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 […]

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.

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 […]

Launch Party Ignites Farmer Legacy 2020

Nearly 500 people turned out yesterday to help UMW kick off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the day after what would have been his 100th birthday. The hourlong launch party packed plenty of emotion, from student accounts of life-changing experiences they’ve gained through UMW – and learning about […]

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 […]

Marion Sanford: Following in Farmer’s Footsteps

Since 2010, Marion Sanford has been the director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

Since 2010, Marion Sanford has been the director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center. Photo by Matthew Binamira Sanders.

The most treasured object in Marion Sanford’s office is Raymond Arsenault’s book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. It’s a riveting account of the quest to desegregate interstate transportation led by Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington professor who died in 1999.

Sanford never met the namesake of the James Farmer Multicultural Center, where she’s been director since 2010. But in this book, she has collected autographs from seven of the Freedom Riders – five of whom were among the original 13 men and women who left Washington, D.C. and put their lives on the line to fight injustice.

“When I think of their bravery and sacrifice, it inspires me to keep working for freedom, justice and equality,” said Sanford, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University in Mississippi and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

On Monday, Jan. 13, UMW kicks off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration honoring the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington professor, who died in 1999 and whose 100th birthday would have been Jan. 12, 2020.

On Monday, Jan. 13, UMW kicks off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration honoring the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington professor, who died in 1999 and whose 100th birthday would have been Jan. 12, 2020.

A new signature was added when Sanford was among the UMW delegation that recently met with Congressman John Lewis. A civil rights icon in his own right, Lewis will serve as honorary chair for Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration launching on Jan. 13, the day after what would have been Farmer’s 100th birthday.

Lewis has the same “energy, passion and determination” as when he boarded the bus as a college student nearly 60 years ago, Sanford said. She’ll never forget, she said, watching him interact with Student Government Association president Jason Ford, who was among the UMW group that traced the journey of the Freedom Rides last fall.

“It was the passing of a torch,” said Sanford. “Lewis is the past and present of the civil rights movement – and he looked at Jason like he was the future.”

 

 

 

Rep. John Lewis speaks with UMW Student Government Association president Jason Ford about Lewis' participation in the Freedom Rides and the march from Selma to Montgomery. Twice, through UMW’s Fall Break Social Justice Trips in 2018 and 2019, Ford has taken in sites visited by Farmer and Lewis during the height of the civil rights movement. Photo provided by the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Rep. John Lewis speaks with UMW Student Government Association president Jason Ford about Lewis’ participation in the Freedom Rides and the march from Selma to Montgomery. Twice, through UMW’s Fall Break Social Justice Trips in 2018 and 2019, Ford has taken in sites visited by Farmer and Lewis during the height of the civil rights movement. Photo provided by the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Q: What are some highlights of Farmer Legacy 2020?
A: Besides the birthday celebration, UMW students are planning a special tribute on Jan. 16 to honor Dr. Farmer. This spring is the 30th anniversary of the Multicultural Fair, and in March, we’ll have our Social Justice and Leadership Summit. In the fall, there will be a talk by Chief of Staff and History Professor Jeff McClurken and Associate Provost Tim O’Donnell, who will share their memories of Dr. Farmer.

Q: What is a typical day for you?
A: I usually start by helping students resolve an issue or plan an upcoming program or activity. There are committee meetings with faculty and staff, and my day often ends by attending a Cultural Awareness Series event or one of our social justice initiatives.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
A: I love getting to know our students and seeing them become active members of the campus community. But it’s difficult to accomplish our mission and continue to provide high-quality programs and services with limited resources.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I enjoy reading or playing tennis.

Q: What are your favorite social justice books?
A: Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, by Maurianne Adams, et.al.; Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, by Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo; and White Fragility, also by DiAngelo.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Keep the faith!

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 […]

UMW Launches Centennial Celebration of Dr. James Farmer

Happy birthday, Dr. James Farmer! Two decades after his death and on the day after he would have turned 100, the late UMW professor and U.S. civil rights pioneer Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. is being lauded by the community in which he spent his final years. Monday, January 13, 2020, not only will serve […]

Gwen Hale: The ‘Write’ Touch

Writing Center Director Gwen Hale says she and her team are here to help with everything from citation to grammar and punctuation. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Writing Center Director Gwen Hale says she and her team are here to help with everything from citation to grammar and punctuation. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

As students head home for the holidays, many of them can rest assured knowing their final papers were top-notch, thanks to Gwen Hale and UMW’s Writing Center.

For the past six years, Hale has served as the Center’s director, overseeing day-to-day operations and ensuring that she and her team of writing consultants are meeting the ever-changing needs of students, faculty and staff.

“From brainstorming to organization, from citation to grammar and punctuation, if it’s written, we help with it,” said Hale, who earned a Ph.D. from Middle Tennessee State University, where she discovered a passion for helping people put words to page.

In addition to one-on-one work with students – Hale’s favorite part of the job – the Writing Center offers workshops in all the above-mentioned areas, as well as events like last week’s Pajama Writing Jam and sessions to help students overcome their writing anxiety.

“Usually a teacher or an adult made them feel badly about their writing, and they internalize it,” Hale said. “Writing, while not easy, is a skill that can be learned if practiced.”

Indeed. The repeat customers are a testament to the Center’s success.

“It’s the initial fear of the unknown that keeps students away,” Hale said. “But if we can get them in the door and show them how friendly and helpful we are, they keep coming back.”

 

Q: What do you suggest for writer’s block?
A:
Walk away for a bit, but don’t procrastinate. Your writing may not sound elegant at first, but sometimes all it takes is clearing it from your brain before the jewels start spilling out.

Q: The Pajama Writing Jam sounds like fun! What’s it like?
A: The Saturday before finals the Writing Center is open from noon until midnight to help students finish their papers. It started three years ago when we noticed students pulling all-nighters and sleeping in the HCC. At our event, they can wear pajamas, and we have coffee, soda, pizza and pep talks to keep them going. It’s been a huge success.

Q: You were one of the driving forces behind the Eagle Resources Closet on the fifth floor of Lee Hall. What led to this initiative?
A: So many students were coming to me and saying they had no laundry detergent, no winter coats, no clothing for interviews or student teaching, and no money for food. I figured if these students had the guts to come to me and others on campus, how many did not? (To date, nearly 100 visits have been made to the closet since its launch in August, and students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents have donated goods and their time.)

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: My colleague Victoria Russell once told me I’m a woman with many layers. Even with stage 4 ovarian cancer and being on chemo, I still stand in the pit at heavy metal concerts and can rap a bunch of old school ’80s songs. People are always surprised I was a cheerleader, because that defies everyone’s expectations of me.

Q: What are your winter break plans?
A: I’m going to crochet scarves for my students, visit my family and watch movies with my brother. Lately, I’m often in doctors’ offices, but in my downtime, I love being with my dogs, Sheldon and Doodle, and watching old horror flicks.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: If you ask the Writing Center consultants, they’d probably say, “I don’t hire mean people.” But I love what my mom would tell me: “There’s no act too big or too small that does not deserve a handwritten thank-you card.”

UMW Takes First Place as a ‘Great Value College’

The University of Mary Washington topped the list of America’s 50 Most Underrated Colleges. Released this week by Great Value Colleges (GVC), the list pinpoints schools that stand out among vast offerings in higher education, but whose size and other factors can preclude them from rising to the top of big-name national rankings. “None of the colleges […]