By JESSICA BAREFOOT
The start of the school year brings with it changes to several UMW administrative positions.
Amongst the new faces joining the Mary Washington team this year is Vice President for Student Affairs Douglas Searcy.
Formerly the chief of student affairs officer at Wingate University in North Carolina, Searcy’s position will encompass administrative responsibility for the areas of athletics, counseling and psychological services, and student life, which includes residence life, student activities, campus recreation, the James Farmer Multicultural Center and student affairs.
Searcy, a former English major at Mars Hill College in North Carolina, a private liberal arts school, claims that he was drawn to Mary Washington as a result of the promising vision that President Judy Hample outlined for the college upon her inauguration.
With Hample’s goals in mind, Searcy and his team in the Office of Student Affairs aim to continue to serve as a voice for student wants and needs in an effort to create programs and services on campus that will benefit students.
“I want to talk to as many students as I can and talk to them about what’s important,” Searcy said.
He said that during his own undergraduate career, he wanted to take advantage of everything his campus had to offer.
“I enjoyed all intramurals,” Searcy said, who also was a DJ for his college radio station, a “big brother” for a Greek organization on campus, and the vice president of the Student Government Association.
Now, as one of the head administrators on the Mary Washington campus, Searcy plans to make similar positive experiences available to the students he has chosen to serve today, saying that he “wants to work for students so they can have the same opportunities” as he did in college.
“Regardless of the activity, what made it fun was being with my friends,” Searcy said, who, during restless evenings in college, would join in campus activities or drive with friends to Asheville for the night.
“What mattered the most was who I was with, not always what we did,” Searcy said.
Another new face to campus is Provost Dr. Jay Harper, who says that the best part of Mary Washington for him so far has been the “strong support from the alumni in terms of their love” for their alma mater.
Formerly the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Rowan University in New Jersey, Harper claims that such devotion is unlike any he has witnessed at any other university he has been affiliated with.
Other changes to the staff for 2009-2010 include Associate Provost John Morello, who was promoted from the position of associate vice president for academic affairs.
Rita Dunston will serve as registrar, Salvatore Meringolo will act as the new vice president for advancement and university relations, and Sally Scott will be the new director of disability services.