May 20, 2024

A Message From the President – April

Dear UMW Community,

April is always a wonderful time of year, filled with end-of-semester showcases, celebrations, and ceremonies. We welcome the warmer spring weather, enjoying the return of many long-awaited outdoor activities, as well as some of our favorite campus traditions and the seeds of new ones.

Earlier this week, we celebrated UMW during our annual #MaryWashDay.  Our Mary Washington community stepped up with matching pledges, competitions, and tremendous support of our many academic, curricular, and co-curricular programs.  This support helps us enhance our programs, offer more enriching and holistic experiences for our students, and provide the resources needed to continue to forge ahead, test limits, explore new ideas and theories, collaborate with others, etc.  We thank the many donors from across all 50 states and around the world. We also appreciate the donors who shared in a meal and in learning more about our undergraduate research and creativity at the recent Scholarship Lunch. And, I can’t wait to see more of our students’ work at the 17th Annual Research and Creativity Day SymposiumI am always astounded at the exceptional results that represent hard work, determination, creativity, knowledge, and many hours of research. I encourage you to support your classmates and celebrate their accomplishments. 

Many additional accomplishments have filled our recent weekends. UMW’s Honors Program recently celebrated its milestone tenth anniversary with an alumni panel that exemplified how their “be more” mantra adds up to an experience that yields benefits in college and well beyond. High school students stepped up to the Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren on April 1, where 125 students programmed robots for a simulated exercise and put collaboration, ingenuity and their STEM-related acumen to the test to compete for a $7500 prize purse.

In addition, UMW hosted the 33rd annual Multicultural Fair, a beloved event that promotes multicultural awareness by showcasing the diverse ethnic customs, cultures, food, music, and more of the UMW and greater Fredericksburg communities. This event demonstrates how we can appreciate and respect various cultures by watching, listening, and learning, as well as expand our view of the world and those around us.

Also, we are proud to announce that, in partnership with Germanna Community College, UMW has established the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.  Current and future UMW students and Germanna transfer students – whether majoring in education or not – can be considered for the program.  In return for scholarships, Noyce Scholars commit to two years of teaching STEM-related courses in qualifying schools.  This program directly addresses the serious teacher shortage in these subject areas, as well as promotes community service and enrichment, impactful teacher-student learning experiences, exceptional work experience, and more.

Today is an exciting day as we welcome prospective students and their families to campus for an Admissions Open House.  This is one of my favorite campus events as it gives me an opportunity to publicly showcase the terrific accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students and welcome guests to our inviting, positive and vibrant campus.  Please join me in welcoming future Eagles and their families by sharing a smile, offering help navigating to a campus building, or answering their questions.  The heart of our beautiful campus is each of you and our guests will have a richer experience because of your participation.

Likewise, our ASPIRE values are the foundation of our close knit community.  Next week, I encourage you to dive into UMW’s inaugural ASPIRE Week as developed by Student Government Association Vice President, Jaylyn Long.  The week-long activities and events highlight our shared community values that guide us in our daily goals and interactions.  In addition, UMW athletic coaches and student-athletes are hosting Flip the Field which will provide immersions, clinics and friendly contests for faculty, staff and students in sports ranging from swimming to tennis to baseball to esports.  The event not only supports ASPIRE Week, but it also highlights the positive impact DIII athletics and student-athletes have in our community and the surrounding community.

As we welcome spring, we also acknowledge Earth Week, April 16-22, and UMW’s Arbor Day Tree Planting event on Monday, April 10th from 2 to 3 pm.  Join me for a ceremonial planting of sycamore trees on the streamside of Willard Hall.  In addition, at 4:15 p.m. that afternoon in the Digital Auditorium of the HCC, SGA is hosting a forum for UMW students.  I invite you to join me, Craig Erwin, VP for Administration and Finance, and Joey Zeldin, SGA President, to learn more about the state budget process and its impact on tuition and fees.

There is so much happening on and around our campus and it’s difficult to acknowledge everything.  Although there is much to do as the semester closes, it’s also important to take time to rest, recharge, and refocus.  Whether you enjoy running, yoga, bench sitting, watching movies, drawing, etc., take the time you need to balance your commitments, assignments, and work schedules.  

To UMW faculty, staff and students, I wish you the best of luck in preparation for final exams, research projects, grading papers, etc. To our seniors, I encourage you to remain steadfast and positive as you enter the final stretch of this semester.  And, I look forward to the many wonderful events and celebrations culminating in UMW’s 112th Commencement on May 6 when we welcome UMW alumna Jennifer Clift ’00 to deliver the commencement speech.     


Troy Paino