Incoming Students Experience Traditions, New and Old, at UMW

A glow of candles welcomed new University of Mary Washington students as they filed into Ball Circle Thursday, Aug. 23. Soon the flames spread from person to person, eventually reaching each candle.

Faculty and staff joined nearly 1,000 students for the inaugural Eagle Gathering. The candlelight event was part of the five-day orientation for incoming students.

“The light we passed at Eagle Gathering represents the torch of knowledge that can be seen at the center of our institutional seal,” said President Richard V. Hurley. “It stands for the desire to learn, to grow, to serve, to lead, and in all things to give our best in search of meaning and truth.”

Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs, hopes Eagle Gathering will become a time-honored tradition at UMW.

“Standing on Ball Circle as students, faculty and staff raised their candles to the alma mater was a moving experience,” Searcy said. “This inspirational event set a tone of community and connection to start students on their UMW journey.”

The following day, the new students pledged to abide by UMW’s cherished honor system during the Honor Convocation ceremony at the Anderson Center.

During orientation, students also attended sessions focused on student life, UMW traditions and academics. They met with faculty advisors to prepare for the first day of classes on Monday, Aug. 27.

Incoming students joined President Richard V. Hurley for an ice cream social during orientation

“Orientation 2012 really set the stage for a great academic year,” said Searcy. “Students were engaged throughout the orientation process and were eager to learn about UMW. I look forward to strengthening their enthusiasm as we work together to affirm UMW as the place where great minds get to work.”

About Brynn Boyer

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


  1. Susan Duffey dimaina says:

    What a wonderful way for incoming students to start the year! Traditions such as this help make everyone feel part of the whole. An inspired idea!


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