September 19, 2017

Bowling Throws First Pitch for Flying Squirrels

Lisa Bowling, Vice President for Advancement and University Relations, threw the first pitch at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game on Wednesday, Aug. 9. The minor league baseball game was part of the Fredericksburg community night at the Diamond. Mary Washington alumni, parents and friends joined together to watch the team take on the Portland Sea Dogs, a Boston Red Sox Double-A Affiliate.

Award-Winning Accolades

Presenting the top university awards of 2017.

The Sky’s the Limit

Meet the University of Mary Washington’s undergraduate Class of 2017: 1,035 graduates boasting five types of degrees in countless areas of study. With freshly-minted diplomas in hand, where will our world-ready graduates go?

UMW’s Office of Career and Professional Development asked just that in its 2017 Exit Survey, which addressed post-graduation plans for the class of 2017. Here’s what we learned from the 727 responses:

More than half of the class know the next stop on their journey.

When the survey was taken several months ago, 18% of graduates had enrolled in a graduate program and 38% of graduates were already employed. Beyond that, another 15% had committed to military careers or volunteer service.

While master’s degrees top the list for higher education, students are also pursuing Ph.Ds, and J.Ds.

Although almost 80% of those headed to graduate school intend to receive a master’s we also have potential future lawyers and perhaps even professors in the mix.

The majority of students headed for graduate school are pursuing a degree in education.

True to our institution’s founding as a teacher’s preparatory school, a full 48% of our students pursuing continuing education reported that they are seeking a degree in education.

Grad Survey



Cap-tivating Stories

As the Class of 2017 marched onto Ball Circle for the University of Mary Washington’s 106th commencement ceremony, so did a parade of brightly decorated and eye-catching caps. More than just glue and fabric, the colorful decorations told the stories of the 1,035 soon-to-be alumni.

Courtney Burrows '17 Courtney Burrows '17

For first-generation student Courtney Burrows, commencement was a significant moment – and her decorated cap provided the perfect way to share the meaning of the day. Topped with bright blue flowers, her cap boasts the words, “Nevertheless she persisted.”

“My mom is also in school while working full time and we’ve been through a lot together,” said the history major who will stay at UMW to finish her master’s in education next year. “This phrase is something that means a lot to both of us.”

Brittany Olenslager '17 Brittany Olenslager '17

Name: Brittany Olenslager
HometownCulpeper, Virginia
Major: Environmental Science, Natural Track
Post-graduation: Hoping to work with the Culpeper Soil and Water District as a field technician

True to her academic career, Brittany Olenslager reflected her passion for the environment and love of the sciences while looking to the future.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart – this is one of my favorite Confucius quotes. I wanted something inspiring that looked to the future. The main goal of environmental scientists is to help the environment so I reflected that too.”

Chris Markham '17 Chris Markham '17

Name: Chris Markham
Hometown: Fluvanna, Virginia
Major: Journalism
Post-graduation: Pursuing a career in journalism

For journalism major and athlete Chris Markham, his cap was a way to look back on each area of his life at Mary Washington – writing for the Blue & Gray Press student newspaper, running track & field and running on the cross country team.

“My cap has my last race numbers for both track and cross country,” said Markham. “And it has the last story I wrote for the Blue & Gray Press.”

Megan Joslin '17 Megan Joslin '17 Megan Joslin '17

Name: Megan Joslin 
Hometown: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Major: History with a minor in education
Post-graduation: Pursuing a master’s degree in education at UMW

History major Megan Joslin took a quote from author Shel Silverstein to reflect a hope that she has for all students and added a shout-out to her mom and dad.

“The quote speaks to the hope that you can do anything if you try,” said Joslin. “My parents have been especially supportive so I added a thank you message to the bow.”

Ultimate Frisbee cap Robby Pratt '17 (left) and Zachary Norrbom '17 (right) Robby Pratt '17 (left) and Zachary Norrbom '17 (right)

Name: Zachary Norrbom
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Major: Studio art with a minor in education
Post-graduation: Pursuing a master’s degree in education at UMW

Ultimate Frisbee captain Zachary Norrbom teamed up with co-captain Robby Pratt to recognize the team that has made all the difference to their time at Mary Washington.

“Ultimate Frisbee is the best nonofficial sport there is,” said Norrbom. “Under the Frisbee, I have my number and “MOG” for “Mother of George,” the name of our team. I’ve been captain for two years now and will be returning next year as captain so this team means a lot to me.”

And under the regalia? The duo couldn’t help but sport their ‘lucky onesies.’

“We won a pumpkin carving contest our sophomore year and used the money to buy these onesies,” said Norrbom. “Then we wore them in our next Ultimate Frisbee game and won and they’ve been lucky ever since.”

What’s the story behind your cap? Share on social with #UMW17.

The Art of Curating

In the 1920s, Margaret Sutton was a small-town art student at Mary Washington, poised to graduate and move to New York City to pursue her dreams of being an artist. Ninety years later, her nearly 3,000 pieces of artwork make up almost half of UMW’s permanent collection.

Donated to the university following her death in 1990, Sutton’s expansive collection had only ever been publicly exhibited once before. Then this spring, a collaboration between the UMW Galleries and Department of Art and Art History provided the setting for the first-ever fully student-curated art exhibit – and Sutton’s return to the spotlight.

Open through June 29 in the Ridderhof Martin Gallery, Margaret Sutton: Life + Works introduces 30 student-selected pieces featuring a range of penciled cathedral drawings, bold watercolors and flowing musical interpretations. Researched, designed and planned by those in the Laboratory in Museum Studies course, the exhibit represents a unique approach that puts today’s students front and center as curators.

Margaret Sutton, student curated art show opening, Tuesday April 19, 2017. (Photo by Norm Shafer). Margaret Sutton, student curated art show opening, Tuesday April 19. Margaret Sutton, student curated art show opening, Tuesday April 19. Margaret Sutton, student curated art show opening, Tuesday April 19. Margaret Sutton, student curated art show opening, Tuesday April 19. Margaret Sutton, student curated art show opening, Tuesday April 19.

Part of the museum studies minor, the laboratory course provides a hands-on approach to the theoretical aspects of exhibit curation, including preparation, installation design and marketing. Each student was responsible for selecting and researching three of Sutton’s works and creating complimentary art labels, then they designed the physical layout of the exhibit and assisted with promotion.

Sutton, who majored in studio art at Mary Washington, moved after graduation to the big city, where she met fellow artist Alfred Levitt and his wife, Gertrude. The three lived together in a Greenwich Village apartment until Gertrude’s 1983 death. Sutton continued to live with Levitt until her own death.

“Margaret Sutton is a bit of a mystery,” said Elizabeth O’Meara, a sophomore and historic preservation major. “She kept many of her paintings under her bed and unlabeled, so we’ve had to research and put facts together to learn about the pieces.”

Leading the way through the intensive creative process was Professor of Art and Art History Marjorie Och. After a full semester of research, it was up to the class to fit their selected works together into the gallery and bring the Sutton exhibit to life.

“We have an empty space and we need to fill in the gaps,” said Och, referencing the bare gallery walls surrounding her class one week before the opening reception. “What will our audience see first? How can we draw people into her life and work?”

The class eagerly jumped in, voicing their ideas on the design and layout of the exhibit. As the student co-curators made decisions, Associate Professor of Studio Art and Gallery Specialist Rosemary Jesionowski, also a gallery specialist, guided them through the process of arranging the works. Two students donning blue latex gloves worked with precision, holding artwork from the side to provide support and always securing a new space for each piece before picking it up.

Students in the Laboratory in Museum Studies course discuss the layout and design of the exhibit. Students in the Laboratory in Museum Studies course discuss the layout and design of the exhibit. Students in the Laboratory in Museum Studies course discuss the layout and design of the exhibit. Students in the Laboratory in Museum Studies course discuss the layout and design of the exhibit. Students in the Laboratory in Museum Studies course discuss the layout and design of the exhibit.

Melding together all the aspects of curation – research, storytelling, design, installation and promotion – was important, said sophomore studio art major Amber Tranter.

“Being able to have this kind of hands-on experience solidified my decision to pursue museum studies.”

Margaret Sutton: Life + Work will be on display in UMW’s Ridderhof Martin Gallery through Thursday, June 29. The gallery is located on College Avenue at the Fredericksburg Campus and is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed during University holidays and breaks. Free parking for gallery visitors is designated in the lot on College Avenue at Thornton Street. For directions and gallery information, call 540-654-1013 or visit

UMW Presents on Anonymous Social Media at NASPA  

How do today’s students use social media? What happens when tweets and yaks take a bad turn? And most important, how can today’s administrators use social media to build a positive online community?

These trending questions posed by higher education professionals across the country were front and center during the University of Mary Washington’s presentation on anonymous social media at the national NASPA conference this past March. In a session co-presented with colleagues from Lewis & Clark College in Oregon and titled “Yik Yak, Attacks and Focusing Back on Inclusion: The Many Facets of Social Media on College Campuses,” UMW staff members shared real-world experiences interlaced with social media research on how to strategically build community on social media during crisis situations.

The four-person presentation panel included Mary Washington representatives Dr. Juliette Landphair, Vice President for Student Affairs; Erika Spivey, Assistant Director of Marketing; and Colin Coleman, Assistant Director of Residence Life. Joining the group from Lewis & Clark College was Dr. Anna Gonzalez, Dean of Students.

UMW Galleries to Host Student-Curated Exhibit of Alumna’s Work

The University of Mary Washington Galleries will host Margaret Sutton: Life + Work, a student-curated exhibition of the work of alumna Margaret Sutton ’26 in the Ridderhof Martin Gallery from April 19 through June 29. The opening reception will take place Wednesday, April 19 from 5-7 p.m. A closet artist during her lifetime, Sutton’s work was […]

Making (Brain) Waves

UMW peaks the charts in contemplative studies

The New Guy

Introducing a first-year experience like no other.

The New Guy

Introducing a first-year experience like no other.