April 21, 2015

James Monroe Museum Acquires Previously Unknown Portrait of Fifth President

A previously unknown portrait of James Monroe—Revolutionary War hero, legislator, diplomat, Virginia governor and fifth president of the United States—will be exhibited for the first time on Saturday, April 25 at the James Monroe Museum.

James Monroe Portrait

James Monroe Portrait

The newest addition to the James Monroe Museum’s collection, the portrait will be on display for the celebration of the fifth president’s 257th birthday, which will feature live music and treats from 1 to 3 p.m. The celebration is free and open to the public.

The unsigned oil portrait depicts Monroe in 1820, roughly halfway through his two-term presidency that was called the “Era of Good Feelings.”

The painting was sold at a New Jersey auction in 2013 as a “portrait of a stately gentleman,” not identified as Monroe. In late 2014, it was purchased by Michael Meyer, owner of Meyer Fine Art in Yonkers, New York and brought to the James Monroe Museum for analysis and consideration of purchase. The museum purchased the Monroe portrait in March 2015 for $16,000, using private funds administered by the University of Mary Washington Foundation.  To offset this expenditure the museum is seeking institutional and individual donors, all of whom will be recognized as sponsors of the purchase.

The James Monroe Museum is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington. Founded in 1927, it is the nation’s largest repository of artifacts and documents related to the fifth president of the United States.

For more information about the museum’s hours of operation and directions, call 540-654-1043 or visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

UMW Initiates Test-Optional Admissions Provision

The University of Mary Washington will offer high-achieving prospective students the opportunity to opt out of providing standardized college admission tests with their application for enrollment. The University’s Board of Visitors approved the action during its April meeting.

Donald Rallis' geography class, Thursday Oct. 27, 2011. (Photo by Norm Shafer).Beginning with the 2015-16 recruitment period, high school students who have maintained at least a 3.5 grade point average have the option of waiving submission of their SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) scores when applying for admission to the university. Previously, UMW required either SAT or ACT scores for students to be considered for admission.

Students applying for merit-based scholarships would be ineligible for this program.

“High school GPAs are by far one of the strongest predictors of college success,” said Kimberley Buster-Williams, associate provost for enrollment management and admissions. “We welcome the opportunity to consider admission for students who perhaps do not test well or for whom a standardized test doesn’t reflect their true potential.”

Strong academic students traditionally pursue a rigorous high school curriculum that includes college-level courses, Buster-Williams said.

She added that the most compelling reason for instituting a test-optional policy is to enhance the diversity of the student body. Data reveals that schools with test-optional policies often see increased applications from minorities, women, Pell-eligible students, first-generation college students and students with learning differences. In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that high school GPA is a better indicator of student success in college than standardized test scores.

Currently, more than 800 colleges and universities no longer require the submission of standardized test scores in admission decisions, according to Fair Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

To be considered for admission to UMW, any student who applies to UMW must submit a high school transcript, essay and letters of recommendation.

Students to Celebrate Research and Creativity, April 24

Do polymers provide a cure for cancer? Should college be free? Is recycling plastic environmentally friendly?

Art 15 (2)These quandaries are a sampling of issues that nearly 400 students from the University of Mary Washington will tackle at the Undergraduate Student Research and Creativity Day Symposium on Friday, April 24.

The event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on students’ last day of class, will be located at the Information and Technology Convergence Center (ITCC), with related activities taking place in other academic buildings. The Ridderhof and duPont galleries displaying student artwork will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The symposium, now in its ninth year, represents students from 20 major disciplines, including natural sciences, humanities, modern and ancient languages, social sciences, visual and performing arts, mathematics and computer science. Students will present their works to other UMW students, faculty and the community.

According to Grant Woodwell, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, the symposium gives students the outlet to present their semester-long research in a creative way.

“The day helps to highlight the best that we have to offer as an institution of liberal arts and sciences,” said Woodwell. “We are justly proud of the many students who engage in independent learning activities and have had the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor.”

The Research and Creativity Day Symposium, which began in 2007, has changed locations over the years, most recently taking place at Jepson Hall in 2014. The ITCC will serve as home to the symposium this year, and is projected to be a permanent location for the event in the future.

Woodwell, who also organized the event, is excited to bring students’ research to life utilizing the ITCC’s space and resources.

“We are looking forward to a spacious display of posters distributed throughout the ITCC,” said Woodwell. “The space will allow better interaction between the student authors and their visitors.”

For more information on the Research and Creativity Day Symposium, visit the event’s website or contact Woodwell at gwoodwel@umw.edu.

President Richard V. Hurley to Retire in 2016

At a meeting of the University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors today, President Richard V. Hurley announced his plan to retire, effective June 30, 2016. Hurley, who has served as UMW’s ninth president since July 1, 2010, has made clear his desire to spend more quality time with his family. Prior to being named president, he had already announced his retirement plans. At that point, he had served Mary Washington for a decade in various positions, including executive vice president and chief financial officer, and twice as acting president.

President Richard V. Hurley

President Richard V. Hurley

Hurley, who has presided over the institution during a time of nearly unprecedented capital expansion, indicated that he is announcing his plans now to ensure that the Board of Visitors has sufficient time to conduct a national search to name his successor. “I believe that 2016 is the right time, both for the University and for me, to effect this transition,” he said. “I am confident that I will have achieved the primary goals I established for my presidency, including the completion of our $50 million Mary Washington First campaign.”

In his statement to the Board, Hurley noted that after a long and diverse career in higher education, he especially looks forward to spending time with his wife, Rose, who also has been a tireless ambassador for UMW, their three adult children, and seven grandchildren ­–– all of whom reside in the Richmond, Virginia, area.

Holly T. Cuellar ’89, Rector and spokesperson for the Board of Visitors, said, “The Board sadly accepts President Hurley’s announcement to retire. He truly has been a transformative leader on our campus and a visionary in higher education.”

“He has advanced the University of Mary Washington and the institution’s ability to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond,” Cuellar continued. “History will show that his tenure as president was the perfect pairing of strategic vision, innovation, and productivity.

“Obviously,” she added, “while we will miss President Hurley and Rose, the Board wishes his family all the best in retirement and offers gratitude for their service to the University and to the Commonwealth.”

As President, Hurley has been responsible for implementation of the University’s 2009-2014 Strategic Plan, as well as launching the development of a new strategic plan that will be announced this year. He has directed numerous facilities and capital projects, including construction of the Anderson Center convocation and athletics arena, as well as the design and construction of Mary Washington’s third campus, the Dahlgren Campus Center for Education and Research in King George County. Other facilities improvements under his leadership include numerous building renovation and expansion projects, completion of the newly-opened 72,000 square-foot Information and Technology Convergence Center, and design and construction of the 100,000 square-foot University Center, which will open this fall.

Hurley serves as a board member of the University of Mary Washington Foundation where he played a key role in the acquisition and development of the Eagle Village mixed-use venture. Eagle Village includes apartments housing 600 UMW students, a pedestrian bridge spanning Route 1, commercial retail and office space, a parking facility, and a Hyatt Place Hotel. This partnership between the University, the UMW Foundation, and the City of Fredericksburg has been highly acclaimed as a model of effective public-private partnership, successful regional economic development, and community revitalization.

Beyond campus, Hurley is recognized as an active community leader and is strongly committed to regional engagement and economic development. He has served as chair of the board of directors of the Rappahannock United Way, a director of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the board of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance. President Hurley formed the UMW Center for Economic Development and has engaged a wide variety of community and business leaders in the development of a regional economic development plan. Hurley also established the Town and Gown Committee, a group of University and city officials and citizens, who work to strengthen the University’s relationships with the community.

Earlier this year, he received the Chamber’s Prince B. Woodard Leadership Award, annually presented to an individual who has provided a lifetime of service to the Fredericksburg region.

On a statewide level, Hurley has served as chair of the Virginia Council of Presidents, and he was appointed by the governor to Virginia’s Higher Education Advisory Committee. According to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, “President Hurley’s unwavering leadership, thoughtful approach, and dedication to engagement at all levels will be sorely missed.”

Hurley has been a hands-on and highly visible president, engaging regularly with students and visitors to campus. He helps out on move-in day, shows up in the student dining room, occasionally calls Bingo, assists with student service projects, and enjoys attending University events, such as sports contests, plays, concerts, lectures, and student programs.

During his presidency, the University of Mary Washington has continued to garner widespread media recognition as one of the nation’s best public liberal arts and sciences universities and one of the top values in higher education. Hurley is proud that UMW boasts some of the highest student retention and graduation rates among institutions of its type.

A native of New Jersey, Hurley earned a bachelor of science in environmental studies from Richard Stockton College, now Stockton University. He received a master of arts in public administration from Central Michigan University. He also holds certificates and diplomas from the University of Kentucky and Harvard University.

Princeton Review Ranks UMW as a Green College

The University of Mary Washington has been ranked among the nation’s top “green colleges” in a report published Thursday, April 16, 2015. The ranking appears in the 2015 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges.

The University of Mary Washington was recognizedPhotographed April 20, 2010. (Photo by Norm Shafer) for its robust on-campus sustainability program, which has been spearheaded by the UMW Sustainability Office and the President’s Council on Sustainability. The Princeton Review also recognized UMW for the following achievements:

  • 100 percent of new campus construction has been LEED-certified.
  • 18 percent of the university’s food budget is spent on local and organic food.
  • The university has a waste diversion rate of 30 percent.
  • 10 percent of graduates have taken a sustainability-related academic course.

“We strongly recommend the University of Mary Washington and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges,” said The Princeton Review’s Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher.

In the past year, UMW has participated in Virginia’s 2015 RecycleMania competition, hosted community shred events and collaborated with the City of Fredericksburg on a campaign against cigarette butt litter. Mary Washington received international recognition in the annual RecycleMania competition and was named a Virginia Green Travel Leader. Currently, the university is working on a Tree Campus USA designation for the Fredericksburg campus, a certification awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation.

This annual publication identifies colleges with exemplary commitments to sustainability. Selected from nearly 900 institutions, each school is rated based on a 2014 survey of college administrators that asked about sustainability-related policies, practices and programs.

To see the full list of institutions included in the guide, visit www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.

Scanning Through History

It’s the ultimate combination of old and new.

Decked out in full body armor as a gladiator from the ancient Roman Empire, Senior Harry Rol clamps on his helmet and steps onto a 3-D printing scanner in the University of Mary Washington’s 21st century classroom known as the ThinkLab.

“You really look the part,” said Associate Professor of Classics Joe Romero, as Rol strikes a pose, knees bent with shield and sword at the ready.

UMW Converges Time and Technology in 80’s Exhibit

The University of Mary Washington is converging time and technology with its interactive “Console Living Room” exhibit, a collection of 1980’s technology on display through May 2015.

Featuring more than 100 video games, movies and technologies, the exhibit is arranged within a 1980’s living room set-up. Located on the fourth floor of the Information and Technology Convergence Center (ITCC), the interactive exhibit is a space for all visitors to play with the games.

Click to view slideshow.

The exhibit illustrates the evolution of technology. Today most people play games on mobile phones or high end, specialized devices, but it wasn’t always that way. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, video games were flourishing in the public spaces of video arcades, but the mass production of home media consoles led to gaming as a home family activity.

“The consoles in this exhibit are a piece of our shared digital history,” said Jim Groom, executive director of teaching and learning technologies. “They’re a pre-cursor to the technology we take for granted now.”

Situated in the ITCC, the site highlights the history and evolution of technology by contrasting original video games and movies on vinyl with the building’s state-of-the-art structure.

“This building, the Convergence Center, is about converging information technology for the future,” said Zach Whalen, associate professor of English. “But historically, new media converged within the technological ecosystems of living rooms everywhere.”

According to Groom, there is a story in the technology that is no longer around today.

“A lot of this is forgotten technology,” said Groom. “Take, for example, RCA’s Selecta-A-Vision videodiscs.” He points to a bunch of over-sized vinyl video platters against the paneled walls that resemble floppy discs. “That failed format captures a bizarre hybrid of analog and digital that represents a transitional moment in consumer technology in the 80s.”

The exhibit’s collection includes well-known video games like Space Invaders, Pitfall and the original Super Mario Brothers. Among the video collection are movies both on VHS and videodisc, such as the copy of Footloose vinyl videodiscs from 1984.

Other institutions also have created exhibits featuring older technologies including the University of Colorado Boulder, which has a media archeology lab. For Whalen, the ability to interact with the exhibit was key to the design.

“Accessibility was a key factor in designing the exhibit,” said Whalen. “We want students to be able to play the games and appreciate how far technology has come.”

For more information about the exhibit or donations to the collection, visit http://www.consolelivingroom.net/. Join the conversation on Twitter with #UMWConsole.

UMW Students Win Art Awards

The University of Mary Washington Department of Art and Art History announced its student awards at the opening reception of the Annual Student Art Exhibition at the duPont Gallery on Wednesday, April 8.

IMG_9849Senior Taylor White of Stafford received the Melchers Gray Purchase Award for his video “A Lawful Order.” The work will become part of the university’s permanent collection.

Senior Marie Firth of Vienna received the Emil Schnellock Award in Painting for her painting “Peggy Childers.” The Department of Art and Art History presents this award each year to recognize excellence in painting.

Senior Khirstie Smith of Spotsylvania was presented the Anne Elizabeth Collins Award for her piece, “June Beach.”

The following students also received awards at the exhibition’s opening ceremony:

  • Maddox Palmer of Arlington received an award of excellence
  • Christine Valvo of Stafford received an award of excellence
  • Ashley Most of Front Royal received an award of excellence
  • Katie Frazier of Lexington received the Art History Award for Outstanding Research
  • Alyssa Hughes of Chesapeake received The Melchers Award for Excellence in Art History

Tosha Grantham, curator of Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, selected works for the exhibition from more than 100 submissions and chose the recipients of awards of excellence, along with the Melchers Gray Purchase Award, Emil Schnellock Award in Painting and the Ann Elizabeth Collins Award.

The Student Art Exhibition will run through Sunday, April 26 in the duPont Gallery, located on College Avenue at Thornton Street. The exhibition is open to the public without charge and selected works are for sale.

The duPont Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Free parking is designated for gallery visitors in a lot across College Avenue at Thornton Street.

For more information about the UMW Galleries, visit http://www.umwgalleries.org/.

UMW to Host Fredtech’s Fourth Annual STEM Summit, April 25

The University of Mary Washington will host Fredtech’s fourth annual STEM16 Summit, a showcase of regional initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, on Saturday, April 25.

ChemistryThe summit will feature a keynote address and more than 50 booths highlighting the achievements and offerings of the region’s students, educators, and businesses in the STEM arena. The event is organized by Fredtech, the Technology Council for the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. The free public event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Anderson Center.

Keynote speaker Jason Kring, an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has previously been featured on TEDx talks on subjects such as building a home for space and searching for the ideal crew for manned mission to Mars. Kring is currently working on MEERS, Embry-Riddle’s Mobile Extreme Environmental Research Lab. He received his doctorate in applied experimental and human factors psychology from the University of Central Florida.

The summit is the region’s largest STEM event, connecting the region’s educators, students, public officials and businesses. This year, the summit is expected to represent more than 40 secondary schools, the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren.

Keith Mellinger, professor of mathematics at UMW, sees the university as a key player in having students apply science in their future careers.

“UMW is a recognized leader in developing the next generation of scientists,” said Mellinger. “Higher education plays a critical role in the pipeline from high school to the working world.  UMW’s involvement in the summit demonstrates its commitment to strengthening this pipeline.”

The event is sponsored by UMW, SimVentions, WGRQ SuperHits 95.9, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Lockheed Martin.

For more information, to register or to purchase booth space, contact Sheri Wikert at sheri@fredericksburgchamber.org or (540) 373-9400.

UMW Environmental Science Professor Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Melanie Szulczewski, associate professor of Earth and environmental Sciences at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive a prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant. Szulczewski will use the grant to conduct research at the University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland.

Melanie Szulczewski, associate professor of Earth and environmental Sciences

Melanie Szulczewski, associate professor of Earth and environmental Sciences

Szulczewski is one of two professors at UMW to receive the Fulbright Scholarship this year. Julius Esunge, assistant professor of mathematics, will be traveling to Buea, Cameroon to construct and compare predictive models for healthcare costs and to teach classes at the University of Buea.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau. The scholarship program gives professors the opportunity to conduct research and network with other professors from around the world.

While in Poland, Szulczewski will study ecosystem restoration on former mining sites with Marcin Pietrzykowski, professor and researcher of forest ecology at the University of Agriculture in Krakow. Pietrzykowski previously received a Fulbright Scholarship to work at Virginia Tech in the 2013-2014 academic year.

“This opportunity to work with him will enhance my field and analytical skills,” said Szulczewski. “It will benefit both of our research groups and add to the knowledge base for rehabilitating thousands of contaminated mining sites worldwide.”

Szulczewski, an environmental scientist who specializes in soil chemistry, came to UMW in 2008. Prior to teaching at UMW, Szulczewski received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and French literature from Cornell University. Szulczewski also received both a master’s degree in soil science and a doctorate in soil science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.