August 3, 2021

LGBTQ Oral History Project Highlights Alumni Pride

Recruited to play field hockey at the University of Mary Washington, Chrissy Bowdren ’11, then a freshman, left practice to get her picture taken for her EagleOne card. Sweating in her uniform, she saw a familiar face in line. She teased her new teammate, Nicole, for being freshly showered and made up, but it was […]

Governor Announces UMW Board of Visitors Appointments

The Virginia Governor’s Office announced on Friday the appointment of Robert J. Strassheim ’96 of Keswick, Virginia, to the University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors (BOV). In addition, BOV Vice Rector Devon Williams Cushman ’93 of Richmond, as well as members Allida M. Black of Arlington and Patricia “Pat” Gwaltney McGinnis ’69 of Washington, […]

Betsy Southern: Quarantine Mom

Betsy Southern, manager of Athletic Business Operations and COVID care coordinator

Betsy Southern, manager of Athletic Business Operations and COVID care coordinator

Betsy Southern came to the University of Mary Washington four years ago to manage business operations for the Department of Athletics. When the pandemic halted competition and travel last spring, she stepped into the role of COVID care coordinator.

Now, after more than a year of nurturing UMW students required to isolate due to coronavirus exposure, she’s earned yet another title: “Quarantine Mom.”

“I love it,” Southern said. “Being a mother is my greatest role, and it motivated me to do all I could for students navigating the virus.”

Southern, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in her hometown of San Diego, came to Mary Washington after a job at the Department of Environmental Quality in Woodbridge. Not only did she shorten her commute, but she also gained an opportunity to work with her eldest son, Thomas, a UMW assistant athletics trainer.

She oversees the Department of Athletics budget, spending and procurement, as well as other projects that pop up throughout the year. Her job requires “a flexible schedule and can-do attitude,” Southern said, which made her a natural fit for COVID care coordinator.

Assisted by a student team, Southern transferred impacted students in and out of isolation rooms, delivered meals, stocked supplies, arranged cleaning, brought her dog by for visits and made quarantine life as pleasant as possible for temporary residents. She took on the additional role of contact tracer this spring, while managing her athletic responsibilities as teams began competing and traveling again.

Her hard work was rewarded last month when Southern received the Giving Tree Award at the 2021 virtual Eagle Awards. She was nominated by Sarah Bazemore, one of the first students she cared for in quarantine.

“I felt truly honored just to be nominated and even more so to receive the award,” Southern said. “Sarah definitely went above and beyond to show me I was appreciated.”

 

Betsy Southern with son Thomas, a UMW assistant athletic trainer (top); daughter Kelly; and son Matthew (holding their dog, Ollie), a recent UMW graduate.

Betsy Southern with son Thomas, a UMW assistant athletic trainer (top); daughter Kelly; and son Matthew (holding their dog, Ollie), a recent UMW graduate.

Q: Congratulations on your son’s graduation from UMW! What was it like to watch him walk across the Commencement stage?
A: I can’t believe my youngest is a college graduate! I’m so grateful we had an in-person graduation so he could be recognized for his hard work.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job? Most challenging?
A: Athletics is both rewarding and challenging, because no day is the same. I guess I could say that about COVID care, too!

Q: Did you play sports while growing up?
A: I played soccer and rode horses. Being part of a military family and moving around so much, I found sports was the best way to meet people.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I have my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve also lived in or visited every state except Alaska and spent three years in Japan.

Q: Outside of work, how have you kept busy during the pandemic?
A: We moved into a new house downtown right before COVID hit, so I’ve spent some time renovating and exploring Fredericksburg.

Southern keeps her children's art projects in her office to remind her of when they were small.

Southern keeps her children’s art projects in her office to remind her of when they were small.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: My display of art projects my children made for me. I love looking at them, remembering the good times and being proud of the adults they have all become.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Treat others as you would want to be treated.

UMW Physics, Math Major Wins Preeminent Goldwater Scholarship

William “Henry” Mills was in his late 20s when he arrived at UMW. After community college and a lackluster job, he’d begun to get serious about making the most of his life. This wasn’t the time, Mills thought, for playing it safe. “I’d always been interested in physics,” he said. “I just never thought I […]

New Graduate Earns Virginia Governor’s Fellowship

Megan Weeks got her first glimpse of government through a high school advanced placement course she took during the 2016 election season. Watching how campaigns played out “translated the concepts we learned in the classroom into a concrete reality,” said Weeks, who spent her free time that year knocking on doors and calling voters on […]

UMW Piper to Open Memorial Day Concert at FredNats Park

When AJ Gluchowski conducted his college search, he found a website listing East Coast schools that had bagpipe bands. The University of Mary Washington stood out. Once he was accepted, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, native made plans to join UMW’s Eagle Pipe Band, eager to perform with other avid pipers at Mary Washington and in the […]

UMW Piper to Open Memorial Day Concert at FredNats Park

When AJ Gluchowski conducted his college search, he found a website listing East Coast schools that had bagpipe bands. The University of Mary Washington stood out. Once he was accepted, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, native made plans to join UMW’s Eagle Pipe Band, eager to perform with other avid pipers at Mary Washington and in the […]

Students Wild for Smithsonian Endangered Species Program

Liliana Ramirez and Madelyn “Maddie” Lichter know that residence hall life can be a bit like living in a zoo. So these University of Mary Washington students felt prepared for all the wildlife sounds and smells they’ve experienced over the last several months. Both pursuing UMW’s new conservation biology major, Ramirez and Lichter are pioneer […]

Alumna Pledges Gift Match to Beyond the Classroom Endowment

Long before she led the effort to modernize food safety for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Catherine O’Connor Woteki ’69 was a student lab assistant in Combs Hall. “Doing behind-the-scenes prep work and just being able to hang around the lab was so helpful,” she said of her 1968 position in Mary Washington’s biology department. […]

Student Research Fuels Professor’s ‘Costs of War’ Report

As the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, draws near, troops are finally leaving the dusty deserts and treacherous mountains of Afghanistan. The departure marks the end of America’s longest war and highlights a full-circle moment for UMW Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jason Davidson. “I was always really […]