September 21, 2023

Worrell Wins Metzger Achievement Award

Planning a party? A performance? A prestigious event? Susan Worrell is the woman for you. Colleagues call her a dynamo, their point person, a problem-solver.

Special Assistant to the President for University Events Susan Worrell won this year's Patricia Lacey Metzger Award. Presented at this morning's Women's Leadership Colloquium @UMW, the award recognizes women who have excelled in their chosen career path.

Special Assistant to the President for University Events Susan Worrell won this year’s Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award. Presented at this morning’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW, the award recognizes women who have excelled in their chosen career path.

Now Worrell, University of Mary Washington Special Assistant to the President for University Events, has another title to add to the mix – Metzger Award winner. The annual recognition – the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award – goes to a woman who’s established herself as a leader in her chosen field, showing personal and professional integrity along the way. Worrell has actually for years planned the event at which the award was presented. (Talk about trying to keep a secret!)

“Susan Worrell is the engine that makes so many things happen at the University of Mary Washington,” College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson said in her nomination letter for the award, presented this morning at the Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW. “She’s a ‘behind the scenes’ dynamo.”

If you have an event, Worrell’s team has the tools to pull it off and the polish to make it shine. They oversee hundreds of functions each year, from mammoth complexities like Commencement and glitzy affairs like Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars to scholarly talks, holiday galas and, yes, the ever-present pizza party. Wrangling details that swivel and swirl – think flight times and forecasts – Worrell makes sure authors, politicians, musicians and more enjoy their Mary Washington stay. And she pampers high-profile alumni and donors with personal touches.

Not to mention the nuptials. A self-described “wedding whisperer,” Worrell has handled exactly 987 of them, with two more planned later this month.

“You want everything to run smoothly and be seamless,” said Central Rappahannock Regional Library Director Martha Hutzel, who presented this morning’s award. “You want them to leave with a wonderful experience and a connection to the people and place.”

That’s what Worrell delivers.

Before Mary Washington, she built a career directing military clubs across Europe and in catering with the Marriott Corp., where she opened a kosher kitchen in Richmond and a string of hotels from one coast to the other. She came to work for the Wood Company – predecessor to UMW dining services partner Sodexo – in the mid-’90s, rising to the rank of assistant vice president, with accounts nationwide.

Former Mary Washington President William B. Anderson took note, tapping Worrell to manage Brompton and open the Jepson Executive Alumni Center in 2004. She arrived, waving her practicality and ingenuity like a wand over banquets and balls, conventions and colloquiums … and weddings.

“Everywhere I worked always had weddings,” said Worrell, who insists they’re her favorite.

Her secret? Putting her personal preferences aside to bring the bride and groom’s dream day to life.

“I let them choose their own path. My job is to make sure they’re getting exactly what they want, not what I want,” Worrell said. “I’ve never had a bad experience.”

The CHAT bubble at the virtual Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW blew up with congratulatory messages when Worrell received the Metzger Award this morning. Here is a small sample:

  •  “Susan Worrell, that is AWESOME! Congratulations!”
  • “I knew it was you when it said grace and creativity. You embody those characteristics!”
  • “YEASSS! Congrats!”
  • “I am so happy for you, Susan! CONGRATULATIONS!”
  • “We have been so fortunate to have Susan Worrell share “the fullness of who she is” for many years!!”


  1. Cedric Bernard Rucker says

    Susan Worrell, is so amazing. What a fantastic recognition of her outstanding contributions as a professional, role model and community leader! Kudos, dear friend!!!