Braxton Garners Gold – Again!

Grace Anne Braxton Photo by Scott K. Brown

Winning Olympic gold gets sweeter each time for Mary Washington worker Grace Anne Braxton. The Eagle’s Nest dining attendant snagged a gold medal in golf at this year’s Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. That award takes its place in what has become quite a collection for Braxton, who has long worked at UMW for Sodexo. Since she began competing in Special Olympics at age 8, her wins have included the 2005 National Golf Championship in Ames, Iowa; the 2007 World Summer Games in Shanghai, China; and the 2010 USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb. She was featured on the cover of Virginia Golfer Magazine in 2006 and has putted her way to a plethora of sports-related honors. Born with an intellectual disability, the Fredericksburg native found her footing in athletics. She also has competed in bowling, swimming, volleyball, skiing, and figure skating. She’s often on the Fredericksburg Country Club golf course practicing her swing. “I’m not going to stop,” she … [Read more...]

GIS Student Zeroed in on Scholarship

Morgan Lamon '12

Where on Earth is Morgan Lamon ’12? She’s at the University of Mary Washington studying where on Earth everything else is. In other words, she studies GIS, geographic information science. And, Lamon’s college cost just got a little lighter. She received a $5,000 award from the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Scholarship Program. “Our volunteer selection board was really impressed by the depth and breadth of our applicant pool this year,” USGIF President Keith Masback wrote on the foundation website. “There are some remarkable young people studying in the [geospatial intelligence] field.” The “remarkable group” includes Lamon, a geography major who is working toward a GIS certificate. She’s also displaying her talents on the softball field. This spring she was named to the 2011 All-Capital Athletic Conference Softball Team. USGIF, a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence field, awarded scholarships across the … [Read more...]

Farnsworth to Open Media Studies Center

In January, Stephen Farnsworth will return to UMW to open the Center for Leadership and Media Studies. He’ll also teach in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, where he taught for 13 years before leaving in 2008. A media and politics expert, Farnsworth plans to get the new center open quickly. Using research and political opinion surveys, the work of the center should help students better understand the role media plays in politics. Another goal of the venture is to create connections among undergraduates and alumni in government and political science careers. Farnsworth is regularly quoted in major media outlets on political and communication topics. He has conducted research on elections, the mass media, the U.S. presidency, and public opinion. A veteran newspaper journalist, he is the author of Spinner in Chief: How Presidents Sell Their Policies and Themselves and Political Support in a Frustrated America. Farnsworth co-authored The Nightly News … [Read more...]

UMW Artists Dove Into Service Project

Led by studio art major Lauren Horton ’11, art students brought the beach to the King George County home of cancer survivor Sonja Jeanguenat-Gallahan by painting a tropical scene on a poolside eyesore. Photo by Robert A. Martin/The Freelance-Star

During inauguration weekend this fall, UMW art students got an unusual canvas on which to showcase their work – a big white storage trailer. The artists turned their talents on the neighborhood eyesore and gave something beautiful to the community. Five-time cancer survivor Sonja Jeanguenat-Gallahan called UMW’s art department last summer. Could anyone there add some panache to the unsightly vehicle parked beside her aboveground pool, she asked. Art studio major Lauren Horton ’11 answered the call and soon set to work developing a plan to bring the beach to Jeanguenat- Gallahan. Horton corralled a group of fellow students who were eager to contribute, and they headed to the woman’s home in King George County, Va. Brandishing paint-dipped brushes, they transformed the trailer into a picture of tranquility, creating a beach-scene mural complete with palm trees, puffy clouds, and soothing sand and surf on one side and beach-related paraphernalia, tropical drinks, and a tiki bar on … [Read more...]

Belmont Banister a Top Ten Endangered Treasure

The wrought-iron railing shown in this 1927 photograph by Francis Benjamin Johnston was forged in the mid-1800s and graced the front  porch of Belmont when artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne, took  residence there in 1916. Today, it is a public treasure that’s in need of  preservation.

Fans of Belmont know that every inch of Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a treasure, but a group of preservationists wants to bring special attention to the curved wrought-iron railing that graces the front stairs of the historic home. The Virginia Association of Museums selected the swirling banister on Belmont’s east porch as one of Virginia’s “Top Ten Endangered Artifacts.” Experts believe the rare, iconic railing with applied lead rosettes was forged around 1845. The architectural landmark displays outstanding craftsmanship and the use of what in the mid-1800s were emerging technologies. Other entries included a revolving gun turret from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, the Library of Virginia’s executive papers from the state governorship of Thomas Jefferson between 1779 and 1781, and a gown made for and worn by legendary vocalist and civil rights champion Marian Anderson. Virginia’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts program was designed to create awareness of the … [Read more...]

Board Welcomes Three Members

Joseph W. Grzeika '83

There are three new faces on the UMW Board of Visitors. In July, the office of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed members Joseph W. Grzeika ’83 of King George County, Dorcas R. Hardy of Spotsylvania County, and Ben Judson Honaker Jr. of Fredericksburg. They will serve four-year terms that expire June 30, 2015. They succeed Princess Renai Moss ’83, Russell H. Roberts, and Nanalou West Sauder ’56. Grzeika, a business consultant with Strategic Insight and president of Joetech LLC, is a former electronic warfare specialist for the U.S. Navy. He started Planning Consultants Inc. in 1985 and retired as president of the company in 2006. In 1992, Grzeika became a member of the King George Planning Commission. He is a member of the Rappahannock River Basin Commission and the George Washington Regional Commission, and he has served for more than a decade on the King George County Board of Supervisors. Grzeika also is on the board of directors for the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of … [Read more...]

Pearce Named VP

Richard R. Pearce

Mary Washington’s latest vice presidential selection is on the money: Richard R. Pearce has been named vice president for administration and finance. Pearce, who had served in the position in an acting capacity since last year, also is treasurer of the Mary Washington Foundation, the nonprofit entity that manages and administers assets to benefit the University. The vice presidential appointment formalizes his position as UMW chief financial officer. In that role, he directs facilities, capital projects, public safety, community services, human resources, and business operations. Since he came to UMW in 1998, Pearce has served as assistant and associate vice president for business and finance. He also is treasurer of the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, president of the Fredericksburg Regional Boys and Girls Club, and a member of the Rappahannock Rotary Club. “Rick is a consummate professional whose expertise, management skills, and in-depth knowledge are … [Read more...]

Promoting Peace Through Poetry

Visa issues precluded Afghan citizen Alaha Ahrar ‘12 from accepting the World Poetry Youth Ambassador Medallion at an official ceremony in Canada, so UMW held its own event in her honor. Photo by Karen Pearlman

World Poetry Canada and World Poetry International presented Alaha Ahrar ’12its World Poetry Youth Ambassador Medallion this summer. Because visa problems prevented the student from attending the award presentation in Canada, UMW held its own ceremony for Ahrar on Aug. 23. A citizen of Afghanistan, Ahrar studies at Mary Washington through generous support from William and  Theresa Young Crawley ‘77 in the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. Eklil Hakimi, Afghan ambassador to the United States, was invited to the presentation, but he was summoned to Kabul that week. His wife, Sultana Hakimi, represented the Embassy of Afghanistan at the ceremony. Both Sultana Hakimi and UMW President Richard V. Hurley presented the medallion to Ahrar, who read one of her poems to the group assembled in George Washington Hall. Like many of her poems, this one was about world peace. Ahrar read it twice – once in her native language and once in English. … [Read more...]

Ackermann Wired for Community Service

Ernie Ackermann

In September, UMW recognized Professor of Computer Science Ernie Ackermann with the 2011 J.  Christopher “Topher” Bill Outstanding Faculty Service Award, which recognizes dedication to the University and service to the Fredericksburg community. The University seized it’s last opportunity to bestow the honor on Ackermann; he plans to retire this summer. Ackermann has led Mary Washington’s effort to stay on top of technology since he arrived on campus in 1980, signing on as the school’s first director of academic computing and leading its online presence. But his contributions reach well beyond campus, and his list of volunteer activities is so long it would be hard to name them all. “I enjoy using whatever talents I can to help the community,” Ackermann told University of Mary Washington Magazine last summer. He is on the board of directors of Mental Health America of Fredericksburg and the Stafford Board of Zoning Appeals. He has served as technical consultant for the Central … [Read more...]

Professor Honored for Milton Essay

Ben LaBreche

The Milton Society of America chose UMW Assistant Professor of English Ben LaBreche for its prestigious James Holly Hanford Award. His essay Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce was one of two winners selected from articles published this year on John Milton, the 17th-century poet and author of Paradise Lost. The Milton Society will present the awards at its meeting at the Modern Language Association convention in Seattle in January. This year, LaBreche received a research grant from the Folger Institute and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and a UMW faculty development grant. His winning essay appeared in English Literary History, a quarterly journal of The Johns Hopkins University. … [Read more...]

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