and make use of it every day. (2010)

Jason Swartwood ('06): I am currently a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Minnesota. I am beginning work on my dissertation, which will give an account of the intellectual virtues involved in successful moral inquiry. (2010)

David Kirk ('79): I am a partner in Oklahoma City's oldest law firm, practicing civil litigation in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights, employment, aircraft and insurance matters for more than twenty-five years. My wife, Nancy, and I have five children between us with the oldest two years out of college and the youngest a senior in high school. My background in philosophy--and history--at W&M has been invaluable in the critical analysis of facts, theories, and arguments in my AV rated practice. Both disciplines have also proven to be irreplaceable resources in dealing with business and personal growth issues over time, helping with the stresses of life, the need for continual inquiry and a necessary perspective for peace of mind. (2010)

Jeff Berkin ('78): After 25 years as a Special Agent, I retired in 2008 as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In my second career, I am a Senior Vice President and the Chief Security Officer of CACI International, a Fortune 1000 defense contractor with employees and facilities around the world. (2010)