An exciting fall semester is well underway at Marymount, and we’re increasingly getting the word out to the regional and higher education communities about all that our university is doing. I’ll be speaking to the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce in November, moderating a panel discussion on social media at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Conference in January, and participating in a CASE roundtable on giving in February.
As part of our Common Ground branding campaign, WJLA 7 is running five-second billboard spots now through early December during Good Morning Washington, Good Morning America, ABC 7 News @ 5 and 6, and Jeopardy. A similar spot will also be running on cable news and sports stations, as well as Comedy Central, through mid January.
While short, these spots highlight our Common Ground themes of intellectual curiosity, service to others, and global perspective. These are not just catch phrases for us, they are lived out daily at Marymount. I would like to share a few examples with you.
Marymount faculty recently presented their research projects and cutting-edge teaching methodologies at the annual Innovations conference on campus. Topics ranged from Leveraging Social Media Tools to Enhance Social Learning in the Multicultural Classroom and Mobile Mapping to The Dynamics of American Entrepreneurship and Statistical Methods to Amplify the Accuracy and Power of Research; and from An Eye Health Promotion Campaign in Peru and Incorporating International Human Rights Standards into Work with Children in the U.S. to Engaging Young Adult Catholics in D.C. to Peacemaking in an Angry World (contrasting case studies of Northern Ireland and South Africa).
Students are also encouraged to conduct original research and creative projects. Every year, the spring Student Research Conference gives them the opportunity to present their work. Last year, more than 100 students gave oral and poster presentations on topics from computer-hacking behavior to social media etiquette, rain gardens to solar systems, physical therapy treatments to literary heroines. Many Marymount students also present annually at regional, national, and international conferences.
Service to Others
More than 230 Marymount students, faculty, staff, and alumni participated in the university’s Volunteer Service Day, an annual tradition at the start of the academic year that introduces students to ways they can serve in the local community. The Marymount volunteers fanned out to 22 sites across northern Virginia to lend a hand. Read More
Another collaborative service effort is ongoing in Costa Rica at the Manos Abiertas orphanage for abandoned people of all ages with severe disabilities. What began several years ago as a capstone service project for Doctor of Physical Therapy candidates expanded as it became apparent that Marymount could offer additional assistance. Over the summer, nursing and health care management students, as well as teachers-in-training, joined the effort, providing their expertise to the residents and caregivers. Ultimately each resident will have a care plan that integrates PT, health care, and education.
Last year, 270 Marymount undergraduate and graduate students traveled abroad for study in 17 countries across the globe, including China, Greece, India, Malawi, Nepal, Slovenia, Turkey, and Uganda – in addition to more traditional western European and Central American destinations. In addition, Marymount is expanding opportunities for students to broaden their understanding of other cultures through a new Global Scholars program.
In Other News...
An Impressive Freshman Class
I’m pleased to report that our freshman class, 400 strong, is the best prepared in Marymount’s history. Their average grade point average is 3.23, and SAT scores are up significantly. The average verbal score (518) has increased 5% since 2009, and the average math score (513) is up 6%.
Strengthening Marymount’s Catholic Identity
Marymount’s Catholic foundation underpins all university endeavors and is central to our mission of educating the whole person. I have set up a standing committee to recommend ways to further strengthen Marymount’s Catholic identity. One project already underway is the creation of an Office of Community Engagement. We want to coordinate and expand our service to the community.
- The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Marymount University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE) through 2015. Read More
- Marymount University is proud to be named to the list of Military Friendly Schools for the fourth year by Victory Media, Inc., which publishes G.I. Jobs Magazine.
- The American Legion presented Marymount with a Certificate of Appreciation for hosting its Boys Nation summer program for 27 years. Marymount was thanked for “playing a leading role in the wholesome development of tomorrow's informed and responsible citizens who have gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation of our form of federal government.”
- U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 “America’s Best Colleges” issue again lists Marymount University in the top tier of regional universities in the South and recognizes MU as the second most diverse university in the region. In addition, three of Marymount’s graduate programs are included in the U.S. News 2014 Best Graduate Schools list: the Malek School of Health Professions’ M.S. in Nursing and Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the School of Business Administration’s M.S. in Health Care Management.
- Virginia Living magazine’s October Issue has a section on Virginia’s Top High Schools and Universities 2013. Marymount is listed in the Co-Ops and Partnerships category for its Professional Development School program with Arlington and Fairfax County Public Schools, as well as the Athletics category for having the nation's first varsity triathlon team. The new baseball and men's volleyball teams are also mentioned.
Marymount's Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel, which has been closed for renovations, reopened the week of October 21. New stained-glass windows will be installed in the spring, and we look forward to welcoming Bishop Loverde to campus for a dedication Mass in the fully renovated chapel.
We are making progress on efforts to redevelop the Ballston Center and expect to bring the project to the Arlington County Board of Supervisors early in the New Year.
Gailhac Hall, second phase of renovation
The second phase of the Gailhac Hall renovation focuses on the fine arts floor and includes a state-of-the-art ceramics studio.
- Marymount University athletics has joined the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Saints are now eligible for all ECAC postseason play and awards in all 14 NCAA Division III sports Marymount offers. Marymount remains a full and founding member in all sports in the Capital Athletic Conference.
- Bloomberg Businessweek published an article on October 7 that noted “Marymount is the only school currently offering triathlon as a varsity sport.” The article, titled “Women Triathletes Get Chance at Varsity Status Under NCAA Plan,” said that the National Collegiate Athletic Association is considering a proposal, co-sponsored by Marymount and other universities, to name the swim-cycle-run athletic competition an emerging women’s sport, a special designation that would start triathlon on the path to becoming an intercollegiate sport for both men and women.
- Competing in their first Olympic distance event of the season, Marymount freshmen Collin Chartier and Melissa Teeple both won individual titles at the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference Championships.
- In addition, Calah Schlabach, Marymount’s assistant cross country and triathlon coach, won her age division (women’s 25-29) at the World Championship Short Course triathlon on Sept. 15 in London, England. And, Dr. Monica Robbers, professor of criminal justice, won the amateur female title at the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, DC, on Sept. 8. That victory means she will represent the United States at the Tri Yas race in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Feb. 28, 2014.
Pablo Coto Tip-off Tournament
The Marymount men's and women's basketball teams will be hosting the Pablo Coto Tip-Off Tournament November 15-17 to start the 2013-14 season. A special reception will be held on November 14 with Marymount president Dr. Matthew Shank, and basketball coaches Ashlee Courter '03 and Chris Rogers, to kick off the tournament.
The reception on Thursday, November 14, is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the SoBe Bar & Grill, 3100 Clarendon Blvd. All proceeds from the reception ($10 per person) and the tournament ($5 per person) will benefit the Pablo Coto Scholarship. The namesake of the scholarship and tournament, Pablo Coto, was a student leader and men's basketball player in the Class of 1993 who passed away unexpectedly during his senior year.
We hope you can join us for the reception and/or the games! Tickets to the reception and tournament can be purchased online, or by calling the Office of Alumni Relations at 703-284-1541.
Homecoming and Reunion Weekend
In September, more than 3,000 people, including 1,157 alumni, participated in Homecoming activities. From class celebrations of anniversary years to a lacrosse game between alumni and current students, the Marymount ties united everyone.
Celebrating her 30th reunion, Carol Cassella '83 noted, "It's so great to be back on campus. There are physical changes, but the feeling is the same.” Reflecting on her career as a teacher and her life-long Marymount friends, she added, “There’s a lot to be said for the Marymount bond and the positive impact that Marymount has had on our lives.” Michael Smith ’01, director of the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service and recipient of the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award, echoed that view. He said, “Marymount shaped and prepared me to launch on a career path centered around service."
Designer Of The Year
Jhane Barnes has been selected to receive Marymount University’s 2014 Designer of the Year Award at Portfolio in Motion, the annual student fashion show. She first became known for her creative menswear and then expanded her design work -- using math, especially fractals, to create textiles and patterns for fashion, eyewear, furniture, and, flooring. The show and award presentation will be held on the evening of Thursday, May 1.