February 20, 2019

UMW Goes ‘All In’ With Lofty Goal for Giving Day

The University of Mary Washington is asking alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends to go “All In” for its third annual giving day on Tuesday, March 19. On Mary Wash Giving Day, also known as #MaryWashDay, donors can make gifts to areas across the University from midnight to 11:59 p.m. at givingday.umw.edu. Challenges and […]

UMW Gets Big Date on ‘The Bachelor’

The Bachelor filmed its 23rd season in exotic locales like Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. But directors of the hit ABC reality series deemed UMW’s Brompton, where part of next week’s show was shot, one of the season’s most beautiful sites. Captured last October in a cloud of secrecy, the annual “hometowns” episode brought Fredericksburg native Cayelynn […]

Greg Render: Priority Mail

Greg Render winds – no, he bounds – his way up the Eagle Village stairs, taking them two at a time. With more than 70 flights per day under his belt, his Fitbit’s on fire! And that’s good for his heart, especially on Valentine’s Day with love letters galore to deliver.

Greg Render, who retired from Fairfax County Public Schools, delivers UMW mail across campus. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Greg Render, who retired from Fairfax County Public Schools, delivers UMW mail across campus. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Render braves snow and rain to make sure UMW students, faculty and staff get their mail, zigzagging across campus and beyond, from Lee Hall and Woodard, to the Jepson Alumni Executive Center and Facilities Services, to the Stafford campus and Belmont. He basically sprints the whole way, achieving the aforementioned 70-plus flights of stairs and about 28,000 steps – more than 12½ miles – per day.

Valentine’s Day brings more mail than usual, said Render, who retired after 32 years with Fairfax County Public Schools. But for he and his wife, his “soul mate,” of 47 years, every day is Valentine’s Day.

“As soon as I saw her,” he said, “I knew we were going to have a life together.”

Q: How long have you been at UMW?
A: The first time? Seven years. I’d been gone three years when I came back in August. The dog couldn’t go to Florida. (Don’t ask.)

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: The people. I love the people here. They’re so nice.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Pfft …nothing. Come on, it’s delivering mail.

Q: Do you deliver more mail than usual for Valentine’s Day?
A: Yes. There’s a lot of letters and packages – ProFlowers, FTD. We get boxes with hand-drawn hearts all colored in.

Q: Any suggestions for lovebirds to get their Valentine’s packages noticed?A: Show up yourself and give it to her.

Q: Any memorable deliveries throughout the years?
A: We’ve gotten kayaks, a 65-inch television, a 20-gallon saltwater aquarium. Bananas, pumpkins, leaves and pieces of wood, just loose with stamps on them. Yesterday, we got a 50-pound fitness vest. That was heavy!

Q: You zoom around all over the place on your golf cart. Have you ever had an accident?
A: No, but I’ve had them break down. You have to push them, and they’re heavy. One had battery problems, and I had to push it from Sodexo to the parking garage on Route 1.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: Have fun with life. You’ve got to laugh every day. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you have a problem.

Alumni Found Love – and Marriage – at Mary Washington

Not too long ago, Sara Weinstein ’14 and Dylan Lockwood ’15 were toggling between classes together on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Combs. Both English majors, they were chasing their dreams and finding their futures as young undergrads. A study group they formed on their own brought a new kind of Mary Washington magic, one that […]

Cast Gets Just Desserts in UMW’s ‘God of Carnage’

Mary Washington theatre students are cooking up something special for their new production, God of Carnage. The comedic commentary on the modern-day strains of remaining civil amid controversy runs Feb. 14 to 24 in UMW’s Klein Theatre. A special pay-what-you-can preview presentation takes place tonight at 7:30. Two pairs of well-to-do parents sort through a playground […]

UMW Named Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students

Once again, the University of Mary Washington has been named to the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Students. The top Fulbright producers are listed in the February 11 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural […]

UMW Students Bring Class Act to Community Theater

It was a wiggly, jiggly sea of limbs in a downtown Fredericksburg studio. Awash in the white-hot glow of theater lights, boys and girls waved their arms and legs in the air before dissolving into laughter. “How does that feel?” asked University of Mary Washington theatre major Victoria Fortune, who spent a recent Saturday afternoon […]

Kenny Horning: Set to Build

Teaching college students to build props and scenery can be rewarding … but risky. Just ask Klein Theatre Shop Foreman Kenny Horning.

Klein Theatre Shop Foreman Kenny Horning. Photo by Karen Pearlman

Klein Theatre Shop Foreman Kenny Horning. Photo by Karen Pearlman

Since his 2008 UMW début, he’s suffered all manner of minor catastrophes. During work on the Romeo & Juliet set, for example, a clunk in the head with a C-clamp nearly caused a concussion. He’s had a screw drilled through his fingernail, been shot with a runaway staple and re-broken a toe. Not to mention torn ligaments in his back, knees and shoulder.

While the job calls for caution, it demands creativity. That’s the part Horning likes best.

“I like construction more than anything else,” he said during a break from laying tile flooring – a first in all his years on the job – for God of Carnage, set to run Feb. 14 to 24. “I’m artistic. I can draw. I can paint. Building things comes easy for me, and it’s freeing.”

Set in an upscale Brooklyn apartment – hence the pristine marble floors – the comic drama’s backdrop is less complicated than many on which Horning has worked (save for the scene where a character vomits, a maneuver made possible with pneumatic air, a hose and some oatmeal).

That each day is different is awesome, said Horning, who once worked on a Pillsbury assembly line, stuffing frozen cookies into a box. “It s-u-u-u-u-cked.”

Q: What prepared you for your role as shop foreman?
A: I have an MFA from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. In school, I did a little bit of everything. I’ve been onstage, backstage, on crew, in the booth. I’ve stage-managed, hung lights. You name it, I’ve done it.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job?
A: It’s not monotonous. The projects change day to day.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: You never know what you’re going to deal with – student participation, physical designs, machines not working correctly, they’re all factors. 

Q: What’s the biggest set you’ve worked on at UMW?
A: Noises Off (a two-story, three-faced, “lazy Susan-like” set with walls that folded accordion-style and detached on casters). It was a 13-week build. Once [set designer and associate professor Julie Hodge] and I got it down to a science, we turned it over to student crews and taught them what to do.

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of theatre?
A: In residency for grad school, I was a crew member for Blithe Spirit. My job was to crawl under the deck from offstage, put on a headset and do cues as a ghost. I had to bang underneath the table, hit some buttons to pop up the couch cushions, crawl out the other sideof the set and drop down the fireplace. I had to wedge myself into a hole under the set and army-crawl. It was the weirdest thing.

Q: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I actually watch WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). That’s how I connected with my father.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: KISS – keep it simple, stupid

Fredericksburg Firm Establishes Historic Preservation Scholarship

University of Mary Washington alumna Kerri S. Barile has carved a career and built a business out of her passion for, and education in, historic preservation. As co-founder and president of Dovetail Cultural Resource Group, she now is giving back to her alma mater while blazing a trail for UMW students to follow in her […]

Jaime Opanashuk: ‘You Are Not Alone’

A collection of curious items awaits those who visit Jaime Opanashuk’s Tyler House office – a squishy stress ball that looks like a doughnut, tubs of bold-tinted Play Dough, a coloring book.

Jaime Opanashuk is UMW's new victim advocate. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Jaime Opanashuk is UMW’s new victim advocate. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

The trinkets engage multiple senses, Opanashuk said, and put those who come to see her at ease. As UMW’s new victim advocate, she welcomes anyone who’s experienced sexual assault or misconduct, or relationship abuse, and is confused about which way to turn. The position is funded as part of a $300,000 grant Mary Washington received from the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

With a perspective that’s evenly colored – as a probation officer, she’s supervised offenders; as a case coordinator, she’s worked with victims – Opanashuk is set to share her insight with UMW students who seek her services.

“Seeing survivors from day one of the incident and how they bloom and blossom … that gives me purpose,” she said. “The earlier we can educate students about warning signs and increase awareness, the more we can help decrease incidents of violence on campus.”

Q: What appealed to you about the victim advocate position at UMW?
A: Two things, victim advocacy has been a career passion for 20 years and I always find fulfillment in working to better my community.

Opanashuk starts a conversation with a student on Campus Walk during the Cocoa and Consent event. Photo by Marty Morrison.

Opanashuk starts a conversation with a student on Campus Walk at Cocoa and Consent. Photo by Marty Morrison.

Q: What’s a typical day like on the job?
A: Right now, I’m involved in a lot of training, meeting with community partners and trying to meet students and learn the layout of campus.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your position?
A: My role in assisting victims of violence transition into survivors.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Continuing to see evidence and examples of rape culture, oppression and victim blaming in our society.


Q: You’re one of the university’s few confidential employees. Is that daunting?
A: No. I am honored.  A survivor’s story is theirs to share if they choose to and not my decision to make for them.

Q: Your work can be emotional and intense. How do you disengage?
A: By baking cupcakes with my 3-year-old.

Q: If you could fly a banner over campus with just a few words, what would it say?
A: You Are Not Alone!

Q: What’s your favorite item in your office?
A: My mother-in-law’s very old cactus.  She lost her battle with dementia two years ago.  It’s sentimental.

Q: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: Right out of college, I ran a county-wide domestic violence taskforce of 120 community partners and our county’s first domestic violence shelter for women and children. My position was funded by one of the early OVW grants. Ironically, 20 years later, my UMW confidential advocate position is again funded by an OVW grant.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: Thanks for challenging me to find one that fits my aspirations today: Be the person you want to meet!

Visit the UMW News site, to read more about Jaime. And catch up with her at The Escalation Workshop, a film based-discussion covering the signs of relationship abuse, presented by the Office of Title IX and the Center for Prevention and Education on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m. in HCC 307.