January 23, 2020

Teacher of the Year Shares Mission of Equity at UMW

Rodney Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, will speak to aspiring educators from UMW’s College of Education and the local community on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium.

Rodney Robinson, the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, will speak to aspiring educators from UMW’s College of Education and the local community on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium.

Rodney Robinson was inspired to become a teacher because of his mother. Growing up in rural Virginia, segregation and poverty hindered her own education, but it didn’t stop her from finding her calling teaching young children in her home daycare.

“She always taught us that every child deserves the proper amount of love to get where he or she needs,” Robinson said.

Named 2019 National Teacher of the Year, he will share his teaching philosophies, and his support of economic and cultural equity in the classroom, with aspiring educators from UMW’s College of Education and the local community. The talk will take place next Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium.

Robinson said he took his mother’s lesson, which he shared recently with his alma mater, Virginia State University (VSU), to heart. Since 2015, he’s taught history at a juvenile detention center in Richmond, believing that access to a quality education and empathetic teachers can be keys to success for these students.

“Mr. Robinson is making a positive difference in the lives of students who need it the most,” said Pete Kelly, Dean of UMW’s College of Education. “As the National Teacher of the Year, he has an important story to tell, and I encourage everyone to come hear him speak.” Read more.

Mindfulness Course & Jump Start Program Begins Soon

Introduction to Mindfulness & Meditation Course

Learn the practice of mindfulness in a 7-week, non-credit course led by Bill Brooks, a certified meditation teacher through the Meditation Teacher Training Institute. This experience is $15 and participants who attend six or more sessions will receive that money back in the form of a UMW bookstore gift card. Our lives are often overly stimulated. What would happen if we gave ourselves a few minutes each day to stop, and be fully silent and still – to meditate? Research has shown that the practice of mindful meditation can lead to a calm and focused mind. Such a practice helps to reduce stress, enhances self-awareness, and offers a greater sense of inner peace and connectedness with life. This 7-week introductory course is being offered to UMW faculty, staff, and students. It will answer the basic question: What are we doing when we meditate? You will learn about meditation through instruction, discussion and guided practice. Specific training will be provided on obstacles to meditation and how to work with them. Upon completion of this course, you will have the tools and experience needed to continue an independent practice of mindfulness meditation.

Spring 2020: Mondays *New day of the week, different from previous semesters!
February 10 – March 30 (Excluding Spring Break on March 2)
Leidecker Center, Trinkle B-39
Cost: $15 (but get that money back if you attend 6+ sessions!)
Sign up on our registration site under “Courses”.


Jump Start Program

For Your Information: A new collaborative program between Campus Recreation, the Talley Center for Counseling Services, the Student Health Center, and the President’s Council on Wellness is beginning January 27. This is a student-focused program. Learn more about the Jump Start Program in case you know a student who may benefit from this program:

This 5-week program is designed to provide students a slow, guided introduction to fitness facilities and programs at UMW. Students will have the opportunity to be introduced to exercise in a less intimidating way by a peer who works for Campus Rec, socialize with others, and get assimilated in a new environment with other UMW students who have similar levels of exercise-familiarity. The group is limited at 12 people, so please register when you are ready to commit.

Students from the Talley Center and Health Center can be referred to the Jump Start Program by their clinician. Otherwise, the program is available for any UMW student to join for $15 per 5-week session. Students can sign up at campusrec.umw.edu under “Courses” or at the Fitness Center front desk.

Once a week, for five weeks, students will meet with their Jump Start Program leaders (two Campus Recreation fitness instructors, Brenna and Sasha) who will spend 60 minutes doing an activity, learning a lesson and having a discussion surrounding the topic of the week. Each lesson will include a worksheet with fitness education.

PCOW: January 29th Sleep Event

The President’s Council on Wellness (PCOW) is sponsoring a Faculty and Staff CommonHealth of Virginia event this month called, Getting Your ZZZs on Wednesday, January 29th from 11am to Noon in the UC Capital Room 314.

A goodnight’s rest can be determined by many different aspects and circumstances. The CommonHealth program (which is a free-state employee wellness program) mentions that “Our bodies have a powerful internal drive to sleep, and sleep is critical to our heart health and well-being.  Not only does sleep give our hearts a break by reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones, it also boosts learning, memory, and our immune system. NIH (National Institute of Health) recommends 7-8 hours of sleep daily for adults, and studies suggest that sleep is just as important for survival as eating, drinking, and breathing.” Come join us as we find out tips for good sleep hygiene, getting the best night’s sleep, and what signs might show up for sleeping disorders. If you have any questions, please contact us at wellness@umw.edu.

President Paino: UMW Positioned to Think Big

Mary Washington President Troy Paino charged the faculty and staff to “think big” at the All-UMW Assembly on Tuesday. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino charged the faculty and staff to “think big” at the All-UMW Assembly on Tuesday. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

On the cusp of a new decade, the University of Mary Washington is poised to meet the changing needs of a student body that will become even more diverse. President Troy Paino delivered that message Tuesday at an All-UMW Assembly, while also sharing accomplishments, updates and reflections.

Monday’s launch of UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration gave him a sense of optimism, Paino told faculty and staff in Dodd Auditorium, but he expressed concerns over how the upcoming election and polarized politics may impact campus life in the coming year. As a public university, UMW must encourage civil debate, he said, asking faculty and staff to reflect on the values of the late Mary Washington history professor and civil rights icon Dr. James Farmer and the University’s yearlong commitment to action in his honor. “We have to remind ourselves of our roles as mentors and advisors to these young people,” he said, noting that many UMW students will be voting in a presidential election for the first time.

Mary Washington is serving a more diverse and underrepresented student population than ever before, Paino said. In an effort to make the external environment more inclusive and reflective of our values, he said, the University will begin exploring and executing the recent recommendations made by the Campus Environment Committee, including a name change for Trinkle Hall.

“We need to look back to understand who we are, but we also can look forward in terms of who we aspire to be,” Paino said. Read more.

Launch Party Ignites Farmer Legacy 2020 Celebration

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

Nearly 500 people turned out yesterday to help UMW kick off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the day after what would have been his 100th birthday.

The hourlong launch party packed plenty of emotion, from student accounts of life-changing experiences they’ve gained through UMW – and learning about Farmer’s legacy – to a moving rendition of Happy Birthday by Mary Washington gospel ensemble Voices of Praise.

Held in the UMW University Center’s Chandler Ballroom, the celebration commenced a year of events paying tribute to Farmer, the late Mary Washington history professor who founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and made an immeasurable impact on the civil rights movement as a member of the Big Six. Fredericksburg residents, Board of Visitor members and colleagues in higher education joined UMW students, faculty and staff in recognizing Farmer and his contributions, and vowing to follow in his footsteps by dedicating themselves to civic action and inclusion.

Honorary celebration chair, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, the last surviving member of the Big Six, had to cancel plans to attend yesterday’s launch due to a recent cancer diagnosis. Attendees signed a card for him. Read more.

2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Demanding Truth, Demanding Justice

The profound words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ring louder than ever today as we fight for truth, justice, and the soul of our nation. Join the James Farmer Multicultural Center in celebrating Dr. King’s work and legacy.

MLK Jr. Kids Day

Sunday, Jan. 19 | 3 to 5 p.m.  |  James Monroe High School

Children from the Fredericksburg area are invited to enjoy games, activities, and crafts to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the community MLK celebration. The event is sponsored by the Fredericksburg-area Partnership for Academic Excellence.

I Am MLK, Jr. Documentary & Discussion
Tuesday, Jan. 21 | 6 p.m. | Colonnade Room 315, University Center
A stirring documentary examines Dr. King’s lifelong commitment to civil rights and the legacy that continues today.

The University of Mary Washington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Chavis Jr.
Wednesday, Jan. 22 • 7 p.m. • Chandler Ballroom, University Center
Sponsored by the Office of the President

Reverend Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., entrepreneur, global business leader, educator, chemist, civil rights leader, NAACP Life Member, syndicated columnist, theologian, and author is currently the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA): The Black Press of America. Dr. Chavis serves on the Board of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Dr. Chavis is also the former President and Co-Founder of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), the world’s largest coalition of hip-hop artists and recording industry executives.

A native of Oxford, North Carolina, Dr. Chavis received the Bachelor of Arts, BA, in Chemistry from University of North Carolina. He even earned his Masters of Divinity, M.Div., magna cum laude, from Duke University while serving an unjust 34-year prison sentence as a member of the Wilmington 10, who Amnesty International declared political prisoners, a case that garnered international attention and was pardoned 40 years later. He also received the Doctor of Ministry, D. Min, from Howard University and completed course requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., in systematic theology, from Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Chavis is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Dr. Chavis began his career in 1963, as a statewide youth coordinator in NC for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1993 and 1994, Dr. Chavis served as the Executive Director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and remains an active supporter of the NAACP. In 1995, Dr. Chavis was the National Director and organizer of the Million Man March. From 1995 to 1997, Chavis was the Executive Director and CEO of the National African American Leadership Summit (NAALS). The 2010 theatrical release of the full-length movie Blood Done Sign My Name distributed by Paladin, directed by Jeb Stuart, starring Ricky Schroder, Nate Parker, and Lela Rochon depicts a true story from Dr. Chavis’ early days in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s in his hometown of Oxford, NC.

Dr Chavis has authored books and other publications including: An American Political Prisoner Appeals for Human Rights, Psalms from Prison, Toxic Waste and Race in the United States of America: A National Report on the Racial and Socioeconomic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites, and FUSION: Bridging the Gap between Civil Rights and Hip-Hop with MC Lyte (2015). His areas of expertise include corporate diversity and inclusion, human rights, climate change, voting rights, bridging the gap between civil rights and hip-hop, and criminal justice reform.

Speaking Truth to Power
Thursday, Jan. 23 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall Underground
Members of the UMW community honor Dr. King and other justice fighters through art, music, dance, and spoken word pieces.

MLK Jr. Day of Service

Saturday, January 25 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  |  Chandler Ballroom, University Center

The UMW MLK Day of Service provides students a way to give back to their community to honor the legacy of Dr. King and his commitment to strengthening communities. Many different service projects, which will be donated to various agencies in the Fredericksburg area, will be available for students to complete.  Afterwards, a discussion will take place regarding service, civic engagement, and inclusivity.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.  All members of the campus community are invited to participate.  Please register online at MyUMW.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540/654-1044 or umwjfmc@gmail.com .

Great Lives’ 17th Season Kicks Off Jan. 21 with Ronald Reagan

The 17th season of the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series kicks off on Tuesday, Jan. 21, with a look at Ronald Reagan. Craig Shirley, author of “Rendezvous with Destiny: Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America,” will provide unique insight into the life of the 40th president and one of the most consequential figures of the 20th century. The Virginia Partners Bank Lecture. 

This series is open to the public free of charge and no admission tickets are required. Programs begin at 7:30 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium in George Washington Hall. Each lecture concludes with an audience Q&A session with the speaker and a book-signing. Great Lives will continue on Jan. 23 with Tiger Woods biographer Jeff Benedict.

Forty years ago, few thought Reagan would be a great president, or even president at all. So much so that many, even from within his own party, sought to destroy his 1980 campaign from its earliest days. Make no mistake about it; the GOP establishment loathed Reagan, hated Reagan.

He’d tried in 1968, losing the Republican nomination to Richard Nixon. He narrowly lost to Gerald Ford in 1976. But by 1980, he was the marginal frontrunner for the nomination, but nearly lost to Ambassador George Bush. Reagan righted his campaign, got focused, and charged to the nomination, at long last.

Winning the 1980 GOP nomination, however, was only the first step. He then had to face the juggernaut of incumbent President Jimmy Carter. By common agreement, Carter was a mediocre president and was presiding over a poor economy and an even worse foreign policy — but as a fierce campaigner, he was without peer.

For most of the fall 1980 campaign, Carter maintained a lead over Reagan. Americans did not like to kick elected presidents out of office, only doing so in 1912 (which was anomalous with William Howard Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson all running) and 1932, when in the face of the terrible Great Depression, FDR defeated the hapless Herbert Hoover. Thus the odds were stacked against Reagan.

But in the one and only debate, in Cleveland, Reagan zinged Carter with his immortal line, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” One week later, Reagan won one of the largest landslide elections in history and in so doing, changed history.

The era of Reagan had begun. Without guile, without hatred, and without deception, Reaganism would prove to be the remedy America and the world needed forty years ago — but whose legacy still casts a long shadow over all of us.

Craig Shirley will analyze the Reagan Presidency and its legacy, including comparisons with Donald Trump.

Panera Opens at UMW’s University Center

The UMW community and local residents can now enjoy Panera Bread at Mary Washington, thanks to the popular eatery’s new University Center location.

The UMW community and local residents can now enjoy Panera Bread at Mary Washington, thanks to the popular eatery’s new University Center location.

Starting this week, UMW students are enjoying broccoli and cheddar soup, Fuji apple salad and an appetizing array of baked goods fresh from the oven – without ever leaving campus.

Mary Washington’s long-awaited Panera Bread location on the second floor of the University Center opened Monday, now serving students and other members of the campus community, as well as local residents. The space formerly housed Qdoba and Jamba Juice.

“The opening has been great,” said Rose Benedict, Campus Dining’s marketing coordinator. “The students have been wonderful and patient as our new crew is learning the ropes, and everyone is loving the food.” Read more.

Spring Safe Zone Events

Safe Zone is excited to announce several upcoming programs, including our Spring Book Club. The UMW Safe Zone program offers programs that are designed to educate members of the University community about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ+) issues to increase the safety and inclusion of all campus citizens. All of our programs are free and open to all faculty and staff.

  • We will be offering a Basic Safe Zone workshop on Thursday, January 23 from 3:30-6:00pm. This training focuses on terminology, issues related to privilege, increasing awareness and sensitivity, and how to support the LGBTQ+ population on campus. This is an opportunity for any faculty or staff member to become a Safe Zone ally. Space is limited and registration is required. All participants get cool Safe Zone swag!
  • We will be offering an Advanced Safe Zone workshop on Wednesday, January 29 from 3:00-5:30pm. The advanced training is for faculty and staff who have already completed the basic training and covers more complex topics, including bystander intervention. Space is limited and registration is required. All participants get cool Safe Zone swag!
  • Safe Zone is partnering with the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board to provide a new training opportunity. Did you know that 66% of UMW students report experiencing at least one adverse childhood experience, such as abuse, family dysfunction or bullying? Research has shown that these types of experiences are associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes later in life. Join us for a workshop on how these types of negative childhood experiences affect our students. This training will be held on Wednesday, February 12 from 3:30-5:30pm, and is open to all faculty and staff. Refreshments will be provided. Space is limited and registration is required.
  • We will be offering our Spring Book Club as a two-part program on Wednesday, February 19 from 5:00pm-6:30pm and Wednesday, February 26 from 5:00pm-6:30pm. We will be reading “A Cup of Water Under My Bed” by Daisy Hernandez. The first 13 people to register get a free book! Plus, all participants get cool Safe Zone swag. Space is limited and registration is required.

If you would like to register for any of these events, please email Laura Wilson at lwilson5@umw.edu. If you would like more information about Safe Zone, to see the list of allies on our campus or access LGBTQ+ inclusion resources, please visit the website at bit.ly/UMWsafezone.

UMW Launches Centennial Celebration of James Farmer on Jan. 13

Happy birthday, Dr. James Farmer!

This year, UMW will celebrate the centennial birthday of the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., who died in 1999.

This year, UMW will celebrate the centennial birthday of the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., who died in 1999.

Two decades after his death and on the day after he would have turned 100, the late Mary Washington professor and U.S. civil rights pioneer Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. is being lauded by the community in which he spent his final years.

Monday, January 13, 2020, not only will serve as a celebration of Farmer’s birthday, it will be the official kick-off for UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Actiona year of signature events and other activities related to Farmer and various social justice milestones.

Honorary chair of Farmer Legacy 2020, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), had intended to headline Monday’s celebration of his longtime friend and fellow fighter. Both men were among the original 13 participants in the 1961 Freedom Rides, organized by Farmer’s Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Unfortunately, a recent cancer diagnosis prevents Congressman Lewis from attending.

The UMW community is deeply grateful to Rep. Lewis for his commitment to Farmer’s legacy; Lewis gave an extraordinary commencement address at Mary Washington in 2011 when the University celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. Last fall, Lewis met with a UMW contingent, including President Troy Paino, on Capitol Hill to reminisce about Dr. Farmer and offer support to the yearlong centennial celebration.

Student Government Association President Jason Ford was among a UMW contingent on a recent visit to Washington, D.C., to speak with Rep. John Lewis about the Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration.

Student Government Association President Jason Ford was among a UMW contingent on a recent visit to Washington, D.C., to speak with Rep. John Lewis about the Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration.

Student Government Association President Jason Ford, a senior from Culpeper, Virginia, was a member of the UMW group that met with Lewis. At Monday’s event, Ford will address that moving experience and share his affinity for Dr. Farmer, a man he never met, but whose booming voice and engaging lectures impacted generations of Mary Washington students.

Ford will be joined by junior Courtney Flowers and President Paino, all of whom will make brief remarks prior to a Farmer birthday celebration and cake-cutting Monday, January 13, at 2:30 p.m. in Chandler Ballroom of the University Center. The event is open to the public.

UMW’s yearlong commemoration will examine the historical context of Farmer’s life and the ways in which our society currently acts on principles important to him, including civic engagement, access and inclusion.Twice, through UMW’s Fall Break Social Justice Trips in 2018 and 2019, Ford has taken in sites visited by Farmer during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Flowers, from Torrance, California, was so compelled by what she learned about Dr. Farmer during a high school project she decided to travel all the way across the country to attend Mary Washington, a school at which Farmer taught and one that features a James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Growing up in Texas and Mississippi, James Farmer felt his heart “swell with rebellion” when he personally witnessed the injustices of Jim Crow. At age 22, Farmer co-founded CORE, which organized several protests of segregated facilities in the 1940s and 1950s. Spearheaded by Farmer, CORE led the 1961 Freedom Rides into several Southern states to test Supreme Court rulings that outlawed segregation in interstate transportation and bus terminals.

After moving to Spotsylvania County in the early 1980s, Farmer served as Distinguished Professor of History at Mary Washington College from 1985 until his retirement in January 1999, shortly before his death later that year.

“What would Dr. Farmer fight for today?” is the question the UMW community will be asking throughout 2020, the centennial year of his birth.

For the event on Monday, campus parking restrictions will be lifted. Accessibility issues should be directed to the UMW Office of Events and Conferencing at 540-654-1087.

For updates and other information, visit https://www.umw.edu/farmer/.