July 13, 2020

UMW Plans Return to a Reimagined Campus

Like so many things in the wake of COVID-19, a definition in the Urban Dictionary will need to change. “Bench sitting”in that publication is currently defined as: “Leisure activity unique to University of Mary Washington, where one or more students observe the activities and/or listen to the conversations of others while sitting on a Campus Walk […]

Livestream Session Addressed Return-to-Campus Culture

Faculty and staff attended a live Q&A webinar via Zoom yesterday, as the state entered Phase 3 of the governor’s “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. Called “Commitment to Community,” the session focused on how the University will help students prepare for and commit to behavioral and social expectations and requirements when they return to campus next month.

UMW Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken moderated the livestream event, which featured panelists Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker, Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Housing David Fleming, and University Physician and Director of the Student Health Center Nancy Wang.

“We know how much our students want to come back to campus,” Landphair said. “They want to resume their holistic Mary Washington experience as much as possible.”

Landphair explained that establishing a culture of compliance – an environment that encourages adherence to sound public health principles and a purposeful intent to prevent the spread of disease – is a “gating requirement,” or prerequisite to re-opening. In that vein, UMW’s Return to Campus Plan will be submitted to SCHEV for approval and shared with campus on Monday, July 6.

The plan, panelists said, focuses on moving forward the core mission of Mary Washington and builds on existing codes of conduct, as well as the University’s statement of community values, known as ASPIRE.

“We don’t want to see a situation where individuals feel stigmatized in any way,” said Rucker, who has spent the past several weeks speaking with incoming students. “That’s why ASPIRE is also important. We want to celebrate everyone but also make sure that everyone is committed to ensuring that the academic process moves forward as smoothly as possible.”

Students, faculty and staff will be asked to complete training modules focused on “MMDC” – monitoring, masking, distancing and cleaning – and all individuals must pledge to uphold the guidelines.

Among their many questions, employees who tuned in to the hourlong session asked how faculty and staff will be expected to enforce behavioral guidelines, how claimed health exemptions to regulations will be handled and how the University is collaborating with city officials.

The Return to Campus Plan will address many of yesterday’s topics of concern, such as quarantine and isolation, testing and tracing, and communication of positive cases, McClurken said. If questions still exist after reading the document, he encouraged employees to restate them at next week’s livestream Q&A event on Wednesday, July 8, at 3 p.m., via Zoom or YouTube.

Watch yesterday’s Q&A below.

 

 

Eagles Fly High During Virtual Awards Ceremony

University of Mary Washington senior Nehemia Abel received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the annual Eagle Awards ceremony, presented virtually Friday evening. This event honors student leaders and outstanding campus organizations. New this year was the James Farmer Defining A Legacy Award. As one of the emcees for the video awards ceremony, Brianna “Breezy” […]

UMW ‘Keeps the Light On’ Banned Books Week

Born in Russia, UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva has called America home for most of her life. But the English major sometimes wonders what it would be like had she stayed in St. Petersburg. “I hope I’d still do things that don’t require as much bravery here in the United States,” said Savelyeva, who read aloud […]

Governor Appoints UMW’s Rucker to Transportation Board

Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life

Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life

University of Mary Washington Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker will soon weigh in on some of Virginia’s most important transportation issues. Gov. Ralph Northam announced the appointment last week of Rucker, a 1981 Mary Washington graduate and longtime University employee, to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

“I am so honored by the appointment, and look forward to serving the citizens of the region and the Commonwealth,” Rucker said.

Read more.

Governor Appoints UMW’s Rucker to Transportation Board

University of Mary Washington Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker will soon weigh in on some of Virginia’s most important transportation issues. Gov. Ralph Northam announced the appointment last week of Rucker, a 1981 Mary Washington graduate and longtime University employee, to the Commonwealth Transportation Board. “I am so honored by […]

Influencers and Outcomes: UMW Alums Reunite with Their Mentors

Each alum was reunited with the person at UMW who most influenced their career paths. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Each alum was reunited with the person at UMW who most influenced their career paths. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

This place we call Mary Washington is actually a launching pad.

It’s where confidence is built, bonds are formed and careers are sparked.

It’s a setting for rich experiences, profound interactions with professors and development of meaningful mentorships.

Students who come here are grounded; from here, they soar. The exhilarating thing is that they occasionally make their way back to the nest.

UMW’s Office of University Relations recently captured four of those joyful returns, along with a recent graduate on the verge of taking flight. Each graduate returned to campus for a reunion and discussion with the person who most influenced their career paths; the 2019 graduate sat down with his current professor.

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang worked his way through Mary Washington, graduating in 2007 with a degree in business administration. The person on campus with whom he shared his hopes and dreams was Dean of Students Cedric Rucker. Bruner-Yang, who says he “found himself” at UMW, now owns five successful restaurants in the D.C. area.

Laura Mangano, a 2018 grad, returned to campus to see Rita Thompson, who had mentored her through the Rappahannock Scholars program. Laura is now a graduate nursing student at Johns Hopkins.

Matt Tovar, who graduated three weeks ago, is one of the first students to be admitted through UMW’s partnership program to George Washington University School of Medicine. Matt knew where he was going while still an undergraduate. He also knows – and made clear to his mentor, Associate Professor of Chemistry Leanna Giancarlo – what he plans to do: discover a cure for brain cancer.

Abernathy Bland, a member of the Class of 2005, is a teacher, professional artist and designer in Richmond, Va.  She said her mentor, Art Professor Carole Garmon, made clear that she had an awesome talent for art. What else could she do, Abby asked, than go out and be awesome.

Corey Taylor, a 2017 grad, is putting his computer science degree to work as a software engineer at Tech Wizards in Dahlgren. He said his mentor, Professor and Associate Provost Tim O’Donnell, helped him figure out what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

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There are few aspects of the college experience more important than forming meaningful mentor relationships. Students need mentors to assist in navigating the complexities of university life, and the uncertainty and anticipation of what post-college life has in store.

Steven Spielberg once said that “the delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

Take a look at this video to see what UMW grads, with nudging from their mentors, have created. You are among the first viewers of this video, which will be shown to incoming students and their parents at Orientation sessions starting next week.

 

 

UMW Leaders Honored at Annual Eagle Awards Ceremony

University of Mary Washington senior Erin Shaw was presented with the Grace Mann Launch Award during the annual Eagle Awards ceremony honoring more than a dozen outstanding campus leaders in the University Center’s Chandler Ballroom on Thursday night. Cedric Rucker, associate vice president and dean of Student Life, presented the $6,700 award to Shaw to […]

UMW’s ASPIRE Values Promoted at AAC&U Conference

Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker at AAC&U Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh.

Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker at AAC&U Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh.

Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker presented a poster session on UMW’s ASPIRE community values, The Value of Community Values, at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh on Friday, March 29.

 

UMW Dean of Student Life Named ‘Living Legacy’

University of Mary Washington Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker was awarded the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Living Legacy distinction Friday, April 29. He was recognized as an inspirational leader who exemplifies an extraordinary life.

C. Rucker

Cedric Rucker

Rucker was honored along with a handful of other alumni of Richmond Public Schools (RPS), including former NFL linebacker Willie Lanier and retired Virginia Senator Henry L. Marsh. All the recipients were described as “giants” in their fields.

“RPS prepared us to work hard, and to imagine a world anew,” said Rucker, reflecting on his journey within the Richmond Public School system, and specifically his alma mater, John Marshall High School.

He cited his parents and his grandparents as inspirational foundations, and he pointed to UMW alumni in the audience as “innovative leaders” whom he leaves as his legacy.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” he added, “and we have a responsibility to uplift the next generation.”

Known for his infectious laugh and brightly-colored bow tie collection, Rucker ’81 has spent more than three decades at Mary Washington. He started out as the school’s first residential African-American male student.  After earning his masters at U.Va., and filling a brief stint there as assistant dean of admissions, he returned to UMW. He is a highly visible and beloved administrator, as well as teacher of sociology classes.

The annual Living Legacy program, now in its fifth year, is presented by the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that partners with the school district to improve student learning and achievement in preparation for success in college, career and community.

For more information about the award, visit http://rpseducationfoundation.org/.