May 29, 2023

Angela McCormick: Coming Home

Angela McCormick ’00 knew the minute she set foot on Campus Walk as a high school sophomore that Mary Washington was the place for her. And after double-majoring in geography and journalism, the native of Charlottesville, Virginia, knew it was the place she wanted to go to work.

McCormick got the chance earlier this year, becoming associate director of alumni communications. It’s a big job that includes everything from managing social media accounts and producing website content to giving alumni tours and helping plan reunion activities – anything to help people feel connected to their alma mater.

This week, she’s been especially busy in the build-up to Homecoming 2018, a multi-day event that includes happy hours, tailgating, brunch and, of course, sporting events.

“It’s fun,” McCormick said. “It’s young alumni and older alumni and families and current students and faculty and staff. It’s the entire UMW family, ringing in fall and celebrating the Eagles teams. It’s a great weekend to reconnect with people and with this place that means so much to us.”

Q: What brought you back to UMW in your current role?
A: Last year, my previous employer shut down, and I decided to view the setback as an opportunity to change industries and to find something I could be passionate about. I see it as an honor and a privilege to work for my alma mater.

Q: What kind of interesting questions do you get from alums?
A: We get a lot of interesting requests. One alumnus wanted to purchase a specific bench from Campus Walk to give as a gift to his wife, who used to like sitting there as a student. We also had an alumna who saw a sundial in a few pictures of her mother from the 1920s, and she asked if we could find that sundial and put it back on campus. She offered to pay to restore it. The sweetest requests are alumni looking to reconnect with someone, usually a lost love.

Q: What’s new at Homecoming this year?
A: “Faculty Faves.” Alumni who registered for brunch were asked to include the names of any favorite faculty or staff they’d like us to invite. We are hoping it will be a great way for alumni to reconnect with a favorite professor.

Q: People seem to have a special connection to UMW. Why do you think that is?
A: I think there is just a really special feeling on this campus. You feel it when you walk down Campus Walk. It’s magical. The people here are very special. This is a family. You don’t forget what that feels like, and you keep coming back.

Q: Do you have any mottos or favorite sayings?
A: I have two that I come back to over and over again. The first is just for everyday life: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” For a detail-oriented person like me, it helps to relinquish control a bit, to prioritize, and to focus on the overall picture. The other is something Joan of Arc said: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” It was my mantra through two battles with cancer, and it still helps me to feel brave in difficult situations.