January 27, 2021

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.

Troy

 

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.

Alumni Couples Wed Beneath Brompton Oak

From more than 8 feet away, President Troy Paino officiated the socially distanced wedding of UMW alumni Caroline Deale and John Bentley, who wed at Paino’s home at Brompton last month.

From more than 8 feet away, President Troy Paino officiated the socially distanced wedding of UMW alumni Caroline Deale and John Bentley, who wed at Paino’s home at Brompton last month.

It had been seven years since they’d met on this very spot, new Mary Washington first-years eating sherbet and mint chocolate chip on the president’s lawn. That day, during the annual ice cream social for freshmen, Caroline Deale ’17 made a wish. Last month, it came true.

“Your youth may fade away, but your smile will always remind me of the time I first saw you on that sunny day,” she promised John Bentley ’17, MSGA ’19, as they wed beneath the weathered and wise Brompton Oak.

The tree that had seen so much Civil War suffering “got to witness pure love and joy,” UMW President Troy Paino posted on social media that afternoon. As a rare favor during an unprecedented season, he officiated the socially distanced wedding outside his front door.

The event was among two sets of alumni nuptials at Brompton this fall – Isabelle Perrin ’17 and Nathan Dawes ’14, MSGA ’17, married on the seldom-available historic site in October. Both ceremonies were reimagined, with shrinking guest lists and pandemic-related gifts. But COVID-19 couldn’t stop them.

May these UMW love stories – and all the magical bonds formed at Mary Washington throughout the decades – shine a beacon of light on the end of a tumultuous year. Read more.

UMW Bike Study Rolls Into Fredericksburg

Bike FXBG, a collaboration between UMW’s Social Good Lab and Fredericksburg Main Street, has surveyed local residents and small business owners about installing bike racks, shelters and corrals throughout downtown to make Fredericksburg a more bike accessible city.

Bike FXBG, a collaboration between UMW’s Social Good Lab and Fredericksburg Main Street, has surveyed local residents and small business owners about installing bike racks, shelters and corrals throughout downtown to make Fredericksburg a more bike accessible city.

Most children learn how to ride a bike around the same time they lose their first tooth. For Olivia Mason-Lucas, the memory is more recent. She first got on two wheels at age 15, when her father taught her to ride so she could visit a friend.

“I still remember feeling nervous because the parking lot was uneven,” said Mason-Lucas, now a senior international affairs major at the University of Mary Washington. “But once I finally got the hang of it, it was really liberating.”

These days, Mason-Lucas borrows friends’ bicycles to get around campus and downtown and knows the challenge of finding a safe place to park a bike. She’s among a group of UMW students working to make the City of Fredericksburg more accessible for area cyclists through Bike FXBG, a collaboration between UMW’s Social Good Lab and Fredericksburg Main Street. This semester, they’ve surveyed local residents and small business owners about plans to install bike racks, shelters and corrals around town. Their efforts will not only make a positive environmental and economic impact on the community, but also give the students consulting skills that will benefit them in their future careers. Read more.

Read ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ with UMW Book Club

We are beginning the next round of reading in our online literary group–the Mother of All Book Clubs!

Our next selection is All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. This book is a Pulitzer Prize winner, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, and a National Book Award finalist. It also spent more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list.

From Amazon: All the Light We Cannot See is “the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”

Pick up a copy of the book and start reading–we will begin posting discussion questions on Monday, January 11. You might have a small-business bookseller you like to support, or you might want to try your local library system, some of which even offer ebooks. But if you need the book shipped, below are some links to larger online providers.

We look forward to reading with you!

 

All the best,

The Alumni Relations Team

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Target

Employee Honors Awarded at Presidential Luncheon

UMW President Troy Paino, during a virtual luncheon Tuesday, expressed his gratitude to faculty and staff for their commitment to seeing the University through a “remarkable” fall semester. Staff Advisory Council President Michelle Pickham, Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams and Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken also spoke during the event.

Clockwise from top left, Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams, President Troy Paino, Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken and Staff Advisory Council President Michelle Pickham spoke at Tuesday's Presidential Luncheon and award presentation.

Clockwise from top left, Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams, President Troy Paino, Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken and Staff Advisory Council President Michelle Pickham spoke at Tuesday’s Presidential Luncheon and award presentation.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of the Mary Washington community,” Paino said, thanking students, area partners and all UMW employees, with a special shout-out to those with children at home who are juggling multiple roles. “We’ve really gone through this together.”

Paino told participants that UMW’s performance throughout the pandemic, and the reimagining of operations it caused, had exceeded his expectations. He talked about the road ahead for the University, emphasizing the importance of practicing mental health and continuing to follow MMDC (monitor, mask, distance and clean) guidelines.

The panel answered questions on topics such as the University’s rebranding efforts and slated construction on campus. And the winners of the Hurley, Coleman and Atkins employee awards were announced. A twist this year is that two employees were doubly honored.

  • Digital Knowledge Center Associate Director Shannon Hauser received the Richard V. and Rosemary A. Hurley Presidential Commendation. This award goes to a UMW employee, with preference for an administrative/professional faculty member who has performed exceptionally meritorious service to the University, demonstrated strength of character and maintained steadfast dedication to the University’s mission.
  • Assistant Building Attendant Manager Sharon Neville received the Charles Coleman Service Award. This honor goes to classified and hourly employees who have demonstrated loyalty and dedication to the University, displayed care and concern for others, and maintained a positive “can do” attitude regarding assigned duties and responsibilities.
  • Hauser (AP faculty), Neville (classified) and Center for Career and Professional Development Career Coach Mary Becelia (wage) received the Staff Advisory Council’s Larry Atkins Award. This honor goes to employees who lend a helping hand to their teammates, go above and beyond in each and every task, and set a positive example for their colleagues.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Paino told employees who joined Tuesday’s luncheon. “We’re going to come back for a better 2021.”

Endowment Endeavors to Enhance Student Experiences

UMW theatre students on a pre-pandemic trip to New York City and Broadway. The Beyond the Classroom Endowment will ensure Mary Washington students continue to experience extraordinary learning opportunities like this one.

UMW theatre students on a pre-pandemic trip to New York City and Broadway. The Beyond the Classroom Endowment will ensure Mary Washington students continue to experience extraordinary learning opportunities like this one.

The UMW historic preservation students were on a mission. As part of a 2019 study abroad trip to Paris, they were determined to find the grave of James Monroe’s daughter, Eliza, and make sure it was in good shape.

Success. After clearing away some plant growth, the students were able to report that Eliza Monroe Hay’s grave marker was intact. This trip benefitted not only the students but also the University’s James Monroe Museum.

Similarly, geography students brought prestige to UMW when they won the World Geography Bowl last year at the Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers competition in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Study abroad, domestic trips for research, unpaid internships – all of these beyond-the-classroom opportunities, some of which are unique to Mary Washington – greatly enhance students’ education. But they often come with a price tag.

During the 2019-20 academic year, more than 250 UMW students applied for grants to support supplies and travel related to internships and undergraduate research projects. Sadly, their requests exceeded available funds by close to $100,000.

The coronavirus pandemic abruptly halted student travel, while also tightening all university budgets. Even so, said College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Keith Mellinger, “students needed money for lab equipment and studio projects, books and subscriptions, and some were also still looking for funding for day-travel to places like Washington, D.C., to visit museums or archives.” Read more.

Ranking Highlights UMW’s Commitment to Sustainability

The University of Mary Washington’s commitment to sustainability has earned it a spot on the The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for 2021.

The University of Mary Washington’s commitment to sustainability has earned it a spot on the The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for 2021.

The University of Mary Washington has earned a spot on a list of the nation’s most environmentally conscious schools. The ranking appears in the 2021 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, which profiled 416 U.S. schools demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, based on student academic offerings and career preparation, as well as campus policies, initiatives and activities.

“We strongly recommend the University of Mary Washington to students who want to study and live at a green college,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief.

In the last decade, the publication has seen a tremendous increase in interest in green practices, programs and offerings from prospective students and their parents, Franek noted. Two-thirds of teens and their families said they’d weigh a college’s commitment to the environment in their decision to apply to or attend a school, according to a survey by The Princeton Review of nearly 13,000 participants.

In 2009, UMW created the President’s Council on Sustainability to inform and advise the University’s leadership on how to manage resources to meet the present needs of the campus community while also reducing its environmental impact for future generations of Eagles.

Mary Washington has since undertaken many green initiatives, including participating in the international RecycleMania competition, hosting an annual Earth Day celebration and holding a “Summer Shred” event to dispose of old documents in a sustainable manner. UMW also works with local non-profit groups like Tree Fredericksburg to help replant trees in the city, and was recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a 2017 Tree Campus USA for its commitment to effective urban forest management. And the efforts don’t stop there. Read more.

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!