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The Blue & Gray Press | April 19, 2018

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UMW alumna and Georgia senator earns award


Georgia state Sen. Nan Orrock, a University of Mary Washington alumna, was awarded the Monroe Medal on Nov. 15. The medal was given to Orruck by President Rick Hurley and the Board of Visitors at the dedication ceremony for the James Farmer Lecture Hall.

Orrock served in the Georgia state legislature since 1987, including roles as House Majority Whip and committee chair, according to University Relations.

The Monroe Medal is one of UMW’s most prestigious medals, and this is only the third time the medal was awarded, according to University Relations. The medal is awarded to an individual who provided service to humanity and society in an extraordinary and lasting way.

While a student, Orrock participated in the March on Washington in 1963. An experience, according to University Relations, that led to a lifetime of activism.

“My life was changed and touched by [civil rights leader James Farmer],” Orrock told University Relations. “He was part of the groundbreaking leadership of those stood up when, in some of areas of the country, it meant taking your life into your hands to stand up.”

In 1967, a year after graduating from UMW, Orrock helped to organize and lead a 600-mile walk from Whitesville, N.C., to Wilmington, N.C., for striking textile workers. She continued with her activism working in Atlanta, Ga. with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Orrock also led a community rights project in Virginia.

Among her many other achievements, Orrock also founded the Georgia Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Working Families Caucus. She is also the president of the Women Legislators’ Lobby, according to University Relations.

The Monroe Medal is named after President James Monroe and was created in 2001 to be awarded to those who keep with the tradition of service displayed by President Monroe.

Previous Medal recipients include Carlisle M. Williams, Jr. in 2003 and William H. Leighty in 2004.