Audra Mallow, W&M Class of 1990

Audra Mallow arrived at William & Mary in 1986. During her time at William & Mary, she participated in Chi Omega, the Ski Club, Student Alumni Council, Intramurals, the Swimming Club, and Study Abroad. She was also a member of the Women’s Swimming and Diving team her freshman year.

After earning her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance in 1990, Mallow worked for the consulting company, Peat Marwick, and General Electric, before applying to MBA programs. She earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago in 1998, and ultimately ended up on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. After 17-plus years working for the business industry, Mallow started her own company, Long Course Capital, LLC., for which she still works as Principal. She remains connected to William & Mary through her service on the William & Mary Foundation Board.

In her interview, Mallow remembers thinking that William & Mary was the “encyclopedia definition of college” when she first stepped on campus. She recalls fondly the time spent as a member of her sorority, reflects on her time on the swim team, and provides story after story of her time in Cambridge for a summer program. Mallow has remained involved with William & Mary in a number of ways, stating: “[…] it’s so much fun, just not only seeing the inner workings of the university and the growth that’s going on here, and the energy and the enthusiasm that is pervasive across disciplines… the people that you get to know on campus, the other alums… and just the warmth that is William & Mary, the things that we share, the collective memories are so strong, and so deep and so positive.”


William & Mary

Interviewee: Audra Mallow

Interviewer: Carmen Bolt

Date: October 19, 2017                                 Duration: 01:06:04


Carmen:           My name is Carmen Bolt. I’m the oral historian at William & Mary. It’s currently around 2:00 p.m. on October 19, 2017. I’m sitting in Swem Library with Audra Mallow. Will you tell me the date and place of your birth?

Audra:             November 12, 1967 in Newton, New Jersey.

Carmen:           Great. And what years did you go to William & Mary?

Audra:             1986 to 1990.

Carmen:           Excellent. So can you tell me a little bit about where and how you were raised, and a little bit about your family?

Audra:             Sure. I was brought up in rural New Jersey. There are a lot of kids from New Jersey who come to William & Mary, and the reputation of the state is quite bad, but it’s not a bad state. And it was a very nice kind of middle class upbringing. My parents were both teachers. I had a younger sister. And it was a bit of suburbia and a lot of just regularity.

00:01:00          My mother, unfortunately, passed away when I was 13, and we moved to Massachusetts for a few years just kind of for a change for my dad and for us. And that was interesting for me. It was meeting new people. I had grown up with the same people, gone to school with the same people from zero to 14 years old, and so I was thrown into a new situation.

And I really liked it, because I had always wanted to sort of experience something outside of New Jersey. My parents were both from there, went to rival high schools, their parents were both from there. Every Sunday we had family dinners with all of the grandparents, and we all went to church together first, and so it was very sweet in that way, but I sort of wanted something different.

So Massachusetts was the first chance I had to experience something pretty different. And I also went to a private high school there. The public high schools were just very, very big and it was easy to kind of get lost. And interestingly, that was kind of against the philosophy of my parents because they had been teachers in public schools.

00:01:59          But again, I wanted something different, so I thought that was cool, too. And it was there that I started to look at colleges, of course, and so then I wanted to reach further. But my upbringing was sort of very, very normal for about 13 years and then got kind of turned upside down. But I had some really good experiences through the rest of my high school experience.

Carmen:           Great. That’s good to hear, especially after such a big move like that. And having had your entire life up to that point surrounded by family in the same area to move somewhere, it could really go one way or the other, so it’s good to hear that you had some great experiences. You mentioned you started to think about college while you were at this private high school in Massachusetts. Can you talk a little about how William & Mary got on your radar?

Audra:             Yeah. So my dad was a high school counselor for 37 years, and he had a philosophy that kids should go away to school, not necessarily terribly far, but far enough that they couldn’t just pop home to do their laundry or something, and that that would help them grow as people.

00:03:00          And so he opened up for me a lot of opportunity. I was living in Massachusetts at the time, and so I was allowed to look at colleges from Maine, north-south from Maine to North Carolina, and east-west from the East Coast to the western border of Pennsylvania. So I looked at a lot of different places and actually got athletic scholarships at a couple of different places, and was very excited about that.

But when we came to William & Mary, I walked on campus and I said oh, this is where I’m going. To me it was the encyclopedia definition of college. If you open it up the picture was William & Mary, in my mind. And so my dad said well, that’s great, but you should really apply some other places, too. So I did. I applied to five schools, and applied early decision to William & Mary, and was wait listed, actually, from the early decision, and I was put into the regular application pool.

00:03:56          And I got into all five schools that I applied to. And it was my high school English teacher who said you have to go to William & Mary, you can’t go someplace for a sport. Because I really was kind of torn, because I was going to get some money. And fortunately, my parents had set money aside, so that wasn’t so much an issue, but it just sounded kind of like an achievement before I even got started, and to be able to play soccer or basketball for college, that sounded really interesting to me.

But he said you have to go to William & Mary. You can’t choose because of athletics. And I thought what am I thinking? I loved William & Mary so much and so it really was an easy decision.

Carmen:           Great. Can you expand a little on that first experience stepping on William & Mary’s campus? Like yes, I can totally get what you’re saying with that textbook just definition of college, but what did you see? What did it feel like? What did it smell like?

Audra:             I remember wearing a very brightly colored sun dress. It was kind of color blocks with bright pinks, and bright yellows, bright blues, bright greens. The back had an X across. It had straps that were an X.

00:05:02          And I was wearing a white sweater over top of it. I remember it so much. And I remember sitting on some of the brick steps that lead into the Sunken Gardens, and just sitting there reading, I think it was probably a brochure about William & Mary, and just being so excited, like I can actually live here, I can be here. This is the place that I get to call home.

And since my upbringing had been kind of turned over a little bit with the loss of my mom, I was excited to start a new chapter that was sort of clean and uninterrupted, and unblemished, and so I was really, really excited to be able to do that in a place that just felt so much like home to me already. And it really did. It just felt comfortable—the bricks, the grass, the trees. It seemed quintessential college. And everything about it spoke to me.

00:05:56          And I think it was in the spring. It was quite warm but kind of breezy. And you asked what it smelled like. I don’t remember what it smelled like, but it just smelled nice. For sure it smelled nice. [Laughs.]

Carmen:           That’s great. And what about coming here to start school, so that first getting dropped off or showing up by yourself? I don’t know if your family came with you, but what was that like?

Audra:             Yeah. My dad, my sister and I drove down. We had moved back to New Jersey right after I graduated from high school, and we had a big car rooftop carrier on. And I remember going across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I was sure that thing was going to blow off into the Chesapeake Bay. And it had all of my stuff in it. And when I say all my stuff, all my stuff. I mean, the car—my sister had a little tiny seat to sit in in the back because the rest was piled with more of my stuff.

And I just was so excited to come. And it was hot as anything, of course. It was August. And I was moving into Yates on the third floor, third floor center. And now I see they have air conditioners in all the windows. And we make fun of them. We say, oh, that’s so soft, they’re such soft kids now.

00:07:01          You know, we were tough. We had hundred degrees in our rooms. [Laughs.] It was awful. But it was great. And I had talked with my freshman roommate—Kirsten Moller was her name—and we had coordinated which bedspreads we were going to get, and the bedspreads were white with colored lines on them. And she was going to get certain color towels from what were some of the colors, and I got other color towels. So I met her, and that was great, and we were just so excited it was ridiculous. I’m sure we were just ridiculous teenagers. [Laughs.]

Carmen:           That’s fantastic. So when you came here, did you know what you wanted to study?

Audra:             I thought I wanted to study economics. And I didn’t know fully what that meant. My mother and my grandmother had been home economics teachers, and so everybody said oh, that’s great, just like your mother and your grandmother. And I was like, no, not cooking and sewing, supply and demand. And so I signed up for a lot of classes that I had to, and then economics as well. And it was incredibly hard. [Laughs.]

00:08:03          And I pretty quickly realized this is not going to lead to a job right out college. So as much as I loved being here, as much as I had wanted to come, I already was kind of looking to be fully independent, and was really excited to have a great experience, but then to get out on my own. And I thought I don’t necessarily want to get a Ph.D. straight out of the gate eight years hence or something. So I started taking other classes. And of course we didn’t declare our major until after our sophomore year.

And I think I first declared accounting, and then going through accounting classes realized, well, this is a very specific job I would have, and this is not exactly what I had in mind, either, and so I switched to finance. And finance was much more to my liking. It fit kind of the ideas of the things that I wanted to do. I loved studying the stock markets. I love studying—there was an options class I took in my senior year that was phenomenal.

00:08:59          Herrington Bryce was the teacher, and he was awesome. And so yeah, finance, I found my way to finance relatively quickly, and I knew from the get-go that it was something in that realm that I wanted to do.

Carmen:           Great. And you said Professor Bryce was impactful. Were there other professors or mentors you had here that stand out to you?

Audra:             Yeah. I don’t remember the name of my freshman writing seminar teacher, but that was an incredible experience to be able to come to a place like this that I held in such—and still do hold in such high esteem, and be in, you know, I think it was in the Wren Building or Tucker, one of the old campus academic buildings.

And I loved that just as a concept, and I loved that there were about 15 students and one teacher, and there was so much interaction in the classes. And then after we would write papers, going over them with the teachers. And I was astonished that they didn’t think I was brilliant or something because, you know, I think a lot of kids come in here thinking they’re something special.

00:09:59          And then you realize pretty quickly everybody here is pretty special, so you get humbled, and then you get taught. [Laughs.] And that was great. And then I was a linguistics minor, and there was a woman who was a teacher. All of her classes were in Tucker. And she was fabulous. And unfortunately, I don’t remember her name, either.

But I did take a summer program in Cambridge which was life changing, really. It was the first time I’d gone overseas other than Canada, I think to Niagara Falls, when I was a kid. And it was Professor Fehrenbach teaching Shakespeare, which I absolutely loved. And European Political Systems was the name of the…Clay Clemmons was the teacher, and that was our class, and so that was great.

So Clay Clemmons, who was about our age at the time, maybe just a few years older, and then Professor Fehrenbach, both of whom I’ve seen within the last couple of years when I’ve been back at William & Mary. And Herrington Bryce, he was absolutely fabulous.


Carmen:           Great. Were there any other mentors or advisors you had outside of professors?

Audra:             I was on the swim team my freshman year, and that was a great experience, a really great experience. Very difficult. And of all the sports that I played as a kid, swimming was not among the top, and so I struggled there. And I wouldn’t say the coach was a mentor so much. It was kind of a rough go. But it was eye-opening, so it definitely taught me a lot. It wasn’t a mentorship experience, but it was someplace that I learned something outside the classroom.

Carmen:           Sure. Impactful nonetheless.

Audra:             Mm-hmm.

Carmen:           So how did you choose swimming, then, of all of the sports you had played?

Audra:             Someone on my freshman hall, who quickly became a very close friend, said hey, I’m going to try out for the swim team. I used to swim in high school. Do you want to come? And I said yeah.

Carmen:           And that was that.

Audra:             That was that. [Laughs.]


Carmen:           Great. But you decided not to continue after that first year?

Audra:             Right.

Carmen:           Great. I wanted to talk about other maybe notable figures who were on campus during the time you were here. Especially nowadays—and I think this might be true for William & Mary’s entire history—the president seems to be very impactful on a student’s experience here. And I believe Paul Verkuil was president when you were here.

Audra:             Yes.

Carmen:           Do you have any memories of his presidency or what it was like being a student on campus while he was president?

Audra:             I loved being a student here. I don’t remember any situations of conflict or anything like that. It was really, I think, a pretty quiet time. I can’t say that. The Berlin Wall came down when we were here. But we weren’t really too much aware of that, sadly, at the time, or I wasn’t, and shame on me. But I didn’t have much interaction with President Verkuil. His name’s on my diploma, and I’m very appreciative of that. But I knew who he was, and it was nice to see him around, and we did see him around quite a bit.


Carmen:           Great. So I want to ask a really broad question, and you can answer this as long or short as you want. But I would love to hear about some of your favorite memories and experiences from your time at William & Mary.

Audra:             There are so many. I remember writing a paper. I have no idea what class it was for. I don’t know what the topic was. And I was just thinking about this today. I had learned, I think it was in high school, I don’t think it was at William & Mary, but to use index cards to organize your thoughts, because we weren’t using computers then. There were no computers on campus. We had some my senior year. But I was on the third floor of Tucker because I just loved those old buildings. I just thought it was the neatest thing to be able to study in rooms that so many had studied before me.

00:13:56          And I would be up there, and it was kind of dark, and it was always late by the time I would leave, and I’m pushing index cards all over the table. I just remember that so clearly.

I was a philosophy…I did a philosophy sequence, which, the curriculum now doesn’t have a sequence requirement, but they have something that’s similar, requiring you to take classes in different areas of study. And I think that’s fantastic for liberal arts. And I love that in general, that I had to take a sociology class, I had to take classes in sciences. I wanted to do that anyway. But to have it just be part of the norm, and everybody was experiencing things across disciplines, I thought that was really great.

But I chose philosophy as my sequence because once you chose one particular area outside the area of your major, you had to take a certain number of classes there. And I chose philosophy distinctly and solely because all of the philosophy department was in the Wren Building and I wanted to stay in the Wren Building.

Carmen:           Perfect.


Audra:             One other memory stands out. I mean, I have a lot of memories, but I’ll give you two. My freshman year my friend Chrissy, who was the one who got me to go on the swim team, we were walking across from Yates to William & Mary Hall for a basketball game, and it was raining, and we were kind of lamenting the fact that it was raining. And we were walking with some guys who were friends of ours, and our group kept getting bigger and bigger as we sort of gathered friends.

And someone jumped in a puddle at one point, and then it was just on. We were just jumping like we were four years old. It was ridiculous. We were soaking wet. We were laughing. It was so much fun. I guess that was on the way back from the basketball game. But it was hilarious. I’m like this is how we get to live right now? This is amazing, and silly, and just a great thing to make friends and make memories and stuff.

And then the other one was on the swim team. I had swum as a kid, so I knew a little bit what I was doing and wanted to do some sport at William & Mary, but hadn’t been recruited, and they didn’t have some of the sports that I was strongest in, and then some that I played, they were very, very strong and I wasn’t good enough. So anyway, I ended up with swimming.

00:16:07          And they needed someone to swim backstroke because they had a senior who was very good and they needed someone else, so they tagged me because probably they thought everybody else could do something else better.

And so we went to UNC Chapel Hill for a relay meet, and I was swimming the backstroke in several different relays. And I said, Coach, I don’t know how to do a flip turn in backstroke, and she’s like oh, Lynn—the senior who swam backstroke—get in the pool and show Audra how to do a flip turn. And I swam backstroke in a few races and I was like oh my god, that was horrible. [Laughs.]

Carmen:           So you remember this as a good memory or just an impactful memory?

Audra:             Yeah, no, it was good because, I mean, I guess I was being pushed. Here we were always pushed academically. I was very much pushed in athletics. And I really wanted to continue in athletics, but swimming just was not my thing. I refused to leave the team while I was still the worst person on the team, because I was for a while.

00:16:58          And I got to the point where I was better than a couple people, and I thought okay, now I can leave, I’ll finish out the season and I am done. And unfortunately there wasn’t any other team that really fit, so I was active after that, but not on a…what do you call it? Not a senior sport, but a…

Carmen:           Right, one of the intercollegiate sports.

Audra:             Yeah, I guess.

Carmen:           Because I noted that you participated in intramurals while you were here.

Audra:             Mm-hmm.

Carmen:           So maybe that’s how you stayed involved after.

Audra:             Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Carmen:           Were there any teams in particular you played on?

Audra:             No. I just sort of did things here and there. And that was fun, and it was fine. The rec center was completed, I think, in my senior year, and so that was really, really great. And I was living in my sorority house at that time, and so it was pretty close, and we spent a lot of time at the rec center.

Carmen:           Great. What other sort of things did you do for fun at William & Mary during your college years?


Audra:             Well, everything was fun. I did not spend a lot of time at the library. Did not. So it’s sort of a funny coincidence that I was on the library board as my first board experience. But a lot of people on the library board have continued to say that through the years, like hey, I never spent that much time here. But it didn’t look like it does now back then, either. So the library was not among the things I did.

But I was on a Student Alumni Liaison Council, which was really cool, so I did get to interact with some senior administrators in that role, and that was really great. And it was the first time I got to see kind of, you know, a little bit of how the school is run. And having been a student at that time for four years—I think I was on that as a senior—that was just a nice addition to my college experience. I was in Chi-O and did a lot with that, and that was a lot of fun. And then I worked. My swim coach was the first one to get me a job, and I was a lifeguard out at Kingsmill.

00:18:56          And I then took that to add on being a…what was I first? A hostess, and then I was a waitress, and then an aerobics instructor. And the summer before I left to go study at Cambridge I was all of those things. I’d just go successively from one job, to the next, to the next, making as much money as I could before I traveled.

Carmen:           Wow. And what was that like juggling working part-time and all the things you were involved with on campus and the academics? What was that experience like?

Audra:             It was really fun. I always wanted to be busy, and I was always busy, and I still am always busy. And it was just always finding a new challenge. And like I said, when I came to school I was already focused on getting out, and getting a job, and getting on with things, wanting to enjoy college before doing that. So earning money was a really nice thing for me. I enjoyed doing that. And I got to meet people outside of campus, which was also nice.

00:19:58          And the people loved to hear that I was a student. I think everybody, when I was waitressing, especially, you know, do you go to the college? And it was fun to talk about that.

Carmen:           Definitely. And you said you were saving up some money before you went to Cambridge. Would you like to talk a bit about your time in Cambridge?

Audra:             Sure, yeah. It was, I think, a five week program. But as I think back, it seems like it was five months long. You just, all the experience that I had was really great. And I think seven of my sorority sisters were there with me, so we had a nice little group. And the group in total was, I forget, maybe 20 or 30 people, and so we all got pretty close.

And it was just amazing to go around the different colleges of Cambridge University and see, you know, I think it’s Kings College where “Chariots of Fire” was filmed, and we saw, oh, this is where they ran. And then to see this old Norman church that was built in 1066, we’re like William & Mary is old, but this is much older.

00:20:54          And punting is something that they do, punting on the Cam. There was a Cam River running through Cambridge, and punting is kind of like a skinny canoe, and there’s a big, long pole, and it’s like an oar, kind of, but you would stick it down to the bottom of the river and use that. So we went punting on the Cam. I learned to play squash there because people said oh, you know, this is a very English thing, we can play squash. So a few of us learned to play squash. That was fun.

And then studying Shakespeare we saw live plays of every play that we studied. So we saw a hippie cast perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in an outdoor amphitheater. That was unbelievable. We saw…I don’t remember which play. It might have been “Macbeth,” but in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is where Shakespeare was born.

And we traveled each weekend to different universities. So we’d go to University of Bath, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, and we got to stay in their dorms, so it was all part of the program. And that was really interesting to travel around the country.

00:21:53          And when we went up to Hadrian’s Wall, the border with Scotland, it was very interesting to realize that we could hardly understand what the people were saying at all. [Laughs.]

Carmen:           Right.

Audra:             And that was a lot of fun. And the last weekend we had free. I think it was the only weekend that was ours to decide what to do with. And the seven of us Chi-O’s decided to go to Paris. So we took a little ferry boat. And one of our friends, Traci Coughlan, got into this big political discussion with some European traveling students. We stood out very easily as traveling students ourselves.

And we’re like Traci, you’re a government major, come and talk to them, because everybody wanted to know what was going on. So we put Traci forth to speak on our behalf and it was fun. We went up in the Eiffel Tower, we ate crepes, we went to some of the museums. It was really fun.

Carmen:           It sounds like the perfect French day.

Audra:             It was terrific.

Carmen:           And a wonderful experience studying abroad. That just sounds incredible.

Audra:             Mm-hmm.

Carmen:           Oh, wonderful. Well, there were a lot of different sociopolitical things going on in the U.S. and in the world during that period of time you were here, the Berlin Wall’s coming down and just all these different things. Did you see those play out in any way on campus? Do you remember anything happening in the broader world being particularly impactful on campus?


Audra:             Sadly, no. I think I was very sheltered. I don’t want to speak for anyone else. I hope they knew more about what was going on in the world than I did. But I think perhaps they didn’t, and we were pretty sheltered here, and happily so.

And that’s not necessarily a good thing, but it was also sort of a nice thing, looking back, to realize that, I mean, the Berlin Wall coming down, that’s amazing. But we just weren’t very impacted by anything other than what party was going on or were we going to go to the cafeteria or to the other, the commons or whatever it was called to get dinner. So no, we didn’t—I didn’t know very much about what was going on in the world at that time.


Carmen:           Sure. What about anything more internal to William & Mary? Were there any controversies that you recall occurring on campus?

Audra:             I think I said earlier I don’t think there were any. There probably were, and maybe I’m just sort of skimming over them in my memory because it was such an idyllic place to be. But I don’t really remember anything. And if I went back and looked I might remember some. But no, not really. Nothing…in my lovely memory of 28 years ago—that was when I graduated—32 years ago when I was a freshman, everything’s perfect.

Carmen:           Well, that’s, I think, the way memory works sometimes, right? We keep certain things, and maybe the really positive memories rise to the top anyway. But if there are any I wanted to ask if you recall personally having any difficult experiences, whether with athletics, or academic, or something broader while you were here.


Audra:             I didn’t have a great academic start here. I came in thinking this was no big deal. School had always been easy. And so didn’t really pay attention very much to my first semester classes, and it showed in my grades, and I thought wait a second, this is not what I came here for, you know, I’m here to learn. And it took me a while to kind of catch on and catch up, and by the time I declared my major I was on track and everything was good from that point on.

But it was shocking to realize, you know, gosh, this is something I’m going to have to work for. And I know that I really learned how to study here because I hadn’t had to do that up until that point. And very much to my detriment, I didn’t know how to study, really. And it wasn’t enough to just listen in class and read the text and things like that. You had to really work. And once I learned how to do that, it was also really fun.


Carmen:           Yeah, definitely. So because we are about to kick off the celebration for 100 years of coeducation at William & Mary, I have a couple questions pertaining to that. The first is just from your perspective, what was it like to be a woman on William & Mary’s campus during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s? What did that look like? I know in the broader United States it was kind of the end of second wave feminism and the beginning of third wave, but I don’t know if that manifested on campus or not, but just from your perspective.

Audra:             You know, I thought about that a little bit before coming here, and again, that selective memory, I suppose, I just remember it being a great place to be. And it felt to me very open as far as men and women in the classrooms were able to participate equally, and did, and I didn’t feel any particular disadvantage or advantage or anything about being a women. I was just another person on campus.


Carmen:           And then one last thing…well, more so just about the climate on campus when you were here. But we like to do some background research just into the “Flat Hats” to see what was going on at the time, and during this period of time I think there was kind of a rise, at least in discussion, about sexual harassment, and in some ways it had to do with things that occurred off campus, and in some ways it had to do with things that occurred through Greek life. And I’m just wondering if you had any sense of sexual harassment or abuse going on at the time, or if you were aware of the escort services and things they provided for students to get home safely, if this was something that was discussed or everyone was aware of.

Audra:             Well, I’m glad you did some research because that does make me remember some things that were going on. I think the escort program was instituted—I don’t know if it was here my freshman year, but I think it was here pretty quickly thereafter. And I remember a woman was attacked on the Colonial Parkway when she was running late at night or something.

00:27:59          And so we all thought, well, we just won’t go running on the Parkway late at night, you know, that’ll cure the problem. We were kind of naïve in all of that, I think. And there was a lot of hazing going on with fraternities and sororities, and there were some things that happened that were very unfortunate. A couple of students lost their lives because of that through the course of my four years. And again, I think a lot of us had the idea like that’s not going to happen to me, I won’t get in a situation like that, and I’ll be just fine.

And a lot has happened from then until now as far as what is sexual harassment, what is hazing, what is okay, what’s not okay. And neither hazing nor sexual harassment are okay. And so it’s great that they started the escort program back then. I don’t know that we used it a lot because we felt pretty safe in our little bubble.

Carmen:           Sure. But yeah, nice to have that established, though, just in case anyone—

Audra:             Absolutely.


Carmen:           Yeah, felt the need to use it. So we’re also celebrating currently 50 years of African Americans in residence, and it’s hard to believe, I think, in ways that you came to William & Mary really barely two decades after African Americans started living in residence at William & Mary. And I’m wondering if race relations were discussed, or if that was something you recall being problematic or discussed widespread across the college during your time here.

Audra:             I remember it being a relatively homogenous campus. It was mostly white. And I knew some black students. I knew Asian students. One of my best friends is Asian. And we just really didn’t talk about it that much. There were black fraternities, black sororities. I don’t remember there being any racial difficulties, but there wasn’t a lot of interaction, at least from groups that I was part of.

00:29:57          In sports it was different. I was on the swim team. There weren’t…I don’t think we had any people of color or different ethnicities on the swim team. But yeah, it wasn’t that much of an issue. There was a lot of homogeneity. And I’m really surprised, realizing that we’re celebrating 50 years of African Americans in residence, it’s only been 50 years, and when I was here as a student it had only been about 20 years. It’s crazy.

Carmen:           It is. It’s wild to believe it’s absolutely worth celebrating, but it is, when you think this has only been 50 years.

Audra:             Yeah.

Carmen:           So it is wonderful that we are celebrating that this year. So I’m thinking we can transition now to your trajectory after William & Mary.

Audra:             Sure.

Carmen:           So after you left William & Mary you went and worked for titans such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, General Electric, and then you went on to found your own financial consulting business, Long Course Capital. And I’m wondering how your time at William & Mary prepared you or shaped you in a way that led to that trajectory.


Audra:             Well, I think, back to being a woman at William & Mary, it was sort of inconsequential. I was a person at William & Mary. I was learning like everybody else. And there was really a drive that was instilled in me, being here, that I could do anything.

And so from William & Mary I moved to the D.C. area, like just about everybody else did, and I started working for a consulting company, Peat Marwick, and loved it, just absolutely loved it. Got to travel a lot for business.

And actually, my very first business trip was with an Asian guy, a Japanese guy and an Indian guy. [Laughs.] And we went to the deep South. And we were definitely three different minorities there—a woman doing business and then a Japanese guy and Indian guy. It was pretty funny. But they were just my colleagues, and we were doing work that was not terribly interesting at the time, but interesting in that we could always take on more projects and grow.

00:31:58          And I went from Peat Marwick to our biggest client, who was GE, who you mentioned. And I really liked working for GE. And the division I was in did great work, and I got some amazing opportunities, and traveled a lot with that as well. And then they decided to close our division, and our opportunities were becoming fewer, and so they wanted to move everybody to one of two places, and they were not places I wanted to go. I had decided that California would be really great. So I got a job in California, and they moved me out there.

And I had begun to think if I really want to advance in this company, which I did, I need to know a little bit more, because my business experience at William & Mary and the education I got was great, but it was two years of focusing on business, and even at that we were still taking other classes, not just business. So I wanted to go on and get a business degree, so I started applying to business schools and got into the University of Chicago. So enjoyed my 15 months in Newport Beach, California and then moved directly to Chicago.

00:32:59          And thought it was going to be just kind of a grueling experience, sort of a drudgery that I would get through and be better for at the end, and it was so much fun. I mean, it was really, really terrific, and I gained a lot of knowledge from a lot of really impressive people, and that includes my classmates as well as my professors.

And it was there that I kind of refined my interest to go to Wall Street. And when I had worked for GE, actually, I was doing a lot of work with people on Wall Street. And that’s when I first got to go to Salomon Brothers, so many companies that aren’t around anymore, Lehman Brothers. They were my two main partners. And then First Boston, before it was Credit Suisse, so three companies that aren’t really around anymore.

But I went up there, and just the energy. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were doing, but I wanted to do it. [Laughs.] So I went to business school and I thought, okay, let’s figure out what exactly this is, and kind of refined my interest through the two years there, and ended up with private wealth management because it allowed me to interact with people, which I like to do, and also work with all asset classes.

00:34:03          So I wasn’t focused just on equity, or fixed income, or hedge funds, or any one thing, it wasn’t domestic or international, it was everything. So I looked for the best company that I could go to, and it seemed, in my estimation, to be Goldman Sachs, and that’s where I started my Wall Street career.

Carmen:           Can you talk a little bit about that Wall Street career and what it was like working on Wall Street, for Wall Street, and how maybe your time in business school or even at William & Mary prepared you for really that kind of period of life?

Audra:             Yeah. I loved being on Wall Street. It was fantastic. I had loved being in California, but after I had decided what I wanted to do, I thought, well, I have to go to New York, that’s where it really happens. So I did. But in the course of my training year, which at Goldman at the time was about a year we had to spend in New York for training regardless of where we were going to go after, I realized gosh, I really want to be in California.

00:35:01          So I asked them after training could I go to one of the California offices instead of New York. And again it was kind of, you know, that William & Mary don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, you’re not going to get anything. Who would know that you had interest unless you let them know? So I think William & Mary making me a well rounded person and a person who is, in many ways, unafraid, that allowed me to kind of take my career where I wanted it to go.

And that progressed from Goldman in New York to Goldman on the West Coast. And my job was to go out and talk to people and get them to trust me to manage their money. And what a thing for a 30-year-old person to do, to go to a CEO of a company and say our minimum is $5 million, and, you know, so what do you say?

00:35:52          And it helped to be able to attach to different things that I would find about the people I was talking to, whether it was…I’d meet them often in their offices or their homes, and so I would look around, as I was taught to do, and I’d see a photo of their family, and maybe there’s a child playing soccer. And oh, your child plays soccer. And the conversation would evolve, and I knew some things about soccer from being at William & Mary and knowing people on the soccer team. Or I’d see a book on their book shelf and I’d say oh, I actually studied that in England at Cambridge University, I’d say.

So being well rounded from having had to study so many things that I loved studying was really helpful in doing all of the things that really were building a relationship that built trust that got people to give me their money to manage so I could do my job. [Laughs.] But it was the skills I learned as a person, you know, to be a well rounded person, a person who was, I hoped, likable, trustworthy, those things that I would think everybody wants to be that made things work on Wall Street.

00:36:58          So it wasn’t just the numbers and my ability to evaluate the possible returns of different securities or investments that got me the money, it was really the person who I was very much at William & Mary taught to be.

Carmen:           Wow. With some of those observation skills I think you might have a career in oral history as well.

Audra:             [Laughs.]

Carmen:           Just throwing that out there. So then after your time on Wall Street you eventually went and established your own business, so can you talk a little bit about that process?

Audra:             Yeah, sure. So after Goldman Sachs I went to Morgan Stanley. So Goldman changed a little bit after they went public, and it didn’t seem to suit my clients as well as it had, and so I went to see if there was another place that would fit them better, and Morgan Stanley seemed to be that place.

00:37:56          So I was there for about nine years and then decided, oh, maybe this isn’t exactly what it was. It was changing internally a little bit, the politics and whatnot. And Barclays was trying to establish a footprint in the U.S., having been—or they still are—a British company. And so I went there. And I thought, well, this isn’t exactly what it seemed to be when I was coming in.

And at this point I’d been in the business for 17 years and I thought I feel like I have a pretty good sense for who I am, for what I know, for what I’m good at and what I’m not good at, and I think I know my clients, and I think I know the types of people who could be my clients and what they need, and I’ve learned from some really good people along the way, so I guess I should just do this on my own. And that was never my goal. I liked working for a company, a big company. I liked the perks that would come along with that that I could bring to my clients. I could take them to fancy events and with an expense account to nice restaurants and things like that.

00:38:56          But that’s not really what was important about the job or important to my clients, at least not all of them. And it was them entrusting me with their fortunes that they had worked so hard to create and to grow. And so I decided to start my company.

And it’s very difficult to come up with a company name. I thought of a lot of them, and most of them were taken. So I thought gosh, you know, how do I incorporate kind of who I am. And I’ve heard you’re not supposed to name your company after yourself because it’s difficult to transition it to someone else if you get to that point.

And I said well gosh, my hobby now is triathlon, and I do long course triathlon, the iron man distance, so they call it long course. And then I swim still, again. I’ve recovered from the experience at William & Mary. And long course swimming is when you’re swimming in a 50 meter pool. So I thought well, Long Course Capital, let’s see. And that was not taken.

00:39:58          So started it and I have a handful of clients, some of whom have been with me for a very long time. And I’m pretty new in that. I’m about two years in and looking to grow.

Carmen:           Wow. That’s fantastic, though. And a nice, interesting side to your beginnings in the pool at William & Mary.

Audra:             [Laughs.]

Carmen:           I’m wondering because of your field of work what the impact of the financial crisis was, if you ever…how personally you felt that or how closely you felt that.

Audra:             Oh, yeah. My summer internship when I was in business school was at Lehman Brothers. I was on their trading desk, half the summer on the equities side, half the summer on the fixed income side. And when I was on the equity desk we would leave about every day for lunch for some IPO pitch because companies were going public like crazy. And we came back one afternoon from lunch and the desk that had housed the Latin American equity team was empty. Just gone. That was 1987.

00:41:00          So there had been a Latin American crisis, and boom. I was like, oh, that’s how it works here. And it’s exactly how it works on Wall Street. If someone needs to go, they’re gone. There is no thought, there is no counseling, there is no how are you feeling—gone. As if they’d never been there, and life moved on. So that was my first sort of shock about how this all works. ’87? ’97, 1997, excuse me.

And then when I went to Goldman I came out of business school in 1998, and so things were flying high. The tech bubble was in the midst of inflating, and it was fun. People were making so much money, and it just seemed like the sky was the limit in every possible realm. We’d have investor conferences and nothing was spared as far as the entertainment that you would have, the meals that you would have, unbelievable. And it felt like it was never going to end, the party is just getting started.

00:42:00          And some of the older people who I worked with were like, oh, this is bad. And we’d all kind of just say what’s wrong with you? You’re just old and crotchety, stop it. This is great, you have to enjoy it. And they’re like don’t enjoy it too much, it’s going to end. And we didn’t know what they were talking about.

And I’d talk to new clients or prospective clients and tell them things that I was learning, like if I give you stock in an IPO, we’ll generally sell it when it’s up 100% because we don’t want to just let it ride too much. And my manager went on one sales call with me one time and afterwards he’s like I almost died when you said that, I can’t believe you said that. You sell when it’s up 100%? I said, well, that’s what we all do. That’s kind of what, you know, that’s the benchmark. And he’s like, oh my god, this can’t last.

And it didn’t. I was at a conference. I was with Goldman and it was an investor conference on e-commerce in Las Vegas.

00:42:57          And every one of us, every new person in the business was put up in a suite in the Venetian for a week, and we were going to all of these meetings, and we were meeting executives, and we were, of course, talking to them and trying to build relationships, the idea being to get them as clients. And we started getting phone calls like you have to get back to L.A. right now, right now. Because they clients we did have needed to talk to us right now. And the tech bubble burst, and it was crazy. And for those of us who were new to the business, we’re like this isn’t going to go on forever? Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh, you were right. So all those people who were saying be careful.

And fortunately, I think most of the people who I was working with had really listened to what we were told. And this is part of what I lean on now in my own business. I was taught that diversification is paramount to your success in investment, and you can’t have—and I had clients who would say well, why don’t you just put all of my money in technology because those are the stocks that are going up so much.

00:43:54          And I said that’s not safe because if something happens to that sector, you really should have something in financials, and energy, and consumer, and healthcare. And a lot of them didn’t want to. And they told us at Goldman if a person is giving you $10 million and they want to put it all in technology stocks, you have to turn them down. You have to say no, I can’t take you as a client. And that was really hard to do.

But my clients were diversified, and their tech, you know, the tech portions of their portfolios didn’t do well, but they didn’t have a tremendous overabundance of technology, and we were covered. And the people who went through that, both clients and professionals, it sticks with you for a while. The negatives stick with you a little bit more strongly and more memorably than the good things. And the conferences weren’t as lavish, the lodgings weren’t as lavish or as long.

Carmen:           No more Venetian?

Audra:             No. No more week long ability to go and just kind of talk with people and have fun and all of that. And went on, and I moved to Morgan Stanley.

00:45:00          And things were going on in the economy, and then 2008 happened. And, you know, you’re watching the market limit down, limit down, limit down. There was one day I was sitting in this board room as chair of the board of Swem, and I had to stop the meetings for a while. I said I have to send a note out to my clients right now. Because I was watching and getting alerts and everything on what was happening.

And that was really tough because it wasn’t clear where the bottom was going to be, and it wasn’t just a tech bubble that had burst, it was kind of everything went down together. In very good and very bad times they always say correlation goes to one. So everything in the tech rise, everything was going up, at least in tech. In the 2008 crash, everything came crashing down. And it was scary for everyone because we thought… You always think whatever’s happening is not going to end, you know, the good, the bad.

00:45:56          And that ended. And I think we remember that, clients and professionals, very, very poignantly and use that to guide what we do. Again, diversification is key. Don’t be overextended. Make sure if you are going to need cash that you have that at the ready. So it’s all the experiences that you accumulate over the years that kind of shape how you work with clients and just consider investments generally going forward.

Carmen:           Wow. That’s fascinating. And it’s a little wild to believe that we’re almost a decade out from the 2008 financial crisis, just all that, the recession.

Audra:             Today is the 30th anniversary of the October 1987 crash.

Carmen:           Oh, my goodness. Wow, what a…

Audra:             Mm-hmm, 30 years ago.

Carmen:           What an anniversary to mark. We’ve come out of it. Well, thank you for recounting all of that to someone who does not work at all in finance.

Audra:             Sure.


Carmen:           So yeah, but it’s helpful to know. And just hearing how the different businesses you worked for, and actually, how you’ve taken experiences from your different work and brought those all together for your own business. I think that’s great.

So I wanted to talk a little bit—you mentioned the library board, and I wanted to talk about the ways you’ve remained involved with William & Mary, because that list is extensive. But yeah, you were on the library board, and you have worked with the foundation and so many other things. So would you like to talk about some of the ways you’ve remained involved and what has led you to remain involved the ways you have?

Audra:             Sure. It’s been a great pleasure to be involved with William & Mary in an official capacity since having graduated. And I was talking with some new foundation board trustees about that, that it’s really gratifying to be on campus with a purpose rather than just being nostalgic and looking at oh, they changed that building or look, there are new flowers over there. It’s really, really nice to see what the university is, where we are now versus where we have been, what the plans are going forward.

00:48:04          It’s nice to do, but it’s also really impressive. This place is ever more impressive. And I got involved…I always came back for the five year reunions, but when I moved to California, which was not that long after leaving here, it was more difficult to kind of justify the trip.

And so I guess maybe ten or 12 years after I graduated was when I went on the Swem board. And that was because one of my friend’s parents had been on a board and said okay, we need one of you young people to get on the board. We need more young people in the library. And I said not me, I live too far away. And a lot of other people just found reasons to walk away, or like oh gosh, look at the time. And so one of our friends stepped up and said okay, I’ll do it. And that was Sophie Lee. And Sophie leads the way for a lot of us in our alumni endeavors.

00:48:55          And so it was a couple years later that she said oh, come on, you just have to join the board. I don’t know. And so Connie McCarthy, the dean of libraries at the time, came to visit me in California. And she’s lovely, and from her talking with me and Sophie just continuing to badger me about it, just absolutely badgering me, I said okay, fine, I’ll go on the board. I said I never really went to the library very much during college, so I don’t know if I should be on the board. She said oh, that’s okay, no problem.

And came back here and it was like it is so great to be back. So from the very first interactions on the Swem board I thought okay, this is really fun. And I was on the board for five years, and in my sixth year I became chair of the board. And they asked me to stay a seventh year because they like the chairs to stay for two years, so I did.

And I was very happy because at that point I was like what do I do after this? What am I allowed to do? What can I come back and do? And so after seven years Sophie had gone on. She was on the library board for most of my time, but then had rotated off, had a little break, and then went on the foundation board.

00:49:59          And I thought, well, I don’t think they’ll ask me to be on the foundation board. I don’t think I am important enough an alum to do that. So a couple years later Sophie said you should consider joining the foundation board. I gave them your name. Like really? I don’t think they’ll ask me. And they did, and I said yes. Like I couldn’t say yes fast enough. And I think a lot of people who have been on boards are kind of like that, when their last term ends, kind of like, okay, what’s next? Can I do that?

Because it’s so much fun, just not only seeing the inner workings of the university and the growth that’s going on here, and the energy and the enthusiasm that is pervasive across disciplines, across the geography of campus that is always extending also, but the people, you know, the people that you get to know on campus, the other alums, people whose names are on all kinds of buildings and people whose names are on no buildings, and just the warmth that is William & Mary, the things that we share, the collective memories are so strong, and so deep and so positive.

00:51:01          And positive, even some things that weren’t necessarily positive at the time, but just kind of persevering, hearing how someone persevered through something, or how I persevered with people through certain things, and coming out stronger for it, and being able to talk about it and look back and say wow, aren’t we lucky to be where we are.

Carmen:           Sure. That’s great. So what sort of things—now you just came from a board meeting, yes?

Audra:             Mm-hmm.

Carmen:           You’re in town with that. And what kind of initiatives are going on now that you’re involved in or that you’re pushing the way for?

Audra:             Well, we have a lot of initiatives. Of course the campaign is going on, so we want to increase alumni participation. We want to get undergraduate donations to 40% and we want to raise a billion dollars. And we’re well on our way to all of those, which is really exciting. And since I’m in California, I’m one of the co-chairs for the California campaign committee.

00:51:57          And we had a great campaign launch out there March 17th, so it was easy to get people to wear green. And they launched in San Francisco the next day, which I heard was a great, great success as well. I would have been there. I was running the L.A. marathon that day, so I couldn’t go, but I felt really badly. So I have to kind of say that because I would have been there. But now I’m looking to bring William & Mary to California even more.

I want to have a Women in Action event. And Women in Action is something that came out of the athletic subcommittee to the development committee on the foundation board through my friend Maryellen Feeley. She’s class of ’85. And she said we need to do more about women athletes who are alums. We need to do more about women alums in general. And the women alumni initiative had already come up through the foundation board as something that became a study that showed us that women were giving in far lower percentages and in lower dollar amounts than men.

00:52:57          And we then extended the study and found different ways to try to engage women. And it’s really taking hold. And so Women in Action is something to reach women athlete alumni. And we have different events kind of around, I would say around the country. That’s a little bit aspirational. We’re not around the country yet. We’re sort of around the Northeast and Mid Atlantic. But I think we have more opportunity to bring this west since the campaign has now launched there.

So that’s a really big thing. It’s getting women engaged in general, keeping the athletic department well funded, because they don’t get that much. The student fee goes to athletics, but besides that they don’t get support from the university. And so they’re always kind of fighting that battle.

And a lot of the teams are incredibly successful, the swim team being paramount among them, the men’s and women’s teams both won the CAA championship last year, and for the men it was the second year in a row. And there are so many different accolades among athletics that it’s incredibly impressive.

00:54:01          And what they do with so little is also impressive. So one thing that I want to do, even though I swam for just a year, I swim now all the time as a triathlete and a master swimmer, so I want to help bring those facilities up to…up to below average would be fantastic, but who aims for below average? So we have an aspirational facility in mind that’s swimming and diving, to bring the diving team back, because that was disbanded after they built the new pool that didn’t have a diving tank.

And it just seems with the success they’ve had and the affinity that those athletes have, both men and women, for the university, they deserve something better. And I think the school will benefit from that. So that’s a big initiative in the campaign as a whole, for the athletic department underneath that, and then for swimming.

00:54:54          But it’s also for the greater college community because if there’s a great aquatic facility, that can be used by a lot of different constituents of the university, for different classes that they have in that realm, whether it’s water safety instructor or there’s a lifeguarding class that I took as a class. I took all my classes in the pool, I think, my freshman year—my athletic classes.

But then in the community, too. And Williamsburg is a big community for retirees, so aqua sports are very good as far as being non-weight bearing and easier on arthritic joints and things like that, and it’s also great for rehabilitation for people of all ages, and just recreational. And then safety programs for kids, because there’s a percentage that I’m not going to be able to quote properly, but a tremendous percentage of deaths of children under a certain age are by drowning. And if you can just teach them to swim. And I’m involved in a program on the West Coast that raises money for swim lessons for underprivileged kids.

00:55:58          So I think there’s a lot of application. It’s just really getting people to attach to a sport that doesn’t have a lot of panache, especially…I shouldn’t say especially here. It’s an Olympic sport. It doesn’t raise a lot of money. Now there isn’t any room for spectators, really, so part of the new facility would have room for that. So for me personally, and kind of all the way up the chain, I really want to help with that.

Other initiatives. I guess, I don’t know, just continue to drive participation. We hear from Matthew Lambert, Director of University Advancement, that that’s the most audacious goal, is the 40% undergraduate giving, because that puts us No. 5 in the nation among peer institutions, so that would be phenomenal.

Carmen:           Absolutely. Yeah, there are some wonderful things and wonderful initiatives going on, and just such optimistic and lofty goals, but ones that really, I mean, I think, from what I’ve observed have been, we’ve surprised ourselves again and again with how William & Mary alums rise to meet those goals set before them.


Audra:             Mm-hmm, absolutely.

Carmen:           So I have a couple more questions for you, and these get pretty broad as well. What changes have you seen since the very first time you stepped foot on William & Mary’s campus? What kind of changes have you seen occur, either in the footprint of the school or different things that have gone on here?

Audra:             There are the obvious visible changes, additions to buildings like the one we’re sitting in. The addition of air conditioners in my freshman dorm which I wish were there then. And then there are the ones that you wouldn’t know about unless you were paying attention to the college, like the curriculum that they have revamped completely. And it looks like it’s a resounding success. The students are loving it, teachers are loving it. I’ve seen just kind of keeping pace with what’s going on in the world, really.

00:57:57          There’s much more technological capability. That’s not saying much from 1986 to 1990 to now. But there’s really, for such an old institution, I think they do a tremendous job at keeping up with innovation and technology, and that’s really nice to see.

The sciences have come so far here, from the Integrated Science Center to now ICS 2, 3 and 4, it’s going up. That’s tremendous. And I think we really are going to be able to compete with universities that have official premed programs. And we don’t have a med school, and it’s been discussed, and it looks like we’re not going to do that. And I think it’s fine for us. I really just think it’s not something that works for William & Mary. Down the road perhaps.

But we can definitely be a premed institution because there always have been a lot of students who have kind of been premed. It hasn’t been called premed, but the sciences have come up so much. So to have this liberal arts university that has such deep research capabilities and then also such depth in the sciences is wonderful to see.

00:59:03          And the international realm here has really grown. I love so many students now have international study abroad experiences. And just the things that they are able to do, not just to go and study. In my five week program in a country that spoke my language was life changing for me, but to go to these African nations and help create a system to purify their water or something. I mean, it’s amazing what they’re doing.

So the changes are almost innumerable. But they go backwards as well as forwards. And by backwards I mean we’re recognizing 50 years of African Americans in residence. We’re going to recognize 100 years of women at the university. The things that we’re doing in the special collections area of Swem Library, things we’re highlighting that are very important in the past in general, and important to William & Mary in its past. I love that we continue to honor the traditions as well as moving forward innovatively.


Carmen:           Definitely. Are there any changes in particular you would like to see?

Audra:             [Laughs.] Gosh, that’s hard to say. We hear so many things through our foundation meetings of what’s kind of in the works that I think no, we’re good. There are enough projects going on right now.

What would I like to see? I’d like to see more California alums engage with the university because I find that…because I think they would like it, right? It’s going to be good for the university, too, because we can get more dollars, more minds helping to continue to make great things happen here.

But it’s just so nice to be reattached to William & Mary and to remember the things for myself that shaped me as a person that I think a lot of people who aren’t doing that are missing an opportunity. Not everybody had the same fantastic experience here that I did. I know a lot of people did. And I know at least some of them are not very involved.

01:00:58          So I would like to see more people outside of the kind of immediate or pseudo immediate area of Williamsburg get more engaged.

Carmen:           So is there anything that you would like people to know about you that they might not know, or anything you would like people to know about William & Mary that they might not know?

Audra:             Hm. I don’t know. If anybody wants to know, they can always ask me. [Laughs.] I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I keep thinking about that. And as I approach my 50th birthday in a couple of weeks I think okay, it’s about time to get finally going on this. I’ve had minor starts at a lot of different things, so that’s one thing that, you know, if anybody wants to bother me about how is the book going that maybe it’ll make me actually write it. I don’t know what it will be about yet. I’ve had lots of ideas about that, too.

Carmen:           We have it on record here now, so…


Audra:             [Laughs.] Right. For all time coming. And about William & Mary, I mean, it’s just such a special place. It really is a place that creates people. It takes raw material, very good, talented raw material, and makes wonderful, wonderful people who are very knowledgeable, and very caring, and very interested and intellectually curious. And I think people probably already know that about William & Mary, but given the opportunity, I just wanted to say it myself because I think it’s an incredibly special place. And it’s special because people work at it. Like any relationship, you know, they say you have to work at it to continue to make it good. And people work hard at this place, and it is really good.

Carmen:           Wonderful. So we’ve referenced several times these two celebrations that we have going on, the 50th and the 100th, and I was hoping you could reflect, really quickly, and tell me what you believe to be the value first of diversity and inclusion at a place like William & Mary, but also the value and contribution of women at a place like William & Mary.


Audra:             I think there is absolutely no down side to diversity. There is a lot of down side to heterogeneity because you learn from people who are not like you, from experiences that you haven’t had before, and so we need to have, you know, to just bring it down to the microcosm of William & Mary, the more diversity we can have here, the better job the university can do of turning out people who are talented, and able, and innovative.

And so I think, like I said before, only 50 years of African American students in residence, that’s crazy. It’s a crazy short period of time. But there’s a lot more diversity on campus now than there ever has been, and I hope that continues. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t.

01:03:54          And then the importance of having women on campus. Well, I’m glad because I couldn’t have gone here. And a lot of people who are not from the area and don’t really know William & Mary, everybody thinks it’s private and a lot of people think it’s a women’s college. No.

But to be here as a woman, my experience was I was here as a person, just another student, and I had every ability and opportunity that the men did. And I would think that people of any ethnicity, any race, any background, any particular orientation, we would all have the same opportunity. I hope that’s the case.

But having women here as well as having African Americans, as well as having Asian Americans, as well as having LGBTQ, all of those people bring something different to the table, a different perspective. And if you didn’t have women, this removes one giant perspective. I mean, it’s sort of half the population. It’s more than half the population at William & Mary.

01:04:53          And there have been a lot of studies of Fortune 500 companies. There are requirements of a lot of them that have to, they say they have to have women on boards. But those who have women on boards, through certain studies, have been found to be more effective because women, there are things that we tend to do or ways that we tend to interact, or things that we tend to consider that men tend not to. And that’s not a knock on men, because there are things that men tend to do and ways that they tend to look at things that women don’t. And to have both of those perspectives is going to be additive to any process.

Carmen:           Great. Well, thank you for answering my questions. I want to open it up now to you, if there is anything I haven’t asked you that I thought I would or something you would like to add at this point.

Audra:             Oh, gosh. No, I didn’t really know what we were going to talk about. And I’m glad to be part of this. And like I said, this is for you, for the university. When the opportunity came up, I’m very happy to do anything I can for this place that I love, so thank you.

Carmen:           Oh, no, thank you. We really appreciate it. And this will be excellent to add to our research and understanding of women’s history at William & Mary, so thank you again.

Audra:             My pleasure.

01:06:03          [End of recording.]


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