From Our Alumni Board President

Jenifer “JB” Blair ’82

Greetings fellow Mary Washington alumni,

As I craft this message to you, we are a week away from Election Day, COVID-19 still remains a health threat, and UMW’s virtual Homecoming ended last Friday. In 2020 we are living in interesting times.

Even in light of the challenges in our communities and in higher education, UMW continues to provide an outstanding liberal arts and sciences education to students on campus and virtually. If you have not yet participated in a virtual town hall with President Troy Paino, I encourage you to do so. You will learn we have much to be proud of in how our alma mater’s faculty, staff and students are responding to the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Check out the COVID-19 dashboard on the university website to see how UMW is doing.

Your alumni association is also navigating these challenging times, holding events virtually, with some in-person events tentatively planned in the coming months.

Last week’s virtual homecoming featured networking events for alumni in education and business, the “Between Two Ficuses” young alumni video, and Kahoot! Trivia. Alumni from the late 1970’s to the present will enjoy  the MaryWash memorabilia video from Dean Cedric Rucker ’81 His collection spans decades and includes stories of many traditions we all share!

Other on line experiences available to alumni include Dr. William B. Crawley’s Great Presidential Lives, and the popular Mary Talks featuring UMW faculty and administrators.

A recent stop on campus on a Sunday morning reminded me of renovations still underway on campus. While Willard Hall has reopened to students, Virginia and Seacobeck Halls are still undergoing construction, both to reopen in late 2021.

The College of Education looks forward to moving into Seacobeck upon its completion. A brand new Hillel Center has opened on College Avenue across from the University Center, a welcome addition to our faith-based centers near campus.

In my first year as alumni association president, our board is discussing expansion of alumni benefits, better promotion our alumni awards nomination process, and how we can improve student-alumni career networking. We continue to diversify our board, not only in class years, but also in career and volunteer expertise, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

As alumni, we play an important role in the continued success of UMW. Encouraging prospective students to apply for admission, hiring UMW students as interns or employees, attending virtual and in person networking and affinity events, and nominating classmates and friends for awards are just some of the ways you make a difference.

Many thanks to those of you who have supported UMW through your donations of time and gifts, especially to the Fund for Mary Washington, the university’s most flexible, unrestricted source of support for students and the alumni association.

I encourage you to stay involved and connected, whether via Zoom with classmates (as I do each Sunday evening!) or through your local networks and affinity groups. Share ideas for speakers, events and programs with your leadership locally. We want to remain connected even as our opportunities to meet in person are limited. Your alumni board members are also here to support you!

I hope to see many of you at Reunion Weekend in 2021.

Be well and #MW ForeverTrue,

Jenifer “JB” Blair ’82

President, Alumni Board

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