September 25, 2022

Renovated and Ready: Virginia Hall Welcomes New Students

A 14-month renovation of Virginia Hall has left Mary Washington’s second oldest residence hall – constructed in three phases beginning in 1914 – ready to welcome first-year students. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

A 14-month renovation of Virginia Hall has left Mary Washington’s second oldest residence hall – constructed in three phases beginning in 1914 – ready to welcome first-year students. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

For Terrie Gladney Hoelscher ’78, Virginia Hall meant Friday night singalongs at the parlor piano, cramming into the second-floor phone booth and gliding down stairs on a mattress.

“She has good bones, and so much character,” Hoelscher said of the building she and generations of undergrads have called home for more than a century. “My lifelong and closest friendships were made and developed there.”

No doubt, a new era of University of Mary Washington students will find their own brand of mattress-gliding within these walls. A $19 million renovation completed this summer (think paint, polish and preservation) left the building awash in newfangled-ness: soothing central AC, all-keyless entry, a luxurious lounge. But the makeover took care to keep classic touches – big sunny windows, extra-wide stairwells, elegant transoms – intact.

“Everything is old but now it’s new,” said Addie Sage, a sophomore psychology major who’ll live in the 168-bed building as one of several resident assistants providing support to first-year students assigned there. Read more.

Retrieval of student belongings

The following message is from the Office of Student Affairs.

To all faculty and staff:

As was described in this April 6 message to students, starting tomorrow and continuing through May 1, individual residential students and their family members will be on campus picking up their belongings. Per state public health guidance and recommendations to colleges and universities about belongings retrieval, our process allows for a limited number of students on campus at a time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming.

Fleming Interviewed About Willard Hall Renovation on WVTF

Dave Fleming, Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing

Dave Fleming, Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing

Dave Fleming, Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Housing, was recently interviewed by WVTF Radio IQ 88.3 about the recently renovated and refurbished Willard Hall.

And at the University of Mary Washington students have just moved into the oldest residence on campus. Willard Hall opened in 1911 but has been fully renovated – preserving the historic vibe while adding modern convenience: hardwood floors, open common areas, study nooks, a media room and community kitchen. Assistant Dean for Residence Life and Housing, Dave Fleming, says the project became a rush job four years ago.

“In 2016 we had a steam pipe rupture underneath the building, which buckled some of the flooring here. We were about a year out from renovating anyway, so we decided to close a year early and start that renovation.”

Opened in 1911, Willard Hall is the oldest residence hall on UMW's campus. It recently welcomed students back after a full renovation, which retained the building's historic charm while adding modern amenities. Photo Credit: Radio IQ.

Opened in 1911, Willard Hall is the oldest residence hall on UMW’s campus. It recently welcomed students back after a full renovation, which retained the building’s historic charm while adding modern amenities. Photo Credit: Radio IQ.

Planners were determined to retain the building’s historic charm while adding modern amenities.

“We had a historic preservationist on the construction team,” Fleming explains. “He’s actually a graduate from Mary Washington in historic preservation, and so he was able to really help us navigate some of those decisions.”

And he adds that students were consulted as plans evolved.

“A lot of the surveys that we’ve conducted indicated that the number one thing that students want is more study spaces so we were able to create some of those small study spaces for them.” Read more.

Ribbon-Cutting Marks New Chapter for Willard Hall

The ribbon is cut during the Willard Hall dedication. The group includes BOV members and student representatives, along with Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming and BOV Rector Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 (far left), UMW President Troy Paino (front) and senior Maggie McCotter (with scissors). Photo by Matthew Brooks.

The ribbon is cut during the Willard Hall dedication. The group includes BOV members and student representatives, along with Assistant Dean of Residence Life and Housing Dave Fleming and BOV Rector Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 (far left), UMW President Troy Paino (front) and senior Maggie McCotter (with scissors). Photo by Matthew Brooks.

UMW senior Maggie McCotter loves the sunlight that streams into her third-floor Willard Hall room. She likes the rustic gleam of the refurbished hardwood floors under her feet, her view of the bubbling fountain, the building’s proximity to the post office and Vocelli Pizza.

“I take pride in being one of the first to live here” after an extensive renovation, she told students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends gathered in the structure’s main living area for a dedication on Friday.

A Willard Hall resident assistant, McCotter joined 156 first-year students who moved in at the start of the spring semester in January, but last week’s event, part of a daylong Board of Visitors meeting, makes it official. Generations have made their home at Mary Washington’s oldest residence hall, built in 1911. But McCotter and her charges are among the first to enjoy a new type of turn-of-the-century splendor, where modern touches – a media room, “teaching” kitchen and transformable spaces – mingle with prized pieces from the past.

Architects worked tirelessly to preserve the elegance of the building, which originally housed dining, offices and classrooms, plus a post office, infirmary and gift shop, according to History of Mary Washington College by Edward Alvey Jr. The $19.3 million renovation salvaged brick walls, maple hardwood floors, ornate iron banisters, molding and trim, and original skylight shafts, along with parts of the building’s open floorplan. Read more.

Alum Celebrates Identity, Inclusion at Gender and Sexual Minorities Event

Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies Cultural Celebration keynote speaker Ted Lewis ’04.

Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies Cultural Celebration keynote speaker Ted Lewis ’04.

For Ted Lewis ’04, the process of embracing being nonbinary began at Mary Washington. Now executive director for a Richmond-based nonprofit, Lewis – who uses they/them pronouns – helps Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth discover their own fully authentic selves.

This week, Lewis returned to UMW to share personal experiences of coming out and organizing LGBTQ+ youth at universities and communities throughout the South. They spoke with students as part of the Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies Cultural Celebration in the Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium yesterday at 7 p.m.

“Being authentic saved my life,” said Lewis, who recalled how powerful it was to connect with LGBTQ+ elders in college. “I’m eager to provide that experience to UMW students.” Read more. 

UMW Welcomes Class of 2023

Move-In Day 2019. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Move-In Day 2019. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

For eagles, building a nest is a bonding activity. The same could be said for the 900-plus first-year students who on Wednesday made the University of Mary Washington their home.

Move-In Day 2019.

Residence halls opened their doors to the Class of 2023, who arrived with parents, siblings, pets and armloads of bedding and clothes, as well as furniture, mini-fridges, laptops and shower caddies. They immediately began making connections with fellow students, and  President Troy Paino and wife Kelly, who – along with UMW staff – were on hand to help with the hauling. The freshmen strategically placed personal mementos and Mary Washington gear around their rooms, to remind them of the people who gave them their wings and those who’ll help them take flight.

Read more. 

UMW Grant to Help Students Recover From Substance Addiction

The University of Mary Washington has received a $50,000 grant for a unique program that helps students in various stages of recovery from alcohol and substance abuse and addiction.

The “Expanding Collegiate Recovery in Virginia” grant, awarded this summer by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), will fund growth for UMW’s Eagles in Recovery program. Though a number of colleges claim substance-free housing, the program puts UMW among only a handful in Virginia – and relatively few across the country – to offer support services for students recovering from substance addiction.

Read more.