BY BRYNN BOYER AND ANNE ELDER
Richard (Rick) Hurley will serve as the ninth president of the University of Mary Washington, effective July 1, 2010.
The Board of Visitors made the announcement at its meeting on Friday, April 9 after an hour-long closed session.
Hurley, who has previously served as acting president twice, has agreed to stay in the position for at least the next three years.
“My expectation is that that is not a term limit,” Nanalou Sauder, rector of the BOV, said.
Hurley said he expects the contract to be finalized soon.
He said the Board’s decision to name him as president did not come as a surprise, because of the “outpouring of support” he received from the campus community.
“It shifted from ‘This’ll never happen’ in the beginning to ‘Maybe this’ll happen’ to ‘It looks like this is going to happen’,” Hurley said.
Hurley said Sauder called him three weeks ago, asking him to consider the presidency.
“I said ‘yes’ to that,” Hurley said. “I had no indication it wasn’t going to happen. But, [the BOV] played their cards very close to their vest.”
When Sauder made a motion at the meeting to accept the resolution that would name Hurley as president, the Board members all applauded and gave him a standing ovation.
“It seemed obvious to me that it was the right thing,” Sauder said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Rick.”
Hurley has been serving as acting president since April 1, taking over after Judy Hample stepped down.
He also was acting president in the transition between William Frawley and Hample, from April 2007 to June 2008. Before stepping up as president, Hurley was executive vice president.
Hurley said his approach to the presidency would be one of “honesty, openness and collaboration.”
His immediate goal as president is implementing the strategic plan, including making sure the reaccreditation process goes smoothly.
“The strategic plan continues to emphasize the core mission of the University of Mary Washington. [It] has always been to provide a quality, affordable liberal arts education,” Sauder said. “People need to understand higher education is changing.”
“I want to focus on regional engagement,” Hurley said. “That means getting our name out beyond Fredericksburg.”
UMW’s regional engagement will be three-fold: create more internships for students, increase the reputation of Mary Washington as an institution of higher education and create additional revenue.
He sent a campus-wide e-mail to students on Friday afternoon, explaining the upcoming reorganization of the university.
“I don’t see Mary Washington growing into a mega-university,” Sauder said. She shares Hurley’s hopes of serving the region and wishes to “respond to the needs of higher education as we continue to move forward.”
“By giving you this information first-hand, I hope to curtail rumors and speculation about what is really going on,” Hurley said in the e-mail.
At the BOV meeting, Hurley said he’s looking forward to meeting students through his new position.
“I’m a very accessible person,” Hurley said. “Please come up to me and introduce yourself.”