September 17, 2021

MARY TALKS with Sushma Subramanian: “How to Feel: the Science and Meaning of Touch”

Join us ONLINE for the first Mary Talk of the 2021-22 academic year!

In these times of the internet and digital communication, some say we are out of touch. Many people fear that we are trapped inside our screens, becoming less in tune with our bodies and losing our connection to the physical world. But the sense of touch has been undervalued since long before the days of digital isolation.

Because of deeply rooted beliefs that favor the cerebral over the corporeal, touch is maligned as dirty or sentimental, in contrast with other forms of communication and perception. In this Mary Talk, journalism professor Sushma Subramanian will explore the scientific, physical, emotional, and cultural aspects of touch, reconnecting us to what is arguably our most important sense.

Wednesday, September 8
7:30-9:00 p.m. (EDT)
Online (via Zoom)

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Register Now.

Read EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU with the Mary Washington Book Club

We are beginning the next round of reading in our online literary group, the Mother of All Book Clubs! This club is open to anyone with a connection to Mary Washington–alumni, parents, donors, faculty, and staff. Join us!

Our next selection is Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng. This critically acclaimed book was the debut novel from the author of Little Fires Everywhere.

From Amazon: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.”

Pick up a copy of the book and start reading–we will begin posting discussion questions on Monday, August 23. You might have a small-business bookseller you like to support, or you might want to try your local library system. But if you need the book shipped, below are some links to larger online providers.

We look forward to reading with you!

All the best,
The Alumni Relations Team

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Target

Looking ahead to future selections in order to get on library waitlists? Here is the next book we plan to read (keep in mind that changes are possible):

The Code Breaker, by Walter Isaacson

Come out to the ballgame with UMW Alumni

Fredericksburg-area alumni are invited to join us at the FredNats ballpark for Mary Washington Alumni Night!

We’ll be cheering on our FredNats as they battle the Carolina Mudcats. Wear your Mary Wash gear and come join us!

Register here for a free game ticket. Then meet us at the stadium on gameday to pick up your ticket starting at 6:15pm; look for the blue UMW Alumni tent near the main gate. The ballpark has food and beverage concessions available; Thursday also is “Thirsty Thursday” with $2 beer specials.

Thursday, August 26
7:00-10:00pm (EDT)

FredNats Ballpark
42 Jackie Robinson Way
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

Please note: Masks are required for unvaccinated attendees, though masks are welcome and encouraged for any guests who feel more comfortable wearing them. The outdoor nature of this event will enable social distancing for those who prefer it.

Pre-registration is required for this event, as tickets are limited. Parking is $5 per vehicle, and the park is cashless.

We look forward to seeing you at the ballpark!

 

REGISTER

Thaden, Devlin Interviewed in The Free Lance-Star on LGBTQ Oral History Project

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mark Thaden

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mark Thaden

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mark Thaden ’02 and Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin were interviewed in The Free Lance-Star about Mary Washington’s LGBTQ Alumni Oral History Project. UMW Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives just launched the oral history collection, made up of recorded interviews and transcripts by students in Devlin’s oral history seminar in 2019.

When Mark Thaden first arrived at the University of Mary Washington in the late 1990s, the campus LGBTQ group met quietly, behind closed doors, in an upstairs room of the campus center.

“It was a social group, but it was very much about support,” said Thaden, a 2002 graduate of UMW who is now the university’s executive director of alumni relations.

Thaden said he was not out when he came to UMW from rural Maryland and a small, Catholic high school. At the club carnival early his freshman year, he was excited to see that there was an LGBTQ campus group, but he was too nervous at first to approach members.

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin

Luckily, a friend signed him up to receive the group’s emails and the meetings became formative in his journey toward self-acceptance.

“That’s where I started feeling more comfortable, being with people who were comfortable with themselves,” Thaden said. “That’s where I started feeling like it was OK.”

Thaden’s memories and those of two dozen other LGBTQ alumni were recorded and transcribed in 2019 by students in Associate Professor Erin Devlin’s Oral History seminar. Read more.

Read ‘THE OVERSTORY’ with our Book Club

We are beginning the next round of reading in our online literary group, the Mother of All Book Clubs! This club is open to anyone with a connection to Mary Washington–alumni, parents, donors, faculty, and staff. Join us!

Our next selection is The Overstory, by Richard Powers. This book was the Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction and spent more than one year on The New York Times bestseller list.

From The New York Times: “In this series of interconnected stories, the human characters are just the underbrush; the true protagonists are the trees that they encounter. Powers combines botany and storytelling in this majestic novel.”

Pick up a copy of the book and start reading–we will begin posting discussion questions on Monday, April 19. You might have a small-business bookseller you like to support, or you might want to try your local library system. But if you need the book shipped, below are some links to larger online providers.

We look forward to reading with you!

All the best,

The Alumni Relations Team

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Target

Phillip Duggins: CASE Chemistry

Phillip Duggins, UMW's associate director for Regional Alumni Engagement, won a CASE Award last week for last summer's "Chemistry in the Kitchen" program for Mary Washington alumni and their families.

Phillip Duggins, UMW’s associate director for Regional Alumni Engagement, won a CASE Award last week for last summer’s “Chemistry in the Kitchen” program for Mary Washington alumni and their families.

University of Mary Washington professors teaching science experiments online for alumni and their children to perform at home.

The idea was born from a start-of-the-pandemic brainstorming session attended by Phillip Duggins, UMW’s associate director for Regional Alumni Engagement.

Duggins shared the idea with his friend and neighbor, Davis Oldham, an associate professor of chemistry at UMW, who in turn connected him with fellow faculty members Leanna Giancarlo, Kelli Slunt and Janet Asper. In June, the trio taught “Chemistry in the Kitchen,” drawing an audience of over 150 alumni families. The virtual lunchtime learning classes are now available on YouTube.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) presented Duggins last week with a silver “Alumni Engagement on a Shoestring” award for his work on the popular program.

“I was so excited to share the news with our chemistry colleagues who partnered with us to make this event so successful,” Duggins said, “especially when they were in the midst of transitioning to online classes last spring.”

With more than two decades of experience in event planning and managing volunteers, Duggins was hired in 2019 to engage Mary Washington’s 41,000 alumni globally and help them feel connected to their alma mater. Organized by UMW’s 22 regional alumni networks and 10 affinity groups, events were mostly held in person before COVID hit.

Alumni engagement is more challenging now, Duggins said. But his team has found that Mary Washington graduates are still eager to take part in online events, such as last September’s virtual tour of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, led by a UMW alum who works at the site. Within 45 minutes, participants registered for all 100 spots, so organizers added a second tour, which also filled up quickly, drawing alumni from as far away as San Diego.

“Not everyone lives in or near a regional network or can travel,” Duggins said. “Virtual events like this are giving us the opportunity to reach a much wider audience.”

 

“Not everyone lives in or near a regional network or can travel,” said Duggins, who has helped Mary Washington's 41,000 alumni feel connected to their alma mater since coming to UMW in 2019. “Virtual events like this are giving us the opportunity to reach a much wider audience.”

“Not everyone lives in or near a regional network or can travel,” said Duggins, who has helped Mary Washington’s 41,000 alumni feel connected to their alma mater since coming to UMW in 2019. “Virtual events like this are giving us the opportunity to reach a much wider audience.”

Q: What other virtual events has Alumni Relations offered?
A: We’ve had cider and beer tastings, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden light show, and several academic departments have hosted alumni happy hours. We’re exploring offering a coffee tasting, more tours of museums and cultural sites, and “Paint and Sip” events.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I grew up on a farm and was driving a tractor by the time I was 8.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: Pictures of my children: Madelyn, 15; Hannah, 14; and Zachary, 11.

Q: What have you been doing outside of work during the pandemic?
A: Keeping up with my kids’ activities and doing projects around the house.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the UMW campus?
A: The gates on Sunken Road. That area is so peaceful and relaxing.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: From my time as a Cub Scout: “Do your best.”

Mary Talks: “Farmer Legacy: 2020 & Beyond”

Join us ONLINE for the next Mary Talk of the 2020-21 academic year!

In January 2020, UMW launched Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Action to recognize what would have been the 100th birthday of Dr. James Farmer, national civil rights icon and Mary Washington College professor from 1985 to 1998. While the pandemic changed the direction of our yearlong commemoration, it did not shake our commitment to honor Dr. Farmer and to realize his vision for a more equitable America. Our next Mary Talk will explore Dr. Farmer’s life and legacy and his ongoing impact at Mary Washington today.

This Talk will be presented by Farmer Legacy co-chairs Dr. Sabrina Johnson (Vice President for Equity and Access) and Dr. Juliette Landphair (Vice President for Student Affairs) along with Jason Ford ’20 (leader of the Black Alumni Affinity Group). They will discuss Dr. Farmer’s impact and UMW’s ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence. We will hear from alumni who recall Dr. Farmer as a remarkable historian and teacher. We will recount our trip with President Troy Paino and others to Capitol Hill to visit the legendary Representative John Lewis, who participated in the Freedom Rides with Dr. Farmer and served as the Farmer Legacy’s honorary Chairperson. We will examine the context of Dr. Farmer’s life and legacy as well as our progress in equity and inclusion efforts at UMW.

Wednesday, December 9
7:30-9:00 p.m.
Online

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

Note: Online viewing is the only option for this Mary Talk, as we are not conducting any in-person events at this time.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Read THE WIDOW WASHINGTON with our Book Club

Mary Washington's Mother of All Book ClubsLooking for a way to stay connected to other alumni? We are beginning the next round of reading in our online literary group–the Mother of All Book Clubs!

Alumni read and discuss via a private Facebook group, so only approved members can see posts or participate in the discussion. This is informal and low-pressure–read along with us and chime in on the discussion as much or as little as you like.

Our next selection is The Widow Washington, by Martha Saxton. Saxton attempts to explore and correct what is known about Mary Ball Washington, George Washington’s mother.

Adapted from Amazon: George’s biographers have, for the most part, painted Mary as self-centered and crude, a trial and an obstacle to her oldest child. But the records tell a very different story. Mary Ball was orphaned young and grew up working hard, practicing frugality and piety. Later, as a widow deprived of most of her late husband’s properties, Mary struggled to raise her five children, but managed to secure them places among Virginia’s elite.

In her later years, she and George had a contentious relationship. Yet Mary had a greater impact on George than mothers of that time usually had on their sons. The Widow Washington is a necessary and deeply insightful corrective, telling the story of Mary’s long, arduous life on its own terms, and not treating her as her son’s satellite.

Pick up a copy of the book and start reading–we will begin posting discussion questions on Monday, November 30–which just happens to be Mary Washington’s 308th birthday. You might have a small-business bookseller you like to support, or you might want to try your local library system, some of which even offer ebooks. But if you need the book shipped, below are some links to larger online providers.

 

We look forward to reading with you!
All the best,
The Alumni Relations Team

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Target

Join us (virtually) for #StayHomecoming

It's Almost Time to #GetDirtyGoWash. Join Us For #StayHomecoming October 19-24Join us (virtually) for Homecoming 2020!

This year for Homecoming, you won’t be #BackInTheBurg…Instead, #StayHomecoming with us online!

Because large, in-person events are impossible this fall, we had to think outside the box for Homecoming. The result is #StayHomecoming: a week-long host of events and offerings with something for everyone.

 

Monday: College of Education/Alumni Educators affinity group event

Tuesday: College of Business young alumni networking event

Wednesday: “Between Two Ficuses” young alumni video launch

Thursday: Kahoot! Trivia with UMW Alumni and the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group

Friday, 10/23: FXBG alumni virtual beer tasting w/ Adventure Brewing, plus MaryWash memorabilia with Dean Rucker

Saturday, 10/24: (Homecoming Day!): Bartending and tailgate food tips

 

Throughout the week, we’ll also have social media initiatives, including contests that can win you some big prizes. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you won’t miss out.

For more information and updates, check the Homecoming web page, and follow the Homecoming event on Facebook.

Then watch your email–we’ll let you know as soon as registration is open!

We hope you will #GetDirtyGoWash with us from a distance this year. Go Eagles!

Alumni Relations Cider Tasting with Wild Hare

Wild Hare CiderCalling all Northwest Virginia and North Central Virginia alumni, plus those in nearby regions! Join us for a virtual cider tasting with Wild Hare Cider.

How does a virtual cider tasting work?

When you register, you will receive a confirmation email with a coupon code and a Zoom link. Anytime before the event, stop by one of Wild Hare’s 3 locations (Leesburg, Middleburg, or Warrenton) and pick up your discounted 4-pack of cider. On the night of the tasting, join our Zoom session. We’ll taste each cider as a Wild Hare representative gives us the background on each flavor and discusses the process of making the cider.

Wednesday, September 23
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Online (via Zoom)

After the tasting, there will be time to reconnect virtually with other Mary Washington alumni. We are sending this invitation not only to Northwest and North Central Virginia alumni, but also to alumni in Fredericksburg, DC, and other nearby networks. Join us!

We look forward to seeing you online!

Register