October 25, 2021

Gubernatorial Candidates Locked in Close Contest, UMW Survey Shows

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin remain locked in a tight contest for governor of Virginia, a University of Mary Washington statewide survey shows. The poll, conducted by Research America Inc. Sept. 7-13, included 1,000 Virginia adults. Of those, 885 were registered voters and 528 were likely voters. Among likely […]

UMW Alum, International Expert to Speak on Dementia Care

Rachael Wonderlin ’11 spent hours as a teen volunteering at a skilled nursing facility. One day, a friend remarked she had a gift for working with older adults. “I didn’t realize at the time that this was a skill,” said Wonderlin, who channeled her talents into a psychology degree from the University of Mary Washington […]

Students Make a Difference Through ‘Into the Streets’

On a balmy September morning, a group of University of Mary Washington students gathered on Ball Circle. Donning shirts emblazoned with a quote from author James Baldwin – “The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in” – they were ready to make […]

UMW Presents Top Faculty Awards

Professor of Religion Mary Beth Mathews earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the University of Mary Washington’s most prestigious honor for excellence in undergraduate teaching, established in 1972 and presented to a senior faculty member.

Professor of Religion Mary Beth Mathews

Professor of Religion Mary Beth Mathews

She was one of several professors honored at the fall semester’s opening faculty meeting. Most awards generally are presented at Commencement; this year, limited attendance at graduation ceremonies deferred some presentations.

As the most recent recipient of the award, Mathews was praised for her “spellbinding” lectures. She “challenges a broad community of students to think critically and reflect, both in and beyond the classroom,” said Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee, chair of UMW’s Sabbaticals, Fellowships and Faculty Awards committee.

Mathews, who has taught at Mary Washington for 21 years, is a leading scholar of American – particularly African-American – and European religious history. She has led the charge to create UMW’s interdisciplinary African American studies minor and will serve as the program’s first director, beginning this year.

Described by Lee as a “pioneer in digital pedagogy and distance learning,” Mathews has team-taught a digital course, Divided Houses: Secession and Separatists Movements, and taught the Race & Revolution and Religion & Social Movements in the U.S. First -Year Seminars.

Professor of Communication Anand Rao received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award for his contributions to the University and involvement and leadership in the greater community. Since 2003, this honor has been presented annually to a full-time member of the teaching faculty who has served at UMW for at least seven years and has a significant record of service accomplishments.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Rao’s “university and college service alone fills more than a page of his CV,” Lee said. In his 19 years at Mary Washington, he has held critical leadership roles on and off campus, serving twice as University Faculty Council chair and leading the Faculty Senate of Virginia. Rao also launched UMW’s Communication and Digital Studies major and department, which he currently chairs.

During the pandemic, Rao participated in the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Education Response and Recovery work group and co-facilitated UMW’s popular COVID-19 in Context and Life After COVID courses.

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Pamela Grothe ’06 received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, given annually to an exceptional faculty member who has served the University for at least two years but no more than five.

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Grothe returned a decade after her graduation to serve as a professor at her alma mater, where she has excelled in the areas of teaching, research and service. She “truly goes above and beyond,” Lee said, citing Grothe’s willingness to mentor students, manage her department’s social media accounts, serve on various university committees, and engage with current and prospective students, as well as alumni.

In addition, Grothe has developed a new study abroad course for students and secured a Virtual Library of Virginia grant to teach courses with Open Access Resources, Lee said, all while managing a heavy teaching load.

Among faculty who received awards during Commencement week earlier this year were Professor of Mathematics Janusz Konieczny, who earned the Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award; and Professor of Marketing Kashef Majid, recipient of the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award, annually presented by the graduating class. Professor of Biological Science Andrew Dolby received the inaugural Board of Visitors Faculty Leadership Award.

UMW to Host Public Debates for House of Delegates Seats

The University of Mary Washington will host a public political debate between candidates for Virginia’s 28th District House of Delegates seat on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. Incumbent Del. Joshua Cole (D) will face off against opponent Tara Durant (R) live via Zoom, with public viewing accessible through YouTube. Viewers may submit questions for […]

UMW Theatre Plans Reflective In-Person Season

Mina Sollars sums up UMW Theatre’s upcoming season in a single word: revival. “Preparing for the first in-person performances on campus in more than a year is such an honor,” Sollars, a University of Mary Washington junior, said of the lineup, which kicks off tomorrow at 7:30 with a pay-what-you-can preview performance in duPont Hall’s […]

UMW Earns Top Rankings from ‘U.S. News Best Colleges’

The University of Mary Washington has been recognized among the nation’s top schools by U.S. News & World Report, which released its 2022 “Best Colleges” list today. UMW ranked seventh among public regional universities in the South and 19th among all regional universities in the South. Within the same category, the University also was rated sixth […]

Maddie Taghon: Coach for Justice

Maddie Taghon picked up her first lacrosse stick in middle school. Years later, a job as a physical education teacher abroad made her realize her dream of coaching.

Maddie Taghon, who was named UMW women’s lacrosse head coach in 2020, and her team worked with campus organizations on the annual Run for Justice 5K to raise funds for the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Maddie Taghon, who was named UMW women’s lacrosse head coach in 2020, and her team worked with campus organizations on the annual Run for Justice 5K to raise funds for the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

“From the second I stepped onto the field, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Taghon, who has trained players at all levels, from preschoolers to professionals on Britain’s national team. “All of these opportunities prepared me to coach at the collegiate level.”

Now the University of Mary Washington’s women’s lacrosse head coach, Taghon imparts her own experience as an athlete – she played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina – on UMW lacrosse players.

“It’s amazing watching their confidence grow through such a fun sport,” said Taghon, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and art history, and coached at Shenandoah University and England’s Ampleforth College. “I love the creativity and speed of the game.”

Off the field, Taghon and her players have parlayed their passion into social justice. Inspired by Black Lives Matter, UMW women’s lacrosse teamed up last year with the Black and Jewish student associations, Women of Color, Brothers of a New Direction and the campus NAACP chapter to organize an annual Run for Justice, which took place again this summer. The virtual 5K has raised more than $5,000 toward a grant program for the James Farmer Multicultural Center and gained momentum along the way.

“The young women on my team were eager to get involved in a way that would impact our campus and community,” she said. “We want UMW student-athletes to know that they can create the change they want to see in the world by using their platform and voices.”

 

Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I came here to work with former women’s lacrosse head coach Caitlin Moore, who is now UMW Athletics assistant director. I knew it was a great school and program, and I fell in love with the campus immediately.

Q: What do you like most about campus?
A: The trees and the architecture, from Campus Walk to Ball Circle to the Bell Tower.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Getting to work with our amazing student-athletes.

Taghon, who played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, said she enjoys watching her players grow and become more confident on the field.

Taghon, who played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, said she enjoys watching her players grow and become more confident on the field.

Q: Most challenging?
A: The crazy highs and lows of managing a collegiate sports team.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: My Lilly Pulitzer water bottle. It keeps me hydrated and brightens up my day.

Q: Outside of work, how have you kept busy during the pandemic?
A: Lots of Netflix! I also started teaching a fitness class at a local gym in downtown Fredericksburg.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a horror fan – books, television, movies – as long as it isn’t too gory.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Find joy in everything you do.

UMW Claims Strong Showing in Two Sets of National Rankings

The University of Mary Washington took top spots in a pair of prestigious national college rankings, each released this week. Washington Monthly, which judges schools on their commitment to contributing to the greater good, recognized UMW for providing marketable degrees at affordable prices. The Princeton Review’s college rankings, based on feedback from actual students, placed Mary […]

Common Experience Encourages Critical Thinking, Connections

Bridget Zagrobelny has heard that first impressions matter. But the University of Mary Washington freshman decided on a different strategy for making friends in college. “We’re prone to judging others too quickly,” she said, “so it’s important to tap the brakes in our brains when we meet new people.” She gained that insight after watching […]