By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH
On Friday morning, University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley announced that he would retire, effective June 30, 2016, after serving as President of UMW since 2010.
Hurley made the official announcement during a regular meeting of the Board of Visitors while a release was simultaneously emailed to the student body detailing Hurley’s announcement.
According to Hurley, the decision was made in order to spend more time with his wife, Rose, his three adult children and his seven grandchildren. His children and grandchildren all live in the Richmond area.
“I believe that 2016 is the right time, both for the University and for me, to effect this transition,” Hurley said in the statement, “I am confident that I will have achieved the primary goals I established for my presidency, including the completion of our $50 million Mary Washington First campaign.”
Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs, took the time to comment on Hurley’s retirement and admires his authenticity and work ethic throughout his presidency of Mary Washington.
“President Hurley is one of the most transparent leaders with whom I’ve had the privilege to work,” Searcy said in an email statement, “His collaborative style and broad communication efforts have helped balance the needs of students, faculty and staff.”
Searcy also wished the best for Hurley’s retirement, saying that Hurley would be missed.
The news caused a ripple in the student body.
Junior and sociology major Kevin Kim said Hurley’s presence on campus would be missed and said that Hurley will “be a great loss to the university.”
Junior psychology major Mikaela Barton remembered President Hurley supporting the women’s field hockey team when she and the team made it to the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2012. Hurley attended the Sweet Sixteen and the quarterfinal games and spoke personally with Barton and the rest of the team.
Other students speculated that events that occurred this semester, including the controversy surrounding the Mother’s Rugby team and the administration and police’s involvement at the DivestUMW sit-in, may have created an atmosphere that prompted Hurley’s retirement.
“I think with the school’s divest movement, and racial party and all the negative events, maybe poised him to retire,” said Kim.
Hurley actively made connections with students on campus, hosting lottery dinners at his historic home, Brompton, three times a semester and hosting an ice cream social for incoming freshman class during orientation.
According to the release, Hurley announced his retirement in advance to give the university time to begin a national search to name a successor.
Before coming to UMW, Hurley worked at Longwood University as Vice President for administration and finance for 15 years. During his time at UMW, Hurley served as chief financial officer, executive vice president and acting president.
Hurley directed major campus construction and renovation projects, including but not limited to the construction of the Anderson Center, the Information and Technology Convergence Center and the Dahlgren Campus. Hurley was instrumental in acquiring Eagle Village, a public and private mixed use development, which includes apartment housing for more than 600 UMW students, commercial retail, a parking facility and office space.