February 7, 2023

Great Lives to Feature GPS Technology Pioneer Gladys West

Growing up in King George County, Carolyn West Oglesby ’83 didn’t really think about what her parents did all day at work. She just knew that Gladys and Ira West were civilian mathematicians at the naval base at Dahlgren, where the family lived and she and her two brothers attended school.

Gladys West is pictured at a ceremony during which she was honored.

Gladys West is pictured at a ceremony during which she was honored.

It wasn’t until long after Oglesby had earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Mary Washington, established her own career, and completed her master’s and doctoral degrees that she learned the true significance of her mother’s work. Gladys West’s efforts with the military, using satellites to map the world, were foundational to the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

The life and work of Gladys West, and her contributions to what would eventually become an essential everyday navigational tool, are the focus of the William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Dodd Auditorium of George Washington Hall.

Main speaker Karen Sherry, curator at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, will present biographical information about West, and Oglesby will be part of a panel answering questions about her mother. Additional panelists are Marvin Jackson, who worked with West to write her autobiography, It Began With a Dream; and Alan Dean, a UMW adjunct instructor, Dahlgren retiree and former colleague of Ira West. Read more.

College of Business Partnership with W&M Opens Doors for Aspiring Accountant

Emily Whitt ’23 considered other graduate schools to pursue a master’s degree in accounting, but only one rose to the top of her list – the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary.

Emily Whitt proudly models attire from William & Mary, where she’ll attend graduate school at the Mason School of Business. A partnership between UMW’s College of Business and W&M helped pave the way.

Emily Whitt proudly models attire from William & Mary, where she’ll attend graduate school at the Mason School of Business. A partnership between UMW’s College of Business and W&M helped pave the way.

The University of Mary Washington senior mentally prepared herself for a painstaking application process and a patient wait for an admissions decision. But when she mentioned her grad-school preference to Ken Machande, interim dean of UMW’s College of Business and her professor for a class in cost accounting, he had a better idea.

UMW had recently entered a partnership with William & Mary to streamline the Mason School admissions process for well-qualified Mary Washington applicants.

“The guaranteed admission program recognizes the caliber of students we have at UMW and builds on our alumni, who have been successfully participating in W&M graduate programs for years,” Machande said. “This agreement makes the admissions process – to one of the best graduate programs in the nation – far less intimidating for our students.”

And Machande knew that Whitt, a top student who’s taken as many upper-level business and accounting classes as her schedule allows, was a great candidate. “Emily is bright, inquisitive and thoughtful,” he noted. Read more.

Black History Month Events, Keynote Feb. 8

Black History Month Events include:

Human Rights Film Series: Teach Us All
Thursday, February 2 | 5 PM | Colonnade Room, Cedric Rucker University Center
In 1957, the segregation in schools ended with a group of students known as the Little Rock Nine. Inequalities still exist in American schools but some are working to change the system.

Great Lives Series: Gladys West
Thursday, February 2 | 7:30 PM | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall
When Dr. West arrived at Dahlgren in 1956, she was only one of four African Americans at the lab, and only the second woman. Specializing in the field of satellite geodesy—the science of measuring the shape and size of the earth from space—she created algorithms and programs for analyzing satellite data using early super computers. Her work contributed to numerous projects, including GPS and SEASAT, the first satellite to map oceans from space. As one of her colleagues noted, “Her competence, not her color, defined her.” This panel conversation will explore the life and legacy of Dr. West, from her determined pursuit of education, through her distinguished career at Dahlgren, to her continuing efforts to inspire young STEM students.

Saturday, February 4 | 3 PM | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall
Join gospel choirs and praise dance teams as they engage in spiritual song and dance.

Black Mary Washington: Past, Present, and Future
Monday, Feb. 6 | 6 p.m. | Chandler Ballroom A&B, Cedric Rucker University Center

Join the UMW NAACP College Chapter in an intergenerational panel about the Black Mary Washington experience and activism throughout the years.

Jazz Ensemble Black History Tribute:  Iconic Jazz Greats
Tuesday, Feb. 7 | 7:30 p.m. | The Underground, Lee Hall
Celebrate Black History Month with the UMW Jazz Ensemble! Doug Gately, a senior lecturer in the Department of Music, directs this concert featuring music from iconic jazz artists.

Great Lives Series: Fannie Lou Hamer
Tuesday, Feb. 7 | 7:30 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall
Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper with a sixth-grade education, faced down white supremacists and challenged President Lyndon Johnson and other national civil rights leaders to secure voting rights for all Americans during the 1960s. She was an improbable leader whose beginnings gave no hint of the powerful woman she would become. The work of elite, well-educated men dominated leadership roles in the civil rights movement, and their lives and stories remain the focus of much of civil rights history. Hamer reminds us that at a movement’s center sits unlikely leaders, forged through difficult circumstances and who use their unique gifts to face the challenges posed at critical crossroads. She channeled her anger, her courage, her faith, and unwavering commitment to human rights in a battle against entrenched racism and bigotry. Using recently opened FBI records, secret Oval Office tapes, new interviews, and more, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson will share fresh details from her highly acclaimed biography Walk With Me about Hamer’s determination to make her light shine in the face of disabling physical abuse and death threats to bring revolutionary change to America.

Wisdom O. Cole

Wisdom O. Cole

Black History Month Keynote Speaker:  Wisdom O. Cole
Wednesday, February 8 | 7 p.m.  | Chandler Ballroom C, Cedric Rucker University Center
Wisdom O. Cole is the National Director of the NAACP Youth & College Division. In this role, he serves more than 700 youth councils, high school chapters, and college chapters actively involved in the fight for civil rights. Wisdom brings extensive experience in civil rights advocacy training institute, electoral action training, grassroots organizing, issues toolkits, and webinars at the local, state, and national level. He has managed national campaign efforts focused on building Black political power through youth leadership development, advocacy, and direct action organizing for the past 3 years with the NAACP, formerly as the National Campaigns & Training Manager.

In his time at the NAACP, he has worked on campaigns around the cancelation of student debt, removing police from schools, as well as increasing voter access for young Black people. He has been featured on NPR, VICE, NBC Washington News, Brooking Institute, and The Economist as an advocate for Black youth voter turnout through issue-based campaign organizing. In 2020 he was named one of Complex Life’s 32 young activists who are changing the world.

Wisdom was previously a field and state conference organizer for the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC), the largest Black collegiate organization in California. In 2014, he collaboratively organized the Afrikan Black Coalition conference that featured keynote speakers such as Marc Lamont Hill, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, and Attallah Shabazz. For this effort, he received the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity in recognition for outstanding contributions to furthering diversity, inclusion, and excellence at UC Santa Cruz.

Wisdom grew up in California where he earned a B. A. in Chemistry, with a minor in STEM Education, from UC Santa Cruz as well as a M. A. in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. (Credit: NAACP)

Black History Month:  African Dinner
Thursday, Feb. 9 | 5 p.m.  | Dining at the Top of the CRUC, Cedric Rucker University Center
Cost with Campus Meal Plan is one meal swipe or $13 Flex. The cost for EagleOne or credit card purchase is $15.00.

The Woman King
Friday, Feb. 10 | 7 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center
Saturday, Feb. 11 | 10 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center
Sponsored by Campus Programming Board

Friday, Feb. 10 | 10 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

Saturday, Feb. 11 | 7 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center
Sponsored by Student Activities and Engagement Office

Bail Out Bake Sale
Monday, Feb. 13 | 1 p.m. | Campus Walk
The UMW NAACP College Chapter will be selling baked goods and donating the proceeds to the Richmond Community Bail Fund to aid the many marginalized individuals behind bars in Central Virginia’s jails.

See the entire list of Black History Month events!

UMW Theatre’s ‘Men on Boats’ Opens Feb. 9





UMW Theatre will continue its 2022-2023 season with Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. Performances will be February 9-11 & 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., and February 12 & 19 at 2:00 p.m. in Klein Theatre, duPont Hall at the University of Mary Washington. Guests may also attend the Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance on February 8 at 7:30 p.m. The box office opens at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. AfterWords, a post-show talkback with the cast, will take place after the matinee performance on February 12. Tickets are $25 for standard admission and $20 for students, senior citizens, and military. Groups of ten or more can receive a discount as well.

Men on Boats tells the story of ten adventurous men that embark on an expedition down the Colorado River. Set in 1869, this mostly factual historical journey is led by John Wesley Powell, a Civil War veteran, and his crew of disparate men. As they chart a path through the great American West, the explorers face hardships within their environment and amongst their rank. Their quest for fortune turns into one of struggle as tensions rise and they experience the true dangers of conquering the Grand Canyon.

Men on Boats is a dramatized retelling of the true 1869 expedition down the Colorado and Green Rivers. This journey was led by Major John Wesley Powell, who recorded the entire enterprise in his personal journal.  The journal was later turned into a novel, The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, which was published in 1895. Powell’s journal entries serve as the first recorded passage of white men through the Grand Canyon. Jaclyn Backhaus drew on these reports for her narrative, gleaning inspiration from the historical voyage. Backhaus decided to adapt the circumstances by re-gendering the ten original male crew members. The casting for Men on Boats calls for female-identifying individuals and non-binary actors to portray these historical roles. Although the story remains relatively accurate, the characters have been reimagined to represent modern awareness and inclusivity.

Men on Boats is directed by Marc Williams, assistant professor of theatre. Scenic design is by assistant professor Michael Benson and costume design is by associate professor Kevin McCluskey. Lighting and sound design are by guest designers Cat Girardi and G Clausen, respectively. For further information, call the Klein Theatre Box Office at (540) 654-1111 or visit www.FredTix.com

UMW Galleries Exhibits on View Now Through Mid-March

duPont Gallery: Origin: Celebrating UMW Studio Art Alumna Honor Bowman Hall

Runs through March 9, featuring paintings by one of our highly accomplished alums. Hall was recently named Dean of Fine Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Ridderhof Martin Gallery: Collective Efforts: 3D Studio Arts Faculty of James Madison University

Runs through March 12, featuring a group exhibition of sculptural work by faculty from a fellow Virginia institution, curated by Professor Sukjin Choi.

UMW’s Fall 2022 President’s and Dean’s Lists

The University of Mary Washington announces its fall 2022 President’s List and Dean’s List.

To be recognized on these lists a student must carry at least 12 graded credits of new coursework. Students who earn a grade-point average of 4.00 on all work taken for graded credit in a semester receive a spot on the President’s List. Students who earn a grade-point average of 3.50 to 3.99 on all work taken for graded credit in a semester are placed on the Dean’s List.

Decisions regarding inclusion on the lists are based on a student’s record as it stands at the official close of the semester grading period. A temporary grade (I or G) postpones consideration; however, once this grade is converted to a permanent letter grade, the student’s GPA is calculated and, if appropriate, a list notation will be made on the student’s permanent record.

We congratulate the students earning these honors this semester and hope you will share in recognizing their academic achievements @MaryWash. Read more.

20th Anniversary Great Lives Lecture Series Starts Tonight

Author David Leavitt presents the first Great Lives lecture of the 20th season tonight. The presentation centers on his book, 'The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer.'

Author David Leavitt presents the first Great Lives lecture of the 20th season tonight. The presentation centers on his book, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer.’

Anne Frank, Bruce Springsteen and Virginia-born technology pioneer Gladys West are among the intriguing figures featured in the 20th anniversary year of the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series at the University of Mary Washington.

The popular biography series will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jan. 19 through March 28, 2023, at Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall. All lectures are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. For the full schedule, visit the Great Lives website.

MLK Celebration Week Draws Upon Service and the Arts

Attorney Tara Murray will be the MLK Celebration keynote speaker.

Attorney Tara Murray will be the MLK Celebration keynote speaker.

In the tight text of her Twitter bio, Tara Murray uses these words to describe herself: human rights defender, truth teller, justice lover, freedom fighter.

A civil and human rights lawyer in Washington, D.C., she was set to share more of her story on Wednesday, Jan. 18, as the keynote speaker for the University of Mary Washington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Her talk was scheduled to take place in the Chandler Ballroom inside the Cedric Rucker University Center at 7 p.m. Also planned are activities that draw service and the arts into a weeklong recognition of the late civil rights icon.

Other Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration events include the “Speaking Truth to Power” exhibit of art, music, dance and spoken word created by members of the UMW campus community in honor of Dr. King and other leaders in the fight for human rights and social justice. It’s open to the public and will take place Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m., in Lee Hall’s Underground.

UMW students from across campus will also participate in the annual MLK Jr. Day of Service event on Saturday, Jan. 21. Participants will honor Dr. King’s vision by taking part in a variety of service projects to benefit Fredericksburg-area agencies.

And as part of Black History Month in February, UMW will host the Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Project – also known as the vMLK Project – from North Carolina State University. The interactive project combines re-creations and technologies to allow viewers and visitors to experience a speech by Dr. King. It will be on view Wednesday, Feb. 22, and Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Hurley Convergence Center Digital Auditorium.

For more information on this week’s events, visit the JFMC’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration page. For a list of events set to take place next month, visit the JFMC’s Black History Month Celebration pageRead more.

Welcome to UMW’s New Website!

Have you noticed the fresh look at umw.edu?

new website launch

Launched at the beginning of the year, UMW’s new website includes nearly 100 redesigned pages focused on what matters to prospective students! We hope you love it as much as we do!

If you’re missing some of your usual go-to’s, here are some helpful hints:

  • If you’re looking for the toolbar that appeared at the top of pages and included functions such as Banner, Canvas, Email and MyTime, you’ll now find it at umw.edu/in, which includes even more resources for faculty, staff and students. (You might want to save this page as your web browser homepage if you frequently use the toolbar or need a landing page and quick reference for these tools. The steps to do this will depend on the browser you prefer with options provided on the internal resources page.)
  • If you want to go directly to email, try https://webmail.umw.edu/.
  • The top-level navigation is linked from the top-right corner. There you’ll find quick access to email, the directory and calendar, as well as audience-specific pages.
  • Information about the Great Lives series and other upcoming public events can be found at umw.edu/arts/. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring these annual programs, inspiring events, and UMW’s museums and galleries.
  • One of the quickest ways to find the information you seek is to use the search bar in the top right corner. That will display pages from the new site as well as the existing site, providing the latest information is available.

Thanks to the many individuals who’ve been working hard for more than a year to bring this new site to life. The University Communications web team will continue a phased approach to the redesign, targeted to rolling out updates every six weeks and working beyond high-priority, recruitment-focused pages to the many other offices and units across campus.

Additional online updates include  a new website for Simpson Library and Digital Learning Support’s launch of Sites@UMW as a replacement for UMW Blogs.

All questions and concerns about umw.edu’s new look should be sent to webmaster@umw.edu! Feedback about the new library site should go to Systems Librarian Gardner Treneman at gtrenema@umw.edu. And questions about Sites@UMW, which now includes UMW Blogs and Domain of One’s Own, should be routed to Digital Learning Support at dls@umw.edu or may be answered by visiting the project webpage

Encourage Undergraduate Students to Take the Princeton Review Survey

Each year, The Princeton Review offers a student survey to learn more about current students’ experiences and share details with college-bound students and their families. Their responses can help prospective students identify a school as a best fit and provide valuable insight into academics, student activities, community outreach, and life after Mary Washington.

The online survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete and is anonymous. The deadline to complete this year’s survey is Feb. 3. All college students completing the survey have a chance to win one of one hundred $50 Amazon.com gift cards.

Responses may appear in a quote in a Princeton Review publication and help Mary Wash with additional rankings that are important to students.

You can encourage UMW students to take the survey by sharing this link: https://secure.princetonreview.com/studentsurvey/Home/ugradsurvey