Barbara York Shaped by Journalism Background
Since Her Student Days, She Has Been Willing to Work Hard to Get Things Done Right
We were students together here. Barbara York was a senior when I was a sophomore, and we met on the student newspaper. She was the editor of our campus paper, the Trinity Times, and I was a young writer on the paper. She was extremely attentive to detail. We put out an extraordinarily good newspaper, very well edited, and she was always looking for the newsworthy angles of what was going on. She really wanted to get in underneath the stories.
That was my first exposure to journalism, I must have been 18 or 19, and here was this really impressive senior, this woman from Hong Kong with a great British accent, up at 3 a.m., saying let's find out more about this change or this issue. It was all dreadfully serious, and it was the time of student movement and the antiwar movement. We considered ourselves to be radical, although we probably weren't as radical as we thought we were.
The way she worked on the student newspaper continues to be her work style. She was very devoted to getting it right. In those days, we
didn't have desktop publishing. You had to use hot wax at the printers to print up the dummies. I remember going to the printers at 2 a.m. to paste up the newspaper. We'd think it was all pasted up, and she'd come look at a layout and rip it all up at
3 a.m. She wanted it to be right, and if there was something wrong on the page, she'd rip it up and start all over again.
It was very laborious, but I learned from her to never put out less than the best. I remember being mad at times, but after we worked hard, she'd always take us out to breakfast at some dive near the printers.
She and I became close friends during that year together on the newspaper. I got to know not only her very well but also her then-boyfriend, now husband, Dick Rader, who was training for the Olympic pentathlon. I love sports, so we shared a love of sports, and Dick was always trying to train for the next game, and Barbara was very much into her journalism.
We lost touch after she graduated, which often happens. We re-made contact after I became Trinity's president and found out she was working with NCTA. It was one of those long-ago memories, and I called her up to get together for old times. When we got together, the years melted away. We reminisced about our work on the newspaper. There she was in a job of great responsibility at NCTA, and yet still had that same warm, wonderful, self-effacing quality.
It's always hard to get her to talk about herself, but she was still very interested in Trinity, and we invited her to become a member of our board of trustees. She was a great trustee because she always had the best interest of Trinity at heart.
During the six years she was a trustee, we developed the new Trinity Center for Women & Girls in Sports. It's a $20 million athletic complex, and she and Dick helped us think through a lot of the issues on that. It was a great thing for her to be involved. She just gets things done, without a lot of fuss, which makes her very appealing.
Pat McGuire is president of Trinity College in Washington.