July 1, 2022

University Staff Council Presents Larry Atkins Awards

On April 21, the USC celebrated this year’s three exceptional winners of the Larry Atkins Award. Nominees for the award are typically the unsung heroes of their departments who always go above and beyond to help and to set a positive example for the community.

The pool of nominees was competitive. Each nomination featured so many glowing anecdotes and proud stories of deserving colleagues that it was difficult to choose the winners. Ultimately, three UMW staff members were selected for recognition, one from each employment category, and were presented with their award at the USC’s April meeting in the HCC Auditorium. President Paino was on hand to congratulate the winners in person.

We’re pleased to announce the following three Atkins Award winners:

Sarah Dewees, Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement

Sarah’s colleagues in the CCE nominated her for her kindness, energy, enthusiasm, and can-do attitude, crediting her for helping establish the center as one of the most vibrant on campus. Her commitment to the service mission of the center and of UMW at large is evident in all her hard work, from her collaboration with community partners to creating curricula and programs on campus. Sarah’s dedication and thoughtfulness are commendable.

Brian Ogle, Associate Registrar for Student Systems

Brian was recognized by his colleagues in the Registrar’s Office for being a diligent, knowledgeable employee with outstanding communication skills and a positive, helpful nature. His nomination letter pointed to his impeccable work managing all his responsibilities and his willingness to always lend a hand no matter who might need it. His care and concern for his work and for his colleagues is evident and greatly appreciated.

Gilbert (Danny) Carter, Grounds Worker

Danny was an integral part of the restoration of the Run-In Shed and Cow Barn at the Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, making significant contributions to the design and implementation of the project. Danny and his colleagues worked carefully on this important project while still maintaining the buildings and grounds at Belmont to the highest standard. His colleagues admire his consistent attention to detail, strong work ethic, and ability to collaborate with the team. The staff at Belmont and across the UMW community are grateful for Danny’s excellent work.

A superb tribute video to all the winners, created by Shanita Mitchell, can be viewed on YouTube.

Please join the USC in congratulating these outstanding award recipients!

Ballot-topia: UMW Students Praised for Voter Participation

Wearing a white slicker and black rain boots, University of Mary Washington senior Caroline Mowdy approached a tent set up outside George Washington Hall. She needed a ride to the polls. Soon, she was in psychology major Christian Lyman’s blue Toyota Scion and on the way to her voting site, Dorothy Hart Community Center in […]

Students Make a Difference Through ‘Into the Streets’

On a balmy September morning, a group of University of Mary Washington students gathered on Ball Circle. Donning shirts emblazoned with a quote from author James Baldwin – “The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in” – they were ready to make […]

Students Stand Together for MLK Day of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” This quote by Martin Luther King Jr. often appears on social media around the anniversary of the civil rights leader’s birth. Charlotte Russell, a first-year student at the University of Mary Washington, reflected upon those words, which were also emblazoned on the […]

Day on Democracy Encourages Voting and Civic Engagement

Ashley Utz was a freshman at the University of Mary Washington when she registered to vote. To cast her ballot, she needed to find time during her busy class schedule and figure out which polling place was hers. “My inexperience with the voting process made it all the more challenging,” said Utz, now a senior, […]

COAR’s 2020 Box Drive

2020 Box Drive

Community Outreach and Resources’ (COAR) 2020 Box Drive works to serve the children and teens of low-income families in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Boxes will be filled with art supplies, outdoor toys, gloves, hats, etc. and delivered to kids in the community. COAR is working in collaboration with some of our local community partners, such as Hope House and the Thurman Brisben Center to provide an opportunity for UMW faculty, staff, and students to support local families and youth. Although the modality of our annual box drive has changed, our passion to serve Fredericksburg has not gone anywhere. Our presence in the community is more important now than ever before. Please consider picking up a box to fill at the CCE Suite (UC 320) now through November 2nd, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please email questions to coarumw@gmail.com.

Service Project Takes UMW Students ‘Into the Streets’ to Build Community

From right to left: Caroline Mowdy, Paige Beidelman and Lance Whitesel spread mulch with Tree Fredericksburg on Saturday as part of COAR’s Into the Streets. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

From right to left: Caroline Mowdy, Paige Beidelman and Lance Whitesel spread mulch with Tree Fredericksburg on Saturday as part of COAR’s Into the Streets. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Early Saturday morning, a group of University of Mary Washington students gathered on Ball Circle. Wearing masks and social distancing, they came together on that crisp fall day to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, completing outdoor service projects for Into the Streets. The autumn tradition is hosted by UMW’s COAR (Community Outreach and Resources), whose mission is to provide structural support for community engagement, volunteerism and service.

“At a time when we are all unable to do many of the things that give us joy, satisfaction and focus,” said Leslie Martin, faculty director of UMW’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE),  “volunteering reminds us that we are all still connected and able to work together for the betterment of our shared community.”

The Center, which opened last fall, helps build bridges – and strengthen existing ones – between Mary Washington and organizations in the greater Fredericksburg area. Several of CCE’s community partners are navigating budget cuts and layoffs as a result of the pandemic, Martin said, so “our community needs us now more than ever.” Read more.

Service Project Takes UMW Students ‘Into the Streets’ to Build Community

Early Saturday morning, a group of University of Mary Washington students gathered on Ball Circle. Wearing masks and social distancing, they came together on that crisp fall day to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, completing outdoor service projects for Into the Streets. The autumn tradition is hosted by UMW’s COAR (Community […]

Voter Registration Day Event Gives UMW Students a Voice

Callie Jordan remembers everything about her first election at age 18 – the poll workers excitedly handing her a ballot, penciling in the little circles to mark her choices and getting an American flag sticker to show the world that she had voted. But what she remembers most is feeling empowered. “I felt valued by […]

Quarantine Can’t Quash UMW’s Spirit of Service

Senior Heather Strother is among the Mary Washington students who are contributing in their communities this summer, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Friends of the Rappahannock volunteer, she’s participating in socially distanced river clean-ups.

Senior Heather Strother is among the Mary Washington students who are contributing in their communities this summer, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Friends of the Rappahannock volunteer, she’s participating in socially distanced river clean-ups.

Maria Rhoads was worried when COVID-19 first hit. But the UMW senior decided fear shouldn’t stop her from serving her community.

“I’m low risk as a young person,” said Rhoads, whose first task as a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer was assisting with safety and sanitation at a local voting precinct. “Because of everything that’s happening in our world, I think it’s important for someone like me to help others.”

While many people are staying home, the pandemic hasn’t paused UMW’s passion for service. From encouraging civic participation to feeding families in need to socially distanced river clean-ups, Mary Washington students and alums are stepping up, using the skills and experiences they’ve acquired in college to give back – both in person and remotely – to their communities.

“Our students went from doing their planned work on campus this spring to recognizing a need to help others in the face of the pandemic,” said Leslie Martin, faculty director of UMW’s Center for Community Engagement. “The ethos of civic responsibility has really taken root, and they’re finding new ways to support their neighbors even in situations of such uncertainty.” Read more.