May 29, 2020

A Message from the President to Faculty and Staff

This spring semester, our campus has been presented with extraordinary circumstances. During what we all hoped would be a smooth, conventional completion of the semester, COVID 19 (novel coronavirus) has tested our mettle. These are trying times as we deal with an unprecedented situation at UMW and in our broader society.

For generations, Mary Washington faculty and staff have demonstrated a deep commitment to students and to each other, along with a desire to make a difference. As we face this virus as a community, I want to thank you for your service and dedication to students and for your support and encouragement of your coworkers. Each person has a unique and vital role to play, and all are equally meaningful to our mission.

Your sacrifice is not only for the safety of the UMW community, but for the broader public. Removing thousands of people from campus and canceling mass gatherings helps fulfill our responsibility to keep the virus from spreading fast. Epidemiologists have expressed the fear that a rapid contagion will overwhelm our national health care system, causing more people serious or life-threatening harm because there won’t be enough hospital beds, staffing and medical supplies to serve them. Even if we cannot reduce the number of total cases, slowing down the rate of the epidemic is critical. This is another way for Mary Washington to fulfill its public purpose and serve our community.

To our faculty, please know that we recognize you are now undertaking significant duties above and beyond your normal load. Spring is always laden with the responsibilities of advising and teaching; however, now you are tasked with finding imaginative and resourceful means of doing your job, with new tools and in a new environment. I know this is difficult, but your fortitude and commitment to students have been truly inspiring.

To our staff, I thank you for continuing a job well done in daily life and now amplified in these unusual circumstances. While the nature of some of your roles may be changing or expanding, your willingness to undertake fresh responsibilities, new demands and unfamiliar expectations is an example for all.

One of the great aspects of UMW is our ability to be nimble and readily responsive when our endeavors are unpredictable. We certainly try to model problem-solving, creative thinking and strategic reasoning in our daily work. This situation is also providing us an opportunity to model resilience and positivity in the face of uncertainty. I believe it’s true that the human spirit is often revealed most clearly and authentically in moments of deep trial and challenge. I admire how our faculty and staff have risen to this occasion.

As we fully confront these circumstances, please know that I have the deepest respect and appreciation for your contributions, as do Cabinet members, administrators and our Board of Visitors. We recognize that it will take the talent and hard work of every single member of our campus to face and surmount this situation. Together we can emerge as a stronger community, better prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow.

My thanks to all,

Troy