Hometown: Norfolk, VA
Majors: English and Politics
Favorite Class: It's a tossup between Shakespeare and Comedy with Holly Pickett and Acting I with Rob Mish.
Favorite W&L Event: Is it too obvious if I say Mock Convention? Other than that, it would have to be Fancy Dress.
Favorite Campus Landmark: The front lawn
Why did you choose W&L? I chose W&L for its indefinable X factor. After I returned home from all of my college visits, this place--and the people here--stuck with me in a way that no other school did. So many of my friends describe it the same way: there is just something magnetic about it. Somehow, I just couldn't not come here.
How have you spent your summers? The summer after my sophomore year, I spent in Washington D.C. for internships with the House Republican Conference and the polling company/WomanTrend. The summer after my junior year, I traveled and worked on Mock Convention.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Take as much time as you need to decide your course of study. Take varied and diverse classes to be sure that your major aligns not only with your academic gifts and interests but also with what intellectually fascinates and challenges you. If you decide to double or even triple major, be sure to choose majors that adequately complement each other.
Looking back on Mock Convention is nearly the equivalent of looking back on my entire college career, which has been challenging, rewarding, unexpected and purposeful. The 2012 Convention began with three freshmen, an impressively comprehensive manual passed on by the 2008 convention and a vision. From there, with the legacy of the alumni who have come before us, we built a veritable business and crafted an event that will remain in the hearts and minds of its attendees for the rest of their lives.
It has been an honor to serve the Washington and Lee community as the head of an organization that continues over 100 years after its inception, and it continues because of the commitment of the students, the encouragement (and forgiveness) of the faculty and staff, the generous support of alumni and an enviable but well-deserved national reputation.
I truly believe, and have said before, that such event could not take place anywhere but at Washington and Lee. We may have history and tradition on our side, but it is the mobility, creativity and tenacity of Washington and Lee students that keep this organization alive. For the same reasons that we are all drawn to W&L, we are also impelled to preserve the academic and organizational integrity of the event. There is just something about this place that brings out a sense of duty and professionalism--but not without flourish and style.
Mock Convention lives on because of the people who choose to take it on, whether they are a Tri-Chair, a State Chair, or a delegate. I will, of course, remember the inspiring speeches, the impressive media coverage, and the gorgeous red, white and blue decorations, but I will mostly remember the looks of wonder, elation and pride on everyone's faces when we welcomed another renowned speaker to stage, when we cheered and danced at the announcement of our nominee and when I banged the gavel for the final time.
It is still difficult to evaluate, dissect and quantify all that we accomplished in that weekend and in the years leading up to it, but it is incredibly gratifying to revel in the success of it all. W&L is a university that values the individual, but it foremost values that individual's stake in his or her community. That principle is most evident in the incredible relationships we form here, through organizations like Mock Convention. The people, with their commitment to each other and to the prosperity of their community, really do make it the unparalleled success and experience that it is.
Mock Convention serves as a salient reminder of the ties that bind us. It is an experience that completely encompasses the W&L experience: We put it on through an almost unbelievable amount of work, commitment and seriousness, but we do it with flair, exuberance and a great deal of fun. Though the event itself lasts only a weekend, its legacy and spirit prosper long before and long after it, and hold us until the next Mock Convention, when the reminiscing and celebrating can begin again.