May 22, 2024

Jessica McGraw: Mother of All Reunions

Office of Alumni Relations Administrative Assistant Jessica McGraw '07 greets guests at a recent Alumni Toast. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Office of Alumni Relations Administrative Assistant Jessica McGraw ’07 greets guests at a recent Senior Toast, the first event of its type in more than 25 years. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

It’s back! More than 1,000 alumni are headed to the University of Mary Washington for the first Reunion Weekend in three years. Today through Sunday, generations of grads from the past seven decades will have the chance to reconnect with Mary Wash friends, faculty and their beloved alma mater.

As administrative assistant for the Office of Alumni Relations, Jessica McGraw ’07 has played a tremendous role in pulling off what’s being billed as the Mother of All Reunions. Thanks to her team’s meticulous planning, alumni will spend four days enjoying 85 events: learning opportunities, campus tours, parties and picnics, class photos, family activities and of course, Carl’s Ice Cream.

Since coming aboard last October, McGraw said she’s gained “numerous responsibilities” in preparation for this weekend, including designing name tags and buttons, proofreading brochures, running reports and processing payments. Her desk has been a whirlwind, with a rainbow of event tickets and welcome packets to assemble, but everything is spotless by the time she heads out for the day. Whew!

McGraw, who also holds a master's degree, earned a bachelor’s in political science from Mary Washington in 2007.

McGraw, who also holds a master’s degree, earned a bachelor’s in political science from Mary Washington in 2007.

For McGraw, who earned a bachelor’s in political science from UMW and a master’s degree in administration and management from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Illinois, a favorite charge has been chatting with older alums over the phone.

“I’ve spoken to so many who formed lifelong friendships while they were in college,” she said. “I love hearing their stories.”

This weekend will be an honor, McGraw said, helping them create even more Mary Washington memories … while also savoring some of her own.

Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I was born and raised in California, but we came here when my husband was stationed at Quantico. After I graduated, I spent a year working in Admissions, then we moved to Chicago, followed by New Orleans. When we returned to Fredericksburg, I got a job working in the Registrar’s office before being hired for my current position.

Q: What are some highlights of this year’s Reunion Weekend?
A: Open houses at the recently renovated Seacobeck Hall and the Hillel Center, the alumni authors event and a reception for the newly formed Black Alumni Affinity Group. I’m personally excited for Professor of Political Science Jason Davidson’s America Entangled Alumni College lecture.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: Getting to talk to extraordinary alumni who have such positive feelings about Mary Washington.

Q: Most challenging?
A: Trying to accomplish everything during part-time hours!

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I love Formula One racing and have driven on a racetrack before.

Q: What’s your favorite thing on your desk?
A: My UMW polar bear! It’s so adorable.

Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I sew, walk my dog and read.

Q: Have you read any good books lately?
A: I really liked Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers. I’m fascinated by the British monarchy.

Q: What do you like best about the UMW campus?
A: That little bridge that connects Seacobeck to the Palmieri Plaza.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: EGBOK: Everything is going to be okay.