February 18, 2020

UMW Hosts FredNats Auditions for Singers, Mascot and More

The Fredericksburg Nationals want the best of the best to perform at the new Minor League Baseball park when it opens for its first home game against the Frederick Keys in April. A FredNats sponsor, the University of Mary Washington is stepping up to the plate, hosting auditions this month and next for emcee and […]

Retired NBA Player Scores with Black History Keynote

It was a game-changing moment for Etan Thomas. Pulled over by the police, he sat silently on the road as an officer fixated on him. The policeman’s fingertips hovered over his holster, ready to grab his gun, while his partners tried to pinpoint why the black teen looked so familiar. It must be from a […]

Retired NBA Player Scores with Black History Keynote

It was a game-changing moment for Etan Thomas. Pulled over by the police, he sat silently on the road as an officer fixated on him. The policeman’s fingertips hovered over his holster, ready to grab his gun, while his partners tried to pinpoint why the black teen looked so familiar. It must be from a […]

Retired NBA Player Scores with Black History Keynote

It was a game-changing moment for Etan Thomas. Pulled over by the police, he sat silently on the road as an officer fixated on him. The policeman’s fingertips hovered over his holster, ready to grab his gun, while his partners tried to pinpoint why the black teen looked so familiar. It must be from a […]

Amphitheatre Wedding Photo Wows on UMW Instagram

Evan Smallwood ’15 was nervous. He’d tried on six different sweaters but nothing seemed right. He paced as he dressed, peering every few minutes out his Russell Hall window to check for his date. Just as he’d settled on a green quarter-zip, Aaron McPherson ’12 pulled into view, and Smallwood rushed downstairs to meet him. […]

Amphitheatre Wedding Photo Wows on UMW Instagram

Evan Smallwood ’15 was nervous. He’d tried on six different sweaters but nothing seemed right. He paced as he dressed, peering every few minutes out his Russell Hall window to check for his date. Just as he’d settled on a green quarter-zip, Aaron McPherson ’12 pulled into view, and Smallwood rushed downstairs to meet him. […]

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.

Olympiad Sparks STEM Interests, Showcases UMW

Take a mousetrap, turn it into a vehicle, and develop a means by which activation of the trap propels the vehicle forward to reach a designated target. Oh – and work with 14 other students all focusing on and fiddling with one mousetrap. Mousetrap Vehiclewas just one of dozens of challenges facing 44 teams of […]

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.

 

One Note Stand Single Makes A Cappella Album

Out of hundreds of national submissions, Mary Washington’s One Note Stand stood out. The co-ed a cappella group started its year on a high note, with its most recent single, See Her Out, among 20 songs chosen for 2020’s Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) album. One Note Stand also made its fourth consecutive appearance […]