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The college on the hill:
President Rick Hurley's op-ed about UMW and the community

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Date published: 11/7/2010

THE UNIVERSITY of Mary Washington aspires to be the best public liberal arts university in the nation. We have much in our favor that will help us reach that goal. Our supportive community of citizens and scholars, tradition of academic excellence, high caliber cultural and artistic offerings, and commitment to the greater public good are key factors that contribute to the outstanding quality of life in this region.

The trusted relationships with our neighbors and the transparency of our operations are the essence of good community relations. The university is fortunate to have broad-based support throughout the region, and we truly appreciate the fact that we have prime campus locations in Fredericksburg, Stafford, and soon Dahlgren, serving a dynamic area from Richmond to Washington and beyond.

Several years ago, I began working with leaders in Fredericksburg to develop closer, more collaborative town-gown relations. With a campus of some 4,000 students located in the heart of established neighborhoods, it is inevitable that we have occasional areas of overlapping interests and issues that must be resolved in a spirit of cooperation. It is clearly in the best interests of our university community that local officials, businesses, and residents find ways to address our mutual interests and to do so openly in an atmosphere of trust.

I believe that together we have been quite successful in doing so. Now, as president of UMW, I've asked the entire university community to become even more engaged with the community and the region. And, in turn, I hope that our neighbors will become even more involved with us.

We recently formed "Arts for the Community," because we believe in the importance of music, art, history, and theater as contributors to the region's quality of life. With two historic museums, a nationally ranked philharmonic orchestra, a restored performance theater, and top-notch art galleries, UMW offers rich and diverse cultural activities. Our annual "Great Lives" series brings top scholars and authors from around the world to speak about interesting historical figures, while the Fredericksburg Forum adds internationally renowned personalities to the local lecture circuit.


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Richard V. Hurley is president of the University of Mary Washington.


1. UMW Philharmonic Orchestra is hugely popular.

2. A West African performance group reveals UMW's diversity.

3. The Ghost Walk supports historic preservation and entertains area residents on Halloween.

4. Journalist Bob Woodward speaks at the Fredericksburg Forum event.

5. A statue of George Washington stands in Dodd Auditorium.

6. UMW students walk on campus.