January 23, 2020

President Paino: UMW Positioned to Think Big

Mary Washington President Troy Paino charged the faculty and staff to “think big” at the All-UMW Assembly on Tuesday. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino charged the faculty and staff to “think big” at the All-UMW Assembly on Tuesday. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

On the cusp of a new decade, the University of Mary Washington is poised to meet the changing needs of a student body that will become even more diverse. President Troy Paino delivered that message Tuesday at an All-UMW Assembly, while also sharing accomplishments, updates and reflections.

Monday’s launch of UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration gave him a sense of optimism, Paino told faculty and staff in Dodd Auditorium, but he expressed concerns over how the upcoming election and polarized politics may impact campus life in the coming year. As a public university, UMW must encourage civil debate, he said, asking faculty and staff to reflect on the values of the late Mary Washington history professor and civil rights icon Dr. James Farmer and the University’s yearlong commitment to action in his honor. “We have to remind ourselves of our roles as mentors and advisors to these young people,” he said, noting that many UMW students will be voting in a presidential election for the first time.

Mary Washington is serving a more diverse and underrepresented student population than ever before, Paino said. In an effort to make the external environment more inclusive and reflective of our values, he said, the University will begin exploring and executing the recent recommendations made by the Campus Environment Committee, including a name change for Trinkle Hall.

“We need to look back to understand who we are, but we also can look forward in terms of who we aspire to be,” Paino said. Read more.

President Paino: UMW Positioned to Think Big

On the cusp of a new decade, the University of Mary Washington is poised to meet the changing needs of a student body that will become even more diverse. President Troy Paino delivered that message Tuesday at an All-UMW Assembly, while also sharing accomplishments, updates and reflections. Monday’s launch of UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration […]

Launch Party Ignites Farmer Legacy 2020 Celebration

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

A wreath on the James Farmer bust on UMW’s Campus Walk recognizes Farmer’s 100th birthday and UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration. Photo by Tom Rothenberg.

Nearly 500 people turned out yesterday to help UMW kick off Farmer Legacy 2020, a yearlong celebration of Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the day after what would have been his 100th birthday.

The hourlong launch party packed plenty of emotion, from student accounts of life-changing experiences they’ve gained through UMW – and learning about Farmer’s legacy – to a moving rendition of Happy Birthday by Mary Washington gospel ensemble Voices of Praise.

Held in the UMW University Center’s Chandler Ballroom, the celebration commenced a year of events paying tribute to Farmer, the late Mary Washington history professor who founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and made an immeasurable impact on the civil rights movement as a member of the Big Six. Fredericksburg residents, Board of Visitor members and colleagues in higher education joined UMW students, faculty and staff in recognizing Farmer and his contributions, and vowing to follow in his footsteps by dedicating themselves to civic action and inclusion.

Honorary celebration chair, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, the last surviving member of the Big Six, had to cancel plans to attend yesterday’s launch due to a recent cancer diagnosis. Attendees signed a card for him. Read more.

UMW Launches Centennial Celebration of James Farmer on Jan. 13

Happy birthday, Dr. James Farmer!

This year, UMW will celebrate the centennial birthday of the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., who died in 1999.

This year, UMW will celebrate the centennial birthday of the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., who died in 1999.

Two decades after his death and on the day after he would have turned 100, the late Mary Washington professor and U.S. civil rights pioneer Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. is being lauded by the community in which he spent his final years.

Monday, January 13, 2020, not only will serve as a celebration of Farmer’s birthday, it will be the official kick-off for UMW’s Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Actiona year of signature events and other activities related to Farmer and various social justice milestones.

Honorary chair of Farmer Legacy 2020, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), had intended to headline Monday’s celebration of his longtime friend and fellow fighter. Both men were among the original 13 participants in the 1961 Freedom Rides, organized by Farmer’s Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Unfortunately, a recent cancer diagnosis prevents Congressman Lewis from attending.

The UMW community is deeply grateful to Rep. Lewis for his commitment to Farmer’s legacy; Lewis gave an extraordinary commencement address at Mary Washington in 2011 when the University celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. Last fall, Lewis met with a UMW contingent, including President Troy Paino, on Capitol Hill to reminisce about Dr. Farmer and offer support to the yearlong centennial celebration.

Student Government Association President Jason Ford was among a UMW contingent on a recent visit to Washington, D.C., to speak with Rep. John Lewis about the Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration.

Student Government Association President Jason Ford was among a UMW contingent on a recent visit to Washington, D.C., to speak with Rep. John Lewis about the Farmer Legacy 2020 celebration.

Student Government Association President Jason Ford, a senior from Culpeper, Virginia, was a member of the UMW group that met with Lewis. At Monday’s event, Ford will address that moving experience and share his affinity for Dr. Farmer, a man he never met, but whose booming voice and engaging lectures impacted generations of Mary Washington students.

Ford will be joined by junior Courtney Flowers and President Paino, all of whom will make brief remarks prior to a Farmer birthday celebration and cake-cutting Monday, January 13, at 2:30 p.m. in Chandler Ballroom of the University Center. The event is open to the public.

UMW’s yearlong commemoration will examine the historical context of Farmer’s life and the ways in which our society currently acts on principles important to him, including civic engagement, access and inclusion.Twice, through UMW’s Fall Break Social Justice Trips in 2018 and 2019, Ford has taken in sites visited by Farmer during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Flowers, from Torrance, California, was so compelled by what she learned about Dr. Farmer during a high school project she decided to travel all the way across the country to attend Mary Washington, a school at which Farmer taught and one that features a James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Growing up in Texas and Mississippi, James Farmer felt his heart “swell with rebellion” when he personally witnessed the injustices of Jim Crow. At age 22, Farmer co-founded CORE, which organized several protests of segregated facilities in the 1940s and 1950s. Spearheaded by Farmer, CORE led the 1961 Freedom Rides into several Southern states to test Supreme Court rulings that outlawed segregation in interstate transportation and bus terminals.

After moving to Spotsylvania County in the early 1980s, Farmer served as Distinguished Professor of History at Mary Washington College from 1985 until his retirement in January 1999, shortly before his death later that year.

“What would Dr. Farmer fight for today?” is the question the UMW community will be asking throughout 2020, the centennial year of his birth.

For the event on Monday, campus parking restrictions will be lifted. Accessibility issues should be directed to the UMW Office of Events and Conferencing at 540-654-1087.

For updates and other information, visit https://www.umw.edu/farmer/.

All UMW Assembly, Jan. 14 at 4PM

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

President Paino invites all UMW faculty and staff to attend the All UMW Assembly on Tuesday, January 14 at 4 p.m. in Chandler Ballroom in the University Center. If you are unable to attend the assembly, please note that it will be recorded and made available on the UMW website.

Office of the President

Farmer Legacy 2020 Launch Featuring Congressman John Lewis, Jan. 13

Dear UMW Community,

In October, I wrote that 2020 will be a particularly significant year for the University of Mary Washington as we launch Farmer Legacy 2020 in commemoration of Dr. James Farmer Jr., national civil rights pioneer and UMW professor from 1985 to 1998.

I am thrilled to inform you that U.S. Representative John Lewis has agreed to serve as the Honorary Chairperson for Farmer Legacy 2020 and will be on campus Monday January 13 for UMW’s celebratory launch from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Chandler Ballroom of the University Center. In 1961, Lewis was a college student when he joined 12 other people on the Freedom Rides organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and led by Farmer. Lewis was a co-organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and the historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Today, U.S. Representative John Lewis is one of our nation’s most influential leaders; he is known across the world as a champion of social justice.

It will be a tremendous honor to welcome Representative Lewis to Mary Washington. I encourage students, faculty, and staff to join us in Chandler Ballroom on January 13 at 2:30 p.m. for his remarks and the birthday celebration to follow. You will receive an official invitation soon.

Good luck in closing out the semester. I wish you a joyful and restorative winter break.

Troy D. Paino, J.D., Ph.D.

 

A Message from the President

We have a strong and resilient community. Monday was trying — and, for some, traumatic. While we have learned now, based on the quick work of University police, that the campus never was under a credible threat, we took every precaution to protect our community. I was engaged in the deliberations of our Threat Assessment Team, and I applaud the team’s swift and appropriate response.

I realize questions and concerns abound. Here are the facts: A caller left a voicemail for a UMW employee warning that an individual would be coming to campus with a firearm. That voicemail was immediately forwarded to UMW Police, and the recipient of the call likely warned those around him or her. While dispatching his officers to learn as much as possible about the situation, Chief Mike Hall convened an emergency meeting of the University’s Threat Assessment Team, a multidisciplinary group composed of members of various campus departments (faculty and staff) who respond to concerns and threats that may pose a significant disruption to the campus environment and the institution’s academic mission. This group received a briefing and quickly determined that classes and campus activities should be suspended, and all members of the community should shelter in place, until police could learn more about the threat and the person who made it.

After further investigation, police identified the caller, who indicated the threat was never intended to be taken seriously. The caller was arrested without incident and is now in jail under a $10,000 secured bond. Making a false report or threat of this kind is a felony offense.

From Monday’s situation, we have learned important takeaways. The campus community would like to have more training on what steps to take in these types of circumstances. Also, we all would benefit from a common definition of terms such as shelter in place. UMW Police are currently finalizing a video related to firearms violence, and they are planning safety awareness and training programs for campus members next semester.

Again, I want to compliment the entire campus community. Your calm adherence to safety protocols and support for one another allowed the situation to be resolved expediently. You have my pledge: I, along with members of this community, work every day to ensure the University provides a living and learning environment that is as safe as possible.

President Troy D. Paino

Coffee with the President, Nov. 20 and 21

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

President Paino invites you to join him for coffee and conversation at the final “Coffee with the President” events this semester. Upcoming opportunities include:

  • Wed., Nov. 20, 4-5 p.m., Stafford Campus, South Building, Room 210
  • Thurs., Nov. 21, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Trinkle Hall, Room 207

Thank you,

The Office of the President

Coffee with the President, Oct. 21

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

President Paino invites you to join him for coffee and conversation at the next “Coffee with the President,” scheduled for Monday, October 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Hurley Convergence Center, Room 210. Additional upcoming opportunities include:

  • Wed., Nov. 20                    4-5 p.m., Stafford Campus, South Building, Room 210
  • Thurs., Nov. 21                  2:30-3:30 p.m., Trinkle Hall, Room 207

Thank you.

Office of the President

Help Shape UMW’s Future By Sharing Your Voice

A Message from the President

Dear Mary Washington Community,

Last spring, the University began sharing plans to engage in rebranding to ensure that UMW is authentic, distinctive, and compelling on the higher education landscape. After a national search for firms that understand education, but can consistently present universities in fresh ways, ten firms were invited to campus for preliminary pitches to a group of faculty and staff. The field was narrowed to four firms, ranging from small boutique shops to international, full service agencies, and then further narrowed to two groups that demonstrated the most alignment with and affinity for UMW’s mission, culture, and community.

During the fall All-University Assembly for employees, I announced that the University had selected from that final two a branding partner: Mindpower (www.mindpowerinc.com) of Atlanta. Mindpower has worked with more than 100 higher education institutions and was heartily recommended by schools ranging from Harvey Mudd to Indiana State to Mount St. Mary’s. Each school commended Mindpower’s ability to listen intently to the community, to interact respectfully and collegially, and to develop authentic and distinctive creative concepts. When asked “Why UMW?” Mindpower’s CEO, Lisa Jordan, responded that UMW was “ready to zag,” signifying our willingness to chart our own path and to stand independently against short-lived trends and short-sighted goals. In other words, they saw that Mary Washington wants to make its mark in a way that stands the test of time.

When a brand stands for something, not everyone will agree with it. In fact, if a brand is universally embraced, it probably doesn’t stand for much. We understand this, and yet, we believe a strong brand is rooted in truth, which should come from the people who live the UMW experience.

This is why I am asking for your help. UMW needs your voice in this work.

There are two ways I ask you to be involved: 1) Participate in a group or open forum in October to share what you think makes UMW exceptional, and 2) Complete a comprehensive survey later this fall that will help validate and refine the initial qualitative research.

Our timeline is ambitious for the process. Mindpower began its conversations on campus this past week, hosting multiple focus groups of students, faculty and staff who represented the broadest cross section of campus possible. The team will return twice in October: once to meet with external groups like alumni, parents, and donors, and a second time to converse in more depth with the campus community.

From October 22 to 24, the team will be on campus and they want to hear from you. Please join one of our two open forums for faculty and staff on Wednesday, October 23, at 4 p.m., or on Thursday, October 24, at 9 a.m. The locations will be announced later this month. Your opinion and willingness to share your input is all that is required. The qualitative research will inform a comprehensive survey that will be sent to the entire campus and every constituent for whom we have current contact information. After the research phase in the fall/winter, Mindpower will work diligently through the spring and summer to develop a creative concept for UMW. Our goal is to launch the new brand in the fall of 2020.

Please join us in shaping the way UMW is presented, framing the stories we tell, and giving our message a fresh and compelling narrative. If you have questions or would like to learn more about the process, please contact Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Lisa Jamison Bowling ’89 (lbowling@umw.edu) or Director of University Marketing Malcolm Holmes (mholmes3@umw.edu). We have a shared goal of creating and establishing a brand that is as exceptional as UMW.

Sincerely,

Troy D. Paino, J.D., Ph.D.
President