March 3, 2024

Thank You and Farewell Message from President Hurley

Dear Friends,

As I prepare to retire from UMW, I write to say farewell and to thank you for support, kindness, and encouragement over the years.  When I arrived here sixteen years ago, I instantly knew that Mary Washington is a very special community—and my affection for this place has only continued to grow stronger.  The opportunity to serve as president for the past six years has been the single greatest honor of my life.  I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity.

When the Board of Visitors appointed me president in 2010, the University was in the midst of a period of sweeping change and leadership turmoil.  Following two abrupt presidential turnovers, my most pressing tasks were to restore stability and refocus our collective efforts in moving the institution forward.  Working with a talented leadership team, an amazingly gifted faculty, and a highly committed staff, I have given my best efforts to try and accomplish those tasks.  The overarching goal has been to move Mary Washington to the ranks of the nation’s very best public liberal arts and sciences universities.

As I look back over the last six years, I believe that together we have achieved much.  While there have been some difficult times and disappointments along the way, I hope that, on balance, UMW is in a better place.  And, as I reflect, here are just some of the areas in which we have made progress:

  • Accessibility—I have tried to be a visible and approachable presence on campus, attending many events, being out-and-about at UMW and in the community, actively participating in the intellectual and cultural life of the University, and opening the president’s home frequently to students, faculty, staff, and community.


  • Faculty and Staff Engagement—formation of bodies such as the Budget Advisory Committee, the President’s Council on Sustainability, the President’s Technology Advisory Committee, the Leadership Council, and the Staff Advisory Council has provided formal venues for greater faculty and staff input.  Faculty and staff have also been engaged in Strategic Resource Allocation and we have conducted University-wide surveys to gauge opinions and determine perceptions of institutional strengths and opportunities for improvement.


  • Student Experience—we have worked hard to enhance the quality of student life at UMW, to support and honor diversity, and grapple with critical issues such as sexual assault and misconduct, campus safety, and mental health concerns.


  • Visibility and Student Recruitment—we have made major strides in developing a coherent brand identity for UMW and upgrading and enhancing our structures for recruiting and enrolling quality students.  Investments in admissions and financial aid include development of a sophisticated customer relations management (CRM) system and building comprehensive, data-driven student recruitment and financial aid awarding methodologies.


  • Alumni Connections—the UMW alumni network has been strengthened, energized and engaged.  It has been a pleasure to meet so many hundreds of enthusiastic alumni at gatherings across the county and here on campus and through them I have been continually reminded of the special and lasting relationships with faculty and fellow students that are forged here.


  • Fundraising—private support is increasingly essential for achieving excellence. I am particularly proud that we have achieved our goal in the $50 million “Mary Washington First” campaign.  Funds have been raised to create dozens of new scholarships and provide support for other key initiatives.  I am grateful to all of the donors that have contributed to this effort.


  • Regional Engagement—ties to the community have been strengthened through formation of the Center for Economic Development, partnership with the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, the Transformation 20/20 economic development planning initiative, continuation of the work of the Town and Gown Committee, and regular engagement with various regional agencies and government officials.


  • Facilities—we have worked to preserve the beauty of UMW’s physical campuses while achieving educational and program enhancements through capital projects that include renovations and/or expansions to Monroe, Lee, Woodard, and Mercer Halls and the Randolph-Mason Complex; upgrading of several athletic and recreational Fields; construction of the Dahlgren Campus, the William M. Anderson Center, the Hurley Convergence Center, and the University Center.  In partnership with the UMW Foundation, we have added key residential space for students and contributed to the economic vitality of the region through the development of Eagle Village.


  • Government Relations—we have worked to forge strong positive relationships with key state legislators, executive branch officials, and executive staff to achieve institutional objectives.


  • Strategic Plan Implementation and Development—we achieved or set in motion most of the objectives of the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan and developed the Mary Washington 2020 plan.


  • Throughout my career in higher education, and certainly as your president, I have tried to consistently live my values of honesty, candor, hard work, humility, and respect for others.  I have had much joy along the way and have always tried to maintain a healthy sense of humor.  I hope that this will be my legacy.

But I am aware that any success I may have had is directly attributable to those who make up this special community—for this university to advance, it truly takes a village.  I again want to thank all of the extraordinary people who form our Mary Washington village.  You are its heart and soul and you make this place great.

I leave knowing that the University of Mary Washington is in good hands and is poised for even greater days to come.  Your new president, Troy Paino, will be an outstanding leader and I urge each of you to give him the same kind of support and encouragement you have given me.  Working together with President Paino, you will have a bright and exciting future ahead!

Thank you again and warmest best wishes.