Dear UMW Community,
With the fall semester well underway and the fall season upon us, we find much to celebrate and work toward. First, I wanted to update you on the state budget, which has passed and was signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin last week, effectively increasing support for higher education and funding specific priority initiatives for the University of Mary Washington.
As part of the FY 2023-2024 amended budget, UMW will be receiving an additional $2.1 million in operating funds, as well as an additional $850,000 dedicated to student financial aid, adding to our efforts to maintain affordability by keeping undergraduate in-state tuition flat or offset by a rebate in recent years. Our Nursing (BSN) Program will see an additional investment of $130,000 to aid in our regional goals to address a nursing shortage.
The amended budget includes $15 million for the purchase and renovation of the Eagle Village multi-use building (MUB) which currently houses our Finance Office and University Communications, and serves as a hub for economic development, including the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, the Germanna Foundation, and the UMW Foundation, as well as business incubation and entrepreneurship. With some renovation funds included in the amended budget, the MUB will provide a new permanent home for University Police, which has been temporarily relocated in South Hall. It will also serve as swing space during future renovations.
In addition, UMW employees will benefit from a 2% raise, effective in December, in addition to the 5% raise already allocated this year. It is a small recognition of the dedicated work that has happened over the past years and is already apparent again this semester. We look forward to recognizing you at the upcoming luncheon in October, where we’ll celebrate staff awards. We are honored to have already celebrated faculty awards at the start of the semester, with five expert colleagues recognized for their work in the classroom, throughout our community, and beyond.
I hope our students, too, have discovered details about where they want to work and make a difference whether that’s engaging in undergraduate research and class projects, community engagement and public service, or in the student organizations you join and lead. The excitement from Club Carnival has carried through this month, and we see full calendars ahead, with so much to choose from. I encourage you to immerse yourself in new learning opportunities, dive into a special area of interest, or explore a wealth of academic and research offerings outside of the classroom. Talk with other students and gain a greater understanding of their view points, ideological differences, and even shared special interests. Mark your calendars for Career Week, Oct. 23, and the Career and Internship Fair on Oct. 26, and get ready for Homecoming that same week and weekend.
More immediately, I hope you’ll join me in welcoming prospective students and their families to campus for the first Admissions Open House of the year, this Saturday, Sept. 23. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that we do.
At the same time, know that it’s OK to pause when you need to and find ways to reconnect, whether that’s with a friend on campus, a scheduled meeting with your advisor, during a call to the Talley Center for Counseling Services or the online mental resources available from TimelyCare, or reaching out to your family at home. And, please, invite your family to join us for Family Weekend Oct. 6-8.
Our academic excellence and affordability have earned high marks in the rankings recently too, from a second 11th public liberal arts ranking in a row in U.S. News & World Report, to landing in the top 100 among “Best Liberal Arts Colleges” and “Best Bang for the Buck” in Washington Monthly. The Princeton Review includes UMW among “The Best 389 Colleges – 2024 Edition” and UMW Theatre among only 25 schools nationwide to be included in the “Best College Theatre” listing; Niche lists UMW at No. 4 for “Best College Locations in Virginia”; and, College Raptor considers UMW a “hidden gem” in the southeast and among DIII schools. So, whether you are taking in a performance of UMW Theatre opening this week, exploring Fredericksburg and volunteering during COAR’s Into the Streets, joining in a cultural celebration or heritage month led by the James Farmer Multicultural Center, checking out the UMW Studio Arts Faculty Exhibition, or cheering on the Eagles, we hope you do it with pride. Plus, our men’s soccer team is currently ranked #1 among all DIII schools and our women’s volleyball team is undefeated at 9-0, so the nation is noticing Mary Washington.
UMW is a special place and recent public support reflects that. Last year, UMW alumni, families, friends, faculty, staff, students, and others, generously gave a total of $21.3 million resulting in a record-breaking fundraising year. This figure is more than triple the amount raised the previous year and includes a portion of a $30 million transformational gift which is the largest donation in UMW’s 115-year history. We have much to shine a spotlight on, particularly as new field lights illuminate the D field, and a pep band starts at this Saturday’s volleyball game.
It’s the perfect reminder to keep cheering each other on this fall, which is what I hope to do as I meet with departments across campus to learn more about the work that keeps our campus pulse strong, join student leaders at their group meetings upon invitation to attend, and seek out our alumni as they epitomize Life After Mary Washington.