The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

LETTER: Topher Bill Auction Honors Deceased Professor

2 min read

Dear Editor,

On March 14, the Mary Washington Psychology Department continued a nine-year tradition by holding the annual Topher Bill Auction. Although this event is close to the hearts of many psychology faculty members, most students and staff are unaware of the meaning behind the bidding.

J. Christopher Bill, appropriately nicknamed “Topher,” began working as an assistant professor of psychology at Mary Washington in 1972. He was appointed to the rank of professor in 1987, and served as the psychology department chair from 1983-1997. Topher Bill was most interested in the areas of perception, sports law and statistics, and was a known favorite among faculty and students alike. Dr. Bill passed away suddenly in 2001. Following his death, the faculty and psychology majors established the Topher Bill Scholarship in honor of his dedication to academic excellence, the psychology department and his students.

The auction will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to fund this scholarship. The scholarship is given to an outstanding senior psychology major at UMW every spring during the annual Psi Chi Symposium. This year, instead of being held as a one-time-only event, the auction was put online in hopes of encouraging both current and past student participation, and to get the local community, alumni, and distant friends and family involved as well.

Items for sale include Mary Lou Nissim-Sabat’s famous Baklava, weekend getaways at the Mt.Washington Bed & Breakfast in New Hampshire, meals with faculty members at their homes, artwork, household items and much more. For additional information or the opportunity to bid, please visit

The auction will remain open until March 30 at 10 p.m. Payment may be in cash, EagleOne, check, money order, or credit/debit card. Don’t miss the chance to win a tasty treat or a much needed vacation.

Stephanie Lichiello