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Hurley plans to stay awhile
Incoming UMW President Rick Hurley plans to stay awhile

 UMW Executive Vice President Richard Hurley (center) sits in on a board of visitors meeting Friday.
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Date published: 4/11/2010


Rick Hurley never imagined he'd become president of the University of Mary Washington.

After all, most universities have traditionally looked for someone with a doctoral degree and experience in the classroom.

Hurley has neither.

But after two short-lived presidencies at UMW, many in the university community wanted to see him become the school's next leader.

They wanted stability.

"I was at the right place at the right time, really, and I'm just fortunate," Hurley, 62, said in an interview Friday.

Hurley--who stepped in as acting president for the second time April 1--will become UMW's ninth president on July 1, after 10 years as a senior administrator.

He'll be president until at least June 30, 2013.

Hurley is replacing Judy Hample, who will be leaving UMW on June 30 after just two years as its first female leader. She started a three-month sabbatical at the beginning of this month.

Hurley said his first stint as acting president in 2007-08 influenced his decision to serve longer-term. He took the acting job after William Frawley was fired as president after being charged with driving under the influence twice in two days.

Hurley will become UMW's third president since William Anderson's retirement in 2006.

"Once I had the experience of actually doing the job, I realized that I really did enjoy it, and I thought it was a fairly successful time," he said. " That helped me make the decision that I should give this another shot if I have an opportunity."

Many UMW students have said Hample wasn't visible enough on campus. On his second day as acting president, Hurley said, he saw UMW's production of "Romeo and Juliet" and talked with the cast after the show.

On Friday, while the board of visitors was meeting behind closed doors, he chatted casually with a couple of reporters from The Bullet, UMW's student-run newspaper.

"I said to my wife, 'I'm going to try to schedule a couple of events a month to make sure I get out there,'" Hurley said.

The biggest challenge of his tenure will be to keep UMW affordable, he said. The board of visitors on Friday discussed increasing tuition and fees by up to 9 percent.

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Effective July 1, the University of Mary Washington will no longer refer to its Stafford County campus as the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. However, the location will continue to offer classes for nontraditional students and other courses.

The university is also establishing colleges of business and education effective July 1.

"We believe that these changes, while having little visible impact locally, will better position the university to have a broader impact in the region," incoming UMW President Rick Hurley wrote in a letter Friday to the university community. "I assure you, the Stafford campus and the programs we host there will remain as key elements of the university's strategic commitment to regional engagement."