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Alumni Newsmakers

In Memoriam

Geraldine Dillman Stoke, AA '36, BA '41
Feb. 23, 2011
Houston, Texas

Richard H. Mott Jr., BA '47, MD '50
Aug. 2, 2010
Gainesville, Fla.

Eileen Hager MacNeil, AA '49
Feb. 9, 2011
Roanoke, Va.

Hugh O'Neal Richardson, AA '57, BA '58
Oct. 4, 2009
Millbrook, Ala.

Aubrey T. Chason Jr., BA '66, MA '71
Nov. 8, 2009
Annandale, Va.

Janya Murray, BBA '03
Arlington, Va.
March 11


Ismail Ginwala
Corona, Ca.
April 13

James Isom

James Isom, BA '69, GW's executive assistant chief of police, died Feb. 22 at his home in Washington.

Mr. Isom worked for the GW Police Department for the past 39 years. After graduating from GW with a degree in international relations, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the military police until coming to GW in 1972 as a patrol officer.

Since then, he was promoted to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, assistant director, and most recently executive assistant chief of police, serving as second-in-command under Chief Kevin Hay.

"James Isom was one of the hardest working police executives I've ever had the privilege to know. His tireless efforts are well known by the members of this department, and he will be missed," says Chief Hay.

Mr. Isom, who was originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., first came to Washington on a scholarship to play varsity football for GW. Mr. Isom was one of the first black athletes at GW, playing not only football but also club rugby. When GW ended the football program in 1966, Mr. Isom finished his college education on his football scholarship.

In Memory of a Faculty Member and Father

Former professor William L. Turner

After more than three decades, my GW memories have transformed into the good old days. I know it took hard work and the guidance from caring professors and student advisers, however, for me to reach graduation day.

It is important to recognize the dedication of one particular GW professor, Dr. William L. Turner, who passed away March 12; just nine days shy of his 100th birthday. My father was an active member of the GW community for more than four decades. His involvement in student, faculty, community, and, later, emeriti activities exemplified his loyalty to GW.

My father, who was hired as an English composition instructor in September 1941, recalled the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor when then-GW President Cloyd Heck Marvin summoned the faculty together to express the solemnity of the event and the obligation of the GW community for national service. Thousands of students and faculty members would eventually serve in the military during WWII, and my father enlisted in the Navy and served as a communications officer. His first job at GW lasted just five months.

He resumed his career at GW in 1946 as an associate professor of English, teaching both composition and literature courses in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Some of his initial classes included former servicemen attending GW on the GI Bill.

Professor Turner continually expanded his involvement in GW curricular and extracurricular activities. He became active on a number of committees and organized the freshman honor society Phi Eta Sigma. He was asked by the engineering and business schools to teach specific writing courses to help technical minds improve their written communication skills. He was a founding member of the GW Faculty Club and served in several official positions. He volunteered on committees that worked with the GW community in Foggy Bottom to create a better understanding of issues that benefit both groups.

My father witnessed the changing college environments of the 1940s, '50s, '60s, and '70s. One of his favorite stories was about two anti-war protestors dashing into his class in the '60s and pressing him against the chalkboard while they encouraged his students to go outside and join a large march on the White House. The two youths left the room peacefully when no one rose to join them. It was also during the '60s that Lynda Bird Johnson (President Johnson's oldest daughter) was enrolled at GW and took several English courses. Secret servicemen stood guard outside and inside the classroom during the daily lessons.

My father retired in 1976, but his duty to GW was not complete. He became actively involved with the faculty emeriti organization and served as a two-term president. He remained involved with the GW community, social groups, and various D.C. associations for many years. He continued his love of teaching by becoming a docent at the Hillwood Museum and the National Cathedral of Washington—for a combined total of 30 years of service. He also regularly gave lectures to various social groups on topics ranging from literary works to his experiences and perspective on life. He enjoyed many friends and associates from the university and most recently attended the inauguration of GW President Steven Knapp. Professor Turner dedicated his professional life to teaching and helping young people, and his students and the faculty respected his commitment to GW.

—Charles Turner, BS '78