July 1, 2015

Fiske College Guide Names UMW Among Nation’s Best

For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Mary Washington has been named as a “best buy” in the prestigious Fiske Guide to Colleges.  UMW is the only institution in Virginia and the District of Columbia to be awarded this distinction.

Nicole Crowder 1 (2)Mary Washington is among 44 public and private institutions designated as a “best buy,” delivering outstanding academics and the most reasonable prices. The selective guidebook features more than 300 colleges and universities. The listing was based on questionnaires sent to administrators and a cross-section of students.

UMW rates among 20 public and 24 private schools singled out as “best buys” in the 2016 edition of the guide.

“Mary Washington could easily be mistaken for one of Virginia’s elite private colleges. It offers just as much history and tradition—for a much lower price. . . On the selectivity chart, UMW ranks behind only UVA and William and Mary among Virginia public universities,” according to the Fiske Guide, which has been compiled annually under the direction of Edward B. Fiske, former education editor of the New York Times. “Mary Washington has gained a reputation as one of the premium public liberal arts colleges in the country and continues to attract bright students from around the globe.”

The Fiske Guide is available in bookstores and as an iPad app on iTunes and a web app on CollegeCountdown.com. For more information, visit http://www.collegecountdown.com/.

Deep Secrets

She was bound to a tree, beaten, and worse. Court records call her an “old Baptist colored woman.” Though we don’t know her name or much more about her, archaeologist Lauren McMillan ’08 believes it isn’t too late to learn.

University of Mary Washington Hosts Title IX Training

The University of Mary Washington will host a Civil Rights Investigator Training and Certification Level One Course July 8 and 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Stafford campus.

The training is presented by ATIXA, the Association of Title IX Administrators, and is open to all higher education institutions.

Training will provide foundational knowledge and skills for civil rights investigators, deputies and Title IX coordinators and administrators, with a focus on mastering the investigation of campus sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.

Participants must register by Friday, June 26 at http://bit.ly/1dZQ7gF.

For more information, contact Terri Lockhart at tlockhar@umw.edu or Amanda Tarczynski at amanda@atixa.org.

Feeding Their Brains

Kelly Murphy ’01 may be an unofficial expert on zombies, but in the event of a zombie apocalypse she’d probably be one of the first people to get infected. “I’ve often joked with my students that the likelihood of a biblical studies scholar surviving the initial zombie outbreak is pretty slim,” she said.

Market Manager

Shoppers picking through ripe tomatoes, sniffing fresh herbs and selecting fresh fish at local farmer’s markets are thinking of tonight’s dinner – not the details of the vendor’s transactions.

That’s been the focus of Alex Lindeman ’15, whose iPad app is making it easier to turn produce into profit.

Global Goodwill

Nabil Al-Tikriti doesn’t just teach about the Middle East, he lives it.

Aboard the Bourbon Argos rescue ship this month, the University of Mary Washington professor has seen the desperation of Eritrean, Bangladeshi, Palestinian, and Syrian refugees and migrants making the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Greece and Italy.  As a relief worker in Somalia, he witnessed how famine ravaged millions in the country during the ’90s. As an official observer, he experienced the emotional 2014 presidential election in Ukraine in the aftermath of the country’s violent revolution.

Gari Melchers Receives Travel Excellence Award

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont recently received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award for its consistent achievement of great travel reviews on the website.   Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont Ariel View Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given to accommodations, restaurants and attractions around the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.  Winners are determined through TripAdvisor’s proprietary algorithm that considers the quality and quantity of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period, as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site.  To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. “The certificate is a true source of pride for Gari Melchers Home & Studio,” said David Berreth, Director of the venue. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our museum and our continued commitment to excellence.” Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. For more information or to RSVP, contact Michelle Crow-Dolby, education and communications manager, at mdolby@umw.edu or (540) 654-1851.

High Flyer

Air travel guru Marion Blakey ’70 racks up corporate connections faster than frequent fliers collect miles. So when the soon-to-retire president and CEO of jet-engine giant Rolls-Royce North America asked her to lunch last winter, she took it in stride.

Every Vote Counts

Voting is a way of life for most people. Regaining the right to vote poses no easy task for convicted felons who have served time in prison.

Benjamin Hermerding aims to turn that around.

A political science major at the University of Mary Washington, Hermerding interns with the Commonweath’s Restoration of Rights Department  that restores voting rights to convicted felons who have served their prison time. Within the past few years, the Richmond Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office division has granted them more rights than in any other time in Virginia’s history, according to Hermerding.

Career Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater Address UMW Graduates

Career Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater urged University of Mary Washington graduates to embrace new challenges, take risks, value diversity and learn every day from people and situations throughout their life’s journey.

Career Ambassador Pamela Brigewater

Career Ambassador Pamela Brigewater

“On this day your dreams should be your only boundaries,” said Bridgewater during the University’s 2015 commencement address on Saturday, May 9.  “It’s never too late for your dreams to become opportunities.”

Bridgewater, who retired from active duty in the U.S. Diplomatic Service in 2013, said she dreamed of joining the Peace Corps after she graduated from Virginia State College to answer President Kennedy’s call for youth ambassadors. But the political science major was disappointed to find that the Corps needed volunteers with agriculture and other development skills for which she didn’t qualify.

Instead she took a different path, attending graduate school that led to a position as a university professor, until a friend cajoled her into trying a two-year tour of duty in the Foreign Service. That stint stretched to 34 years and led to a rewarding career where she became the first African-American female consul general in South Africa during the historic transition from Apartheid to a non-racial government and cemented a friendship with anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela who served as president of South Africa.

During her Foreign Service career, she helped open communication channels between the African National Congress and the U.S. and, as special coordinator for peace in Liberia at the height of a civil war, led a U.S. delegation to peace talks that set that country on a road to recovery. Bridgewater served as U.S. ambassador in three countries under three different presidents: President Bill Clinton appointed her U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Benin; President George W. Bush named her U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana, and President Obama appointed her as Ambassador to Jamaica.

Despite her distinguished career, Bridgewater told graduates that her most cherished award was being named an honorary Peace Corps Volunteer by the Peace Corps in Jamaica where she swore in Peace Corps volunteers.

“So you see, it’s never too late for your dreams to become a reality,” she said. “One setback can open opportunities more exciting than you thought and erase any disappointment you might encounter along the way.”

She shared what she called “Pam’s Principles” and urged graduates to believe in themselves and to be passionate about their journey ahead.

She challenged them to repeat the pledge: “I can make a difference, I must make a difference, I will make a difference. The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”