The Inauguration of President Judy G. Hample last Friday, April 3, was much more understated than that of her predecessor, William J. Frawley.
According to Ranny Corbin, executive assistant to the president, the estimated cost of Hample’s inauragation is less thank half of the $98,853 that Frawley’s celebration cost.
“We saved big time,” Corbin said. “It was much more modest.”
Corbin attributes the lower cost to the struggling economy, as well as the “extravagance” of last year’s Centennial Ball.
“There was no way it could have lived up to the Centennial Ball,” she said. “Something like that can only happen every 100 years.”
The ceremony, held in Dodd Auditorium, featured well-wishing speeches from Fredericksburg Mayor Tom Tomzak, Virginia Senator Edd Houck, and William J. Howell, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. The Eagle Pipe Band led the procession of faculty in their academic robes and student chamber choir Una Voce sang the National Anthem and the Mary Washington alma mater.
Professor Claudia Emerson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2006, read two poems she wrote for the occasion.
“The poem I wrote [for Frawley] was about the ‘all inclusive’ side of the liberal arts, so I couldn’t do that again,” she said.
The second poem Emerson read was inspired by the fact that Hample used to be an usher at the Grand Old Opera House.
“I liked the idea of an usher guiding people through the dark,” Emerson said. “I think any leader does that.”After being sworn in by Judge James W. Haley, Hample was adorned with the golden presidential color and presented with a six-pronged academic mace. The new president then addressed her audience of over 1100 students, faculty, friends and local politicians.
“I am honored to be the first female president of the only public university named for one,” Hample said.
In her speech, Hample listed five principles she wishes to focus on during her time in office: quality, diversity, collaboration, authenticity and accountability.
“Perseverance is essential in achieving goals and objectives, but the hallmark of leadership is accepting individual responsibility for outcomes and results,” Hample said. “I hold myself the most accountable and responsible of all.”
Instead of a formal Inaugural Ball, a casual reception immediately followed Hample’s ceremony, in a wind-blown tent on the balcony of the newly renovated Lee Hall. Refreshments included little cakes, fresh fruit and a variety of seasoned nuts.
Despite high spirits inside of the tent, on the outside, members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stood on campus walk with posters protesting the new administration.
Senior Jason Walsh, a representative of SDS, said that most of the students’ protests come from “sweeping budget cuts” recently made to Residence Life, OSACS, and other student-centered organizations.
“We’re protesting the continued lack of real student democratic input in the process by which the University is ran,” Walsh said. “We think the money could be much better spent.”
Freshman Erin Bresson held up a sign that read, “I’ve been going here eight months, and this is the first time I’ve seen Hample.”
Former President William Anderson was more optimistic, calling Hample’s installment “a joyous occasion.”
When asked if he had any advice for Hample, Anderson said he “wouldn’t be so presumptuous” as to offer her any.
“She’s such a seasoned leader,” he said. “I’m happy for this institution to have a leader of that caliber.”
Hample was cheerful at her reception, and said that she was pleased with how the ceremony went.
“I was only a little nervous,” Hample said. “It was mostly just exciting; energizing and exciting.”