February 24, 2024

Late Alum’s Comic Book Creations on Display for Thursday’s Great Lives Lecture

One of Duke Stableford’s embroidered creations inspired by Stan Lee’s comic book covers. Stableford, a 1981 alum who passed away in January, created 30 needlepoints of Marvel Comics covers that will be on display in George Washington Hall before the Great Lives lecture on Stan Lee on Thursday. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

One of Duke Stableford’s embroidered creations inspired by Stan Lee’s comic book covers. Stableford, a 1981 alum who passed away in January, created 30 needlepoints of Marvel Comics covers that will be on display in George Washington Hall before the Great Lives lecture on Stan Lee on Thursday. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

When Stan Lee drew Spider-Man, he gave his signature superhero the ability to shoot webs from a device attached to his wrist.

Influenced by Lee’s work, Mary Washington alumnus Duke Stableford ’81 used cloth, a needle, and colored thread to create his own interpretations of the celebrated writer and artist’s classic comic book covers.

An exhibit featuring 30 needlepoint pieces by Stableford, who passed away in January, will be on view in George Washington Hall on Thursday, Feb. 22, when the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series presents Stan Lee: Spider-Man and Marvel Comics in the University of Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium on the Fredericksburg campus at 7:30 p.m. Presented by cultural historian Bob Batchelor, the lecture will be free and open to the public and is sponsored by Yuh Prosthodontics. Read more.

Lessons in Science: Mary Washington Alumnae Advance STEM Careers

A young woman leaves New York to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at a small Virginia women’s college in the 1950s. After graduate school, she becomes a revered electron microscopist – but not without the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Consequently, she spends her life helping female students at her alma mater advance their own careers and pursue their scientific passions.

It sounds like Lessons in Chemistry, the popular Apple+ miniseries based on the novel by Bonnie Garmus, chronicling the life of a female chemist challenging the status quo in the mid-20th century.

Yet, it’s the true story of Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59. She and other Mary Washington alumnae – such as Anne Hope Scott ’59, Jerri Barden Perkins ’61 and Marilyn Shull Black ’69 – made scientific breakthroughs while breaking through the glass ceiling. Read more.

Lessons in the Sciences: Mary Washington Alumnae Advance STEM Careers

A young woman leaves New York to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at a small Virginia women’s college in the 1950s. After graduate school, she becomes a revered electron microscopist – but not without the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Consequently, she spends her life helping female students at her […]

Alum Encourages Students to Take Risks, Build Relationships

Jin Wong '97

Jin Wong ’97

When Jin Wong ’97 was applying for an internship with the Atlanta Braves during his senior year at Mary Washington, he was given a choice. Did he want to interview with baseball legend Hank Aaron over the phone or in person?

“I told them, ‘Tell me where and when,’” said Wong, who flew south to meet the Baseball Hall of Famer, spending some time getting to know the player who held onto the record for most career homeruns for 33 years. “It’s all about making connections and building relationships.”

Now a Major League Baseball executive himself, Wong shared those words of wisdom when he returned to the University of Mary Washington earlier this month to speak with College of Business students, student-athletes and the UMW baseball team. The Alumni Association Board of Directors also presented an evening Q&A for alumni with board member Karmel James ’13 as host.

Wong, a business administration major and Division-III All-American outfielder at Mary Washington, shared insights from his 24 years with the Kansas City Royals and his recent decision to move to the Chicago White Sox. Named to the University’s inaugural Alumni of Distinction class, he also had a chance to visit his plaque in the first-floor gallery in George Washington Hall.

“The best advice he gave was to take risks and jump headfirst into any position in sports you can find,” said junior Thomas Martinez, who plays third base for UMW and aspires to work in sports marketing. Read more.

UMW’s Great Lives Lecture Series Announces New Co-Director

Scott Harris (left) and Bill Crawley (right)

Scott Harris (left) and Bill Crawley (right)

The University of Mary Washington’s Great Lives lecture series announces the addition of Scott Harris ’83 to its team. As executive director of UMW Museums, Harris joins Great Lives founder and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History William Crawley as co-director of the hugely popular biography series, which returned for its 21st season in January.

Great Lives lectures are held Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of March 2024. All are open to the public free of charge and begin at 7:30 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. A complete list of events, including dates, speakers and sponsors, can be found at umw.edu/greatlives.

Harris is well known in the Fredericksburg area for his extensive involvement in historic preservation, having earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in history and historic preservation from Mary Washington. He has been employed at UMW since 2011 and has served in his current role since 2018, overseeing Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, the James Monroe Museum and the Papers of James Monroe.

In addition, Harris is past president of the Virginia Association of Museums and is an editorial advisor and frequent contributor to the White House Historical Association’s journal, White House History Quarterly.

“I’m honored to work with Bill Crawley and the rest of the Great Lives team to bring such a distinguished lecture series to the public,” Harris said. “This year’s lineup is excellent, and we are looking forward to a terrific one in 2025.” Read more.

Alumna, Author Uncovers Hidden Black History in Great Lives Lecture, Feb. 8

Journalist and author Kristen Green ’95 will share the story of enslaved woman Mary Lumpkin as part of UMW’s Great Lives Lecture Series on Feb. 8.

Journalist and author Kristen Green ’95 will share the story of enslaved woman Mary Lumpkin as part of UMW’s Great Lives Lecture Series on Feb. 8.

An archaeological dig revealed the remnants of a notorious slave jail in Richmond. The groundbreaking discovery led journalist and Mary Washington graduate Kristen Green ’95 to use different tools to unearth information about Mary Lumpkin, a formerly enslaved woman who began her family’s quest for freedom on that site.

Green, an award-winning reporter and author, utilized the writing, critical thinking and rigorous research skills she honed through her college journalism courses to piece together a riveting portrait in her 2022 book, The Devil’s Half Acre (the jail’s nickname). Documents, deeds, death certificates and more weave a tale of a woman all but erased from the American narrative.

“We know figures like Harriet Tubman, but most enslaved women didn’t try to escape because they wouldn’t have left their children behind,” Green said. “Instead, Mary Lumpkin used her agency … to secure an education and freedom for her children, nearly a decade prior to the Civil War.”

Green will shed light on Lumpkin’s story – including how she became known as the mother of Virginia Union University, one of the country’s oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities – on Thursday, Feb. 8, for the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series. A part of UMW’s 2024 Black History Month Celebration, Mary Lumpkin: Enslaved Woman, Liberator will be held in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by LINKBANK, the lecture is open to the public and free of charge and will be posted online shortly after the event. Read more.

New Alumni of Distinction Gallery Honors Mary Washington Grads

A New York Times bestselling author. An Emmy-nominated television host. A past poet laureate. Two previous U.S. ambassadors. The former CEO of Rolls Royce North America. An award-winning chef and restauranteur. And the newly minted assistant general manager of the Chicago White Sox. Those are just a few of the individuals recognized in the University […]

STEM Students Share Gratitude at UMW’s Celebration of Giving

The Celebration of Giving, held on Dec. 6, honored Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 and other Mary Washington alumnae who majored in the sciences and gave back to support the University and STEM students. Photo by Karen Pearlman Photography.

The Celebration of Giving, held on Dec. 6, honored Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 and other Mary Washington alumnae who majored in the sciences and gave back to support the University and STEM students. Photo by Karen Pearlman Photography.

One of Hannah Stottlemyer’s most memorable moments at the University of Mary Washington came on a Global Medical Brigades trip to treat underserved communities in Panama. There, she put her majors in biomedical sciences and Spanish into practice when she extracted a patient’s tooth and watched his sudden relief.

Having this experience as an undergraduate was possible because she earned an Alvey Scholarship, she said, providing her with full tuition, fees, and room and board. “I feel such gratitude toward my donor,” said Stottlemyer, a Mary Washington senior who plans to apply to dental school this spring. “She achieved success and decided to selflessly invest in UMW students to ensure they also have opportunities to succeed.”

At the Celebration of Giving, Stottlemyer shared her story, honoring her late donor, Irene Piscopo Rodgers, who passed away in July 2022. The 1959 alumna left the University a transformational $30 million estate gift for undergraduate STEM research and to establish four new Alvey Scholarships for out-of-state students, in addition to the eight she created in her lifetime. This year’s event, held Dec. 6 at UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center, focused on the tremendous impact that Rodgers and other alumnae in the sciences have made at Mary Washington by prioritizing the University in their philanthropic giving over the years.

“They overcame obstacles at a time when there were few women in STEM, found success in their fields and gave back to their alma mater so students could follow their dreams and change the world,” said Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement Katie Turcotte, who shared highlights from the past fundraising year and thanked those who donated in 2023. Read more.

UMW’s Giving Tuesday Totals Top $215K

Giving Tuesday logoThat’s a wrap! Donors to the University of Mary Washington gave $215,587, based on preliminary totals, in support of the UMW student experience during 2023’s Giving Tuesday celebration this week.

Members of the Mary Washington community – including alumni, faculty, staff, families, friends and students – gathered together for the 24-hour event to #MakeItPossible on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, contributing 575 gifts to areas across the University.

Current and retired faculty and staff members made a total of 119 donations, helping to unlock more than $45,000 in matching and challenge funds from generous donors, inspiring others to give and maximizing the impact of each gift.

“I’m always amazed at the way our Mary Washington family comes together for students on Giving Tuesday year after year,” said Director of Annual Giving Shelby Orlando ’14. “The enthusiastic support of our alumni, faculty and staff, and families is a testament to their generosity and belief in UMW’s mission.”

The following challenges and matches were met in full on Giving Tuesday:

  • $12,500 match from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for gifts of $500 or less to the Fund for Mary Washington
  • $10,000 challenge gift was unlocked from Mary T. Bradley MacPherson ’71 after 200 gifts were made in November to the Beyond the Classroom Endowment, a College of Arts and Sciences initiative, which focused on student study abroad this year
  • $5,000 match for the College of Business from the COB Executive Advisory Board
  • $5,000 match for the Veterans Endowment from Brian ’84 and Erma Baker ’82
  • $5,000 match for the General Scholarship Fund from Alec and Betty Olander Adams ’69

Kelly Matuczinski, a staff nurse in the UMW Student Health Center, said that she was proud to give to the Veterans Endowment, hoping that it will add to current resources for veterans and active service members at Mary Washington.

“My spouse and I are veterans, and both of our children attended UMW using G.I. Bill benefits,” said Matuczinski, who served in the United States Navy with her husband.

Jerry Slezak, director of Digital Learning Support at UMW, decided to contribute to areas that help eliminate the gap in access and provide resources for students in need, including the Technology Assistance Fund, the Gwen Hale Resource Center and the Digital Knowledge Center.

“I’ve seen how giving someone a little help when they need it can make all the difference,” said Slezak, who has been employed at Mary Washington since 1999. “I admire how these various areas support students, so I’m glad I could pitch in and donate to them.”

In addition, those who made gifts of $19.08 or more to the Fund for Mary Washington were given the opportunity to name a campus squirrel and receive a digital certificate. More than 200 donors chose to give squirrels fun names that included Henrietta Minerva Nutkin, Sir Donald Edward Fluffington, Sammy T. Squirrel and Ms. Zippy Chatternut. Alumni were also invited to make gifts in honor or in memory of the person who made their Mary Washington experience a special one.

To learn more about the #GivingTuesday totals, please visit givingday.umw.edu/makeitpossible. Final totals will be reported in the coming weeks.

Mock Interview Competition Preps UMW Students to Land the Job

Aniya Stewart ’24, winner of the 2023 Mock Interview Competition. Stewart is a mathematics major and a member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, who participate in the biennial competition. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Aniya Stewart ’24, winner of the 2023 Mock Interview Competition. Stewart is a mathematics major and a member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, who participate in the biennial competition. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Senior Aniya Stewart sharpened her skills before taking part in the Mock Interview Competition at the University of Mary Washington last month. She researched how to answer the toughest questions and reflected on her past performances when applying for jobs.

Still, she was surprised when she was declared the winner. “My shock wore off when the judges explained their reasoning and gave feedback,” said Stewart, a mathematics major at Mary Washington. “I was elated after that and called my mom to share the good news.”

Stewart, who is already looking for her first post-college position, said she feels more prepared than ever after participating twice in the competition, held every other year for UMW Student Alumni Ambassadors, or SAAs. The event equips students with strategies and techniques to nail any interview – and hopefully, the job.

Along with Network Mary Wash, it’s one of many initiatives organized by the Office of University Advancement and Alumni Engagement to introduce UMW students to the vast network of graduates whose guidance can help them launch their careers and lives after college. A recent Mary Talk held on Nov. 15 featured Associate Provost for Career and Workforce Kimberly Young discussing the key competencies the University has adopted to prepare students for Life After Mary Washington. Read more.