The University of Mary Washington closed the books June 30 on its most successful fundraising year to date, with $21,362,093 in gifts and pledges – more than triple last year’s number – made during the 2022-23 fiscal year to enhance the UMW student experience.
Private support from 4,829 generous donors, more than half of whom are alumni, helped Mary Washington continue its commitment to providing students with an outstanding public liberal arts and sciences education filled with impactful learning opportunities. Gifts benefited 301 areas across the University, including academics, arts, athletics, service and leadership initiatives, career services, and cultural programs.
“We are so grateful to the many new and longtime supporters across the UMW community, and I am thrilled to thank them all for our most successful fiscal year ever,” said President Troy Paino. “Our alumni, friends, families, students, faculty, and staff give generously and invest in this institution. These funds will be a critical piece of our ongoing efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate successful Mary Washington students.”
This year’s grand total was bolstered by a portion of a transformational $30 million gift from alumna Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59, who passed away in July 2022, leaving the largest donation in Mary Washington’s 115-year history. Rodgers’ gift, which will be paid out over multiple years, exponentially grows UMW’s undergraduate research program in the sciences. The gift also creates four new Alvey Scholarships, providing full tuition, fees, and room and board for out-of-state students for up to four years, adding to the eight already created by Rodgers.
Making a UMW education accessible and affordable remains a major priority at Mary Washington, with 790 scholarships and awards, totaling more than $2.1 million, given to 550 students in this fiscal year. Fifteen scholarships were awarded for the first time, including the Class of 1966 Scholarship and the Class of 1973 50th Reunion Scholarship, which illustrate the investment alumni continue to make in their alma mater and its students. Five incoming students have been awarded full-ride Alvey or Washington scholarships (for in-state students) for the coming academic year.
Recently recognized as a “Top Employer for Interns” by the Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership, the University announced in April the William H. Leighty ’78 and Martha Kearns Leighty ’75 Fellows Program. The couple, who are both former Board of Visitors members (Bill also served as chief of staff to two Virginia governors), made a $100,000 philanthropic commitment to the program to support UMW juniors and seniors in pursuit of public service internships in the commonwealth.
“This year’s success is due to the dedicated alumni, friends, families, students, faculty, and staff who make the University of Mary Washington a priority in their philanthropic giving,” said Vice President for Advancement Katie Turcotte. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of every donor and for their devotion to supporting UMW students, programs, faculty, and staff.”
Other 2022-23 highlights include:
- The entire UMW community came together on April 4th’s Mary Wash Day, a high-energy celebration of school spirit, with alumni and friends sponsoring 52 challenges and matches to help raise $621,528 in 24 hours to support students, faculty, and programs.
- Alumni donors spanning 84 years made gifts in FY23, totaling $10,135,909.
- Current and former faculty and staff donors contributed $430,206 in FY23.
- President Paino and his cabinet endowed the Charles Coleman Service Award for staff who demonstrate dedication to UMW and a concern for others. The first award went to Student Life Case Manager Betsy Southern, who served as COVID care coordinator during the pandemic.
- UMW dedicated several spaces on campus, including the Weatherly Wing, the Mason Team Room and the Leigh Frackelton Classroom and Gibbons Team Room.
Donors also helped UMW reach its halfway mark of $500,000 for Beyond the Classroom, an initiative that supports undergraduate experiential learning such as independent research, study abroad, and internships. While BTC is already helping current students enhance their academic experience, the long-term goal is to create a $1 million endowment to generate tens of thousands of dollars for students each year.
The unrestricted Fund for Mary Washington received $687,052 in gifts and pledges, as well as a $2.2 million estate distribution to the Lynne Gourley Farrell ’62 Fund for Mary Washington Endowment, helping UMW address its most pressing needs.
This year also marked a full return to in-person advancement events that spotlight the power of philanthropy, including the Celebration of Giving and the Donor Appreciation Luncheon and Student Showcase. More than 3,100 alumni participated in regional network and affinity group gatherings, presidential events, Mary Talks, UMW Alumni on the Road trips, Homecoming, and Reunion Weekend, which saw over 850 alumni return to campus to celebrate their milestone years in June.
“I’m so impressed and energized by Mary Washington graduates who support their alma mater through their engagement, as well as the alumni team and volunteers who put each of our exceptional alumni events together,” Turcotte said. “We look forward to seeing even more of you in the future, and if you haven’t been back to campus in a while, we hope you’ll visit soon.”
Make a gift for FY24, which runs from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. To learn more about giving options, please contact the Office of University Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-654-1024. Explore upcoming Mary Washington alumni events.
-Article written by Assistant Director of Advancement Communications Jill Graziano Laiacona ’04