September 17, 2021

Alum’s Running Shoe Targets Body and Sole

After earning a psychology degree at UMW, Mike Ambrose ’11 turned his passion for ultrarunning into a career with French footwear manufacturer Salomon. Photo courtesy of Mike Ambrose.

After earning a psychology degree at UMW, Mike Ambrose ’11 turned his passion for ultrarunning into a career with French footwear manufacturer Salomon. Photo courtesy of Mike Ambrose.

American runners can now access comfortable, lightweight and responsive footwear that will give them a feeling of empowerment. That’s the way University of Mary Washington alum Mike Ambrose ’11 describes the Salomon Ultra Glide. The technologically advanced shoe he conceived and helped design hit the market this month.

“I want people to feel like they can fly,” said Ambrose, who started trail running for fun at Mary Washington. Now, as Salomon’s lead product line manager for trail running, his life revolves around it. An ultra-race runner who lives in France, Ambrose used a degree in psychology to build a pioneering career, designing footwear that crosses continents and climbs into your mind. Read more.

Alum’s Running Shoe Targets Body and Sole

American runners can now access comfortable, lightweight and responsive footwear that will give them a feeling of empowerment. That’s the way University of Mary Washington alum Mike Ambrose ’11 describes the Salomon Ultra Glide. The technologically advanced shoe he conceived and helped design hit the market this month. “I want people to feel like they […]

Alum’s Running Shoe Targets Body and Sole

American runners can now access comfortable, lightweight and responsive footwear that will give them a feeling of empowerment. That’s the way University of Mary Washington alum Mike Ambrose ’11 describes the Salomon Ultra Glide. The technologically advanced shoe he conceived and helped design hit the market this month. “I want people to feel like they […]

Administrative Retirees Leave Mark on UMW

Two key members of President Paino’s Cabinet have retired, taking with them a total of 39 years of contributions to University of Mary Washington. Having earned emeritus status, Chief Diversity Officer Sabrina Johnson and Provost Nina Mikhalevsky both served Mary Washington in myriad capacities. Their departures leave not only an institutional void but also a rich legacy.

Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, Emerita

Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, Emerita

Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, Emerita

During her 24 years at UMW, Sabrina Johnson has served in two critical administrative roles: Associate Vice President for Human Resources as well as her current position as Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer. The first person to hold the latter role, Dr. Johnson has distinguished herself by advocating tirelessly for equity and inclusion for all members of the Mary Washington community.

Instrumental in establishing the University’s ASPIRE statement of community values, she has sought to ensure that all have the opportunity to succeed. Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and public safety and a master’s in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her juris doctorate is from the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

Among her myriad accomplishments, Dr. Johnson is responsible for:

  • Instituting bias incident reporting for the University
  • Leading UMW through statewide compensation reform
  • Making equity a focus at the senior leadership level and in academic and administrative program areas University wide
  • Leadership in establishing the Staff Advisory Council (now University Staff Council) as well as the Leadership UMW program for employee professional development
  • Advocacy for persons with disabilities, including promoting accessibility of the physical environment and the celebration of disability culture.

 

Nina Mikhalevsky, Provost Emerita and Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Nina Mikhalevsky, Provost Emerita and Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Nina MikhalevskyProvost Emerita and Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Nina Mikhalevsky was appointed as UMW’s chief academic officer in 2017. Working with the deans and faculty, she provides leadership of major university initiatives in teaching, research and creative activities, and has responsibility for all university educational and academic policies.

Dr. Mikhalevsky came to Mary Washington in 2006 after serving with distinction as a faculty member and administrator at both Mount Vernon College and The George Washington University. Before being named provost, she held a number of critical positions at UMW – Vice President for Strategy and Policy, Acting Provost, Acting Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technologies, as well as Interim Dean of the College of Education.

Dr. Mikhalevsky has positively impacted nearly every aspect of the institution. Noteworthy accomplishments include leadership roles in strategic planning, accreditation, COVID-19 coordination, implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and championing teaching and learning.

She earned doctoral and master’s degrees in philosophy from Georgetown University, as well as a bachelor’s in philosophy from Boston University.

Web transitions

Shelley Keith

Shelley Keith

Mike Breitenbach, director of web communications for the past four years, has left UMW and taken a job in Richmond. We know the web is critical to operations of the University. For that reason, we have brought back Mike’s predecessor, Shelley Keith, to fill in and maintain web redesign initiatives while we search for a permanent employee to fill the position. She and Director of Web Technology Curtiss Grymala will handle all web tickets and other requests.

Shelley is working remotely from her home in Portland, Oregon. Generally, she will strive to maintain East Coast hours, but know that she is three hours behind. You can email her at tkeith@umw.edu.

We will keep you posted on the recruitment of a full-time successor to Mike. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Anna B. Billingsley
Associate Vice President for University Relations

Students Wild for Smithsonian Endangered Species Program

Sophomore Liliana Ramirez (pictured here) and junior Maddie Lichter are the first two students to participate in a partnership between UMW and the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.

Sophomore Liliana Ramirez (pictured here) and junior Maddie Lichter are the first two students to participate in a partnership between UMW and the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.

Liliana Ramirez and Madelyn “Maddie” Lichter know that residence hall life can be a bit like living in a zoo. So these University of Mary Washington students felt prepared for all the wildlife sounds and smells they’ve experienced over the last several months.

Both pursuing UMW’s new conservation biology major, Ramirez and Lichter are pioneer participants in a new partnership between Mary Washington and the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. The pair has spent the last semester engaged in a new kind of “domestic study abroad experience,” conducting hands-on research on endangered animal and plant species at Front Royal’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains on 3,200 acres of forest, grasslands and pasture along the Shenandoah River.

“We hear wolves howling, and whooping cranes going at it. Last night, I heard something that sounded very zebra-like,” said Ramirez, mimicking the noise she heard while falling asleep in the residence hall. The building is one of three on campus, which also includes a dining common area and an academic center with state-of-the-art classrooms and research labs. Read more.

Students Wild for Smithsonian Endangered Species Program

Liliana Ramirez and Madelyn “Maddie” Lichter know that residence hall life can be a bit like living in a zoo. So these University of Mary Washington students felt prepared for all the wildlife sounds and smells they’ve experienced over the last several months. Both pursuing UMW’s new conservation biology major, Ramirez and Lichter are pioneer […]

Stuart Sullivan: Man with a Plan

When his boss John Wiltenmuth retired in January 2020 after a quarter century on the job, Stuart Sullivan thought he had a handle on pretty much anything the Mary Washington facilities department would encounter. After all, Sullivan had been with the department for four decades.

Facilities Executive Director Stuart Sullivan on his horse, Chime.

Facilities Executive Director Stuart Sullivan on his horse, Chime.

But PPE and plexiglass? Procuring protection in a pandemic? Less than six weeks after taking over as facilities executive director, Sullivan and his team had a singular focus: COVID-19.

“Finding personal protective equipment (PPE) for the whole campus when everyone in the country was buying it, ensuring we were following CDC guidelines, writing return-to-work procedures, preparing training materials for those who worked from home temporarily, setting up over 100 classrooms for social distancing, installing and maintaining 500 auto hand sanitizer stations, mounting plexiglass in all face-to-face service areas, providing procedures and supplies for community bathrooms in dorms, renegotiating contracts to help with additional COVID cleaning, performing all of the normal day-to-day work and doing it all while practicing MMDC.”

Oh – and attending weekly COVID Implementation Team and Commencement planning meetings. He and his staff also set up the bistro lights on campus and made the propane fire pits possible. Sullivan has even been known to spend weekends cutting the grass on campus.

“Well, they say timing is everything,” he added, “and in this case, John timed it perfectly! I knew there would be some adjustments for me in this position, but COVID made it even more challenging.”

 

Sullivan's own yearbook photo. He and his team have spent the last few months preparing UMW's buildings and grounds for nine in-person Commencement ceremonies, beginning today.

Sullivan’s own yearbook photo. He and his team have spent the last few months preparing UMW’s buildings and grounds for nine in-person Commencement ceremonies, beginning today.

Q: With so many demands on you, how have you persevered?
A: The fact I had been working at UMW for a long time and was familiar with processes helped me, and knowing the talent of our wonderful staff was a great benefit.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge these past 14 months?
A: Planning. I like clear directions so I can make sure the project or task is done correctly, on time, and on budget. With COVID, we may have needed to change direction on procedures at any given time.

Q: How has in-person Commencement impacted you and your staff?
A: Facilities is always busy preparing for graduation each year. Landscape and Grounds works extra hours to get the campus looking great. This year, the electrical department had to run power to the Campus Recreation Field, and the paint shop had to paint the bathroom doors. We had to power wash the parking garage, restripe the parking lot, and on and on. Our staff has been coordinating graduation with our Events colleagues for years, and we do an excellent job working together.

Q: Have you seen any silver linings in the COVID cloud?
A: People. I have asked so much of so many this past year, and the vast majority have stepped up. Their commitment to UMW and each other is truly inspiring. Our campus community is the main reason we made it through this school year. No matter how good a coach you may have, it’s about the team, and I’m blessed to have a great one.

Q: What are you looking forward to most post-pandemic?
A: A family get-together where we can hug each other. We all miss the personal connection.

Q: What do you like best about the UMW campus?
A: What’s not to like? I fell in love with Mary Washington the day I walked onto the grounds. It’s one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen, but the UMW community is what has kept me here all these years. So many people here have mentored and help me through the years, and I hope I have been able to give back some of that.

Q: How do you always maintain such an even keel and positive demeanor?
A: I have my bad days, but I never found complaining or sharing negativity helps anything. My favorite supervisors were positive and encouraging. I try to treat everyone the way I’d like to be treated.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Attitude is everything. A bad one gets you nowhere, and it’s something you can change.

UMW Pivots for COVID-Era Commencements

The University of Mary Washington will hold nine separate in-person Commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 over the course of four days, May 6 to 9. Photo by Norm Shafer.

The University of Mary Washington will hold nine separate in-person Commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 over the course of four days, May 6 to 9. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Hannah Checkeye ’21 will cross the University of Mary Washington Commencement stage this weekend with more than she could have imagined when she came to campus four years ago.

She chose UMW because it gave her a pathway to pursue two passions: lacrosse and med school. Successful in both, she’s among a handful of students accepted into an early selection program at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She’s just one example of UMW graduating seniors who are “Portraits of Perseverance,” having excelled in academics and extracurricular activities through a worldwide pandemic and turbulent times.

And COVID only enhanced her college experience.

With pandemic precautions in place, Checkeye is one of 1,100 graduates who will turn their tassels – ready to take on a world that’s already handed them test after test – during UMW’s in-person 2020 and 2021 Commencement festivities. The event will look different this year, with nine separate ceremonies over the course of four days, May 6 to 9. But, Checkeye said, “I’m still super excited to get to graduate in person!”

Visit the UMW Commencement Page for details and upcoming livestreams.

UMW Pivots for COVID-Era Commencements

Hannah Checkeye ’21 will cross the University of Mary Washington Commencement stage this weekend with more than she could have imagined when she came to campus four years ago. She chose UMW because it gave her a pathway to pursue two passions: lacrosse and med school. Successful in both, she’s one of a handful of […]