June 18, 2024

UMW Bestows Emeritus Honors on Faculty, Administrators

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. This honor, by action of the Board of Visitors, is bestowed this year upon the following distinguished member of the faculty. […]

Anna Billingsley: Just Write

Anna Billingsley was fresh out of graduate school when she got the call that would shape her career. The reporter who phoned from the Evening Herald was writing a story on her mother, a longtime educator who had just passed away.

Associate Vice President for University Relations Anna Billingsley

Associate Vice President for University Relations Anna Billingsley

“It was a strange sensation, the whole process of being interviewed,” Billingsley said. “I just remember thinking, ‘they are not asking the right questions.’ ”

After that, the writing was on the wall.

She’d spend the next several years working at newspapers in South Carolina, Norfolk, Richmond and Fredericksburg, finding the words to tell others’ stories the way she thought they ought to be told. But, sensing the future of daily print, she turned to the classroom, teaching journalism at the University of Richmond and Mary Washington.

A full-time administrator at UMW since 2004, Billingsley – who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary and a master’s in journalism from American University – now serves as associate vice president for University Relations. As head of marketing, publications, media and public relations, design services and web, her duties are dizzying. But one in particular – sending campus reminders and updates – has made her a star in the eyes of the students.

“You are more than your emails; you are an icon!” one student wrote on a banner for Billingsley, who will retire next week.

Said another: “My inbox won’t be the same without you.”

And another: “Thanks, Queen!”

Q: What do you love about working at UMW?
A: I tell people that I’m in the ideal location. There’s a post office, library, cafeteria and exercise facility all within walking distance That could be on any college campus, but there’s something special about UMW that I can’t really pinpoint.

Q: What’s a typical day like on the job?
A: What a crazy question! I might communicate with administration about messages that need to go out, talk to Chief Hall about potential controversies on campus, handle Freedom of Information Act requests. I never know what to expect. That’s why I love my job. It’s just always, always, always moving.

Q: What’s it like to be the main messenger for thousands of people across campus?
A: At first it was daunting, and I would really hesitate before I hit SEND. Now it’s just part of my routine. Of course, I’ve made mistakes, and that can be humiliating. I just take the good with the bad.

Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker, who will retire in June, stands with Associate Vice President for University Relations Anna Billingsley, who will retire next week. Faculty and staff celebrated Billingsley's retirement this week.

Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker, who will retire in June, stands with Associate Vice President for University Relations Anna Billingsley, who will retire next week. Faculty and staff celebrated Billingsley’s retirement this week.

Q: What do you make of students’ infatuation with you?
A: I don’t really know why that’s happened. It mystifies me. I’m just the messenger, but sometimes I try to interject personality into the text. I think the students think, ‘Gosh, there’s an administrator who has a sense of humor.’

Q: What’s most fulfilling about your job?
A: When I hear from parents or students, or faculty or staff members, who say ‘thank you.’ Realizing I’m in a position to help people.

Q: What’s most challenging?
A: Trying to craft messages that express or convey sensitive issues.

Q: What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
A: I have a passion for writing obituaries. I have a side business called The Last Word. I even have business cards.

Q: Any mottos you live by?
A: Just write!

Web transitions

Shelley Keith

Shelley Keith

Mike Breitenbach, director of web communications for the past four years, has left UMW and taken a job in Richmond. We know the web is critical to operations of the University. For that reason, we have brought back Mike’s predecessor, Shelley Keith, to fill in and maintain web redesign initiatives while we search for a permanent employee to fill the position. She and Director of Web Technology Curtiss Grymala will handle all web tickets and other requests.

Shelley is working remotely from her home in Portland, Oregon. Generally, she will strive to maintain East Coast hours, but know that she is three hours behind. You can email her at tkeith@umw.edu.

We will keep you posted on the recruitment of a full-time successor to Mike. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Anna B. Billingsley
Associate Vice President for University Relations

First Phase of New Web Site Launches Friday

It’s here! Get ready! On Friday, when you log on to umw.edu, the content may seem pretty much the same at first glance. But dig deeper. The Digital Communications team, along with nearly all University Relations staff members, has been working diligently and tirelessly for months in preparation for this week’s launch of Phase 1 of YOUR new and improved UMW web site. We’ve focused on streamlining content and making it more integrated, easing navigation, ensuring the site is more accessible and user-friendly, and — most important — cleaning things up so that we present a more attractive and informative face to visitors.

This is just a start, but it’s a big one. You will find compelling and consistent descriptions of all academic programs, an innovative and engaging calendar, an integrative directory tied in to an Expert File page for faculty, an updated Admissions site, and much, much more.

Because of the volume of content being moved with this launch, you may find typos, misplaced and/or missing information, and redundancies. Let us know! We are all in this together, and it is a work in progress.

If your pages were not a part of this initial facelift, stick with us. We are making slow and steady progress.

The launch should not cause much, if any, website downtime and will not affect services such as email, MyUMW, Canvas, Banner, etc.

Meanwhile, University Relations will be celebrating this first round of improvements, and we will be sending off a 2015 UMW graduate, Katherine Stosch, who has been invaluable to development of this phase of the launch. Katherine will be starting a new job in Maryland doing exactly what she has been trained to do. Yay!

Join us in Eagle Village, Suite 300, Wednesday, Aug. 19, anytime from 9 to 11 a.m. We won’t have champagne, but we’ll offer Blackstone Coffee and other goodies. We’d love to meet you and hear from you.

*originally published August 12, 2015, with the incorrect time for the celebration on Wednesday, August 19. The correct time is 9-11 a.m.

Anna Billingsley to Participate in Senior Leadership Program

Anna B. Billingsley, Associate Vice President for University Relations, has been selected from a statewide pool of nominees to participate in the Virginia Network for Women in Higher Education 2014-2015 Senior Leadership Seminar.  Initiated in 1987, the Senior Leadership Seminar series provides a forum to bring together emerging women leaders with established leaders in higher education in the Commonwealth.  The Senior Leadership Seminar focuses on three core areas: personal development, professional development, and trends in higher education. During each meeting, speakers and guests join the group to discuss critical issues facing higher education from a variety of perspectives. The mission of the American Council on Education Women’s Network is to identify, develop, advance, and support women in higher education at the national, state, and local levels.  Participants include administrators from public and private sectors, two-year and four-year institutions, and a wide-variety of functional roles.


Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit

The Office of University Relations has unveiled to the campus community the completed Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit. This document replaces the Graphic Standards, which have been in use since 2004.

This toolkit has been developed over the course of many months, and it has been endorsed by President Hurley and approved by the Cabinet.

As you review the identity standards, please remember that first impressions occur in a multitude of formats. From print to electronic communications to online to social media, the manner by which we visually present the University of Mary Washington has a significant impact on how we are viewed by the public. As we communicate about the University, this publication will provide detailed guidelines for using our trademarked logos and other visual representations of the University.

This is a fluid document: changes should and will be made as situations dictate. In conjunction with release of these standards, President Hurley has appointed a Visual Identity and Brand Standards Committee, which will serve an oversight and compliance role. This committee will also consider any proposed changes to the standards. Current members include:

Anna Billingsley, chair
Erma Baker
Richard Finkelstein
Malcolm Holmes
Shelley Keith
Lou Martinette
AJ Newell
Clint Often
Anand Rao
Gregg Stull
Mark Thaden
Marty Wilder
Susan Worrell
Representative from Admissions
Representative from Student Activities
Student representative

By consistently following the guidelines outlined in the Toolkit, we can all help build a strong, unified image for the University of Mary Washington.

Should you have questions about the Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit, contact Anna Billingsley, Associate Vice President for University Relations, at (504) 654-1686 or abilling@umw.edu; or AJ Newell, Director of Design Services and Brand Coordinator, at (540) 654-1934 or anewell@umw.edu.

The Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit is a PDF file. You may download it here.

UMW Names Billingsley Associate Vice President of University Relations

Torre Meringolo, vice president for advancement and university relations, announced that Anna Billingsley has been named associate vice president for university relations.

An administrator at UMW since 2004, Anna Billingsley previously oversaw the university’s editorial and design staff and edited University of Mary Washington Magazine. Since July 2011, she served as interim AVP during which time she successfully guided the university’s launch of its new branding campaign.  Prior to her arrival at Mary Washington, Billingsley was editor of the University of Richmond alumni magazine. She also  taught journalism at Mary Washington and Richmond. She previously held positions as a reporter and editor at several Virginia newspapers, including The Ledger-Star in Norfolk, the Richmond News Leader and Richmond Times -Dispatch, and The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg. She also worked for the Associated Press.

Billingsley earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University.

Woman of Distinction

Anna Billingsley, director of publications and design, will be honored by the Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia at the 10th annual Women of Distinction awards program at Jepson Alumni Executive Center September 16.  Billingsley is among 11 women recognized for their professional achievements and volunteer service in the greater Fredericksburg region.  She is honored in the communications category for her ability to effectively convey information.

She serves as chair of Hope House, a nonprofit agency that provides safe transitional housing for homeless mothers and their children. In addition, she is a board member of the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation and an active member of  Fredericksburg United Methodist Church. A former Girl Scout and local troop leader, she has been involved in planning and promoting the Women of Distinction awards program for 10 years.  Read the news release.