Timothy O’Donnell

When Timothy O’Donnell came to Mary Washington in 1999, a year after James Farmer retired from teaching here, he knew little about the civil rights leader. But soon, the young professor of communication was learning about the architect of the 1961 Freedom Rides. “It really was the serendipitous moment of somebody saying, ‘You should do some research,’ ” O’Donnell said of the start of his interest in Farmer, who taught history and American studies in Monroe Hall for more than a decade. Back then O’Donnell was director of UMW debate. He went on to shape his career around Farmer, who at just 14 had joined the Wiley College debate team. Since then O’Donnell has tackled major academic projects, like rebuilding the debate program and leading UMW’s recent reaccreditation process. But he’s never stopped teaching himself – and his students – about James Farmer. O’Donnell grew up in Pittsburgh dreaming of becoming a Steeler. He was a starter on his middle school football team, but … [Read more...]

Aerospace Leader Climbs Sky-High

The first job for Marion C. Blakey ’70 – as a GS-3 federal clerk – might not have been glamorous. But it was a step on a path that would propel her to the top of her field. In December, she received the 2013 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in recognition of her leadership in aviation. “Tonight, I am reflecting for a moment about the blessings of an unexpected career,” Blakey said in her acceptance speech in Washington, D.C. President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association since 2007, Blakey has spent decades improving transportation safety, both on and off the ground. She’s helped reduce death and injury from motor vehicle crashes, improve accident reporting processes, enhance outreach programs, and modernize air transportation. Her time at the helm of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the mid-2000s marked the safest period in U.S. public air travel history. Blakey also has served as administrator of the Department of Transportation’s National Highway … [Read more...]

Art Teacher Draws on Inclusion

The résumé of Tanya Green, M.Ed. ’06 is picking up as much color as her students’ creations. An art teacher at Hampton Oaks Elementary School in Stafford, Va., Green won a 2013 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award, presented last May by The Washington Post. “These educators were chosen by their school systems for going above and beyond their day-to-day duties to create exceptional educational environments,” according to washingtonpost.com. Green, who also was named Stafford County Public Schools’ 2013 Teacher of the Year, is known for customizing curriculum around main-classroom themes and the needs of smaller groups of students. She participates in the Skillful Teacher cohort, which aims to strengthen respect for students’ diverse cultural backgrounds. An Encore staff team lead, Girl Smarts group facilitator, and Student Council Association adviser, Green has presented work to the National Art Education and Virginia Art Education associations. She earned a bachelor’s … [Read more...]

Leader Advocates for Creativity

When you think of Oklahoma, Susan Shaw McCalmont ’80 wants you to think of creativity. For her tireless efforts to foster the creative process, McCalmont received the inaugural Sir Ken Robinson Award for Leadership in Creativity & Innovation. Robinson, an internationally recognized adviser on arts in education, presented McCalmont with the honor in November. She’s “the driving force behind … the effort to truly make Oklahoma ‘The State of Creativity,’ ” Robinson said of McCalmont, who worked to make Oklahoma North America’s only internationally recognized District of Creativity, through the Flanders, Belgium-based Districts of Creativity Network. McCalmont is president of Creative Oklahoma, a nonprofit she co-founded to encourage creativity and innovation in education, commerce, and culture. She provided leadership in establishing Oklahoma A+ Schools and the DaVinci Institute, which foster creativity in Oklahoma schools, and the National Creativity Network, a nonprofit … [Read more...]

The Dogs Don’t Bark In Brooklyn Any More

By Eric Robert Nolan ’94 Dagda Publishing, November 2013 Rebecca is the daughter of a hero, a veteran soldier of the Wolf War. Now she is a captain in the Special Animal Warfare Service, fighting, as her father did, against the super intelligent wolves that have taken over most of the continental U.S. In this post-apocalyptic science fiction tale, the odds are stacked against the human race and favor its smart, fearless enemy. Nolan, who studied psychology at Mary Washington, tells the story in a narrative that shifts between Rebecca’s tumultuous life growing up in Brooklyn and her current struggle to keep herself and her allies alive. The first book of the Wolf War saga, it weaves human resentment and distrust with themes of friendship and loyalty. Other Books by Faculty and Alumni Managing the Classroom Environment: Meeting the Needs of the Student By Suzanne G. Houff, professor of education R&L Education, October 2013 This work defines the five basic needs – … [Read more...]

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor, The article [Meant to Be] in the fall/winter UMW Magazine on Marcy and Juney Morris was so inspirational. In this day and age, when people give up far too easily on their marriages, it is so sweet to hear of a couple who have been together for almost seven decades! And to know that their romance began at Mary Washington just adds to the story. Mary Washington has always been such a special place, and stories such as the Morrises’ make it even more so. Thanks to the Morrises for sharing their beautiful love story and to your staff for bringing us such wonderful stories in each edition. Kim Jones Isaac ’87 Lawton, Okla. Dear Editor, Interesting column by UMW President Richard V. Hurley in The Huffington Post that I read in University of Mary Washington Magazine, delivered today. STEM is vitally important. Mary Washington would be well positioned to stress STEAM – science, technology, engineering, ARTS, and mathematics. STEAM, both the concept and acronym, … [Read more...]

Give It Your Best Shot

You can almost smell the culinary goodness wafting from this photo taken in 1944, presumably in one of two large food laboratories built on the ground floor of Chandler Hall just six years before. Mary Washington’s home economics major would survive another two decades and several proposals for discontinuation. At an April 1964 meeting, the faculty finally voted, 77 to 60, with one abstention, to eliminate it. The Board of Visitors made it official the following June, and after 1968, Mary Washington ceased conferring the degree of bachelor of science in home economics. We’d like to learn the names of these cheerful pie-baking students. If you can help us identify any of them, please leave a comment below.   You Got It! In the last issue, we asked for help identifying a young man strolling along Campus Walk in the snow. Maybe it was the wintry weather that caught the eye of Nicole LaPorte Parker ’91 of Grimsby, Canada. She’d been watching hockey on TV and reading … [Read more...]

Laughter Worth the Price

Even as a Hollywood headliner who hit the big screen this year, comedian Jay Montepare ’00 likes to brag about something he pulled off as a child. “Sometimes I would get my big brother laughing so hard he would literally pee the bed,” said Montepare, who shared sleeping quarters with his sibling early on. “And that would make me happy – which was weird because then we would have to sleep in a pee bed. But it was worth it to me just to know that I could do that.” The brothers’ late-night joke-fests led to an L.A. career for Montepare that’s getting hotter every day. Known for his spontaneity and for pulling audience members into his acts, he said he’s happiest on the stage, which he’s shared with the likes of Drew Carey, Sarah Silverman, and Joe Rogan. But, Montepare said, making a living making folks laugh isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. “I got into comedy thinking I’d be around people all the time,” he said. “It can be lonely. You travel all over the country. You do … [Read more...]

UMW Honors 2014 Hall of Famers

The University of Mary Washington inducted three alumni, one former coach, and an entire team into its athletic hall of fame in February. The honors went to the 1993 field hockey team, which advanced to the national championship game; All-America high jumper Bobby Bergin ’03; All-America tennis star Conor Smith ’03; basketball standout Dan Dupras ’03; and former head baseball coach Tom Sheridan. The 1993 field hockey team finished 22-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III national championship game. The team rattled off 51 goals in 24 games and limited opponents to just seven goals all season - still one of the best defensive seasons in Division III history. Aside from UMW’s two NCAA championship women’s tennis teams, the 1993 field hockey team was, at press time, the lone Mary Washington athletic program to advance to a team national championship game. Bergin competed in eight NCAA track and field championships in his four-year career, gaining All-America honors four … [Read more...]

Classroom Named in Farmer’s Honor

We still have “mountains to climb and rivers to cross” in the struggle for civil rights, Georgia Sen. Nan Grogan Orrock ’65 told a crowd gathered in Monroe Hall in November. Her speech, the centerpiece of the James L. Farmer Lecture Hall dedication, highlighted the power of “ordinary people” like the late James Farmer to forward the journey toward justice for all. Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality, taught history at Mary Washington for more than a decade. One of America’s top civil rights leaders, he shared his experiences with thousands of UMW students, his resonant voice filling Monroe 104, the auditorium that now bears his name. “It is indeed right and appropriate that we recognize James Farmer in this room in which he touched so many students,” said Jeffrey W. McClurken ’94, professor and chair of history and American studies, who was one of those students. Farmer organized the 1961 Freedom Rides that led to desegregated interstate travel. He had a … [Read more...]