September 17, 2021

Maddie Taghon: Coach for Justice

Maddie Taghon picked up her first lacrosse stick in middle school. Years later, a job as a physical education teacher abroad made her realize her dream of coaching.

Maddie Taghon, who was named UMW women’s lacrosse head coach in 2020, and her team worked with campus organizations on the annual Run for Justice 5K to raise funds for the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Maddie Taghon, who was named UMW women’s lacrosse head coach in 2020, and her team worked with campus organizations on the annual Run for Justice 5K to raise funds for the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

“From the second I stepped onto the field, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Taghon, who has trained players at all levels, from preschoolers to professionals on Britain’s national team. “All of these opportunities prepared me to coach at the collegiate level.”

Now the University of Mary Washington’s women’s lacrosse head coach, Taghon imparts her own experience as an athlete – she played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina – on UMW lacrosse players.

“It’s amazing watching their confidence grow through such a fun sport,” said Taghon, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and art history, and coached at Shenandoah University and England’s Ampleforth College. “I love the creativity and speed of the game.”

Off the field, Taghon and her players have parlayed their passion into social justice. Inspired by Black Lives Matter, UMW women’s lacrosse teamed up last year with the Black and Jewish student associations, Women of Color, Brothers of a New Direction and the campus NAACP chapter to organize an annual Run for Justice, which took place again this summer. The virtual 5K has raised more than $5,000 toward a grant program for the James Farmer Multicultural Center and gained momentum along the way.

“The young women on my team were eager to get involved in a way that would impact our campus and community,” she said. “We want UMW student-athletes to know that they can create the change they want to see in the world by using their platform and voices.”

 

Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I came here to work with former women’s lacrosse head coach Caitlin Moore, who is now UMW Athletics assistant director. I knew it was a great school and program, and I fell in love with the campus immediately.

Q: What do you like most about campus?
A: The trees and the architecture, from Campus Walk to Ball Circle to the Bell Tower.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Getting to work with our amazing student-athletes.

Taghon, who played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, said she enjoys watching her players grow and become more confident on the field.

Taghon, who played defense and midfield at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, said she enjoys watching her players grow and become more confident on the field.

Q: Most challenging?
A: The crazy highs and lows of managing a collegiate sports team.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: My Lilly Pulitzer water bottle. It keeps me hydrated and brightens up my day.

Q: Outside of work, how have you kept busy during the pandemic?
A: Lots of Netflix! I also started teaching a fitness class at a local gym in downtown Fredericksburg.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a horror fan – books, television, movies – as long as it isn’t too gory.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Find joy in everything you do.

Join us for the virtual UMW 5k for Justice!

Dr. James Farmer said, “Words are not enough. There must be action!”

To that end, we invite you to participate in the UMW 5k for Justice, which will help to empower students striving to continue Dr. Farmer’s legacy.

Join UMW Women’s Lacrosse, Black Student Association, Brothers of a New Direction, Jewish Student Association, NAACP – UMW College Chapter, and Women of Color in the UMW 5k for Justice virtual run/walk/roll challenge. All proceeds will go to UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center to support social justice work on campus and beyond.

Saturday, August 14 or Sunday, August 15
Run/walk/roll a 5k (3.1 miles) on your own

Post your photos with #UMWJustice5k to show your support!

The event registration fee of $15 is a donation to the JFMC. Additional donations are welcome! If you are not able to participate, you still are welcome to register for donation purposes. Alternatively, you can make a gift directly to the JFMC without registering.

We look forward to seeing your #UMWJustice5k posts!

Register

Williams, Devlin, Henry Work to Bring Freedom Rides Historic Marker to Fredericksburg

Chris Williams, Erin Devlin and Christine Henry with Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Delegate Joshua Cole and Vice Mayor Chuck Frye. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Chris Williams, Erin Devlin and Christine Henry with Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Delegate Joshua Cole and Vice Mayor Chuck Frye. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams, Associate Professor of History Erin Devlin and Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Christine Henry have worked with City of Fredericksburg officials to erect a historic marker at the site of the old bus station on Princess Anne and Wolfe streets, where the Freedom Riders first stopped 60 years ago in their quest to desegregate interstate travel.

This story has been featured by several local, regional and national media outlets.

Fredericksburg set to place marker honoring Freedom Riders’ first stop (The Free Lance-Star)

Freedom Riders marker in Fredericksburg, Va., tells the ‘untold story’ (The Washington Post)

Historical marker to be erected in Fredericksburg on 60th anniversary of Freedom Rides (WJLA)

UMW, Fredericksburg place temporary marker honoring Freedom Riders (The Free Lance-Star, The Culpeper Star-Exponent)

Freedom Riders marker in Fredericksburg, Virginia, tells the ‘untold story’ (The Philadelphia Tribune)

Fredericksburg Remembers the Freedom Rides’ First Stop (WVTF)

Marker Furthers UMW Mission on Freedom Rides’ 60th Anniversary

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Freedom Rides, a temporary historic marker was unveiled at the site of the former Fredericksburg bus station, where the Freedom Riders first stopped in 1961. The marker is the result of efforts by UMW staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Freedom Rides, a temporary historic marker was unveiled at the site of the former Fredericksburg bus station, where the Freedom Riders first stopped in 1961. The marker is the result of efforts by UMW staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Sixty years ago today, 13 men and women – seven Black and six white – departed Washington, D.C., on Greyhound and Trailways buses. Led by civil rights icon James L. Farmer Jr., these Freedom Riders embarked on a quest to desegregate interstate travel.

Their first stop? Fredericksburg, Virginia. The riders visited the bus station terminal and lunch counter, once located at the corner of Princess Anne and Wolfe streets, where the fire station stands today.

The bus depot was torn down years ago, but this afternoon, a historical marker was erected in its place, thanks to the tireless work of University of Mary Washington staff, faculty and students, in partnership with the City of Fredericksburg. Their efforts are part of a greater campaign to share the history of the region’s Black residents, as well as UMW’s commitment to keep alive the legacy of the Freedom Riders and Dr. Farmer. Read more.

Marker Furthers UMW Mission on Freedom Rides’ 60th Anniversary

Sixty years ago today, 13 men and women – seven Black and six white – departed Washington, D.C., on Greyhound and Trailways buses. Led by civil rights icon James L. Farmer Jr., these Freedom Riders embarked on a quest to desegregate interstate travel. Their first stop? Fredericksburg, Virginia. The riders visited the bus station terminal […]

Eagles Soar During Virtual Awards Ceremony

Senior Jessica Lynch received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the virtual Eagle Awards ceremony on Thursday.

Senior Jessica Lynch received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the virtual Eagle Awards ceremony on Thursday.

University of Mary Washington senior Jessica Lynch received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the Eagle Awards ceremony, held virtually last night. Student leaders and outstanding campus organizations were honored at this annual event, presented by the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC), Student Activities and Engagement, and Center for Community Engagement. Juniors Amber Brown and Quinn Lipetz served as hosts for the online presentation.

“Jessica is an amazing, outstanding individual,” said Dean of Students Cedric Rucker, who presented Lynch with the award. “All of the experiences she has had as a student leader, opening doors and making UMW a more inclusive community, are reflective of the life Grace led at Mary Washington. Jessica will leave a legacy for other students to follow.”

Grace Mann was a UMW student leader and social justice activist who died six years ago during her junior year. Her parents established an endowment for an annual financial award to be presented to a graduating senior who exemplifies Mann’s commitment to social justice, equality and advocacy. Read more.

Eagles Soar During Virtual Awards Ceremony

University of Mary Washington senior Jessica Lynch received the Grace Mann Launch Award during the Eagle Awards ceremony, held virtually last night. Student leaders and outstanding campus organizations were honored at this annual event, presented by the James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC), Student Activities and Engagement, and Center for Community Engagement. Juniors Amber Brown and […]

James Farmer Multicultural Center’s Efforts to Establish Historical Marker at Freedom Rides Site Highlighted in FLS

Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

A recent article in The Free Lance-Star highlighted the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s work with City Councilman Chuck Frye to establish an official historical marker at the site of the former Fredericksburg bus station where the Freedom Riders stopped in 1961, in their quest to desegregate interstate travel, orchestrated by civil rights icon and late Mary Washington history professor James L. Farmer Jr.

“It’s a great milestone that the city has met and it’s a huge deal that we have taken time to settle down and tell the story of Fredericksburg,” Frye said. “To me, it shows how history books don’t tell the story of African–American history. And here in 2021 we’re researching information and coming up with actual history.” Read more. 

Students Stand Together for MLK Day of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” This quote by Martin Luther King Jr. often appears on social media around the anniversary of the civil rights leader’s birth. Charlotte Russell, a first-year student at the University of Mary Washington, reflected upon those words, which were also emblazoned on the […]

Williams Featured on WJLA Story on Dr. Farmer’s Legacy

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams was featured in a WJLA story about how he and the staff and students involved with the JFMC carry on the legacy of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. Watch here.