May/June 2021

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We couldn’t have asked for better weather on that Monday in April when we scheduled our Women’s Issue photo shoot. It was sunny and 75 degrees – and a week before the pollen took over – at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Photographer John Michael Simpson had scoped out pockets of greenery and blooming flowers. I was armed with a case of water and an almost comically oversized sun hat while on light reflector duty, assisting John Michael. Over the course of the day, each woman showed up for her moment in the sun.  

It’s always a feat to pinpoint who to feature in this annual issue. There are just so many who deserve a spotlight for all they do for our towns. 

This year, I knew at least one woman we had to reach out to and learn more about. A few months ago, I received a nomination email from Allie Mendelsohn praising her friend Jean McDonald. Allie signed off with, “I have barely even scraped the surface of who she is and how much she gives and has given to our community, but it is my hope that you will contact her and find out for yourself what a treasure she is.” 

That day at the photo shoot, I finally found myself in the presence of Jean, the last scheduled subject. She was warm and had us laughing as John Michael rushed to capture her at closing time. You’ll find Allie’s deeply personal tribute to Jean on page 56.

And, although I know it will only make my job harder next year, I encourage you to send me an email with your nominations of some amazing Orange County women. Until then, I invite you to learn more about Jean, along with 14 other incredible women, starting on page 44.


44 V. Dianne Peerman-Pledger, Tabitha Elien and Barbara M. Foushee 
Divine Nine Sorority Members 

46 Heidi Kim 
English and Comparative Literature Professor, UNC & Director, Asian American Center

48 Jessica Murley and Katerina Gmitter
Co-founders, Healing Pines Respite 

50 Janet Hadar 
President, UNC Hospitals 

52 Jaimie Lee
Owner, The Coalition 

53 Jen Feldman
Rabbi, Kehillah Synagogue 

54 Chieko Murasugi 

56 Pam Herndon 
Licensed Insurance Agent and Chartered Financial Professional, State Farm

58 Jean McDonald 
Family Nurse Practitioner, UNC Campus Health 

59 Quintana Stewart 
Director, Orange County Health Department 

60 Kimberly Sanchez
Executive Director, Community Home Trust 

62 Valerie Paige Foushee 
Senator, North Carolina General Assembly 


25 Carolina on Our Mind
The Stone Center’s oldest program gives underserved students a boost of confidence

28 End of an Era 
Readers share their favorite Roy Williams memories after the longtime UNC men’s basketball coach retired on April 1 

34 Our Top Dentists 

64 At Your Service 
The South Orange Rescue Squad marks five decades of providing emergency medicine and education to the Orange County community


70 A Peace of Piedmont 
Two health care workers retreat to a modern oasis overlooking the Chapel Hill countryside


6 Editor’s Letter 

8 About Town
Events not to miss 

14 Noted 
What we’ve heard around town …

18 What We’re Eating
News from our restaurant community, plus a dish we love 

88 Dining Guide 

92 Joyous Cooking: One-Stop Shopping

96 Wedding
Frances Cosgrove & Jonathan Reda 


10 OCHAR’s Annual Awards Safe & Social Tailgate Awards Party
11 Teddy Bear Connection Day at The Cedars 


31 The Big Give
Our local nonprofits, how they support the community and how you can get involved

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Jessica Stringer

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