April 21, 2018

UMW Leaders Recognized for Excellence

University of Mary Washington senior Ahad Shahid won the Grace Mann Launch Award during the annual Eagle Awards ceremony that recognized more than a dozen outstanding students in the University Center’s Chandler Ballroom Thursday night. Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life, presented the $7,100 award to Shahid to help in his […]

UMW Board of Visitors Adopts 2018-19 Tuition and Fees

The University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors unanimously approved 2018-19 tuition and fees at its meeting on Thursday, April 19. Full-time Virginia residents living on campus will pay $23,384 per academic year, including tuition, fees, room and board. Similarly, full-time, out-of-state students living on campus will pay $39,318. These increases were thoroughly deliberated as […]

Tev Zukor: Let’s Talk it Out

Two items in Tev Zukor’s office encapsulate the Talley Center director’s quirky personality: a stuffed gorilla sporting a Safe Zone shirt and a Harry Potter wand on proud display.

Talley Center Director Tev Zukor

Talley Center Director Tev Zukor

Zukor is always ready to give coworkers and clients a much-needed laugh. But when it comes to helping students, Zukor’s passion is serious.

He was in college when he lost his sister to suicide. That event was as traumatic and devastating as it was life-changing. Zukor knew then he wanted to devote his life to mental health.

As a staff psychologist at Virginia Tech during the 2007 shooting, Zukor understands the impact tragedies can have on university communities. Since coming to UMW four and a half years ago, Zukor has helped students navigate the hard times.

They often request “the guy with the stuffed monkey,” knowing that a friendly, always-cheerful Zukor is on the other side of the door.

Q: What brought you to UMW?
A: I’ve worked in collegiate mental health my entire life. UMW is the kind of place where colleagues get to know each other and appreciate each other. We work with students who are extremely invested and passionate. They want to make change.

Q: How do students benefit from your department?
A: When people are struggling with issues of adjustment, figuring out how to navigate college or how to fit in, we serve them. But we also see the other side of it. We see students at the height of crises in life.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?
A: Seeing change. Students with bipolar disorder or autism were dissuaded from attending college 15 years ago. Now, with the advancement of mental health and counseling services, these students can not only be successful, they can thrive.

Q: Have you seen any other changes?
A: There’s an upwards of 15 to 20 percent increase in demand for services at the Talley Center each year.

Q: What would you tell a student who is conflicted about reaching out?
A: All of our services are completely confidential. It is difficult to talk about challenges and struggles. But they can always come in and talk and know their information will not be shared.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the office?
A: I love baseball. I love getting out to ballgames. As a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, I learned to be the eternal optimist. The happiest day of my entire life was when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016 for the first time in more than 100 years.

Q: Do you have any personal mantras you tell yourself every day?
A: Come in, do the best you can and the rest will work itself out.

MBA Student Takes Aviation Career to New Heights

Natalie Smith found her passion for planes as a teen. “I love airplanes and aviation, all of it, the way jet engines sound and feel, the movement, even smell of an airport,” she said. “Air traffic and air traffic control is a culture unto itself, a fascinating industry and a large part of our nation’s […]

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Hosts Open House, April 22

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont will host a spring open house Sunday, April 22. The museum will open its doors free of charge to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., allowing visitors to experience the 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. Featuring complimentary […]

First Class Mail: Mortar Board Delivers for ESL Pen Pals

Sixteen children ran from office door to office door on an intercontinental scavenger hunt in Combs Hall. They carried a crayon in one hand, a homemade passport in the other, searching for UMW professors who, like them, had come from all over the globe. On the doors hung signs with flags from the professors’ native […]

Record Giving Day Totals Exceed Original Tallies

The Mary Washington community came together on March 20 to donate funds for the University’s students and programs. After all online and offline gifts were tallied, results of UMW’s second Mary Wash Giving Day exceeded preliminary figures for donors and dollars. All told, 2,418 donors made 2,987 gifts on Giving Day. Their gifts totaled $449,631 for areas across […]

Multicultural Fair Brings Thousands to Campus

The 28th annual Multicultural Fair brought a world of entertainment to the University of Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg campus on Saturday. Thousands of visitors came out beneath sunny skies to sample music, dance, food and crafts from across the globe. Campus Walk popped with color as vendors lined up from George Washington Hall all the way […]

Rita Thompson: Leading Extraordinary Scholars

They might never have gone to college at all. Yet next month, seven students with the Rappahannock Scholars Program will walk across the stage on Ball Circle and become graduates of the University of Mary Washington.

They are the latest success stories in a program that began a decade ago. The partnership between UMW and six high schools in Virginia’s Northern Neck makes higher education possible for underrepresented students.

In the last decade, Rita Thompson, the program’s director, has watched Rappahannock Scholars grow into a competitive and successful pathway for students who are the first in their families to go to college or who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Yet they attend UMW full time, often while holding down 20- to 30-hour work weeks and helping their families back home.

Q: How did you become the director of the Rappahannock Scholars Program?
A: Originally, I was the senior assistant for the dean of admissions at UMW. The program was developed because we wanted to see more underrepresented students at the University of Mary Washington and we know that the Northern Neck area was an untapped resource

Q: How has the Rappahannock Scholars Program changed over the last decade?
A: We have seen the relationship between the university and high schools in six counties of the Northern Neck developing a strong partnership. Families in the Northern Neck now look to UMW as a real opportunity for a change in the trajectory of their children’s lives and their destiny.

Q: Tell us about your role as director.
A: I build relationships with donors, families, school administrators and the community – but most importantly with the students. I lead by example. I teach them what to expect in college and how to survive the college culture.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: The relationships I have built with students, parents, my staff, school administrators and my colleagues, who all participated in this journey. I have no doubt these scholars will continue to challenge themselves and become great leaders, family members and outstanding educators for others.

Q: What is your favorite part of working with students?
A: Seeing them blossom into the people they are striving to become. Seeing them take a single step on their journey with confidence in achieving their dream.

Q: What can you say about this year’s graduating scholars?
A: This year’s students are amazing. UMW is not an easy school to do well in academically. They have taken the challenge and they have succeeded.

Q: Is there a motto that you live by?
A: “A thousand miles begins with a single step.” That’s the program’s motto. You work hard, and you will be able to achieve your goals. I am their coach, mentor and a lifelong friend.

28th Annual Multicultural Fair Comes to Campus This Saturday

The 28th annual Multicultural Fair will bring sounds, sights and tastes from around the world to UMW’s Fredericksburg campus this weekend. The event will take place Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Second in attendance only to next month’s commencement ceremony, the fair draws celebrated performers, engaging activities and […]