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?

President Rick Hurley rallied a crowd of 600 in the Anderson Center during an October pep rally to introduce the UMW brand. Photo by Karen Pearlman

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 there.

A brand is not just some fabricated marketing scheme about what a place should be; it’s a genuine assessment of what a place already is.

For the University of Mary Washington, that is:

  • Close connections with faculty members
  • Rigorous academics
  • Research opportunities
  • Honor and integrity
  • Small classes
  • Accessible master teachers
  • Real-world skill development
  • Recreational outlets
  • Leadership tools
About Anna Billingsley

Anna B. Billingsley, associate vice president for university relations, has worked at UMW since 2004.