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New president hoping to build on enthusiasm
New UMW president gets acquainted with the community

 New University of Mary Washington President Judy Hample says she wants to talk with faculty members, students and community leaders.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 7/27/2008

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

University of Mary Washington President Judy Hample wants to talk individually with every professor next academic year.

"That might be overly ambitious, but that's one of my objectives," she said.

Hample, who became UMW's first female president July 1 when she succeeded the ousted William Frawley, says she has a sea of appointments on her calendar. Her schedule includes an alumni event in California and meetings with state politicians and academic department chairs.

UMW's eighth president knows she has a lot to learn about the school and where it's headed. A few professors have introduced themselves, but only to say hello and wish her well.

"We haven't gotten into what I would call political kinds of issues," Hample said.

Her priorities include improving student housing, increasing diversity and soliciting donations.

"I think that fundraising is definitely one of the biggest challenges facing the university," she said. She said UMW needs to raise $8.2 million more to complete its $75 million Centennial Campaign by July 2009.

She hosted her first alumni event last weekend at the Tides Inn in Irvington, and talked with all 80 guests.

"There was an incredible enthusiasm, particularly on the part of graduates in the '40s, '50s and '60s, that the University of Mary Washington now has a female president," she said.

Hample, 60, also met Wednesday with UMW Student Government Association President Sean O'Brien. He said they talked about a few issues, including campus safety and fostering better relations between administrators and students.

"She was concerned with gauging my perspective on what current issues students are most concerned about," O'Brien said.

He said Hample seemed interested in getting to know undergraduates.

"He's very excited and anxious to help me integrate into my schedule activities that will bring me into contact with students," Hample said of O'Brien.

On Tuesday, she met with Charles G. McDaniel, chairman of the president's roundtable, and told him she wants to begin meeting with the group of community leaders. McDaniel is chairman of Hilldrup Moving & Storage.

Hample, who was previously chancellor of Pennsylvania's 14-campus, 110,000-student public education system, knows some may think she's an out-of-touch bureaucrat. But that perception won't last long, she said.

"I think within a few weeks people who think that will pretty quickly understand that I know how to take off my statewide-policy hat" and do what's best for students and employees, she said.

Recently, she has been busy moving into Brompton, the university president's official residence. She has a collection of abstract paintings and African and North American Indian art.

She's also a big Dallas Cowboys fan, but hopes the community won't hold it against her.

"We not only want to be good neighbors," she said, "we want to be good leaders in the community."

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