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...]

Voices of Hope

Photographer

Growing up in Afghanistan, Fatemeh Ahmadi moved every couple years, her family bouncing from one house to another. The University of Mary Washington junior, who never imagined she’d attend a university in the U.S., spent last spring break giving another family a place to call home as part of a Habitat for Humanity trip. “I come from a third world country where we’ve lived in rental houses,” Ahmadi said. “I understand how hard it is not to have a roof of your own on top of your head.” Now, she is the first person in her family to attend college.  Ahmadi and Afghan native Maryam Yousufzai, also a junior, are receiving full scholarships through UMW as part of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, known as IEAW. The largest program of its kind, the IEAW has a mission to “create Afghanistan’s future women leaders through education and career guidance.” Since the launch of the program more than a decade ago, the initiative has given an education and a voice to more than 85 … [Read more...]

Legal Eagles

UMW Mock Trial rehearsal

A murder was committed at RacheterWorld Amusement Park, and ride operator Whit Bowman faced prosecution for murder, robbery and theft. A member of Bowman’s defense team, University of Mary Washington senior Colin Spangler insisted that Bowman was merely a victim of convenience while the real culprit got away. “The prosecution cannot offer you proof (of Bowman’s guilt) because it simply does not exist,” Spangler pleaded in his closing argument of the fictional trial held at the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington, D.C. “Today it is your opportunity to tell the prosecution that someone is not better than no one when that someone, Whit Bowman, is innocent. Find Whit Bowman not guilty of all three charges.” Spangler is among nine members of the UMW Mock Trial Team who argued both for and against Bowman’s innocence in March at the Opening Round Championship  tournament sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). The competition enables students to participate in … [Read more...]

Creative Critics

Rappahannock-Review

A small circle of University of Mary Washington students scrutinized the printed sheets of poetry resting on their laps. Lost in their lively deliberation the amateur literary critics seemed oblivious to the bitter cold outside the Combs Hall window. “I really want to like this poem,” said senior Abbey Doherty. “I think I love what it’s pursuing.” “I just love the way the poet used the pomegranate,” fellow student Greg Chandler said from across the circle. “I can see this.” “This isn’t the typical divorce poem,” Visiting Assistant Professor of English Elizabeth Wade explained to the group after further discussion. “OK, let’s vote.” The group readied for the ballot—five thumbs up; one down—signaling acceptance in the Rappahannock Review, a new online literary journal created and published by UMW students. With 138 submissions just in the month of February, the Rappahannock Review is a burgeoning publication with plans to publish at least two issues a year and includes … [Read more...]

Up Close and Personal

Katie Wilson with sea lion[2]_HP

  Charlie Reed surveyed the marine life surrounding him as he snorkeled off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. Suddenly, two black, glassy eyes gazed back at him. He stared face-to-face at a 200-pound female sea lion. “At first, it was a little scary,” the University of Mary Washington senior said. “Then you realize they are just trying to play.” The Galapagos Islands, the site of a UMW faculty-led Spring Break trip, are known for their biological diversity – and for wildlife that haven’t been conditioned to be afraid of humans. Reed and his 23 fellow UMW students experienced that firsthand during their nine-day trip, a joint effort by Andrew Dolby, professor of biology, and Melanie Szulczewski, assistant professor of environmental science. The trip was one of five faculty-led study abroad experiences over Spring Break, including in Quebec, Guatemala, Austria and India. “What makes this course unique is that it is holistic,” Dolby said. Students will receive … [Read more...]

Sounds of Spirit

Members of the UMW Pep Band perform at each home basketball game.

The University of Mary Washington will soon croon to its own fight song. And students will get a chance to help pen the lyrics. The winner will receive $250 and a new iPad, and will have his or her name attached to the song in perpetuity. “We want the song to last and be a part of the UMW culture and tradition,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy. The song, “Soar, Eagles, Soar!” is being composed by Paul Murtha, a world-class composer and arranger for the United States Army Band. Murtha has long been associated with UMW as a member of the UMW Faculty Brass Quintet and an arranger for the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra. Students interested in contributing lyrics should: Listen to the music (in electronic format at the bottom of the page). It eventually will be recorded by the UMW band. Open the lyric sheet for the song and follow along. Write the words. You’ll need to supply a word for each note written. The first and last lines have been written, so … [Read more...]