April 14, 2021

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

Read ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ with UMW Book Club

Looking 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 Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman whose cells were removed and then cultured without her permission during cancer treatment in the 1950s. In the decades since–and still today–her cells have been reproduced and used in 60,000 medical research studies all over the world. Lacks’ cells have benefited global society immeasurably.

From a review in The New York Times: “…Rebecca Skloot introduces us to the ‘real live woman,’ the children who survived her, and the interplay of race, poverty, science, and one of the most important medical discoveries of the last 100 years. Skloot narrates the science lucidly, tracks the racial politics of medicine thoughtfully, and tells the Lacks family’s often painful history with grace. She also confronts the spookiness of the cells themselves, intrepidly crossing into the spiritual plane on which the family has come to understand their mother’s continued presence in the world. Science writing is often just about ‘the facts.’ ­Skloot’s book, her first, is far deeper, braver and more wonderful.”

Pick up a copy of the book and start reading–we will begin posting discussion questions on Monday, August 24. 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

James Farmer Multicultural Center Thanks #UMWRun4Justice Participants

The James Farmer Multicultural Center thanks everyone who participated in the Virtual #UMWRun4Justice 5K this past weekend, especially UMW Women’s Lacrosse and Coach Maddie Taghon, Women of Color, and the Black Student Association, as well Alumni Relations for help with spreading the word. The event raised $2900 that will be used in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice initiatives at UMW. The desire is to create opportunities to help open conversations and develop a more inclusive campus. Please enjoy the video below of JFMC Director Marion Sanford thanking participants.

 

 

Alumnus Earns Competitive Fellowship to Teach Constitution

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

Persistence paid off for UMW graduate Sam Ulmschneider.

The global studies and history teacher was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship – on his fourth attempt to earn the award.

The $24,000 prize is given to just one recipient per state each year to promote outstanding teaching of the U.S. Constitution in secondary schools. It will allow Ulmschneider to pursue a second master’s degree while he continues to teach gifted high schoolers at his other alma mater, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond.

Two of Ulmschneider’s previous fellowship applications resulted in his being named a runner-up. Undiscouraged, he kept applying, a process that included a lot of essay-writing. “I felt like my students do when they’re filling out their college applications,” he said.

His own education at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School – and the Advanced Placement credits he earned there – allowed him to focus on his academic interests almost immediately at UMW.

“The advising system was wonderful, and it’s one of the things I took away from Mary Washington,” said Ulmschneider, who double majored in history and philosophy with a minor in religion, and joined the University’s club fencing team. Read more.

Doctor Supports Veterans, the Underserved

1999 Mary Washington alumnus Dr. Anthony D. Jones’ military-focused medical career has also allowed him to volunteer his services to those with HIV and other underserved patients. Photo by Clement Britt

1999 Mary Washington alumnus Dr. Anthony D. Jones’ military-focused medical career has also allowed him to volunteer his services to those with HIV and other underserved patients. Photo by Clement Britt.

This story, written by Daryl Lease ’85, originally appeared in the University of Mary Washington Magazine’s spring/summer 2020 issue.

As a pre-med student at Mary Washington, Anthony D. Jones ’99 volunteered at the nearby Lloyd Moss Free Clinic, shadowing doctors as they provided care to low-income residents, including patients with HIV/AIDS. The experience helped set him on a path of serving the underserved.

“Back then, having HIV was more or less a death sentence,” Jones recalled. “The physicians at the clinic showed a whole lot of compassion taking care of HIV patients. That left a good impression on me.”

Today, the physician is chief medical officer of the Military Entrance Processing Station at Fort Lee, Virginia, and works for Veterans Evaluation Services in Richmond, where he conducts compensation exams for veterans, and recently assisted in daily COVID-19 briefings for a division in the Department of Defense.

He also volunteered at a Virginia Department of Health men’s clinic focused on sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Through the nonprofit Minority Health Consortium, he has provided HIV testing and assisted with care coordination for newly diagnosed HIV patients. Read more.