Lights, Camera, Passion

Dan Wolfe

The job Dan Wolfe ’84 landed after graduation brought a paycheck, but it also brought nightmares. In them, 20 years had passed; he was in his late 40s, still scuffing along in car insurance. Then came the call. His 26-year-old former University of Mary Washington roommate, John Heath ’84, had died in a car crash. Shaken, Wolfe drove to the campus they’d called home. He’d been coasting, he realized, even back then – a business administration major on “the four-plus-year plan.” But Mary Washington wasn’t giving up on Wolfe yet. He thought of his friend and how he’d loved movies, especially "The Big Chill"; they’d seen it together. As Wolfe strolled Campus Walk, reliving his past, he came face-to-face with his future – a flier for film school on a bulletin board outside Lee Hall. “Once I got over my fear of failure, things started happening,” said Wolfe, now executive vice president for Worldwide Creative Operations at NBC Universal. “I realized I was holding myself … [Read more...]

Exploring Education

Environmental science student Katy Chase works with Professor George Meadows to create several portable environmental education kits. Photo by Bob Martin.

Katy Chase has bug viewers, digital microscopes, binoculars and GPS navigation systems at her disposal when she shares her knowledge about environmental science with the community. Using two recently purchased environmental science kits, Chase is one of 15 University of Mary Washington students teaching local families at the England Run Library as part of a partnership with UMW. She aims to ignite in them a similar passion and appreciation for science that she holds dear. “In schools teachers might be a little afraid of science and kids aren’t always exposed to different tools and materials related to the sciences. They learn a lot from textbooks,” said the environmental science and Master of Science in elementary education student. She’s already spread her love for science to Brazil, where as an intern, she taught environmental science in public schools. After she graduates, Chase plans to continue in the classroom, either home or abroad. Using the kits, Chase creates … [Read more...]

Speaking from the Heart

homepage_Tom-Pacheco

As a preteen at St. Ursula School, Tom Pacheco took the stage in front of his classmates, took a deep breath, and asked them for their vote for student government. After his very first speech, he was hooked on public speaking. Years later, Pacheco ’14 found a way to share his knack for oration at the University of Mary Washington. “Public speaking is something that people are extremely afraid of and I’ve never felt that, but it’s an incredible experience being able to help someone work through it,” said Pacheco, who worked at the UMW Speaking Center for four years. “I feel that I have these communications skills and I want to do something with them. I want to give back to the community in some way.” He joined the debate team in high school and found a passion for speaking and learning. That passion led him to UMW. At UMW, debate permeated every aspect of his life. A philosophy and political science double major, Pacheco traveled throughout the United States as part of the … [Read more...]

Coloring Outside the Lines

Photo by Leigh Williams '14

A bin of orange bouncy balls caught Sidney Mullis’ eye during a routine trip to Wal-Mart.  The University of Mary Washington studio art major snapped up a plastic ball and pondered the creative possibilities. She transformed the cheap childhood toy into wearable art that she later filmed for a performance art piece called “Straight.” The coming-of-age work earned her the Melchers Gray Purchase Award  at UMW’s annual student art exhibition in April, ensuring the work a place in UMW’s permanent art collection. Mullis, already an accomplished artist as a 2014 graduate, often traverses the line between art and theatre in her work. She isn’t afraid to take risks, and admits she doesn’t fit neatly into conventional categories. “I don’t really know where I sit in between the two [disciplines], and I’m actually happy about that,” she said. “I think there is something more interesting to me when I don’t know. I think that goes into my working process, too.” With “Straight” and … [Read more...]

National Champs!

UMV rugby

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Finally, the Right Fit

Cedric Rucker adjusts mortarboard on Mollie Welty '14

Simpson Library boasted new CD-ROMS. The Battlefield Athletic Complex had just been completed. And acid wash jeans and shoulder pads ruled Campus Walk. It was 1989 when a photographer captured an image a family would cherish forever. The picture – of Lisa Welty Pagliocchini ’89 trying her mortarboard on her 2-year-old niece, Mollie Elizabeth Welty – ran with Commencement Day coverage in Today, now University of Mary Washington Magazine. Welty’s mother’s been “nutsy” about the photo ever since, stashing away the magazine for all of these years. Watching her daughter, now 26, turn the tassel on her own mortarboard on Saturday, May 10, brought the family full circle. “Hindsight is always 20-20,” said Welty, who would have to leave home and come back to truly appreciate UMW. “It was the right school all along, I just didn’t know it.” If she had, she might not have schlepped all her stuff from Woodbridge to West Virginia, even with a full ride to row on the university team. … [Read more...]

Congrats, Class of 2014!

UMW Graduation 18_crop

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A Living Legacy

(from left): Jack Hylan, Julia Wood, Candice Roland and Leah Tams

History lurks just under the surface at the University of Mary Washington. Every brick, every tree, every bench on Campus Walk could tell a story from the university’s 106-year history. A group of UMW students hears echoes of those stories – and has found their place in them – thanks to an innovative history course. Century America is a small, private, online course, taught by Professors Jeffrey McClurken from UMW and Ellen Holmes Pearson from the University of North Carolina Asheville, who instruct students from nine different public liberal arts colleges. The course, funded by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) and the Teagle Foundation, invites each participating school to discover what life was like at their institution 100 years ago and to share those stories as part of a digital exhibition. “I already loved Mary Washington history, but it has given me a greater appreciation for the school now that I have an understanding of its legacy and this whole … [Read more...]

Better Business

eir-matt-1 (2)

Matt Ernst had a taste for entrepreneurial adventures long before he came to the University of Mary Washington. The 1994 business administration graduate began his first startup –a lawn care company – at the age of 15. “There’s no time like the present,” said Ernst. “If you don’t pursue your dream when you have it right there in front of you, you never know if that moment might come again.” Ernst has seized many moments since his first startup as a teenager. Most recently, he founded Walnut Grove Holdings LLC, an investment company that focuses on early-stage technology companies. “I’m learning how to invest, what not to invest in, to trust my gut like I always did, to seek mentors, to be a sponge, to continue learning and to get out there and be present,” said Ernst, who is focusing on investing in companies with honest, hardworking people. As the eighth of nine children, Ernst learned at a young age about group dynamics, teamwork and to be resilient in the face of … [Read more...]

‘All In’ the Game

Caitlin Moore (center

Caitlin Moore stood on the sidelines of University of Mary Washington’s Battleground Complex at a recent Friday afternoon lacrosse practice.  She confidently surveyed the 27 athletes in front of her. Preparing for game day with her whistle poised, the UMW women’s lacrosse coach studied her team, encouraging them as they ran plays until they looked seamless, breaking only for instructions and pep talks where all eyes were glued to their energized mentor. The next day, the team would go on to beat their opponent 22 to six. Moore’s accomplishments as an undergraduate student at UMW combined with her new “all in” motto as a coach, give motivation to the women’s lacrosse team, evident in the team’s success on the field and their focus in practice. A two-time alumna who received All-America status her senior year, Moore was UMW’s career points leader and record-holder for points and assists both in a single season and in a single game. Her two degrees from UMW –a … [Read more...]