December 1, 2020

Mary Talks: “Farmer Legacy: 2020 & Beyond”

Join us ONLINE for the next Mary Talk of the 2020-21 academic year!

In January 2020, UMW launched Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Action to recognize what would have been the 100th birthday of Dr. James Farmer, national civil rights icon and Mary Washington College professor from 1985 to 1998. While the pandemic changed the direction of our yearlong commemoration, it did not shake our commitment to honor Dr. Farmer and to realize his vision for a more equitable America. Our next Mary Talk will explore Dr. Farmer’s life and legacy and his ongoing impact at Mary Washington today.

This Talk will be presented by Farmer Legacy co-chairs Dr. Sabrina Johnson (Vice President for Equity and Access) and Dr. Juliette Landphair (Vice President for Student Affairs) along with Jason Ford ’20 (leader of the Black Alumni Affinity Group). They will discuss Dr. Farmer’s impact and UMW’s ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence. We will hear from alumni who recall Dr. Farmer as a remarkable historian and teacher. We will recount our trip with President Troy Paino and others to Capitol Hill to visit the legendary Representative John Lewis, who participated in the Freedom Rides with Dr. Farmer and served as the Farmer Legacy’s honorary Chairperson. We will examine the context of Dr. Farmer’s life and legacy as well as our progress in equity and inclusion efforts at UMW.

Wednesday, December 9
7:30-9:00 p.m.
Online

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

Note: Online viewing is the only option for this Mary Talk, as we are not conducting any in-person events at this time.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Partnerships Lead Students to Engineering Master’s Degrees

New partnerships with Virginia schools give University of Mary Washington students a jumpstart on master’s coursework in engineering.

New partnerships with Virginia schools give University of Mary Washington students a jumpstart on master’s coursework in engineering.

Sophomore Justin Daniels is part of a group building a virtual campus tour where users can order – and “drink” – Katora coffee. Junior Zoe Rafter put her knowledge of voltage and wavelengths to work this semester using a circuit board.

New partnerships with Virginia schools give University of Mary Washington students like Daniels and Rafter a jumpstart on master’s coursework – and futures – in engineering. Pathway agreements with George Mason and Virginia Tech offer early grad-school admission, five-year master’s degree possibilities and résumés ready for lucrative positions across the region, all while students complete their bachelor’s degrees at Mary Washington.

“Our students will be able to enjoy all that is special about UMW – our smaller student body, being able to work more closely with faculty and the rich foundation of a liberal arts education – while being able to pursue careers in engineering,” said College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Assistant Dean Betsy Lewis.

The programs – partnerships with George Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering (VSE), launched last fall, and Virginia Tech’s School of Engineering, available to students beginning this spring – provide accelerated pathways built on foundational courses. And students with liberal arts and sciences degrees – who’ve studied a diverse array of subjects, collected technical and practical knowledge, and learned to speak and write well – are prepared to navigate them. Read more.

Forum Reveals Reality of Racial Issues at UMW

Mary Washington’s U.S. Race & Reality Forum, an eight-week, one-credit forum, covered topics like common myths about race, privilege and fragility, Confederate monuments and identity, and policing and incarceration.

Mary Washington’s U.S. Race & Reality Forum, an eight-week, one-credit forum, covered topics like common myths about race, privilege and fragility, Confederate monuments and identity, and policing and incarceration.

Do you have to be a person of color to be offended by a racial epithet?

No, according to Alexandra Polymeropoulos, a junior at the University of Mary Washington. During a lively discussion Wednesday evening in a session of UMW’s U.S. Race & Reality Forum, Polymeropoulos said she is riled every time she hears such language. And, she added, being white makes it hard to convince peers of how much it bothers her.

You have to build up “a wall of steel,” offered classmate Andrew Schneidawind, one of more than 150 Mary Washington students who enrolled in the course.

Candor, frustration, hopefulness, ardor – all were on display during a Zoom session of this specially designed eight-week, one-credit race forum, which was sparked by the murder in late May of George Floyd.

The sessions featured UMW faculty and staff, as well as speakers from outside the university. “We wanted to offer some conventional academic knowledge, but also make it possible for students to hear directly from individuals involved in making change,” said one of the co-facilitators, Associate Professor of Anthropology Jason James. Read more.

Marketing Class Partners with Students Across the Globe

UMW students aren’t able to study abroad due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But this fall, an international marketing class is engaging in cross-cultural learning by partnering with students at a university in the Czech Republic to better understand global consumerism.

UMW students aren’t able to study abroad due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But this fall, an international marketing class is engaging in cross-cultural learning by partnering with students at a university in the Czech Republic to better understand global consumerism.

Studying abroad is as much a part of University of Mary Washington culture as bench-sitting or playing Frisbee on Ball Circle. One-third of each graduating class – about 300 students – spends time learning overseas.

Not this year.

As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, international travel – like commencements, reunions and all large gatherings – has been put on hold.

But the pandemic hasn’t halted cross-cultural learning at Mary Washington. This fall, an international marketing class taught by College of Business Associate Professor Kashef Majid has partnered with a university in the Czech Republic to better understand global consumerism and how certain brands and behaviors can transcend cultural differences. Connecting on Zoom, students have discussed everything from fashion fads to technology trends, discovering similarities and differences between young adults living on opposite sides of the world.

“You can study marketing trends in foreign countries all day long,” said senior Ginny Summers, “but in order to succeed in business, you need to be able to have a respectful conversation with someone from a different culture.” Read more.

Mental Health is Top of Mind at Mary Washington

As UMW students approach the end of an unprecedented semester, with final exams and holidays on the horizon, practicing self-care and inquiring about others’ wellbeing is important. Zen Garden photo courtesy of Dan Hirshberg.

As UMW students approach the end of an unprecedented semester, with final exams and holidays on the horizon, practicing self-care and inquiring about others’ wellbeing is important. Zen Garden photo courtesy of Dan Hirshberg.

Five short words can go a long way toward mental wellness: “How are you feeling today?”

“It’s something every single member of our community can do for our students,” said Tevya Zukor, director of University of Mary Washington’s Talley Center for Counseling Services. “That kind of check-in can mean the world to someone who’s feeling isolated and disconnected.”

And who isn’t feeling a little off-course and overwhelmed these days? Especially students. With final exams and the fuss of the upcoming holiday season upon them – not to mention a global pandemic and the aftermath of a divisive election – more first-time mental health service-seekers are turning to the Talley Center. Zukor sees a positive side to the uptick in visitors. Young people are discovering the world of mental health, beginning to build coping strategies and dissolving the stigma around asking for help.

“It’s OK to want support and seek feedback and guidance when we’re not feeling well,” he said. “There’s nothing shameful about seeing someone to help navigate the world. That doesn’t make us flawed; it makes us human.” Read more.

University of Mary Washington Museums Temporarily Closing

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum will close to the public beginning Monday, November 23, 2020, and remain closed until Monday, January 4, 2021. This corresponds to the time period during which most University of Mary Washington facilities will be closed or operating with limited public access.

The Stafford County Tourist Information Center, administered by Gari Melchers Home and Studio, will also be closed to the public during this period. For information on Stafford County attractions, please visit https://www.tourstaffordva.com/.

The temporary closing is a precautionary measure taken in response to actual and potential increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Virginia and nationally, especially during the forthcoming holidays. Prior to January 4, University Museums leadership, in conjunction with the UMW administration, will decide whether remaining closed beyond January 4 is warranted. Such decisions will be closely aligned with the general public health situation, including any applicable local, state, or federal directives.

University of Mary Washington Museums offer a wide array of online educational resources, which may be accessed at the following sites:

Gari Melchers Home and Studio “Learn” page: https://www.garimelchers.org/education/learn/.

James Monroe Museum “Hands-On History” page: https://jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/about-james-monroe/hands-on-history/.

Papers of James Monroe “COVID-19 Resources” page: https://academics.umw.edu/jamesmonroepapers/covid-19-resources/.

The University of Mary Washington Museums, comprising Gari Melchers Home and Studio, the James Monroe Museum, and the Papers of James Monroe, support and enhance the educational mission of the University. In accordance with their respective missions, the component sites and programs of UMW Museums collect, preserve, and interpret artistic, cultural, and historic resources; promote scholarship and the diffusion of knowledge; provide experiential learning opportunities for UMW students; and support economic development through heritage tourism.

Take a Survey for Bike FXBG

Bike FXBG is a student-built project that is working with a local organization, Fredericksburg Main Street, to place bike infrastructure downtown. Bike infrastructure includes racks, corrals, and shelters; these structures target and help cyclists directly but benefit pedestrians and drivers as well. As UMW students and members of the Fredericksburg community, we would like your input, which you can give us by taking a two-minute survey on the bikefxbg.org website. While there, you can learn more about bike infrastructure, drop a pin on an interactive GIS map, and meet the team.

Women’s History Month Program Proposals Needed

[Text] Women's History Month Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced [Image] Title in a speech bubble with a graphic of a group of diverse women

Submit your Program Proposals by Monday, December 7. Contact JoAnna Raucci (jraucci@umw.edu) for more information.

The Women’s History Month Planning Committee invites members of the University of Mary Washington community to submit program proposals for the annual Women’s History Month Celebration in March!

This year’s theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.”

Visit students.umw.edu/multicultural/programs/womens-history-month/ or contact JoAnna Raucci (jraucci@umw.edu) for more information. Please submit your program proposals by Monday, December 7 at 5 p.m.

Understanding the 2020 Election

Tonight at 6 p.m., political science professor Dr. Stephen Farnsworth will reflect on the November 2020 election and provide an analysis of the results of key races. Sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and UMW Votes, this event can be accessed via  Zoom or YouTube.

FBI Returns Gari Melchers Painting Stolen by Nazis to Owner’s Heirs

A version of the original Skaters, owned by PAFA, is on display.

A version of the original Skaters, owned by PAFA, is on display.

A Gari Melchers’ painting, “Winter,” originally owned by the Mosse family in Berlin, Germany, and looted by the Nazis when they fled the country, has been repatriated to the owner’s heirs. As reported in a 2019 media release, the FBI seized the painting from the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York, who was unaware of its origins.

The painting’s successful restitution has been widely covered in the press. Here is an article sampling.

Gari Melchers painting stolen by Nazis is returned to family of original owners (The Free Lance-Star, October 16, 2020)

Painting returned 87 years after Nazis stole it from a Jewish family in Berlin (CNN, October 16, 2020)

Jewish family’s painting looted by Nazis in 1933 is returned (Associated Press, October 15, 2020)

United States Secures Return of Artwork 87 Years After Nazis Looted it from Jewish Family in Berlin (United States Department of Justice, October 15, 2020)

FBI returns painting stolen by Nazis to owners heirs (Houston Chronicle, October 15, 2020)

Gari Melchers cribbed from his original oil painting Skaters (owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, or PAFA) to create our watercolor version by the same name. The stolen Winter is a related version.