Lindley Estes covers the University of Mary Washington for and The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at 
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UMW publicly launches “Mary Washington First” campaign

The University of Mary Washington publicly launched its $50 million Mary Washington First fundraising campaign Friday.

The goal of the campaign, which has been quietly raising funds privately for three years, is to advance President Rick Hurley’s vision for the university “to become one of the nation’s premier public liberal arts and sciences universities.”

“The pace of change in higher education accelerates daily, and the fiscal challenges faced by colleges and universities are daunting,” Hurley said in a university release about the campaign. “In order to remain at the forefront of our competitors, affordable for our students and families, and able to attract the best and brightest minds, it is imperative for UMW to have the resources necessary for success.”

UMW, like other Virginia colleges, have increased tuition over the past few years in direct response to cuts in state higher education funding. Private fundraising for projects helps offset some of that need.

Funds from the campaign will be used toward the arts, athletics, leadership, study abroad, the Chappell Great Lives lecture series, libraries and instructional technology, said UMW.

Among the fundraising initiatives are securing private funds for endowment of scholarships, restoration of the campus amphitheater, support for the university’s three colleges, enhancement of the Fund for Mary Washington and program development.

Restoration of the UMWs open-air amphitheater, a long-neglected but iconic spot on the historic campus, is integral to the plan. The planned $3 million restoration would return the site to its 1950′s appearance.

Over the past three years, during the non-public phase of the campaign, the university has raised a total of $29.2 million.

According to the release, significant gifts so far include:

  • More than $7.5 million in estate gifts for student scholarships, including one full-tuition Washington scholarship and one Alvey Scholarship, which covers tuition costs for an  out-of-state student
  • More than $3 million in estate gifts to support students studying abroad
  • Nearly $1.4 million in gifts to support restoration of the amphitheater
  • A $1 million estate gift to create special professorships in the three colleges
  • More than $600,000 in pledges and gifts to support the unrestricted Fund for Mary Washington
  • More than $500,000 to support the Great Lives Lecture Series.

To request information or make a gift to the campaign, go here.


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