As a child growing up in Quantico, Virginia, Marion Wall used to receive regular visits from his uncle, Samuel Fray ’41.
Mr. Fray, who attended Woodberry from 1936 to 1941 and served on the faculty from 1950 to 1963, would share stories of life on campus. When Marion was an eighth grader, Mr. Fray began recruiting his nephew in earnest, finally convincing him after a day of hunting on the Rappahannock River that he should spend his high school years at Woodberry Forest rather than St. Andrew’s School in Delaware.
After his arrival on campus, Marion enjoyed getting to know Evelyn Taylor, who was the school’s first alumni secretary and founding administrator of the alumni office and Amici Fund. Marion remembers going by Mrs. Taylor’s office and seeing letters or postcards from alumni around the world stacked on her desk or pinned to bulletin boards.
“She made it feel very important to be part of the Woodberry family, not just when you were a student but long after you graduated,” Marion said. “She made it feel very personal and special.”
After his own graduation, Marion was one of the many Woodberry alumni who, at Mrs. Taylor’s urging, sent in the suggested gift to the Amici Fund for young men in those days: $5. He went on to the University of Virginia before graduating from American University and spent his professional career running a successful insurance business in his hometown, serving clients around Stafford County and much of Northern Virginia.
Today Marion’s uncle is remembered each year on campus during the spring awards assembly, when the headmaster presents the Samuel B. Fray Memorial Medal to a member of the third form who has distinguished himself in the areas of character, leadership, and athletics. The award goes each year to a young man who possesses traits found in the medal’s namesake — a consistently positive attitude, a strong sense of community, and a desire to achieve in all of his endeavors.
More than sixty years after his graduation, Marion appreciates the way Woodberry men stick together. “I admire the school’s ability to keep people together, whether it’s the alumni office working to keep us in touch, or a fellow alumnus reaching out to me. Woodberry stands out in its work keeping alumni connected,” he said. “And whenever I attend a Woodberry event, I find people want to get to know each other, regardless of whether or not we were at school together.”
Marion has served for years as a class volunteer and reunion chair. He has continued to support the school in the way Mrs. Taylor taught him, giving faithfully to the Amici Fund and the endowment, particularly the H. Ewing Wall Family Scholarship that he established. He is also a member of the Walker Society and is particularly glad to see the launch of tuition assistance funds specifically designed to ensure the school can keep serving boys from small towns in Virginia and the Carolinas, as it has throughout its history.
“People who came before us made gifts to help us attend Woodberry,” he said. “We need to pass it on and share what we have with others.”