November 20, 2017

Fredericksburg Educator Receives Metzger Award

Marci Catlett, deputy superintendent for Fredericksburg City Public Schools, received the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award at the UMW Leadership Colloquium on Thursday, Nov. 2. “Her character, including her personal and professional integrity, are beyond reproach,” said Martha O’Keefe, dean of Workforce and Development for Germanna Community College, who presented Catlett with the award. […]


Musicians and music enthusiasts will fill the University of Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m., for Jazz4Justice™, a special concert hosted by the UMW Jazz Ensemble. This special concert, sponsored by the Fredericksburg Area Bar Association and Legal Aid Works℠, will donate the net proceeds to benefit the UMW Jazz […]

UMW Launches STOP Hunger Food Drive

The University of Mary Washington will launch its 12th annual STOP Hunger Food drive to alleviate hunger in the local community. Donation bins will be placed throughout the Fredericksburg campus from Saturday, Nov. 4, until Monday, Nov. 13. In addition, a curbside collection will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 […]

UMW Theatre Brings Little Shop of Horrors to Klein Theatre

The University of Mary Washington’s Department of Theatre and Dance will continue its 2017-18 season with Little Shop of Horrors, featuring music by Alan Menken and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Performances will take place Nov. 2-4, Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 15-18 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 at […]

UMW Philharmonic Hosts Irish Tenors for Holiday Pops

The famed Irish Tenors will join the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic for its annual Holiday Pops Concert on Friday, Dec. 8. The performance, titled “We Three Kings,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium, located in George Washington Hall on the Fredericksburg campus. The concert has been a cherished Fredericksburg tradition for […]

Melissa Yakabouski: ‘Open House’ Party

As a Mary Washington student in the early ’90s, Melissa Yakabouski was leading campus tours and events for the Admissions office. She couldn’t have known then that more than two decades later, she’d be doing the same thing at Saturday’s UMW Open House. From counselor to director of undergraduate admissions, she’s held an array of responsibilities, even coordinating UMW’s first open houses, called “Super Saturdays.” The one-day events take a year to plan, draw hundreds of guests, and call for plenty of “planning and tweaking,” but Yakabouski’s got it down pat.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski talks with a student staff member

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski talks with a student staff member

Q: What’s a fun alternate name for your position?
A: Chief Plate Spinner

Q: How long have you worked in UMW Admissions?
A: I’m a Mary Washington grad who never left.  But I’m not one to say, “that’s how we’ve always done it.” We have to be innovative and forward-looking in this competitive landscape.

Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: When students have that a-ha moment and you can see they feel at home here.

Q: You play a major role in deciding who gets accepted to UMW. What are the three top adjectives to describe the type of student you’re looking for?
A: Self-motivated, Academic, Engaged

Q: What do you love most about Open House?
A: Honestly, my favorite part is the end of the day when we know we’ve put on a great event, when families walk away with a high-quality introduction to UMW. I’m very proud of Mary Washington and what we offer. I want to do that justice in how we present ourselves to prospective students and guests.

Q: What’s the most tedious task that goes into planning an Open House?
A: Academic Showcase sign set-up is my least favorite part of the day. My secret talent is setting up and breaking down tables, chairs and signs, all while wearing heels and a suit. Seriously, I have a highly skilled, professional team. Planning and running the day successfully is way more about them than me.

Q: What’s one memorable event from a past Open House?
A: At one event, where I help manage bathroom traffic, I engaged a dad in conversation and indicated I was with Admissions. Later that morning after I was onstage introducing the president and other speakers, he found me and said, “you didn’t tell me you were in charge of Admissions.” Nope, I’m just another Admissions team member on bathroom duty.

UMW Steals the Show on Fox 5

Ball Circle lit up a little earlier than usual last Friday, Oct. 20, when News Channel 5 came to the Fredericksburg campus. A four-hour shoot – aired live all morning long on the Washington, D.C., station – showcased Mary Washington spirit, tradition and vision. The first news crew arrived at 4:30 a.m. – with lights, […]

Talk to Focus on Immigration in America

Three UMW professors will lead a “Coffee & Conversation” presentation on immigration in America tonight – Wednesday, Oct. 25 – at 5 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 411. Co-sponsored by the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the Diversity and Unity Coordinating Committee (DUCC), the talk will touch on the politics and opinions surrounding immigration in […]

Cabot Creamery Executive Shares How to Dance Among Giants

Alumna Roberta MacDonald credits the University of Mary Washington with giving her the tools it took to help launch her extraordinary 40-year marketing career. She’s served as Vermont’s first marketing director and worked for such heavy-hitters as the San Francisco Opera, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, American Express and the Vietnam […]

Jeremy Vaughn: Breathing Lessons

As the four short days of Fall Break come to an end, you can hear a whoosh sound — not from leaves falling, but from Jeremy Vaughn doing his breathing exercises. As Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Vaughn is the force behind the weekend of Homecoming festivities. Of course, the week before is hectic for him and others who work diligently behind the scenes to make sure each event runs smoothly. But Vaughn employs the same breathing exercises he uses as a musician. He turns stress into a motivator.

Jeremy Vaughn

Q: How did you get involved with alumni programming?

A: I credit my UMW liberal arts education for this opportunity, since I work in a field not quite related to my two majors. After graduating in 2008, I was working an unpaid internship doing curatorial work at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and needed a job to support myself. A few years of working this full-time job landed me a position as director of membership and fundraising-related programs. I am quite fortunate to have this fantastic job with Alumni Relations. They are a team of amazing people.

Q: What’s your favorite part of planning for Homecoming week?

A: I’m a sucker for the little things that make an event fun. This year, we have new custom wristbands with snap-off drink tickets that say “BEER ME.” It’s a small detail but I hope it gets a chuckle each time they use it at the bar.

Q: What are you looking forward to during Homecoming week?

A: I’d have to say my favorite part of any alumni event is watching alumni of different ages interacting and having a blast. We hold a happy hour on the Friday before Homecoming at Home Team Grill, which seems to attract a higher percentage of the older alumni. The brunch is a good mix of all ages, while the tailgate has a lot of younger alumni.

Q: Are there any Homecoming horror stories or funny stories you’d like to share?

A: If you were to ask any alumni this question, I’m sure you’d get some excellent answers for both. There are, of course, some legendary stories I can’t disclose, but to get these you should probably just come to Homecoming and hear them for yourself!