February 27, 2024

Administrative Retirees Leave Mark on UMW

Two key members of President Paino’s Cabinet have retired, taking with them a total of 39 years of contributions to University of Mary Washington. Having earned emeritus status, Chief Diversity Officer Sabrina Johnson and Provost Nina Mikhalevsky both served Mary Washington in myriad capacities. Their departures leave not only an institutional void but also a rich legacy.

Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, Emerita

Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, Emerita

Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, Emerita

During her 24 years at UMW, Sabrina Johnson has served in two critical administrative roles: Associate Vice President for Human Resources as well as her current position as Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer. The first person to hold the latter role, Dr. Johnson has distinguished herself by advocating tirelessly for equity and inclusion for all members of the Mary Washington community.

Instrumental in establishing the University’s ASPIRE statement of community values, she has sought to ensure that all have the opportunity to succeed. Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and public safety and a master’s in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her juris doctorate is from the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

Among her myriad accomplishments, Dr. Johnson is responsible for:

  • Instituting bias incident reporting for the University
  • Leading UMW through statewide compensation reform
  • Making equity a focus at the senior leadership level and in academic and administrative program areas University wide
  • Leadership in establishing the Staff Advisory Council (now University Staff Council) as well as the Leadership UMW program for employee professional development
  • Advocacy for persons with disabilities, including promoting accessibility of the physical environment and the celebration of disability culture.


Nina Mikhalevsky, Provost Emerita and Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Nina Mikhalevsky, Provost Emerita and Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Nina MikhalevskyProvost Emerita and Professor Emerita of Philosophy

Nina Mikhalevsky was appointed as UMW’s chief academic officer in 2017. Working with the deans and faculty, she provides leadership of major university initiatives in teaching, research and creative activities, and has responsibility for all university educational and academic policies.

Dr. Mikhalevsky came to Mary Washington in 2006 after serving with distinction as a faculty member and administrator at both Mount Vernon College and The George Washington University. Before being named provost, she held a number of critical positions at UMW – Vice President for Strategy and Policy, Acting Provost, Acting Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technologies, as well as Interim Dean of the College of Education.

Dr. Mikhalevsky has positively impacted nearly every aspect of the institution. Noteworthy accomplishments include leadership roles in strategic planning, accreditation, COVID-19 coordination, implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and championing teaching and learning.

She earned doctoral and master’s degrees in philosophy from Georgetown University, as well as a bachelor’s in philosophy from Boston University.

Mary Talks: “Farmer Legacy: 2020 & Beyond”

Join us ONLINE for the next Mary Talk of the 2020-21 academic year!

In January 2020, UMW launched Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Action to recognize what would have been the 100th birthday of Dr. James Farmer, national civil rights icon and Mary Washington College professor from 1985 to 1998. While the pandemic changed the direction of our yearlong commemoration, it did not shake our commitment to honor Dr. Farmer and to realize his vision for a more equitable America. Our next Mary Talk will explore Dr. Farmer’s life and legacy and his ongoing impact at Mary Washington today.

This Talk will be presented by Farmer Legacy co-chairs Dr. Sabrina Johnson (Vice President for Equity and Access) and Dr. Juliette Landphair (Vice President for Student Affairs) along with Jason Ford ’20 (leader of the Black Alumni Affinity Group). They will discuss Dr. Farmer’s impact and UMW’s ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence. We will hear from alumni who recall Dr. Farmer as a remarkable historian and teacher. We will recount our trip with President Troy Paino and others to Capitol Hill to visit the legendary Representative John Lewis, who participated in the Freedom Rides with Dr. Farmer and served as the Farmer Legacy’s honorary Chairperson. We will examine the context of Dr. Farmer’s life and legacy as well as our progress in equity and inclusion efforts at UMW.

Wednesday, December 9
7:30-9:00 p.m.

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

Note: Online viewing is the only option for this Mary Talk, as we are not conducting any in-person events at this time.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Virtual Town Hall Addresses Campus ‘Hurt’

UMW President Troy Paino addressed an audience of concerned students yesterday afternoon during a virtual town hall meeting.

The event – planned for an hour but extended by 15 minutes to allow more students to speak – was called in light of protests taking place throughout the country and in the Fredericksburg area since the May 25 murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

“I just wanted to let you all know that my mind and my heart have been with you over the past week and a half, and really since we left each other back in March,” Paino said at the start of the session, hosted live via Zoom.

While a number of faculty and staff members expressed interest in participating, President Paino wanted to have an exclusive conversation with students. Their concerns centered on the presence of UMW Police Sunday night during a protest when city police used tear gas to displace protesters. Other topics included the university’s stance on systemic racism and on the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Black lives do matter,” said Vice President for Equity and Access Sabrina Johnson, who joined Paino yesterday as a panelist, along with UMW Police Chief Mike Hall. “I want to mention the names our leaders mention: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd. I want their names to be in this space during this very important discussion.”

Just hours before Floyd’s first memorial service was set to be begin in Minneapolis, students took their turns onscreen to pose questions to Paino, who told them that he has lined up discussions with Fredericksburg officials, including the police chief, city manager and mayor. The university is committed to working through what happened, he said, and to maintaining transparency in communicating those findings.

Paino pledged that UMW will continue its efforts to recruit a more diverse faculty and to live by its code of community values, also known as ASPIRE. He acknowledged his intent to join in solidarity with students who planned a peaceful walk from Mary Washington to Fredericksburg’s Market Square this afternoon. The march, officially announced in a UMW email today from Student Government Association President Kyree Ford,was meant to support students of color and “to show the campus community that black lives matter and hate has no home at Mary Washington.”

Farmer Legacy 2020 Co-Chairs Johnson & Landphair Speak with WVTF Radio IQ

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.

Farmer Legacy 2020 co-chairs Sabrina Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Access and Chief Diversity Officer, and Juliette Landphair, Vice President for Student Affairs, were recently interviewed on WVTF Radio IQ, an NPR affiliate, about civil rights icon and late Mary Washington professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. and UMW’s yearlong celebration of his life and legacy that launched in January, on the day after the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Johnson spoke of the impact Farmer had as a professor. “He touched the lives of so many students,” she says.  “It was the most popular class on campus.  It brought in historic numbers.”

Landphair spoke of Farmer’s concern that those who led the civil rights movement would someday be forgotten. “There’s a danger sometimes or a risk when you just reflect and celebrate as if the story is over. We have to hold on and protect and not backslide when it comes to the progress that’s been made.” Read more.

Honor James Farmer and Follow the Freedom Rides with UMW

UMW faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and neighbors are invited to join our students as they celebrate the legacy of Dr. James L. Farmer, Jr., on the Freedom Rides Tour, a social justice trip commemorating Farmer’s signature movement to enforce the desegregation of interstate travel.

The alumni/community bus will caravan with the student bus and follow the exact route of the Freedom Riders. Stops will include some of the same places the Freedom Riders stopped–whether to speak with other activists at Bennett College in North Carolina, to strategize for next steps in Georgia, or just to have a safe place to sleep for the night. Along the way, we will visit the International Civil Rights Museum in North Carolina, the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum in Alabama, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the Atlanta University Center, both in Georgia.

Learn more about the sites, history, and experiences of the Freedom Rides and other significant landmarks and trailblazers of the Civil Rights movement. See the spot where the Freedom Riders were attacked by the KKK. Visit Martin Luther King, Jr’s birth home. It promises to be a meaningful and impactful journey. We will be joined on the trip by Dr. Erin Devlin, assistant professor of history and American studies, and Dr. Marion Sanford, director of multicultural affairs at the James Farmer Multicultural Center, who will add commentary and context to the trip.

We hope you’ll get on the bus!

Saturday, Oct. 12-Tuesday, Oct. 15
Departing from and returning to UMW’s Fredericksburg Campus

This event is being coordinated by UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center and the office of the Vice-President for Equity and Access in conjunction with UMW’s 2020 celebration of the 100th anniversary of Dr. Farmer’s birth.

Dr. Farmer was a dedicated civil rights activist, educator and UMW professor, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He co-founded one of the most important civil rights organizations of the 20th century, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). Dr. Farmer personified UMW’s founding and continuing commitment to be a force for positive change, educating citizens who are ready and eager to address our society’s greatest challenges.


Early Group Registration for Women’s Leadership Colloquium Ends Saturday

Groups of five or more have until Saturday, Oct. 20 to get a discounted registration fee for the Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW, set to take place Nov. 1 at the University of Mary Washington’s Stafford campus from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The fee for groups of five or more is $179 through Saturday. After that, individual registration is $199 through Oct. 31. Student tickets cost $30 each through Nov. 1. For more information, visit umw.edu/lcpw/colloquium.

Leadership expert Nicole Price will be the keynote speaker. Nicole is the owner of the leadership development company, Lively Paradox, specializing in combining accountability with empathy and compassion as a fundamental leadership strategy. Nicole received her B.S. in chemical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University, her master’s degree in adult education from Park University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in leadership and management.

Through leadership development, coaching, consulting, keynotes, and other resources, Nicole encourages and enables others to live their lives in excellence. Her energetic and engaging sessions leave participants with strategies and specific tools that they can apply right away. Her lively presentation style garners rave reviews and, very often, an invitation to return.

The daylong event, themed “The Empowered Woman,” fosters connections between professional women. It features a variety of enriching seminars to include: The Empowered Life, The Empowered Citizen, Financial Empowerment, Empowered Presence, Empowered through Purpose, and Empowered through Difference. Speakers include executive director of the Community Foundation for the Rappahannock River Region Teri McNally, Director of Finance and Human Resources of The George Washington Foundation Carter Fitch, strategic planning and organizational development expert Cara Parker, vice president of equity and access at UMW Sabrina Johnson, life coach and professional development consultant Jenna Cooley and vice president of administration and finance at UMW Lynne Richardson.