Alumni

Lois Ireland

Class of 1984

The critical thinking skills, the ability to see the forest and the trees, to look for patterns that others might miss; these are strengths that were developed at Washington College and have been recognized in all my positions. 

How has your liberal arts education influenced you? How do you apply your LAE in your current career?

I often say my Masters degree in library science gets me a job but my liberal arts education keeps me in the job. The critical thinking skills, the ability to see the forest and the trees, to look for patterns that others might miss; these are strengths that were developed at Washington College and have been recognized in all my positions. As a librarian, I have worked for an engineering company, a public library, a government environmental library and a financial services company. I’m not a subject matter expert in engineering or the environment or financial services, but having a well-rounded liberal arts background gives me enough exposure to enough subjects that I can get up to speed quickly. 

Who was your favorite faculty/staff member? Story?

As a history major, I took a lot of classes with Dr. Guy Goodfellow and Dr. Charles Halstead. While Dr. Goodfellow focused on American history and Dr. Halstead on European, both exhibited a great love for their subjects and introduced students to the richness of historical study. They were not sticklers for memorizing dates, but wanted students to pay attention to bigger concepts and trends. I owe them credit for helping develop an ability to absorb detail and the long view at the same time (seeing both the forest and the trees) and for honing my writing abilities. All those essay tests were good for something!

What is your favorite Washington College memory?

I was taking Dr. Robert Smith’s Philosophy to Eastern Religions class in the fall of 1983, when the TV movie The Day After aired. The group of eight students were deep in discussion about the movie and its themes of brinksmanship, survival and humanity when Dr. Smith arrived. He quietly sat down and let the discussion continue for the rest of the hour. That latitude to explore the unexpected always exemplified a liberal arts education to me.

Did your Senior Capstone Experience (or thesis project) have a major influence on your future career or your personal growth? If so, please explain what your SCE entailed and how it influenced who or where you are today.

Just the practice of writing a detailed thesis was wonderful experience for developing and instilling solid writing and analytical skills. While the type of business writing I do today is very different, I am relied on for my communication skills and have become the go-to editor for my department. My boss thinks I’m brilliant due to my ability to condense her slides into a succinct product that gets to the important points quickly, either by rewording the text or showing the data visually.

Campus Involvement
  • Alpha Chi Omega
  • Phi Alpha Theta
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Student Judiciary Board
Graduate School:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Master of Science in Library Science

Additional Information:

Alumni Board Member, Current Chair of the Washington Fund Committee