Josephine “Jo” White Menk, W’86, first heard about Richmond from Julian Spooner, R’82, a fellow Brit she had known for years.
Menk was a teen track star in England, where she set a world record for 16-year-olds in the 1,000 meters—a mark that still stands. She wanted to attend college in the United States, and Spooner was excelling as a distance runner at Richmond, so Menk came for a look. She also visited Brigham Young University.
At Richmond, she was met by Craig Hedley, R’77, a graduate assistant track coach at the time. Menk fell in love with the UR campus, but as Hedley recalls, the “deciding factor” was this: “She couldn’t get a cup of coffee at BYU,” he recalls. “I made sure she enjoyed that fine dining hall and refectory coffee!”
In addition to the coffee, Menk enjoyed the camaraderie of her teammates. “It was just so nice that they welcomed me the way they did,” she says.
Today, Menk lives in Montpelier, Va., with her husband, George, and their two children: Julian, 14, and Miranda, 12. She works in real estate and will be coaching her son’s high school cross-country team this fall. (He ran a 4:56 mile as an 8th-grader.)
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