If you ever need help getting your kid into college, consider calling Ann Looper Pryor ’83. In the last four years, she’s helped three nieces and one nephew fill out their applications and write their essays. She’s accompanied them on trips to 18 different campuses, seen all sorts of quads and arboretums, toured every type of dormitory, and heard every stripe of student tour guide imaginable deliver his or her higher education spiel. Through it all, one campus stands apart for her. You guessed it: the College.
Sure, Pryor, who graduated with a political science degree, is partial to her alma mater. But as the publisher of Landscape Architecture Magazine, she knows a thing or two about outdoor beauty and harmony, and how one successfully marries horticulture and architecture. She insists the College has one of the prettiest campuses in the country.
And as a publisher, she knows a thing or two about communication skills, too. The student tour guides showing off the College are top notch, she says: personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. On a tour at another school, she laments, the tour guide went on and on about her boyfriend. At the College, the only male getting raved about is Clyde the Cougar.
Though it’s been nearly three decades since Pryor graduated, she says the important things about the school have stayed the same. The College has maintained its timeless beauty, even as new buildings have gone up and enrollment has increased. Important traditions have stayed the same, too, with seniors donning white coats and white dresses during graduation weekend.
Pryor values such consistency, and it’s inspired her to be consistent, too. For each of the last 28 years, she has answered a phone call from the College and pledged $100. Over the years, these donations have added up into one big thank you. Pryor says it’s the least she could do for the place that gave her such sure footing.
“I really feel like I grew up there,” she says. “It prepared me for life.”
The College is where she explored her love of politics and forged the beginnings of a career that has included a significant amount of time on Capitol Hill, both as a staffer for former U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond and as a lobbyist for the American Institute of Architects. When she returns to campus these days, happy memories come flooding back. As does a sense of pride.
“It’s great to see that the College has been discovered and is a nationally recognized school,” says Pryor, noting how more students from across the country are choosing to come to the College.
Of course, all it takes is one campus tour to see why: Nowhere else compares. Just ask Pryor.
Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt