May 30, 2023

A Message From The President

Dear UMW Community,

Welcome to the first installment of A Message from the President. This monthly message will be a staple throughout the academic year and is part of an ongoing effort to improve communication on campus. If there are topics or issues you would like for these messages to address, please submit suggestions to

There is not much to update as it relates to this year’s state legislative session. The budget is in conference and members are awaiting the special session to get back to work. Hopefully we will know more in advance of the April message so I can report how the state budget impacts UMW. Until it’s approved, we cannot finalize our fiscal year 2023 budget, including tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year.

The spring semester not only brings warmer temperatures and signs of new life, but also an exciting and promising time of year that we call “yield season.” This is the critically important time between offers of admittance to prospective students and the deadline to make a deposit for enrollment. Events like last Saturday’s Destination UMW are opportunities for us to communicate what is so special about a Mary Washington education with these admitted students and their families. A special thanks to all those responsible for making the event so successful. From the Admissions team to our faculty and staff and students who came out on a Saturday to interact with these prospective Eagles and their families, you made a positive difference. I heard nothing but great things about your interaction with these admitted students, and you convinced more than a few students that Mary Washington is the place for them.

With just a little over a month left in yield season, all of us can play an important part in providing a warm, genuine and positive welcome for students and their families as they visit campus. Whether it’s holding a door open, saying hello, answering questions or offering to escort a family to a meeting room, your efforts matter. The following are some important events to put on your calendar:

  • April 9 – MOVE (Multicultural On-Campus Visit Experience) and UMW Multicultural Fair
  • April 15 – Open House for prospective students and their families
  • April 23 – Destination UMW for Fall 2022 admitted students and their families

I wanted to especially thank those who work so hard to make our campus look clean and beautiful. The combination of COVID, the January 3rd snow storm, the underground utilities project, and a reduced crew has made taking care of our campus a significant challenge. Despite that, those who work to maintain our grounds and buildings have gone above and beyond the call of duty to restore campus. I have heard several compliments that our campus once again “shows well.” The campus is especially beautiful as the flowers and trees start to bloom.

The underground utilities project is progressing so we can have heat and hot water for years to come. However, its disruption has interfered with everyone’s enjoyment of campus these past several weeks, particularly on Ball Circle. Fortunately, the work has moved from Ball Circle to in front of Westmoreland Hall, enabling our crew to begin preparing the heart of campus for spring traditions like Devil-Goat Day and, most importantly, commencement.

Speaking of commencement, it saddens me to report that I must miss this year’s ceremony. As hopefully all students and their families can understand, I need to be at my youngest daughter’s college graduation that is scheduled for the same day, May 7th, in a different state. This is particularly difficult for me because the Class of 2022 holds a special place in my heart. These graduates have endured a lot over their time at UMW, and I wanted to be there to congratulate them during this much deserved joyous occasion. In addition, this year’s graduation ceremony returns to its traditional location: Ball Circle! Commencement has not been on Ball Circle since 2019, and there is no better location for such an occasion. Marching into the warm embrace of a crowd of friends and families brimming with pride to the sound of bagpipes always fills my heart with joy, and I am sorry to miss it.

In an effort to compensate for my absence, I am doing several things to honor this year’s amazing graduating class, including:

  • offer opportunities for photos with the president in full regalia,
  • attend a Senior Toast to celebrate the graduating class and convey what they mean to me and this community,
  • attend commencement rehearsal on May 6th before I must run to the airport to catch a plane, and
  • record a congratulatory video message that will be shared at commencement.

Please stay tuned for more details about these celebratory opportunities.

As we enter the home stretch of this academic year, I want to encourage expressions of kindness toward one another. The last two years have strained those human connections that give our lives and work so much meaning. As we find more opportunities now to interact with one another, remember a warm smile and kind word go a long way.

Thank you all for making Mary Washington such a wonderful and caring community.



Troy Paino