Chartered on March 14, 1908, and originally established as a State Normal and Industrial School for Women, the institution has evolved into a state-assisted, coeducational university consisting of campuses in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Stafford County, and King George County. University of Mary Washington is recognized as one of the nation’s best small universities by such authoritative publications as U.S. News and World Report, Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges, and The Princeton Review. In addition, programs in business, education, and adult degree completion provide a rich diversity of options that build upon and extend University of Mary Washington’s excellence in the liberal arts.
Several factors contribute to the institution’s excellence. Foremost among these are the expertise and commitment of the faculty. Members of the faculty are energetically engaged in productive research and scholarship, which lead to the advancement of their particular disciplines. At the same time, however, it is teaching that is their primary goal and purpose.
Teaching effectiveness is enhanced by the small size of most classes, which encourages personal interaction between faculty and students. Moreover, faculty devote much attention to students’ concerns beyond the classroom, working closely with them on matters of academic, career, and personal development. Every institution of higher learning accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools possesses a brief, formal statement of institutional purpose. This statement defines the mission and role of the institution. It also provides a clear sense of overarching direction and a benchmark against which institutional effectiveness may be gauged. The official mission statement of the University, adopted by its governing Rector and Board of Visitors and approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, is as follows:
The University of Mary Washington is one of Virginia’s outstanding public liberal arts universities, providing a superior education that inspires and enables our students to make positive changes in the world.
The University is a place where faculty, students, and staff share in the creation and exploration of knowledge through freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, and service. UMW regards the provision of high quality instruction as its most important function. The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. These academic programs afford students opportunities to integrate and apply their knowledge within broad educational experiences, to develop their professional interests, and to practice the habits of mind necessary for life-long learning. Through a professionally engaged faculty, the University supports ongoing research appropriate to the development of student abilities and faculty interests. It especially encourages the participation of undergraduates in research.
UMW’s size, dedicated faculty, and historical commitment to fine teaching create an institutional culture where both undergraduate and graduate students benefit from strong connections with their faculty and multiple opportunities for active learning.
Located in Fredericksburg between our nation’s capital and the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the University of Mary Washington is a nexus for engagement among diverse communities and is dedicated to supporting professional advancement and economic development and to improving the regional quality of life.
We fulfill our mission by immersing students, faculty, and staff in local, regional, national, and international communities, and by inculcating the values of honor and integrity. UMW graduates are models of adaptive learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.
The institution was founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women in Fredericksburg. The name was changed in 1924 to the State Teachers College at Fredericksburg, and again in 1938 to Mary Washington College, having transformed over the years to Virginia’s public liberal arts college for women. Then in 1944, Mary Washington College became affiliated with the University of Virginia as its women’s undergraduate arts and sciences division. In 1970 the entire University became coeducational and in 1972, by action of the General Assembly of Virginia, the College became an independent, state-supported institution for women and men, with its own governing board. On July 1, 2004, the General Assembly named the institution University of Mary Washington.
Through an emphasis on quality, the University attracts students from all areas of Virginia, particularly the urban areas of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater. Approximately 25 percent of its on-campus resident students are from other states and foreign countries, with the largest population coming from Southern, Middle Atlantic, and New England states. Located in the middle of a rapidly growing Washington-Richmond “urban corridor,” the University of Mary Washington serves the educational needs of both full-time and part-time students.
To meet the diverse academic goals sought by students in today’s society, the undergraduate curriculum is organized into three colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, and the College of Education. The various academic departments and disciplines offer more than 30 undergraduate programs. Four undergraduate degrees are awarded: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Liberal Studies, and Bachelor of Professional Studies. Emphasis upon excellence in the pursuit of liberal learning has traditionally been at the core of the University’s educational philosophy, and commitment to this tradition will continue.
University of Mary Washington also awards graduate degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MSMIS), a combined MBA-MSMIS degree, Master of Education, and Master of Science in Elementary Education. Details about these degree programs are available in the University’s Graduate Academic Catalog. Because the Master of Science in Elementary Education is a fifth-year program that follows directly from the undergraduate degree, details about it are available in the education section of this Catalog as well.
As the University evaluates its offerings, it will build upon its high-quality programs and propose curricular additions and adjustments specifically designed to meet new and increased demands.
The University of Mary Washington is an academic community dedicated to the highest standards of scholarship, personal integrity, responsible conduct, and respect for the individual. We hold among our foremost common values:
• the importance of personal integrity as reflected in adherence to the Honor Code• the right of every individual to be treated with dignity and respect at all times
• the appreciation of and respect for diversity in our community and adherence to the University’s Principles of Diversity and Inclusion and the University’s Statement of Non-Discrimination, and
• the freedom of intellectual inquiry in the pursuit of truth.
We accept responsibility to help create the environment we strive to achieve. We will live up to these values and work to support our collective and individual successes. As members of the University community we will not condone behavior that compromises or threatens these values.
The University of Mary Washington strives to create a climate of acceptance and will promote the values of diversity and inclusiveness. These values strengthen our community and are essential to our academic mission and institutional excellence.
The University of Mary Washington values diversity in all forms— including diversity of age, culture, disability, economic background, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, opinion, political affiliation, race, religious background, sexual orientation and veteran status.
The University of Mary Washington recognizes its responsibility to be a model of fairness and equal opportunity, providing intellectual and institutional leadership regarding diversity issues and initiatives.
As a public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the University of Mary Washington embraces its obligation to provide educational opportunities to broader communities found locally and nationally, and to then reflect the diversity of peoples, backgrounds, and experiences in the student body, faculty, administration and staff.
The University is committed to providing broad administrative, programmatic and academic support to achieve its institutional goals for diversity.
The University seeks to prepare students from all backgrounds and identities to live, work and thrive in a global society.
The University seeks to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment of mutual respect for students, faculty, staff and community, internally and externally, of all backgrounds and identities.
The University of Mary Washington recognizes that the adoption of this Statement is the responsibility of the entire University community. To ensure the successful implementation of the statement, the University is committed to a system of responsibility, accountability, and recognition for all faculty, staff, and students that carries out the institutional values on diversity and inclusion and all related goals and objectives.
Another element basic to the University’s mission is adherence to the Honor System, which applies to every student enrolled at the University and constitutes one of the distinctive features of student life at the institution. This system, based upon the integrity of each student, provides that a student shall act honorably in all facets of campus life. The Honor Pledge required on quizzes, examinations, and other course work means that the work that the student submits is the student’s own, completed according to requirements for the course as determined by the instructor. Lying, cheating, and stealing are specific infringements of the Honor Code. In the case of an alleged violation, an Honor hearing is conducted by an elected Honor Council. When a student is found “responsible,” the student may receive a sanction ranging from community service to permanent dismissal from the University, and major sanctions will be noted on the student’s permanent academic transcript. All students and faculty should understand that by joining the University of Mary Washington community they commit themselves to living by and upholding the Honor System.
The learning environment of the University of Mary Washington is further enhanced by the very location and physical characteristics of each campus. The University is named for the mother of George Washington, who lived most of her life in Fredericksburg and is buried near the Fredericksburg campus. Fredericksburg is a place of extraordinary historical significance in both the Revolutionary and Civil War eras. Indeed, the original campus is located on Marye’s Heights, a Confederate artillery position in the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, and major historic sites abound throughout the area.
The spacious Fredericksburg campus, located in an established residential neighborhood, is exceptionally attractive. Both academic and residential buildings, consistent in their neoclassical, Jeffersonian style of architecture, are interspersed along a wide brick Campus Walk that extends for more than a half-mile from one end of campus to the other. With vehicular traffic and parking confined to the edges of campus, the grounds offer extensive park-like space including substantial stretches of lawn and large wooded areas.
The Stafford campus, located seven miles north of the Fredericksburg campus, is situated on a wooded 48-acre site in the heart of one of the region’s rapidly developing business, technology, and residential corridors. The campus location, parking, and modern architectural design have been carefully tailored to maximize convenience and educational quality for working adult commuting students, while remaining faithful to the high aesthetic standards of the University.
A third campus in King George County, near the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Station, opened in January 2012. The UMW Dahlgren Campus Center for Education and Research is designed to support the education and continued professional development of the region’s engineers, scientists and professionals by providing educational programs and services to the Navy base and the surrounding community.
Two historic sites are also owned and administered by the University of Mary Washington: Belmont, the home of famed impressionist artist Gari Melchers, and the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, located on the site of James Monroe’s Fredericksburg law office. Overlooking the Rappahannock River, Belmont is a carefully restored 18th-century house and early 20th-century artist’s studio, which now serves as a gallery of Melchers’ work. The James Monroe Museum illustrates and educates about the life and times of America’s fifth president and houses artifacts, an archive, and a presidential library. Working in conjunction with the University’s Department of Historic Preservation, the Museum promotes education in museum practice, research, public history, and collections management.
The Center for Economic Development serves to assist area jurisdictions in their efforts to promote economic development of the region. The Center also functions as a central point of contact to connect UMW faculty and students with regional initiatives and businesses seeking their assistance, such as through the University’s partnership with the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance. A number of separate units report to the Center for Economic Development. The Dahlgren Campus/Center for Education and Research supports the education and continued professional development of the region’s engineers, scientists, and professionals who provide services to the Navy base and the surrounding community. This campus is currently utilized by George Mason University, Germanna Community College, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval War College, Old Dominion University, Rappahannock Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech. The Professional Development programs at UMW provide the region’s business and professional community with high quality programs designed to enhance individual performance and organizational effectiveness, primarily through certification programs in human resource management and project management. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helps entrepreneurs and small businesses establish, manage, and expand their organizations. The SBDC provides expert, one-on-one, confidential counseling, and research services at no cost, and it offers seminars and training programs in all aspects of small business management at low costs. These services are available to any existing or startup small business or potential entrepreneur.
Whatever degree program students may choose – and whether they reside on campus or commute – the aim of the University of Mary Washington is not merely to ensure that its students are well-trained in a discipline and wellprepared for productive employment. The basic goal of the University is much
broader and ultimately more important: to ensure the development of those skills of writing, speaking, and critical thinking that make possible a lifetime
of creativity and intellectual development.
In short, the University of Mary Washington – through its rich history, educational philosophy, and exceptional environment for learning – offers today’s students a superior opportunity for obtaining a broad, liberal education based upon honesty, freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, and intellectual integrity that will provide the foundation for meeting the challenges and attaining the potentialities of the 21st century.
The University of Mary Washington subscribes to the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, sex, or age in recruiting, admitting, and enrolling students or in hiring and promoting faculty and staff members. The University will not recognize or condone student, faculty, or staff organizations that discriminate in selecting members. Complaints of discrimination or questions should be directed to the AAEEO Officer of the University.