BY TRICIA CALLAHAN
President Judy Hample has scheduled her inauguration ceremony for Friday, April 3, to coincide with the weekend of the annual Diversity Multicultural Fair on campus, and with hopes of pleasant Virginia weather.
This timing explains why Hample, who was appointed to her job last summer, won’t formally be sworn in until April.
Some students on campus were surprised when the scheduled inauguration appeared on the top of the UMW home page under “Special Events” and when invitations began to arrive in mailboxes and inboxes.
“It does seem a bit odd for it to be scheduled so late after she was chosen,” senior Katie Adams said.
Hample, who is UMW’s first female president, will be sworn in at Dodd Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. on April 3. The ceremony is expected to last about an hour and a half, and Hample will be sworn in by a judge in a ceremonial induction.
“I’m going to give a brief speech,” Hample said, “and highlight two or three of the issues that I hope to work on here at the University.”
Her previous state of the University address focused on diversity and university standards, among other topics.
Early in her term, Hample was more visible on campus. Amid the chaotic shuffle of boxes for freshman move-in day last August, with families loading and unloading their vehicles, President Hample was in the residence halls visiting new students.
More recently, however, Hample has come under fire for her failure to appear more often in public on a small campus accustomed to a president routinely strolling around the grounds as a highly visible figure to the University community. Her low public profile late last year was partly due to the fact that she had surgery to treat two abdominal hernias over winter break.
But the president intends to emerge with a splash at her inauguration, specifically timed around the Multicultural Fair to be held on Ball Circle the following day, April 4. The fair usually attracts around 3,000 people, and is a celebration where ethnic food, multicultural entertainment, and crafts are shared with the campus and the surrounding community.
The scheduled date for the inauguration is months later than those for previous ceremonies. Hample’s predecessor, William Frawley, was inaugurated on Sep. 30, 2006, only two months after succeeding William M. Anderson Jr.
“The inauguration in 2006 was unusually early,” Hample said.
When asked to comment on the timing of her own inauguration, Hample said she felt that it was too soon to have the ceremony in the fall, and that winter weather could have been hazardous.
“Typically, one should allow about nine months for planning,” said Ranny Corbin, the head of the committee in charge of the inauguration’s details. Corbin said she does not yet have an estimate of the total cost for the inaugural ceremony. Students will be invited via e-mail. Students are expected to R.S.V.P. if they wish to attend.
“It’s a very special event,” Hample said. “I’ve invited many friends and members of my family, but as far as the menu, I didn’t write that. I’ll be too nervous to eat anyway.”
The inauguration will be followed by a reception at the Lee Hall Terrace, which will offer the community, presidents of other universities, alumni, and current students and faculty a chance to have refreshments and congratulate Hample.
“It’s nice to see a woman taking control,” freshman Andriana Lozier said.