Courting Excellence

Three professors and a student pursue academic passions

Emily Ferguson ’17 could have gone Ivy League. Instead, the high school valedictorian and future physician chose Mary Washington, lured by the James D. and Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 Alvey Scholarship, a full four-year comprehensive award. Private gifts like Rodgers’, which support the academic pursuits of UMW’s faculty and students, are crucial to bringing the best and brightest to campus. Premier colleges and universities embrace the time-honored tradition of establishing endowed scholarships and endowed distinguished chairs and professorships. The Shirley Van Epps Waple ’52 Professorships, for example, offer faculty members enhanced financial support for two years for research in their disciplines. These eight endowed awards enable UMW to attract, retain, and acknowledge outstanding faculty who are distinguished in their fields. A psychology major at Mary Washington, Waple, who died in 2010, became a credit counselor. She co-founded the Professional Adjustment Bureau of … [Read more...]

Learning to Change Lives

Laura Dick ’13 left high school with the credentials of a scholar and her choice of colleges. She was looking to study international development, maybe at Swarthmore or Haverford College. Then the St. Louis native heard of Mary Washington and its Alvey Scholarship for out-of-state students. Its full tuition, fees, room, and board turned her head. "It wasn’t just about awareness – it was about engaging with the world." – Laura Dick Dick visited campus and met Christine Exley ’09, who was also passionate about development. Exley was a Washington Scholar, the in-state equivalent of an Alvey. She had studied with Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics, and was about to graduate in math and economics. While Exley was an undergrad, she and Humphrey had started La Ceiba microfinance institution and the $2 Challenge. Exley showed Dick around the economics department and introduced her to the faculty. “She really loved the school,” Dick said of Exley, who now is finishing a Ph.D. … [Read more...]