$1.75 Million to Support Mary Baldwin’s Ministry Program

January 25, 2000

At a time when national surveys of college students reveal a growing interest in spiritual growth even among students who have no religious affiliation, Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, announces the creation of a $1.75 million endowment to support religious life at the college.

The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation has provided $1,500,000 in endowment to support the College Chaplain, the Carpenter Quest Program, and the Preparation for Ministry Program in perpetuity. Other support brings total funds and commitments to $1,750,000.

The Carpenter Preparation for Ministry Program was established in 1988 through a grant from the Carpenter Foundation. Established in 1975, the Carpenter Foundation is an independent foundation whose main interests include the arts, education, theological education and health.

The Ministry Program was originally limited to students who intend to enter the professional ministry. It supported the establishment of a minor in ministry as well as such activities as student internships and guest speakers. Through the years the Ministry Program has expanded to include the “Quest” program.

Begun in 1996, Quest is a co-curricular program that helps students integrate religious commitment, intellectual development and service. Quest provides two years of spiritual direction, academic course work and enrichment activities that support individual efforts to make sense of life, learning and faith. The program is open to students of all faith traditions.

“This program is the tonic that we need at the end of the 20th century for the differences that divide us now,” said James Hunter, professor at the University of Virginia and author of Culture Wars, during a 1998 visit to Mary Baldwin. He noted that the great challenge of the late 20th century is how to live together with others despite deep differences.

This permanent funding will allow the Ministry Program to continue to meet the needs of students as they pursue their own faiths in an ever changing and increasingly diverse society.

Mary Baldwin University is a multi-faceted liberal arts college with three residential programs for women–the traditional program, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership–as well as the coeducational, non-residential Baldwin Online and Adult Programs and Master of Arts in Teaching program. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors as well as the M.A.T. degree with K-8 emphasis. The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was also the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. The college is also home to a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.