December 1, 2020

Margaret Mock: Buy the Book

Margaret Mock knew she wanted to end up at the University of Mary Washington when she arrived in Fredericksburg 50 years ago this month. She was a young mother, living in Marye’s Heights and pushing a baby stroller around the nearby campus.

“One day,” she told her friend, “I’m going to work here.”

She did – the first time from 1976 to 1979 as a part-time administrative assistant and coordinator of guides at Gari Melchers Home and Studio. In the fall of 1987, she landed a full-time role in what was then UMW’s two-person public information office with Ron Singleton, now emeritus vice president for University Relations.

Margaret Mock has held many roles at UMW since 1976, including director of news and media relations. Today, she works part-time in the bookstore.

Margaret Mock has held many roles at UMW since 1976, including director of news and media relations. Today, she’s the trade book specialist at the bookstore.

Mock worked her way to director of news and media relations. When she retired in 2006, she never really left. For the next several years, she worked on the university’s centennial celebration part-time.

Today, you can find her at least three mornings a week in the university bookstore, where she works as the trade book specialist. Mock also runs a book club on campus, so if you want in, be sure to stop by and ask her about it.

Q: What drew you to the field of education?
A: When I was a little girl, I played school all the time. I loved school. One of my teachers caught me after school in fourth grade writing on the blackboard.

Q: Did you ever make it to be a teacher?
A: I taught history for seven years at Stafford High School.

Q: Of your roles at UMW, what’s been your favorite?
A: I liked all of them. Even though it was very hectic in news and information, it was enjoyable. I learned a lot. One of the advantages of working for a college or university is the educational opportunities. My favorite thing, in all the world, is taking classes. I took several at UMW to help me acquire the skills that could help me in my job.

Q: What do you like best about your job in the bookstore?
A: I like going to events. I like book signings and meeting authors. The trade book section is a small but important part of the bookstore’s overall operation. We are the community outreach, coordinating events when departments bring in authors.

Q: How do you think the bookstore contributes overall to the university?
A: Obviously, people can order books online. But there can be problems with that. It doesn’t come, or it doesn’t come in time. We will stock the books the professors tell us they’re going to be using. They will be here. It’s also a social hub. Students love to come in and get their Mary Washington gear. I can’t imagine a campus without a bookstore.

Mock also runs a campus book club, which meets four times a year.

Mock also runs a campus book club, which meets four times a year.

Q: What’s the title of the best book you’ve ever read?
A: That’s tough. There are so many good ones. We’ve read lots and lots of good books in our book club. Jefferson’s Daughters. Before We Were Yours. Hidden Figures. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not at UMW?
A: I spend a lot of time with my three grandsons, ages 16, 10 and 9. I co-chair the heritage committee at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church. Right now, I’m really involved in the archives there.

Q: Do you have a mantra you live by?
A: I’ve always been an early riser. I do obviously like to work. My mantra is, “Get up and get out.” As long as I’m healthy, as long as I have the energy, I just don’t see any reason not to.