Get to know Morag MacLachlan, Class of 2001, in her own words.
A communications major who graduated a semester early in 2001, Morag is the communications director for UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases. A Chi Omega member while at Wingate University, she remains active in her sorority, serving as the secretary of the Durham Alumnae Chapter of Chi Omega. When not working, she can be found swinging a tennis racket, painting, biking or traveling. Her 15-year-old cat, Miss Conan, is “adorable, yet sassy.”
As a student, what was your favorite organization you were involved in?
That is a tie between Chi Omega and The Weekly Triangle newspaper. Chi-O taught me many valuable lessons, including leadership skills and being more philanthropic. Being a reporter and the opinion page editor for The Weekly Triangle prepared me for my career as a journalist. I got to interview some pretty influential people while I was at Wingate, including Jack Valenti, the former head of the Motion Picture Association of America and Sister Helen Prejean, who wrote the book Dead Man Walking, which was later turned into a movie.
What is your favorite Wingate memory?
I did the Wingate-in-London program the fall of my sophomore year, with Dr. Pam Thomas and Maurice Thomas from the English department. It was my favorite semester because we would learn about a play or a painting, and then we would go to the theater or to the National Gallery and actually see what were studying up close and personal. It really reinforced what we were learning in the classroom and allowed us to explore London.
Do you have any words of advice for a young Wingate University alumnus?
Be flexible with your career. I left Wingate and went straight into graduate school for a master’s in journalism at Emerson College in Boston. Then I went straight into a television reporter job. I thought my career was off and running. But television is a tough business and it pays horribly. So I had to think for the first time in my life that maybe this was not going to be the career for me forever. It took a while for that to really sink in and for me not to be frustrated with myself. But I went on to have an award-winning career as a newspaper reporter and then spend the past eight years in the healthcare communications field. You may start in one place and end up totally in another. But that is okay. As long as what you do makes you happy, just be open to different professional possibilities.
What are your thoughts on how Wingate University has changed?
I am so impressed with how Wingate has evolved and grown since I left 15 years ago. The student population is nearly double what it was when I was a student. There are now three campuses. The addition of the School of Pharmacy has only added another strong major to Wingate’s academic profile. But throughout all this expansion, Wingate has never lost its sense of family. It still strives to provide anyone of any economic means with access to an education. With the price of tuition at colleges and universities around the country skyrocketing year after year, I have been really impressed to watch Wingate’s continued commitment to providing students with an affordable educational foundation. I believe Wingate’s president, Dr. Brown, mentioned that Wingate helps more students born to immigrant parents than any other university in the state. As the daughter of an immigrant and the first person on my father’s side to finish college, I am proud that my alma mater continues to invest in tomorrow’s leaders.
Tell us something about yourself that few people know.
I have dual passports: one from the United States and one from the United Kingdom. My father is from Scotland and is not a U.S. citizen. So I can live and work in the U.S., the U.K. or any European Union member country. It also makes traveling a lot of fun!
If you had one thing to do over in life, what would it be?
More traveling. Life is so short, and experiencing other cultures enriches your life and also shows you the advantages and disadvantages to your native country.
Please choose one for each of the questions below:
1. Blue or gold? Blue.
2. Win-GATE or Wing-IT? Win-GATE.
3. WalMart or Target? Target.
4. Ferrari or Lamborghini? Am I allowed to say neither? I am a horrible driver. You want me on the subway or a bus. It’s safer for everyone!
5. Klondike or Southland? Klondike.
6. Sanders Sikes or Cuddy Arena? Cuddy Arena.