As Marshall Hall’s former president, Jay Bradshaw ’88 has fond memories of his years living “down the hill.” He recalls carefully climbing the icy incline each winter, getting pelted by water balloons on a spring evening and sleeping in the building’s lobby to keep cool on late summer nights.
Now, he’s ready to make one more memory. The University of Mary Washington will hold a final Grill on the Hill – a student-led tradition that began in the 1980s and ran until 2015 – to say farewell to Marshall and Russell halls during 2023’s Reunion Weekend, June 1-4. The two residence halls will soon make way for the new home of UMW’s Department of Theatre and Dance, anticipated to breathe fresh life into the east end of campus.
Bradshaw helped plan the June 2 cookout, which will include picnic fare, live music by Sean Michael Dargan ’90 and a chance to visit these buildings that housed thousands of students since the 1960s. “This is a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and relive great memories from our college days,” Bradshaw said.
More than 700 alumni, families and friends are expected to return to Mary Washington for the four-day Reunion Weekend, celebrating class years ending in 3 and 8. Yet, all are welcome to partake in parties and picnics, campus tours, lectures, family fun, class photos, arts and cultural events, beverage tastings, trips to Fredericksburg’s iconic Carl’s for ice cream and more.
“Reunion brings together alumni spanning eight decades for a chance to reconnect with campus and each other,” said Executive Director of Alumni Engagement Mark Thaden ’02. “While their stories may differ, their love of Mary Washington transcends generations.”
Thursday kicks off with a special day just for the 1908 Society and for the Class of 1973, who are celebrating their 50th reunion. Events will include student-led campus tours, a wine-pairing lunch, trolley rides through historic Fredericksburg, a welcome reception at Brompton with President Troy Paino and wife Kelly, and a three-course dinner.
These classes will also be treated to a Seacobeck Soirée Friday evening, with food and entertainment throughout the renovated former dining hall, now home to UMW’s College of Education. Other classes will have their own gatherings that evening across campus and in downtown Fredericksburg.
Alumni College lectures will feature faculty members delving into fascinating topics like food waste, selfies and mental health, over-the-counter cancer treatments, 18th-century cooking, campus biodiversity and UMW’s namesake in a session entitled Mary 101.
Alums can visit academic department open houses Saturday morning and get a peek at plans for the new theatre and the renovation of the fine arts and music buildings. After enjoying a picnic lunch on Jefferson Square and taking class photos, they’ll receive a university update from President Paino and cheer on Alumni Award recipients. Festivities continue with a wine, beer and cider tasting and a movie for kids at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center, followed by the all-class party in the Cedric Rucker University Center’s Chandler Ballroom.
The weekend wraps up Sunday with a farewell brunch and a Fredericksburg Nationals baseball game, with discounted tickets available for alumni and their guests.
Register for Reunion Weekend and download the Reunion Weekend app for a full schedule of events, updates and announcements. Search “Mary Washington Alumni” in your iOS or Android app store and use the code UMW2023. Follow “UMW Alumni” on Instagram and Facebook and tag #MaryWashReunion and #LifeAfterMaryWash.