Incoming Students Experience Traditions, New and Old, at UMW

Orientation Day 08

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 … [Read more...]

Pre-Flight Brings New Students Together Before Orientation

Claire Zhang (left) and Abigail Fleming met at UMW's Pre-Flight, a pre-orientation program for new students

University of Mary Washington students officially arrive on the Fredericksburg campus on Wednesday, Aug. 22, but incoming freshman Claire Zhang of Ashburn, Va., already has made connections. Zhang is one of 40 new students who participated in Pre-Flight, an inaugural pre-orientation program for first-year students. “I could probably tell you everyone’s name,” said Zhang pointing to the dozens of students playing kickball behind her. Just four days earlier, she would have struggled to name any. The students, along with staff members and graduate assistants, spent four days in the Virginia mountains, divided into a service group and an outdoor adventure group, then returned to UMW for two days of teambuilding activities. “Initially they were a bit shy about connecting and getting to know each other,” said Mark Mermelstein, director of campus recreation and the leader of the outdoor adventure group. “By the end of the week, it was a really, really tight-knit … [Read more...]