University of Mary Washington colleagues have long known how committed President Troy D. Paino is to the student experience – and to the faculty and staff who work day in and day out to make it the best it can be.
Now, student affairs professionals throughout the Southeastern United States are spreading the news. NASPA, the organization of student affairs administrators in higher education, will recognize Paino with its Region III President’s Award for 2022 during a summer symposium in Charleston, South Carolina, June 12-15.
“This prestigious award signifies that your fellow student affairs colleagues value the contributions you are making in the field,” awards committee co-chairs Stephen M. Howard and Nicholas Hudson wrote in an email informing Paino of the honor. “It also exemplifies your hard work within the profession, your institution and NASPA Region III.”
In supporting Paino’s nomination for the recognition, UMW Vice President for Student Affairs Juliette Landphair emphasized the president’s compassionate approach to strategic planning and decision-making and pointed out, “He is, above all, a student-centered leader.”
That’s not lost on the students themselves. Paino is known for his personal attention to their concerns and his commitment to understanding diverse perspectives – viewpoints he intentionally seeks during regular dinners with students at his residence, Brompton.
His “self-effacing humor goes a long way with students, staff and faculty,” Landphair said.
She recounted a day in summer 2019 when student orientation leaders (OLs) were on campus preparing to introduce incoming first-years to UMW. To thank them for their hard work, Paino unexpectedly brought them a cake.
“When he and I walked into the room, the surprised OLs began squealing like Troy was a rock star. And indeed, for them, he is.”
Dean of Students Cedric Rucker also noted Paino’s unique rapport with students. In adding his voice to Paino’s nomination for the NASPA award, Rucker said, “He takes seriously those matters that impact their learning environments. He enthusiastically embraces traditions that give their university experiences meaning.”
Rucker praised Paino’s insistence that all students be valued and heard.
“President Paino believes passionately that the university’s population and programs should reflect values of diversity and inclusivity throughout,” Rucker said. “His enthusiasm and energy for dedicating the resources of this university to being outward-thinking resonates well, especially in times of the sort of ethnic, racial, economic, political, social and environmental instability and inequality that we have been witnessing over recent years.”
Paino’s student focus encompasses athletes, noted Director of Athletics Patrick Catullo and Associate Director of Athletics Caitlin Moore. That was especially evident during the early days of COVID-19, when Paino made it a point to Zoom with the Student-Athlete Advisory Council as team members struggled with the personal impacts of the pandemic.
Once sports activities were able to resume, Paino enthusiastically appeared at games and homecoming.
“During a time where it’s easy to sit behind a desk (or screen),” wrote Catullo and Moore, “President Paino has been actively engaged in all areas of the campus community.”
Martha Kimball Hearn says
Martha Kimball Hearn says
Congratulations! Well deserved.