Recently, Anna Barron Billingsley, associate vice president for University Relations, sat down with President Richard V. Hurley to talk about his plans for the University of Mary Washington. What follows are highlights of their conversation.
How does the Mary Washington First campaign fulfill your vision for the university?
I want the University of Mary Washington to be one of the nation’s premier public liberal arts and sciences universities. Private funds are key to having that dream become a reality. A campaign like Mary Washington First not only attracts new donors, but it also engages ongoing supporters and excites them about the university’s future.
What will this campaign do for UMW?
Money raised through Mary Washington First will allow us to do things this institution otherwise couldn’t do – offer more scholarships, endow more professorships, and enhance research and internship opportunities. All of these assist us in attracting the best and brightest students and faculty.
It’s vitally important.
Also, this campaign will help establish what I have been striving toward: a culture of philanthropic giving. I want giving back to be part of UMW’s DNA – as students, as staff, as alumni. Ongoing support is essential to this institution.
What excites you most about this campaign?
I have to say the restoration of the amphitheater. We have a tremendously beautiful landscape feature just sitting there in disarray. Alumni have such fond memories of that campus icon; its rebirth will be a tangible fruit of our fundraising labors. In my mind, that is one of the last pieces of our facilities puzzle. We will have a state-of-the-art convergence center and a welcoming and warm campus center – those structures, combined with what we have across the street in Eagle Village, will help complete the capital vision for this campus.
I’m also thrilled that Mary Washington First will allow us to grow our endowment, a move that will sustain the university well into the future.
You spend a lot of time talking with students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni. How do you feel when you meet or hear about members of the UMW community who have made a mark on the world?
It makes me incredibly proud! What never ceases to intrigue me is the number of graduates who are not working in the field of their degree. What that says is this: The broad-based education you get at Mary Washington will prepare you for anything you do in life. You will excel at writing, speaking, and critical thinking.
What do you say to someone who asks, “Why should I give to UMW?”
My answer goes hand in hand with the previous response. Look at who we’ve produced! To continue our rich history of launching incredible individuals, we need private support. That is what will propel this great institution into the future.
It’s so important to maintain and continue to advance the tremendous impact we’ve had on students’ lives for more than 100 years. We’re at a point now in our history at which philanthropic giving is going to push us into a better future, a stronger future. With the success of this campaign, UMW can accomplish great things.