December 8, 2019

UMW’s Great Lives Lecture Series Announces 17th Season

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Hollywood actress-turned-inventor Hedy Lamarr and children’s author Theodor Geisel – better known as Dr. Seuss – are among the prominent individuals to be featured in this year’s William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture series. Now in its 17th year, the stellar season was revealed to a packed reception Wednesday evening at the […]

Leadership Colloquium Challenges Women: ‘Be Your Own Hero’

At 25, Cosmo Fujiyama was at a crossroads, stalled between an internship and grad school. She’d had a long day at a professional conference, and she was feeling tired and drained. The last place she wanted to go was to a group dinner at P.F. Chang’s. “It turned out to be an incredible opportunity,” Fujiyama […]

Lynne Richardson: And the Metzger Goes To …

The sand pail and shovel in Lynne Richardson’s office remind her of the challenges she faced with her team as inaugural dean of the University of Mary Washington’s College of Business (COB).

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson won the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award at today's 26th annual Women's Leadership Colloquium @ UMW. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson won the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award at today’s 26th annual Women’s Leadership Colloquium @ UMW. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

“Each faculty and staff member received one to remind us that we couldn’t achieve our big goals until we learned to play well in the sand box together,” she said. “And we have!”

Richardson was honored in part for those efforts this morning, when she received the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award – to a standing ovation – at the Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women. Given each year, the honor goes to someone who has demonstrated leadership in her field, personal and professional integrity, and commitment to community service.

Richardson’s accomplishments put her “far above and beyond these basic criteria by mentoring, teaching, supporting, publishing and leading …” said last year’s Metzger-winner, Central Rappahannock Regional Library Director Martha Hutzel, who presented the award. “She holds a leadership position in a male dominated field.”

As coordinator of the Colloquium and a pinch-hitter for a seminar presenter who suffered a last-minute family emergency, Richardson emceed the event and even introduced Hutzel. The recipient of an unprecedented 19 Metzger nominations, Richardson had no prior knowledge that she had won the award.

After serving as dean at Mississippi State and Ball State universities, Richardson came to UMW eight years ago to, among other things, merge the business programs on the Stafford and Fredericksburg campuses. She got down to brass tacks, laying the groundwork for the COB to earn its prestigious AACSB International accreditation last year. Mary Washington also recently ranked fourth on a list of Best Colleges in Virginia for Business Majors.

What sets UMW’s business school apart from others, she said, is the personalized attention faculty give students, opportunities for applied learning projects and the University’s strong relationship with local businesses.

“External recognitions always benefit us,” said Richardson, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and also teaches marketing at UMW. She also has “They’re validations that the work we’re doing is exemplary.”

She should know. She also received last year’s Patricia M. Flynn Distinguished Woman in Business Education Award for thought leadership. And through her weekly newspaper columns, community service and solid advice, she shares that wisdom.

“Be confident in your abilities and speak up,” she tells students. “You can do anything you decide to do.”

Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your Free Lance-Star columns?
A: My answer is always the same whenever I’m asked that – I just talk to people about their workplaces! I often get emails and handwritten letters from readers who say they feel like they know me before even meeting me because of the column.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
A: They are one and the same – completing the long journey that earned us AACSB accreditation. It was a team sport, but someone had to be the coach … and that was me.

Q: What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
A: I was the official scorer for the University of North Alabama baseball team in 1984-85.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: My husband and I are empty nesters, so we attend many UMW athletics events. I’m also a voracious reader.

Q: Have you read any good books recently?
A: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of the most complex and surprising books I’ve read in years.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: If it is to be, it’s up to me!

Actors Split Role in UMW Musical ‘Fun Home’

A pivotal scene in UMW Theatre’s upcoming musical features the protagonist recalling a drive she took with her late father. Struggling to find the words, they sing a heartbreaking duet about their failure to have an open and honest conversation. “I’ve lived that exact moment, looking out the car window because I didn’t know what […]

UMW Casts Vote for Participation on Election Day

When voters from across Virginia voice their opinions at the polls tomorrow, UMW students will be among them. That’s thanks in part to rides various campus groups will offer all day to students who wish to cast ballots. “Civic engagement isn’t just an idea at Mary Washington,” saidSarah Dewees, Associate Director of the Center for […]

Andréa Smith: Tombstone Teacher

Fredericksburg is home to many historic landmarks, but graveyards may not immediately come to mind. The St. George’s, Masonic, Confederate and City cemeteries are all within walking distance of Mary Washington. Nearby is Shiloh, a historic burial ground for the City’s three sister African American congregations, as well as Fredericksburg National Cemetery, final resting place for more than 15,000 Union soldiers.

Professor of Historic Preservation Andrea Livi Smith

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Andrea Livi Smith. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

All those ghost stories and headstones are enough to frighten some, but Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Andréa Livi Smith’s students sign up for a semester full of them.

When her Historic Fredericksburg Foundation cemetery tours drew crowds a couple years ago, Smith decided to offer her students the chance to explore these haunts for themselves. Now in her second semester teaching the 400-level historic preservation course “Graves and Burial Grounds,” Smith is still amazed by the waitlist that crops up for the class.

She believes burial sites say lots about the lives of the dead, and her students’ final projects – including the documentation of concrete graves in Fredericksburg, a brochure of a local family cemetery and headstones sculpted in 18th-century designs – reflect that notion.

Hired in 2008, Smith landed her “dream job,” she said, since UMW’s program is revered in historic preservation circles. Her days are spent like any other professor’s, with plenty of teaching, grading and advising. But Smith’s particular gig scares up some additional duties, like surveying historic houses and photographing gravestones.

Now that’s spooky.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Helping students discover their passion. I’ve never had someone come to UMW saying they desperately want to become a preservation planner. But some realize they love it and subsequently go into that career. Knowing I played a part in that discovery is an incredible feeling.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Balancing all that needs to get done. Also, getting enough sleep.

Q: What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
A: I once challenged myself to quote The Princess Bride in every class until someone called me on it. No one ever did, so I kept it up all semester long.

Q: What in your office is meaningful to you?
A: I have a lot of LEGOs, including a mausoleum designed by a student who took the Graves course.

Q: What’s your favorite burial site?
A: I love the “Woodmen of the World” tombstones, which all look like logs or tree trunks. Woodmen was – and still is – an insurance company that used to provide gravestones for their members; apparently it was great advertising.

Q: People are often superstitious or scared of cemeteries and burial sites, especially at Halloween. What would you say to help quell their fears?
A: In the 19th century, there were no public parks, so people went to cemeteries to enjoy the outdoors. Just imagine families picnicking and children playing tag among the gravestones. Or is that even more spooky?

Dynamic Decade: Women’s and Gender Studies Program Turns 10

Six years after graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Sam Carter ’14 still draws daily on some of the lessons she learned as an undergrad. “Everyone has a different cultural experience,” said Carter, a Women’s and Gender Studies major who’s now a digital director for the House Budget Committee majority staff. “It’s important that […]

Itzhak Perlman’s UMW Show ‘Hauntingly Beautiful’

Legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman opened University of Mary Washington Philharmonic’s 49th season with a sold-out concert on Saturday, Oct. 26. Nearly 1,300 people packed Dodd Auditorium for the show, which was part of the Philharmonic’s annual Celebrity Concert Series. Perlman was the first artist to return to campus in the series’ 15-year history. Perlman performed […]

Itzhak Perlman’s UMW Show ‘Hauntingly Beautiful’

Legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman opened University of Mary Washington Philharmonic’s 49th season with a sold-out concert on Saturday, Oct. 26. Nearly 1,300 people packed Dodd Auditorium for the show, which was part of the Philharmonic’s annual Celebrity Concert Series. Perlman was the first artist to return to campus in the series’ 15-year history. Perlman performed […]

Alison Grimes: Access for All

Associate Director of Disability Resources Alison Grimes.

Associate Director of Disability Resources Alison Grimes.

Associate Director of Disability Resources Alison Grimes wears many hats. She’s a disability content specialist, educator, motivator, interpreter, sounding board, cheerleader, trainer and more. It’s what you’d expect, given that Mary Washington has the highest population – 11 percent – of students who self-disclose a disability, when compared to other Virginia state universities.

After earning a master’s of education degree from UMW in 2011, Grimes thought she’d become a teacher. But a position in counseling services changed her mind, and six years ago, she landed a job in the Office of Disability Resources (ODR) at her alma mater.

“I felt that I could make a bigger impact and support a community that helped me grow into the passionate professional I am now,” said Grimes, whose days are spent meeting with students, navigating committees, reviewing documentation and working with faculty and staff. To Grimes, the willingness to learn and take on additional roles and responsibilities is necessary toward enacting change in a student’s life.

Diagnosed with type one diabetes as a child, she uses her personal experiences to encourage students to communicate their needs, understand their strengths and access the campus community so they can make their own mark. Despite her chronic illness, Grimes says the onus is on her to push herself to participate in life and be there for her students.

“I believe actions speak louder than words,” she said. “If I’m going to ask students to show up, I should as well.”

The motivation appears to be working. Grimes’ desk is decorated with thank you cards from students she’s helped, reminding her on difficult days just how much she loves her job.


Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The students, by far. I love seeing them grow and learn to advocate on their own behalf. I appreciate how they bring a level of understanding of access to the different areas in which they participate across campus and the support they give one another.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Finding ways to support students, as it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about learning what each person needs and helping based on that information.

Q: October is dedicated to celebrating disability inclusion. Why is that important?
A: Individuals with disabilities constitute the largest and most diverse minority group, so it’s critical that we educate our community. Promoting disability awareness helps those with different needs be heard and understood, and encourages empowerment and advocacy across campus.

Q: Is ODR introducing any new initiatives?
A: Our new mission is Access for All. We’re working to guide the UMW community into focusing on accessibility first. For example, ODR has partnered with Diversity and Inclusion on addressing the need for accessible furniture on campus. We’re also offering more training opportunities for our campus partners. In spring 2020, ODR will launch the Keep CALM campaign to assist faculty with choosing accessible learning materials. More information will be shared in the coming months.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill