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UMW chief welcomes freshmen
UMW President Rick Hurley greets students on move-in day

 With Chief of Staff Marty Wilder (left) at his side, Hurley greets one of the 969 freshman students at UMW.
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Date published: 8/19/2010

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

Sweat seeped through University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley's yellow polo shirt yesterday as he helped assemble a freshman's bunk bed.

It was move-in day for UMW's freshmen and transfer students, his first as the university's ninth president.

Hurley, however, looked like an average Joe as he visited several dorms and introduced himself to students and parents.

After helping with the bunk bed, he shook freshman Emma Eggers' hand.

"I'm the president, I just wanted to welcome you," he said as Eggers' father and a university maintenance man continued to work on the bed.

Hurley's chief of staff, Marty Wilder, added with a smile: "This is a full-service institution."

Wilder suggested the move-in day meet and greet during a meeting of Hurley's executive cabinet.

Many students complained that former President Judy Hample, who resigned this year, wasn't visible on campus.

Hurley, who became president July 1, said he and other administrators decided to informally welcome students "just to underscore that we are a small institution with a personal touch."

For a couple hours, he walked into dorm rooms and introduced himself: "Hey, I'm Rick Hurley. I'm the president."

Parents and students appreciated the gesture.

"I thought it was really cool," said freshman Colleen Acker, 18, of Wilmington, Del. "It kind of caught me off guard."

Parent Lisa Clause of Salem took a picture of her daughter chatting with Hurley.

"It's a real personal touch that you might not get at a large school," she said. "That's part of the reason we came here--that home-away-from-home feeling."

Freshman Patrick Byrne, 18, of Fairfax County used Hurley's visit as an opportunity to make a sales pitch to the president, urging him to buy a $12 rugby T-shirt to support UMW's team.

Hurley told him to drop by his office, and he'd buy one.

"I'm definitely going there today," Byrne said.

One of Hurley's last stops was the dorm where he had helped with the bunk bed earlier in the day. Tom Eggers, the father whom he assisted, hadn't realized Hurley was the university president until after he had left.

"I wish I'd have paid attention when he said who he was," said Eggers, who was too distracted assembling the bunk bed. "I'd have made a better impression."

He was able to greet Hurley when the president dropped by for a second time and asked, "Did you get that bed squared away?"

"I'm really happy to see the reaction of folks," Hurley said. "I just think it creates good chemistry right from the start."

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


The University of Mary Washington welcomed 969 freshmen and 237 transfer students during move-in day yesterday. Here's a breakdown of the freshman class:

342

Male

627

Female

557

White

68

Black

67

Asian

62

Hispanic or Latino

1

Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

33

Ethnicity reported but not race

266

Did not identify race or ethnic group

*Students could select more than one racial category, which is why the numbers exceed the total number of freshmen.