Columbian College Dean Frawley vies for Mary Washington presidency

William Frawley, dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, is among three finalists being considered for the presidency of the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.

Last week Frawley attended two forums on the UMW campus giving students, faculty and administrators an opportunity to meet him and ask questions about his vision for the university’s future. The UMW Board of Visitors is expected to make and announce its decision by the end of February, and the new president will begin his or her term on July 1, according to a UMW press release.

“GW is a terrific place and has the right chemistry to be a leader among private urban research institutions,” Frawley said in an e-mail last week. “The University of Mary Washington attracts me because of its own sort of promise and the possibilities of leadership that the position would afford.”

UMW is located in Fredericksburg, Va., about 50 miles away from both Washington and Richmond, Va. It is a state-funded public school and includes a smaller campus in Stafford, Va. UMW has an enrollment of about 4,100 undergraduate students.

“I am considering University of Mary Washington because it poses a unique and promising opportunity,” Frawley said. “It would allow me to lead an institution that has a 100-year-old record of accomplishment, has recently made shrewd decisions about its future and is located in an area of high growth and hence great potential.”

As dean, Frawley is responsible for all executive, resource and technology decisions impacting the Columbian College, and he supervises a staff of assistant deans who oversee faculty, research and academic programming. He runs a $67 million operation with nearly 9,000 graduate and undergraduate students at GW. His wife, Maria, is a GW English professor.

Before coming to GW in 2002, Frawley, 52, was the University of Delaware’s director of undergraduate studies and faculty director for academic programs and planning.

The other two finalists for the UMW presidency are Risa Palm, 63, executive vice chancellor and provost at Louisiana State University, and Karen Gould, 58, dean of McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. UMW employees, students and alumni have been asked to complete surveys to record their impressions of the three finalists.

UMW Board of Visitors Rector Mona Albertine, who chaired the search committee, said the three finalists quickly rose to the top of a list that at one point included nearly 100 names.

“Their qualifications are stellar,” Albertine said. “All three have impeccable academic credentials. They are all Ph.D.s, and all three quickly moved through the administrative ranks to the positions they have today.”

The University’s top administrators, including President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman, have been supportive of Frawley’s decision to apply for the position at UMW, he said.

If selected, Frawley would join Michael Young, former head of GW’s Law School, as a recent GW dean-turned-university-president. Young was selected as president of University of Utah in 2004. Frawley would finish the spring 2006 semester and aid Lehman in finding a replacement if he is selected for the UMW presidency.

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