Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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UMW President Rick Hurley celebrates inauguration

University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley said today that his family did not expect him to attend college.

His main goal in high school was to graduate, he said during his inauguration today at Dodd Auditorium.

After high school, he worked at a chemical plant in New Jersey, toured Vietnam with the U.S. Army and was an attendant at a gas station off the New Jersey turnpike. 

“The road I followed to reach this place was not, to put it mildly, a traditional academic path to a university presidency,” said Hurley, who became UMW’s ninth president on July 1, 2010.

He said he had an epiphany while pumping gas on a cold November day at age 25. He decided he had to do something better with his life.

So he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree in public administration.

“To say that today is a memorable occasion to me would be an understatement,” Hurley said. “When I speak to the transformative power of education, I’m not just saying the words, I’m living them.”