UMW in Trans*ition

By Kristin Davis

The University of Mary Washington stood in virtual silence when Charles Girard ’12 first arrived for a campus tour in April 2008. The University was on the high school senior’s short list of prospective colleges, and that visit was all he needed to make a decision. He showed up on the day of UMW’s annual National Day of Silence, an observance by schools and campuses around the country to draw attention to the harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. “I was walking with my dad around campus,” Girard recalled. “I thought, ‘I should go here.’ ” Girard, who was born female but identifies as a male, grew up outside Charlottesville with a twin brother. He did not always identify as a male, but as a teenager he began to question his identity. “On my first day of college, I introduced myself to my college roommate as Charlie,” Girard said. At age 20, he began taking hormones that deepened his voice. As far as Girard knows, he is the first “out” … [Read more...]

Books by Alumni

Writing From the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice By Nancy Slonim Aronie ’63 This enduring guide, now in its seventh printing, presents creative writing as a path to self-healing, encouraging writers to search their souls and take risks. Writing From the Heart grants individuals permission to tell their own stories in their own voices, using their own styles. The book, originally published in 1998, provides inspirational exercises and methods for overcoming writer’s blocks, and includes chapters like “Before you knew everything, everything was new” and “Are you there, gut? It’s me, Margaret.” Aronie promotes a “safe” creative environment that urges writers to let go of the red-pen discipline they learned in the classroom and gives them freedom to trust their own creativity. “If you feel safe, you can do anything,” Aronie said on the website for the Chilmark Writing Workshop she founded in 1986 on Martha’s Vineyard, where she lives with her husband. “Here is … [Read more...]

Nikola Nikolic

Professor Emeritus of Physics

Nikola “Nick” Nikolic, professor emeritus of physics, passed away June 14. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and his adult children, Carolina and Nikola. What follows is excerpted from a eulogy offered by Nikolic’s longtime colleague and friend Bulent Atalay, UMW professor emeritus of physics. When Nick Nikolic passed away, he was 84, and he had spent exactly half his life in Fredericksburg, 33 of those [from 1969 to 2002] as a professor of physics at Mary Washington. He was a brilliant physicist, and his undergraduate academic record at the University of Belgrade has never been surpassed. Physicist Charlie Townes, who later received a Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of the laser, invited Nick to Columbia University to pursue a doctorate in physics, and he accepted. A native of Belgrade, Nick never returned to the country of his birth. The former Yugoslavia’s loss would be America’s gain. Among physicists, Nick saw Newton as the king. He was not impressed … [Read more...]

Cheryl Hawkinson-Melkun

Assistant Professor of Communications

Cheryl Hawkinson-Melkun, assistant professor of communications in the University of Mary Washington College of Business, passed away unexpectedly June 19. She was 56. A highlight of her 16- year UMW tenure was the founding of the Stafford Campus Writing Center. She was the center’s first director, beginning in the fall of 2004. Regarded as a demanding yet patient professor, Hawkinson-Melkun used her knowledge and influence to help the many students who passed through the center and her classrooms become better communicators. Hawkinson-Melkun recognized the difference in the needs of traditional and nontraditional students. She was known for her ability to bring out the best in her students and for her determination to help them succeed. Hawkinson-Melkun was lauded as a generous and supportive supervisor who empowered her staff members to grow and excel professionally. She is survived by her family: Keith, Charlotte, Jared, and Hannah Melkun; parents Elden and Elaine; and … [Read more...]

Reunion Weekend 2012

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Scenes From Reunion Weekend 2012

  Reunion Weekend 2012 was a record-breaker! Scores of alumni from classes ending in 2s and 7s reveled in the nostalgia of returning to campus, and attendance topped that of any reunion in Mary Washington history. In addition to great weather, grads enjoyed Alumni College classes taught by UMW professors, a fun-in-the-sun reunion picnic, and special class gatherings. Also on tap were campus tours, wine-tasting, trolley trips to Carl’s for Fredericksburg’s famous frozen custard, an All-Class Party featuring dance band DC Fusion, activities for the tots, a chance to chat with President Richard V. Hurley and first lady Rose Hurley, and much more. … [Read more...]

Books by Faculty

Communication Centers and Oral Communication Programs in Higher Education: Advantages, Challenges, and New Directions Edited by Eunkyong “Esther” L. Yook, UMW Speaking Center and Korea Program director, and Wendy Atkins-Sayre This collection examines the growth and development of the centers that support communication courses and programs as they become more prevalent in higher education. Published by Lexington Books, February 2012   … [Read more...]


Charlotte Elizabeth Scott Myers ’36 N. Marshall Schools ’36 Audrey Alrich Silver ’36 Sara Elizabeth “Liz” Clark ’37 Virginia Richardson Parker ’38 Stella Miles Hood ’39 Marjorie Horner Webber ’39 Fern Carson Greear ’40 Margaret Richards Knight ’41 Betty Johnson Studebaker ’41 Anne Hargroves Parker White ’41 Eleanor Sommers Hartless ’42 Elsie Davis Todd ’42 Johanna Theresa Crittenden Greer ’43 Betty Rogers Zylewitz ’43 Eileen T. Landers Chase ’44 Priscilla Moyer Wilson Ashton ’45 Josephine Bruno Edmundson ’45 Harriet Hall Johnson Waymack ’45 Jane Howard Patrick ’46 Gloria Brown Schoonmaker ’46 Elizabeth Stallings Sharpe ’46 Florence Marie Mason Conrad ’47 Auralea Cox Curtis ’47 Helen Dawn Singleton Darfus ’48 Frances McGlothlin Borkey ’49 Elizabeth Louise “Betty Lou” Fitzgerald Braden ’51 Laura Costarelli Williams ’51 Bernard T. Burchell ’55 Harold Franklin Carder ’55 Sari Glasser Erlanger … [Read more...]


Phyllis Quimby Anderson ’44, who lost her husband Christine Doumas Conlin ’50, who lost her husband Georgene Kirkendall Harrison ’50, who lost her sister Mildred Jones Bonner ’52, who lost her husband Susan Hutcheson Jurgens ’52, who lost her husband Laura Milster Orville ’55, who lost her husband Jan Rutan Wright ’60, who lost her husband Barbara Ashley Firesheets ’61, who lost her mother Barbara “Bobbie” Brookes Nation ’61, who lost her mother Georgene Branch Burton ’62, who lost her husband Pam Brookes Weiseman ’63, who lost her mother Ryan Stewart Davis ’66, who lost her father Mary Karen Vellines ’70, who lost her mother and her husband Norah M. Heckman ’73, who lost her father Jennifer Carder Hightower ’77, who lost her father Joan Castner Niederlehner ’77, who lost her mother Jennifer Miller Strobel ’77, who lost her husband Judy Kemp Allard ’79, who lost her mother Darcy Driscoll ’82, who lost her mother Matthew J. Kelly … [Read more...]

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Allison N. Seay ’02 The résumé of Allison N. Seay ’02 reads like pure poetry. She won this year’s Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry for her collection, To See the Queen, and last year’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. She’s also won an Academy of American Poets prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg award, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowships. In recognition of her successes, Seay received the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, reserved for a recent graduate who’s either distinguished herself in her profession or contributed significantly to Mary Washington. As UMW’s Arrington Poet-in-Residence last semester, Seay falls into both categories. Her work has been accepted for publication in Crazyhorse, Meridian, Arts and Academe, Pleiades, Poetry, Harvard Review, Mississippi Review, The Southern Review, and Mid-American Review. To See the Queen, also a semi-finalist for Tupelo Press’ 2011 First/Second Book Award, is to be published in April 2013. A … [Read more...]