In the early 1970s, a young college student arrived at Mary Washington with tuition and spending money saved up from her summer jobs on the Jersey Shore. She moved into the basement of Marshall Hall and planned to party and study – in that order. However, after several reprimands from housemother Mrs. Prassy for not honoring curfew, the young student certainly faced probation.
As it turned out, a newly implemented key system and an appreciation for the Mary Washington Honor Code saved Pamela J. White ’74 from probation and eventually led her to study law.
“With the Honor System and the new key system, an element of trust quickly began to permeate virtually everything we did on and off campus,” says Pam. “Every time I took an unproctored exam and signed the honor oath, I felt trusted—by my professors and my classmates.”
Pam majored in political science at Mary Washington and continued her education at Washington and Lee University, where she received a J.D. After practicing as a lawyer in federal courts across the country for 30 years, Pam was appointed Circuit Court judge for Baltimore City.
For the past 12 years, she has been the one in a position of authority, and she has had to trust lawyers appearing before her to act honorably. “Good lawyers and judges understand the quality of their reputations depends on their characteristic integrity,” says Pam. “I learned in law school, and in practice over the years, that the search for truth in a courtroom may, indeed, be subjective. But I also know, in life, in law practice, and in the courtroom, that honor is unequivocal.”
Pam credits her liberal arts and sciences education and her experience with the Mary Washington Honor Code for providing a solid foundation for her legal profession. She has given back through service as a member of the UMW Alumni Association, by serving as member and Rector of the UMW Board of Visitors, and by becoming a member of the UMW Heritage Society.
“It’s important to me that Mary Washington’s strong reputation is preserved and enhanced. I now support the University through deferred gift annuities, and I have discovered it to be a win-win,” says Pam. “I am investing in the UMW endowment now, so Mary Washington can use the funds over the next several years. Once my annuity payments begin, I will have flexibility to utilize funds in my retirement or possibly reinvest some of those payments back into my regular charitable contributions.”
Pam also has similar gifts set up at Washington and Lee. “My education has been the foundation for my life, so I do what I can to promote, pay back, and advocate for both my alma maters,” she says. “For me, it’s a way to honor—to celebrate – the integrity of my educational experiences.”
For information about charitable gift annuities or other forms of estate gifts, contact Jan Clarke at email@example.com or 540-654-2064.