July 13, 2020

Memorializing George Floyd: UMW Board Passes Resolution, President Seeds Scholarship

In its June 10 meeting, the Board of Visitors of the University of Mary Washington unanimously passed a resolution declaring solidarity with the family of George Floyd and the scores of protesters who are making their voices heard. “We stand with the thousands in our country and around the world, including members of the Mary Washington community, […]

Free UMW Course Turns COVID-19 Inside Out

Political leaders and health experts who communicate the impact of COVID-19 to the public are just like anyone else. Some hit the mark. Some don’t. Understandable terms, relatable ideas and the confident presentation of useful information are key to delivering a successful message, said UMW Professor of Communication Anand Rao. And competent public discourse during […]

Connections Steer Geography Grad Toward New Job

For his first virtual interview, James Fendley paired a freshly pressed shirt and tie with basketball shorts and asked his family for an hour of quiet. But the best preparation came from UMW’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD). Throughout his final semester, the 2020 University of Mary Washington graduate scheduled regular phone calls […]

Governor Announces UMW Board of Visitors Appointments

The Virginia Governor’s Office today announced the appointment of Charles S. Reed Jr. ’11 of Sterling to the University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors. In addition, Sharon Bulova of Fairfax and Edward B. Hontz of Stafford have been reappointed to second terms on the board. The appointees will serve four-year terms, which will expire […]

“I stand with you.” A message from President Paino

To the University of Mary Washington Family:

Thank you for living our community values in your everyday lives in the midst of a global pandemic. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to social justice on campus, in the Fredericksburg community, and beyond. Thank you for lending your voices to righting wrongs and addressing the challenges of the past with a keen eye toward the promises of the future. Thank you for working tirelessly to make this world a better place for everyone.

Over the past few days, I have heard from several members of the Mary Washington community concerning a host of issues – most stemming from the systemic racism that’s embedded in the fabric of our nation – and the resulting injustices that have manifested themselves time and again throughout our troubled history. These injustices have caused immense pain and anguish for generations of African Americans. To our African American students, faculty, staff, and alumni, we stand in solidarity with you during these troubling times and we boldly proclaim that black lives matter.

We denounce the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, and a multitude of men and women who have died unjustly simply because of the color of their skin. We denounce police brutality, unfair judicial practices, and all forms of institutionalized racism that have created deeply entrenched racial disparities in this country.

We stand by our Guiding Principles and Values. UMW is dedicated to providing a diverse, accepting, and supportive environment that holds all of its members to the highest standards of conduct, scholarship, integrity, inclusiveness, respect, and engagement. We live this by fighting against explicit and implicit bias and for equity and access.

Our students of color must feel safe and valued on the entire campus and not just in “safe places” like the James Farmer Multicultural Center. I have heard students tell me that seeing more faculty who look like them, who have their shared experiences, would go a long way toward creating a more inclusive community. The progress we have made on this front over the last couple of years is just a start, we must continue those efforts by recruiting and retaining more faculty of color.

At yesterday’s town hall with students and throughout the week, I have heard great disappointment, hurt, and anger regarding the presence of UMW police when city police used tear gas and other means to disperse protesters on the streets of Fredericksburg. We will conduct a full and independent review of the incidents this week to determine the role of UMW police. In the days to come, I will announce the nature of that review and will commit to transparency throughout the process. I have reached out to city officials, including the police chief, mayor, and city manager, to ensure that UMW can work with the city toward a better understanding of what happened that evening.

What I do know is the individuals we have assigned to the regional crisis response team are not certified to deploy tear gas. Chief Mike Hall and the police report indicate that our officers were called in to protect a building and did not participate in any efforts to disperse the crowd. If engagements are found to have taken place outside established protocols, I will take action. Our police officers are public servants who have taken an oath to protect and serve. Chief Hall and the UMW police force hold themselves to a higher standard because of the critical role they play in helping all members of our community go safely about their daily lives. We expect them to stand by the principles of good community policing, and we pledge to be transparent in all law enforcement matters as not to erode public trust.

On April 25, 2020, I published a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In it, I expressed hope that we come out of the pandemic with a better understanding of how meaning and purpose grow in direct proportion to how much we invest in other people’s lives. I expressed how grateful I am for this opportunity to lead an institution whose mission is to prepare students to contribute to a community built on values of justice, equal opportunity, and love for one another. I stated that “it is not by accident that the first pillar of UMW’s vision, An Investment of Hope for the Future, is to promote the values of service, community, and civic engagement.” Those are the means by which we build that “Beloved Community” envisioned by Dr. King.

During this great time of pain and sorrow, I have been so proud of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have stood up against systemic racism and for social justice. I stand with you as we carry on this fight in the name of love.

Sincerely,

Troy Paino

“I stand with you.” A message from President Paino

To the University of Mary Washington Family: Thank you for living our community values in your everyday lives in the midst of a global pandemic. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to social justice on campus, in the Fredericksburg community, and beyond. Thank you for lending your voices to righting wrongs and addressing the challenges […]

Hanna’s Journal Article Wins ‘Public Memory’ Award

As visitors to Southern plantation homes know, the information they receive depends on docents and the questions they’re asked, and by where on the site the group is congregated. In the parlor, for instance, tour-takers might hear about the residents’ family history and the placement of furniture. Outside, they will likely learn more about crops […]

Video Spotlights Theatre Students, Broadway Stars

When UMW Theatre performed Adam Gwon’s musical Ordinary Days in February, students couldn’t anticipate that just weeks later, they’d yearn for rehearsals with castmates and performances in front of live audiences. They also couldn’t have guessed they’d get to sing one of Gwon’s songs alongside Broadway stars. Seven UMW Theatre students were selected to appear […]

Wes Hillyard: Success Story

Wes Hillyard '05 serves as the director of Academic Services. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Wes Hillyard ’05 serves as the director of Academic Services. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

One of Wes Hillyard’s most meaningful Mary Washington memories was his commencement ceremony in 2005. Dressed in cap and gown, processing down Campus Walk behind the Eagle Pipe Band, he was cheered on by faculty, staff and administrators, as well as friends and family, who had all helped him reach his goals.

He’d experience that same milestone a decade later – but this time, from the perspective of an administrator.

“I love how the entire University community turns out for Honor Convocation and Eagle Gathering at the start of our students’ time here, and comes together again when they graduate,” said Hillyard, who directs UMW’s Office of Academic Services.

His team of professional and faculty advisors guides undergraduates as they navigate their college careers. It’s a joy, he said, to watch students, especially those who struggled academically or had difficulty choosing a major, finally earn their diplomas.

“Through hard work, commitment and collaboration among many colleagues,” Hillyard said, “we’re able to help those students re-chart their course and ultimately attain degrees.”

His own positive experiences with UMW faculty advisors led him to pursue a master’s degree in student affairs administration at the University of Virginia. He held jobs at James Madison University and Northern Virginia Community College before returning to Mary Washington in 2015.

He enjoys meeting with students face-to-face, Hillyard said, but was impressed by his department’s transition to virtual advising appointments via Zoom and the EAB Navigate system this spring.

With commencement moving to fall, this semester didn’t bring the same sense of closure, said Hillyard, who’s on track to earn a doctorate from VCU next May.

“But I think it will be even more meaningful when we’ve had time to reflect and really appreciate the opportunity to come together and celebrate.”

 

The Academic Services team prefers advising students face-to-face, but Hillyard said that using Zoom and the EAB Navigate system has worked well this semester. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The Academic Services team prefers advising students face-to-face, but Hillyard said that using Zoom and the EAB Navigate system has worked well this semester. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Q: How many students took advantage of UMW’s alternative grading scale this spring?
A: They were able to make the switch themselves through Banner, and 15 percent of all spring course registrations were in the Credit/Pass/No Credit grade mode, according to the Office of the Registrar. 

Q: What were some of your favorite Mary Washington traditions as a student?
A: Rocktoberfest and Devil Goat Day. I had a blast competing in an obstacle course against my marketing professor!  

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Collaborating with colleagues across the University to identify the best ways to support our students. 

Q: The most challenging?
A: UMW is committed to helping all students succeed; however, it cannot be a one-sided process. When students are unwilling to work toward their success, it can be very difficult. 

Q: What do you miss most about being on campus?
A: My colleagues and students who make Mary Washington such a great community. My wife and I have taken our kids there to ride their bikes since we live nearby. It’s still beautiful, but eerily quiet. 

Q: What do you do when you aren’t working?
A: Spend lots of time with my family – our 5- and 2- year-old keep us busy. We also love amusement parks and look forward to going once the quarantine is over.   

Q: What’s your motto?
A: “If you can dream it, you can do it!” – Walt Disney

UMW Libraries’ Collection Captures COVID-19 History

Reference Librarian Peter Catlin planned to get married in Virginia Beach in May. But the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order canceling public gatherings put a kink in his wedding plans. Instead, after many attempts, the couple got special permission from Fredericksburg’s clerk of circuit court, who married them on the sidewalk outside the city courthouse. The […]