President Troy Paino on Friday reminded faculty and staff of the power of a liberal arts education and its ability to shape the world for good at a critical time in our nation’s history.
“We’ve increasingly seen education through a vocational lens. We believe the important thing we do is to develop technical skills in our students that make them employable in a technological age,” Paino said at Dodd Auditorium. “I’m here to say that’s wrong-headed. At Mary Washington, we have the power to push back.”
A UMW education not only prepares young people for the workforce but also teaches them civic agency, the university’s 10th president said during his annual kick-off to the upcoming academic year.
“Here at Mary Washington, I want to promote a liberal arts education that is responding to the issues of our day,” Paino said. “It is our responsibility at this time in our society–as we see fraying around the edges of our democracy, as we see increased fragmentation, polarization, anger and an inability for people to talk and work with one another—to think about what our role is.”
Next week, UMW will welcome 937 traditional, first-year students with an average high school GPA of 3.64 and an average SAT score of 1176, Paino said. A third of those students are from racial and ethnic minorities as UMW increasingly becomes a reflection of the commonwealth and the country.
“We have a lot of really strong students. They are academically prepared and diverse,” the president said.
To the faculty and staff, Paino charged: “I want you to go out and have a great year and change some people’s lives.”
You can watch Paino’s full address here: https://www.umw.edu/president/august-2018-umw-assembly.