Social Justice Summit Spurs Students to Action

The James Farmer Multicultural Center hosted a virtual Social Justice and Leadership Summit in October. The fourth such summit, and the first held on Zoom, brought together UMW students, local high school and community college students, UMW faculty, and guest speakers to the gathering themed “No Justice Without Action.” The summit website said it gave participants “the chance to build coalitions across cultural barriers, strengthen advocacy, and promote a more equitable culture and climate at UMW and in American society.” Investigative journalist and bestselling author Greg Palast and UMW Disability Resources Director Jessica Machado delivered keynote addresses. Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, Nation Magazine, and Rolling Stone Magazine. Drawing on decades of reporting on voter suppression, he spoke on the role young people could play in the November election, including serving as poll workers. In recognition of UMW’s observance … [Read more...]

UMW Joins City to Keep Community Healthy

In August, well before UMW brought students back, a COVID-19 Joint Task Force made of Fredericksburg officials and university administrators began meeting weekly to ensure health-guideline compliance on and off campus. The university delayed in-person classes until Sept. 14, three weeks later than scheduled, because of the pandemic. When students showed up, UMW enforced a strict “MMDC policy” – monitor, mask, distance, and clean – with reminders and precautionary measures posted outside and in buildings. The COVID-19 Joint Task Force acts as a bridge between the city and UMW, combining personnel in an effort to share community observances and avert issues before they arise. It includes Fredericksburg’s Fire Chief Michael Jones, Police Chief Brian Layton, and The COVID-19 Joint Task ForceDirector of Economic Development Bill Freehling, along with UMW’s Chief of Police Mike Hall, Assistant Director of Athletics Caitlin Moore, and Director of Transfer and Off-Campus Student Services … [Read more...]

Eagle Resource Closet Fills a Need

During the spring 2019 semester, a survey was distributed among Mary Washington students regarding their ability to access and purchase food. About 24 percent of those on campus described themselves as “food insecure.” In response, the Office of Community Engagement facilitated the Eagle Resource Closet (ERC), a space established for the UMW community by students, faculty, and staff. Its shelves are filled with food, toiletries, clothing, and other necessities donated by faculty, staff, students, and many others who wish to help make sure students have what they need. This fall, the ERC operated with a no-contact, online ordering system. ERC staff contacted those who had ordered about pickup, a confidential process with no physical contact between the recipient and others. The ERC’s main goal is to eliminate food insecurity within the UMW community. For information about donating, volunteering, or utilizing the ECR, please visit eagleresourcecloset.com or email … [Read more...]

Podcasts on UMW Student Activism Spell ‘Good Trouble’

Since 2015, incoming students have read and discussed written works with the UMW community as part of the Common Experience. This year, instead of a book, they’re exploring timely and topical podcasts about COVID-19 and civil rights, connecting events of the past to the present. They’re also listening to Good Trouble: UMW, a new podcast named for the lifelong philosophy of late Congressman John Lewis. He shared that philosophy in his 2011 Commencement address at Mary Washington. The podcast series chronicles Mary Washington student activism throughout the decades, relating back to Lewis’ directive to get in “good trouble, necessary trouble.” In one of the podcasts, an interview with NPR earlier this year, Lewis described his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lewis had just graduated from high school when he penned a letter pledging his support for civil rights. In response, Dr. King sent the teen a round-trip bus ticket to meet him. “I was so scared,” Lewis said … [Read more...]

Class Preserves Civil War Letters

Thanks to a digital history class, the first-person story of an infantryman killed in the Fredericksburg area more than 150 years ago is finding new life. The Adventures in Digital History class, taught last spring by Professor of History Jeffrey McClurken ’94, digitized the personal letters and papers of Sgt. Jerome Peirce of the 36th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Now the archives are available not only to the public, but also to future researchers at peirceletters.umwhistory.org. Peirce died on the battlefield in Spotsylvania Courthouse in May 1864 when a Confederate bullet entered his heart. His letters and papers illustrate how in 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln put out the call for volunteers, Peirce left his wife and 2-year-old daughter to enlist – along with 14 friends – in Orange, Massachusetts. He was among 107 men from the 36th Massachusetts who were killed. Peirce was first buried on the battlefield and later interred at the Fredericksburg National … [Read more...]

Williams Discusses Farmer’s Legacy on PBS American Portrait

Chris Williams, assistant director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center, was featured on PBS’s American Portrait: A National Storytelling Project. He discussed the legacy of civil rights icon and late Mary Washington history professor James L. Farmer Jr., and how the center helps students today make connections among civil rights, social justice, and anti-racism movements of the past and the present. Watch here. … [Read more...]

Students Turn Out for Democracy

UMW students, faculty, and staff spent months preparing for the nonpartisan National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22. Students got information about early voting, absentee voting, and how to get ballot information. Mary Washington also formed a UMW Votes team and had an Oct. 24 Vote Early Day. It was one of the nation’s first universities to cancel classes on Election Day, establishing a Day on Democracy to facilitate civic and community engagement. Placing a priority on getting UMW students to the polls has paid off in recent years, said Sarah Dewees, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). Two-thirds of the student body cast ballots in the last presidential election, and 53 percent voted in the 2018 midterms, earning UMW the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Platinum Seal last fall. In 2019, the University Faculty Council went a step further, voting to hold UMW’s first Day on Democracy in 2020. The first of its kind in the commonwealth of Virginia, … [Read more...]

UMW Works to Ease Teacher Shortage

The University of Mary Washington has signed an agreement with Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools to make it easier for local students to become educators and help ease the state’s teacher shortage. Streamlining the path from high school to college, the memorandum of understanding, signed in June by UMW President Troy Paino and Germanna President Janet Gullickson, was finalized this fall with the signature of Stafford County Schools Superintendent Scott Kizner. The agreement creates dual enrollment and workforce programs to pave the way for future educators, offering pathways in education and early childhood education to participants in Stafford Schools’ Teachers for Tomorrow (TfT) initiative. The state-recognized high school curriculum has been lauded as a successful “grow your own” teacher program. UMW holds a similar partnership with Spotsylvania County Public Schools. Virtual meetings this past spring brought administrators and teachers from TfT … [Read more...]

UMW Helps Fredericksburg Plan for Reopening

As pandemic restrictions eased last summer, Fredericksburg’s downtown businesses looked forward to reopening safely, and the university was there to help. Fredericksburg Main Street teamed up with UMW faculty members to craft a survey to develop the “Reboot Downtown! Initiative” to guide store owners as they prepared spaces and staff to safely reopen. Professors involved in creating the questionnaire were Leslie Martin, director of the Center for Community Engagement; Kashef Majid, associate professor of marketing; and Dave Kolar, professor of psychology. The feedback was used to develop an overall plan and guidelines, though there was no one date that all downtown shops reopened. Each business was to follow government guidance to ensure safety and the implementation of best practices. … [Read more...]

Condolences

Florence Overley Ridderhof ’50, who lost her son Miriam “Mim” Sollows Wieland ’50, who lost her husband Katherine “Kitty” Wells Ball ’52, who lost her husband Carlene Mitchell Bass ’54, who lost her husband Elizabeth McNeal Brann ’54, who lost her husband Ann Johnston LeDuke ’54, who lost her husband Marjorie Webb Wolfrey ’55, who lost her husband Barbara Barndt Miller ’59, who lost her husband Sally Warwick Rayburn ’59, who lost her husband Fay Jessup Young ’59, who lost her husband Jean Eubanks Holland ’60, who lost her husband Eleanor Jane Riles ’61, who lost her husband Catherine “Kitty” Boxley Swanson ’62, who lost her husband Betty Caudle Marshall ’63, who lost her husband Linda Gulnac Steelman ’63, who lost her husband Kathryn Pannell Howe ’64, who lost her husband Margaret Cobourn Robinson ’65, who lost her brother  Nancy Coates Wilson ’65, who lost her husband  Sandra Hutchinson Schanne ’66, who lost her husband Frances … [Read more...]