August 5, 2020

Stay Connected With SAE Playlists

With laptops in tow, Many UMW faculty, staff and students have hunkered down in their bedrooms, at their kitchen tables and in home offices, firing up search engines, virtual meetings and social media – anything to keep the semester on track.

Practicing social-distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, can’t keep the UMW community from staying connected. The Office of Student Activities and Engagement (SAE) believes in the power of music to help us do that. Its new “Playlist Spotlight” program features favorite song selections submitted by faculty and staff to share with each other and with students.

Appearing each week in SAE’s Monday newsletter (and on its Facebook page Monday, Wednesday and Friday), the Spotify lists will keep us movin’ and groovin’ – even though we’re sequestered – and all UMW employees are welcome to submit the music that inspires them.

With events and on-campus engagements on hold, “we’re looking for the best ways to build community online,” said UMW senior and SAE intern Lillian Lester, who plans other “digital student activities,” like craft DIY videos, cooking tutorials, joint movie streaming and video game tournaments. “We know it’s never going to replace all of the big events that our students were looking forward to, but it’s the least we can do for our people.”

Assistant Director for Campus RecreationBrittanie Naff was quick to get in on the act, stacking her playlist, Dance Fitness With Naana, with the tunes she uses to teach weekly classes, now on hold with the Fitness Center closed until further notice. Think Party Favor and Cardi B.

“I hope it inspires you to have some fun, get a little silly and smile!” she wrote on her playlist.

Assistant Director of Student Activities Crystal Rawls filled her playlist, KPOP Mania #1, with songs from the eclectic K-pop genre from South Korea.

“This idea was started because we felt that music was one of the best ways to bring people together during such an uncertain time,” Rawls said. “We wanted to keep students engaged online as best as we could.”

Up next? COAR’s selections. A little Billy Joel, anyone?

All UMW faculty and staff are invited to send their own Spotify Playlist for possible inclusion in the newsletter. To contribute, email Crystal Rawls at or Lillian Lester at

University of Mary Washington Postpones 2020 Giving Day

The University of Mary Washington has postponed its fourth annual day of online fundraising, Mary Wash Giving Day, originally set to take place Thursday, March 19.

In light of the unparalleled impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on UMW, the Fredericksburg community – and the nation, the University instead encourages its constituents to focus on each other, their loved ones, and their communities.

The generosity of UMW alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends during past Giving Days has made a vast impact on the University’s mission and ability to serve students. The University will consider rescheduling Giving Day at a future point in time.

Themed “Come Together,” Mary Wash Giving Day 2020 will be poised to do just that. It will bring together those who care about UMW and all it stands for – education, empowerment, integrity, caring and compassion.

In the meantime, the University of Mary Washington encourages its campus and community to work together for the common good and to “come together” in ways that reflect UMW’s commitment to humankind.

Watch the video message from President Troy Paino:


Message from Department of Theatre & Dance

A video message from Gregg Stull, Professor and Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance, updating patrons, donors and alumni on the state of UMW Theatre. “We are grateful for your concern … ”



Kelly Paino: A Valentine Story

A study session washed down with a meal at Godfather’s Pizza brought two college students together. That was nearly four decades ago. Kelly Ragsdale and Troy Paino, who’d both just arrived at a small school in Missouri, have been stuck ever since – to each other and to education.

Chloe, Sophia, and Troy and Kelly Paino on the lawn at Brompton.

Chloe, Sophia, and Troy and Kelly Paino on the lawn at Brompton.

Married 34 years with two grown daughters, Sophia and Chloe, the Painos moved their family across the Midwest – Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri. In 2016, they landed in Fredericksburg, where Troy took the reins as UMW’s 10th president.

As her husband earned degree after degree, so did Kelly, who holds a bachelor’s in business administration, and certifications in elementary and early childhood education. She’s taught preschool and elementary school, and held posts as a reading interventionist and an early childhood education coordinator.

These days, she volunteers alongside UMW students at James Monroe High School and St. George’s Episcopal Church, and observes student teachers in the role she accepted this year as a supervisor in UMW’s College of Education.

She wouldn’t reveal the couple’s plans for Valentine’s Day but said they often snuggle up in front of the TV, binge-watching the latest show they’ve latched onto.

In the midst of it all, Kelly said, she embraces her title as Mary Washington’s first lady. At least she’s working on it.

“It’s hilarious to think of being any kind of ‘first lady,’ and I always think people are referring to someone else when they say that to me,” said Kelly, who just likes to be called “Kelly.” “But I love being part of the UMW community, and I’m so happy we’re here.”

Q: What did you fall for about Troy Paino?
A: He was cute, with his wavy hair (yes, hair!), and tan from working outside all summer, but more importantly, he was funny and kind. I grew up surrounded by joy and laughter, and I place a high premium on humor. No one can make me laugh like Troy! Neither of us takes ourselves too seriously and if one of us does, we get called out.

Q: Where did you honeymoon?
A: Bermuda. We had a blast riding a moped around the island and snorkeling. I hadn’t traveled much and this was a great adventure for me. For people who enjoy the ocean and warmth, we lived in cold places all our married life – until we got to Virginia.

Q: Any secrets for keeping a marriage fresh after three and a half decades?
A: We keep it spicy (don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything inappropriate) by making sure we spend time together. Besides binge-watching TV, we enjoy taking our dog Oscar on walks, playing pickle ball and doing some traveling.

Q: What are you binge-watching right now?
A: Broadchurch and the last season of Homeland.

Q: What little things do you appreciate about Troy?
A: 1) His willingness to be goofy; 2) his ability to find humor in almost any situation; 3) his patience with my need to process (and process …); 4) if he has his phone and one of our daughters calls, he always answers – not always the case with my calls; and 5) he puts the toilet seat down every time.

Brian Baker: Boardwalk, Baby!

Brian Baker ’84 grew up taking Boardwalk, and all the top spots, in epic family Monopoly competitions.

As head of UMW's Small Business Development Center, Brian Baker helps entrepreneurs bring their businesses to fruition and contributes to the economic wellbeing of the Fredericksburg region. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

As head of UMW’s Small Business Development Center, Brian Baker helps entrepreneurs bring their businesses to fruition and contributes to the economic wellbeing of the Fredericksburg region. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

His work at UMW calls for that same business savvy, but it’s no board game. As Small Business Development Center (SBDC) executive director, Baker helps local entrepreneurs make their ideas – and the local economy – flourish.

His most recent Boardwalk? The Prince Woodard Leadership Award he received last weekend from the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce for his lifetime commitment to the area’s fiscal development.

In the nearly two decades Baker has been at its helm, SBDC has risen in stature among similar centers, ranking in Virginia’s top five. He and his team are credited with engaging thousands of small businesses and launching more than 550, while creating or retaining nearly 8,000 jobs.

His involvement in sports – from football to field hockey – has added to Baker’s competitive spirit, and that, he said, is what business is largely about. As a Mary Washington student, he earned bachelor’s and MBA degrees, and learned about finance and economics from the likes of professors Steve Greenlaw and Robert Rycroft.

“They only thought I was asleep during lectures,” said Baker, who also met his wife, former UMW Assistant VP for Business Services Erma Ames Baker ’82, in college and went on to own his own business for decades.

When he decided to sell, he planned to take a year off, recharge and work on the house. But another Mary Washington opportunity knocked, and he joined the SBDC. That was 19 years ago.

“The work on the house is waiting on me.”

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: I get to work with brilliant, hard-working people – clients, community stakeholders, students and faculty – in diverse and dynamic ways. I call them “builders.” They create investment opportunities and jobs. They’re amazing.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: What’s this thing they call sleep? I’d like some of that.

Q: What are three qualities needed for successful business?
A: 1. Get over yourself and learn to be a good listener. It’s easy to be impressed by your own ideas, but if no one wants to buy them, what good are they? 2. Welcome failure. Failure is memorable; it helps refine how we manage risk. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I found 10,000 ways that will not work.” 3. Do it.  Progression is more valuable in business than perfection.

Q: You taught a recent experiential entrepreneurship course for the College of Business. Would you do it again?
A: Without hesitation. The class was a startup itself. The students were bright, engaged and hardworking. They presented their concepts to a panel of judges and generated business plans that demonstrated market potential and a strategy for making money. There were many champions in that class.

Q: What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I went hang gliding in the dunes at Kill Devil Hills with my daughter. It did not end well.

Q: Any mottos?
A: Live to eat … never trust a skinny chef.


Katherine Lister: Apply Yourself

More than a million prospective college students complete the Common App each year. At Mary Washington, that means going through Katherine Lister.

Director of Admissions Katherine Lister handles operations and the data that flows through the Student Information System. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

Director of Admissions Katherine Lister handles operations and the data that flows through UMW’s Student Information System. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

As an associate director of admissions, Lister works in operations, maintaining and managing the many application systems available to future UMW students. It’s a behind-the-scenes job that deals with data, and plenty of it – all the facts and figures that flow through Mary Washington’s Student Information System. And Lister likes it that way.

She earned a master’s degree in higher education administration from George Mason University, where she worked before heading to Fredericksburg. Fate, she said, brought her to Double Drive and an open position in the Office of Financial Aid, where she managed scholarships and student loans. That and her pre-UMW experience provided a perfect segue to her current role, where she juggles deadlines and works closely with IT.

As part of the admissions team, Lister also attends open houses and Destination Days, where she sometimes sees the young people whose data she’s most likely processed along the way. Like the force that brought her to campus, those meetings can seem like their own type of fate.

“As a first-generation student myself, my interest in financial aid stemmed from my own journey through college,” said Lister, who also serves as the admissions liaison for athletics. “I enjoy helping students make their way through the admission and enrollment process.”

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Making the application process faster and easier for our students – and for the admissions team to review those applications. I love to streamline things and am always looking for ways to improve. I also find it very rewarding when a project works as it was designed, especially if it makes it easier for students.

Q: What’s the most challenging?
A: Changes. Admissions operations often has to pivot to keep up with the environment. It could mean redesigning a letter, updating a report or reprogramming how we receive data.

Q: What do your duties as the athletics liaison for admissions entail?
A: I work with our coaches to help them build their teams. They often need quick responses about applicants and their processing, and my position gives me the availability and presence to do so.

Q: What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: They might find it funny that I was in the marching band in school. I played the euphonium or baritone. Even more startling is how much I enjoyed it. One of my greatest moments was playing the theme song to M*A*S*H with the U.S. Army Band.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: I don’t really have a motto but firmly believe we all lead by example.

Bill Crawley: A Great (UMW) Life

What do the Beach Boys, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Tiger Woods have in common? They’re all subjects of this season’s William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture series, which kicks off next Tuesday, Jan. 21. The lectures, which have been bringing Pulitzer Prize winners and bestselling authors to campus since 2004, quickly burst through the seams of their original 200-capacity Monroe Hall venue, landing in Dodd Auditorium, which seats more than 1,000.

Bill Crawley

Bill Crawley

Speaking of “great lives” at Mary Washington, the series’ creator and namesake is certainly one. Hired as a professor of history in 1970 (that’s a half-century ago!) at age 25, he walked onto Double Drive alongside Mary Washington’s first male students.

It’s impossible to capture in just a few paragraphs the difference Crawley has made at Mary Washington. He wrote the book – quite literally – on UMW. Copies of the cornerstone work, University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908 to 2008, are bookmarked and dog-eared on desks from the Alumni Executive Center to Eagle Village.

But perhaps he’s best known for his flair in the classroom – though retired, he still teaches his Great Lives course each spring – and the mark he’s made on generations of students, like Laurie Mansell Reich ’79, who established the William B. Crawley scholarship in his honor. Together with wife Terrie Young Crawley ’77, he’s hosted hordes of undergrads at both informal cookouts and formal receptions; chaired the $75 million Centennial Capital Campaign; and won the Washington Medallion for service to the University.

Crawley also has received UMW’s prestigious Simpson and Mary Pinschmidt awards. Like the Great Lives series he created, the honors signal his unending commitment to Mary Washington.

“I have never taught anywhere else,” Crawley said, “nor wanted to.”

Q: What makes Great Lives so successful?
A: High-quality speakers and a wide variety of topics that appeal to a broad audience. Fundamental is the private financial support we’ve received, beginning with the creator of the original program endowment, John Chappell [whose wife, the late Carmen Culpeper Chappell, graduated from Mary Washington in 1959]. His continuing generosity, along with donations from area businesses and individuals, has enabled the program to be open to the public for free. There’s also the dedication of our Great Lives “team,” particularly Ali Hieber and Doug Noble.

Q: What have you most enjoyed about your career?
A: It’s what every faculty member would tell you – interaction with students. We have my classes over to our home most semesters, and our annual pre-grad ball party became a valued tradition.

Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: Starting the Historic Preseveration program, developing the initial First-Year Seminar course, and creating the Great Lives series.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: My undergraduate degree was in Latin, not history. I grew up on a tobacco farm and may be the only faculty member who has ever milked a cow. Also, I was a pitcher on my high school baseball team. I barely weighed 100 pounds. I clearly wasn’t going far athletically, unless I grew considerably – which I didn’t.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: Gardening, photography, and travel with Terrie, as well as time at our second home off the Chesapeake Bay in Kilmarnock.

Message from the President: Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee Final Report

To the campus community:

In 2017, the Board of Visitors asked me to appoint a Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee to evaluate the campus environment and make recommendations to ensure that Mary Washington is welcoming to all.

After a nearly two-year exhaustive study of art, monuments, and other representations of the University’s history and community, the committee identified incidences where the portrayals are inaccurate, historically incomplete, or inconsistent with UMW’s public education mission and community values.

As the committee looked at campus, it became clear that the University’s history and its depiction of UMW life was frozen in time. Select murals and buildings present a one-dimensional interpretation of UMW’s history.  Further, they reflect only a fragment of its students and alumni. The final 74-page report, which was further shaped by the input of the campus community and alumni, was presented to the Board of Visitors at its November 15 meeting. A copy of that final report accompanies this email.

Following the presentation, the UMW Board of Visitors unanimously voted to endorse all of the committee’s 17 recommendations. Effective immediately, the Board authorized the President to convene a new standing committee to develop a plan that is expedient, but judicious and fiscally responsible, to implement these recommendations. Among the specific actions to be undertaken are:

  • Reinstituting the full names associated with campus buildings, thus recognizing the contributions of leaders, particularly women, over the University’s history. For instance, Lee Hall would return to its given name of Anne Carter Lee Hall.
  • Identifying a new name for Trinkle Hall in 2020, utilizing this opportunity for celebration, positive growth, and affirmative identity of the campus.
  • Explore avenues of contextualization, concealment, or relocation of select murals and providing insights on the cost and logistics of these options.
  • Commission the development of new and inclusive murals focused on UMW as it exists today and in more recent history, ensuring broad representation of its community. 

In endorsing the recommendations, Rector Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 said, “This is an important moment for Mary Washington. The Board of Visitors took action to deepen our roots while communicating that we are an inclusive and welcoming environment for the students of the future.”

This Board of Visitors has stated its commitment to creating an environment that attracts students of every background and affirms the campus as a welcoming, vibrant community. The Board is cognizant of the faculty, staff, and students’ deep connection to the campus and recognizes they must have an active voice in planning and implementing these changes. Thus, the Board has charged me with establishing a standing committee with up to nine diverse representatives of these groups. Independently, a committee of alumni and campus members will be selected and charged with soliciting input and making recommendations for the Trinkle Hall renaming.

The Board expects demonstrable progress towards all the goals within three years, but leaves it in the hands of me and the administration to define the timeline and sequence of events to occur. It anticipates the first report of the standing committee, as well as recommendations from the committee on Trinkle Hall’s renaming, by April 2020.

The Board of Visitors’ intent is not to reinterpret history but, rather, to expand upon it, by fully conveying the stories – plural – of the people who make and have made UMW extraordinary. The goal is to share the entirety of its account and to ensure that it provide an environment where students of any backdrop and persuasion can thrive. The Board’s acceptance of the Campus Environment report allows UMW to open its doors wider and to confidently know it is truly serving its public mission.

I look forward to announcing the memberships of the standing and naming committees in short order after consulting with our institutions of shared governance. 

Finally, I want to thank publicly all of the members of the Campus Environment Presidential Ad Hoc Committee for all their work over the last two years.


Pete Kelly: Teaching is Power

Pete Kelly believes in the power of teachers.

Pete Kelly is dean of UMW's College of Education. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Pete Kelly is dean of UMW’s College of Education. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

As a kid growing up in a chaotic environment, he faced his share of struggles in school. A couple of key teachers (Mr. Wright and Mr. Stoffsky – he still remembers their names) took the time to make a difference, inspiring Kelly to become a teacher himself.

Now, as dean of UMW’s College of Education (COE), Kelly is in a position to make his own impact – on the Mary Washington faculty who train future educators and on those they’ll go on to lead in the classroom.

“Good teachers have enormous power to make a difference in the lives of students,” he said.

Kelly – whose wife, Julia DeLancey, is a professor of art and art history at UMW – worked for a while teaching history in high school, where he gravitated toward learners like himself, who tend to choose seats at the back of the class. He earned a master’s degree in special education, spent six years teaching in the prison system and, like President Paino, came to Mary Washington from Missouri’s Truman State University.

Kelly’s résumé provides the breadth of experience he needs in his job, where he works to empower others. And with funding back on track for the renovation of Seacobeck, set to be COE’s new home, UMW is poised to offer educators-in-training more power than ever, he said.

“It’s a remarkable demonstration of support for teacher education at UMW.”

Q: What brought you to your position at UMW?
A: The opportunity had great appeal. Social justice and diversity are a part of the DNA of this place; these are important ideas for me and for teacher preparation.

Q: How is UMW helping with the region’s teacher shortage?
A: We’ve developed ways to allow students to earn a degree and certification during their undergraduate programs. And we’re working with high school students and community colleges to encourage young people to teach, and to streamline their education.

Q: How has teaching changed throughout your career?
A: Meeting the needs of diverse student populations, including English language learners and those with disabilities, is one of the biggest challenges new teachers face. We must prepare teachers to meet the learning needs of ALL the students in their classrooms. Our democracy depends on it.

Q: What item in your office is most meaningful to you?
A: In my first year of teaching, my principal gave me a Weeble. It’s a small toy from the ’70s with a round bottom. When you knock it down, it pops right back up. New teachers need this superpower of resilience.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: Cooking a meal to share with others is my favorite thing to do. I’m proud to have shared my love of cooking with my kids.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: If you can cook a good meal, you will always have friends.

Q: What’s the best gift you ever received from a student?
A: I still have a folder with notes from students from when I completed my student teaching 30 years ago. Those were very important to me early in my career. Thanking a teacher who made a difference in your life is a powerful thing to do.

Kimberly Young: Connect-Ed

It’s hard to pin down Kimberly Young.

UMW Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young

UMW Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies Kimberly Young

As executive director of Continuing and Professional Studies, she darts daily among UMW’s three campuses, canvassing for community partners, zipping up connections wherever she can.

She was already revved up when she came to Mary Washington in spring 2017 from the University of Missouri, where she built a similar program from scratch. She set straight to work sweeping herself into the culture of UMW and the greater Fredericksburg area, matching faculty expertise to the region’s professional needs.

In just over two years, she’s established relationships with key organizations like Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Mary Washington Healthcare, and launched more than a dozen non-credit and single-credit courses.

Thanks to a grant that came through this spring, a new cybersecurity certificate program that targets an underserved area is now up and running. It’s the result of a hugely collaborative effort.

“It was a lot of work,” Young said. “Getting everyone on the same page and willing to work together was a tremendous feat that required shared vision and a commitment to improving our region through education.”

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: When my work makes an impact. I love seeing a faculty member teach an executive class and nailing it, or putting together a program to help a client do business more innovatively.

Q: Most challenging?
A: In order to increase our presence and credibility in regional workforce and professional development, I have to dynamically prioritize daily. That requires a broad base of knowledge, from regional economic development to the latest trends in adult learning.

Q: What question do colleagues most often ask?
A: How they can help. I love that! Faculty and staff call and pitch ideas for classes. We help each other grow and build.

Q: What’s the most interesting course you’ve come across? Is Underwater Basket Weaving really a thing?
A: I’m not opposed to it! We had a collaboration with an art museum in which we applied Visual Thinking Strategy to works of art to help participants sharpen observation and problem-solving skills. They learned about 19th-century artists, as well as how to think deeply and ask questions to become better leaders.

Q: What are the characteristics of an effective leader?
A: Self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to formulate and communicate vision. The lack of self-awareness is a big de-railer. It limits the ability to recognize blind spots and impairs a leader’s ability to be flexible and adaptable.

Q: What item in your office is most special to you?
A: My graduation stole from Duke University. My senior class was the first to allow kente cloth stoles for African American students to wear during graduation. We worked tirelessly to impress upon university administrators the importance of representing both this great accomplishment and our heritage. It reminds me who I am and where I come from, and makes me proud.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I love to cook. I’m passionate about the art of the dinner party and home entertaining. There’s nothing more special to me than creating and sharing a meal with someone or having them do the same for me.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: To whom much is given, much is required.