Dear UMW Community,
The semester is off to a terrific start! I have enjoyed engaging with so many of you, whether it’s been a moment of bench sitting along Campus Walk, finding a moment to chat in the Cedric Rucker University Center, or connecting at one of the many meetings and events already happening this semester. It’s been wonderful seeing the new members in our community, with more than 1,000 new students, and I encourage you to continue warmly greeting one another, meeting new people and making new friends. Just this past weekend, I had the opportunity to welcome several prospective students at the Admissions Open House.
This time of year is particularly important as it relates to our reaffirming who we are as a community and where we stand alongside our peer institutions. U.S. News & World Report ranked UMW among the top national public and private liberal arts colleges. This ranking recognizes UMW’s new Carnegie Classification category among baccalaureate liberal arts and sciences institutions. Washington Monthly, which measures schools based on contributions to the greater good in the categories of social mobility, research and public service, also recognized UMW among the top liberal arts colleges. Last month, The Princeton Review included UMW in the “Best 388 Colleges for 2023.” And, earlier this summer, Fiske Guide to Colleges named UMW among the “best and most interesting” public and private four-year colleges and universities.
But, what do these rankings really mean? They result directly from your work in the classroom and in the community and inform the world that UMW is a leader in:
- Dynamic, quality and unique academic majors and programs
- Small classes and high impact learning opportunities in which students grow and learn – as students, as individuals and as a part of the greater community
- Faculty who are experts in their field who strive to share their knowledge and develop meaningful and professional relationships with students
- An intimate residential environment that supports classroom learning, social interactions, personal growth, and more
- Numerous, varied social and interpersonal clubs, organizations, and activities, as well as robust athletic programs, arts and culture opportunities, etc.
- Financial resources and programs to offer students an opportunity to not only attend but succeed in college
- A genuinely supportive and welcoming community where faculty, staff and students work together and support one another
UMW is a unique and wonderful place where we can find meaning and purpose. Students, I encourage you to refine your skills and passions, try new experiences beyond your comfort levels, and simply be who you are. I encourage you to share your talents and abilities with our community. Feed your curiosity, ask questions, listen, read and research, converse with others – you will personally learn, grow, and gain confidence and our community will be stronger and more diverse as a result.
And while we continue to polish our existing programs and offerings, we are also looking ahead to the future. We are excited to share that preliminary architectural plans for a new theatre building and arts and music renovations were presented to the Board of Visitors at the September 16, 2022 meeting. You can see more in a public preview of the design on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. via Zoom and learn more about how this project supports our deep liberal arts roots and affords an opportunity to bring people and communities together. View the webinar at https://umw-sso.zoom.us/j/81779295932.
And finally, this weekend we host our annual Family Weekend. There is no registration to attend the many events planned throughout the weekend. I hope you will enjoy spending time with your family and friends and take the time to show them your college home.
I look forward to the many upcoming opportunities to greet you and meet with you throughout the semester.