Athletics Gala in May

UMW President Troy D. Paino will be the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Athletics Gala, to be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 20, in the Chandler Ballroom of the University Center. Billed as an “elegant evening for a meaningful mission,” the gala raises funds to support UMW’s student athletes. Besides Paino’s address, the program includes student athlete testimonials, silent and live auctions, wine and spirits raffles, dinner, and an open bar. Tickets are $130 each or $1,000 for a table of 10, a portion of which is tax-deductible. For tickets or more information, call 540/654-1143, send an email, or visit the athletics website. … [Read more...]

Women’s Basketball Caps Season With Solid Tournament Showing

The University of Mary Washington women’s basketball team made it to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament, ending the year with a 24-5 overall record. In the first round, UMW scored an exciting 62-57 win over Sage Colleges, led by 24 points from All-American Brianne Comden ’17. The Eagles had a 10-point lead at halftime, but Sage came back to lead by a point in the fourth quarter. Then Comden found Jordan Pamlanye ’19 for the go-ahead basket, and Megan Green ’17 sank three free throws to seal the win. It was the Eagle women’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2012, when they advanced to the regional finals. In the second round, the Eagles fell to No. 1 ranked, undefeated Amherst College. UMW’s nine-point defeat, 60-51, was just Amherst’s fourth win of less than 10 points all season.  … [Read more...]

Leading for the Long Haul

Sandra Powell Mitchell '76

By Stephanie Breijo ’09 In mid-December, surrounded by friends, colleagues, and former students, Sandra Powell Mitchell ’76 could feel the tears welling. It isn’t every day that a teacher’s retirement reception features profound speeches from decades of students, some of whom never even sat in her classroom. Then again, not every teacher is Sandra Powell Mitchell.  “I sat there, determined I wasn’t going to cry, but their comments did get me,” Mitchell said of the speakers recalling her 40 years with Fauquier County Public Schools.  “I was mesmerized by what they remembered.” Mitchell’s career began her senior year at Mary Washington College. The literature major did student teaching at Fredericksburg’s James Monroe High School toward her teacher certification. Interviews at an on-campus job fair yielded multiple offers, but she accepted a position teaching English at Cedar Lee Junior High School in Fauquier County.  Once in the classroom, Mitchell excelled.  She was named … [Read more...]

Tree Campus

Our Roots, Our Story

By Laura Moyer The story of trees on the University of Mary Washington campus starts with the Brompton Oak – the Civil War “witness tree” famously photographed in 1864 as Union soldiers recovered beneath its branches. The venerable white oak has been thoroughly fussed over. It’s protected from lightning, its limbs are cabled for stability, and the lawn above its roots is roped off during public events. Decades ago, some well-intentioned souls even filled its hollow spaces with concrete. Every Mary Washington president who’s lived at Brompton, from Morgan Combs to Troy Paino, has gazed on the tree with admiration and maybe a bit of anxiety. For the past 30 years, Director of Landscape and Grounds Joni Wilson ’00 has shared those feelings as the person chiefly responsible for the Brompton Oak. She’s joking – or maybe not – when she says that if the oak died “I’d be gluing leaves onto it.”  But she’s been equally protective of other Mary Washington trees, from the magnificent willow … [Read more...]

Home Equity

Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 Toils for Equal Access to Housing

By Robin Farmer Heather Mullins Crislip ’95 spoke for different kinds of people when she was a student government leader at the University of Mary Washington. Her service as president and vice president of the Student Association deepened her commitment to advocate for fairness and access. It also set her on her life path. Today, she’s president and CEO of HOME, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Inc. The Richmond-based nonprofit promotes equal access to housing through fair housing enforcement, research, advocacy, and statewide policy. Crislip already had a passion for justice when she arrived on campus. But, she said, “My interest in civil rights and issues of systemic poverty definitely blossomed and became more defined at UMW.” Under Crislip’s leadership since 2012, HOME has focused on fair housing as a civil rights mission. “Litigation is just one of the tools we use when we need to,” she said. (Story continues below.) In January, HOME settled a discrimination … [Read more...]

Alumna Is Archivist to the Stars

Clare Denk ’03

By Edie Gross Sturdy cardboard boxes arrive on Clare Denk’s desk bearing jumbles of dog-eared manuscripts, publicity photographs and candid snapshots, hand-written fan letters and personal correspondence. Denk ’03, an archivist at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, meticulously sorts and catalogs collections of personal effects for the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, where students, scholars, and historians from around the world can access them. “It never really gets boring because you move from one person’s life to another,” said Denk, who has worked at the Academy for seven years. “It never becomes repetitive.” While combing through the donated keepsakes of Hollywood icons and behind-the-scenes crew members, Denk keeps an eye out for the unexpected. For instance, actress Bette Davis had a reputation for being no-nonsense, but she also drew smiley faces in her letters to Now, Voyager co-star Paul Henreid. And long before Linwood Dunn was a … [Read more...]

Research Changes Historic Record

David Preston ’94

By Laura Moyer David Preston ’94 leafed through folios at the UK National Archives in London and came across something startling. There, apparently overlooked by generations of scholars, was an account by an Iroquois warrior who had traveled with George Washington as hostilities brewed between the British and French empires in America. The unnamed Iroquois described the Jumonville Affair, a 1754 skirmish in the Pennsylvania woods considered to be the start of the French and Indian War. The warrior’s account revealed a surprising new detail: Washington, then a 22-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Virginia regiment, personally fired the war’s first shot. That account and other newly discovered historic documents are central to Preston’s 2015 book Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution. Published by Oxford University Press, Braddock’s Defeat has won several awards including the $50,000 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History. It also succeeds … [Read more...]

Scientist Travels Globe to Track Climate Change

Nancy Maynard '63

By Edie Gross Nancy Maynard’s career path has taken her from the tropical ecosystem of Everglades National Park to the snowy reindeer migration pastures of Norway’s tundra, all in an effort to study the impact of development and climate change on the world around us. But her scientific journey around the globe started at Mary Washington, where the Maine native studied biology and chemistry before graduating in 1963. “For a New England Yankee, it was a Southern experience,” she recalled of her time in Fredericksburg. “It was a wonderful environment: fantastic teachers, and the students were really well-rounded and interested in what they were studying.” Maynard ’63 continued her studies at the University of Miami, earning a master’s degree in zoology and later, a doctorate in marine biology. Maynard and her roommate at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) were among the first women to go to sea on research missions on the institute’s oceanographic … [Read more...]

1817 Style

Celebrating President Monroe's Inaugural Bicentennial

A crowd gathered near UMW’s Monroe Hall in early March to celebrate the statesman the building is named for. James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, was inaugurated March 4, 1817, in Washington, D.C. Two hundred years later to the day, the James Monroe Museum invited the community to witness the pageantry of a re-enactment of the inauguration on the steps of Mary Washington’s oldest building. Soldiers in plumed caps and coarsely stitched breeches held muskets and bayonets. Ladies in colorful hats and dresses – hands in muffs and shawls pulled tight against the early March cold – waited with a crowd of modern guests. (Story continues below.) Jaunty music rang out from the trumpets of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Soldiers from the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia presented the color guard, and a smart, white carriage delivered the dignitaries of an earlier era: outgoing President James Madison, first lady Dolley Madison, and John Marshall, … [Read more...]

Mapping Heritage Trees

Urban Ecology

On a cold winter morning, biology major Elizabeth Piña ’18 and Associate Professor of Biology Alan Griffith met on the lawn at Brompton to determine just how big the Brompton Oak really is. As teams of students have done for hundreds of other campus trees, they used specialized tools to determine the massive oak’s height; crown spread; and DBH, or diameter at breast height. Eventually, that data will be correlated to one red square among hundreds on an image map of the Fredericksburg campus, including Brompton and the athletic fields. Each square represents a single tree; viewers will click on it to see data that has been meticulously gathered and catalogued. Griffith conceived the mapping project two years ago in collaboration with Director of Landscape and Grounds Joni Wilson ’00, who didn’t have the budget or staff to gather the necessary data. Griffith realized he could not only help Wilson and UMW, he could also use the project to engage students in service learning. Working … [Read more...]