Email Interviews

Picture of Dr. Marjorie Och
Dr. Marjorie Och, photo by UMW
  1. What was your role in the renaming process?
    • I was a member of the Ad Hoc Naming Committee.
  1. How long have you worked at UMW?
    • Since fall 1994.
  1. Was the renaming something you expected to happen?
    • Yes, absolutely! Faculty and staff across campus had long wanted to rename Trinkle Hall.
  1. How do you see this renaming impacting the legacy of Dr. Farmer and UMW?
    • Dr. Farmer was an important and valued member of the Mary Wash community as well as a significant figure in American history. His contributions to both are recognized through this small honor from UMW. Most importantly, renaming this building after Dr. Farmer offers the Mary Wash community, as well as all of Fredericksburg, an opportunity to learn something of the struggles of Black Americans, the history of racism in this country, and the courageous work of those who fought racism.
Picture of James Pape
James Pape, photo by UMW
  1. What was your role in the renaming process?
    • I was appointed to the Ad Hoc Naming Committee as a staff representative of the campus.  I was given the charge (along with every other member) to solicit and evaluate naming nominations for the UWM Campus Community.  
  1. What was your input in this process?
    • My input/role was equal to others on the committee, so I was present at the meetings, engaged in discussions, helped facilitate solicitation of nominations, and voted for a name to be selected.  
  1. Why do you feel this renaming is important?
    • I felt that renaming the building would allow the UMW community to engage and reflect on creating a building name that fosters an environment of equity, diversity, and inclusivity on campus.  I also feel that renaming buildings is a unique way to keep the campus updated and in touch with more recent times that our community can embrace and celebrate. 
Picture of Michelle Pickham
Michelle Pickham, photo by UMW
  1. What was your role in the renaming process?
    • I served on the Naming Committee to rename Trinkle Hall as a contributor from the perspective of staff, both as a member of the University Staff Council (previously named the Staff Advisory Council) and as a regular member of the campus staff in my job within Procurement Services.
  1. What was your input in this process?
    • I provided suggestions, thoughts, and opinions on various aspects throughout the process of renaming the building. This included but wasn’t limited to helping select the best method to solicit feedback from the UMW community, helping develop the questions that were asked on the resulting survey to the community and the criteria we would use to rank the data we received from that survey, and providing feedback on the top ranked choices with included justifications that the Committee would ultimately send to the President and the Board of Visitors for consideration. We wanted to make sure that any name thoughtfully considered contributed to the campus culture and our ASPIRE values, as well as had a meaningful connection to the University. Every person on the Committee was empowered to speak their minds and be heard throughout the process to be truly representative of the various campus groups.
  1. Why do you feel this renaming is important?
    • The renaming was important because the University has been rediscovering itself over the past several years; finding out who we are and how we want to be represented to our campus community and beyond. Trinkle Hall did not represent our values or who we felt we wanted to be represented as. Through this process, we not only learned more about who we were as an institution but were able to give to the University a way to take steps forward toward becoming more inclusive and diverse through representation of our building names. The process also helped to further bring to light a figure within our institution’s history that was paramount to the campus and local community, but also to the nation.
Photo of Marion Sanford
Dr. Marion Sanford, photo by UMW
  1. Was the naming of a building after Dr. Farmer something that had been pushed for in the past? 
    • The University has continually explored opportunities to honor the legacy of Dr. Farmer.  It has done several things in the past in Dr. Farmer’s name:
      • named an academic program in his name – the James Farmer Scholars Program
      • a co-curricular program in his name – the James Farmer Multicultural Center
      • dedicated Monroe Hall, lecture room 116 as the Farmer Lecture Hall
      • hosted a year-long Centennial Celebration in 2020 for the campus and broader community in recognition of what would have been his 100th birthday, highlighting his significant contributions to civil rights and social justice, as well as his role as an educator at UMW
      • there was a campaign to have his name and picture on a U.S. postage stamp
    • Therefore, the naming of a building after Dr. Farmer is another great illustration of how the University is proud of his legacy and honored to have had him as a member of our community.
  1. Why was this renaming so important for UMW? 
    • The naming of the building after Dr. Farmer was historic in that it was the first time a building was named after an African-American or any person of color on campus.  This action signified the high esteem the University holds for the legacy of Dr. Farmer and sent a wonderful message of recognition, respect, and inclusion.
  1. How do you see Farmer’s legacy being carried on today? 
    • Dr. Farmer’s legacy will continue to be uplifted in the programs and services we provide to the campus community to educate and empower our students and others in the areas of diversity, civil rights, social justice, and inclusion.  We must strive to advance these matters across campus in meaningful ways that will impact and inspire students to embody these values and become agents of positive social change.