Tuesday night, President Rick Hurley and his wife Rosemary hosted a group of ten students at their home for dinner.
This was the first event of a new program in which the Hurleys plan to host ten students for dinner four times every semester.
This will be the first time many of the students have ever visited historic Brompton. While many faculty and alumni events are held there, very few students get the chance to enter before they graduate.
“This is just one of many different avenues we are exploring to get to know more students,” Rosemary Hurley said.
A lottery will randomly select students who will then receive invitations to the dinners via email. The student must then RSVP to reserve their spot.
There is no way to increase the chances that one student will be chosen over another.
“It’s completely random,” she said. “We want it to be fair.”
But Rosemary Hurley also said that she is always looking for more ways to get to know students, and to invite them to Brompton.
“[I] get to learn a lot about life on campus,” she said. “I really feel the students keep you young.”
The Hurleys will not actually be cooking for the event; that job is in the hands of executive chef for dining services, Fred German, who oversees all of the dining facilities on campus.
“We are just so busy right now,” Rosemary Hurley said. “I wouldn’t want to cook for one group and then not for another, so we just decided to keep it consistent.”
Contrary to it’s pristine look, the spacious Brompton kitchen is frequently in use. German and other chefs from Sodexo cook there often for events.
Rosemary Hurley herself enjoys cooking, and stepped in to check on a steaming pot of homemade marinara sauce during an interview last week.
Many of the recipes at the student dinners are Rosemary Hurley’s own.
The dinner consisted of Caesar salad, garlic bread, marinated flank steak, double stuffed potatoes, green bean bundles and cheesecake with raspberry sauce for desert.
All of the dinners will feature the same menu.
Rosemary Hurley wanted to get to know students to get their perspective on the campus, but she also emphasized that she wanted to make a memory for each attending student.
“We always ask [UMW] alumni that we meet, ‘What did you love the most?’ “What was the most memorable?” Rosemary Hurley said. “Any encounter with the president seems to be important. We want to do the best we can to create a strong sense of alma mater. ”
Rosemary Hurley acknowledged the short stay of the last few former UMW presidents.
“I think [the position] is back on track,” she said. “We love people and welcome the opportunity to be more visible.”
She said that the first dinner went extremely well.
“The students were engaging and delightful,” Rosemary Hurley said. “I believe the students enjoyed the evening as much as we did.”