July 15, 2024

Worrell Wins Metzger Achievement Award

Planning a party? A performance? A prestigious event? Susan Worrell is the woman for you. Colleagues call her a dynamo, their point person, a problem-solver.

Special Assistant to the President for University Events Susan Worrell won this year's Patricia Lacey Metzger Award. Presented at this morning's Women's Leadership Colloquium @UMW, the award recognizes women who have excelled in their chosen career path.

Special Assistant to the President for University Events Susan Worrell won this year’s Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award. Presented at this morning’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW, the award recognizes women who have excelled in their chosen career path.

Now Worrell, University of Mary Washington Special Assistant to the President for University Events, has another title to add to the mix – Metzger Award winner. The annual recognition – the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award – goes to a woman who’s established herself as a leader in her chosen field, showing personal and professional integrity along the way. Worrell has actually for years planned the event at which the award was presented. (Talk about trying to keep a secret!)

“Susan Worrell is the engine that makes so many things happen at the University of Mary Washington,” College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson said in her nomination letter for the award, presented this morning at the Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW. “She’s a ‘behind the scenes’ dynamo.”

If you have an event, Worrell’s team has the tools to pull it off and the polish to make it shine. They oversee hundreds of functions each year, from mammoth complexities like Commencement and glitzy affairs like Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars to scholarly talks, holiday galas and, yes, the ever-present pizza party. Wrangling details that swivel and swirl – think flight times and forecasts – Worrell makes sure authors, politicians, musicians and more enjoy their Mary Washington stay. And she pampers high-profile alumni and donors with personal touches.

Not to mention the nuptials. A self-described “wedding whisperer,” Worrell has handled exactly 987 of them, with two more planned later this month.

“You want everything to run smoothly and be seamless,” said Central Rappahannock Regional Library Director Martha Hutzel, who presented this morning’s award. “You want them to leave with a wonderful experience and a connection to the people and place.”

That’s what Worrell delivers.

Before Mary Washington, she built a career directing military clubs across Europe and in catering with the Marriott Corp., where she opened a kosher kitchen in Richmond and a string of hotels from one coast to the other. She came to work for the Wood Company – predecessor to UMW dining services partner Sodexo – in the mid-’90s, rising to the rank of assistant vice president, with accounts nationwide.

Former Mary Washington President William B. Anderson took note, tapping Worrell to manage Brompton and open the Jepson Executive Alumni Center in 2004. She arrived, waving her practicality and ingenuity like a wand over banquets and balls, conventions and colloquiums … and weddings.

“Everywhere I worked always had weddings,” said Worrell, who insists they’re her favorite.

Her secret? Putting her personal preferences aside to bring the bride and groom’s dream day to life.

“I let them choose their own path. My job is to make sure they’re getting exactly what they want, not what I want,” Worrell said. “I’ve never had a bad experience.”

The CHAT bubble at the virtual Women’s Leadership Colloquium @UMW blew up with congratulatory messages when Worrell received the Metzger Award this morning. Here is a small sample:

  •  “Susan Worrell, that is AWESOME! Congratulations!”
  • “I knew it was you when it said grace and creativity. You embody those characteristics!”
  • “YEASSS! Congrats!”
  • “I am so happy for you, Susan! CONGRATULATIONS!”
  • “We have been so fortunate to have Susan Worrell share “the fullness of who she is” for many years!!”

Image of Love: Wedding Photo a UMW Instagram Sensation

UMW asked to repost this photo of the wedding of Aaron McPherson ’12 (left) and Evan Smallwood ’15 at UMW’s renovated amphitheatre. It exploded, garnering 1,833 likes, 34 comments, 205 shares, 2,072 total engagement and 7,840 people reached. Photo by The Girl Tyler.

UMW asked to repost this photo of the wedding of Aaron McPherson ’12 (left) and Evan Smallwood ’15 at UMW’s renovated amphitheatre. It exploded, garnering 1,833 likes, 34 comments, 205 shares, 2,072 total engagement and 7,840 people reached. Photo by The Girl Tyler.

Evan Smallwood ’15 was nervous. He’d tried on six different sweaters but nothing seemed right. He paced as he dressed, peering every few minutes out his Russell Hall window to check for his date. Just as he’d settled on a green quarter-zip, Aaron McPherson ’12 pulled into view, and Smallwood rushed downstairs to meet him.

McPherson had tucked something extra into his SUV – a bouquet of Smallwood’s favorite, sunflowers. He’d pondered the purchase, since after all, it was only the couple’s first outing. But then again, it was Valentine’s Day!

Today, eight years later, the two – whose wedding is the only one to take place at UMW’s Heslep Amphitheatre since a $3 million renovation wrapped up in 2018 – celebrate their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. A photo from their special day garnered nearly 2,000 Instagram likes and became the most popular post in Mary Washington social media history. UMW had made an indelible tag on them, too, sparking their love for each other and dual careers in higher education. Read more.

Office of Events Welcomes Coordinator of Community Events

Ali Gauch Hieber returns to UMW, joining the Office of Events and Conferencing as Coordinator of Community Events.  She will work collaboratively with colleagues across campus coordinating our undergraduate graduation ceremony and the Great Lives Series. Recently, Ms. Hieber has served as Special Assistant to the VP for Academic Affairs and Student Services and Dean of Enrollment Services at Germanna Community College and was responsible for recruitment, the Admissions and Records Office, Financial Aid Office, the Veteran’s Center and educational sites in Stafford and Culpeper counties.  In this role she was responsible for two annual commencement ceremonies and multiple public events.

Ali previously served the University from 1993-2012, most recently as the Associate Dean of Admissions.

Lottery Lunches with President and Mrs. Hurley

The following message is from the Office of University Events and Conferencing:

Spring dates for the faculty and staff lottery luncheons with President and Mrs. Hurley at Brompton are now available. All UMW Employees are eligible to enter the lottery. If you are chosen, you will be invited to attend a very special luncheon with President and Mrs. Hurley. We are currently holding a lottery for two lunch dates in spring 2016. You can now apply online, and 10 randomly chosen winners will receive an email invitation for one of the lunches. Go to http://president.umw.edu/events/lottery-dinners-with-president-and-mrs-hurley/  to enter.

Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit

The Office of University Relations has unveiled to the campus community the completed Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit. This document replaces the Graphic Standards, which have been in use since 2004.

This toolkit has been developed over the course of many months, and it has been endorsed by President Hurley and approved by the Cabinet.

As you review the identity standards, please remember that first impressions occur in a multitude of formats. From print to electronic communications to online to social media, the manner by which we visually present the University of Mary Washington has a significant impact on how we are viewed by the public. As we communicate about the University, this publication will provide detailed guidelines for using our trademarked logos and other visual representations of the University.

This is a fluid document: changes should and will be made as situations dictate. In conjunction with release of these standards, President Hurley has appointed a Visual Identity and Brand Standards Committee, which will serve an oversight and compliance role. This committee will also consider any proposed changes to the standards. Current members include:

Anna Billingsley, chair
Erma Baker
Richard Finkelstein
Malcolm Holmes
Shelley Keith
Lou Martinette
AJ Newell
Clint Often
Anand Rao
Gregg Stull
Mark Thaden
Marty Wilder
Susan Worrell
Representative from Admissions
Representative from Student Activities
Student representative

By consistently following the guidelines outlined in the Toolkit, we can all help build a strong, unified image for the University of Mary Washington.

Should you have questions about the Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit, contact Anna Billingsley, Associate Vice President for University Relations, at (504) 654-1686 or abilling@umw.edu; or AJ Newell, Director of Design Services and Brand Coordinator, at (540) 654-1934 or anewell@umw.edu.

The Brand Standards and Visual Identity Toolkit is a PDF file. You may download it here.