January 23, 2021

All University Assembly on Jan. 26 at 4PM

The virtual All University Assembly is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. An email with additional information, including the link to access the assembly, will be forthcoming.

2020 in Hindsight: A Look at the Top 10 News Stories

2020 Year in Review. Students sitting on Lee Hall Plaza, social distancing with masks.

No one really wants to rewind to the past year. But through 10 months taken hostage by a pandemic, riddled with political strife and torn by racial unrest, the University of Mary Washington persevered. And we’ve got the stories to prove it.

From the launch of the James Farmer centennial celebration and the theatre department’s virtual performance of Much Ado About Nothing to the announcement of the new Great Lives lecture series and a pair of alumni weddings at Brompton, UMW news captured success. Of the more than 100 stories published at umw.edu/news in 2020, these comprise the Top 10. Read more.

‘J-term’ Helps Students Engage, Gain Credits

Senior Maggie Rush is one of more than 400 UMW students taking advantage of the January-term, or “J-term.” Mary Washington is offering 29 different online courses during the three-week session this month.

Senior Maggie Rush is one of more than 400 UMW students taking advantage of the January-term, or “J-term.” Mary Washington is offering 29 different online courses during the three-week session this month.

College students often spend the final weeks of winter break watching movies, playing video games and writing résumés for jobs and internships.

Now, a University of Mary Washington offering called the January-term, or “J-term,” allows them to earn college credits for these and other types of activities.

Before UMW’s spring semester begins – remotely on Jan. 25, with on-campus instruction scheduled to start Feb. 1 – the condensed but intense three-week curriculum gives students the chance to engage with instructors and peers, stockpile academic credits and complete requirements and electives. More than 400 students have enrolled in 29 courses, ranging from Personal Finance and Writing for the Workplace to Games and Culture and The Three Big Q’s: Love, Death and Justice.

The idea for the J-term came last fall when UMW’s administration decided to revise the academic calendar to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. That freed up the first three weeks of January for “some sort of new, creative academic opportunity,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger. Mary Washington has occasionally offered a winter term in the past, but if made permanent, students could study abroad or pursue other experiential learning opportunities in January. They’re already taking note.

Because of the J-term, “my spring semester is now lighter,” said senior Maggie Rush. “I can concentrate on finding an internship or job.” Read more.

College of Education Awarded Accreditation

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) recently announced that the University of Mary Washington was awarded accreditation for its College of Education (COE), one of the first institutions to undergo a virtual site visit through this accrediting body.

UMW's College of Education was recently awarded accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

In 2010, the same year UMW’s education program became the College of Education, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) designated CAEP as the official accreditation body for all teacher preparation programs at Virginia institutions. For the last decade, the council has given its seal of approval to schools across the country that provide aspiring teachers with the knowledge, skills and clinical training they need to serve their students and teach effectively in the classroom.

“It’s a great opportunity for our faculty and staff to take a critical look at how we prepare our students to become teachers,” said COE Dean Pete Kelly, citing UMW’s partnerships with local school divisions as one of the college’s greatest strengths. “Collectively, we emerged from the process with a richer and more holistic perspective on our work, and our students will benefit from that.”

CAEP, the only recognized national accreditor for educator preparation, awards accreditation to schools that have demonstrated excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact and capacity for continuous improvement.

“Achieving this accreditation is a major accomplishment and a testament to the outstanding and extraordinary hard work of COE faculty and staff, and the steady leadership of Dean Pete Kelly and Associate Dean Courtney Clayton,” said UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky. Read more.

‘Great Lives’ Lecture Series Kicks Off Jan. 19

Great Lives banner

The “Great Lives” lecture series kicks off on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. with a lecture on former Presidents James Monroe and George Washington, delivered by UMW Museums Executive Director Scott Harris. The Barlow & Thomas, P.C. Lecture.

Because of restrictions on public gatherings on campus, the entire series of 18 lectures will be pre-recorded and delivered electronically, through Zoom Webinars, with closed captioning available.

Although the presentations will be taped in advance, there will still be a live Q&A session following the online debut of each lecture, in which the speaker will be available to answer questions submitted by audience members.

Presidents George Washington and James Monroe are the subjects of the first "Great Lives" lecture on Jan. 19.

Presidents George Washington and James Monroe are the subjects of the first “Great Lives” lecture on Jan. 19.

From Revolutionary War battlefields to the arenas of American politics, George Washington and James Monroe navigated a complex relationship. Mutual regard and affection, born in the shared experience of fighting for the cause of independence, eroded steadily amid the early Republic’s changing political and diplomatic landscape. The resulting estrangement revealed much of the character of both men.

The emergence of Federalist and Republican factions during Washington’s presidential administration enflamed both domestic and foreign affairs. Monroe’s first diplomatic mission to France was a casualty of this partisan divide. His advocacy of Republican principles and the traditional alliance with France ran counter to the Federalists’ goal of improving relations with Great Britain. Recalled from his post in disgrace, Monroe aired his grievances with Washington publicly and received harsh criticism in return. The rift between the two men, personally distressing to both, was never repaired.

Or was it? Monroe’s presidency echoed symbols and values evident in that of Washington: popular tours of the country, efforts to mitigate party divisions, and a foreign policy aimed at insulating the United States from entanglements in European conflicts. Perhaps the Revolutionary Rift between George Washington and James Monroe was, in the end, healed.

The series continues on Thursday, Jan. 21 with a lecture on abolitionist Sojourner Truth by Professor of History Claudine Ferrell. The sPower Lecture.

Abolitionist Sojourner Truth is the subject of the "Great Lives" lecture on Jan. 21.

Abolitionist Sojourner Truth is the subject of the “Great Lives” lecture on Jan. 21.

Sojourner Truth began life in 1797 as a slave named Isabella in Ulster County, New York. After years of hard work and abuse, she ended her enslavement in late 1826. She then re-invented herself. The strikingly intelligent but illiterate young woman became an uncompromising abolitionist, a famed and witty speaker, a proponent of women’s rights, and an inspiring preacher. By the 1850s her Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1850) and Bible-inspired lectures made her name a familiar one throughout the northern states and in the nation’s newspapers. During her life, she used hard work, the speaker’s podium, the courts, and song as she fought against slavery and racial inequality and advocated for rights of women black and white. She won a legal action that freed her son, recruited black troops for the Union army, campaigned for temperance, and met with presidents. After the Civil War, she helped settle freed slaves, and even into her eighties, she worked to aid the migrant Exodusters in the 1870s. She died in 1883 in Battle Creek, Michigan, which honors her today with a massive statue that befits the six-foot-tall traveler for truth.

For more information and a full list of lectures, visit umw.edu/greatlives or contact the Office of University Events and Conferencing at 540-654-1065.

Rev. Aaron Dobynes to Deliver UMW’s Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Speech

Rev. Aaron Dobynes

Rev. Aaron Dobynes

The 10th pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), Dobynes will deliver the Martin Luther King Jr. keynote speech via Zoom on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. A fourth-generation preacher who holds two doctoral degrees, Dobynes attended high school in Selma, Alabama, and will draw on his personal experiences and advanced studies to deliver an emotional presentation dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. Presented by the James Farmer Multicultural Center. Registration is required.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Announces Belmont Horseshoe Staircase Restoration

Restoration of an iconic exterior staircase at Belmont, the historic house at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, began this week with removal of an architecturally-significant iron railing for conservation treatment.

The Horseshoe Staircase at Belmont was included in the inaugural list of Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts designated by the Virginia Association of Museums in 2011. It dates to ca. 1845, when Belmont’s owner Joseph B. Ficklen expanded the house and its gardens. The railing is stylistically similar to examples characteristic of Philadelphia, an ironworking center where Joseph Ficklen had business ties. Construction of the stone steps, which consist of a mix of granite, brick, marble, and Aquia sandstone, likely involved the Ficklens’ enslaved workforce.

The staircase’s railing is a superb example of wrought iron craftsmanship combined with emerging cast iron technology of mid-19th century America. As an architectural feature of historical significance with no equal in the greater Fredericksburg region, and perhaps even in the whole of Virginia, this artifact not only helps tell the story of Belmont’s white owners’ prosperity, but also stories of the enslaved black people who are integral to understanding the site’s history.

Significant rust corrosion has defaced much of the wrought iron, and the brass knobs have deteriorated badly. Numerous paint layers have obscured the details of applied cast iron rosettes and improper repairs in the past now threaten the artifact’s integrity.

Stokes of England, a blacksmith with extensive experience in historic restorations, removed the iron railing from the Belmont staircase on Wednesday, January 6. Restoration at the blacksmith’s Keswick, Virginia facility will take approximately four months. A stonemason is being selected to address structural and aesthetic issues with the stairs.

Completion of the restoration project is anticipated in April or May of this year. The roughly $60,000 cost is covered entirely by private donations.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Virginia. For more information visit www.garimelchers.org.

An end-of-semester message from President Paino

A message from the Office of the President.

To the campus community:

What a year this has been! While there are many aspects of it I’m happy to move beyond, I believe we also learned a great deal about ourselves and our ability to overcome unimaginable challenges.

As 2020 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all you have done to persevere and project positivity during this pandemic. While many people went to extraordinary lengths to prepare for our return, ultimately the success rested on each individual’s decision to put the good of this community above personal interest. All of you showed resilience, dedication, and adaptability as we encountered hurdles and faced unknowns.

I’m deeply grateful to you; your sacrifice and sense of responsibility for each other allowed us to have a successful fall. Your commitment to this community was inspiring, and the people of UMW demonstrated that it was possible to continue living and learning in the midst of COVID. My pride in this student body, faculty, and staff is difficult to articulate, but I invite you to watch this video message for all members of this community.

With hopeful news of a COVID vaccine on the horizon, I look forward to a 2021 full of promise and possibilities. Meanwhile, I wish you a warm, healthy, and relaxing winter break.



When the Pandemic Struck, UMW Persevered

UMW sophomore Andrew Newman poses on a Campus Walk bench. The University community pulled together this fall to follow MMDC (monitor, mask, distance and clean) guidelines and minimize the number of COVID-19 cases on campus. Increased pandemic-related measures will be employed this spring.

UMW sophomore Andrew Newman poses on a Campus Walk bench. The University community pulled together this fall to follow MMDC (monitor, mask, distance and clean) guidelines and minimize the number of COVID-19 cases on campus. Increased pandemic-related measures will be employed this spring.

Eager to begin her college career at Mary Washington, Sarah Bazemore moved into Willard Hall in September, stocking her room with masks and sanitizer.

Little did she know that she would end her first semester living in Marshall Hall under quarantine. Bazemore and two of her friends were among several dozen students who were either exposed to or came down with COVID-19 in fall 2020.

Even so, she rated the entire semester an A+. “I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be on campus this fall, and I’m beyond impressed with the way UMW handled COVID-19,” she said. “Even when we entered quarantine, there was a plan. At no time was I unable to get the support I needed or an answer to my questions.”

Only 40 students utilized the more than 100 designated quarantine/isolation rooms on campus. That, added Bazemore, “says a lot about the student body and our administration. We followed MMDC (monitor, mask, distance and clean) and did all we could to keep COVID-19 away from UMW.”

Plenty of planning and extreme vigilance paid off. While the pandemic rages across the globe, the University ended up with fewer than 50 COVID cases since the end of August.

“I’m filled with pride by the way the Mary Washington community has thus far risen to this challenge,” said President Troy Paino. “We have proven something to ourselves: We can adapt, innovate and persevere.” Read more.

Virtual ‘Great Lives’ Season Showcases UMW Faculty Expertise

Presidents George Washington and James Monroe – and their “revolutionary rift” – are the first of 18 virtual lectures in the 18th season of the William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture series, which begins on Jan. 19.

Presidents George Washington and James Monroe – and their “revolutionary rift” – are the first of 18 virtual lectures in the 18th season of the William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture series, which begins on Jan. 19.

In a year when many are sticking close to home, the upcoming William B. Crawley Great Lives lecture season, now in its 18th year, will be virtual this spring and returns to its roots by featuring the expertise of University of Mary Washington faculty. Authorities in their respective fields, they will chronicle the lives of Goethe and Gandhi, St. Augustine and Sojourner Truth, Isaac Newton and I.M. Pei, among other intriguing subjects.

Prerecorded lectures, which are free for the public to enjoy from the comfort of home, will be available on the Great Lives website at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 19 to March 18. Each will feature a live Q&A with presenters, hosted by Professor of History Emeritus William B. Crawley, Great Lives founder and director.

Bringing in outside biographers isn’t an option due to the pandemic, but the 2021 season displays the research of “our own outstanding scholars in the Mary Washington community,” said Crawley, who tapped current and retired faculty to deliver lectures. Read more.