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FAMILIAR FACE TO LEAD UNIVERSITY
Rick Hurley has spent 10 years at UMW and served as acting president twice, now he'll be its full-time president

 UMW's new president, Rick Hurley, speaks with economics major Thomas Tutor in Ball Circle earlier this week.
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Date published: 4/10/2010

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

The University of Mary Washington has turned to Rick Hurley for help--again.

Only this time, it's a long-term assignment.

Hurley will become UMW's ninth president on July 1, after two stints as acting president. He'll serve at least through June 30, 2013.

After unanimously voting Richard V. Hurley into the school's top post yesterday, the board of visitors stood and applauded.

They aren't the only ones happy with the decision.

"I know for a fact that all the students are really excited," said Student Government Association President Ashley Nixon. "We have a lot of faith in him because he's definitely shown that he cares about the students and really takes us into consideration when making decisions."

Psychology professor Denis Nissim-Sabat said the decision "produces the stability that we need."

"It would've been disastrous, I think, to have named anybody else," he said. He said Hurley has "excellent rapport" with faculty and understands the state's financial difficulties.

UMW has had two presidents since William Anderson retired from the post in 2006.

Hurley--who became acting president April 1--will replace Judy Hample, who officially leaves the school June 30 after just two years as its first female leader. Hample started a three-month sabbatical at the beginning of the month.

Hurley was named acting president for the first time in May 2007, after William Frawley was fired 10 months into the job after being charged with driving under the influence twice in two days.

Last year, Hurley announced his retirement as executive vice president effective May 1. He delayed those plans after the board of visitors asked him to become acting president April 1 through June 30.

UMW Rector Nanalou Sauder called Hurley "the right person for the job."

"Leadership ability is something hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it," she added.

Hurley has made changes in the eight full days he's been acting president this time around. For instance, he eliminated a furlough day for all employees scheduled for May 28, which would have saved $135,000.

"It's a small gesture, but I think it had some messaging behind it," Hurley said at yesterday's board of visitors meeting.

He also reinstated a policy--which Hample had eliminated--that allows faculty to wear casual clothes during the summer on Fridays.

Hurley said in an interview that he plans to stay at UMW "until they tell me to leave or my health drives me out."

He came to UMW in 2000 after 15 years as Longwood College's vice president for administration and finance. Hurley doesn't hold a doctorate, but has degrees, diplomas and certificates from Harvard University, University of Kentucky, Central Michigan University and Richard Stockton College in New Jersey

Many in the university community wanted Hurley to become president because of his institutional knowledge.

"I just want to extend my heartfelt appreciation and thanks for all the support that I have received to this point," Hurley said. "I just don't think I could've landed in the job of president without it."

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