The 50th anniversary of women’s arrival at Union features a year-long celebration of women and their contributions to the College, their communities and the world.
Adrian MacLean Jay ’98 majored in history at Union College before earning a Master of Science and Journalism from Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). She began her career as a television reporter for KPVI (Pocatello/Idaho Falls, Idaho) and WATE (Knoxville, Tenn). In 2003, she got behind the camera as a producer at Jewelry Television, traveling the world with gemstone buyers and creating original content to supplement television jewelry sales. After a few years, she and her husband, Larsen, launched their own production company, DoubleJay Creative. They produced content for cable television, corporate communications, documentary and feature film. As part of Dogwood Entertainment, they produced the critically acclaimed “That Evening Sun,” staring Hal Holbrook. Following Larsen’s near-fatal fall off of a ladder, they started the non-profit Random Acts of Flowers. They currently deliver smiles through sustainable bouquets in three cities: Knoxville, Tampa and Indianapolis. A competitive international show jumper, Adrian’s horses are Icarus du Petit Lannoy and Imani Blue Van Essene. She believes in giving back to this world and has supported many organizations, including the African Wildlife Foundation (Nairobi, Kenya), The Pat Summitt Foundation, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) and Zoo Knoxville. Adrian served on the Union College Board of Trustees from 2007 until 2019, when she was named Trustee Emerita.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
It’s about being a modern woman – having it all but maybe not at the same time. I look at my life in chapters: an exciting career as a journalist, then as an entrepreneur, and currently as a philanthropist. All this while raising two ambitious boys, Henry (11) and Alexander (8), with their own dreams.
Who inspired and/or inspires you, both professionally and personally?
I’m inspired by confident women who support each other. My circle of friends includes mothers, wives, teachers, scientists, doctors, environmentalists and executives, and each offers diverse perspectives that inform my life choices. My mother, Mary Ann MacLean, who I lost to Alzheimer’s, taught me kindness, compassion and how to have a sense of humor.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
Go for it! There is nothing you cannot do if you try. It will be hard and you will make mistakes but the opportunities are endless. A good friend told me recently if you are not a little bit scared, you are not reaching far enough. Those are words to live by.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
It was my honor to serve as editor-in-chief of Concordiensis. This experience solidified my decision to pursue a career in journalism. I loved that I got to do it for the love of journalism. Choosing a liberal arts education allowed me to experiment and find what I loved most – a different approach than many who seek a degree in communications. I found having diverse learning experiences gave me a unique perspective as a reporter.