UMW Launches Innovative Website and Reveals New University Tagline

The University of Mary Washington unveiled a new university website and brand personality at its first ever campus-wide pep rally on Friday, Oct. 7 in the Anderson Center. Led by newly inaugurated President Richard Hurley, the spirited gathering offered the first look at the innovative website and marketing initiatives. Also featured were the winning entries in a student video contest.

“We’re not changing who we are. We’re just re-thinking how we present ourselves to the outside world,” Hurley told the crowd of more than 600 students, faculty and staff.

“What does it mean to be University of Mary Washington?” he said. “It means small interactive classes taught by master teachers. It means a community that values and instills honor and integrity. It means intellectually curious students who seek rigorous academics. It means a rich array of out-of-classroom experiences such as internships, athletics, research opportunities and service projects. It means graduates who have real world experience and are articulate critical thinkers. It means people who are civically engaged and who act upon their beliefs.”

“The days of Mary Washington being an undiscovered gem are over!” Hurley said. “The days of UMW being the best kept secret are over!”

He listed the University of Mary Washington’s personality traits as innovative, passionate, intellectual and genuine.

Through a video featuring scores of students and staff members, Hurley revealed the phrase that will start to accompany the university logo: “where great minds get to work.” Earlier this year, UMW hired the Colorado-based marketing firm Educational Marketing Group Inc. (EMG) to develop a fresh approach to the manner in which UMW presents itself. EMG conceived the tagline after conducting extensive research and collecting input from more than 2,500 stakeholders in the university, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The tagline, along with new images of the university, will be part of an upcoming marketing and advertising campaign to increase the visibility of the institution on a local, regional and national level.

Months in the making, UMW’s web redesign effort is a daring institutional experiment where the real-time activities of faculty and students are the top priorities. Building on the success of the burgeoning UMW Blogs WordPress community, students, faculty and staff now have familiar tools for public web content. UMW’s pioneering implementation of WordPress as the platform for the new website is a scalable, multi-network content management system. This remarkably open and user-friendly environment promises to transform the university’s life on the web.

During the pep rally, President Hurley announced the winners of a student video contest with the theme of great minds at UMW. The three winning videos were chosen from 14 videos, contributed by 37 students. Grand-prize winner Nathan Dawes received a $500 prize for his video, “A UMW Mind” and runner-up Ria Firth received a $250 prize for her video, “A Dream in the Life of One Mind’s Neuron.”  Second runners-up, Caroline Ebrill, Kat Schenck, Ashleigh Buyers, Lauren Horton and Matt Lamb, received a $100 prize for their video, “I Have a Great Mind Because.”

The university encourages the campus community and the public to interact with the new website at For more information about the web redesign project or the university marketing initiative, contact the Office of University Relations at (540) 654-1055.

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About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.


  1. Noel Derecki says:

    Site looks really great and the tagline is clever.

  2. The second place video contest winner showed no relationship to UMW. How could they have placed second and win $250? The first place video was indeed awesome and connected with UMW, as did the third place video. Please check your records!

  3. Noel Derecki says:

    The second place winner created what was essentially a piece of art. The video was incredibly creative, engaging, and clearly took a lot of time to put together. It was beautiful rather than slick.

    I tend to be a fan of art, because it reaches deeper into both the creator and the viewer, to a place that isn’t so easily described by words, or taglines, or cute type treatments.

    My two cents. I disagree with you. No malice.

  4. Aren’t we celebrating the Great Minds produced by UMW? New website, new theme, NEW UMW! Yes, this was a very creative and entertaining video, but nothing would lead me to feel a closeness nor want to learn more about UMW and what it has to offer. I may have missed the whole point of the contest. My bad!

    • Noel Derecki says:

      I think I understand what you’re saying, and I see your point. I guess a third party wouldn’t really get the connection between the video #2 and UMW, right? Is that it? If that’s what you’re trying to point out, that’s interesting. I hadn’t considered that. Still, I really like it, just for what it is… :)

  5. Where is canvas’s link? I can’t find it anywhere now. It used to be easy to find. Am I missing something?

  6. “Drop-down” items on front page don’t work with FireFox (Mac). Site’s new…just a bug to work out.

  7. George Farrar says:

    Wow, y’all knocked it out of the park! The website looks fabulous and the new tagline speaks to the quality of UMW. Well done to everyone.

  8. Monica Cecil says:

    I love this webpage! It’s kitchy, informative and the photography slides are amazing! Great job! Just in time for Homecoming as well. Feeling like a proud Eagle right now =)