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Indeed, Rick seemed the logical choice for a job that he had loved and embraced as acting president, but to which he never dared aspire. For starters, he doesn’t have a doctorate degree. Rick comes from a blue-collar background in which not even a bachelor’s degree was deemed necessary. Back in 1965 when he graduated from Penns Grove High School in Carney’s Point, N.J., “everybody went to work at DuPont,” he said. “My dad worked there, so I did too.” But after a year, Rick felt a sense of responsibility to serve his country, so he enlisted in the Army. He subsequently served in Vietnam, came home, married a hometown girl, and went back to work at DuPont. Then he tried construction, then a job in a gas station. By this time, he and Rose had a baby, and it slowly dawned on him that pumping gas on the New On any day you can find Rick greeting students on campus. Jersey Turnpike wasn’t going to enable him to provide for his family. With the GI bill and lots of part-time jobs, Rick and staff, excellent rapport with students, and visionearned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science ary leadership skills. He is seen as open and honest, from Richard Stockton College at the age of 29. He thoughtful and supportive, intelligent and instinctive. He’s also down-to-earth and approachable. intended to become a forest ranger. Rick’s appointment as president was met with elaInstead, he accepted a job offer from Stockton’s president, who was leaving to become head of tion on the university campus. “It’s just a love fest.” Vermont’s state college system and needed a top says Susan Worrell, special assistant to the president assistant. Rick’s willingness to move from his for university events. Rick and Rose plan to make the most of Brompton, hometown and his weekend work towards a master’s degree in public administration led to his 30-year the magnificent home the university provides for its presidents. They expect to throw the doors open at career path in higher education. “My goal was to become a vice president of fi- Brompton for lots of occasions large and small, fornance at the college level, and I thought that would mal and casual. “We want to bring a homey feel back be the pinnacle of my career; I didn’t need a Ph.D. for to Brompton,” Rose said. Much of the entertaining will be university-rethat,” Rick said. “Never in a million years did I dream lated, but the Hurleys also plan to share Brompton of becoming a college president.” Most colleges and universities do require doctor- with friends, their extended family, and the comate degrees of their presidents, and Mary Washington munity. They want to invite government officials to was no exception. But Rick’s previous experience as Brompton, and they intend to throw a dinner party acting president and his ready knowledge of the insti- for the entire Fredericksburg City Council. In other words, Rick will continue doing what tution outweighed that requirement. His popularity comes natural—mixing and mingling, listening and on campus also made him an appealing choice. Instead of a Ph.D., Rick has a deep, working learning, fostering relationships and having lots of knowledge of UMW, cordial relations with faculty fun at the same time. d JULY / AUGUST 2010 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 39

Virginia Neighbors  

July August 2010Issue