July 14, 2024

New Students Join the Eagle Family

Ask the University of Mary Washington’s incoming class about their interests and you will get a wide range of answers, from tennis and lacrosse to biology and international affairs. Yet the class seems to be in agreement on one key factor – Mary Washington is the place to be. As freshman Mariam Ansari describes it, the campus “just felt right.”   Click to view slideshow. More than 1,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students moved into residence halls on Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg campus on Friday, Aug. 22 in preparation for the start of the 2014-15 academic year on Monday, Aug. 25. The incoming class is made up of about 870 freshmen students and more than 300 transfer students, coming to Mary Washington from 27 states and seven foreign countries. More than twenty percent identify themselves as part of a minority group. On Friday evening, students were officially welcomed into the UMW community as they formalized their commitment to the UMW Honor Code during the Honor Convocation Ceremony. Weekend events continued the students’ introduction to campus life through two Mary Washington traditions: the Ice Cream Social, hosted by President Richard V. Hurley on the lawn of Brompton, the historic home of the UMW President; and Eagle Gathering, a candle-lighting ceremony on Ball Circle that recognizes the values and spirit of UMW.

Reflections on New Student Orientation


The Summer Orientation Planning Team would like to thank every member of the UMW community for your assistance with New Student Orientation. You created a welcoming environment and an amazing spirit on campus for our new students and their families and guests.

The Orientation sessions over the course of two weeks brought approximately 1100 students and 1100 guests to campus.

Consistent feedback from program evaluations showed our visitors were impressed by the friendly and helpful environment, and that the experience helped validate their student’s decision to attend Mary Washington.

We want that enthusiasm, spirit, and commitment to carry over to the August Orientation, move-in day, Honor Convocation, and the new tradition of the Eagle Gathering.


Doug Searcy
Vice President for Student Affairs

Fred Pierce
Associate Provost

Megan Higginbotham
Assistant Director of Student Activities and Engagement

Welcome Home

Orientation leaders connect new students to life at UMW.

Faculty and Staff Welcome New Students to Campus

UMW faculty and staff joined nearly 1,000 new students for the inaugural Eagle Gathering at Ball Circle on Thursday, Aug. 23. The candlelight event was part of the five-day orientation for incoming students.

“The light we passed at Eagle Gathering represents the torch of knowledge that can be seen at the center of our institutional seal,” said President Richard V. Hurley. “It stands for the desire to learn, to grow, to serve, to lead, and in all things to give our best in search of meaning and truth.”

Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs, hopes Eagle Gathering will become a time-honored tradition at UMW.

“Standing on Ball Circle as students, faculty and staff raised their candles to the alma mater was a moving experience,” Searcy said. “This inspirational event set a tone of community and connection to start students on their UMW journey.”

The following day, the new students pledged to abide by UMW’s cherished honor system during the Honor Convocation ceremony at the Anderson Center.

During orientation, students also attended sessions focused on student life, UMW traditions and academics. They met with faculty advisers to prepare for the first day of classes on Monday, Aug. 27.

For photos from orientation, visit http://www.umw.edu/news/2012/08/27/incoming-students-experience-traditions-new-and-old-at-umw/ and