January 23, 2022

Pastor, Justice Reform Organizer to Deliver MLK Keynote

Last March, Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook stood by Gov. Ralph Northam’s side as he announced that Virginia would become the first southern state to abolish the death penalty. “Today, we turn the page in the history books,” said Cook, a Baptist minister and civil rights advocate, noting that the commonwealth once allowed the second highest […]

Governor Announces UMW Board of Visitors Appointments

The Virginia Governor’s Office announced today the appointment of two Mary Washington alumnae – Kerri S. Barile ’94 of Fredericksburg and Lisa Errickson Henry ’96 of Stafford County – to UMW’s Board of Visitors. Barile, who holds nearly three decades of experience in historic preservation, architectural history, historic research and archaeology, is the owner and […]

Paino Calls for Commitment at ‘Critical Juncture’

UMW President Troy Paino welcomed faculty and staff to Spring 2022 – a fifth semester of teaching and learning amid a global pandemic – yesterday in a livestreamed all-University address.

“In light of what we’ve gone through over the past two years, we’re at a critical juncture,” he said. “I’m calling for the University community to come together.”

UMW President Troy D. Paino

UMW President Troy D. Paino

Paino asked all employees – even outside of Admissions – to consider student recruitment and retention an essential part of their job, as colleges across the country struggle to yield incoming classes. Part news bulletin, part pep talk, the presentation praised resilience across campus in the face of an incorrigible COVID-19 and a damaging winter storm that pounded the area last week. The 35-minute address also looked toward the future, touching on planned capital projects, new leadership and ambitious initiatives.

But the present – today’s return to in-person classes – was key. The ability to stick with that plan was made possible, Paino said, thanks to a vaccination rate of more than 95 percent among the UMW community, and just six percent positivity among students, compared with more than 40 percent in the region, as the Omicron variant surges.

“The bottom line is that working and living in this community, which is almost totally vaccinated, makes this campus one of the safest places to be here in the Fredericksburg area,” he said.

Paino encouraged University personnel to stay strong and aware, to practice self-care and to consider at-risk individuals. He also urged the campus community to be cognizant of the contributions of healthcare partners, including the CDC, Virginia Department of Health, Rappahannock Area Health District and colleagues throughout the commonwealth.

Much of the talk focused on the University-wide need to connect with prospective students. “It’s the small things,” Paino said. “It’s the way we answer the phone, the way we interact with people on campus.” Related initiatives, he said, include the newly created Recruitment and Retention Council, the launch of a new brand and a push to engage students earlier in their high school careers.

Turning to the topic of construction, Paino said, activity continues on campus despite supply chain and inflation issues. He cited the recent demolition of Alvey; renovation of Seacobeck, which re-opened today; and the ongoing underground utilities project on Ball Circle.

After an extensive renovation, longtime dining area Seacobeck Hall has officially taken on its new role as home to the College of Education. More capital projects are in the works, President Paino announced during the Spring 2022 All-University Address.

After an extensive renovation, longtime dining area Seacobeck Hall has officially taken on its new role as home to the College of Education. More capital projects are in the works, President Paino announced during the Spring 2022 All-University Address.

More such work is on the way, he said, with a new legislative session and state administration. Preliminary funding will support the museums operated by UMW, the Office of Disability Resources and a proposed salary increase. In addition, funding will be available to plan for the construction of a new theatre and the renovation of duPont, Melchers and Pollard halls, along with Simpson Library.

Paino welcomed Chief Diversity Officer Shavonne Shorter and Director of Emergency Management and Safety Brandy Ellard, and announced the launch of a national search for a vice president for advancement.

Leadership will guide the need to reassess Mary Washington’s strategic vision, Paino said. He asked the entire University community to join in the effort of examining the four current pillars – civic engagement, immersive learning, creation of a diverse and inclusive community, and adaptation of the liberal arts to a digital world – in light of lessons learned over the past two years.

“How do we respond to this moment?” he said. “And this is a moment, let’s make no mistake about it, that we have to respond to.”

On what would have been the 102nd birthday of former Mary Washington faculty member and civil rights icon James L. Farmer Jr., Paino stressed the need to work together to help shape the next generation of engaged citizens, inspire social mobility and demonstrate a commitment to truth.

“Is it challenging work? Is it huge work? Is it hard work? No doubt,” he said. “But I feel grateful that we have a sense of purpose here at this critically important time for our democracy. Thank you for all the work you do.”

Geography Grad Earns EPA ‘Rising Star’ Award

Growing up, Kaitlin Kean spent mornings before school in her father’s office, poring over maps and watching him collect data as a land surveyor. “That’s where I first learned about the field and that it was something I wanted to pursue,” said Kean, who now claims her own office where she wields sought-after expertise in […]

Holiday Greetings from President Paino

Dear UMW Community,

As the semester comes to an end and we prepare for winter break, I wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to you and those you hold dear.

Since March of 2020, we all have endured additional strain – pandemic struggles, political and social unrest, and personal or family health and financial challenges. With cooperation and support from all of you, we have kept COVID-19 transmission rates extremely low and have made campus life as normal as possible given the circumstances. You have exemplified what it means to be a part of a caring community, and your resilience has allowed us to move forward and fulfill our mission.

I know the holiday season can sometimes exacerbate stressful feelings and situations, taking a toll on our emotional and physical well-being. Please take care of yourself and enjoy those customs that enrich your life and give you peace of mind. My hope is that you enjoy laughter, good food, family, and friends as we reflect on this past year and look forward to the next.

Warmly,
Troy

Great Lives Series Returns in Person in 2022

Painter Vincent van Gogh, humanitarian Mother Teresa and country music icon Dolly Parton are among the prominent personalities featured in the upcoming William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series. The 19th season of this treasured University of Mary Washington tradition will be held in person – for the first time in nearly two years – […]

China-bound Graduate Focused on Global Goals

Bailey Johnson ’21 has a gift for being where she needs to be to meet her goals. Starting in August 2022, that will be Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. There she’ll join the newest class of Schwarzman Scholars, pursuing a master’s degree in global affairs. Johnson is among 151 scholars in nearly three dozen countries, […]

Rosemary Arneson: Natural Resource

When UMW Librarian Rosemary Arneson tapped into her field, it was a study of card catalogs, microfiche and encyclopedias. The library at Emory University, where she earned a master’s degree in librarianship, did house a pair of clunky computers but special permission was needed to use them.

Arneson is proud to keep the original Mary Washington College spinning wheel in her office in Simpson Library. “It’s a beautiful great wheel,” she said, “and to me, it’s a reminder of where we came from as an institution.”

Arneson is proud to keep the original Mary Washington College spinning wheel in her office in Simpson Library. “It’s a beautiful great wheel,” she said, “and to me, it’s a reminder of where we came from as an institution.”

Now, wi-fi transports a dizzying array of data to screens on our desktops and laptops, tablets and iPads, Smartphones and iPhones, Androids and more.

“I have never been bored,” said Arneson, who insists the core of her calling remains. “Library work is, and always has been, about connecting our users with content. We’re still here helping people find the information they need.”

At least for a couple more weeks. She’s retiring this month.

Her last day’s a Thursday, which could prove routine – catching up with library staff, a meeting or two, and maybe, just maybe, her favorite, working the Reference Desk and connecting with students.

Friday, all bets are off. After 10 years at the helm of UMW’s Simpson Library, Arneson will fly off to Paris! Bon voyage!

Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I knew UMW from working at James Madison University in the early ’80s, and I’d met [University Librarian Emeritus] Roy Strohl at meetings over the years. I was ready to move on from my last job at the University of Montevallo in Alabama when I saw the UMW post.

Q: How do you feel about the changing library landscape?
A: Moving from card catalogs to online systems, paper indexes to full text databases, and collections that are more electronic than physical kept me learning new things all the time.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The staff and students I get to work with – a wonderful, dedicated group of folks. I know they’ll keep working to improve the library and its services. Over the years, I’ve hired several librarians fresh out of school and worked with students who went on to careers in libraries and archives. They all make me proud.

A stint at the Talking Book Center – part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled – in a regional public library in Georgia got Arneson hooked on the field. A member of the American Library Association, she also has held positions at Virginia State University, Fairfield University in Connecticut and Queens College in North Carolina.

A stint at the Talking Book Center – part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled – in a regional public library in Georgia got Arneson hooked on the field. A member of the American Library Association, she also has held positions at Virginia State University, Fairfield University in Connecticut and Queens College in North Carolina.

Q: Most challenging?
A: Part of being the university librarian is that I manage the budget; there’s never enough money to do all the things we want to do.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I didn’t set out to become a librarian. I had a brief career in commercial television as the first female camera operator in Columbus, Georgia. I’m the reason camera people no longer have to wear ties. 

Q: What’s your motto?
A: I can’t do everything, but I can do something, so what can I do to make things better?

Q: What are you reading?
A: The Rusalka Wheel in Brooks Mencher’s Yarn Woman series, centered on a textile forensic analyst. This book involves a spinning wheel from Eastern Europe that turns up in an antiques shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. 

Q: What else do you do in your free time?
A: Anything with yarn. Mostly, I knit. I usually have two or three projects on the needles at a time. (Right now, the second of a pair of socks, the first of a pair of mittens, and a baby dress.)  I also love to travel. 

Celebrate Rosemary Arneson’s UMW career and say “au revoir” at a retirement gathering this afternoon at 4 in the HCC Convergence Gallery.

Mary Wash Debate Team Zooms to National Victory

University of Mary Washington students have made it convincingly clear: They know how to debate. In keeping with a longstanding winning tradition, the UMW Debate Team last week wrapped up back-to-back weekends of competitions with a first-place finish at the American Debate Association’s Fall Championship Tournament, proving they’ve adapted successfully to an online format. Ainsley […]

UMW Course Preserves Native American Stories

John Blankenship’s passion for historic preservation is personal. A member of Virginia’s Patawomeck Indian Tribe, he’s always been interested in learning about his family tree and the roots his ancestors laid along the Potomac River. “Since I was young, I’ve wanted to ensure that the people and events of the past are remembered,” he said, […]