Dear UMW Community,
It’s hard to believe that we are already approaching the end of the fall semester, with moments to celebrate and applaud as well as moments to pause and reflect. Our campus community has come together in so many ways this fall, from reconnecting with alumni during Homecoming, sharing feedback and a moment of kindness with SGA, and reaching out to classmates and colleagues across the state as we support those impacted by the tragedy at the University of Virginia. We’re sending love from Mary Wash, and I invite you to join Student Affairs and stop by the Cedric Rucker University Center to sign the banner for UVA before Thanksgiving Break.
News around our nation continues to bring grief and reminders of how we must come together to stand for what we believe in and strive toward. At Mary Washington, we uphold our ASPIRE values and condemn acts of violence and hatred in stark contrast to these community values. As I’ve said before, I hope you will reach out to friends and family, as well as our many on-campus professional staff and resources, if you need support during this time.
We share many examples of community and appreciation this time of year, with gratitude for all those who give their time, talent or treasure in support of student scholarship in the classrooms and beyond. Our Beyond the Classroom Endowment (BTC) is one such initiative, offering a world of opportunities for students interested in pursuing independent research, internships, traveling to academic conferences, and studying abroad. Thanks, too, to the many UMW faculty guiding students as they delve into their research interests and clarify their career paths.
Our students have also been leading the way and cheering one another on, from the third annual Day on Democracy, which showcased our civic engagement with “game-day” enthusiasm as noted in Forbes, to UMW Debate, which advanced in several championships in recent weeks and just won the Collegiate Public Forum Fall Championship. We’ve hosted NCAA conferences, with our volleyball and men’s soccer winning conference championships and defending our home courts and fields through several rounds, as our campus welcomed visitors from around the nation. It took a team effort to ready campus for these major events, and I appreciate our athletics staff, grounds crew, information technology, events staff and everyone who helped us broadcast these games to fans near and far. Now we eagerly watch our Eagles continue in the men’s soccer national semi-finals on Dec. 1.
We frequently hear guests comment on how beautiful our campus is, so it’s not surprising to learn that, once again, The Princeton Review has recognized UMW. The 2023 Guide to Green Colleges rating highlights our overall green citizenship and environmentally responsible policies that provide a healthy and sustainable quality of life and job preparedness in a clean-energy economy. This accolade would not be possible without the many staff, faculty and students who work and volunteer to ensure our campus is the best it can be. Every act makes a collective, beautiful difference.
This time of year showcases the culmination of many class projects, with research presentations, publications, and performances filling our schedules and reminding us all of the great energy and expertise that runs throughout campus. Good luck in all your endeavors through exams. What a gift it is to learn, practice, and perform or demonstrate creative skills and talents within a supportive campus community.
We continue to focus on our commitment to provide students with an education that matters, and with that in mind, our Board of Visitors approved and affirmed the University of Mary Washington Strategic Vision 2022-2027 at the recent Nov. 18 meeting. This strategic vision with goals and action steps reflects the efforts and hard work of many members of our community, and it sets a roadmap for our work ahead.
As you plan to spend the upcoming Thanksgiving break with family and friends, seek a restful break and solitary pursuits or anything in between, I hope you will be reenergized for your last few weeks on campus. I am thankful for each of you and your spirit of community, perseverance, dedication and support of one another. Ours is a wonderful, rich environment where each of us can make a huge impact via your individual actions to ensure our community remains healthy, vibrant and productive. I wish you the best this Thanksgiving Break and through the end of the fall semester.
Enjoy the break,