May 28, 2020

Twenty Ways the Class of 2020 Stands Out

The Class of 2020 stands out in many ways. Read about 20 of them below.

The Class of 2020 stands out in many ways. Read about 20 of them below.

Each UMW graduating class is unique, a one-of-a-kind collection of dedicated students determined to earn their degrees and change the world. With all they’ve been through – from the thrill of Orientation and the First-Year Experience to political turmoil and a global pandemic that cleared campus – the Class of 2020 stands out in a big way.

More than 1,000 students strong, this group of graduates faced change head-on, proving to be a resilient and formidable force. From in-person learning to virtual classrooms, from one-on-one consults with faculty members to scheduled Zoom meetings, from on-campus events to celebrations that played out on Instagram, this class truly has its own story to tell.

With the unprecedented chaos caused by COVID-19 and academic expectations still high, they stuck with it. They honored the commitments they’d made and didn’t give up. They did it!

They won’t turn their tassels at Commencement on Ball Circle Saturday as they had planned, but later, at a ceremony currently rescheduled for Oct. 24. Then, they will celebrate together the lessons they’ve learned through these past weeks, in perseverance, adaptability and grit – a punctuation point on a liberal arts education that aims to do the same thing.

It’s time for these Eagles to leave the nest. It’s their time to fly! Read more.

Twenty Ways the Class of 2020 Stands Out

Each UMW graduating class is unique, a one-of-a-kind collection of dedicated students determined to earn their degrees and change the world. With all they’ve been through – from the thrill of Orientation and the First-Year Experience to political turmoil and a global pandemic that cleared campus – the Class of 2020 stands out in a […]

Q&A Addressed Employee Concerns

Faculty and staff tuned in yesterday afternoon for a Q&A session livestreamed on Zoom. During the hourlong video chat, Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken, Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, Vice President of Student Affairs Juliette Landphair and Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams answered an array of questions about their respective areas.

“I just wanted to say thank you for all you’ve done,” McClurken said at the start of the session. He pointed to moving pieces – state budget calls, fall enrollment figures, government health orders and SCHEV suggestions – that will inform future decisions.

Grades are in, and face-to-face education is still the plan for the fall, McClurken said, reminding participants of President Paino’s task force designed to wade through the uncertainty and decipher how the details of in-person learning might play out.

“We know our students want to be here,” said Landphair, who stressed that UMW’s academic mission and its responsibility to maintain safety on campus are inextricable. Departments like dining, athletics and housing, she said, are already drafting plans for multiple scenarios in the fall.

The past few weeks have revealed the strengths of our community, said Landphair, who shared examples of parents’ positive feedback on University-issued communications.

Mikhalevsky praised faculty. “You all have done an absolutely incredible job and we have the data to prove that,” she said, referencing an upcoming open forum for faculty members.

Williams echoed that positivity, adding that she has found it “inspiring” to be part of the UMW workforce, with employees who have been “adaptable and flexible,” during this time of turmoil due to COVID-19. She issued reminders about the May 15 open enrollment deadline for health benefits; Employee Appreciation Day on Monday, May 11; and ongoing open Staff Advisory Council chats on Thursdays at 11.

Q&A participants raised questions about the ability to revamp course descriptions as circumstances become more clear, the status of funding for travel and its impact on tenure-track faculty, and how furlough and salary-reduction situations could play out if they become necessary. Other inquiries delved into current enrollment numbers, where branding efforts stand and the availability of personal protection equipment (PPE) .

The panelists addressed questions to the best of their ability. McClurken’s response to the question about PPE could have been applied to many inquiries. “I promise you, we are exploring the options,” he said. “I absolutely understand your concern, and we will bring that info to you as soon as we have it.”

Learn more by viewing the May 6, 2020, Q&A session on YouTube.

Alum, Infectious Disease Expert, Urges Patience in Fighting COVID-19

Jerri Perkins, MD, graduated from Mary Washington in 1961, studied at the National Institutes of Health, and recommended the first FDA therapy related to AIDS. With a background in infectious disease, she believes that social distancing – and patience – are our best weapons in the fight against COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Jerri Perkins.

Jerri Perkins, MD, graduated from Mary Washington in 1961, studied at the National Institutes of Health, and recommended the first FDA therapy related to AIDS. With a background in infectious disease, she believes that social distancing – and patience – are our best weapons in the fight against COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Jerri Perkins.

Jerri Barden Perkins was heading to the peak of a powdery slope in Sun Valley, Idaho, when her ski instructor suggested they spread out from the group. As they stepped into the gondola, the women pointed their elbows away from their sides to create personal space.

It was the first of March, and coronavirus was beginning to creep through the United States. By the time Perkins, an infectious disease expert who graduated from Mary Washington in 1961, returned to her Hilton Head home in South Carolina, she was concerned. She sat down in her office overlooking peaceful Calibogue Sound to pen a letter to the editor of her local newspaper.

Like her ski instructor, Perkins believed social distancing was the way to slow the virus’s spread. But rather than scooching away from gondola-riders, Perkins was asking a town to close a bridge that provides access to an island.

“It doesn’t respect people or borders; it’s going to do its own thing,” she said of COVID-19. “If we want to survive, we have to pause and distance ourselves until we get more data and knowledge.” Read more.

Alum, Infectious Disease Expert, Urges Patience in Fighting COVID-19

Jerri Barden Perkins was heading to the peak of a powdery slope in Sun Valley, Idaho, when her ski instructor suggested they spread out from the group. As they stepped into the gondola, the women pointed their elbows away from their sides to create personal space. It was the first of March, and coronavirus was […]

Through Pandemic, Research Remains Top Priority at UMW

Held annually on campus, UMW’s Research and Creativity Day went virtual this year, due to COVID-19. The event allows students to share projects they’ve worked on all year.

Held annually on campus, UMW’s Research and Creativity Day went virtual this year, due to COVID-19. The event allows students to share projects they’ve worked on all year.

They put in the hours – late-night study sessions, one-on-one meetings with faculty members, conferences, presentations and projects. All year long, students have been working hard on one of the University of Mary Washington’s top priorities: undergraduate research.

A pandemic wasn’t about to stop the 14th annual showcase that highlights all of their efforts. Filled with posters in the form of PDF images and oral synopses on video, the UMW Research and Creativity Day Virtual Symposium covers everything from math and science to the performing and visual arts. The online event will be open tomorrow through Friday for questions and comments, and for all-around marveling over UMW students’ ingenuity and drive.

“It’s a time for all of us to pause to celebrate our students’ hard work, their creativity, and the knowledge they’ve produced,” said Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Betsy Lewis. “When it was clear we wouldn’t be able to do this face-to-face on campus this year, I really wanted to find a way to replicate that sense of community and celebration.” Read more.

Through Pandemic, Research Remains Top Priority at UMW

They put in the hours – late-night study sessions, one-on-one meetings with faculty members, conferences, presentations and projects. All year long, students have been working hard on one of the University of Mary Washington’s top priorities: undergraduate research. A pandemic wasn’t about to stop the 14th annual showcase that highlights all of their efforts. Filled […]

Uniquely UMW Tradition – Devil Goat Day – Lives On

The name might sound odd to some. But for University of Mary Washington students and alumni, “Devil Goat Day” is tradition – one that’s been around for nearly a century. And this year, as always, it’s on! With courses turned virtual and campus cleared out due to COVID-19, Senior Class Council (SCC) couldn’t bear to […]

Uniquely UMW Tradition – Devil Goat Day – Lives On

The uniquely UMW tradition of Devil Goat Day continues this year. With classes online due to COVID-19, contests are being held virtually.

The uniquely UMW tradition of Devil Goat Day continues this year. With classes online due to COVID-19, contests are being held virtually.

The name might sound odd to some. But for University of Mary Washington students and alumni, “Devil Goat Day” is tradition – one that’s been around for nearly a century.

And this year, as always, it’s on!

With courses turned virtual and campus cleared out due to COVID-19, Senior Class Council (SCC) couldn’t bear to give up this uniquely UMW event – where students who graduate in odd years, called “devils,” compete with those who graduate in even years, called “goats.”

“We couldn’t let that day slide by without acknowledging the tradition that we care so much about,” said SCC President Eleanor Kilmon, who’s worked with her clubmates to take it online for a week instead of a day.

Launched Sunday, this year’s event is packed with as much Eagle pride and well-meaning rivalry – seniors and sophomores vs. juniors and freshmen – as ever. But instead of on Ball Circle, competitions take place on Instagram, with #umwdgd. Traditional matches of corn hole, cup-pong and bull-riding give way to virtual challenges unofficially measured by re-posts and tags. Read more.

For UMW Theatre, the Show Must Go On

Rehearsals for the University of Mary Washington’s spring season finale were on a roll when a pandemic pushed cast and crew off the Klein Theatre stage. So the group found a new space to practice for Much Ado About Nothing – online. Streaming live to the public on Thursday at 7 p.m., the Shakespearean tale of […]