Glenne Hines Harding, W&M Class of 1965

Glenne Harding arrived at William & Mary in 1961. During her time at William & Mary, she participated in Kappa Delta, the Panhellenic Council, the Psychology Club, Orchestra, the Canterbury Club, Dorm Council, W&M Theater, and the Pep Club. She also worked on the Colonial Echo and participated in intramurals.

After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1965, Harding pursued a career in experimental psychology, first at Stanford, and then moving on to Hewlett-Packard, where she became the first female division controller in company history.

In her interview, Harding states that when choosing a school to attend, William & Mary's small size and general friendliness won her over. With her time spent in the Psychology Club and serving as president of her sorority, she maintains, "there was no way in the world that you had time to spare." She credits her busy and difficult school experience as preparing her to work in positions in the techonology sector, stating: "I just learned how to learn and how to get things done. That's what you learn in liberal arts."


William & Mary

Interviewee: Glenne Hines Harding

Interviewer: Valerie Cushman

Date: June 4, 2016                           Duration: 00:41:00


Valerie:            My name is Valerie Cushman, and I am the Director of Alumni Initiatives at the College of William & Mary. I’m interviewing Glenne Hines Harding, a member of the William & Mary class of 1965. Today’s date is June 4, 2016, and this interview is being recorded in the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. Good morning, Glenne.  

Glenne:            Good morning, Val.

Valerie:            When and where were you born?

Glenne:            I was born in Richmond, Virginia October 12, 1943.

Valerie:            And this will be…where did you grow up?

Glenne:            That’s a little longer answer. My dad was with DuPont and so he was at DuPont in Richmond, got transferred to Buffalo, New York, so we lived there for two or three years, and then he got transferred to Chattanooga, Tennessee when I was five, and so mostly grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


Valerie:            Why did you decide to attend William & Mary?

Glenne:            [Laughs.] Well, as I said, my parents were Virginians. My mother especially really wanted me to go to William & Mary. We would go back. She was from Caroline County, a Puller from Caroline County. We would go back to her home every summer. So of course we went to Williamsburg, among other places, Fredericksburg, wherever. But she was just dying for me to go to William & Mary.

Now getting in as a woman out of state was like no mean feat at that point. But she wanted me to do it so badly that I kept trying to get good grades and all that sort of thing so I could get in. So I had like five years of high school math, four years of English, four years of the physical sciences, I mean, everything to get—three years of French—everything to get into William & Mary.

00:01:56          But, you know, there were just no guarantees, so I applied there, to University of Pennsylvania, and to University of Chattanooga just in case I had to stay home. I got into William & Mary and then there’s no money attached, I mean, just as there is today with out of state students, and especially women. There’s just, you know, it’s really difficult.

So Penn had a little scholarship. It was still going to be—they were about equally expensive if I counted that scholarship. But I went to visit up there, and you know, it’s in downtown Philly, and it’s huge. And I just decided that Williamsburg’s small size, I could know people, etc., was a much better fit for me, and so really ended up having the choice and choosing on the basis of size and sort of friendliness almost.

Valerie:            Tell us about your memories of your first day or early days at William & Mary.


Glenne:            Well, like all out of state women I lived out in Ludwell, so a mile from campus, and we had this bus, the Green Machine. I think they still exist. I mean, I don’t know exactly, but the concept still exists. We actually walked an awful lot of the time back and forth. I got good exercise walking back and forth, because the bus only ran like twice an hour or something. If you missed it, it was faster to walk than to wait. But the first memories of it were back and forth on the bus.

I mean, everything that we had to do we had to go back and forth. So, of course, we learned pretty quickly just to bring everything you needed for the day and, you know, come in at 8:00 in the morning and go back out there at 4:00 in the afternoon or whatever, whenever classes were over. So really different, I think, from what most of the students were seeing on campus, where they could practically go back to the dorm room in between classes, not that they did, but they could.

Valerie:            And after Ludwell?


Glenne:            After Ludwell I moved on campus. I was in Chandler for the next year, for my sophomore year, and then I moved into the sorority house my junior year, an odd situation. Most of the time you had to be a senior before you could do that, but we had, that senior class happened to be a smaller class and we had space. And so I was the social chairman that year. It seemed reasonable that I should be in the house where the socials were being held, and so that’s kind of how that happened.

Valerie:            Tell me about your academic major, how you chose it.

Glenne:            I started out in chemistry. As I said, you know, I had a good math and science background. And my dad was an engineer. He would have loved nothing more than chemistry. And I got in an advanced placement class, and we had a fellow from Southeast Asia someplace doing these lectures in chemistry with this extreme accent, I mean, really hard to understand. And he taught chemistry with a completely different theoretical basis than we had all had in high school.

00:04:58          So here a class of—I think there were maybe 20 of us. You know, it was a small class, and we’re like, uh. Well, we all—one guy got an A. He must have somehow understood this or read a lot. The rest of us all got a B, and none of us, I don’t think, stayed in chemistry. I mean, it was like we’re not doing this again. [Laughs.]

So it was kind of a weird thing, but it also sort of made me really stop and think do I want to be in physical sciences if it’s going to be this difficult. People don’t, you know, they don’t…it’s not something I can just understand the way, of course, we had in high school.

So I switched to psychology. It probably helped that I was also working in the Psychology Department. Seventy-five cents an hour you got for working, just so you know. And so I was working there, and so they thought it would be a great idea, of course, if I’d major in psychology, so that’s when I switched.

00:05:52          It was pretty much experimental psychology, so again, not the clinical reading stuff, but more the labs and just like it would have been in chemistry, except it was people instead of material, so to speak.

Valerie:            Talk a little bit about social life, dorm life, life outside of the classroom.

Glenne:            Real different from today, I think. But we had…well, I played the violin, had played the violin since I was a kid, played piano and the violin. So I kept up with that. So I played in the orchestra here, which meant we did the musicals in Phi-Bet and that kind of stuff, so I kept up with that. I did…as I said, I was Kappa Delta, and was the president my senior year, so I was obviously active in that. Of course I had to be in the Psych Club and the psychology honorary, and we had meetings and that sort of thing, so you kept busy.

00:06:55          There was no way in the world that you had time to spare. In fact you really had to, to do extracurricular activities and have a decent grade point, you really had to learn how to manage both what kinds of classes you took, like reading classes versus labs and math classes and that kind of thing, balance the load so that you could do well in everything. Otherwise, you know, you spent all your time on one thing trying to get it done. And balancing just what you took and how much time to spend and so forth. You really learned to plan your life by having to have extracurricular—wanting to do extracurricular activities besides the classroom.

Valerie:            So the extracurricular activities may have filled this, but for fun, when you could carve out some time for fun?

Glenne:            Well, they’re fun. I mean, I see those things as fun. Maybe that was kind of weird, but yeah. And I did things like—which had nothing to do with anything—go paint scenery at Phi-Bet for the backdrops for the plays.

00:08:00          And we built floats in those years. I think they don’t do so much of that. We had chicken wire and you stuffed bits of crepe paper in the chicken wire. It’s a skill I can still do and have used in my adult life, believe it or not. I mean, it’s like weird stuff that you did, but all that stuff is fun. I mean, it’s… It’s work, it has a purpose. I don’t know that I even know how to, you know, have fun when it doesn’t have a purpose. [Laughs.]

Valerie:            Tell me about rules, particularly social rules outside of the classroom for women and men.

Glenne:            For women. Yeah, women’s student government, in those years, was separate from men’s student government. It was two…there wasn’t one student government. I mean, there was sort of, but they were really quite separate. First semester freshmen women had to be in their dorms Monday through Thursday at 10:00 and on the weekends at 11:00, during the week couldn’t speak to boys after 7:00.

00:08:59          Not making this up. I mean, the weirdest rule. And most of us, of course, had come from high schools where, you know, we’d been out until midnight at night working on whatever we were doing in high school, a play or this or that. I mean, it was very, very restrictive. My class actually was the class that voted that rule out so that at least the next class that came in didn’t have to not speak to boys after 7:00.

I think there was this real thing about, well, the girls will, you know, they won’t do well in school, they’ll do, you know, they’ll be out dating all night, and they won’t do well, and we’re going to prevent that, and we’re going to keep them from doing that, so…really crazy. But midnight…I think there were like four times a year that the women could stay out until midnight. I mean, it was really quite restrictive. Couldn’t wear pants or shorts on campus.

00:09:58          So like you’re coming back from phys ed, you’ve got to put on your clothes to come back because if they caught you with a raincoat over it, which they would never know, but they knew that was how people did it. If they caught you with a raincoat, that was still, oh, you’ve got shorts on, you can’t do that. Pretty unbelievable, some of that stuff, actually.

Valerie:            Do you remember the conversation around the changing of the rules and the vote to change it?

Glenne:            Yeah, I do. Yeah, we…Phi-Bet, that’s where meetings were held in those days, and all the women students…well, I guess the seniors didn’t come. I kind of forget exactly how the mechanics worked. But the major voters at that point would have been the rising sophomore and junior women. And I don’t think the junior women probably cared that much, but we, having just gone through that, there was impassioned speeches about why we should vote it out. And it was pretty overwhelmingly passed. I mean, this wasn’t a, oh, we think we should keep it.

00:10:58          The argument, supposed argument against it was the notion that when the freshmen women came, all the men on campus would go after the freshmen woman, and there was this sophomore slump that no one wanted to go through. But that was a fairly petty reason, and nobody was going to stand still for that. I mean, it was just crazy.

Valerie:            So women created those rules.

Glenne:            Yeah, women created the rules. I mean, the university enforced them, but they didn’t…you know, they…and I suppose the dean was probably there and if it was something really ridiculous that the university would have said no. But basically it was student government, but the university enforced the rules, yeah.

Valerie:            Well, in speaking of the deans, memories of Dean Lambert?

Glenne:            I don’t—I remember him, but not super well. I mean, I knew him in the hello kind of category. But I had to laugh. I told Matt yesterday, I’d just gone back to one of my yearbooks to look for something. I forget what I was looking for.

00:11:57          And opened it up, and, you know, on the front pages is all the administrative whatever, and it’s just a head shot. And I was just really surprised at how much Matt looks like his grandfather. I was like, oh, hadn’t noticed this before. He’s obviously much taller, but… Because Dean Lambert was pretty short, actually, about my height. But really, really looks like him.

Valerie:            Facial.

Glenne:            Facial, yeah. Unbelievable.

Valerie:            Well, how about the Dean of Women, Birdena…

Glenne:            Birdena, what was her last name?

Valerie:            Donaldson.

Glenne:            Donaldson. She had the most interesting—and I don’t know how else to say it—eyes you’ve ever seen in your life, and so you’d talk to her and all you could do is be watching these eyes, because they were kind of…there was something about the way they were in her face. I can’t remember it today, but I just remember knowing that you couldn’t actually talk to her without going, oh geez, that’s strange looking. But she was…all of them were pretty strict disciplinarians for the women. Not so much for the men. But for the women it was very much still rule based and so forth.

00:13:00          I really remember Martha Barksdale.

Valerie:            Tell us about Martha.

Glenne:            She was the phys ed, of course, and was in the first graduating class that had women. I forget when that was, the ‘20s sometime. And was still teaching. But I had field hockey. Had never played field hockey, never seen a field hockey game, had no knowledge of this. And I’m one of these people, have fair skin, and if I run or, you know, get any physical exercise, my face turns red.

Well, this scared her to death. She just knew I was going to have a heart attack. [Laughs.] So every time my face would turn red I’d have to go sit out for a while. Well, that meant I did a lot of sitting. But she was really great, and we all, I think everybody respected the fact that she’d been one of the real early pioneers.

Valerie:            Well, Davis Paschall was inaugurated as the president while you were there.

Glenne:            He was the president while I was…you know, the first few months that we were there. His wife Agnes was a Kappa Delta, so we were so lucky.

00:14:01          She would invite us over, or we could just knock on the door, and certainly not every student had that privilege, I’ll put it that way. So that was really a neat thing. I remember him, obviously, but I more remember her just because she was close. And she’d come visit us and so forth. Just across the street, really. And let’s see, who else do I…? I’m trying to think. I forgot what. I had some notes about that, but I think I covered the main ones.

Valerie:            Tell me about your…do you have a favorite professor or two that you’d like to talk about?

Glenne:            Well, let’s see. Dr. [Harkem] was the psychology person that I actually worked for, and I of course had a lot of classes from and so forth. And for a number of years after that, when he was still here, I’d always come and visit him, and he would always remember. It’s amazing to me how these professors can remember people 20 years later. But he’s not here anymore, obviously, and I don’t know very many that are on campus today.


Valerie:            What made him your favorite?

Glenne:            That’s a good question. What made him my favorite? He was just one of these people that you knew was…well, was obviously smart and all that stuff, but he was trying to help you learn and so forth. I mean, it was just his approach to it. There were other psych professors that, you know, I took classes from, but I couldn’t say I had that same feeling about.

Valerie:           Well, you were obviously very active as an undergraduate. What motivated you to be so engaged? The impact you already talked about a little bit, but maybe expand a little bit on the impact of your engagement with extracurricular activities in your time at William & Mary and after.

Glenne:            Yeah. I had done…I had started that in high school, actually. I’ve always been…I didn’t just want to study all that time. That just…that’s a good thing, and I liked to study, but, you know, at some point I want to go do something else.

00:16:01          And so I’ve always had extracurricular activities. But the difference, I guess, here the sororities then, and I think still are, all had services projects, so there was a give back element. Because in those years we didn’t have the give back element to William & Mary that we have today. The work that I’m doing now, that didn’t exist. We didn’t ask anybody for money. I mean, the state, the commonwealth, took care of it, basically, and the tuition. I mean, that’s all there was.

So the notion of giving back, that was sort of like a new thing for me, if you will, and so that was an important part of it. We did things, small things, to earn money. And the children’s hospital in Richmond was Kappa Delta’s major service thing, so we visited there and so forth. I mean, because it was close. It was a local, sort of a local thing for us.

00:17:00          So, I mean, that was a lot of it. And I still do most of…many of those things today. I’m not involved with Kappa Delta, but my Zonta International stuff is exactly that same thing. It’s just a repeat of those sorts of things.

Valerie:            So you chose to join a sorority. Tell us a little bit about that decision and your experience as a sorority sister.

Glenne:            We had second semester rush. Very unusual then, and certainly I don’t even think exists today. Because again, there was this protection thing of oh, if you get involved in something other than studying, you won’t make good grades, I mean, you may flunk out. There was just a huge protection of women. But the men also had second semester rush. So you had to be very careful the way the recruitment process worked to… It was almost uncomfortable. You couldn’t make friends with upper class women who were members of a sorority because that would seem to bias the selection process.

00:18:07          I mean, you can sort of… It was an extremely unusual situation, and that, again, went away, partly, I think, because of that. It was just kind of an unreal… But I remember talking it over with my parents, because it’s not free, of course, you have to pay dues, and of course there’s some other expectations. And I had two sisters, younger sisters, and all of us were going to go to college one way or the other, and so money was always one of these considerations for this kind of thing.

So I sort of… They left it up to me with the understanding that if I did this I might have to work more and so forth. I mean, it was, you know, it was…but it was my decision. And so I went through rush, and of course once you start going through that kind of a process, at that age, with everyone doing it, you just almost, it’s a guarantee that you’re going to pledge a sorority.

00:19:00          It wasn’t like…I can’t think of very many people that decided oh, I don’t think I want to do this after all. It was sort of like you never would have gotten involved. Although probably half the campus, you know, didn’t get involved. Not everybody did it. It wasn’t like you had to. But an awful lot. And mostly people who in general did a lot of extracurricular activities. Like anywhere, there were people who do very little of that, that don’t like it and they just aren’t going to.

Valerie:            There was a lot happening outside of William & Mary while you were there. The Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK was assassinated. Civil Rights Act was passed. We were involved in Vietnam. Can you talk about the intersections of your time at William & Mary and what was happening in the…?

Glenne:            Yeah, and those same things are on my list, interestingly, and I didn’t have to look any of it up. But I was actually dating a guy in the Navy with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and so…and it was the biggie, and off it went, you know.

00:20:00          And I was like, whoa, this is not so good. Most of the campus didn’t seem to notice that particular thing. That somehow…it was…people weren’t afraid of that. I don’t know why they didn’t make more of it.

JFK, on the other hand, was huge. So that was, let’s see, ’63, so my junior year, right before Thanksgiving break, the week before Thanksgiving break. And everyone, you still hear people say I’ll never forget where I was. And of course you won’t ever forget. I was in a math exam, calculus exam, and I guess it’s still so today. The professors hand out the exams and walk out the door. It’s the honor system. They don’t… Well, this guy handed out the exam and it was one of these where you take one look at it and you go I don’t know any of these. It seems to me there were five questions. You know, you can just…it’s so vivid.

00:21:01          There were five problems, and I didn’t even know which one to start on because I couldn’t see any of them. And everybody’s kind of looking around the room, so obviously I wasn’t alone. This was going to be one of these difficult—it was a midterm—one of these really difficult tests. So we’re all kind of looking around. You can’t talk, you know, they’d be in there in a heartbeat with the honor system. But we were all rolling our eyes and so forth.

And the guy comes rushing back in the door and says, “The President’s been shot. We don’t know whether he’s alive or not,” walks back out the door. And we… [Laughs.] As if the exam itself weren’t enough, now we’ve got to try to do something with the exam before we can leave to go find out what’s going on. So, I mean, everybody did it. I don’t know if anybody passed it. I mean, it was just…it was unbelievable. But, you know, after 45 minutes or so he comes in and collects the papers and we all go rushing off.

00:21:56          Now I was actually scheduled to work in the Psych Department, so I went up there thinking, well, I at least have to check in. There was not a soul. I mean, it was empty. So I went over—I was living in the sorority house—went over to see who was over there, and everybody’s clustered around the TV. Now you have to remember that not every room had a TV. In fact, none of the dorm rooms. Only in the big living rooms or maybe there was one in the campus theater or something, but there weren’t…TV wasn’t the way TV is today with, you know, three in every room.

And so everyone is clustered around this one TV set, you know, watching the entire thing for basically, for three or four days unfold. Because you remember that there was then the capture of Lee Harvey Oswald, there was Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. I mean, all, and the pictures just kept rolling. It was unbelievable. So the whole campus, until we left for Thanksgiving break, was pretty much in turmoil. I mean, classes were canceled for the rest of that first week, but I think we still had to go the next week for those first three days.

00:23:01          But, I mean, not much happened. It was sort of like the world had stopped at that point. I don’t know that I remember much about, other than the fact that it happened, about the Title 9 things and that kind of thing. I mean, they happened, but they weren’t going to impact me, you know, until later, and so I, you know, I don’t think, and I don’t remember that that was much of a thing on campus. Either we didn’t understand… I mean, it was a good thing and nobody was complaining, but it didn’t seem like it was personally going to impact you. We were already through what we thought of as who would get help on the deal kind of thing.

Valerie:            So you talked about dating someone in the Navy. Talk about the dating scene on campus during your years.

Glenne:            Yeah, I dated…that was the first year, and then I started dating who actually was my now ex-husband, but was a William & Mary graduate. We were married in Wren Chapel, the whole thing.

00:23:57          So he was SAE, and in those days almost all of the social activity was at the fraternity lodges, you know, that row down there behind the stadium that I guess are going to be torn down, I hear. [Laughs.] Won’t be anything left of what I remember.

So interestingly, of course, none of us, or hardly any of us, were old enough to drink in those days. But every Friday and Saturday night there were these, you know, dances down there, sometimes records, sometimes bands, and plenty of liquor to go around. And the school didn’t…I mean, they just didn’t do anything unless something got out of hand.

Now there were a couple of occasions, each year there’d be a couple of occasions where, you know, a fight would break out or this would happen, and then Dean [Barnes] was down there in a heartbeat, you know. How he knew when that was going to happen, I don’t know, but he was right on scene if something happened.

00:24:55          Otherwise that was just ignored. Pretty amazing. Of course then we got to the real world where—now you could not, you know, you go to Corner Greeks and you couldn’t order a beer, but on campus, which, and the law applies here just like anywhere else, but on campus it was just ignored. It was unbelievable. You weren’t supposed to… I mean, you weren’t supposed to have it at all. I think if somebody would have kept liquor in their dorm room or something like that there probably would have been repercussions.

But it was just that one, having the social scene in the fraternity lodges, that just went on. That was the social life. There were three or four big events each year, a concert and dances and that kind of stuff, you know, campus-wide, big stuff. And then, you know, like each sorority had its dance, and each fraternity had its dance and so forth, so smaller events.

00:25:53          But, you know, the social scene was pretty much confined to the college, because remember, we didn’t have cars, so our transportation… You know, we used Colonial Williamsburg buses if we needed to get around in town. And they only stop in Colonial Williamsburg, right, so, you know, that was sort of… We were pretty confined. And I don’t…I think that’s not true today. People go everywhere and do everything.

Valerie:            Maybe you could tell us a little bit about your career. You had an amazing career. And the impact of William & Mary as you’ve progressed through your career.

Glenne:            The biggest impact from William & Mary was learning how to learn. It’s not what I did in experimental psychology, although my first job, oddly, I worked for a person named Dr. William Dement at Stanford. Moved out to California. Went to Stanford in sleep research, which was a brand new field. I had had zero in my undergrad psych major about sleep. I mean, there was just no research, it was just getting started.

00:26:59          And it was neat. I enjoyed it. I was being paid not on a personal NASA grant, but he had a NASA grant and I was being paid as a, you know, staff technician kind of person. Well, he’s a great researcher, but in those days he wasn’t such a great money manager, and so after six months he ran out of grant money, and so he wanted me to do this pro bono for another six months to finish the stuff up, and I went, well no, I’m not quite that willing to do that. [Laughs.] It’s important to me to, you know, to be able to live on what I can earn kind of a thing.

So I opened up the newspaper and the Palo Alto Times had Help Wanted Mal, Help Wanted Female, as all the newspapers had in those years. And there was a position open that they wanted an education and math major, and I figured experimental psych and math was going to be close enough for government work, so to speak, and I went to this, actually it was an employment agency that was advertising this job, so I went there.

00:28:05          And they said, oh, we don’t even know if this is still open. We haven’t had any interest in this and whatever, and I’m thinking, oh fine. But they called and it was still open. That position had been open for like nine months. And I walked in the door and got hired on the spot, basically. I mean, they couldn’t finally believe that they had—I guess there just weren’t a lot of women that did math, and if they were teaching, they were teaching. I mean, we needed math teachers in those years, and so they weren’t looking for work, so it was pretty amazing.

So I started in…it’s really manufacturing administration, figuring out if we need to build this many of this product, and when can the parts come in, and how long does it take to build them, and sort of scheduling all that kind of stuff. And then I moved to marketing administration, which is the order entry and the sort of front end of that process of collecting that stuff and figuring out how many of them we’re going to need to build because we have orders for how many of them.

00:29:06          And from there I realized pretty quickly that I had no business background whatsoever, and I’m in a major—I didn’t know it then—but Hewlett-Packard, a pretty major technology firm, and I was going to have to go back to school and figure out something. So most of the men, young engineers, went to the University of Santa Clara. Hewlett Packard paid for it, for them to go to University of Santa Clara to get an MBA. It was just the common career move.

So I said, well, I want to do that, too. And they said, what? More or less. And, you know, I guess I just never took no for an answer very easily, especially something like that, where, well, they’re doing it, why can’t I? And so they finally said yeah, okay, we’ll let you do it.

00:29:55          Now the deal was, of course, you had to work all day and then do it at night, but they would pay, and so I did that and got my MBA in three years. I tried to figure out what to major in because now I’m kind of off the track there of what I should do. And there were a lot of choices. Computer science, which, you know, if you had it to do over, maybe that’s what you’d think of to do. But finance, marketing, all these things.

And I kind of made that decision based on what I saw at HP, that women weren’t getting promoted, of course, past a certain level. I mean, the glass ceiling was very real and very low. And I had figured out that we had women in human resources in senior management, but that was the only function, and I wasn’t all that crazy about doing human resources. It’s just kind of not me. And so I figured that accounting and finance would be the next brick to fall, so to speak, and so I majored in finance.

00:30:56          And that’s how I did what I did because yes, that was the next one to fall. I was the first woman controller in a division at HP, which was a novelty, to say the least. And from there moved over into marketing. I could make sort of a lateral transfer and move into marketing, and was responsible for the supplies products, the toner cartridges and ink jet cartridges which, as most people know, at this point, were a big source of profit and growth, so yeah.

But that was just lucky. And quite honestly, those were not the glamour products. That’s the razor blades to the razor. And all the young guys, of course, want to be in the printer business. They don’t care about the supplies. So I was really pretty lucky there.

Valerie:            And you talked a bit about that. Congratulations on receiving the Alumni Medallion this year. Talk a little bit about that experience and what it meant to you.


Glenne:            What a surprise. That’s all I can say. I had never been to an Alumni Medallion ceremony. Now obviously I get the magazine. I read. I knew some of the people that had gotten it in the past. It had never crossed my mind that I would one of those people. I had no idea why they gave it. I mean, you read these biographies, but you’re just reading them. You don’t say, oh I have that, I have that. You don’t see criteria or anything.

So after our 50th reunion, which I was co-chair of the reunion committee, and there were four of us plus Pam Michael, who was on staff, and she’s also our class, so there were five us. We called ourselves the Dream Team. And we were all trying to raise money for the college. I mean, that’s how… I had done…Tom [Howell] and I had done the 45th, and I think maybe Howard [Busby], too. There were three of us, I think. Anyway.

00:32:54          And we had not made our goal. We’d gotten 45% participation, which was great, but we hadn’t made our financial goal. Everyone was just retiring. They were saying no, etc., and it was just devastating, so I had vowed at that point I’d never do another one. [Laughs.] And Rich [Kramer] talked me into doing the 50th as well. So here we all were.

And the goal for a 50th reunion had never been higher than $11 million. And so what was our goal? I think 11.3 or something, so we said 12. Well, we got to 12 like in the first six months. So now we raised it to 15, and we got to 15, and it’s kind of stupid, so then we raised it to 18. And we ended up with, what was it, almost $22 million, and way the highest that had ever been done. And so we were just all thrilled, of course. And we got 52% participation. We had set a goal of 50%. And, you know, just really done everything right, and again, very, very lucky.

00:34:00          So that was really the big experience. So that happened in April. In October or so I get a call from Marilyn Midyette. It’s 7:00 in the morning, California. I mean, you know, it’s the way it is. Nobody thinks about what time it is there. But I’m up and reading the newspaper and having my coffee. And she says, well, I’m calling to tell you that you’ve been selected for the Alumni Medallion. I mean, I almost dropped the phone. [Laughs.] What? And so she tells me about it and so forth.

She said something about homecoming, and I already knew that year I couldn’t come to homecoming. We had a cruise planned or something at that time. So I said, well now I can’t be at homecoming, there’s no way that’s happening. She said oh, no-no-no, it’s a charter day. I mean, I knew so little, I didn’t even know when they gave them out, you know. And so you’ll hear more from us and so forth. So okay, I go off and don’t think too much about it until after Christmas, really. And I get a letter saying all this has to happen.

00:34:58          Who do you want to narrate your video and all this stuff, and I’m like… And I still didn’t know even how I’d gotten on the list, so to speak, what the process was. So finally she kind of told me what. I kind of gathered that it had to be the people on the Dream Team kind of a thing. So finally Howard Busby owned up to the fact that yes, he had written it. The others had helped. They’d all put it together somehow. And so I asked him to narrate it, and he did a fabulous job. That was just unbelievable.

But then I had to do the speech, too, and I said I’ve never been to one of these. Are they funny, are they serious, are they short, are they long? And oh, do whatever you want. You know, they give you zero guidance. And I’m thinking, well, wait, the thing’s going to last about an hour, there’s three of us, and there’s going to be preliminaries, and there’s these videos, so my guess is I’ve got to have a three minutes speech, so that’s what I’m going to write. And I wrote a three minute speech. And it turned out to be fine, and everybody went, oh, that was great.

00:36:00          And I’m like, oh, well, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you just do whatever it is. So it was a great experience. And people, of course, still talk about it, and I guess they will the rest of my life, so that’s good.

Valerie:            Well, you have been very philanthropic with William & Mary, your time, your talent and your treasure. Can you talk a little bit about that and the ways you’ve been engaged with the college?

Glenne:            Yeah. Early on not so much, of course, because, you know, your career, and it’s a five hour flight, and so I didn’t do very much at all in the early years. Although when they would send a letter requesting money, I would give some money. They didn’t even send letters every year. I mean, I’m still almost appalled. But it was just, it was sort of a hit or miss thing when it happened.

And a little later on, somehow someone asked me, whoever had been the, quote, class agent—and I think this was somebody selected pretty quickly after graduation, that all they really did was sign the letter that the university wrote whenever they wrote it, you know, and then send some thank you notes.

00:37:09          And oh, sure, I’ll do that. So that’s how I got started doing it, as I wrote, you know, or if I didn’t like the letter they wrote I’d change it a little bit, you know, and do these postcards. They’d send you postcards and stamps, and all you had to do—and a list—and all you had to do was write a thank you to people who gave. That’s not really very hard work, but that’s what you did.

And somehow that led to…that led to being on the annual giving board, which was…it had a different name. It was called the…something else, Fund for William & Mary Board or something, had another name at that time, but being on that board, which I did for three years or so, I mean, whatever the term was.

00:37:53          But I didn’t want to be president or whatever because the flights across the country, and the time aspect of it along with working just doesn’t fit. I’d come ahead of… One of my management responsibilities was a…happened to be a distribution center in Richmond, so I would, you know, I could make the case to get out there once a year for that, and so forth.

But you just can’t be there often enough. And I still feel that way. That’s why I don’t do those leadership positions. You need somebody that’s within driving distance of Williamsburg, for heaven’s sake. But after I retired, then obviously it was somewhat easier to do some of these things, and so I just kind of have started doing it.

Valerie:            And why? What motivates you to?

Glenne:            Well, I firmly believe that I would never in this world have gotten where I was at Hewlett-Packard, a technology company, with a liberal arts degree if somehow it wasn’t that I knew how to do what they needed to do even though I wasn’t an engineer.

00:38:55          I just learned how to learn and how to get things done. That’s what you learn in liberal arts. And admittedly it doesn’t sound like that, but that is what happens. It’s pretty incredible. I have arguments with, I mean, let’s face it, my dad was an engineer, Dave’s an engineer, everybody I knew is an engineer. I have arguments all the time about, you know, well, why didn’t you, or why shouldn’t you just go into technology? I don’t think I would have done as well. I would have been stuck in some lab someplace and that would have been that. I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities.

Valerie:            Well, we are in a campaign now, as you know.

Glenne:            Yes, we are.

Valerie:            The theme for which is For the Bold. Can you tell us about a moment in your life at William & Mary, after William & Mary, any time, about anything, where you felt like you were really bold?


Glenne:            Hm. You know, I don’t ever feel like I’m really bold, although other people seem to think that what I do is bold, and maybe that’s a matter of definition, isn’t it? Because as I said earlier, I don’t easily take no for an answer, and that is perceived by most people, I think, as bold. I see it as just rational. If somebody says you can’t do that, that makes me want to do it more, usually, as opposed to saying oh, okay, thank you. And that’s not, you know, early on…

Well, as an example, my dad was at DuPont and I thought, oh, I’ll be a chemist and I’ll work for DuPont. And I talked to some guy in their lab and he said, well, you can’t work in the lab, we don’t have a women’s restroom. And I took that as gospel, you know.

But it was those kinds of things that taught me don’t take these things as gospel. I mean, they’re ridiculous, and you see they’re ridiculous, so call them out on it, so to speak, which I guess is perceived as bold. And when I hear these things, I still do that. That doesn’t make any sense, and so let’s not do it.

00:41:00          [End of recording.]


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