By Justin Toney
At a faculty meeting earlier this week, Dr. Judy Hample said that her term as new Mary Washington president was off to a slow start.
She said that continuing budget work as chancellor for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education kept her busy until her last contracted day, disabling her from arriving on campus early as she had planned.
Since her arrival, she has been busy seeking private donations from UMW alumni in New England-wide and California fundraising trips.
Dominating her mind are concerns about the state of residence halls and private fundraising.
Her concern about dorm living conditions came up when asked about the one weakness she sees in UMW.
“If I could change one thing about Mary Washington I would wave a magic wand on the interior of the residence halls,” she said.
As she believed the school’s buildings are its greatest weakness, Hample saw people as its greatest strength.
“We have an outstanding committed faculty and high-caliber students,” she said.
Her other big priority, private funding, may become all the more important as her presidency continues.
“I had my first meeting with the council of presidents from across the state and it seems to be a given that there will be budget cuts. We don’t know how broad they are going to be, but we do anticipate reductions,” Hample said.
She pointed out that the commonwealth only provides 27 percent of the University’s operating budget, and the rest must come from private funding and tuition and fees.
“Private fundraising is the absolute responsibility of any university president and is one of my major responsibilities,” she said.
“I believe it is through private fundraising that UMW will achieve a margin of excellence.”
In addition to her meeting with other Virginia university presidents, Hample also recently had her first meeting with the Fredericksburg town-gown committee, which deals with issues brought up between the city and the school.
“The president sets the tone for the University’s relationship with the community,” Hample said. “UMW has a great relationship with the community and I want to enhance and strengthen that bond.”
She felt that the meeting expressed that the town is on good terms with the University.
“They want to work with us, and that’s how we feel about them; we’re partners. We need each other.”
In another comment, Hample addressed her philosophies on the educational direction of the school.
“I think that the foundation of UMW has been historically a commitment to the traditional liberal arts and science, and under my leadership I expect that to continue,” Hample said.
She added, “That doesn’t mean the University hasn’t in the past offered programs in the professional areas. We would expect them to continue and even expand.”
As an example, Hample mentioned a current inquiry into possibly expanding into limited healthcare programs.
“But our commitment will always be to the traditional liberal arts and sciences, because that’s our great strength, and we always want to go with great strength,” she said.
Hample was reticent to comment on the previous three individuals who have held her current position in the span of the last three years.
Having never met former president William Anderson, who retired in 2006, she felt that she could only comment on his impact.
“It’s very clear to me that because this campus is in such a great institution, he has clearly left a remarkable legacy, a great institution, a beautiful campus. I think a lot of that is due to his leadership,” she said.
About Rick Hurley, who served as acting president from 2007 until recently, she reiterated what she has said previously.
“I commented publicly that I have seen a lot of individuals take on acting positions and usually they’re placeholders. I think it is remarkable what Acting President Hurley did. He continued to move the University forward through some very difficult times,” she said.
When it came to former President Frawley, Hample had no comment.