July 19, 2024

Celebrating NCAA Division III Week

UMW Community,

Today we begin a weeklong recognition of UMW’s student-athletes as we celebrate the NCAA’s Division III week. Athletics is an important component of life at the University of Mary Washington, and each day this week we will be featuring comments from student-athletes competing in various sports. UMW student-athletes play for the love of the game – they do not receive athletic scholarships. Each day a different student-athlete will be featured.

Samantha Partonen is a senior basketball player from Burke, Va., majoring in English and in the Secondary Education program. When asked why she chose to attend UMW and play basketball for a DIII school, she replied:

“When deciding on which college I was going to attend, I considered two major factors: basketball and academics. I went back and forth trying to decide which one was more important to me, which one I felt needed to drive the decision behind where I would spend the most important four years of my life. Luckily for me, when I found the University of Mary Washington, I realized that I didn’t have to make a decision between the two – I could have both. As a student athlete at UMW I have learned not only the importance of dedication to my sport and to my teammates, but also the importance of dedication to the classroom and my peers. Being at a Division III school, people may know me for my role on a CAC championship winning team, or they may have heard how many points I scored on any given night. I would hope that in my four years I have established my place as an athlete. However, I have also been somebody’s partner in a science lab, a member of a group for multiple different projects, and an editor of papers for many of my peers. In my four years, I also hope that I have established my place as a student. I take both of these roles very seriously, and it is with great pride that I will graduate in just a couple of months with the prestigious title of a student-athlete. When I look back on my time at UMW, I will remember the memories I had on the court: the camaraderie, the bonds I have formed, the wins and even the losses. I will also look back on the memories off of the court: engaging group discussions in class, papers I have written with pride and professors who turned into life mentors. I do not know which of these two sets of memories will be most important to me, but thanks to UMW I do know that I don’t have to decide between them.”

Thank you, Sam, and all of our UMW student-athletes who are here first and foremost to receive a quality liberal arts-focused education but who also compete for UMW in their chosen sports.


Thank you for your support of UMW Athletics.

Lynne Richardson

Faculty Athletic Representative

Dean, College of Business