Sarah (Sally) J. Parsons is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at the University of Virginia Health System. Sally obtained a B.A. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Valparaiso University, a Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from Duke University, and undertook postdoctoral studies in Tumor Immunology at the University of Virginia (UVA).
As a UVA faculty member, she taught graduate and medical courses in microbiology and immunology and founded a course on Cancer Biology, in addition to directing an NIH-NCI-sponsored graduate student training grant for 15 years. She was awarded an endowed chair, the M.C. Wilhelm Professorship of Diseases of the Breast, and served as the Associate Director for Laboratory Research in the UVA Cancer Center for ten years, where she co-founded a Women’s Oncology Program that fostered collaborations between laboratory researchers and clinicians to move research discoveries into the clinic. She has published over 120 papers and trained over 40 Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows. She retired from the UVA faculty in 2014.
Sally’s interest in nature and land conservation began as a young girl growing up in Indiana farm country, where her uncle owned and operated a 1000-acre farm. It was a fulfillment of a life-long dream when she and her husband, Tom, moved to Augusta County in 2001. In 2010, they placed a conservation easement on their 178-farm with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, with VCC’s technical assistance. That experience piqued their interest in and support of VCC, which they joined shortly after their easement was secured.