Inclusivity and fresh starts await Mary Baldwin’s Class of 2027
Local, Schools

Inclusivity and fresh starts await Mary Baldwin’s Class of 2027

Rebecca Barnabi
Incoming freshmen gather information about advising at Mary Baldwin University on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. Photos by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

Today the Class of 2027 began their next journey as college freshmen at Mary Baldwin University.

The Staunton college welcomed 351 undergraduate students to campus in a series of events, including moving into their dorm rooms.

In the Student Activities Center, students were greeted with T-shirts, banners, and information about advising, athletics, health & wellness, financial aid and student accounts.

“I fell in love with the campus during [Queen City Mischief & Magic],” said Ace Propst from Harrisonburg.

A commuter student, Propst will major in history and education, and plans to become a high school teacher.

She said she looks forward to a fresh start at MBU. She chose the college for its inclusive atmosphere, which she did not experience at Broadway High School.

Ilonah Coleman is from Colonial Heights. She said she chose MBU because of the country area around it and its location puts her still close enough to family.

“I feel I can get a better education and I feel like the teachers will pay more attention,” Coleman said of small class sizes.

She plans to major in social work and hopes to help substance abuse victims and children.

“I can’t wait to start school. The first year is going to be exciting,” Coleman said of starting a new journey in Staunton.

Zachary Morris comes to MBU from Gainesville, but has family in the Valley, including a grandmother in Weyers Cave.

He said he chose the college in Staunton because he likes the campus, has family nearby and the small size of classes appealed to him. Morris will major in Criminal Justice.

Mary Baldwin University’s Office of Inclusive Excellence is ready to welcome minority students to campus.

MBU’s student ratio is 50 percent minority and 50 percent white. The Office of Inclusive Excellence hosts events around campus.

“Our goal here at the college is to help minority students feel more included like a home away from home,” said Kaneesha Anderson, who is also secretary for the Black Student Alliance.

Several clubs are under the umbrella of the OIE, including the Black Student Alliance, Latines Unides and Anointed Voices of Praise.

Fall semester classes begin Monday, Aug. 28, 2023 for Mary Baldwin Squirrels.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

Latest News

uva football

Live Blog: Virginia hosts Brennan Armstrong, NC State in 2023 ACC opener

virginia map
Economy, Virginia

Commonwealth’s general fund revenues exceed expectations in August

Virginia’s general fund revenues for August 2023 are ahead of forecast by $204.8 million compared to a year ago.

shower water
Environment, Virginia

Monsanto to pay Virginia $80M in PCBs distribution settlement

Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are artificial chemicals responsible for harmful health effects and negative environmental impacts. PCBs were distributed by Monsanto Co. from the 1930s to 1977, when the company produced 99 percent of America’s PCBs. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and his team secured an $80 million settlement agreement with Monsanto Co. for environmental contamination...

Economy, U.S. & World

Mortgage rates decreased in early September, remained above 7%

broadband internet

‘Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity’: Four organizations awarded federal investments

open business sign

SCCF accepting entrepreneurs and business ideas in new Incubator Program


Boys & Girls Club golf tournament raises more than $25K for programs