Dr. Troy D. Paino took office as the tenth president of the University of Mary Washington, effective July 1, 2016. A personable, student-focused leader, he is deeply committed to Mary Washington’s public liberal arts and sciences mission of providing academic excellence and social uplift in equal measure.
He came to UMW after a six-year stint as president of another public liberal arts institution: Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. His priorities at Mary Washington have been:
- Promoting the values of service and community and civic engagement,
- Immersing students in applied, impactful learning experiences,
- Adapting the liberal arts to the knowledge economy and a global digital environment, and
- Creating a diverse and inclusive community as an essential requirement to fulfill Mary Washington’s public purpose.
Dr. Paino has delivered and continues to deliver on all of these initiatives while also overseeing a number of capital projects and putting the University on firmer financial footing. During his tenure, he has successfully recruited more diverse faculty and increased opportunities for minority and non-traditional learners. He has made faculty and staff compensation a priority while also investing resources in the mental health services at the Talley Center and UMW’s Office of Disability Resources to meet the growing needs of twenty-first century students.
Throughout this period, UMW has increased its retention rate and recruited a more diverse and talented student body while simultaneously increasing the school’s academic profile. In 2020, the University of Mary Washington was named one of the top producers of Student Fulbright Awards, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and students, faculty and alumni continue to achieve this recognition in record numbers.
Dr. Paino’s student-centered approach has been recognized nationally, with NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education selecting Paino to receive the 2023 President’s Award, following a Region III President’s Award honors in 2022. Both awards recognize a college or university president or chancellor who has, over a sustained period, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting the institution’s student affairs staff and initiatives. It is the highest honor NASPA bestows on a college or university president or chancellor.
The Princeton Review, 2023 has named Mary Washington among “The Best 388 Colleges,” Forbes, 2022 has listed UMW as one of “America’s Top Colleges,” Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2023 regards this as one of the “best and most interesting” schools, and U.S. News & World Report, 2023 has named Mary Washington one of “America’s Best Colleges.” In addition, UMW’s reclassification within the Carnegie Classification category of a baccalaureate liberal arts and sciences institution better aligns with UMW’s national reputation for being committed to academic excellence in undergraduate education.
Meanwhile, academic programs are expanding, especially in the area of technology, with the rapid growth of the Communication and Digital Studies, Computer Science, and Cybersecurity programs. In addition, Dr. Paino has made a commitment to expand UMW’s academic offerings to the community by increasing the number of credit and non-credit courses offered, including new certifications and other professional development opportunities that will impact the region and support economic growth.
He has overseen the renovation of Mary Washington’s historic and beloved amphitheater, a major expansion to the Jepson Science Center, a renovation of Seacobeck Hall which now serves as the new home of the Office of Disability Resources and the burgeoning College of Education, and the renovation of Virginia and Willard residence halls. And, currently, plans are underway for the design phase for a new theatre, as well as renovations of Melchers, duPont and Pollard halls.
Dr. Paino is proud of the activism and community service demonstrated by Mary Washington students. The Peace Corps has named UMW a “Top Producing College and University” for more than a decade, meaning that alumni choose to enter the Peace Corps in greater numbers than alumni from other schools of a similar size.
Mary Washington’s president lives in historic Brompton with his wife, Kelly. They have two daughters, Sophia and Chloe.
Dr. Paino earned doctorate and master’s degrees in American Studies from Michigan State University. He holds a law degree from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Evangel College.
His teaching and scholarly interests include American higher education, 20th-century cultural and social history, and American legal history. He has written extensively on the history of American sports and published his book, The Social History of the United States: 1960s, in 2008.
Dr. Paino is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) President’s Trust for Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP). He is past president of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), a member of the NCAA Division III President’s Council, a member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council Board, and serves on the board of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council.
Before being named Truman’s president, he served that university as vice president for academic affairs; previously, he taught history and was dean of Winona State University’s College of Liberal Arts.