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...]

Donald Rallis: Open to the World

By Professor of Geography Stephen P. Hanna, on the retirement of his friend and colleague

A portrait of Nelson Mandela hung in the office of Associate Professor of Geography Donald Rallis most of his 23 years at Mary Washington. The South African leader personified the anti-apartheid movement, and many professors and students saw him as a symbol of freedom and justice. But Rallis’ choice to so honor Mandela revealed aspects of Rallis’ character and accomplishments that deserve notice on his retirement from UMW. Rallis grew up in apartheid South Africa and enjoyed the privileges that system afforded whites. Yet, at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in the late 1970s, his sense of justice led him to become an activist against apartheid. In 1982, he left South Africa to avoid compulsory service in a military charged with preserving the racist state. He finished his studies in the U.S. In 1990, Rallis arrived at Mary Washington College – a smaller, quieter, and less diverse institution than UMW is today. He created courses in third world development and world … [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...]

From Your Alumni Association President

Greetings, fellow alumni, Stroll along Mary Washington’s beautiful Campus Walk, and you will feel the vibrant atmosphere “where great minds get to work.” I am excited by Mary Washington’s great accomplishments and ambitious plans for the future. President Hurley, a favorite among students, faculty, and the Fredericksburg community, retains a vision for Mary Washington that is both grand and attainable. With Provost Jonathan Levin, an exceptional academic leader, at his side, the Honors Program is growing, several residence halls boast living-learning communities, and applications are up. The Campus Center, scheduled to open in fall 2015 between Ball Circle and College Avenue, will be like a campus living room, with gathering areas, meeting rooms, a ballroom, and a dining hall. Its academic complement, the Information and Technology Convergence Center, will open this fall with 77,000 square feet packed with 21st-century technology. In addition to innovation and creativity in … [Read more...]

Partners Sniff Out Arson

The house had burned to the ground, and its embers still smoldered. Fire investigator David Doehler ’02 and Cadet worked the perimeter, but the Labrador’s well-trained nose detected no trace of accelerant. To himself, Doehler thought, probably not arson. But the next day, when the debris had cooled, they returned for a closer sniff at the foundation. This time, Cadet calmly sat down at the threshold, alerting Doehler that he’d picked up the odor of a flammable liquid. Tests of samples from the site proved that the fire had indeed been set, and the perpetrator was arrested and convicted. That was just one of many fire scenes Doehler and Cadet worked between 2004 and ’09 as the first dog-and-handler accelerant-detection team for the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue. Doehler, who earned a bachelor of liberal studies degree, had been a firefighter for 18 years and an investigator for another eight when he got the chance to work with an accelerant-detection dog. He … [Read more...]