Halfway between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA is Fredericksburg, home to the University of Mary Washington. This public 4-year school was founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg. In 1938, it became Mary Washington College, named for George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington. In 1944, the school aligned with the University of Virginia (which did not admit women into general academic programs) and remained as a part of UVA until they transitioned to co-ed status is 1970. It separated from UVA in 1972 and was given its current name in 2004. The 176 acre campus, filled with Georgian and Jeffersonian architecture, sits very close to the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg (1862) in the Marye’s Heights section of town.
The University of Mary Washington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and offers Bachelor’s Degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates and Master’s Degrees in over 60 majors. The school does not have any online undergraduate degree programs and there are no school-sponsored internships (although they support independent internship programs). The University is comprised of three colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business and Education. While being noted for the Music program, the largest programs are Social Sciences and Business. Per the Mission Statement, “”UMW regards the provision of high quality instruction as its most important function. The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. These academic programs afford students opportunities to integrate and apply their knowledge within broad educational experiences, to develop their professional interests, and to practice the habits of mind necessary for life-long learning… We fulfill our mission by immersing students, faculty, and staff in local, regional, national, and international communities, and by inculcating the values of honor and integrity. UMW graduates are models of adaptive learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.”
There are approximately 4000 students at the University of Mary Washington, and there are over 100 student-run clubs and organizations including interests, backgrounds and club sports. Intramural sports are prevalent also; for the varsity athlete, the navy blue and gray Eagles field teams in 10 sports and participate in NCAA Division III competition. There are 18 residence halls on campus ranging from traditional dormitory style to apartments; two halls are female only, the rest are co-ed. One of several traditions is “Devil-Goat Day” where students whose graduation year is even are “Goats” and those with odd years are the “Devils.” Shortly before the last day of classes in the spring, students gather in Ball Circle for a carnival celebration and class competitions to win prizes and gain bragging rights. Culturally, UMW “ embrace[s] our responsibility to: Be a model of fairness and equal opportunity; To reflect the diversity of peoples, backgrounds, and experiences in the student body, faculty, administration and staff; and To prepare students from all backgrounds and identities to live, work and thrive in a global society.” This is shown in their stated values of Integrity, Dignity, Diversity, Intellectual inquiry in the pursuit of truth and Responsibility.