University of Mary Washington senior Nathaniel Huff attended 19 professional theatre performances in the span of three weeks – more than most patrons see in a year – on the UMW Theatre in London trip last summer.
A theatre major, Huff grew up in a small town with limited access to his chosen field. He said that going abroad exposed him and his classmates to a wide variety of plays and musicals, including several world premieres. “There is no doubt that the productions I witnessed are influencing my work and giving me ideas on how to engage with the creative process,” said Huff, who is currently directing a play he discovered at England’s National Theatre for his senior project.
Huff’s participation in the six-credit course, which also took students to the Globe Theatre and other Shakespearean sites, was made possible by UMW’s Beyond the Classroom Endowment (BtC). The initiative, founded three years ago, supports experiential learning such as study abroad, undergraduate research, internships and travel to academic conferences. Now, the Beyond the Classroom Education Abroad Scholarship, first awarded last year, has given students like Huff the funding to study overseas.
“BtC was started to provide access to those learning experiences that make such a critical difference in the education and lives of our students,” said College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Keith Mellinger. According to UMW’s Center for International Education, one in three students study abroad while attending Mary Washington. “These opportunities set our students apart from others in a very crowded and highly competitive work environment,” Mellinger said.
Generous donors have already raised more than $600,000 for the initiative, which is already being used by UMW students. The long-term goal, Mellinger said, is creating a $1 million endowed fund, which will generate tens of thousands of dollars for students each year.
Mary T. Bradley MacPherson ’71 has sponsored a challenge, which will unlock $10,000 for study abroad if 200 gifts are made to Beyond the Classroom in the month of November. The timing coincides with International Education Week, Nov. 13-17. Donations made on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, will also count toward the total.
Read more at Giving.umw.edu. Learn more about the Beyond the Classroom Challenge for November 2023: