Today, March 14, 2019, marks 111 years since the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation establishing the State Normal and Industrial School at Fredericksburg, now the University of Mary Washington.
As UMW celebrates Founders Day – and more than a century of contributions to generations of students, the greater Fredericksburg region, and the betterment of society throughout the country and around the world – it also turns to the next 100 years.
Next week’s third annual Mary Wash Giving Day – Tuesday, March 19 – is a 24-hour extravaganza to celebrate all things Mary Washington. Alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends of UMW, far and wide, will come together to go “All In,” with a lofty goal of 3,500 gifts to honor Mary Washington’s past and fuel its future.
In 1908, Virginia State Sen. C. O’Conor Goolrick played a key role in the effort to create a school for teachers located in Fredericksburg. At that time, Virginia’s only institution devoted exclusively to the training of public school teachers was the State 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 State Normal and Industrial School at Harrisonburg (now James Madison University) and the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg (now the University of Mary Washington).
Mary Wash Giving Day calls on all who’ve been bolstered and boosted – or otherwise benefitted – from UMW’s 111 years of contributions. Donors contributed 2,987 gifts totaling more than $449,000 during last year’s daylong celebration. This year UMW has raised the bar on that extraordinary effort, with its new goal of 3,500 gifts.
In addition to making a gift, University supporters are asked to share their own special Mary Washington stories on social media with #MaryWashDay. Join the excitement and go “All In” on Tuesday, March 19, at givingday.umw.edu.
For more information about the University and its history, check out History of Mary Washington College, 1908-1972 by Edward Alvey, Jr. and William B. Crawley, Jr.’s University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008.