June 29, 2022

President Paino Quoted in The Free Lance-Star

UMW President Troy D. Paino

UMW President Troy D. Paino

President Troy Paino was quoted in an article in The Free Lance-Star entitled Fredericksburg Joins Drive Clean Rural USA Project. 

Mary Washington President Troy Paino said the initiative comes at an “opportune time” for his school. “UMW is in the process of developing a Climate Action Plan with clear and timely clean energy targets,” Paino said. “Partnering with the city and schools will propel this plan forward to the benefits of everyone in our community.” Read more.

Rycroft and Kinsley Bring Home Book Awards

Inequality in America: Causes and Consequences, edited by Professor of Economics Robert S. Rycroft and College of Business Senior Lecturer Kimberley Kinsley, received both the 2022 IPPY Award Bronze in the Current Events II (Social Issues/Humanitarian) category and the Library Journal Best Reference of 2021 Award.

In addition, a paper they edited won the 2022 Albers Faculty Student Research Collaboration Award from Seattle University.

Inequality in America: Causes and Consequences consists of 35 essays written by 50 authors. Three essays were written by Rycroft, Kinsley and College of Education Assistant Professor Christy Irish. One was written by UMW alum Lauren DiRago-Duncan. The book’s introduction was written by UMW President Troy Paino.

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!

A Message From The President

Dear UMW Community,

Welcome to the first installment of A Message from the President. This monthly message will be a staple throughout the academic year and is part of an ongoing effort to improve communication on campus. If there are topics or issues you would like for these messages to address, please submit suggestions to president@umw.edu.

There is not much to update as it relates to this year’s state legislative session. The budget is in conference and members are awaiting the special session to get back to work. Hopefully we will know more in advance of the April message so I can report how the state budget impacts UMW. Until it’s approved, we cannot finalize our fiscal year 2023 budget, including tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year.

The spring semester not only brings warmer temperatures and signs of new life, but also an exciting and promising time of year that we call “yield season.” This is the critically important time between offers of admittance to prospective students and the deadline to make a deposit for enrollment. Events like last Saturday’s Destination UMW are opportunities for us to communicate what is so special about a Mary Washington education with these admitted students and their families. A special thanks to all those responsible for making the event so successful. From the Admissions team to our faculty and staff and students who came out on a Saturday to interact with these prospective Eagles and their families, you made a positive difference. I heard nothing but great things about your interaction with these admitted students, and you convinced more than a few students that Mary Washington is the place for them.

With just a little over a month left in yield season, all of us can play an important part in providing a warm, genuine and positive welcome for students and their families as they visit campus. Whether it’s holding a door open, saying hello, answering questions or offering to escort a family to a meeting room, your efforts matter. The following are some important events to put on your calendar:

  • April 9 – MOVE (Multicultural On-Campus Visit Experience) and UMW Multicultural Fair
  • April 15 – Open House for prospective students and their families
  • April 23 – Destination UMW for Fall 2022 admitted students and their families

I wanted to especially thank those who work so hard to make our campus look clean and beautiful. The combination of COVID, the January 3rd snow storm, the underground utilities project, and a reduced crew has made taking care of our campus a significant challenge. Despite that, those who work to maintain our grounds and buildings have gone above and beyond the call of duty to restore campus. I have heard several compliments that our campus once again “shows well.” The campus is especially beautiful as the flowers and trees start to bloom.

The underground utilities project is progressing so we can have heat and hot water for years to come. However, its disruption has interfered with everyone’s enjoyment of campus these past several weeks, particularly on Ball Circle. Fortunately, the work has moved from Ball Circle to in front of Westmoreland Hall, enabling our crew to begin preparing the heart of campus for spring traditions like Devil-Goat Day and, most importantly, commencement.

Speaking of commencement, it saddens me to report that I must miss this year’s ceremony. As hopefully all students and their families can understand, I need to be at my youngest daughter’s college graduation that is scheduled for the same day, May 7th, in a different state. This is particularly difficult for me because the Class of 2022 holds a special place in my heart. These graduates have endured a lot over their time at UMW, and I wanted to be there to congratulate them during this much deserved joyous occasion. In addition, this year’s graduation ceremony returns to its traditional location: Ball Circle! Commencement has not been on Ball Circle since 2019, and there is no better location for such an occasion. Marching into the warm embrace of a crowd of friends and families brimming with pride to the sound of bagpipes always fills my heart with joy, and I am sorry to miss it.

In an effort to compensate for my absence, I am doing several things to honor this year’s amazing graduating class, including:

  • offer opportunities for photos with the president in full regalia,
  • attend a Senior Toast to celebrate the graduating class and convey what they mean to me and this community,
  • attend commencement rehearsal on May 6th before I must run to the airport to catch a plane, and
  • record a congratulatory video message that will be shared at commencement.

Please stay tuned for more details about these celebratory opportunities.

As we enter the home stretch of this academic year, I want to encourage expressions of kindness toward one another. The last two years have strained those human connections that give our lives and work so much meaning. As we find more opportunities now to interact with one another, remember a warm smile and kind word go a long way.

Thank you all for making Mary Washington such a wonderful and caring community.



Troy Paino

Paino Calls for Commitment at ‘Critical Juncture’

UMW President Troy Paino welcomed faculty and staff to Spring 2022 – a fifth semester of teaching and learning amid a global pandemic – yesterday in a livestreamed all-University address.

“In light of what we’ve gone through over the past two years, we’re at a critical juncture,” he said. “I’m calling for the University community to come together.”

UMW President Troy D. Paino

UMW President Troy D. Paino

Paino asked all employees – even outside of Admissions – to consider student recruitment and retention an essential part of their job, as colleges across the country struggle to yield incoming classes. Part news bulletin, part pep talk, the presentation praised resilience across campus in the face of an incorrigible COVID-19 and a damaging winter storm that pounded the area last week. The 35-minute address also looked toward the future, touching on planned capital projects, new leadership and ambitious initiatives.

But the present – today’s return to in-person classes – was key. The ability to stick with that plan was made possible, Paino said, thanks to a vaccination rate of more than 95 percent among the UMW community, and just six percent positivity among students, compared with more than 40 percent in the region, as the Omicron variant surges.

“The bottom line is that working and living in this community, which is almost totally vaccinated, makes this campus one of the safest places to be here in the Fredericksburg area,” he said.

Paino encouraged University personnel to stay strong and aware, to practice self-care and to consider at-risk individuals. He also urged the campus community to be cognizant of the contributions of healthcare partners, including the CDC, Virginia Department of Health, Rappahannock Area Health District and colleagues throughout the commonwealth.

Much of the talk focused on the University-wide need to connect with prospective students. “It’s the small things,” Paino said. “It’s the way we answer the phone, the way we interact with people on campus.” Related initiatives, he said, include the newly created Recruitment and Retention Council, the launch of a new brand and a push to engage students earlier in their high school careers.

Turning to the topic of construction, Paino said, activity continues on campus despite supply chain and inflation issues. He cited the recent demolition of Alvey; renovation of Seacobeck, which re-opened today; and the ongoing underground utilities project on Ball Circle.

After an extensive renovation, longtime dining area Seacobeck Hall has officially taken on its new role as home to the College of Education. More capital projects are in the works, President Paino announced during the Spring 2022 All-University Address.

After an extensive renovation, longtime dining area Seacobeck Hall has officially taken on its new role as home to the College of Education. More capital projects are in the works, President Paino announced during the Spring 2022 All-University Address.

More such work is on the way, he said, with a new legislative session and state administration. Preliminary funding will support the museums operated by UMW, the Office of Disability Resources and a proposed salary increase. In addition, funding will be available to plan for the construction of a new theatre and the renovation of duPont, Melchers and Pollard halls, along with Simpson Library.

Paino welcomed Chief Diversity Officer Shavonne Shorter and Director of Emergency Management and Safety Brandy Ellard, and announced the launch of a national search for a vice president for advancement.

Leadership will guide the need to reassess Mary Washington’s strategic vision, Paino said. He asked the entire University community to join in the effort of examining the four current pillars – civic engagement, immersive learning, creation of a diverse and inclusive community, and adaptation of the liberal arts to a digital world – in light of lessons learned over the past two years.

“How do we respond to this moment?” he said. “And this is a moment, let’s make no mistake about it, that we have to respond to.”

On what would have been the 102nd birthday of former Mary Washington faculty member and civil rights icon James L. Farmer Jr., Paino stressed the need to work together to help shape the next generation of engaged citizens, inspire social mobility and demonstrate a commitment to truth.

“Is it challenging work? Is it huge work? Is it hard work? No doubt,” he said. “But I feel grateful that we have a sense of purpose here at this critically important time for our democracy. Thank you for all the work you do.”

Holiday Greetings from President Paino

Dear UMW Community,

As the semester comes to an end and we prepare for winter break, I wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to you and those you hold dear.

Since March of 2020, we all have endured additional strain – pandemic struggles, political and social unrest, and personal or family health and financial challenges. With cooperation and support from all of you, we have kept COVID-19 transmission rates extremely low and have made campus life as normal as possible given the circumstances. You have exemplified what it means to be a part of a caring community, and your resilience has allowed us to move forward and fulfill our mission.

I know the holiday season can sometimes exacerbate stressful feelings and situations, taking a toll on our emotional and physical well-being. Please take care of yourself and enjoy those customs that enrich your life and give you peace of mind. My hope is that you enjoy laughter, good food, family, and friends as we reflect on this past year and look forward to the next.


Announcement of Vice President for Advancement Search

A message from the Office of the President.

To the University Community,

As you may be aware, we are beginning a national search for a new Vice President for Advancement.  We are seeking a highly qualified individual for this critical area of operations for the University and will work diligently to ensure that we get the right person to lead this unit.

I have asked Jeffrey McClurken, Chief of Staff, to chair the search committee. The other members of the search committee are:

  • Devon Cushman, Class of 1993 and BOV Chair of Administration, Facilities, Finance, and Advancement committee
  • Jackie Gallagher, Professor and Chair, Geography Department, UFC representative
  • Patti Kemp, UMW Foundation Board, Class of 1969
  • Keith Mellinger, Dean of Arts and Sciences
  • Dana Norwood, Biology major, Social Justice minor, Class of 2022, SGA representative
  • Marion Sanford, James Farmer Multicultural Center
  • Catherine Seller, Advancement
  • Mark Thaden, Alumni Relations, Class of 2002
  • Alicia Tisdale, Financial Aid, USC representative
  • Susan Worrell, Interim Vice President for Advancement

The committee will be assisted in its work by Greg Duyck, Principal and Advancement Practice Leader of the executive search firm of WittKieffer with the goal of having candidates on campus in the spring.


President Paino Focuses on What Matters Most in UMW Address

As the University of Mary Washington welcomes students to campus this week, President Troy Paino expressed “true joy” as he gathered with many of his colleagues on Monday for the first time since March of last year. Speaking in Dodd Auditorium, Paino was visibly moved as he delivered his all-University address in person to more than 100 faculty and staff, while those still teleworking watched on livestream.

UMW President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW President Troy Paino. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Paino, who wore a mask in adherence to UMW’s indoor face coverings policy, shared his concerns about the Delta variant. But having witnessed the campus community’s commitment to mitigating the spread of the virus, he said he was confident in Mary Washington’s resilience and ability to adapt. “Our capacity to serve our students and fulfill our mission” will be renewed and strengthened after the adversity we’ve all faced, he said.

Touting a 90 percent vaccination rate among students and employees, Paino said the University will continue to monitor the situation and follow guidance from local and state health authorities. Finishing the last academic year among schools with the lowest number of cases, Mary Washington has been a model for the Commonwealth, he said. Furthermore, Chief of Staff Jeff McClurken, who managed UMW’s pandemic response with Interim Provost Tim O’Donnell, was asked to chair a team of COVID directors from Virginia colleges and universities.

Flanked by banners declaring the values that matter at Mary Washington, Paino announced that more than 7,000 members of the UMW community helped create “a collective expression … that is authentic to who we are.” Mary Washington will continue to collaborate with Atlanta-based firm Mindpower to refine and reinforce the Matter brand to tell our story to prospective students and their families, he said.



He also encouraged faculty and staff to focus on fostering connections with current students, especially those who came to UMW during the pandemic. “Individualized attention … the human interaction with our students inside and outside the classroom,” he said, “that’s the Mary Washington experience.”

The president also provided updates on construction projects, including the newly renovated Virginia Hall, which new students began moving into this week; the anticipated spring 2022 completion of Seacobeck as the new home of the College of Education; and the Maxine and Carl D. Silver Hillel Center, which will serve as a hub for UMW’s Jewish students. Funds have been secured from the General Assembly to start planning for a new theatre, Paino said, as well as a revitalization of the duPont, Pollard and Melchers arts complex.

Mary Washington has begun a nationwide search for a new chief diversity officer to succeed Sabrina Johnson, who retired earlier this year, Paino said. Citing UMW’s recent rankings on the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges and Washington Monthly’s list of institutions that serve a public good, he added that Mary Washington is on the verge of hiring a full-time sustainability coordinator.

Paino concluded his address with praise for faculty and staff, emphasizing their role in helping UMW students discover what matters most to them. “I wish you well as we welcome our students back to campus,” he said, “and be reminded of the important work we do together.”


A message from President Paino

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On Monday, I recorded this video as a year-end message of appreciation and encouragement for all of you. At that time, we had no idea when a verdict would be rendered or what to expect in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Now that we know the outcome, my sentiments expressed here take on even more poignancy and meaning. We must continue to strive to be better and to hold ourselves and our nation accountable as a place where all can live with dignity, purpose, and acceptance.

When I consider all the visible and unseen challenges each of you has confronted this past year, I realize that this year has come at a great price, but also with tremendous reward. The way that this great community continues to overcome the unimaginable fills me with a sense of hope for the future.

Wishing you all the best,

Troy Paino


Democracy is not a state

Monroe Hall after a snowfall. A message from the Office of the President. 

“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

John Lewis

The New York Times, July 30, 2020


To members of the UMW Community:

Like you, I watched with shock and horror as a mob attacked our nation’s Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. I struggled that night and Thursday with what, if anything, to say to the Mary Washington community in the wake of this travesty. Adding my voice to the chorus of condemnations from across the globe seemed gratuitous.

On the other hand, given our mission, proximity to DC, and the reality that this event, along with the stress of the pandemic, has impacted all of us in a very real and profound way, does the Mary Washington community need to hear from me at this time?  At the very least, I do feel compelled to give voice to our calling and mission in the face of such a national disgrace.

Wednesday was a manifestation of a dangerous undercurrent that has been a part of our national story since its beginning. As we have learned, it does not take much to unleash that destructive force. As if we needed to be reminded, the biggest threat to our nation’s future is from within; it always has been.

Mary Washington’s mission calls us to be nothing less than a counterforce to the darkness and self-interest that can lie in the human spirit and to make sacrifices for the common good. As a public, liberal arts institution, UMW’s purpose and community values are grounded in and defined by the fundamental principles of a democratic civil society.

As Congressman Lewis’ final words instruct, we must act in the face of this unraveling. It is easy to gain notoriety and even political support by sowing seeds of division, hate, and resentment toward those with whom you disagree. It is much more difficult to work with those on the other side of the political divide, to listen to dissenting views and counterarguments, to love your enemies, and sow seeds of hope despite all the reasons to feel hopeless.

What we need now more than ever, though, is just that – the moral courage of both leaders and citizens to confront inconvenient truths and work together toward solutions with humility, grace, empathy, and an eye toward the common good. This is what can heal a divided nation. It is UMW’s mission to prepare a generation to do just that, to do its part to build a nation at peace with itself.

Let’s get back to work.


Troy D. Paino