By Heather Fabritze
The Washington College Magazine, a periodical look into the initiatives and members who are cornerstones of the community, returned to publication with a Fall 2023 issue after a break that spanned three years.
Its editorial board, made up of Managing Editor Darrach Dolan, Director of Communications Mark Jolly-Van Bodegraven, and Vice President for Marketing and Communication Brian Speer, aim to use the magazine as a source of information for the WC community—including those who long ago left the physical campus.
According to Speer, the editors also hope that the periodical will “create a sense of institutional affiliation and pride” among their audience by sharing accomplishments from the College and its members throughout the year.
“Our goals with the magazine are to keep the Washington community and the public informed about the impact that the College, its students, faculty, staff, and alumni have on our communities and the world around us,” Speer said.
WC’s Office of Marketing and Communications plan to publish the newly improved periodical three times a year in February, June, and October to thoroughly cover the College’s inner-workings on a more short-term scale.
Speer describes this fall edition as being a “new publication” entirely when compared to the pre-pandemic run, which last released an issue in Spring 2020. He mainly attributes this claim to the changes they’ve made to widen the magazine’s intended audience past alumni, create consumable content, and develop a more energetic design.
Dolan agrees with this assessment. While the publication is maintaining similar “high standards of writing and art” to its earlier iterations, the overall mission is taking a slightly different form.
The magazine’s decades-long focus on community continues to be at the heart of their vision for it moving forward, however.
“The mission is to bring people together through storytelling rather than ‘selling’ something to readers,” Dolan said.
President of the College Dr. Michael Sosulski covered the magazine for its grand return in a feature on the first three years of his presidency: “The People First President.” The article covered his accomplishments so far, his interactions with the campus community, and the legacy he has already begun to build at the College.
A piece on the new Director of the Center for Environment & Society Dr. Valerie Imbruce, “A Radical Pragmatist,” took second standing. Other features in the release included articles on the new Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Kiho Kim, alumni Cara Koontz ‘15, and senior Kate Gromacki.
The newest Washington College Magazine also featured pieces on various renovations and initiatives occurring on-campus: the Hodson Trust gift, the improved library terrace, and the installation of the Department of Business’ Bloomberg Terminal, all made appearances in the publication’s pages.
One standout section of the magazine was its Washington Insider spread. According to the editor’s note from the few front pages, this section “utilizes faculty, staff, or alumni expertise to address timely and important topics.”
For the Fall 2023 issue, Dr. Sosulski, Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion and Senior Equity Officer Dr. Alisha Knight, and Vice President for Enrollment Management Johnnie Johnson shared their opinions on the Supreme Court’s landmark affirmative action decision.
The back of the magazine featured efforts to increase the participation of its audience in the creation process: class notes from College alumni. This section acts as a vehicle for graduates to announce career updates, marriages, and important changes in their lives to one another. It also reminds them to stay connected, and that they will always have a home with each other in WC’s vast community.
Although Speer certainly wants alumni to be well-represented in the magazine, he hopes to be careful about ensuring that other readers do not feel ostracized from its content.
“We don’t look at Washington College Magazine as an alumni magazine, we look at it as a college magazine meant for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public,” Speer said. “There are a lot of media outlets competing for attention and we want the stories in Washington College Magazine to be of interest to anyone and not just our community.”
Dolan said that he hopes to develop a “more robust pipeline for stories” in the future, allowing for a broad representation of every aspect of the Colleges’ members.
“[This includes] opinions, groundbreaking research, student-faculty projects, unusual hobbies, tales of adventure, humorous anecdotes, serious insights into our world and future, and the latest books, paintings, or compositions,” Dolan said. “I’m looking for anything and everything that will bring Washington College to life for the readers, from a student-led archaeological dig to a humorous alum anecdote about fishing on the Chester.”
The Office of Marketing and Communications will publish the next issue in February 2024. The winter release, according to Speer, is used by the Office of Admissions and Aid as outreach to promote the inner workings of the College to prospective and admitted students.
Free, physical copies of the magazine will be stacked on stands around campus, including the first floor of Hodson Hall, the Clifton M. Miller Library, the Casey Academic Center, and the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts.
Alumni, faculty, staff, current parents, friends of the College, government officials, and higher education leaders all receive issues for no cost in the mail. Any community members who want to be added to the mailing list can contact Dolan at email@example.com.
Photo Caption: The launch party for the WC Magazine was held in the CAC on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Hook