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The Blue & Gray Press | March 27, 2017

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New year marks turning point in UMW history

New year marks turning point in UMW history

By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF

The New Year brings with it a Mary Washington that is unfamiliar to most. Virtually every current undergraduate student at UMW has come to know a campus constantly being tinkered with by consistent construction projects. These changes, while necessary, were not only seen as inconvenient to daily routines or sleep schedules, but a pain to look at as well.

However, spring 2016 is unique from past semesters in that it is the first semester in years to be 100 percent construction-free. With the completed renovations to Woodard and Mercer Halls and the finishing touches to the University Center done, all major construction projects on campus are done, with the exception of the new track and field complex being constructed at the Battlegrounds. The peace and quiet is welcoming, yet unfamiliar to many students.

It has been a near decade-long period of rapid growth for the University, with major changes occurring every year in order to keep pace with the top schools in the state of Virginia. While many students view these changes as unnecessary and wasteful, we at The Blue & Gray Press believe that these evolutions are vital to the future of the school. It’s easy to look at a $54 million University Center and call it a waste at this moment in time, but 10 years from now, when the UC and other new buildings like it have been fully integrated into the UMW community, we, as first-hand witnesses to these changes, will say we had a part in the new era of UMW.

Our paper not too long ago underwent a similar change. Altering our name, website, social media and layout was not a welcoming change to many at the university. However, these changes were necessary for the betterment of the quality of our paper. As we see the University come under fire by current and former students about these “unnecessary” changes, we think back to the pressure we felt during our changes and cannot help but feel empathetic. Hopefully, as time goes on, students will learn to realize that what is new is not always bad and steering away from some traditions is sometimes necessary for the sake of progress.

One more major change is still slated for this semester, and it is more important than any of the new on-campus buildings. As the UMW Presidential Search Committee winds down their search for President

Hurley’s successor, we enter into a stage of UMW’s history that is pivotal in determining the long-term direction of the University. Whoever is selected as UMW’s next president, he or she will be handed a school fresh off of a major period of metamorphosis, in possession of its largest freshman class ever and a student body that does not shy from pushing for change.

We are turning a page in UMW’s history books right before our eyes. Rather than complaining about the changes and arguing against them, we should have more open minds, think about the future rather than the present and appreciate the fact that we have a chance to determine the future of our university.

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