You Talked; We Listened

Alumni survey results have UMW boasting… and bent on finding ways to be even better!

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To get a clearer picture of its graduates, the University of Mary Washington asked for participation this spring in its first truly comprehensive alumni survey, complete with clickable answers, drop-down menus, and all the trappings you’d expect of an online poll. But rather than pop into view like a digital photo, the UMW image developed more like a Polaroid print, sliding into focus a little at a time. As results were tallied, numbers crunched, and comments analyzed, a picture began to emerge. It shows a professionally successful group of graduates who feel they left Mary Washington with the skills it takes to succeed, friendships that last a lifetime, and experiences they wouldn’t trade for the world. The survey committee – organized by UMW Chief of Staff Martin A. Wilder Jr. and composed of key members of Mary Washington’s faculty and staff, including Assistant Provost for Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness Taiwo Ande – is grateful to the more than 2,000 UMW alumni who took … [Read more...]

Brand New

Great minds got to work honing UMW's distinctive qualities

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A high school student visiting Mary Washington this fall told a faculty member she wanted a career in cancer research. “Is there a professor here who can help me reach my goal?” she asked. Without hesitation, the faculty member said, “Rosemary Barra.” And as he did, a single phrase popped into his head, master teacher; the words sum up his colleague who chairs the biology department. Barra teaches a course on the biology of cancer, and she has conducted research into the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on cell viability. In that brief exchange, a student saw an avenue to pursue a dream. A professor made a connection between his colleague’s work and a student’s passions. And UMW’s brand was reinforced. UMW’s brand? Yes, branded marketing is new to Mary Washington. But the process is not. A brand captures what makes a place special, what sets it apart. For a university, branding is also a way to match the institution with potential students who will thrive … [Read more...]

The Anderson Center

UMW Ups Its Game With New Arena

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In 1976, when Ed Hegmann first came to Mary Washington, colleagues boasted of the “huge new gym.” But when the new athletic director and men’s basketball coach got his first glimpse of Goolrick, its 23-foot ceilings, and seats for a mere 400 fans, he didn’t have the heart to tell them it wasn’t up to snuff for intercollegiate play. Thirty-five years later – after decades of patient, diligent lobbying and watching thousands of volleyballs played off the low ceiling – Hegmann finally got the arena he has dreamed of for his Eagles – the William M. Anderson Center, a sleek 52,000 square-foot multi-use convocation center that was dedicated Aug. 25. The building’s namesake, who served as Mary Washington’s president from 1983 to 2006, was on hand for the ribbon cutting, as was a crowd that included President Richard V. Hurley, former and current Board of Visitors members, athletes, alumni, faculty, staff, and Anderson’s family and friends. Hegmann, who is chair of the Department of … [Read more...]

Pursuit of Justice

Childhood Tales of the Killing Fields Cultivate Passion for Human Rights

Sany Nhem (left) escaped Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime in 1979 with her husband and eight children. She hadn’t returned to her homeland until her granddaughter, Fulbright Scholar Farrah Tek ‘10, accompanied her last year. The Fulbright grant supported a year in Cambodia for the U.S.-born Tek. She participated in an international tribunal to bring justice to victims such as her mother, grandmother aunts, and uncles. Photo by Reza Marvashti

Sophi Monh spent four years of her youth in a child labor camp hundreds of miles from the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Monh was just 8 years old in 1975 when the infamous Khmer Rouge regime began its campaign that left a quarter of the country’s population dead. She worked from dawn to dusk, subsisting on one meal a day. These are the stories Monh told her American-born daughter, Farrah Tek ’10, when she insisted her daughter take nothing for granted, that she seize each opportunity and work hard in school. Monh spoke no English when she immigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1981. She did not finish high school. Tek, deeply affected by her mother’s stories, set her sights on college and beyond. She majored in English and human rights at the University of Mary Washington and went on to earn a 2010 Fulbright Scholarship to return to her family’s native country. She took her Cambodian grandmother – Monh’s mother – with her. Thirty years had passed since the … [Read more...]