May 24, 2022

Eagle Awards Celebrate Campus Leaders, Dean Rucker

Senior Brianna Reaves received the Grace Mann Launch Award at the recent Eagle Awards ceremony, while Dean Cedric Rucker received the new Eagle Beyond Compare Award. Photo by Kayla Zegada.

Senior Brianna Reaves received the Grace Mann Launch Award at the recent Eagle Awards ceremony, while Dean Cedric Rucker received the new Eagle Beyond Compare Award. Photo by Kayla Zegada.

University of Mary Washington senior Brianna Reaves was presented with the Grace Mann Launch Award during the annual Eagle Awards last Thursday. Held in person for the first time since the pandemic, the event honored more than a dozen campus leaders in the University Center’s Chandler Ballroom. A newly established award was presented to Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life, who will retire this June.

“Every class is amazing, but looking out at the students gathered here tonight – you’ve led our community through one of the most difficult times in its history,” UMW President Troy Paino said. “You embody the Mary Washington spirit.”

Rucker, visibly emotional throughout the ceremony, presented Reaves with the $6,900 award. “With tireless initiative, integrity, institutional investment … her leadership is deeply respected across all sectors of the University community,” said Rucker, acknowledging Reaves’ achievement as the first Black female student to become UMW Student Government Association president.

Grace Mann was a UMW leader and social justice activist who died seven years ago during her junior year. Her parents established an endowment for an annual financial award to be presented to a graduating senior who exemplifies Mann’s commitment to social justice, equality and advocacy.

Reaves, a sociology major and social justice minor, began her Mary Washington experience by becoming elected class president during her freshman and sophomore years. After participating in a 2018 Social Justice Fall Break Trip through the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC), she made it her mission to make UMW a more inclusive and welcoming community. Read more. 

Supporting STEM: Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren Targets Critical Area Need

Washington & Lee High School Assistant Principal Wilfredo Hernandez (left) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s Director of Academic Engagement Michael Clark discuss the parameters of the Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren. Washington & Lee High School in Montross was the first to accept the challenge, designed to highlight the importance of STEM education.

Washington & Lee High School Assistant Principal Wilfredo Hernandez (left) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s Director of Academic Engagement Michael Clark discuss the parameters of the Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren. Washington & Lee High School in Montross was the first to accept the challenge, designed to highlight the importance of STEM education.

“STEM” learning – science, technology, engineering and math – has been a priority for decades. But fewer young people in the U.S. are pursuing these subjects, and that puts the nation at risk.

The Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren represents a powerful partnership set to take aim at this critical need in the Fredericksburg region. The robotics-style competition pits teams of high-schoolers against one another in a race of Python coding, sensor integration, navigation, detection, and command and control. Its début on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, features students from public, private and governor’s schools – from Richmond to Stafford and throughout the Northern Neck – and puts a spotlight on the need for STEM programs.

Held at the University of Mary Washington’s Dahlgren Campus, the event is presented by UMW; the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWC); MITRE Corporation; and the Fredericksburg Regional Military Affairs Council.

“This collaborative effort offers an amazing hands-on learning experience for area high school students, demonstrating UMW’s commitment to the regional economy and development of talent for in-demand STEM jobs,” said Mary Washington President Troy Paino.

Future leaders in everything from software development and artificial intelligence to the environment and pharmaceuticals will gather for the two-day competition. Their mission? Establish communication with a tiny robot on wheels, program it to maneuver a mat – navigating through the “sea” and around “land masses” – then detect, acquire and act on a target . Winners will split a cash prize of $5,000. Read more.

UMW Galleries Presents THREE New Exhibitions

Timmerman Daugherty, "In Shining Armor," 2016. Ceramic mosaic, beaded fabric, sequins, found objects. UMW Permanent Collection.

Timmerman Daugherty, “In Shining Armor,” 2016. Ceramic mosaic, beaded fabric, sequins, found objects. UMW Permanent Collection.

The University of Mary Washington Galleries is pleased to present our last three shows of the Spring 2022 season!
The Annual Student Art Exhibition, currently featured in the duPont Gallery; the Intern Curated Exhibition: Women by Women, currently featured in the Ridderhof Martin Gallery; and the Senior Exhibition, currently featured on the first floor of the University Center.

Hours & Admission:
All three of these exhibitions are currently open. The Annual Student Art Exhibition and the Intern Curated Exhibition are open Tuesday through Friday, from 10am to 4pm, also Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The last day to view these shows is Sunday. The Senior Exhibition is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The last day to view this show is Thursday the 28th.  Admission is always free.

Contact Us:
If you have any questions, please call (540) 654-1013, or email us at gallery@umw.edu. The attached images are from the Intern Curated Exhibition: Women by Women, which will be on display until September. If you would like to schedule a private tour outside of regular gallery hours, please email Rachel at rbailey@umw.edu.

Featured Artwork: 
Timmerman Daugherty, “In Shining Armor,” 2016. Ceramic mosaic, beaded fabric, sequins, found objects. UMW Permanent Collection.

Annual Student Art Exhibition 2022 Award Winners:
Jenell Poling, “Egg” won an Award of Excellence.
Emma Bower, “Obstructive Obsessions”  won an Award of Excellence.
Paula Zuleta, “Escape”  won an Award of Excellence.
Shanna Aberle, “Coopered Door Stand”  won an Award of Excellence.
Colleen Cragun, “The ZuZu Channel”  won the Ann Elizabeth Collins ’73 Memorial Art Award.
Jasper Drilling, “Hiding” won the Emil Schnellock Award for Excellence in Painting.
Emily Warren, “Two Hearts” won the Melchers-Gray Purchase Award in Studio Art.
Sophia Maldonado won the Melchers Award for Excellence in Art History.
Maya Kirkpatrick won the Art History Award for Outstanding Research.

Dean Rucker Day! Save the Date: April 20, 2022

Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life

Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life

Dear UMW Community:

In honor of Dean Cedric Rucker, who is retiring from the University of Mary Washington after thirty-three years of service this June, the University will be hosting Dean Rucker Day on Wednesday, April 20, on the second floor of the University Center from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Please come congratulate and thank Dean Rucker for representing the best of Mary Washington with his deep institutional pride, tireless cheer, and decades of service to his alma mater. There will be no official program; there will be, however, bowtie cookies, a photo booth, and most important of all, Dean Rucker himself on hand to receive our warm wishes. In addition, the dean’s favorite dishes will be offered at the Top of the UC as part of the regular lunch offering ($6.00 for faculty and staff members without a meal plan).

The entire community is welcome and encouraged to attend as calendars permit. Feel free to wear a bowtie, popped collar, and sweater-around-the-shoulders in honor of our beloved Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life.

Sincerely,

Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Mary Washington

UMW Dedicates Mural Honoring First African-American Alumna

UMW senior Timbila Kabre was among the students and faculty who helped create the mural honoring Dr. Venus Jones, the first African-American woman to graduate from Mary Washington. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW senior Timbila Kabre was among the students and faculty who helped create the mural honoring Dr. Venus Jones, the first African-American woman to graduate from Mary Washington. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Dr. Venus Romance Jones. It’s no wonder University of Mary Washington senior Timbila Kabre said she had “fallen in love” while researching the late physician bearing that name, who in 1968, became the first African-American woman to graduate from Mary Washington.

“Dr. Jones’ hard work, passion and love for others … is absolutely inspiring,” she said at the unveiling of a new mural honoring Jones – which Kabre and her classmates helped design – in UMW’s Jepson Science Center. Mary Washington students, faculty, staff, alums, administrators, President Troy Paino, Board of Visitors members, and Jones’ friends and family gathered together last Friday to dedicate the long-awaited exhibit. The mural’s timeline, and an accompanying digital site, traces Jones’ life and barrier-breaking career as a neurologist, along with other trailblazing Black women in medicine.

The project advances UMW’s initiative to create a more inclusive environment, said Professor of Biological Sciences Andrew Dolby, who spearheaded the effort. Disciplines across the University – visual arts, public and digital history, and the sciences – worked in collaboration, he said, getting input from the Campus Environment Committee and the Jones family.

“This is exactly what we talk about in terms of preparing our students with experiential learning opportunities for the 21st century,” Paino said in his remarks. “Your work will live on in our community, just like Dr. Jones’ legacy.” Read more.

Trailblazing Lawyer to Deliver UMW Commencement Speech

Sheila Shadmand ’95 will be UMW’s 2022 Commencement speaker. Through her prominent and celebrated work in the field of law, Shadmand has been a trailblazer for women in the Middle East.

Sheila Shadmand ’95 will be UMW’s 2022 Commencement speaker. Through her prominent and celebrated work in the field of law, Shadmand has been a trailblazer for women in the Middle East.

The University of Mary Washington will return to its Commencement traditions with the 2022 ceremony being held for the first time in two years on Ball Circle. This UMW Commencement, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, will be the first to include both undergraduate and graduate students.

The speaker will be Sheila Shadmand, a 1995 graduate of Mary Washington who received her juris doctorate in 1998 from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Shadmand, a partner at Jones Day, one of the world’s largest law firms, has been a trailblazer for women in the Middle East. She became the first female head of an international law firm in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2012 and in Saudi Arabia in 2020. Fluent in French and Farsi, she is currently in charge of Jones Day’s Middle East and Africa region. Read more.

Multicultural Fair’s Return Brings Fun and Funnel Cakes to Campus

Saturday’s 32nd annual Multicultural Fair – held for the first time in three years, under finicky skies – brought throngs of visitors to campus. The event is sponsored by UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Saturday’s 32nd annual Multicultural Fair – held for the first time in three years, under finicky skies – brought throngs of visitors to campus. The event is sponsored by UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The Multicultural Fair is back! After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the colorful, festive, crowd-pleasing event returned to the University of Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg campus Saturday. The nexus may have shifted from Ball Circle – sacred site of Commencement, and current incubator to baby grasses – to Jefferson Square, but the familiar sounds and scents wafted down Campus Walk, which was filled with people, dogs and vendors.

The sun peeped from behind the clouds every now and then, and random raindrops fell, but none of the activities were dimmed.

“It was great to host the Multicultural Fair in person again,” said Marion Sanford, director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center, sponsor for 32 years of this annual spring event. “It was wonderful to have the amazing vendors and dynamic performances throughout the day.” Read more.

College of Education Countdown is Complete: Six Things About Seacobeck

UMW President Troy Paino gives the podium to Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony recognizing the official opening of Seacobeck Hall as the new home to the College of Education. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW President Troy Paino gives the podium to Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony recognizing the official opening of Seacobeck Hall as the new home to the College of Education. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Future educators began filling its classrooms and meeting spaces this semester, but a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday made it official: Seacobeck Hall is the new home of the University of Mary Washington’s College of Education and Office of Disability Resources. A years-long renovation transformed the building – which served as a dining hall for decades – into a state-of-the-art learning facility to primarily nurture budding teachers.

“It’s so much more than a building. It’s about what happens in here,” Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera said during the event. “People gathering, connecting, working together… and helping people prepare for life matters so much to the health of our communities and to the future of the Commonwealth and the future of this world.”

UMW President Troy Paino, College of Education Dean Pete Kelly, Board of Visitors Rector Heather M. Crislip ’95 and Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken also spoke, as did Mary Washington junior Katya Stafira, who is studying special education.

“You’re actually able to put yourself in the space of being a real teacher,” Stafira said of Seacobeck’s specialized rooms and dynamic details that help students see themselves leading a classroom from the start of their education. The Office of Disability Resources, formerly located in Anne Carter Lee Hall, now has more space, including rooms for students who require more time for test-taking. Read more.

UMW’s ‘Bee’ Leaves Audiences Spellbound – Closes This Weekend!

William G. Pineda Jr. ’22 appears as William Barfée in UMW Theatre’s production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.’ The play runs in duPont Hall’s Klein Theatre through April 16. Photo by Geoff Greene.

William G. Pineda Jr. ’22 appears as William Barfée in UMW Theatre’s production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.’ The play runs in duPont Hall’s Klein Theatre through April 16. Photo by Geoff Greene.

U-n-e-x-p-e-c-t-e-d. Unexpected.

Definition: unforeseen; surprising. Used in a sentence: University of Mary Washington Theatre’s season-closer, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, is filled with UNEXPECTED and fun twists.

In a battle of spelling prowess, this musical spells out what it’s like to be kids uncomfortable in their own skin and conveys the challenges of growing up.

Be p-r-e-p-a-r-e-d! Audience volunteers are called onstage to participate. At the opening night performance yesterday, several parents of the actors became part of the show, along with Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker.

The non-actors make for some hilarious moments, as does a slow-motion scene and other surprises. In another twist, two staff members – and UMW alums – in the Department of Theatre and Dance played key (adult) roles as “guest artists”: Jon Reynolds ’07, marketing director; and Taryn Snyder ’15, assistant to the department chair, Gregg Stull. Read more.

UMW Philharmonic 50th Anniversary Concert, April 16

UMW Philharmonic Orchestra

UMW Philharmonic Orchestra

The UMW Philharmonic will present its season finale concert on Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m., with special guest pianist and Steinway Artist Thomas Pandolfi, performing George Gershwin’s timeless Rhapsody in Blue. The Philharmonic will also present the world premiere of Brian Balmages’s Through Waterless Places, commissioned by the Friends of the UMW Philharmonic to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra. Other works will include Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture. Join us for our fourth and final performance!

The concert will take place on Saturday, April 16, from 8 to 10 p.m, in Dodd Auditorium.

Face masks are strongly encouraged for audience members, but not required.

Learn more about the performance from this story in The Free Lance-Star’s Weekender section.