The University of Mary Washington will mark its 109th founding anniversary by ringing its campanile bells on Tuesday, March 14. This date has always been celebrated as Founders Day, and this year it is also Mary Wash Giving Day.
The bells will toll 109 times at 1:09 p.m. on Tuesday. On March 14, 1908, the Virginia General Assembly established the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg, now UMW.
The ringing will emanate from the Carmen Culpeper Chappell Centennial Campanile, which was dedicated in 2007 in memory of the late Carmen Culpeper Chappell, a 1959 alumna. Her husband, John Chappell, honored her with the iconic 88-foot tower.
One hundred nine years ago, state Sen. C. O’Conor Goolrick played a key role in the fight to have a school for teachers located in Fredericksburg. At that time, Virginia’s only institution devoted exclusively to the training of teachers for public schools was the Normal School for Women at Farmville (now Longwood University).
During the 1908 legislative session, two new locations were under consideration: Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg. A battle ensued, with the Senate choosing Harrisonburg and the House of Delegates selecting Fredericksburg.
A compromise was reached, and both schools were approved on March 14, 1908: the new school at Harrisonburg (now James Madison University) and the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg (now University of Mary Washington).
For the first time this Founders Day, the University will hold Mary Wash Giving Day, a 24-hour online day of giving. Challenge match donors have pledged more than $42,000 in matching funds for gifts made on Tuesday, March 14. The University has set a goal of 654 donors in 24 hours and is asking everyone to share their love for UMW on social media with #MaryWashDay. For more information about Giving Day, please visit mwgivingday.com.