Award-Winning Geography Department!

Mary Washington has long had a very strong Geography Program, with excellent professors and students. In this, our 60th year, we are celebrating our founders and our award-winning faculty and students.

The program itself was recently recognized as the Featured Department of the Cultural Geography Specialty Group of the AAG, in the 2019 edition of their newsletter, Place and Culture.  We believe that this honor reflects our graduates’ success in a broad range of professional careers as well as in graduate programs and the academy.  We also know that any recognition we receive for the department’s current accomplishments is possible because we built onto the strong foundation we inherited from the talented faculty who preceded us.

Since 2017, College Factual rankings have placed the program at the top of all geography programs in the southeastern United States. In 2019, it rose to the number ten ranking in the nation. This is likely due to the successes of our alumni working in federal, state, and local government agencies, and in the private sector.

Our students have won the Southeastern World Geography Bowl Competition four times since 1990 (1991, 2009, 2015 and 2018).

Awards won by Geography Department Faculty and Students, 2019

A number of our faculty have won major awards, from UMW and other institutions:

Dr. Dawn Bowen

  • 2009: Henry H. Douglas Award Distinguished Service Award for the Research, Publication, and Teaching of Material Culture, Pioneer America Society: Association for the Preservation of Artifacts and Landscapes
  • 2012: University of Mary Washington, Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • 2013Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers, Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2016: University of Mary Washington, Mary W. Pinschmidt Award

Dr. Stephen Hanna

  • 2016: University of Mary Washington, Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award
  • 2017: Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers, Research Honors Award
  • 2018: American Association of Geographers’ Fellow
  • Dr. Hanna is currently Cartography Editor of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). He approves all maps, diagrams and images that are published in the three journals produced by our national organization.

Dr. Caitlin Finlayson

  • 2018: University of Mary Washington, Outstanding Young Faculty Award