Founded on July 1, 2010, UMW’s College of Business builds on the Mary Washington tradition of a well-rounded undergraduate program in the liberal arts, with small classes that encourage direct interaction with expert faculty that will nurture the solid intellectual grounding necessary for tomorrow’s business leaders and entrepreneurs.
UMW has a long history of teaching business-related subjects, dating back to 1919 when the Virginia State Board responsible for the four Normal Schools in Virginia, decided that the Fredericksburg campus would specialize in “commercial” subjects. The first business “teacher” graduated in 1924, the same year that commercial courses were offered in the evening to “interested townspeople”.
Since the 1920′s Business has been an integral part of Mary Washington, evolving as the school did from primarily preparing teachers to preparing future leaders in a wide variety of fields. In the late thirties and early forties, the Commercial Education major gained National recognition, as the first program to require all majors to have real business experience before they could graduate. Currently, undergraduate internships, while not required, continue this legacy.
Under James Harvey Dodd’s leadership, the Commercial Education major became the largest on campus and encompassed about half the student body in 1944, the same year Mary Washington officially became the Women’s College of the University of Virginia (UVA). In 1945, as Mary Washington prepared to change from an independent Teachers College to a new Liberal Arts College associated with UVA, then Dean of the College, Edward Alvey, presented the faculty’s plan for the change to the Chancellor of UVA in which he wrote:
If some courses of a liberal arts college also prepare its students for economic competence, the college does not thereby become less of a liberal arts college, provided it holds to its true objectives. In fact a person’s ability to make a living may be essential to his capacity for leadership in the higher things in life. (Edward Alvey, History of Mary Washington College, 1974)
In 1948 Mary Washington began offering a Economics and Business Administration major, separating them officially into two departments with separate majors in 1980, adding that same year a Masters of Business Administration degree. In 1999, Business was one of two evening programs (the other was Education) opening at the new Stafford Campus, thus continuing the tradition of serving the educational needs of the “interested townspeople” and now the growing region.
UMW’s business alumni can be found at work in an array of businesses, government agencies, schools and not-for-profit organizations. Some have risen through the ranks to executive positions here and abroad, some are entrepreneurs running very successful enterprises, and some are teachers and professors.
To learn more about the College of Business, follow the links in the Catalog for the mission, major and minor requirements, and for the steps required to gain admission as a declared business major. And visit the College of Business website.