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 (abbreviated as MBC) is a private liberal arts,[2] master’s-level university[3][4][5] in Staunton, Virginia, USA. It was founded in 1842 by Rufus William Bailey as the Augusta Female Seminary. Mary Baldwin College is one of three women’s colleges in Virginia.[6] The four-year institution offers residential undergraduate programs for women as well as co-educational adult degree programs and graduate degree programs.

The college is the oldest institution of higher education for women in the nation affiliated with the Presbyterian Church,[7][8] and it is home to the only all-female corps of cadets in the world.[9][10] U.S. News & World Report listed MBC as the Top 50 Regional Universities in the South for the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges.”[11]


Located in Staunton, Virginia within Augusta County, the college was originally founded as the Augusta Female Seminary in 1842 by Rufus William Bailey. Among the college’s first students was Mary Julia Baldwin. In 1863, Baldwin was named principal and headed the school through the Civil War, though most schools in the area had closed due to the war and economic hardship.[12] The school was renamed Mary Baldwin Seminary in 1895 in honor of Baldwin. In 1923, the name changed to Mary Baldwin College when the school became a four-year institution.[8][13] In 1963, MBC officially ended its policy of admitting only white women.[14]

When Staunton Military Academy (SMA) closed in 1976, its grounds and buildings were purchased by Mary Baldwin College, expanding the MBC campus from 19 acres to 54.[15] In 1977, MBC became the first college in Virginia to launch an adult degree program. Cynthia Haldenby Tyson was appointed as the college’s eighth president in 1985. That same year, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) was established to allow academically gifted girls to earn bachelor’s degrees.[8][6][13]

The Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership was established as the only all-female cadet corps in 1995. In 2001, the college established the Shakespeare and Performance graduate program after the American Shakespeare Center opened the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton.[6]

After 18 years as MBC’s president, Cynthia Haldenby Tyson retired and Pamela Fox, dean of Miami University's School of Fine Arts, was named the ninth president in 2003.[16][17]


Mary Baldwin College offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Social Work degrees in more than 30 majors.[18] The Residential College for Women and the co-educational Adult Degree Program are both four-year undergraduate studies programs. The school also offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through the College of Education (Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Education), Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science in Physician Assistant, and RN-to-BSN), and the Shakespeare and Performance program (Master of Letters and Master of Fine Arts).[19]

Additionally, Mary Baldwin offers dual-degree plans, professional school preparation and certificate programs. Additionally, community service and study-abroad opportunities are supplied through the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement which opened in 2007.[7]

Institutional partnerships[edit]

The co-educational Master of Letters and Master of Fine Arts students in the Shakespeare and Performance program is partnered with the American Shakespeare Center, allowing the students to learn and perform in the Blackfriars Playhouse located a block away from campus.[20]

The Heifetz International Music Institute, founded by violinist Daniel Heifetz, was moved from its Wolfeboro, New Hampshire location to Mary Baldwin College in 2012. The institute accepts applicants annually from around the world and offers summer programs for classically trained musicians.[21][22]

MBC has also partnered with international organizations including the Clinton Global Initiative and Women for Women International to sponsor participants in Women for Women programs and raise awareness of human trafficking around the world.[23][24]

Mary Baldwin has partnerships with several women’s colleges around the world including Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts in Japan, Sungshin Women's University in South Korea, and Lady Doak College in India.

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

Founded in 1995 by request of the Commonwealth of Virginia, VWIL (pronounced "vee-will") is an all-female cadet corps and four-year program preparing participants for both military and civilian leadership through academics, fitness, military training, practical experiences and co-circular activities. Cadets also participate in co-educational ROTC training.[25]

Program for the Exceptionally Gifted[edit]

The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) at Mary Baldwin College is an acceleration program for girls ages 13 to 15 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.[26][27]


The Mary Baldwin College main campus is located in Staunton, and its Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is located on a branch campus in nearby Fishersville, Virginia. The college operates regional centers throughout Virginia in Charlottesville, Emporia, Glenns, Kilmarnock, Richmond, Roanoke, South Boston, South Hill, Warsaw, Weyers Cave, and Williamsburg.

The first building on Staunton campus was the Mary Baldwin College, Main Building, built in 1844. The building now houses administrative offices and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1973.[28]


Mary Baldwin College celebrates several annual traditions with the surrounding community. Every Autumn, Mary Baldwin College commemorates Apple Day, during which students and faculty glean apples at a Virginia orchard. In recent years, the collected fruit has been distributed to area food pantries.[29] The college also has also marked Founders Day each October since 1898 to honor MBC founders Mary Julia Baldwin and Rufus William Bailey.[30]

The “Mary Baldwin College Fight Song” is sung to the tune of “Blue and Gold.” The song was used by Staunton Military Academy (SMA) until it closed in 1976. After Mary Baldwin purchased the SMA campus, the college began using the academy’s athletic fields, adopted the melody of the SMA fight song in 2008, and still flies SMA flags during parades.[15]


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 alumni[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. ^ Erin Dillon (22 August 2010). "America's Best Master's Universities and Baccalaureate Colleges". Washington Monthly. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Mary Baldwin College". Colleges of Distinction. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Mary Baldwin to Develop Nursing Program". NBC. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Mary Baldwin College restructures popular education programs". Augusta Free Press. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Gary Robertson (30 October 2013). "Women’s colleges leverage their advantages". Virginia Business. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Megan Williams (8 September 2013). "Steering Baldwin: A decade of innovation, tradition for MBC president Pamela Fox". NewsLeader. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c Mary Watters (1942). The History of Mary Baldwin College 1842-1942. Mary Baldwin College. 
  9. ^ Bob Stuart (18 October 2013). "New commandant takes over Virginia Women's Institute". The News Virginian. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Five Lusby women part of all-female cadet corps". Maryland Community Gazette. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Mary Baldwin College". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "History". Mary Baldwin College. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Patricia H. Menk (1992). To Live in Time: The Sesquicentennial History of Mary Baldwin College. Mary Baldwin College. ISBN 978-0-9633486-0-9. 
  14. ^ "Grade-a-Year Mix Plan Approved in Tallahassee". The Tuscaloosa News. April 23, 1963. 
  15. ^ a b "The MBC Fight Song". MBC Athletics. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Dean Pamela Fox named president at Mary Baldwin College". Miami University. 3 April 2003. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Graduation at RCC set". Sentinel. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "MBC Academics". Mary Baldwin College. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  19. ^ Charlie Tyson (21 July 2014). "What's Expendable?". Inside HigherEd. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Shakespeare and Performance". Mary Baldwin College. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  21. ^ Holly Prestidge (13 September 2011). "Heifetz International Music Institute moving to Mary Baldwin campus". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  22. ^ Tim Smith (11 August 2014). "NPR veteran Ben Roe to be executive director of Heifetz Institute". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Clubs and Organizations". Mary Baldwin College. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  24. ^ "Spencer Center- Changemakers for Women". MBC. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  25. ^ Meghan Modafferi (November 2013). "It’s a Woman’s World". US Airways Magazine. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Glod, Maria (2 December 2007). "Young, Gifted and Skipping High School: Va. College Feeds Academic Cravings". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  28. ^ "Mary Baldwin College, Main Building". National Park Service. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  29. ^ Voth, Sally (October 2010). "Mary Baldwin Students glean orchard to feed needy". Retrieved January 2013. 
  30. ^ "Traditions". MBC. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 

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