May 31, 2023

A Bittersweet Farewell

My name is Cathy Finn-Derecki and I have had the privilege of working at UMW for the past 12 years, most of the time in the capacity of managing our public web presence. Other opportunities beckon, and it’s time I move on to a position closer to home in Charlottesville. I leave with a full heart and enormous gratitude for what was given to me here. The people here had faith in me, guided me and followed along with me on a ride that was truly exciting, creative, at times infuriating, but never, ever boring.

UMW gave my life a new direction that I had not anticipated when I first arrived. As John Lennon says, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” No phrase defines my life at Mary Washington more succinctly than that. And the life that has happened here, for me, is far beyond any plans I could have hatched.

Thank you, UMW, for giving me a home. Keep up with my steady stream of unsolicited opinions as I move out of UMW Blogs and into my new domain, Twitter:, Facebook:

One parting thought: If I could change the UMW tagline in one way, it would be this: “Where great minds get to play.” When work is play, you truly have something to be grateful for.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.


  1. Anna Billingsley says

    Thanks for all your contributions, Cathy. We all wish you well in this new chapter of your life.

  2. Thank you for all of your support over the years. I wish you the best and lots of play in this next phase of your life.

  3. Cathy, I wish you the very best in your new adventure! Thank you for watching the Bookstore’s site for us, and keeping us “on top.” Thank you for all of your contributions to UMW. You are a joy to work with, and I will miss you.
    My best to you.
    Kathy S. (aka Kathy U.)

  4. Linda Thornton says

    It’s been a pleasure working with you. Your talents extend from the songs that you and Dana composed to the more serious side of implementing MS SharePoint. I learned a lot and laughed a lot. Enjoy your new job and having more time with your family.
    Thanks for playing with us,