Future UMW Classics Students are Beneficiaries of a Generous Gift from Rick J. Hayes, Jr.

UMW-June2014-016The gift, which will one day fund several four-year scholarships to UMW students majoring in Classics, was publicly announced in the UMW faculty-staff newsletter, the Eagle Eye, and in a recent article in the Free Lance Star.  The department was very pleased by the announcement and the flattering article by Lindley Estes. There appears to have been a misunderstanding, however, about the possible consequences for the Classics program as a result of a recent reallocation report.  For the sake of clarity, we reprint the text of the FLS article here in full with an italicized correction following what, again, we believe to be a misunderstanding.  Questions about the accuracy of the article may be addressed to the chair of the department, Professor Craig Vasey (540-654-1342). revised 7/15/14 5:45 pm July 11th, 2014, 5:56 pm

 

Attorney pledges $1.5 million to UMW classics department

BY LINDLEY ESTES / THE FREE LANCE–STAR Maine lawyer Rick J. Hayes Jr. never attended the University of Mary Washington and doesn’t hold a degree in classics, but he has pledged $1.5 million for scholarships to the school’s program. Hayes, 62, a former Fredericksburg resident, knows graduates of UMW and said he has been impressed with how the school goes above and beyond to help its students, and the quality of education there. “It’s beyond platitudes,” he said. “They really do care about their students. It’s the people there and the culture I want to support.” The classics department, in particular, has his support for its value in teaching students how to think critically. Hayes got an undergraduate degree in business at American University, and he said he wishes he had the foresight then to understand the long-term benefits of learning about great thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. He thinks higher education has become too specialized. “We live in a society that wants instant return on investment,” he said. “They get degrees to make money right out of college. “That’s great until five years down the road you realize you didn’t stretch your mind when you had the chance. Then it’s too late.” The announcement of the pledge comes just after the university released its resource reallocation report, in which it details which programs should be invested in for growth and which could be cut. Classics was near the bottom of the list, as a program that could lose funding. [CORRECTION:  Classics as a whole does not appear at the bottom of the realloaction list, but in the list’s intermediate “maintain” category.  One concentration within Classics, classical archaeology, was recommended for reassessment.  No faculty, or even courses which contribute to that concentration, were recommended for reassessment, so even if, upon reassessment, the concentration is withdrawn, students will still be able to prepare for a career in classical archaeology via the Classics major.  Savings from withdrawing the official concentration of classical archaeology would be administrative and would not affect students or the Classics program.] Hayes has recently begun taking various classes in classics in the area where he lives near Camden, Maine. “The great thing about a classics major is that they can think and problem-solve,” he said. “I’d hire a classics major every time.” Hayes called UMW “one of the most incredible liberal arts colleges in the country.” He said that after meeting the faculty in the department of classics, philosophy and religion, he was amazed at their skill level and how they taught undergraduates directly. Hayes isn’t a stranger to the Fredericksburg area. He lived here for 13 years and for 10 years in Warrenton before moving to Maine. “Rick recognizes the incredible importance of classics and the core humanities for being not only well-rounded but also well-prepared for the world of work and career,” said UMW philosophy professor and department chair Craig Vasey. “He mentored a [Mary Washington] student back in the ’80s, and he appreciated the value that student got from his studies in classics and philosophy, so he’s decided to make this contribution as a way to thank the institution.” Faculty members met with Hayes in June and Vasey said his enthusiasm about the program was inspiring. “Of course we are thrilled by this estate gift,” he said. “[It] validates the mission and values of what we do.” Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976 lestes@freelancestar.com   Post tags: UMW | University of Mary Washington Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2014/07/11/attorney-pledges-1-5-million-to-umw-classics-department/