December 2, 2022

UMW to Host Executive-In-Residence

The University of Mary Washington will host the 2014-15 Executive-in-Residence featuring Daniel R. Wolfe ’84 beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Dan Wolfe

Dan Wolfe

The two-day program, “The Future of Movie Business,” will feature a presentation and reception by Wolfe on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. in the North Building on the Stafford campus. The session is open to the public, but space is limited and registration is encouraged.

Wolfe is a 1984 graduate of Mary Washington, which honored him with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and as the Distinguished Graduate in Residence in 2007. He currently serves on the College of Business Advisory Board.

As the executive vice president of Worldwide Creative Operations at NBC Universal, Wolfe oversees a staff of more than 100  in Los Angeles and London who provide creative, post production, technical and other support worldwide for the marketing campaigns of all Universal’s motion picture releases. His department is responsible for the development and execution of a film’s marketing message for theatrical trailers, television commercials, print advertising, new media, radio, theme park placement and home entertainment including sell thru, pay-per-view and video-on-demand.

In his long career at Universal Pictures, Wolfe has been involved in more than 400 films, including “Jurassic Park,” “Fast and Furious,” “Bourne” and “American Pie” franchises. Wolfe has been a part of 15 films that were nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and four that won Oscars® for Best Picture including “Schindler’s List,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind.” Before joining Universal in 1990, he was a manager of creative advertising at New Line Cinema and prior to that, Orion Pictures.  While at Orion Pictures, Wolfe worked on campaigns for the Academy Award® winning films “Dances with Wolves” and “Silence of the Lambs.”

He has a postgraduate degree in communication industries management from Emerson College and is a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For more information or to register for the presentation and reception, call (540) 654-1242 or visit

UMW Alum to Compete on Top Chef

George Pagonis, a University of Mary Washington alum, will compete on the next installment of the Top Chef series featured on Bravo TV. Check out his bio and additional information at The series premiere is Oct. 15.

Lights, Camera, Passion

The job Dan Wolfe ’84 landed after graduation brought a paycheck, but it also brought nightmares. In them, 20 years had passed; he was in his late 40s, still scuffing along in car insurance.

Lights, Camera, Passion

Hollywood marketing exec Dan Wolfe '84 encourages students to chase their dreams.

‘All In’ the Game

Caitlin Moore stood on the sidelines of University of Mary Washington’s Battleground Complex at a recent Friday afternoon lacrosse practice.  She confidently surveyed the 27 athletes in front of her.

‘All In’ the Game

Coach Caitlin Moore '08 motivates the women's lacrosse team to succeed.

UMW Executive-in-Residence Talks Entrepreneurship and Startups

Matt Ernst, the University of Mary Washington’s 2013 Executive-in-Residence, has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to entrepreneurship and startup companies.

Matt Ernst '94 (center) talks with business leaders during the Executive-in-Residence breakfast on Feb. 27.

Matt Ernst ’94 (center) talks with business leaders during the Executive-in-Residence breakfast on Feb. 27.

The 1994 UMW graduate shared his tips with regional business leaders and community members during a breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center.

“Without calculated risk there are no innovations,” said Ernst, who started his first business, a lawn care company, as a teenager.

After college, Ernst founded Amentra, a company that provided systems integration services. He started the company in 2000 during the dot-com boom and two weeks before the dot-com bust. Under Ernst’s guidance and leadership Amentra became one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the country, and he was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007. He sold the company in 2008 to Red Hat, one of the world’s leading providers of open source solutions.

His other pieces of advice included having a diversity of experience, remembering that change is constant, having a vision and having a strong appetite for risk.

During the two-day Executive-in-Residence program, Ernst gave presentations to faculty, staff and students. He talked with students and answered questions about his experiences at UMW and his first job out of college.

“Get a job and be a sponge and really learn as much as you can,” Ernst said. “Every conversation you have in life, take something away from it.”

His latest venture is Walnut Grove Holdings, LLC, an investment company focusing on early stage technology companies. Ernst is married to fellow UMW graduate Amy Henderson Ernst. They have three children and live in Richmond.

Since its inception in 1989, the Executive-in-Residence program has brought more than 40 well-known and established business leaders to the university. The program is coordinated through the UMW College of Business and the Division of Advancement and University Relations.

Peace Corps Ranks UMW Among Top-Producing Small Colleges

For the 10th year, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Taylor Parker '11 (left) is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana.

Taylor Parker ’11 (left) is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana.

UMW ranks 10th on the Peace Corps’ list of small schools or institutions with less than 5,000 undergraduates. Currently, UMW has 13 alumni serving around the world, the Peace Corps announced on Feb. 11.

Mary Washington has been included in the top 10 of the Peace Corps’ list of top-producing small schools since 2005.

In all, more than 230 Mary Washington alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961.

Taylor Parker ’11, a biology major with a pre-med concentration, is in her second year of service as a health, water and sanitation volunteer in Ghana. She works with the Ghana Education Service at the community level to incorporate health education into the curriculum, and is president of the Peace Corps Ghana HIV Committee.

Parker is in her second year as a health, water and sanitation volunteer.

Parker is in her second year as a health, water and sanitation volunteer.

“Everybody says that during your Peace Corps service you will learn a lot about yourself and experience a life-changing event,” she said. “They were right.  Your Peace Corps service is a great time to reflect and decide what you truly want to do for your future endeavors.”

While a student, Parker had conversations with former Peace Corps volunteer and Professor of Biology Alan Griffith about his experiences in Senegal.

“It was one of his stories that sealed the deal,” Parker said. “I began my application the next day.”

For any interested students currently enrolled at UMW, representatives from the Peace Corps will attend the Spring Career Day on Thursday, March 20 and will hold information sessions on campus on Monday, March 24 from 4 to 5 p.m. and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body. The rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2013 data as of September 30, 2013, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers. A complete list of colleges and universities can be viewed at Peace Corps’ Top Colleges.

Surgeon Scholar

Dr. Balvant Arora, MBA ’13 could have been content with his achievements.

He’d succeeded professionally in his native India and in the United States, participated in groundbreaking surgery, and taught medical school. More recently he had moved to Fredericksburg to work for Mary Washington Healthcare as a plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgeon, a career he chose for its balance of science and art.

Art Historian, Alumna Visited UMW

The University of Mary Washington’s Department of Art and Art History and the Wendy Shadwell ’63 Program Endowment in Art History sponsored a two-day visit from Allison Stagg ’02, a 2012 Jane and Morgan Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, on Nov.7 and 8. Stagg presented a public lecture, “James Akin: The First American Caricaturist,” on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 411. Stagg’s upcoming book and the basis for her lecture, “The Art of Wit: American Political Caricature,” is the result of her extensive research on U.S. political caricature between 1780 and 1830. Allison Stagg '02 will visit UMW on Nov. 7-8. James Akin was an American artist who, in 1804, published a visual satirical attack against President Thomas Jefferson through a caricature. Akin was the most infamous caricaturist of his time period. Politicians, contemporary artists and newspaper editors cautioned him that his prints would have a negative impact on his career, but his work influenced many popular caricaturists of the 19th century. On Friday, Nov. 8, Stagg held an informal group talk about her career at 9:30 a.m. in Melchers Hall, Room 107. She also had individual appointments with interested students. Stagg has roots in museum experience through curating exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York and University College in London. She also organized exhibitions at the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery in London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A 2002 graduate of Mary Washington, Stagg has received many fellowships and grants from institutions such as the American Philosophical Society, the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Yale University.