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HURLEY'S INAUGURAL FRIDAY
UMW president to be inaugurated on Friday.

 Hurley
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Date published: 9/26/2011

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley's inauguration Friday seems like it's been several years in the making.

Four years ago, Hurley became acting president for 14 months after William Frawley was fired from the post.

Then last spring, he accepted the acting presidency for a second time when Judy Hample resigned after less than two years as the Fredericksburg university's first female president.

Finally, in July 2010, Richard V. Hurley officially became UMW's ninth president. His inauguration will be the school's third since former UMW President William Anderson retired in 2006.

"It's a good celebration of where we're at and his leadership," UMW Rector Dan Steen said.

The university is spending $58,000 in state money for the inauguration. Private donors raised an additional $79,000 for the event and the inaugural ball in the recently opened Anderson Center.

About 900 people will attend the inauguration in Dodd Auditorium, and some 700 will be at the after-party.

Inauguration speakers include state Secretary of Education Laura Fornash and Stefanos Gialamas, president of American Community Schools in Athens, Greece. Gialamas and Hurley are on the board of the American Association of University Administrators.

The revolving door at the UMW president's office seems to be a distant memory for the 64-year-old Hurley, whose inauguration theme is: "Engaging minds. Serving the world."

His goal is to make UMW the best public liberal-arts university in the country. UMW, he said, needs to have more full-time faculty, increased selectivity for student admissions, and higher retention and graduation rates.

"I think if we achieve those goals, we can declare that we are Number One," Hurley said.

He added: "You probably can't have those other things without student satisfaction. That's important to me that they have a rewarding and satisfying experience while they're here."

Students already seem happier and more engaged, he said. During orientation week, freshmen and transfers attended an energetic forum about diversity and a barbecue with a flash mob.

Still, faculty and staff morale is among the problems at the university, Hurley said. Professors haven't received a raise in four years.

The university, he said, is exploring ways to improve morale without spending money. For instance, he said, the university could have what he called "recognition affairs" for employees to celebrate milestones such as years of service.

Another issue is professors' course loads.

"I'd be happy if I could put our faculty in a position where they taught less than eight courses a year," Hurley said. "It's difficult to do in a public setting and with limited funds."

At Friday's inauguration, however, Hurley hopes to give everyone--employees and the community--a positive feeling about the university.

"I think we're going to accomplish that," he said.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
Email: jbranscome@freelancestar.com


The University of Mary Washington's inauguration-week events include a Fredericksburg Forum with Karl Rove, who was a senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush.

"We thought he would be fascinating to have here given the political discourse going on in the country right now," UMW President Rick Hurley said. "I thought he might be a bit of a spark plug in an interesting week."

Hurley said he's not aware of any protests. About 100 sign-carrying protesters turned out when Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican, spoke at the Fredericksburg campus on Constitution Day, Sept. 17.

Here's a list of inauguration events:

Today: An economic development conference from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at UMW's Stafford County campus. Speakers include Eugene P. Trani, former president of Virginia Commonwealth University, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Wednesday: Fredericksburg Forum featuring Karl Rove at 8 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at umw.edu/forum or by calling 540/654-1065.

Thursday: "Serving the World" service activity with Habitat for Humanity from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Ball Circle.

Thursday: "Engaging Minds: The Legacy and Future of the Stafford Campus" from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in University Hall at the Stafford campus. It will feature accomplishments of the Stafford campus' graduates.

Thursday: "Engaging Minds: Teaching, Service Learning and Research" from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lee Hall. It will include discussions about innovative teaching, undergraduate research and study abroad, and service-learning activities directed by faculty.

Saturday: "Into the Streets" student service day from 1 to 5 p.m. Students will volunteer at projects throughout the Fredericksburg area.