June 23, 2024

UMW Announces Faculty Awards, Honors Faculty Emeriti

Nicole Crowder and Miriam Liss

Nicole Crowder and Miriam Liss

At the end of each spring semester, UMW faculty gather to approve the graduates and recognize colleagues who are retiring from their dedicated service. Departmental tributes chronicle their time in the classrooms and labs, with committees and their communities, as leaders in undergraduate research, and in their areas of study. In spring 2024, UMW recognized seven faculty emeriti.

Faculty members who have served the University of Mary Washington for at least 15 years and who have attained the rank of professor or associate professor are eligible to be considered for emeritus status, which is bestowed by the Board of Visitors.

In addition, at an April 24 meeting, the University announced two annual awards. Professor of Chemistry Nicole Crowder was recognized with the Faculty Leadership Award, and Professor and Chair of Psychological Science Miriam Liss was honored with the 2024 Anderson Distinguished Professor Award. Read more.

UMW Bestows Emeritus Honors on Administrative Faculty Members

The University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors has bestowed emeritus status on two administrative faculty members for spring 2024. Gari Melchers Home and Studio Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron and Simpson Library Head of Special Collections and University Archives Carolyn Parsons were honored for their commitment to the University and to their respective professions. Read more.

 

Perfect Day and Perfect 4.0 for Five UMW Grads, and Faculty Pinschmidt Award Winner

As nearly 1,000 Class of 2024 graduates crossed the stage at the University of Mary Washington’s Commencement to the applause of hundreds of faculty and staff and thousands of family and friends, five students and one faculty member received top-of-class honors.

Graduates Anna Blake, Anna Czernia, Hannah Lee, Harmony Peura and Abigail Swanson earned the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Award for Academic Achievement for completing their degrees with the highest grade-point average in the undergraduate program. All five – the greatest number of grads earning this achievement in recent history – finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA, graduating summa cum laude, the highest academic distinction, and earning additional honors through their programs.

In addition, Assistant Professor of Psychological Science Marcus Leppanen was recognized with the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award for having had the greatest impact on the lives of the members of the Class of 2024. Read more.

University of Mary Washington Class of 2024 Senior Spotlights

Top row, from left: Jenna Diehl, Logan Kurtz, Sasha Poletes. Bottom row, from left: Luisa Restrepo, Conrad Tan, Norah Walsh. Read about these stellar seniors and so many more!

Top row, from left: Jenna Diehl, Logan Kurtz, Sasha Poletes. Bottom row, from left: Luisa Restrepo, Conrad Tan, Norah Walsh. Read about these stellar seniors and so many more!

The University of Mary Washington is proud of every student graduating this year. UMW is committed to providing a college experience that focuses on what matters most to each individual. As this year’s seniors spread their wings to explore life after Mary Washington, read about some of UMW’s 2024 Superstars, their accomplishments and the people who make this place. Read more.

First-Class UMW Grads Earn Teacher of the Year Honors

Seacobeck Hall is home to UMW’s College of Education, which fosters future educators. Several recent College of Education graduates received ‘Teacher of the Year’ awards this year. Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce.

Seacobeck Hall is home to UMW’s College of Education, which fosters future educators. Several recent College of Education graduates received ‘Teacher of the Year’ awards this year. Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce.

Carleigh Rahn ’22 turned her classroom into an “escape room” to prepare for a unit on exploration. Mallory Karnei ’22 used the SkyView Lite app to help students learn about planets. Ivelisse Maddalena ’22 assigned a drawing activity to illustrate the concept that anyone can be a scientist.

What do these three local educators have in common? They all are recent University of Mary Washington graduates, and they all are recipients of this year’s “top teacher” awards in Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania and Stafford counties, respectively.

During National Teacher Appreciation Week, Mary Washington celebrates teachers making a difference in their classrooms and in their communities throughout school districts near and far.

“I am extremely proud of the many teaching accolades and awards our graduates from the College of Education receive early in their teaching careers,” UMW College of Education Dean Pete Kelly said of this year’s honorees. “Our students are bright and deeply committed to becoming excellent teachers.” Read more.

UMW Awards Inaugural Impact Grants Funding Innovation Across Campus

The Fund for Mary Washington Impact Grant program, piloted by UMW’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, awarded $25,000 in donor-funded grants to eight projects or initiatives pitched by UMW students, faculty and staff on April 20. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

The Fund for Mary Washington Impact Grant program, piloted by UMW’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, awarded $25,000 in donor-funded grants to eight projects or initiatives pitched by UMW students, faculty and staff on April 20. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

The University of Mary Washington’s radio station entertained Eagles for decades, but it was in disrepair when rising senior Davy Washington first stepped foot inside its studio.

“Our overarching goal in the next school year is to reestablish WMWC as an essential part of the UMW community,” said Washington, who has ramped up engagement since becoming station director, recruited 80 student deejays and organized events like “Eagles in the ’80s.”

Restoring the station, which now broadcasts online, also requires new microphones, a mixer and other updated technology. That’s why Washington took the mic on April 20 to present a proposal, which secured a Fund for Mary Washington Impact Grant. Piloted this spring by UMW’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, the program awarded $25,000 in donor-funded grants, ranging from $1,200 to $5,000, to eight projects or initiatives pitched by students, faculty and staff on behalf of recognized campus organizations.

“These grants help expand the impact of donors’ gifts to the Fund for Mary Washington, sparking innovation and creating opportunities across campus and beyond,” said Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement Katie Turcotte, who conceived of the program. Read more.

Case Competition Scoops Up a ‘Sweet’ Deal for Mary Wash Business Students

From left to right: Craig Schneibolk, UMW students Jenna Diehl and Brian Gaydos, and Andrew Blate ’04 pose with the winning check at the end of last week’s Case Competition for business students. Diehl and Gaydos won the competition, judged by Schneibolk and Blate, who sponsor it, along with two other UMW alumni. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

From left to right: Craig Schneibolk, UMW students Jenna Diehl and Brian Gaydos, and Andrew Blate ’04 pose with the winning check at the end of last week’s Case Competition for business students. Diehl and Gaydos won the competition, judged by Schneibolk and Blate, who sponsor it, along with two other UMW alumni. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

A University of Mary Washington capstone experience offered a sweet treat to business students this semester.

Teams from the 400-level Strategic Management course came together to analyze a business scenario involving a four-way merger that produced Canadian ice cream company Top Glaciers. They presented their findings – including proposals for how to increase profits – last week at the annual Endowed Live Case Competition. The Shark Tank-like event, held in Woodard Hall, features real business professionals as judges, real cash prizes for winners and scoops of real-world experience.

“An event like this simulates real-world scenarios and allows students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom throughout their academic careers,” said College of Business Dean Filiz Tabak. “It helps them develop practical skills such as presenting in front of experienced judges, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership and team building. These are invaluable skills for career success in the business world.”

Sprinkled on top, the winners – seniors Jenna Diehl and Brian Gaydos, who put forth a partnership and co-packaging plan – walked away with prize money of $3,500. Second place received $1,000; third place took $500. Read more.

Eagle Awards Honor Students for ‘Outstanding’ Involvement

Dean of Students Melissa Jones (right) presents the prestigious Grace Mann Launch Award to senior Jaylyn Long. Last week’s Eagle Awards ceremony recognized students and other members of the University community for their commitment to citizenship, philanthropy, academic excellence, community service and more. Photo by Sam Cahill

Dean of Students Melissa Jones (right) presents the prestigious Grace Mann Launch Award to senior Jaylyn Long. Last week’s Eagle Awards ceremony recognized students and other members of the University community for their commitment to citizenship, philanthropy, academic excellence, community service and more. Photo by Sam Cahill

Each year, the Eagle Awards spotlight the unwavering commitment of Mary Washington students to their studies and involvement, as well as to each other. This sentiment resonates beyond the student body; emotions run high when faculty and staff are honored for their dedication to students as well.

The 2024 Eagle Awards – presented last week by the Office of Student Activities and Engagement, the Center for Community Engagement, and Campus Recreation – united inspiring student leaders with lively co-hosts, seniors Fiona Archer and Faith Jones. The ceremony, held in the Cedric Rucker University Center’s Chandler Ballroom, recognized award-winners for their commitment to community service, citizenship, philanthropy, academic excellence and more.

UMW President Troy Paino and Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair acknowledged the challenges faced by the Class of 2024, who began their college journey online, attending virtual classes during a pandemic. Their dedication to creating traditional student experiences had brought them to this pivotal moment just weeks before they cross the stage at Commencement.

Demonstrating an exceptional commitment to UMW and a passion for positive change, some individuals received multiple awards. One such standout was honored with the prestigious Grace Mann Launch Award, which recognizes an enduring quest for social justice. Dean of Students Melissa Jones took the stage to present this esteemed honor. Read more.

UMW Historic Preservation Alumna Pivots to Career as a Pop Culture Critic

Lovitt (far right) on a panel with sci-fi actresses (from left) Alexa Kingston, Michelle Hurd and Felicia Day. Photo credit: FanExpo.

Lovitt (far right) on a panel with sci-fi actresses (from left) Alexa Kingston, Michelle Hurd and Felicia Day. Photo credit: FanExpo.

When entertainment journalist Maggie Lovitt ’15 reviewed a new period drama, she relied on the knowledge base she built while earning a bachelor’s degree in historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington.

“I come at it from a deeper well of knowledge than the average viewer,” Lovitt said. For example, she asked more insightful questions when covering The New Look on Apple TV+, which follows Christian Dior and Coco Chanel launching their fashion empires in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. “Even if you don’t stay in the field you majored in, you can still use what you studied in your daily life.”

In just a few years, Lovitt has gone from managing a historic site to rubbing elbows with the stars at Hollywood award shows. Yet, she still employs the skills she honed at Mary Washington – conducting research, writing and editing, and collaborating on a team – in her current career. As a critic, screenwriter and actress, Lovitt has earned accolades and approval from the Screen Actors Guild, Rotten Tomatoes and the Critics Choice Association, which she shared in the spring edition of UMW’s Class Notes. Read more.

Collaborative Humanities Grant Expands AI Initiatives at UMW

The University of Mary Washington is part of a $25,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant aimed at helping public colleges and universities navigate the world of artificial intelligence.

The project, “Developing a Public Liberal Arts Humanities Curriculum: Empowering Students to Navigate an AI World,” is led by five public liberal arts institutions representing distinct regions of the country. Collaboratively, faculty from each school will develop classes, units or short modules in humanities courses focused on the positive and negative aspects of generative AI.

The funding was awarded to Miriam Wallace, dean of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Emily Todd, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut University, through a partnership with the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

The grant will support collaborative curricular design by humanities faculty at UIS, Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Mary Washington, Northern State University and Evergreen State College. Participants will form learning communities and share progress first on their own campuses, and then meet in the summer of 2025 to share insights and experiences during a COPLAC workshop at Innovate Springfield, UIS’ business incubator in downtown Springfield.

As part of the grant, the institutions will also create open-access AI teaching resources, such as syllabus modules, readings, activities and assignments for all COPLAC institutions to utilize. UMW’s Center for Teaching, directed by Victoria Russell, associate professor in the College of Education, will lead the effort at UMW.