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: