Ball Circle lit up a little earlier than usual last Friday, Oct. 20, when News Channel 5 came to the Fredericksburg campus. A four-hour shoot – aired live all morning long on the Washington, D.C., station – showcased Mary Washington spirit, tradition and vision.
The first news crew arrived at 4:30 a.m. – with lights, cameras, cables and mics – before the sun rose over Lee Hall. News anchors Annie Yu and Kevin McCarthy followed at 6. Students, staff and faculty turned out for the broadcast, part of Fox 5’s “College Tour” series, that ran from 7 to 11 a.m.
Members of UMW’s cheer team waved blue and gray pom-poms throughout the broadcast, joining athletes from Eagles sports teams and representatives from UMW’s dance and equestrian teams. Even “Wilbur” the horse came out for an on-camera close-up.
Anchors Yu and McCarthy visited the Top of the U.C., where Sodexo Executive Chef William Allison, a.k.a. “Chef Will,” whipped up a made-to-order omelet for UMW President Troy D. Paino.
“Mary Washington has a long tradition of being a liberal arts institution,” Paino said during a five-minute interview later that morning. “We’ve created a vision … that is very thoughtful about adapting that liberal arts education to a 21st century reality,” he said, listing the four main elements of his recently revealed plan for the university – a focus on service, the digital age, high-impact learning experiences, and diversity and inclusion.
The only pre-taped UMW segment, filmed the previous Monday, boasted five must-see campus spots: the University Center, Palmieri Plaza, historic Brompton, the James Farmer bust on Campus Walk and the Hurley Convergence Center (HCC). An interview followed with Instructional Technology Specialist Lee Bessette, who talked about the UMW initiative Domain of One’s Own, which has spread to colleges across the U.S.; the Digital Knowledge Center; and the HCC’s myriad media and technology offerings.
Historic Preservation Professor Michael Spencer and Art and Art History Professor Rosemary Jesionowski spoke of the unique hands-on learning opportunities available on campus, in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia, and in nearby Richmond and Washington, D.C. And longtime dining services employee and Special Olympian Grace Anne Braxton warmed hearts when she accepted the “Campus Hero” award and showed off her golf swing.
A uniquely UMW trivia competition between Devils (students who graduate in odd-numbered years) and Goats (those who finish in even-numbered years) ended in a tie. Business expert Jessica Brown, author of How to Pay for College When You’re Broke, followed the contest, speaking of Mary Washington grads’ low student debt.
UMW’s air time began to wrap up with a resounding rendition of Suddenly Seymour from the Department of Theatre and Dance’s upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors, running Nov. 2 through 19. And Athletics Director Ken Tyler, flanked by members of the soccer, rugby, lacrosse and rowing teams, bid adieu to viewers with a tribute to NCAA Division III sports, which Tyler called the “purest form of athletics.”
“We like to say it’s a great day to be an Eagle, and certainly with you guys here today it is,” Tyler told the anchors, before delivering a spirited preview of last weekend’s Homecoming games and events. “We’ve got great students here at UMW, and we in the athletic department are proud to serve as the front porch, welcoming people to our beautiful campus to see all the terrific things we have going on.”