|Virginia Terrell, senior yearbook picture, 1923|
Lathrop was a product of her education and chose to focus her career in journalism. A trendsetter, she became a reporter and feature writer for Raleigh's News and Observer, Greensboro's Daily News, New York's Evening Post, London's Express, the Paris edition of the New York Herald-Tribune, and Asheville's Citizen. In later years when asked if she used her college major in her career, she wrote, "Yes - in a better understanding of people and events; and in the skills of communication through writing and talking and reading." Indeed, her numerous articles and two books conveyed her keen interest in and understanding of the world around her.
In a 1935 questionnaire sent to members of the class of 1923 prior to their reunion, Lathrop was asked to summarize her professional and personal life during the twelve years since graduation. Aside from the newspaper work described previously, she wrote, "Roving about as secretary to a playwright in Switzerland; handling mail in a tourist agency in Paris; press agent for a professional stock company in Asheville; free lancing, with a few accepted magazine articles; marriage & housekeeping; and since then free lancing, with occasional publicity work for stock companies, theatres, Chamber of Commerce, and last year for the celebration of first English settlement on Roanoke Island."
|Virginia Terrell, "Wisdom", Superlatives, 1923 yearbook|
Just prior to WWII, in 1938, Virginia Lathrop returned to her alma mater to serve on staff to begin the University News Bureau. By that time, she was an experienced journalist and had remained committed to the college as well as to freedom of education for all. She also was very active in her community by serving on boards or committees of the Red Cross, YWCA, Friends of the Library, Parent Teacher Association, and the Cub Scouts. During the war, Lathrop served in a civilian capacity as a regional director for the North Carolina War Finance Committee, a role in which she organized war bond sales for western North Carolina counties. War bonds were sold to finance the war and were advertised as a way for average citizens to protect liberty and democracy; no doubt this work was an extension of Lathrop's commitment to protecting freedom of education. In addition, Lathrop's first book, Educate a Woman: Fifty Years of Life at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, was published in 1942.
|Lathrop's first book published in 1942|
Lathrop was known as the unofficial university historian. Her second book about the university, Bricks and People: A Walking Guide to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was published in 1973. She even was invited to present a brief history of the university as the 1966 Commencement speaker, in which she extolled the virtues of the founder of the State Normal and Industrial College (later NCCW and now UNC Greensboro), Dr. Charles D. McIver.
|Virginia Terrell Lathrop|