By IZZY BRIONES
As President Troy Paino’s first few months continue at the University of Mary Washington, his presence on campus has gradually been increasing and students have taken notice. With the initial hurdles of his transition to UMW out of the way, students have been eager to catch a glimpse of him on Campus Walk or take an obligatory selfie with him as everyone wants to know Truman State’s “T-Pain.”
“First and foremost I hope that I’m approachable. I hope that all students that see me as I walk down Campus Walk will always know that they can come up and talk to me to say hi and engage me in conversation,” Paino said in a sit-down interview with The Blue and Gray Press last week.
Paino discussed the university and his plans and hopes for its future as his tenure moves ahead. However, it was Paino’s dedication to the university and its community that came through most prominently in the interview. Though prospective plans for UMW are of great public interest, getting to know this new member of the community is one of great interest, especially for the students.
Many in the UMW community have seen the YouTube videos in which Paino showcases his fun and playful personality. Additionally, the open letter written by his previous universities’ students at Truman State, only emphasized this lovable personality that so many in the UMW community have been eager to see.
The letter’s ending stated, “we’re handing the torch to you. Please understand that a man that over 7,000 students” love is about to become your president. Please try your hardest to appreciate him as much as we do here at Truman State University…You’re allowed to love him as much as we have, if you can.”
The love of the students, which Paino earned at Truman State, just goes to show a small glimpse of what UMW students can expect from their president as the years progress.
“What I hope to do here is lead with my heart. A lot of that is about developing relationships and caring deeply about the students who are there and the people that work there,” Paino said.
Whenever he is out on Campus Walk, President Paino never fails to say hello to the students or pass up a conversation.
“I hope that’s all students feel that that’s the kind of president I am, accessible, approachable. I care about them and I want to get to know students I want to hear their story, I want to hear their experiences, I want to answer their questions, I want to ask them questions and I want to get to know them,” Paino said.
He went on to mention the most rewarding part of his job being forming relationships with the university community. He shared how he hoped to help students achieve their personal and professional goals by growing his involvement and interaction in the years ahead.
“I want to be that type of president where I’m not just sort of in a ‘bubble.’ I want to spend at least as much time, if not more time, out on campus getting to know the students and be involved in student life in some way…I’ve had a lot of those opportunities in my first couple months, but I think as the students get to know me I’ll have even more in the months and years to come,” Paino said.
The full interview with President Paino is available on The Blue and Gray Press social media accounts and YouTube channel, where President Paino addresses building renovations, campus diversity, fraternities and sororities and more.