Brand New

Great minds got to work honing UMW's distinctive qualities

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...]

Pursuit of Justice

Childhood Tales of the Killing Fields Cultivate Passion for Human Rights

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...]

Promoting Peace Through Poetry

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...]

Professor Honored for Milton Essay

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...]

UMW Student Leadership Gets $25K Grant

The Honor Code is at the heart of the University of Mary Washington’s new Student Leadership Colloquium. Supported by a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation, the initiative aims to introduce students to the principles of leadership and social responsibility and to enhance critical-thinking skills. A special focus of the project will be increasing understanding and acceptance of the Honor Code and the ways in which the concepts behind it impact leadership. AT&T Mid Atlantic President Michael Schweder presented the grant to President Richard V. Hurley in August as Mary Washington representatives and Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell looked on. “I can assure you that honor is very much alive on the UMW campus,” Hurley said. The Student Leadership Colloquium is open to all students but aims to engage at least half of the underrepresented population of the entering class of 2011. The program also will target first-year students and those at risk of failing to … [Read more...]