January 18, 2020

Launch Party Ignites Farmer Legacy 2020 Celebration

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

Nearly 500 people turned out yesterday to help UMW kick off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the day after what would have been his 100th birthday.

The hourlong launch party packed plenty of emotion, from student accounts of life-changing experiences they’ve gained through UMW – and learning about Farmer’s legacy – to a moving rendition of Happy Birthday by Mary Washington gospel ensemble Voices of Praise.

Held in the UMW University Center’s Chandler Ballroom, the celebration commenced a year of events paying tribute to Farmer, the late Mary Washington history professor who founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and made an immeasurable impact on the civil rights movement as a member of the Big Six. Fredericksburg residents, Board of Visitor members and colleagues in higher education joined UMW students, faculty and staff in recognizing Farmer and his contributions, and vowing to follow in his footsteps by dedicating themselves to civic action and inclusion.

Honorary celebration chair, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, the last surviving member of the Big Six, had to cancel plans to attend yesterday’s launch due to a recent cancer diagnosis. Attendees signed a card for him. Read more.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Turns 30

In 2020, UMW will celebrate the centennial birthday of the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. – who died in 1999 – as well as the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center. Photo by Lou Cordero.

In 2020, UMW will celebrate the centennial birthday of the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. – who died in 1999 – as well as the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center. Photo by Lou Cordero.

Junior Courtney Flowers was writing a high school paper when she stumbled upon a name she didn’t recognize.

“It was James Farmer,” said the Los Angeles native, who spent that day on a UMW website, researching the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor. “What ultimately drew me here was the James Farmer Multicultural Center.”

In 2020, the University will celebrate the centennial birthday of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. – who died in 1999 – as well as the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC). Created in response to an uptick in enrollment of students of color and a rash of racially biased incidents that ensued, the Center aimed to promote harmony between all groups. It fulfills Farmer’s legacy, educating the UMW community through engaging – and often life-changing – programs, from the spring Multicultural Fair to the fall Social Justice Trip. JFMC also supports 22 campus organizations and offers a welcoming haven for underrepresented students. Read more.

Freedom Rides Tour a ‘Life-Changing’ Experience

Last weekend, a group of 21 area residents joined 46 Mary Washington students, as well as UMW faculty and administrators, to trace the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. and the organization he co-founded, Congress for Racial Equality. Photo by Lynda Allen.

Last weekend, a group of 21 area residents joined 46 Mary Washington students, as well as UMW faculty and administrators, to trace the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. and the organization he co-founded, Congress for Racial Equality. Photo by Lynda Allen.

Stafford resident Frank White joined the Air Force in 1957, three days after finishing high school. Stationed in Texas, he traveled by Greyhound bus to visit his family in Virginia. For days and nights, he remained dressed in his uniform, sitting quietly in the back as the bus barreled through the deep South.

“Don’t make waves, don’t draw attention to yourself,” the young airman was warned by his African American superiors.

Mr. White remembered those travels as he sat at the front of the bus last weekend, one of 21 area residents who joined 46 UMW students, as well as faculty and administrators, to trace the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides during fall break. This social justice experience celebrates Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor who orchestrated the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel.

After the success of last year’s civil rights trip, James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC) Director Marion Sanford and Assistant Director Chris Williams wondered what they could do to make this one even more meaningful. With the 100th anniversary of Dr. Farmer’s birth approaching and the University announcing a centennial celebration in his honor, they decided to dedicate this year’s experience to his signature movement and lifelong commitment to social justice. Read more. 

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 to Hold 24th Annual Multicultural Fair, April 12

The University of Mary Washington will hold its 24th annual Multicultural Fair on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The outdoor fair, organized by the James Farmer Multicultural Center, is one of the largest annual events at UMW, attracting more than 4,000 attendees each year. The Multicultural Fair demonstrates UMW’s commitment to multicultural awareness through a variety of ethnic performances, food and craft vendors. The fair also features kid-friendly crafts, activities and performances.

The annual Multicultural Fair is one of the most attended events at UMW.

The annual Multicultural Fair is one of the most attended events at UMW.

Throughout the day, more than 30 music and dance groups will perform across campus, including Save the Arcadian, a local folk-pop band, Calico Cloggers, Sons of Solomon and the Muggivan School of Irish Dance. A dozen UMW student groups will also perform, including BellACapella, UMW’s all-female a capella group, Eagle Bhangra and the UMW Salsa Club.

This year’s fair will feature more than 50 vendors selling an array of jewelry, pottery, instruments and traditional clothing representing various cultures and food trucks from different cuisines.

The Multicultural Fair will be held rain or shine and is free and open to the public. For more information, including a full list of performers, visit http://umw.edu/multicultural/fair or contact the James Fair Multicultural Center at (540) 654-1044.

A Second Chance

Nicole Dobson never saw the truck that changed her life. She was asleep in the backseat when the 18-wheeler slammed into her parents’ minivan, sending it toppling head over tail and tossing Dobson 30 feet from the car. When she woke up three weeks later, the vibrant eighth-grade field hockey player was gone.

A Second Chance

Tragedy inspired Nicole Dobson '15 to champion students with disabilities.

UMW Dedicates Lecture Hall for Civil Rights Leader, Nov. 15

The University of Mary Washington will dedicate a lecture hall in honor of civil rights leader James L. Farmer, Jr. during a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 15. The ceremony, which will begin at 4 p.m. in Monroe Hall, Room 116, is open to the public.

The bust of civil rights leader James Farmer overlooks Campus Walk. Farmer taught at Mary Washington for about a dozen years until his death in 1998.

The bust of civil rights leader James Farmer overlooks Campus Walk. Farmer taught at Mary Washington for about a dozen years until his retirement in 1998.

Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and one of the “Big Four,” worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. on nonviolent protests to eliminate racial inequality. Farmer taught the history of the civil rights movement to Mary Washington students for about a dozen years before his retirement in 1998. That year, President Bill Clinton awarded Farmer the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Several UMW entities bear Farmer’s name, including the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the James Farmer Scholars Program.

“Our dedication of the lecture hall is to honor a man who changed our nation, our way of life, and in his later years our understanding of the civil rights movement,” said Leah Cox, special assistant for diversity and inclusion.

Georgia State Sen. Nan Orrock ’65 will deliver a keynote address for the occasion. Orrock has served in the Georgia state legislature since 1987, including as House Majority Whip and committee chair. Her engagement with public policy dates back to her participation in the 1963 March on Washington, an experience that has led to a lifetime of activism.

President Richard V. Hurley and the Board of Visitors also will be on-hand for the commemoration.

UMW Bell Rings to Observe March on Washington Anniversary

The University of Mary Washington observed the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington on Wednesday, August 28. The march and rally, which took place on August 28, 1963, brought together more than 200,000 people on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and became known as a watershed moment for the civil rights movement.

People walk past a stone marking the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King made his 1963 speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial August 27, 2003 in Washington DC. The 40th anniversary of of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech will be marked on August 28. King made his speech during a rally at the memorial.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images/Courtesy of istockphoto)

People walk past a stone marking the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King made his 1963 speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial. The 50th anniversary of of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech was marked on August 28. King made his speech during a rally at the memorial. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images/Courtesy of istockphoto)

At 3 p.m., the bell tolled on the Fredericksburg campus, joining the nationwide “Let Freedom Ring” celebration. Throughout the day, students, faculty and staff recited excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” in a video that appeared on television screens across the campus. The anniversary march and presidential speech in Washington, D.C., was broadcast at the Underground on the Fredericksburg campus.

“The march was a momentous occasion during the civil rights movement, because it was attended by so many followed by the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Leah Cox, special assistant for diversity and inclusion. “This moment was further enhanced by Dr. King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty years later we are still working to achieve social justice for many groups with the issues that are now confronting our nation. It’s a renewal of our commitment to achieving equality.”

The UMW commemoration also honored the work of civil rights leader and former UMW Professor James L. Farmer Jr., who founded the Congress of Racial Equality. One of the “Big Four,” Farmer worked closely with King on nonviolent protests to eliminate racial inequality. On the day King delivered his famous speech, Farmer was in jail for “disturbing the peace” in Plaquemine, La.  He sent his own speech to the March on Washington, which was read by a CORE aide: “We will not stop,” Farmer wrote, “until the dogs stop biting us in the South and the rats stop biting us in the North.”

Farmer taught the history of the civil rights movement to Mary Washington students for about a dozen years before his retirement in 1998. That year, President Bill Clinton awarded Farmer the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Click here to view the embedded video.

UMW Named One of Top 100 Producers of Minority Degrees

The University of Mary Washington is listed among the top 100 producers of minority degrees for 2013 by the publication Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. The special report lists higher education institutions whose commitment to diversity translates into measurable results from their graduation numbers.

UMW is listed among the top 100 producers of minority degrees for 2013 by the publication Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.

UMW is listed among the top 100 producers of minority degrees for 2013 by the publication Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.

UMW was ranked eighth for Hispanic graduates with master’s degrees in management information systems, 24th for African American graduates with master’s degrees in management information systems and 23rd for all minority groups in the master’s degrees in management information systems category.

UMW also was ranked in the top 100 for African American graduates with bachelor’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies.

The ranking system used an analysis of U.S. Department of Education reports submitted by institutions. Rankings are based on the review of 2011-2012 preliminary data.

For a full list, visit http://diverseeducation.com/top100/.

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News release prepared by: Brynn Boyer