Mary Baldwin College

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Mary Baldwin College
Mbclogo color.gif
Former names
Augusta Female Seminary
Motto Non pro tempore sed aeternitate
Motto in English
"Not for time but for eternity"
Established 1842
Type Private liberal arts college
Women's college
Endowment US $34.3 million[1]
President Pamela Fox
Academic staff
79 full-time, 59 part-time, 54% female
Students 2542
Undergraduates 826
Postgraduates 197
Location Staunton, Virginia, US
Campus small city, 54-acre
Colors Green and gold (athletics)
Each class has its own colors.
Nickname Fighting Squirrels
Mascot Gladys the Squirrel
Affiliations CIC
Mary Baldwin College campus

Mary Baldwin College is a private, independent, and comprehensive four-year liberal arts women's college in Staunton, Virginia, USA. It was founded in 1842 by Rufus William Bailey as the Augusta Female Seminary.

Mary Baldwin is home to a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[2]


Advertisement for Augusta Female Seminary from Savannah Daily Advertiser, August 26, 1871

The Mary Baldwin College, Main Building, built in 1844, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1973. Hilltop, another building, is also NRHP-listed. The college was renamed in honor of Mary Julia Baldwin, longtime principal, in 1895. In 1963 MBC officially ended its policy of admitting only white women.[3]

The Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership (VWIL)[edit]

VWIL (pronounced "vee-will") was originally intended by the Commonwealth of Virginia to allow Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which was then men-only, to satisfy federal non-discrimination laws without accepting women. In the early 1990s, the United States Government sued the state of Virginia to force compliance with the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by allowing women to attend the publicly funded Virginia Military Institute. (see United States v. Virginia). The state won in the district court trial and the United States appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appellate court, in a decision which pleased neither side, stated that as long as the Commonwealth of Virginia provided an equivalent option for women, constitutional requirements would be satisfied. The appellate court therefore returned the case to district court to sort out how this could be done. The Commonwealth set up a program, the Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership, at MBC, which was putatively intended to teach leadership to women in a way that was congenial to their supposed natural differences from men. The district court accepted this solution, but the United States appealed, partly on the grounds that VWIL was and could never be an equivalent to VMI. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed in a 7-1 decision, and women were admitted to VMI for the first time in the late 1990s.[4] Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority, stated that "The VWIL program is a pale shadow of VMI in terms of the range of curricular choices and faculty stature, funding, prestige, alumni support and influence."[5]

Program for the Exceptionally Gifted[edit]

The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) at Mary Baldwin College is an acceleration program for girls ages 12 to 16 who have not completed high school. The program was founded in 1985 with a class of 11 students and now enrolls approximately 30 new students each year. Participants ("PEGs") attend classes with traditional-age students and typically earn a bachelor's degree in four years.[6][7]


Mary Baldwin College has a tradition of student governance embodied in three boards: Honor Council, Judicial Board, and Student Advocates, and a Student Government Association. Students at Mary Baldwin "won't lie, cheat, or have their word on it, in writing".[8] Commencement weekend is celebrated with a ball and Graduation. The William G. Pannill Student Center was dedicated in 1992 and three honorary degrees were awarded at commencement in honor of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the College.[9]

Each class has its own class colors, and the incoming first year class receives the class colors of the recently graduated senior class. The current colors are: 2013 - Lavender and White, 2014 - Scarlet and Gold, and 2015 - Green and White,2016 - Purple and Gold.[10] Every year in Autumn, Mary Baldwin celebrates Apple Day, on which students collect leftover apples from various locations throughout Virginia. In recent years, the collected apples have been distributed to homeless people.[11]


Mary Baldwin's teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Fighting Squirrels are a member of the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South). Women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

Notable alumnae/i[edit]

Tallulah Bankhead

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of February 14, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Phi Beta Kappa listing of Mary Baldwin chapter". Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Grade-a-Year Mix Plan Approved in Tallahassee". The Tuscaloosa News. April 23, 1963. 
  4. ^ Strum, Philippa (2002). Women in the Barracks: The VMI Case and Equal Rights. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1164-9. 
  5. ^ "United States v. Virginia hosted at". October term 1995. Retrieved 2 August 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Kleiner, Carolyn (12 September 1999). "The Littlest Freshman of All: Colleges recruit adolescent geniuses. But who benefits?". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Glod, Maria (2 December 2007). "Young, Gifted and Skipping High School: Va. College Feeds Academic Cravings". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Greene, Robert (24 March 1997). "College students take vow not to lie, cheat or steal". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Menk, Patricia H. (2006). Retrospect: The Tyson Years, 1985-2003. Dexter, MI: Thomson-Shore. p. 38. 
  10. ^ "Traditions". Mary Baldwin College. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Voth, Sally (October 2010). "Mary Baldwin Students glean orchard to feed needy". Retrieved January 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Menk, Patricia H. (1992). To Live in Time: The Sesquicentennial History of Mary Baldwin College. Mary Baldwin College. ISBN 978-0-9633486-0-9. 
  • Strum, Philippa (2002). Women in the Barracks: The VMI Case and Equal Rights. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1164-9. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°9′16.8″N 79°4′3.1″W / 38.154667°N 79.067528°W / 38.154667; -79.067528