February 19, 2020

UMW Hosts FredNats Auditions for Singers, Mascot and More

 UMW to host auditions for FredNats performers.

UMW to host auditions for FredNats performers.

The Fredericksburg Nationals want the best of the best to perform at the new Minor League Baseball park when it opens for its first home game against the Frederick Keys in April. A FredNats sponsor, the University of Mary Washington is stepping up to the plate, hosting auditions this month and next for emcee and public address (PA) announcers, team mascots and National Anthem performers.

Emcee and PA try-outs will take place Saturday, Feb. 29, and National Anthem and mascot auditions will be held on Saturday, March 21. Both will take place in UMW’s Hurley Convergence Center Digital Auditorium from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Emcee auditions will include a script-read of game introductions and in-game entertainment segments. PA auditions will include script-reads of roster lineups and in-game sponsor advertisements. The FredNats also need dozens of performers of the National Anthem, sung prior to each of 70 home games. Hopefuls will sing the anthem in full, in a cappella-style, without musical accompaniment. Read more.

Retired NBA Player Scores with Black History Keynote

Retired NBA player, activist and motivational speaker Etan Thomas delivered the Black History Month keynote last Wednesday at UMW. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Retired NBA player, activist and motivational speaker Etan Thomas delivered the Black History Month keynote last Wednesday at UMW. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

It was a game-changing moment for Etan Thomas. Pulled over by the police, he sat silently on the road as an officer fixated on him. The policeman’s fingertips hovered over his holster, ready to grab his gun, while his partners tried to pinpoint why the black teen looked so familiar.

It must be from a mugshot, they said. When they demanded he pop his trunk, revealing high school basketball gear inside, they finally recognized the star athlete whose achievements were often splashed across the local newspaper.

The former Washington Wizard shared that story during his Black History Month keynote Wednesday at the University of Mary Washington. Packed into the UC’s Chandler Ballroom, students, UMW athletes and coaches, faculty, staff, university administrators, President Troy Paino and wife Kelly, and community members listened raptly as Thomas discussed systemic racism, police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, stop-and-frisk and more. Thomas’ appearance came as the University celebrates Farmer Legacy 2020, honoring Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the civil rights icon and late Mary Washington professor, who would have been 100 this year.

Thomas’ activism was borne out of that teenage incident, he said, buoyed by his mother’s passion for social justice, and a speech teacher who encouraged him to channel his emotions into an oratory, which he delivered at regional and national competitions, garnering media attention.

“I realized I could use this basketball thing to speak for people who can’t speak for themselves,” said Thomas, whose advocacy work earned him prestigious awards from the National Basketball Players Association and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation. Read more.

Image of Love: Wedding Photo a UMW Instagram Sensation

UMW asked to repost this photo of the wedding of Aaron McPherson ’12 (left) and Evan Smallwood ’15 at UMW’s renovated amphitheatre. It exploded, garnering 1,833 likes, 34 comments, 205 shares, 2,072 total engagement and 7,840 people reached. Photo by The Girl Tyler.

UMW asked to repost this photo of the wedding of Aaron McPherson ’12 (left) and Evan Smallwood ’15 at UMW’s renovated amphitheatre. It exploded, garnering 1,833 likes, 34 comments, 205 shares, 2,072 total engagement and 7,840 people reached. Photo by The Girl Tyler.

Evan Smallwood ’15 was nervous. He’d tried on six different sweaters but nothing seemed right. He paced as he dressed, peering every few minutes out his Russell Hall window to check for his date. Just as he’d settled on a green quarter-zip, Aaron McPherson ’12 pulled into view, and Smallwood rushed downstairs to meet him.

McPherson had tucked something extra into his SUV – a bouquet of Smallwood’s favorite, sunflowers. He’d pondered the purchase, since after all, it was only the couple’s first outing. But then again, it was Valentine’s Day!

Today, eight years later, the two – whose wedding is the only one to take place at UMW’s Heslep Amphitheatre since a $3 million renovation wrapped up in 2018 – celebrate their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. A photo from their special day garnered nearly 2,000 Instagram likes and became the most popular post in Mary Washington social media history. UMW had made an indelible tag on them, too, sparking their love for each other and dual careers in higher education. Read more.

Great Lives Continues with American Duelists, John Adams & John Quincy Adams

The 17th season of the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, Feb. 20, with American Duelists, presented by author Joanne Freeman. 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. The Hirschler Lecture.

Professor Freeman’s lecture is based on her acclaimed 2018 work, The Field of Blood, which recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.

These fights didn’t happen in a vacuum. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities―the feel, sense, and sound of it―as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

The Great Lives series continues on Tuesday, Feb. 25 with John Adams and John Quincy Adams, presented by Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein, authors of the book, The Problem with Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of PersonalityThe Parrish Snead Franklin Simpson, PLC Lecture.

The two presidents Adams have never been examined together, either as mutually supportive father-and-son historical actors, or as experienced men of the world with interconnected philosophies. History conveniently paints them as out-of-touch, each turned out of office by popularly cast southerners, Jefferson and Jackson; their rejection at the polls is explained in terms of their supposed resistance to a rising democratic spirit. The Problem of Democracy, Isenberg and Burstein’s first major collaboration since Madison and Jefferson (2010), elaborates on the Adamses’ constitutional thought in favor of strong institutional checks in government (as a counter to the myth of an all-knowing popular will); their critique of democracy’s tendency to “dress up” select political men as popular celebrities: in their time, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson. Their concern about a moneyed oligarchy and their unwillingness to surrender personal political independence to the conforming character of the two-party system make them unique in the nation’s political life. The themes they embraced have clear implications for our times.

The Great Lives series will continue on Thursday, Feb. 27 with Frederick Douglass, featuring author David W. Blight. Visit https://www.umw.edu/greatlives/ for more information.

UMW Political Science Majors Present Research at National Conference

Six UMW political science and international affairs majors presented at the Pi Sigma Alpha national conference in Washington, D.C. From L-R: Jeremy Engel, Kyle Lehmann, Tom Lengel, Lauren Perez, Zachary Handlin, and Rebecca Jacobi.

Six UMW political science and international affairs majors presented at the Pi Sigma Alpha national conference in Washington, D.C. From L-R: Jeremy Engel, Kyle Lehmann, Tom Lengel, Lauren Perez, Zachary Handlin, and Rebecca Jacobi.

Six UMW political science and international affairs majors presented their research on February 15 at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference in Washington, D.C. These students, as well as more than 120 of their counterparts from around the nation, were selected to present their research at this national conference based on the importance of their scholarly work. Pi Sigma Alpha, which has more than 700 chapters, is the nation’s only national honor society devoted to excellence in undergraduate political science. The six students selected for presentation this month marks a record high level of participation for the Kappa Upsilon chapter at Mary Washington, and represents one of the highest levels of per-capita participation for any university in the country.

The following Mary Washington students presented research papers:

  • Jeremy Engel, a senior political science major from Kensington, Md., “Power Reconsidered: A Contemporary Look at Neustadtian Bargaining.”
  • Zachary Handlin, a senior political science major from Chesterfield, Va., “Education about the Constitution in Virginia High Schools.”
  • Rebecca Jacobi, a senior double-majoring in international affairs and women’s and gender studies from Vienna, Va., “Victimization of Bosnian Women in Post Conflict Discourse.”
  • Kyle Lehmann, a senior international affairs major from Madison, Conn., “Nightmares and Daydreams: Challenges Facing the Chinese Dream.”
  • Tom Lengel, a senior double-majoring in international affairs and French from Charlottesville, Va., “Testing Indian Democracy: The Fight for LGBTQ Equality in India.”
  • Lauren Perez, a senior double-majoring in political science and communication from Vienna, Va., “The Talk of 2016: Examining Speech Patterns of the Modern Day Electorate.”

Olympiad Sparks STEM Interests, Showcases UMW

Auvai Ramalingam, 15, (left) and Chris Kang, 16, (right) of McLean High School participate in the Mousetrap Vehicle competition of the Virginia Science Olympiad held at UMW on Saturday.

Take a mousetrap, build a vehicle around it, and develop a means by which activation of the trap propels the vehicle forward to reach a designated target.

Oh – and work with 14 other students all focusing on and fiddling with one mousetrap.

Mousetrap Vehicle was just one of dozens of challenges facing 44 teams of Northern Virginia high school, middle school and elementary school students who descended upon the University of Mary Washington campus on Saturday. UMW hosted the 2020 Virginia Science Olympiad (VASO) regional qualifying round.

A total of 550 students, along with their coaches and parents, participated in events such as The Sounds of Music, Boomilevers and Ping-Pong Parachute. The latter, which took place in the Hurley Convergence Center lobby, involved using two bottle rockets to lauch a ping-pong ball attached to a parachute. Most of the events took advantage of labs and other spaces in the newly updated Jepson Science Center. Read more.

Colors of Africa – Celebrate African, Caribbean, and African American Culture, Feb. 15

Colors of Africa Saturday, Feb. 15 | 6 p.m. | Chandler Ballroom, University Center

Colors of Africa
Saturday, Feb. 15 | 6 p.m. | Chandler Ballroom, University Center
Sponsored by the African Student Union and the James Farmer Multicultural Center

Colors of Africa seeks to celebrate the culture that Black people create. Whether it is Black people of the African continent, African Americans, or the Caribbean, Blackness is a transnational and multicultural experience and it ought to be celebrated as such.

Sponsored by the African Student Union and the James Farmer Multicultural Center. If you have any questions, contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540-654-1044 or visit students.umw.edu/multicultural

UMW Chamber Orchestra Premiere Performance, Feb. 16

Premiere Performance of the UMW Chamber Orchestra, featuring Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Director

Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 1:00 p.m., Dodd Auditorium

The UMW Philharmonic is pleased to announce Mary Washington’s new artist-in-residence, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg! Nadja made such a positive impact on our musicians last season that we created a chamber orchestra to showcase our players. Who is going to lead this annual chamber performance? Nadja herself! An added treat: the first half will feature one of the finest high school orchestras in the nation, W. T. Woodson High School from Fairfax, Virginia.

Purchase tickets: https://umwphilharmonic.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=3813

Great Lives Continues with Stephen Hawking, American Duelists

The 17th season of the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, Feb. 18, with a look at the brilliant and enigmatic scientist and disability icon Stephen Hawking, with biographer Kitty Ferguson. 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. The Dovetail Cultural Resources Group Lecture.

“It’s been a remarkable journey.” With those words Kitty Ferguson describes her thirty years knowing and writing about Stephen Hawking. When she first met him in 1989, he had recently published his A Brief History of Time. He was also already trapped silent in a wheelchair, able to shift just one or two fingers to operate his communications system, tediously, word by word. The inexorable progress of Motor Neuron Disease had begun more than twenty-five years earlier when he was a first-year graduate student in the University of Cambridge.

Hawking’s legacy consists of more than stunning ideas, scientific advances and theories. His adventurous spirit ensnared a generation of younger scientists. He gave a priceless gift of inspiration to disabled people and others of us who have had to adjust our attitudes about disability.

Who was this man? This scientist who so often changed his mind and undermined his own previous discoveries . . . who bequeathed to his field questions others will spend decades answering . . . who took readers and lecture audiences laughing into black holes and to the origin of the universe . . . who toughed it out against odds that would have destroyed almost anyone else?

Stephen Hawking relished his work and life in a manner totally his own, an enigma even to those who knew him best. In spite of the difficulties, his was a life well lived.

The Great Lives series will continue on Thursday, Feb. 20, with American Duelists, presented by author Joanne Freeman. The Hirschler Lecture.

Professor Freeman’s lecture is based on her acclaimed 2018 work, The Field of Blood, which recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.

These fights didn’t happen in a vacuum. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities―the feel, sense, and sound of it―as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

The Great Lives series continues on Tuesday, Feb. 25 with John Adams and John Quincy Adams, presented by Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein.

PCOW: Walking Wednesday for Yeardley Love

Put on your walking shoes and join the President’s Council on Wellness (PCOW), in collaboration with UMW Athletics and the Center for Prevention & Education, and show your support for Yeardley Love during our Walking Wednesday on February 19th at 12:30pm in front of Lee Hall. We will be walking for about 30-45 minutes in memory of Yeardley, who was a college lacrosse student at UVA, and was a victim of domestic violence. Please come out and support UMW Athletics “Yards for Yeardley” initiative and win some OneLove swag and UMW gear that will be raffled off during the walk. For more information, please check out our Facebook event at UMWWalking Wednesdays.