January 18, 2020

Troy Paino: Great College [President] to Work For

How does he do it? That’s a question often asked about UMW President Troy Paino, who constantly juggles meetings with alumni, speaking engagements, trips to Richmond to secure more funding for Mary Washington, board meetings, family time, one-on-ones with his Cabinet members and physical fitness.

University of Mary Washington President Troy Paino plans to continue the work that led UMW to the Great Colleges to Work For recognition it received this week. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

University of Mary Washington President Troy Paino plans to continue the work that led UMW to the Great Colleges to Work For recognition it received this week. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

To keep his commitments and do it with flair, Mary Washington’s 10th president relies on the adrenaline boost he gets from interacting with students, faculty and staff.

“Their enthusiasm and spirit for this place is infectious,” Paino said. He hopes UMW’s new designation as a Great College to Work For – the results of a survey of the University’s more than 800 full-time employees that came out this week – ramps up that mojo.

Since taking office in 2016, he’s used feedback from a previous Great Colleges study as a compass for what was working and what needed work – communication, collaboration and compensation. “When people start feeling that they can actively participate in making a place better, morale is going to improve,” said Paino, who crisscrosses campus, the local community and the state Capitol on behalf of our school.

But college presidents need downtime, too. He finds it when he can curl up on the couch with wife Kelly and dog Oscar (both daughters have left the nest) binge-watching Billions. But Mary Washington is never far from his mind.

“I’ve become more energized since I’ve been here, working with people to articulate a vision, create a plan and begin implementing it,” he said. “I feel a lot of good forward momentum. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Q: You worked eight years at Truman State University, six of them as president. What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I would not have left Truman for just any place. I fell in love with Mary Washington’s mission and thought I could use my talents and skill sets to make a difference here.

Q: What’s a typical day like on the job?
A: I have meetings with my Cabinet members and surprises on campus that need to be addressed. I keep my eye toward external audiences – fundraising, politics, community, corporate relations. I find opportunities to interact with students wherever I can, even just walking down Campus Walk and striking up conversations. I’m teaching a class this semester. The more interaction I can get with students, the more it keeps me grounded and reminds me why we’re doing this work.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: When I get to interact with a student and see that their Mary Washington experience has sparked something inside them – a passion, a purpose, a direction, a vocation.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Having to make tough decisions with limited resources to empower those who work here to do everything they want to do for our students. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive, tight-knit community, so it’s always a challenge trying to hold it together when it seems there are issues in our world that are pulling us apart.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: “It’s not about you, stupid.” It’s easy in life to become self-absorbed. I try each day to remind myself that this isn’t about me. It’s about the mission. It’s about the students. That’s why I’m here.

Mary Washington Earns Spot Among Princeton Review’s ‘Best Colleges’

The University of Mary Washington has once again been named among the nation’s best by The Princeton Review’s annual publication, The Best 385 Colleges. The 2020 edition of the leading college guide, which debuted today, profiles only about 13 percent of the nation’s 3,000 four-year colleges.

In it, students gave UMW high marks in both campus life and academics, praising Mary Washington for providing the “strategies and tools necessary to think critically and succeed in the workforce” and “professors [who] go the extra mile to help students.” They also bragged about the research opportunities, dedication to community service, school spirit and quality of life they found on campus.

Read more. 

Richardson’s Column Stresses Importance of Coming to Work

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

In her weekly column in The Free Lance-Star, College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson addresses the prevalence of teleworking, working from home and showing up late, and the message it sends to others.


I’VE had several conversations recently about people not coming to work.

In one situation, the manager doesn’t arrive at work until much later in the day than his employees. The employees—and everyone else—notice. Except maybe the manager’s supervisor. Is he unaware?

In another situation, a new employee was hired into a smaller organization. Most of the people she works with, including managers and peers, ‘work from home’ most days. So she’s sitting in essentially an empty office a lot of the time.

Read more.

New Fitness Equipment Means New Gym Hours

The UMW Fitness Center is getting a workout this summer! In anticipation of the new academic year, new equipment will be arriving and the layout will be rearranged. That means the gym will be closed at certain times. See the schedule below.

July 15 – August 16
Monday-Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.
Cardio floor closed Monday, August 5, through Thursday, August 8, for removal of existing equipment. Strength floor and Goolrick will still be open.
Friday, August 9 through Sunday, August 11, for new equipment installation.
Saturday, August 17, through Wednesday, August 21, for Campus Rec staff training.
Beginning Thursday, August 22, regular gym hours will resume:
Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Stay tuned for more news from the UMW Fitness Center, including an open house to introduce the new, sleeker space.

Charles Tate: Material Man

It’s Seersucker Thursday, and a handful of UMW employees showed up for this year’s 10th anniversary celebration on campus. Clad in the super breezy, quintessentially Southern fabric, they braved an afternoon rain with temps hovering around a steamy 90 degrees to pose for pictures inside Monroe Hall.

UMW Director of Transfer Advising Charles Tate

UMW Director of Transfer Advising Charles Tate

In the center of the sea of pinstriped apparel – shirts and ties, jackets and suits – was the man who started it all, Director of Transfer Advising Charles Tate.

From his elegant office on Lee’s second floor, he helps transfer students – each with a unique situation and story – transition to life as an Eagle, and coordinates with the Virginia Community College System. When he’s not advocating for undergrads, Tate is a student himself … of fashion. Well, not really. “I own about 10 pairs of khaki pants,” he said.

Still, the U.S. Senate’s 1996 launch of Seersucker Thursday caught his attention. When he noticed many Mary Washington colleagues favor the fabric, as well, he hatched a plan with former UMW employee Meta Braymer, who oversaw development of the Stafford Campus. Together, they whipped up a whirlwind of camaraderie based on the all-cotton material.

“I think it works at UMW because there’s a sense of community here and a willingness to have fun with something that’s a little offbeat,” Tate said.

He’s worn a variety of hats since his arrival at UMW in 2004, working as a docent at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, a museum guide at the James Monroe Museum, an office manager and assistant dean in Admissions, and a student success coordinator and advisor in Academic Services. Through it all, he’s kept one thing consistent – wearing seersucker to work at least once every July.

“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” Tate tells naysayers and skeptics. “It’s a little bit of an acquired taste.”

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Working with students and seeing them succeed. A close second is working with the people in my division. My colleagues and supervisors are caring, student-focused individuals who not only support students but also each other. I have been extraordinarily lucky to work with the people I’ve worked with at UMW. I do not take that for granted.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: When I find an issue, I’d like to solve it immediately, and in higher education things move at a certain pace because of all the constituencies involved. Being patient and working through issues is my challenge.

Q: Moving to material, is pincord acceptable to wear on Seersucker Thursday?
A: While pincord is not seersucker, in the spirit of the day we accept pincord. Anyone who’s willing to participate is welcome.

Q: There’s a debate on the season for seersucker. What do you think?
A: Traditionally the seersucker season is Memorial through Labor Day. I’m willing to stretch it from Easter through Labor Day, following my friends farther south, but I refuse to wear it after Labor Day. You have to draw the line somewhere!

Bales’ Cubs Book Called “Solid Historical Work”

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales’ new book, Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team, was favorably reviewed in the August issue of Choice, a major source of book reviews for academic libraries. The review observes that “while this book focuses on the first professional baseball team in Chicago, it also serves as an overview of how the game developed throughout America. Bales … draws on extensive research in newspaper articles and other primary sources to impart not only an impression of the early game but also a glimpse of 19th-century life. … This is a solid historical work, yet it remains accessible to the public at large.”

Barrenechea Presents Literary Paper in Brazil

Antonio Barrenechea, Professor of English, was an invited speaker at the Associação Brasileira de Literatura Comparada in Brasilia, Brazil. His paper was titled “Hemispheric Literary Studies: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

Get Healthy! Get Your UMW Weight Watchers Discount.

Get skinny and save money! Sign up for Weight Watchers at wellness.weightwatchers.com, enter Commonwealth of Virginia Employer ID: 63569 and follow the instructions. Employees enrolled in a state health plan are eligible for the WW discounted pricing.

Attend a WW Workshop at the University of Mary Washington every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in the Hurley Convergence Center, Room 111, or contact Julie Coates at jcoates@umw.edu.

Share Your News With EagleEye!

Done any amazing research you’d like your colleagues to know about? Is your department hosting an interesting upcoming event? Has your office or someone you work with done something great you’d like to share with the UMW community? Let Mary Washington’s EagleEye newsletter help you spread the word across campus. To submit content, go to https://eagleeye.umw.edu/contribute or email eagleeye@umw.edu today!

UMW Receives Grant to Help Students Recovering From Addiction

The University of Mary Washington has received a $50,000 grant for a unique program that helps students in various stages of recovery from alcohol and substance use and addiction.

The “Expanding Collegiate Recovery in Virginia” grant, awarded this month by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), will fund growth for UMW’s Eagles in Recovery program. Though a number of colleges claim substance-free housing, the program puts UMW among only a handful in Virginia – and relatively few across the country – to offer support services for students recovering from substance addiction.

With weekly meetings, support groups and a dedicated safe space called the “clubhouse,” where those in recovery can escape the pressures of college life, Eagles in Recovery has served at least 10 students since its launch in 2017. Funds from the grant will allow administrators to maintain and expand meetings and resources, bring on other facilitators and more, said Associate Director for Residence Life and Housing Hunter Rauscher, who started the program.