More than a 5k: McLeod, Tyler contribute to College campus’s physical, mental, spiritual health

0
97
Elizabeth “Bee” McLeod ’83 MBA ’91 enjoyed dancing and running in her youth and continues to prioritize health and wellness in her contributions to the College. COURTESY PHOTO / ELIZABETH “BEE” MCLEOD

For the couple that met on a fated New Year’s Day run, the concept of health and wellness is not a new one. Elizabeth “Bee” McLeod ’83, MBA ’91 and J. Goodenow “Goody” Tyler are responsible for multiple contributions across campus, from the Elizabeth “Bee” McLeod Business Library on the second floor of the Mason School of Business to the new McLeod Tyler Wellness Center. This dynamic duo, who are more than just donors, have wholeheartedly committed to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of each student who passes through the College of William and Mary.

Elizabeth “Bee” McLeod ’83, MBA ’91

A nontraditional student, McLeod came to the College at age 16. Her college days were filled with the sound of bagpipes blaring from an old record player, learning to walk on stilts on the cobblestone pathway behind Jefferson Hall and endless runs down Duke of Gloucester Street. Now, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, she and her husband are committed supporters of the College who frequently make their way back to her alma mater.

“I love seeing the changes to campus, the physical changes,” McLeod said. “The addition to the science building, and obviously the new business school is extremely cool and very sexy, in my opinion … and then, of course, the new addition of the Wellness Center. How do you beat that, right?”

“I love seeing the changes to campus, the physical changes,” McLeod said. “The addition to the science building, and obviously the new business school is extremely cool and very sexy, in my opinion … and then, of course, the new addition of the Wellness Center. How do you beat that, right?”

Filled with joy in reminiscing about her college days, McLeod highlights her relationship with her former professors and the bond that students at the College can create with their own if they so desire.

“I have lots of good memories,” McLeod said. “… 10 years ago, our lead contact at that time here for advancement got together two professors that I had as an undergraduate … and those two professors could tell stories about me when I was a student, like 25 years ago, at that time. And to me, that in a nutshell wraps up the student experience, because if you’re open to it, you can have those kinds of enduring relationships with your professors that I don’t think are possible in a school where you don’t have that student-to-professor ratio that we do.”

Health and wellness have always been a major part of McLeod’s life. She was an avid Scottish Highland dancer throughout her childhood until her 20s, and a competitive runner who went to the Olympic Trials for the marathon and made the U.S. team for the world championship in the duathlon.

“So athletics has been, you know, part of my life forever, and honestly my wellness program when I was on campus, [because] we didn’t have even the Rec Center or anything like that, was either racquet ball in the basement of Blow Hall, or else running down Duke of Gloucester Street,” McLeod said. “… If that had existed, if that Rec Center was there when I was a student, you can bet your buck I would’ve signed up to work there.”

McLeod previously served as the chair for the Swem Library Board, is now on the For the Bold Campaign Steering Committee and is a trustee on the College of William and Mary Foundation. She hopes her contributions and lack of anonymity about them will help shift the culture of the College’s donors to be more transparent and vocal about their giving.

“The logical extension into the wellness world was really started with the director of the Rec Center, Linda Knight, talking to us about this vision,” McLeod said. “… [W]hat the Wellness Center should be, what we really needed as a university, as a community, on campus. And having something accessible, inviting, covering all aspects of health and wellness. That really kind of sealed the deal when we knew exactly where we needed to be. And that was in support of that Wellness Center.”

While McLeod is proud to support her alma mater, one of the greatest things for her is seeing other College affiliates, alums and current students alike take pride in the institution and others’ contributions.

“… [M]y niece decided to go to William and Mary, with no influence from me, just out of the blue,” McLeod said. “And while she was a student here, we introduced the first TAG Day, and both of us got this amazing email from her saying how exciting it was and how proud she was to see our names on various tags around campus, and then she ended her note with, ‘One day I hope to have my name on a tag.’ … So to me, that says success because I feel like we’ve helped instill in her the need to be able to continue to support your institution if you care about it, because that’s the only way William and Mary continues to thrive, is with outside support.”

Outside of her commitments to the College, McLeod is on the board of the Norfolk Botanical Garden, is participating in the executive search committee for the new president of her old high school in New Jersey and is the former president of Road Runners Club of America.

“So I keep involved in the administrative piece of running even though I don’t run anymore,” McLeod said. “I keep busy, that’s for sure.”

J. Goodenow “Goody” Tyler

Unattached to his own college experience, Tyler fully embraced his wife’s alma mater and has come to make it his own.

“From the time we first started dating, she kept talking about William and Mary, and I didn’t have the greatest of experience with my college, and she was just in love with hers,” Tyler said. “… So, when we would come up to William and Mary I started to see what excited her so much. And so, I started to fall in love with the College also. So, that’s how I kind of got on board with William and Mary.”

One of Tyler’s favorite things about the College is its students. Their drive, passion and need to do good in the world are things that stand out to him and inspire his own love for the College.

“I like the fact that the students come here, it all seems like they all have a purpose, they want to do something, they know that college is not just a stopping point or, you know, a punch-your-ticket kind of thing,” Tyler said. “It is something to help them be a better person when they get out, it’s something where they can make an impact on the world … I mean all the students that we’ve interfaced with all seem to be highly educated, highly motivated and highly committed to doing something other than just for themselves.”

When the plans for the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center were first revealed to Tyler, he immediately knew it was something he and McLeod had to support. Having lived such a health-oriented lifestyle himself, Tyler jumped at the opportunity to support the students’ mental and spiritual health, alongside previous contributions to physical health.

“So then looking at not just the physical,” Tyler said. “The Rec Center is a great way for people to burn off energy or just stress and everything, but sometimes that’s just not enough. Sometimes you need somebody to sit there and say, ‘You really are okay. There are other people who have gone through this, and you’re going to get through this.’ … The Wellness Center is a wonderful place for that.”

“So then looking at not just the physical,” Tyler said. “The Rec Center is a great way for people to burn off energy or just stress and everything, but sometimes that’s just not enough. Sometimes you need somebody to sit there and say, ‘You really are okay. There are other people who have gone through this, and you’re going to get through this.’ … The Wellness Center is a wonderful place for that.”

When he isn’t accompanying McLeod to Williamsburg, Tyler volunteers at their local zoo as a trail host, takes photos of flowers at the botanical garden in Norfolk and serves as an at-large director on the Road Runners Club of America board.

“I just am happy that I’m alive, I’m happy that my wife and I can make a positive impact on the student community at William and Mary,” Tyler said. “It’s just an outstanding institution, got a great history and it’s going to be around a long, long, long time after we’re gone. And to know that we’ve had a small part in [that history], it’s a great part of, to me, my legacy.”