The University of Mary Washington will mark the 110th anniversary of its founding by ringing its campanile bells on Founder’s Day, Wednesday, March 14. The bells will toll 110 times at 1:10 p.m. The event precedes Mary Wash Giving Day on Tuesday, March 20 – a 24-hour period celebrating UMW’s spirit and the community’s collective commitment to its future.
The Virginia General Assembly established the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg, now UMW, on March 14, 1908.
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 ten 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).
In close succession to Founder’s Day is next Tuesday’s Mary Wash Giving Day. The goal of the second annual event, themed “What can you do in a day?” is to collect 1,908 gifts in recognition of UMW’s founding year. Challenge match donors have pledged more than $75,000 in matching funds for gifts made on Tuesday, March 20. UMW asks everyone to share their love for Mary Washington on social media with #MaryWashDay. For information, visit givingday.umw.edu.