September 17, 2021

Conversations with President Paino

A message from the Office of the President. 

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

President Paino invites you to join him for Conversations with President Paino, formerly known as Coffee with the President. These sessions will offer informal opportunities to share insights and engage in candid discussions that are aligned with our community values and in support of making University of Mary Washington the best it can be. Occasionally, the sessions may focus on a particular issue facing us or may include other leaders who represent areas critical to institutional progress.

Sessions will be offered at the following dates and times:

  • Monday, October 4                         10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, October 13                3-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 11                 2:30-3:30 p.m.

More information will be forthcoming.

Thank you.

Office of the President

President Paino Focuses on What Matters Most in UMW Address

As the University of Mary Washington welcomed students to campus last week, President Troy Paino expressed “true joy” as he gathered with many of his colleagues for the first time since March of last year. Speaking in Dodd Auditorium last Monday, Paino was visibly moved as he delivered his all-University address in person to more […]

President Paino Focuses on What Matters Most in UMW Address

As the University of Mary Washington welcomes students to campus this week, President Troy Paino expressed “true joy” as he gathered with many of his colleagues on Monday for the first time since March of last year. Speaking in Dodd Auditorium, Paino was visibly moved as he delivered his all-University address in person to more than 100 faculty and staff, while those still teleworking watched on livestream.

UMW President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Paino, who wore a mask in adherence to UMW’s indoor face coverings policy, shared his concerns about the Delta variant. But having witnessed the campus community’s commitment to mitigating the spread of the virus, he said he was confident in Mary Washington’s resilience and ability to adapt. “Our capacity to serve our students and fulfill our mission” will be renewed and strengthened after the adversity we’ve all faced, he said.

Touting a 90 percent vaccination rate among students and employees, Paino said the University will continue to monitor the situation and follow guidance from local and state health authorities. Finishing the last academic year among schools with the lowest number of cases, Mary Washington has been a model for the Commonwealth, he said. Furthermore, Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken, who managed UMW’s pandemic response with Interim Provost Tim O’Donnell, was asked to chair a team of COVID directors from Virginia colleges and universities.

Flanked by banners declaring the values that matter at Mary Washington, Paino announced that more than 7,000 members of the UMW community helped create “a collective expression … that is authentic to who we are.” Mary Washington will continue to collaborate with Atlanta-based firm Mindpower to refine and reinforce the Matter brand to tell our story to prospective students and their families, he said.



He also encouraged faculty and staff to focus on fostering connections with current students, especially those who came to UMW during the pandemic. “Individualized attention … the human interaction with our students inside and outside the classroom,” he said, “that’s the Mary Washington experience.”

The president also provided updates on construction projects, including the newly renovated Virginia Hall, which new students began moving into this week; the anticipated spring 2022 completion of Seacobeck as the new home of the College of Education; and the Maxine and Carl D. Silver Hillel Center, which will serve as a hub for UMW’s Jewish students. Funds have been secured from the General Assembly to start planning for a new theatre, Paino said, as well as a revitalization of the duPont, Pollard and Melchers arts complex.

Mary Washington has begun a nationwide search for a new chief diversity officer to succeed Sabrina Johnson, who retired earlier this year, Paino said. Citing UMW’s recent rankings on the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges and Washington Monthly’s list of institutions that serve a public good, he added that Mary Washington is on the verge of hiring a full-time sustainability coordinator.

Paino concluded his address with praise for faculty and staff, emphasizing their role in helping UMW students discover what matters most to them. “I wish you well as we welcome our students back to campus,” he said, “and be reminded of the important work we do together.”


A message from President Paino

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On Monday, I recorded this video as a year-end message of appreciation and encouragement for all of you. At that time, we had no idea when a verdict would be rendered or what to expect in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Now that we know the outcome, my sentiments expressed here take on even more poignancy and meaning. We must continue to strive to be better and to hold ourselves and our nation accountable as a place where all can live with dignity, purpose, and acceptance.

When I consider all the visible and unseen challenges each of you has confronted this past year, I realize that this year has come at a great price, but also with tremendous reward. The way that this great community continues to overcome the unimaginable fills me with a sense of hope for the future.

Wishing you all the best,

Troy Paino


A Message from President Paino

A message from the Office of the President.

As many of you heard me mention in the All-University Address a few weeks ago, UMW Vice President Sabrina Johnson has announced that she will retire at the end of the spring semester. At the time of her retirement on June 24, she will have served at Mary Washington for 24 years. She began her tenure in 1997 at the helm of the University’s Department of Human Resources – first as assistant vice president and then as associate vice president. For the past three years, Johnson has held the role of UMW’s Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Equity and Access.

The first to hold this position, she was uniquely qualified by her professional experiences, including teaching in the arts and serving in Virginia’s Department of Human Resources Management in Richmond, as well as her formal education in law. Her compassionate approach has allowed her to become a voice for underrepresented populations such as first-generation and low-income students, ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ communities, veterans and international students. She has championed those who felt marginalized, regardless of reason. As the momentum behind the University’s ASPIRE values and chief institutional advocate for a variety of viewpoints, Vice President Johnson has broadened the UMW community’s understanding of important and often overlooked issues.

I plan to consult with the campus community as I consider next steps in the process to identify a new leader for equity and access. Later this spring, we will celebrate the invaluable contributions of Vice President Johnson. In the interim, please join me in expressing our gratitude for her extraordinary contributions to our community.

President Troy Paino

President Paino Gives Updates, Expresses Gratitude

As the University of Mary Washington embarks upon yet another “unusual semester,” President Troy Paino yesterday offered via Zoom a message filled with hope and honesty. Channeling FDR’s “Fireside Chats,” he spoke from the heart, delivering his all-University address near the fireplace in Brompton.

UMW President Troy Paino
UMW President Troy Paino

UMW faculty and staff have shown a “willingness to adapt to changing circumstances,” Paino said, thanking those working from home as well as faculty teaching in the classroom and remotely. He expressed gratitude toward frontline workers in residence life, dining, housekeeping, maintenance and university police, who have made it possible for students to return to campus this weekend. He also singled out Mary Washington’s mental health community for supporting students, faculty and staff during these challenging times.

Surveys that went out last semester indicated students were proud of how the UMW community persevered and kept its coronavirus case numbers low through the fall, Paino said. Despite the January uptick in local COVID-19 cases, he remains confident that Mary Washington’s comprehensive plan and MMDC campaign – monitoring, masking, distancing and cleaning – will minimize risks for the campus and the community.

UMW is even more prepared this spring in terms of testing, he continued. The University plans to administer tests to all students – residential and commuting – upon their arrival on campus and to randomly test 500 students each week throughout the semester. With the need for additional tests and other COVID-related resources, Paino has requested more funding from the state legislature. Read more.

President Paino Gives Updates, Expresses Gratitude

As the University of Mary Washington embarks upon yet another “unusual semester,” President Troy Paino yesterday offered via Zoom a message filled with hope and honesty. Channeling FDR’s “Fireside Chats,” he spoke from the heart, delivering his all-University address near the fireplace in Brompton. UMW faculty and staff have shown a “willingness to adapt to […]

Democracy is not a state

Monroe Hall after a snowfall. A message from the Office of the President. 

“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

John Lewis

The New York Times, July 30, 2020


To members of the UMW Community:

Like you, I watched with shock and horror as a mob attacked our nation’s Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. I struggled that night and Thursday with what, if anything, to say to the Mary Washington community in the wake of this travesty. Adding my voice to the chorus of condemnations from across the globe seemed gratuitous.

On the other hand, given our mission, proximity to DC, and the reality that this event, along with the stress of the pandemic, has impacted all of us in a very real and profound way, does the Mary Washington community need to hear from me at this time?  At the very least, I do feel compelled to give voice to our calling and mission in the face of such a national disgrace.

Wednesday was a manifestation of a dangerous undercurrent that has been a part of our national story since its beginning. As we have learned, it does not take much to unleash that destructive force. As if we needed to be reminded, the biggest threat to our nation’s future is from within; it always has been.

Mary Washington’s mission calls us to be nothing less than a counterforce to the darkness and self-interest that can lie in the human spirit and to make sacrifices for the common good. As a public, liberal arts institution, UMW’s purpose and community values are grounded in and defined by the fundamental principles of a democratic civil society.

As Congressman Lewis’ final words instruct, we must act in the face of this unraveling. It is easy to gain notoriety and even political support by sowing seeds of division, hate, and resentment toward those with whom you disagree. It is much more difficult to work with those on the other side of the political divide, to listen to dissenting views and counterarguments, to love your enemies, and sow seeds of hope despite all the reasons to feel hopeless.

What we need now more than ever, though, is just that – the moral courage of both leaders and citizens to confront inconvenient truths and work together toward solutions with humility, grace, empathy, and an eye toward the common good. This is what can heal a divided nation. It is UMW’s mission to prepare a generation to do just that, to do its part to build a nation at peace with itself.

Let’s get back to work.


Troy D. Paino

Interim Provost Job Announcement

A message from the Office of the President.

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the pending retirement of Dr. Nina Mikhalevsky, Provost, I want to make you aware of the following opportunity:

Interim Provost Job Announcement

The University of Mary Washington is conducting an internal search for an interim Provost for the next two academic years, to begin on July 1, 2021. The individual chosen to serve in this role will lead the university through the next SACS-COC reaffirmation process scheduled to conclude in 2023.

The Provost is a key member of the President’s cabinet and is the chief academic officer reporting directly to the President. As the chief academic officer, the Provost is responsible for adapting and implementing an evolving vision for the university and for developing strategies to accomplish that vision.

The Deans of the College of Arts & Science, the College of Business and the College of Education report to the Provost. The Provost also oversees the offices of Academic Engagement and Student Success, Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, Continuing and Professional Studies, University Museums, and University Library. Other key areas under the Provost’s supervision include the Office of Disability Resources, Academic Services, Office of the Registrar, Career and Professional Development, International Education and Study Abroad, the University Teaching Center and Digital Learning Support.

The Provost must be able to work collaboratively with faculty and staff effectively within the confines of shared governance. Toward that end, the Provost conducts oversight of all academic programs, curriculum, academic planning and budgets, and works closely with the Deans and the faculty to provide leadership of major university initiatives in teaching, research and creative activities. Working closely with faculty and staff, the Provost also has the responsibility of reviewing, improving, and enforcing all University educational and academic policies.

Reaffirming the university’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) is a top priority at this time, so this individual must have extensive experience with SACS and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Due to demographic shifts and changes in higher education accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this individual must have experience with budget and resource management at the university level.

Enrollment and student success continue to be a top priority for the university, so this individual must understand effective strategies to both recruit and retain students. These efforts include making academic programs resonate with prospective students and an understanding of the university’s collaboration with EAB in the development of an education data hub.

A successful candidate must have experience in institutional planning, management, accreditation, and program development.

This individual must have a demonstrated commitment to the university’s public liberal arts mission, strategic vision including diversity initiative (especially as it relates to faculty and staff recruitment and curriculum development), and community values (ASPIRE).

This person must have a terminal degree and demonstrate a record of academic accomplishment and scholarship that merits tenure and advanced Associate Professor or Full Professor rank.

To be considered, please submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and three references to the President’s Office, Attention Dr. Jeffrey McClurken, Chief of Staff, by February 8, 2021.

If you have any questions regarding this opportunity, please contact me at



Troy Paino

An end-of-semester message from President Paino

A message from the Office of the President.

To the campus community:

What a year this has been! While there are many aspects of it I’m happy to move beyond, I believe we also learned a great deal about ourselves and our ability to overcome unimaginable challenges.

As 2020 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all you have done to persevere and project positivity during this pandemic. While many people went to extraordinary lengths to prepare for our return, ultimately the success rested on each individual’s decision to put the good of this community above personal interest. All of you showed resilience, dedication, and adaptability as we encountered hurdles and faced unknowns.

I’m deeply grateful to you; your sacrifice and sense of responsibility for each other allowed us to have a successful fall. Your commitment to this community was inspiring, and the people of UMW demonstrated that it was possible to continue living and learning in the midst of COVID. My pride in this student body, faculty, and staff is difficult to articulate, but I invite you to watch this video message for all members of this community.

With hopeful news of a COVID vaccine on the horizon, I look forward to a 2021 full of promise and possibilities. Meanwhile, I wish you a warm, healthy, and relaxing winter break.