January 19, 2020

Chavis to Deliver Keynote Address for UMW’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

In 1961, Benjamin Chavis Jr., tired of reading tattered books, boldly marched into the whites-only library in Oxford, North Carolina. The young teen, already a NAACP member, was promptly asked to leave; instead, he stood his ground. “He asked why,” a friend recalled to The New York Times. “A lot of us when we were […]

President Paino: UMW Positioned to Think Big

Mary Washington President Troy Paino charged the faculty and staff to “think big” at the All-UMW Assembly on Tuesday. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino charged the faculty and staff to “think big” at the All-UMW Assembly on Tuesday. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

On the cusp of a new decade, the University of Mary Washington is poised to meet the changing needs of a student body that will become even more diverse. President Troy Paino delivered that message Tuesday at an All-UMW Assembly, while also sharing accomplishments, updates and reflections.

Monday’s launch of UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration gave him a sense of optimism, Paino told faculty and staff in Dodd Auditorium, but he expressed concerns over how the upcoming election and polarized politics may impact campus life in the coming year. As a public university, UMW must encourage civil debate, he said, asking faculty and staff to reflect on the values of the late Mary Washington history professor and civil rights icon Dr. James Farmer and the University’s yearlong commitment to action in his honor. “We have to remind ourselves of our roles as mentors and advisors to these young people,” he said, noting that many UMW students will be voting in a presidential election for the first time.

Mary Washington is serving a more diverse and underrepresented student population than ever before, Paino said. In an effort to make the external environment more inclusive and reflective of our values, he said, the University will begin exploring and executing the recent recommendations made by the Campus Environment Committee, including a name change for Trinkle Hall.

“We need to look back to understand who we are, but we also can look forward in terms of who we aspire to be,” Paino said. Read more.

President Paino: UMW Positioned to Think Big

On the cusp of a new decade, the University of Mary Washington is poised to meet the changing needs of a student body that will become even more diverse. President Troy Paino delivered that message Tuesday at an All-UMW Assembly, while also sharing accomplishments, updates and reflections. Monday’s launch of UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration […]

Panera Opens at UMW’s University Center

The UMW community and local residents can now enjoy Panera Bread at Mary Washington, thanks to the popular eatery’s new University Center location.

The UMW community and local residents can now enjoy Panera Bread at Mary Washington, thanks to the popular eatery’s new University Center location.

Starting this week, UMW students are enjoying broccoli and cheddar soup, Fuji apple salad and an appetizing array of baked goods fresh from the oven – without ever leaving campus.

Mary Washington’s long-awaited Panera Bread location on the second floor of the University Center opened Monday, now serving students and other members of the campus community, as well as local residents. The space formerly housed Qdoba and Jamba Juice.

“The opening has been great,” said Rose Benedict, Campus Dining’s marketing coordinator. “The students have been wonderful and patient as our new crew is learning the ropes, and everyone is loving the food.” Read more.

Panera Opens at UMW’s University Center

Starting today, UMW students are enjoying broccoli and cheddar soup, Fuji apple salad and an appetizing array of baked goods fresh from the oven – without ever leaving campus. Mary Washington’s long-awaited Panera Bread location on the second floor of the University Center opened this morning, now serving students and other members of the campus […]

DeLancey Talks ‘Disability Justice’ on ‘With Good Reason’ Radio

University of Mary Washington Art History Professor Julia DeLancey will be featured on the With Good Reason public radio show. The episode, “Disability Justice,” will air daily beginning today, Jan. 10, and continuing through Jan. 16. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the show examines how disabled people have advocated […]

James Farmer Multicultural Center Turns 30

Junior Courtney Flowers was writing a high school paper when she stumbled upon a name she didn’t recognize. “It was James Farmer,” said the Los Angeles native, who spent that day on a UMW website, researching the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor. “What ultimately drew me here was the James Farmer […]

Brian Strecker: Strategy for Success

As one of UMW's student success coordinators, Brian Strecker helps students who are facing academic probation design strategies to improve their grades and achieve their goals. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

As one of UMW’s student success coordinators, Brian Strecker helps students who are facing academic probation design strategies to improve their grades and achieve their goals. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

It’s crunch time at the University of Mary Washington. Students are hitting the books, writing papers, completing projects and downing copious amounts of coffee to pull all-nighters.

The last few weeks of the semester can be stressful for anyone, particularly for those struggling to keep up. That’s where Brian Strecker and the Office of Academic Services come in. As one of UMW’s student success coordinators, Strecker works closely with students on academic probation to help them adopt strategies to improve their grades and achieve their goals.

“I make sure my students know that I care about their success, but more importantly, about them,” said Strecker, whose bachelor’s degree in philosophy prepared him to solve problems, and theatrical work taught him to hone his listening and responding skills. “As we work together, I share in their excitement at their accomplishments.”

Each student’s plan for improvement is tailored to individual circumstances, abilities and needs. But Strecker encourages everyone he helps to attend classes and engage with the network of professors, peer tutors, academic consultants, and personnel from the Writing and Speaking centers who are here to offer support and guidance.

“Over time, our students learn that many people on campus care about them,” he said, “and they become more connected to the UMW community.”

The thank-you notes from students – and sometimes even parents – that Strecker keeps in his office are a testament to his own success on the job and the impact he makes at Mary Washington.

 

Q: Where are you from and how long have you lived in the Fredericksburg area?
A: I was born in Stuttgart, then part of West Germany. Since 2002, I’ve lived in a drafty, pre-Civil War gothic cottage I restored in downtown Culpeper.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Witnessing the transformation of students, as they begin to realize they can be successful and become more engaged on campus.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Convincing students of their need for engagement and of their responsibility for accountability.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a trained dancer. I actually shared a waltz with Mira Sorvino shortly after she won an Academy Award for her role in Mighty Aphrodite.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I’m an introvert by nature and value having alone time, but I love being with my friends and family as well. I’m also an active Catholic who prays a lot, and though I’m not a voracious reader, I enjoy books about American history.

Q: What’s the most inspiring book you’ve read lately?
A: The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd. I also just started reading The Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves by Andrew Ward.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: I’ve never thought of having one, but I live by the words, “Do not be afraid to love.”

Wild Encounters Prepared Alumna for Zoo Job

Cage diving with great white sharks. Swimming alongside humpback whales. Getting close to lions and leopards on an African safari. It sounds like a nature TV show, but it’s not. It’s how Nikki Maticic ’14 spent one summer break as a Mary Washington student. Now she cares for lions, tigers and Andean bears – oh, […]

French Study Abroad Sparks Joy in Alumnus

Stephen Lamm ’19 was a junior at Mary Washington when he studied abroad at the foot of the Alps. During those four months, he learned to speak fluent French and trekked across Europe. He also lost his grandfather – and found himself. As an openly gay student who led UMW’s College Republicans, Lamm spent his […]