UMW Political Science Professor Presented in Washington D.C.


Emile Lester, assistant professor of political science, has researched and written about the intersection of religion and education, along the way developing his argument that not only is teaching religion in public schools possible, it is necessary. Through a case study of Modesto, Calif., the first school district in America to require a course in world religions, Lester works to dispel the notion that secularists and conservatives can’t work together. Instead, he argues in “Teaching about Religions: A Democratic Approach for Public Schools” that balanced world religions courses are essential for fostering tolerance among young people. Lester discussed the book at a forum on Tuesday, November 1 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The forum, “God in the Classroom: Exploring the Place of Religion in Public Schools,” was presented by the Religious Freedom Project at the Newseum and Wesley Theological Seminary. The evening also included the Washington D.C. premiere of the … [Read more...]

UMW Department of Theatre & Dance to Continue Season with “Rent”


The University of Mary Washington Department of Theatre & Dance will continue its 2011-12 season with a production of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent.” Performances will be Nov. 3-5, Nov. 10-12 and Nov. 17-19 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 6, 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. in Klein Theatre, duPont Hall. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $16 for students and senior citizens. “Rent” is the story of Mark and Roger, two struggling artists with dreams of making lives for themselves on the Lower East Side of New York City in the mid-1990s. Relationships are challenged as the AIDS epidemic threatens to tear their close-knit community apart. Mark, Roger and friends grapple with the meanings of life, love and loss, and find hope in friendship as they struggle to make ends meet. “Rent,” with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, is based upon Giocomo Puccini’s “La Bohème.” “Rent” first premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in 1994, opened off-Broadway in 1996 and moved to Broadway later that year. In … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor Receives Milton Society Award

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor of English

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor in English at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive the prestigious James Holly Hanford Award from the Milton Society of America. The award recognizes a distinguished published article on John Milton, the 17th century poet and author of Paradise Lost, and will be shared this year by two recipients. LaBreche won the prize for his essay, “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce.” The essay, selected from among the more than 100 Miltonic articles published each year, appeared in English Literary History, a quarterly journal of The Johns Hopkins University for scholars and educators in English and American literature, literary history and theory. The Milton Society will present the award to LaBreche at the annual dinner meeting of the society at the Modern Language Association convention in Seattle in January 2012. LaBreche currently is writing a book on Milton’s conception of liberty … [Read more...]

UMW Announces Nomination Process for James Farmer Lecture


The University of Mary Washington has announced important changes to the James Farmer Lecture, a program that has honored the legacy of former UMW professor James Farmer for the past decade. The popular address will be continued as an annual lecture presented by a leader in the areas of civil rights and social justice. As a way to recognize the role Farmer played in enriching the intellectual life of Mary Washington, the lecture will be held every fall on the Fredericksburg campus starting next year. In addition, nominations will be open to the community. The lecturer chosen will be a person whose work exemplifies Farmer’s qualities and traits through his or her contributions to civil rights and social justice as an activist, scholar, public official or professional. “As an organizer, activist, and scholar, Dr. Farmer understood the importance of community engagement and believed in the power of individuals to transform their communities in positive and meaningful ways,” said … [Read more...]

UMW to Host Debate for Virginia Senate


Candidates for the 17th district seat in the Virginia Senate will participate in a debate at the University of Mary Washington. The session will be held Thursday, November 3 in Monroe Hall, Room 116 at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public without charge. The debate will present two candidates for the seat: Democratic incumbent Edd Houck, director of corporate and community programs for MediCorp in Fredericksburg and a former educator, and Republican challenger Bryce Reeves, a small business owner and a retired captain from the United States Army. The 17th district includes all of Culpeper, Louisa, Madison, Orange and Spotsylvania Counties and part of Fredericksburg City. The panelists include Dick Hammerstrom, local news editor of the Free Lance-Star, and Ted Schubel, news director of News/Talk 1230 WFVA-AM. Rosalyn Cooperman, associate professor of political science at UMW, will serve as moderator for the discussions. The program is sponsored by the university’s Student … [Read more...]

Rep. John Lewis Presents Resolution in Honor of UMW

UMW graduation, Saturday May 7, 2011. (Photo by Norm Shafer).

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) recently presented a congressional resolution that honors University of Mary Washington President Richard V. Hurley. The resolution congratulates Hurley on his inauguration as UMW’s ninth president and recognizes UMW for its 2011 commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. Lewis, one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, gave the undergraduate commencement address at UMW in May. In the resolution, Lewis reflects on UMW’s ties to the Freedom Riders of the 1960s: Like any leader, he has encountered many challenges.  But President Hurley understands that what compelled a diverse group of Americans in 1961 to board southward-bound buses for Civil Rights is the same calling that can inspire minds and change hearts today. I saw that for myself this year when he embraced the history of his institution and one of its distinguished faculty, my friend and fellow Freedom Rider, James Farmer. President Hurley led one of the country’s most impressive … [Read more...]

UMW Freshman Blogs for Seventeen Magazine


Every week, Berkley Schmidt takes photos, creates videos or writes journal entries about her freshman year at the University of Mary Washington. She talks about how to navigate college life and offers tips and advice along the way. As one of Seventeen Magazine’s Freshman 15, Schmidt is not just a blogger – she is sharing her UMW experience with a national audience. Schmidt, a Richmond native, was chosen from more than 2,000 applicants to be one of the 15 bloggers on the website and in the pages of the November 2011 issue of Seventeen Magazine, on newsstands October 18. In one blog entry, she describes the Class of 2015’s first week on-campus: The second day here, as we were walking to convocation dressed in our formal attire, a storm fired away on the little town of Fredericksburg. Luckily we had just reached the covered walk when the skies opened up, but the real fun began as we reached the library. Sirens blasted as faculty and Orientation Leaders rushed us … [Read more...]

UMW Hosting German Campus Week

German Week

For the first time, the University of Mary Washington is hosting a “do Deutsch” campus week beginning in October, in conjunction with more than 40 colleges and universities across the United States. The weeks of activities and events, sponsored by the Germany Embassy and the UMW Department of Modern Foreign Languages, are designed to promote German language and culture on campus. “Do Deutsch” week at Mary Washington began on Tuesday, October 25 and will run through Saturday, November 5 and will include contests and competitions, film screenings and special events. All events are free and open to the public. All area high school students as well at UMW students are invited to participate in the essay, visual arts, film/DVD and song competitions, themed “German(y) in your life.” Other events include: Film screenings of “In July” on Tuesday, October 25, “Kebab Connection” on Thursday, October 27 and “We are the Night” on Monday, October 31. All screenings are at 7 p.m. in George … [Read more...]

UMW Philanthropy Class Accepted Grant Applications

Each fall, UMW's philanthropy course awards a total of $10,000 to area nonprofit agencies.

University of Mary Washington students enrolled in a philanthropy class sought applicants for $10,000 in grant money to be awarded to local nonprofit organizations. The class, made up of 22 students called the University of Mary Washington Philanthropic Society, hopes the funds will improve the welfare of the disadvantaged in the greater Fredericksburg area by providing financial support to regional nonprofits, according to the class’s mission statement. The class will award a total of $10,000 to one or more nonprofits on Tuesday, December 6. The deadline for paper applications was Tuesday, October 25 and the deadline for electronic applications was Tuesday, November 1. Eligible applicants must come from the City of Fredericksburg; the counties of Spotsylvania, Orange, King George, Stafford, Caroline, Culpeper and Prince William; the Middle Peninsula or the Northern Neck region. This year, the primary interest of the Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector class … [Read more...]

UMW Hosting Two Exhibitions, One from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Vincent Van Gogh, The Wheat Field Behind St. Paul’s Hospital, St. Remy, 1889, oil on canvas, 18 x 21 3/4 in./framed 9 1/2 x 13 1/4 in./unframed, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

The University of Mary Washington Galleries is hosting two exhibitions: “Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler: Masterpieces of World Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” through Friday, December 2 at the Ridderhof Martin Gallery; and “Super-Sized: Large Scale Drawings” through Friday, December 2 at the duPont Gallery. The opening reception for “Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Whistler” was Thursday, October 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ridderhof Martin Gallery. Cliff Edwards, professor of philosophy and religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, presented the lecture “Mysteries of ‘The Night Café’: Hidden Key to the Spirituality of Vincent Van Gogh” at the gallery on Sunday, October 30 at 2 p.m. On Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m., Jeffrey Allison, Paul Mellon Collection Educator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will present the lecture “Jasper Francis Cropsey: The Hudson River School and a True American Landscape.” Both lectures are free and open to the public, but … [Read more...]