Twenty-Five Years of Transforming Lives in Richmond

October 15, 2007

A new location. An added program of study. A celebration for all.

Mary Baldwin University is on the move again in Richmond. The first of the college’s regional centers statewide was located in Richmond 25 years ago. The capitol city’s student hub of Mary Baldwin University adult, graduate, and teacher certification programs is moving to a new West End location in Forest Office Park this month — but that’s only the beginning of an important story for so many adults in the area.

The first adult degree program in Virginia was launched by Mary Baldwin University at its Staunton campus in 1977. Opened in 1983, the Richmond regional center was the first in a series of outreach locations that now number five — with a sixth set to open in January in Hampton, Virginia. The Richmond center offers adult degree and graduate studies, as well as post baccalaureate teacher licensure. The public is invited to a reception at the new site — 6 p.m. October 26 at Forest Office Park, 1504 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 202— to celebrate a legacy of transforming lives in Richmond and the surrounding area for a quarter century.

The center will also add a new continuing education program for everyone. In spring 2008, the Ham & Jam Club will welcome students for a non-credit courses in personal finances, American art, yoga, conversational Spanish, Southern women writers, theatrical history, and personal health and wellness. “These short sessions allow busy people access to learning opportunities,” said Kerry Mills, adjunct professor and academic advisor for Mary Baldwin’s Baldwin Online and Adult Programs in Richmond. Mills, also coordinator of the Ham & Jam Club, may be contacted for course schedule at kmills@marybaldwin.edu or (804) 282-9162.

Following Mary Baldwin University’s precedent-setting idea for adult students, many colleges and universities have recognized Richmond as an ideal location for satellite offices and classrooms. As the Mary Baldwin programs evolved and grew to meet the needs and interests of its students, it has continued to be successful by doing what it does best: Provide adult students with the same kind of support and exposure to creative thinking that traditional, residential undergraduates receive in Staunton.

Mary Baldwin has been confident in its personalized, liberal arts approach for adults for decades, and another recent study — this one by the Lumina Foundation for Education based in Indianapolis — supports the things we have practiced all along. Offering a customized education for each student that includes an on-site faculty adviser, the Mary Baldwin Baldwin Online and Adult Programs succeeds in Lumina’s measures of adult programs: providing a clear “map” toward their degree; affordability and convenience; student support, including academic advising; and access to information.