June 3, 2023

Plans for 2020 and 2021 Commencements

A message from the Provost.

Dear Colleagues,

Today, the University of Mary Washington is making the announcement that our 2020 and 2021 Commencements will take place in person over as many as four days: Thursday, May 6, and Friday, May 7, for the Class of 2020, and Saturday, May 8, and Sunday, May 9, for the Class of 2021.

To accommodate the expected numbers and to comply with the Governor’s updated health and safety guidelines, instead of a single ceremony on Ball Circle, we will need to provide multiple smaller ceremonies in a new location. The only feasible on-campus venue is the recreation field next to Route 1; this the site that will allow for the most graduates and guests and provide readily accessible garage parking with minimal interruption to campus. The format of each ceremony will be modified and shortened, and the platform party will be reduced to the smallest representation possible – again, to ensure more space for graduates and guests. We hope to have a faculty representative on the stage for each of the ceremonies; otherwise, only those faculty and staff who happen to be family members of graduates or those specifically supporting the logistics of the event will be in attendance. It will be a priority to limit  the number of individuals in attendance at each ceremony, as well as those moving around on the campus, in order to observe our COVID protocols and to avoid impact on final exams.

Because the major activity, parking, and visitor flow will be along Sunken Road, Route 1, and the parking garage, we hope to avoid undue noise or disruption while students are taking their final exams. Residence Life is working on plans for move-out that should also lessen impact on student finals. Before the event, additional information will be shared about alternative parking for those who would normally utilize the garage during this time.

While you are strongly advised to plan to be away from campus those four days doing your end-of-semester work remotely, and we continue to encourage departments, programs, and Colleges to conduct end-of-semester student activities virtually, we will be in critical need of volunteers. Please watch for the email call for volunteers; your service will be welcomed and appreciated.

Although a number of Commencement plans had been developed, this new opportunity to hold an in-person event on campus is by far the most meaningful option for students and their families. It is also the most intensive and challenging. Thus, many details clearly need to be resolved, and we appreciate your patience. Please refer to the Commencement website for periodic updates.


Nina Mikhalevsky



New Student Orientation

A message from the Office of Student Affairs and Office of the Provost.

Dear Colleagues,

For the University of Mary Washington, New Student Orientation is a special and significant time. Over the summer, orientation typically welcomes new students to campus with a program that is educational, practical, and energetic, allowing them to learn about UMW’s academic expectations and institutional values while planning for fall classes and meeting peers in an overnight visit.

This summer, we plan to deliver New Student Orientation virtually. While students and their families will not be on campus physically, they will experience UMW in an engaging and innovative way that highlights our distinctive strengths and enfolds students into our community. For 2020, the Orientation planning team has created a schedule distributed throughout the summer that utilizes both synchronous interactions and self-paced asynchronous components. It will be personal, emphasizing one-on-one advising meetings with faculty and small group interactive sessions with peers as well as offering numerous opportunities for enrichment, engagement, and fun. And finally, it will emphasize the proposition that we need to orient students for a future now understood to be indeterminate, rapidly changing, and requiring an adaptability that is illustrative of the liberal arts experience.

You will soon hear more about how to participate in the 2020 New Student Orientation. We are particularly grateful to the Orientation planning team members for their hard work, innovative spirit, and commitment to the student experience as we welcome new students to UMW. Feel free to contact orientation@umw.edu or either of us with questions or concerns.



Juliette Landphair, Ph.D.

Nina Mikhalevsky, Ph.D.

Death of Former Faculty Member John N. Pearce

John Pearce photographed at James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg. Photo by Norm Shafer.

John Pearce photographed at James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg. Photo by Norm Shafer.

The following message is from the Office of the Provost.

The University of Mary Washington regrets to announce that John N. Pearce, former senior lecturer in historic preservation and director emeritus of the James Monroe Museum and Center for Historic Preservation, died on October 14, 2019, following a long illness.

Pearce’s 27 years of service at Mary Washington began in 1984. In addition to teaching courses in the historic preservation department, he played a key role in developing the University’s museum studies curriculum. During Pearce’s tenure as director of the James Monroe Museum, the museum expanded and enhanced its programs, increased its scholarly activity, improved its facilities, and strengthened connections to the University. Pearce also directed the Germanna site of the Enchanted Castle, home of the royal Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood.

Within the Fredericksburg community, Pearce served on several boards including the Fredericksburg Area Museum, the Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc., and the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation. As a member of St. George’s Episcopal Church, he was active in the church’s renovations, archives committee, and choir, and frequently spoke on history.

Among many honors, Pearce received the Governor of Maryland’s Award and the Trustee of America Award. In 2011, he received the prestigious History Award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, given for lifetime contribution to American history, and awarded to only seven Americans each year. Articles by Pearce appear in numerous publications, such as the Dictionary of American HistoryEncyclopedia of World Art, and Encyclopedia of Local History. He authored American Painting 1560-1913 (McGraw-Hill, 1964).

Pearce is survived by his son David Scott Pearce of Washington, D.C., and daughter Hannah Phillips Pearce of Charlottesville, VA.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, October 21, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg.


Nina Mikhalevsky


New Director of the Dahlgren Center for Education and Research

A message from the Office of the Provost. 

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Michael P. Hubbard as the new Director of the Dahlgren Center for Education and Research at the University of Mary Washington. Mr. Hubbard is succeeding Scott Jones, who will retire in early November. He will continue Jones’ work in advancing Dahlgren’s vital role in serving the multiple commands aboard the Navy base in Dahlgren and promoting the Dahlgren campus as a center for community life and service throughout King George and the Northern Neck region.

During a distinguished career as a U.S. Marine Corps officer, Hubbard commanded forces both in the U.S. and deployed globally. He was selected as a Marine Corps Fellow detailed to the CEO of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and he received a personal recommendation from the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Hubbard earned an M.A. in strategic security studies as a Distinguished Graduate of National Defense University, with a human security concentration in West Africa; and an M.S. In business management from Marymount University. He has subsequently served in senior executive roles in the finance industry. 


Nina Mikhalevsky
University of Mary Washington

New UMW General Education Curriculum for BA/BS

On April 3, 2019, the UMW faculty approved a new University of Mary Washington General Education Curriculum for BA/BS students that will take effect in the fall 2020 semester.

The new General Education requirements are streamlined, providing increased flexibility and choice, while enhancing signature elements of the UMW curriculum. Our long-standing writing and speaking across the curriculum programs are strengthened by requiring that one WI and one SI course be taken in the major. Experiential learning is broadened to include service learning and community engagement courses and activities as counting toward a re-imagined “Beyond the Classroom” requirement. Important new areas of emphasis, such as the global and diverse perspectives requirement and a digital-intensive course requirement make the general education experience more relevant to the worlds that students are engaging. A new “After UMW” requirement is a distinctive element focused on translating liberal arts and sciences knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to the student’s professional and career development.

A summary of the UMW General Education Curriculum can be found here. While the new categories have been decided, the specific courses that will fulfill those requirements are still to be determined. Over the summer, faculty will be finalizing the learning outcomes for the new areas in the requirements. Beginning in September 2019, the faculty will be reviewing proposals and making decisions about the courses that will populate the new General Education requirements. This review will be completed by the middle of November 2019.

The new General Education curriculum will be officially published in the 2020-2021 Academic Catalog and will apply to all BA/BS students matriculating in August 2020. Students who matriculated prior to August 2020 will have a one-time opportunity to switch from the current set of requirements to the new ones.

Switching from the current to the new General Education requirements is entirely voluntary. Details about this process are being developed and will be communicated early in the Spring 2020 semester. In consultation with their academic advisor, students should carefully consider both sets of requirements, and the courses that meet those requirements, before making a decision to change. Anyone who changes to the new general education curriculum must meet all of its requirements. A student who voluntarily elects to switch to the new General Education curriculum will not be able to switch back to the old one for any reason.

The new General Education requirements are an exciting step ahead for us. We will keep you well informed with future updates as we progress.