The University of Mary Washington presented its top honors during commencement ceremonies Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12.
Dawn S. Bowen, professor of geography, was presented the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipient is routinely a senior member of the faculty.
Edward Hegmann, newly-named Director and Professor of Athletics, Health and Physical Education Emeritus, was presented the Washington Medallion, one of the university’s most prestigious awards that recognizes an individual who has served Mary Washington with exceptional dedication.
Rosemary K. Jesionowski, assistant professor of art, received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, which is presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five years.
Gary N. Richards, assistant professor of English, received the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award. The winner is selected by the graduating class as the faculty member “whom they will most likely remember as the one who had the greatest impact on their lives.”
Mukesh Srivastava, associate professor of management systems, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award, which recognizes an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at the university for at least two years.
Bowen, a 1986 graduate of Mary Washington, is an award-winning scholar in the field of human geography and regional geography of Eastern and Western North America. A member of the UMW staff since 1991, Bowen is known for her love of travel and culture.
Students say Bowen’s passion for geography and her commitment to teaching are evident in her extensive research trips to Latin America, the Caribbean and North America which she has used to create new courses at UMW. During spring break, she leads students on a week-long trip to Guatemala to visit Maya communities and complete a reforestation project.
The author of more than two dozen publications, Bowen has presented her research at conferences across North America. In 2004, she received Mary Washington’s Richard Palmieri Outstanding Professor Award and the Excellence in Teaching Award given by the Academic Affairs Council.
She has chaired several faculty committees, including the President’s Task Force on Sustainability. She has been a consistent sponsor of the Young Women Leader’s Program, and a Faculty Advisor to the Honor Council. In 2009 she received the Henry Douglas Distinguished Service Award for the Research, Publication, and Teaching of Material Culture from the Association for the Preservations of Artifacts and Landscapes of the Pioneer American Society.
“She is recognized across UMW for the quality and range of her teaching, and for her commitment to the welfare of her students,” said Richard Finkelstein, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “While supervising a large number of honors and independent studies projects, she does well more than her share of one-on-one instruction over and above her regular assignments.”
Longtime UMW Athletic Director Edward Hegmann will retire at the end of May after 36 years at the helm of athletics at Mary Washington. Since 1976, he has overseen the expansion of the program at UMW from six sports to 23, acted as a major catalyst in the development of the facilities at UMW and watched 22 of the school’s 23 programs advance to national championship competition.
Hegmann directed the women’s tennis team for 23 years and led the Eagles to three national championships, including the AIAW national title in 1982 and the NCAA Division III titles in 1988 and 1991. He gained eight Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year awards and captured nine straight CAC championships after the league was formed in 1990 through his retirement as coach in 1999. He was named the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year in 1988 and again in 1999. In 1999, he was inducted into the MWC/UMW Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women’s Collegiate Tennis National Hall of Fame.
Hegmann was integral to the planning for several campus athletic facilities, including the Battleground Athletic Complex, the UMW Indoor Tennis Center, the 150,000-square-foot Fitness Center and the newly opened William M. Anderson Center.
“The Washington Medallion is awarded to recognize one who’s extraordinary service to the university has made a lasting an indelible impact on Mary Washington,” said Daniel K. Steen, rector of the Board of Visitors, noting Hegmann’s profound impact on countless students.
Since joining the UMW faculty in 2008, Jesionowski has made distinctive contributions to the Department of Art and Art History while also carrying out projects that have resonated throughout the regional community. She teaches courses in photography, printmaking and digital media and is an active member of the Richmond art community.
Described by her students as a “gifted and dedicated educator,” Jesionowski has brought her students to visual arts conferences, created internships and exhibition opportunities at off-campus locations and rebuilt UMW’s printmaking and photography studios. In addition, she was the curator of UMW’s first digital media exhibition.
An accomplished artist, Jesionowski has exhibited her work in galleries in every region of the country, including New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. She is the author of “500 Handmade Books: A Celebration of Contemporary Art Forms.”
Jesionowski is a founding member of the Women and Gender Studies program at UMW. She has brought visiting artists to campus and engaged former students through alumni workshops.
“She has strengthened our students’ awareness that the making of art is a rigorous conceptual and technical investigation,” said Richard Finkelstein, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “By promoting a free dialogue between senior artists and students, she has fostered in our emerging artists the development of their own critical vocabulary well-suited to our education in the liberal arts and sciences.”
Richards, an expert on American literature, Southern literature and culture and sexuality studies, joined the UMW faculty in 2008. His creative and unique approach to teaching paired with his engaging style make courses like American Humor and Sexuality in Southern Literature popular.
Students cite his dedication, eagerness and passion for teaching students in and outside of the classroom. He is known to keep his office door open for impromptu discussions and meetings and to schedule exam review sessions outside of regular class sessions.
Richards has presented papers and talks on literary topics at numerous scholarly conferences, and he has organized and chaired sessions at various literary festivals, conferences and meetings. His book, “Lovers and Beloveds: Sexual Otherness in Southern Fiction, 1936-1961,” was named Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2005. He recently served as an expert for the Biography Channel on authors Harper Lee, William Faulkner and Truman Capote.
He has served on the University Curriculum Committee, as faculty advisor of the UMW chapter of PRISM and as president of the Kappa chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
“His students, advisees, and others who have interacted with him unanimously agree that he is one of the most available professors on campus and someone to whom we can all relate,” said Luisa Dispenzirie, a 2012 graduate.
Since 2004, Mukesh Srivastava has developed and taught 14 different courses at UMW, including strategic management in information systems and innovation, knowledge management systems, business intelligence, management of emerging technologies, and enterprise resource planning systems.
Students and colleagues praise Srivastava’s energy and dedication to the College of Business graduate programs, noting his enthusiasm in the classroom and his real-world applications to course material.
He is the author of “eLearning Via The Internet: An Empirical Study” as well as numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and in referred conference proceedings in his field. He founded the Association of Global Management Studies, an international organization that seeks to develop theoretical and practice knowledge in all global business fields. In October 2011, Srivastava spent five weeks at the University of Tunis in Tunisia as part of a prestigious Fulbright Specialist Grant.
In addition to his role as a professor, Srivastava serves as associate dean of the College of Business, focusing on the MBA and MS/MIS programs.
“Srivastava is the complete package – a gifted teacher who wants his students to learn, the most prolific researcher in the College of Business and a servant to his colleagues, both at UMW and in his profession,” said Provost Ian Newbould.