June 26, 2019

Melva Kishpaugh: Procurement Powerhouse

Need new laptops for your office? Hiring landscapers to beautify the campus? Renting puppets for the new theatre production?

Director of Procurement Services Melva Kishpaugh has been at UMW since 2007. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Director of Procurement Services Melva Kishpaugh has been at UMW since 2007. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Melva Kishpaugh has you covered. As the director of Procurement Services, she assists faculty and staff with getting whatever is needed to keep their offices running smoothly and get the job done. It’s a challenging role with lots of responsibilities – monitoring employee purchases, establishing contracts, negotiating with vendors, following rules and regulations, and much more – but it’s one that she loves, as evidenced by the three-plus decades she’s worked in procurement.

“It’s like a treasure hunt every day – you never know what you’re going to encounter,” said Kishpaugh, a Northern Virginia native who can connect her occupation to her childhood memories of antiquing with her father in Fredericksburg. She recalls searching high and low through downtown shops for old clocks – his personal favorite – and other forgotten gems from the past.

A UMW employee since 2007, Kishpaugh is proud of the role her department plays helping Mary Washington students earn their degrees. “I recently watched a group of seniors trying on their caps and gowns. Somewhere along the way, my team was providing contracts for dining services and janitorial staff to clean the buildings where they live and study, and purchasing equipment to enhance their learning experience. That’s a wonderful feeling.”

 

Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
A: When someone needs to purchase something right away, they are usually worried. But we can often help them procure what they need immediately. It becomes difficult when situations arise that make the process take longer than expected.

Q: What’s the longest procurement process you’ve experienced at UMW?
A: It took a year to determine who would run the new bookstore and to sign the contract with Barnes & Noble.

Q: What’s the most bizarre procurement request you’ve seen?
A: I administered the small purchase charge card program when I first came to UMW. I was reviewing monthly purchase reports and noticed a Match.com charge. I was worried someone was misusing their card until I realized it was for a psychology class. I also helped the theatre department rent man-eating puppets for “The Little Shop of Horrors.”

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: When I was younger, I wanted to be a pilot. I almost joined the Air Force and had even gone through recruiting and testing, but math wasn’t my strong point, so I went in a different direction. I still enjoy air shows, but now I stay on the ground. Also, I have always owned some type of sports car because my Dad was a mechanic, and I inherited his affinity for them.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: All things in moderation.

Q: Any exciting summer plans?
A: My friends and I love the outdoor concert season. This summer, we’re seeing The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Gary Clark Jr. and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. We’re also seeing Jamey Johnson and Brothers Osborne at Fredericksburg After Hours. I also enjoy reading rock autobiographies. My favorites were Keith Richards, who writes surprisingly well, and Steven Tyler, who writes exactly the way he speaks.

Q: What’s your favorite Stones song?
A: “Paint It Black” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” But I also like “You Can’t Always Get What You Want (But Sometimes You Get What You Need).” It’s the best procurement song, EVER.

UMW Names Inaugural Director of Center for Career and Professional Development

University of Mary Washington announces the fulfillment of one of its key strategic goals with the selection of the first executive director for its Center for Career and Professional Development. Paul Binkley, whose employment will begin June 25, has more than 20 years experience in the fields of career services, student affairs, international development and […]

UMW Names Inaugural Director of Center for Career and Professional Development

University of Mary Washington announces the fulfillment of one of its key strategic goals with the selection of the first executive director for its Center for Career and Professional Development. Paul Binkley, whose employment will begin June 25, has more than 20 years experience in the fields of career services, student affairs, international development and […]

Itzhak Perlman Opens UMW Philharmonic’s 2019-20 Season

Legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman kicks off the UMW Philharmonic’s 49th season this fall. Concerts continue through the spring with an appearance by Mary Washington’s new artist-in-residence, as well as a tribute to American icon Norman Rockwell and an actor-led celebration of national treasures from Abraham Lincoln to America’s pastime. The series runs October through April […]

Hall Cheshire: Network News

Hall Cheshire, chief information officer. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Hall Cheshire, chief information officer. Photo by Norm Shafer.

When Hall Cheshire graduated from high school in the 1970s, he set his sights on becoming a jazz guitarist. Though he still dabbles in music today, back then he received some sage advice from his father that made him realize his talents lay in other areas.

“He said, ‘This computer thing seems to be catching on, so maybe you should get into that,’” said Cheshire, who now has over three decades of experience in IT. A desire to work for an organization with a mission he believes in led Cheshire to become the chief information officer for the University of Mary Washington, where he manages not only technology, but also the projects, people and budgets that come with it.

One of his team’s biggest assignments to date – affecting all areas of the University – is migrating faculty and staff emails and SharePoint sites to Office 365. It’s an enormous undertaking, but Cheshire said that most UMW departments have already successfully adopted the new system, and he expects the project to be completed by the end of the year.

“I’m fortunate to work with very smart and talented people in the IT department,” said Cheshire. “My team did a lot of research and testing to prepare for the project. Thanks to their efforts, everything is going smoothly.”

 

Q: There are lots of bells and whistles with the new system. What’s your favorite?
A: Of all of the applications in the Office 365 ecosystem, I use Planner the most. It’s a basic project management tool that is great for organizing, assigning and managing tasks.

Q: People get possessive about their email and are often resistant to change. What kinds of reactions did you encounter during the migration?
A: Most people just want to know they won’t lose access to their email. We’ve migrated hundreds of email accounts over the past year, and the majority have gone off without a hitch.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your profession?
A: Solving problems and adding value. Information technology is an important part of most processes at UMW, and it’s great to be able to contribute to the University’s mission.

Q: What’s the most challenging?
A: Someone once told me that any problem can be solved with enough time, money and people. Unfortunately, I rarely have enough of any of those. It’s a constant challenge to do what needs to be done with limited resources.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: When I was in my 20s, I earned a black belt in a Korean martial art called Hapkido. I haven’t practiced it in decades, but it was a great experience.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: Years ago, I took a watercolor painting class. The only picture I painted that was not a complete disaster is on my desk. It’s a reminder to me that I can occasionally be creative.

 

Mary Washington Orientation Welcomes First-Year Students

Today and tomorrow, the University of Mary Washington begins welcoming its newest Eagles during First-Year Student Orientation for the 2019-20 school year. The two-day session is the first of six scheduled throughout the month for nearly 1,000 incoming students, both freshmen and transfers. Upcoming undergraduates will dine at the Top of the UC, tour residence […]

Governor Announces UMW Board of Visitors Appointments

The Virginia Governor’s Office today announced the appointment of higher education policy expert Deborah Santiago ’90 to the University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors. In addition, Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 and Rhonda VanLowe have been reappointed to second terms on the board. The appointees will serve four-year terms, which expire June 30, 2023. Santiago succeeds […]

Influencers and Outcomes: UMW Alums Reunite with Their Mentors

Each alum was reunited with the person at UMW who most influenced their career paths. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Each alum was reunited with the person at UMW who most influenced their career paths. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

This place we call Mary Washington is actually a launching pad.

It’s where confidence is built, bonds are formed and careers are sparked.

It’s a setting for rich experiences, profound interactions with professors and development of meaningful mentorships.

Students who come here are grounded; from here, they soar. The exhilarating thing is that they occasionally make their way back to the nest.

UMW’s Office of University Relations recently captured four of those joyful returns, along with a recent graduate on the verge of taking flight. Each graduate returned to campus for a reunion and discussion with the person who most influenced their career paths; the 2019 graduate sat down with his current professor.

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang worked his way through Mary Washington, graduating in 2007 with a degree in business administration. The person on campus with whom he shared his hopes and dreams was Dean of Students Cedric Rucker. Bruner-Yang, who says he “found himself” at UMW, now owns five successful restaurants in the D.C. area.

Laura Mangano, a 2018 grad, returned to campus to see Rita Thompson, who had mentored her through the Rappahannock Scholars program. Laura is now a graduate nursing student at Johns Hopkins.

Matt Tovar, who graduated three weeks ago, is one of the first students to be admitted through UMW’s partnership program to George Washington University School of Medicine. Matt knew where he was going while still an undergraduate. He also knows – and made clear to his mentor, Associate Professor of Chemistry Leanna Giancarlo – what he plans to do: discover a cure for brain cancer.

Abernathy Bland, a member of the Class of 2005, is a teacher, professional artist and designer in Richmond, Va.  She said her mentor, Art Professor Carole Garmon, made clear that she had an awesome talent for art. What else could she do, Abby asked, than go out and be awesome.

Corey Taylor, a 2017 grad, is putting his computer science degree to work as a software engineer at Tech Wizards in Dahlgren. He said his mentor, Professor and Associate Provost Tim O’Donnell, helped him figure out what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

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There are few aspects of the college experience more important than forming meaningful mentor relationships. Students need mentors to assist in navigating the complexities of university life, and the uncertainty and anticipation of what post-college life has in store.

Steven Spielberg once said that “the delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

Take a look at this video to see what UMW grads, with nudging from their mentors, have created. You are among the first viewers of this video, which will be shown to incoming students and their parents at Orientation sessions starting next week.

 

 

Mary Washington Hosts Reunion Weekend 2019

The University of Mary Washington will host hundreds of alumni during Reunion Weekend, today through Sunday, June 2. The three-day affair invites Eagles – who graduated over the span of seven decades – back to the nest for a weekend filled with learning opportunities, art exhibits, class photos, food, fun and, most importantly, the chance […]

Kristen Baroody: Memory Maker

When Kristen Baroody’s husband became Fredericksburg’s city manager three years ago, she and her family found themselves living in temporary housing in the caretaker’s cottage for the Mary Washington Memorial. Her youngest daughter took it upon herself to keep watch over the memorial and Meditation Rock.

Kristen Baroody, the new administrative assistant for the Jepson Alumni Executive Center, has been working tirelessly to make Reunion Weekend 2019 a success. Photo by Maria Schultz.

Kristen Baroody, the new administrative assistant for the Jepson Alumni Executive Center, has been working tirelessly to make Reunion Weekend 2019 a success. Photo by Maria Schultz.

“It was a way to look after Mary Washington,” said Baroody, who realized then that she wanted to work for the university, when the time was right.

This spring, Baroody accepted the position of administrative assistant for the Jepson Alumni Executive Center. With it came a whirlwind of responsibilities in preparation for the fast-approaching Reunion Weekend 2019, May 31 through June 2.

“I’m a planner by nature and have lots of experience in events management,” said Baroody, who worked in Congressman Rob Wittman’s office helping constituents of Virginia’s 1st congressional district. Only one month on the job, she’s been busy designing and mailing postcards, ordering supplies, creating reports, paying invoices, making bank deposits, and managing event preparation and logistics.

Her most important role by far will be to look after the registration desk – “command central,” she calls it – ensuring 800-plus alumni, and their families and friends, enjoy their time back on campus and leave with even more meaningful Mary Washington memories.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at UMW?
A: I’m on a wonderful team and in a building full of great people. Plus, I get to walk to work sometimes, which is a treat!

Q: What’s been the most rewarding part of preparing for your first Reunion Weekend?
A: It’s fun to interact with the alumni, and I look forward to putting faces with names. It’s also been awesome to see our team in action.

Q: What’s the most challenging?
A: Worrying that I’ll forget a detail!

Q: Is there anything new or different about the 2019 Reunion Weekend?
A: We’ve added tours of Willard Hall and the Jepson Science Center so alumni can see the renovations. The alumni awards are now part of President Paino’s university update on Saturday. And in recent years, we’ve expanded the wine tasting to include local breweries, which has been popular with alums.

Q: What do you love best about living in Fredericksburg?
A: The community and university, downtown shops and restaurants, the walkability and the history. My family looks forward to the farmer’s market, the classic car show on Caroline Street, SlideFXBG and soon, Fredericksburg baseball!

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A: I spend as much time as I can with my husband and our three awesome children. You’ll often find us on the Canal Path with our beloved dog, Spot, a Lab-pointer mix and one of the sweetest animals I’ve ever known. I’m also hooked on British murder mystery dramas after the demise of Downton Abbey, and I’m a huge Marvel fan.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a roller coaster junkie and raised my children to be, too!

Q: How will you unwind this summer after Reunion Weekend?
A: College Heights pool time and a beach trip!