When life threw Christine Exley ’09 a challenge during her senior year of college, University of Mary Washington friends and faculty got her through it.

“I was so excited for the next phase of my life, then everything was turned upside down,” said Exley, who praised the support she found at UMW after she was diagnosed with a condition that causes progressive blindness. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University and became an associate professor at Harvard Business School and at the University of Michigan, where she currently teaches economics.

On Mary Wash Day, held one week from today, Exley is challenging fellow 2000s graduates to give to the unrestricted Fund for Mary Washington, which underpins every aspect of the UMW experience. Each gift will help students take giant leaps intellectually, socially and personally, just as Exley did. She and UMW Executive Director of Development Beth Waters Hunsinger ’01 will match donations from $5 to $250 to the Fund, up to $2,000, on Thursday, April 4.

Generous alumni, families, friends, faculty and staff have stepped up this year to sponsor more than $400,000 in challenges and matches, exceeding totals from previous years, Director of Annual Giving Shelby Orlando ’14 said. Their commitment will double and even triple the impact of each gift, she said, helping the University reach its goal of 2,500 gifts from 1,000 alumni donors and 250 new supporters in 2024.

Challenges and matches support the Fund for Mary Washington, student scholarships, academic departments, leadership and service organizations, arts and athletics, campus beautification and more. Read more.