Virginia (Lundberg) Taylor '57

Rebekah Peterson

“When I learned I was being interviewed for this Alumni Profile, I pulled out my Antler from my senior year, and it brought back so many memories.” Ginny just celebrated her 80th birthday and her 60th wedding anniversary.  

“I appreciated how well rounded the academy was. It was solid in academics, unabashedly Christian, and offered a great variety of extra-curricular activities.  In those days, most girls were not involved in sports.  My favorite extracurriculars were being in Singers and dramatic productions.” 

Seasons of Life

Ginny met her husband Clyde at Wheaton College, and they got married after her sophomore year and moved to Washington, DC, where he was starting graduate school. In those days, there was a shortage of teachers in public schools across the nation. She had already declared her major in education and had a provisional certificate.  She taught for two years in the DC area, then finished up her degree at George Washington University. Their son Mark was born during this time.

Clyde joined the Foreign Service after he finished his master’s, and their first overseas posting was in Panama. While in Panama, Ginny taught kindergarten in the Canal Zone schools, American run schools for American children.  From there they went to Australia, where their daughter Courtney was born, then back to the US for a while, then to El Salvador, Iran, and Paraguay.  They both love to travel, and she has been to a total of 65 countries.

While they were in Iran, she taught in the American school, which was closed in 1978.  She and the two children were evacuated from Iran to the U.S. in 1977 just before the hostages were taken for the first time, and Clyde stayed on. 

People at the State Department knew that she was evacuated, and that she knew many of the hostages in Iran. Ginny was asked to come in and call the family members.  She worked as a volunteer in the Operations Center and called families from time to time to pass on any news that they had from Iran.  What started out as a short-term assignment turned into the entire 444 days of the hostage crisis. One of her friends was a hostage for the entire 444 days and was the first hostage to die.  

After this volunteer position, she decided the time had come to find a job. Clyde returned from Iran, and it was time for her to go back to work. Through different circumstances, she became the first Evacuation Officer at the US Department of State.  She wrote her own job description, which got accepted very quickly as there were many evacuations in the Middle East and Africa. This position continues today.  Ginny then became the Deputy Director of the Family Liaison Office that looks after the needs of the Foreign Service families overseas; helping with education, employment, and health issues. 

After they had been home for 5-6 years and the children had finished high school, Clyde was appointed as Ambassador to Paraguay.  They spent three years there. She worked and volunteered in many capacities and enjoyed traveling around the country, especially visiting the many Peace Corps volunteers at their projects.

Ginny and Clyde came back to live in the Washington, DC area in 1988.  She went to work for the State Department as the Director of a program at The Foreign Service Institute and finished out her working years training people in office management.

Active in Service

As a retiree, Ginny has spent her time volunteering with local missions. She is a part of an organization called “Friendship Place” which seeks to alleviate homelessness in the Washington DC metro area.  She also joined the local mission committee for her church, the National Presbyterian Church. They support 7-8 mission groups in and around the city.  “These have been a very rewarding part of my retirement.” 

“It’s been a wonderful life--I have enjoyed it a lot. God has been good.  We have seen God’s hand in our lives everywhere we have been. I have not had the kind of career that most people would think is a progression up the career ladder, but in every country where I have lived, I have found jobs that I enjoyed and/or worked at getting to know the people, country and culture.”

To The Alumni

What would Ginny say to other alumni?  “Get out and see the world. We are in a global society.  There is a lot that people living in other places can teach us. Our Christian faith should certainly extend to our love for people of different faiths and ethnicities.  Get to know people who are different from you, and who are also loved by our God and our creator.” 

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