Mary Baldwin University kicks off 175th year

Photo credit: Mary Baldwin University

Photo credit: Mary Baldwin University

The newly minted Mary Baldwin University kicked off its 175th year with an extensive on-campus celebration Wednesday and — in a move that reflects the institution’s longstanding entrepreneurial legacy — officially announced three new initiatives to benefit students within the next year.

Wednesday marked the official name change from Mary Baldwin College to Mary Baldwin University.

The ceremony featured a procession of faculty, the transmission of the charter from Board of Trustees Chair Jane Harding Miller ’76 to representatives of each of the five student entry points, and remarks from government representatives.

Madison Brass, drummer Paschal Younge, and a string quartet from the Heifetz International Music Institute provided musical interludes and the MBU flag was raised for the first time. A gubernatorial proclamation marked  August 31, 2016, as Mary Baldwin University Day across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Betsy Berry Williamson ’48 traveled from Richmond to celebrate in Staunton. Her grandfather taught music under Mary Julia Baldwin and after graduating from Mary Baldwin, she also became a teacher.

“I love the change, it brings so much opportunity,” Williamson said. “When I graduated women could only become teachers and secretaries. That is not the case anymore.”

Miller and President Pamela Fox together announced the three new initiatives, calling them “manifestations of our hallmark foresight, courage, and commitment.”

In fall 2017, the MBU College of Business and Professional Studies will launch new graduate programs, comprising a progressive series of stackable graduate credentials leading to an MBA with a track in the emergent field of entrepreneurship in sustainable business and for-benefit corporations. The move is made possible by a generous donation from Susan Nolan Palmer ’67.

Launching this spring is another new program at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, an online master of health sciences, with tracks in emergent, high-demand fields in health care: health systems management and leadership in quality and patient safety.

Miller also formally announced new undergraduate programs for fall 2017 in each of MBU’s four colleges: arts and sciences, business and professional studies, health sciences, and education.

Maria Carlton, co-chair of the MBU Advisory Board of Visitors announced that the university would spearhead 175 service projects during the anniversary year, paying homage to the principles of citizen engagement and leadership that have led the institution since its founding.

The event, Fox said, was an opportunity to mark the metamorphosis of Mary Baldwin University.

“Mary Julia Baldwin left us few words, but the genius of her life was the institution itself and her molding of lives rather than the exposition of theories,” Fox said. “Through the exemplar of her rise from a shy orphan to the pantheon of leaders in Virginia as our Thomas Jefferson, our James Madison, she imprinted our institutional soul with foresight, courage, and commitment.”

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