After delivering her first-ever State of the University address to a packed crowd in Francis Auditorium, Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox said she feels triumphant regarding the institution’s transition from college to university, but really wanted to take a moment Wednesday — one week before the changeover becomes official — to watch in humble admiration as students, faculty, and staff enjoy the benefits of their commitment and hard work.
Celebratory in tone, Fox focused on both historic milestones and name changes in the institution’s history and highlighted some of the exciting changes ahead for its 175th year, including new programs, initiatives, and events to celebrate the people who make Mary Baldwin what it is today.
“Today is the moment to claim our space as a small, distinctive coed university with the Mary Baldwin College for Women at its center,” Fox said. “Our annual theme this year is ‘Identity.’ We are MBU. Let’s launch that spirit. Revel in our successes. Relish our history. Celebrate our 175 years of foresight, courage, and commitment. See possibility everywhere, our potential for the future.”
This is a moment, Fox said, that would make co-founder and namesake Mary Julia Baldwin proud.
“I think Mary Baldwin is looking down on us,” Fox said, as she queued up the new website, showing aerial footage of the Staunton and Fishersville campuses. “I know she is smiling … We have the vista to not only appreciate all we have created that is MBU, but also to understand the legacy of our past and to see the future.
“She is our Thomas Jefferson, our James Madison,” Fox continued. “We aspire not to be like those other great institutions, but to bring to prominence the synergistic advantages of our deliberately small university that serves the entire spectrum of higher education in age, religion, ethnicity through a series of inclusive, innovative programs that no one else ever dreamed of, let along brought into existence and raised to excellence as Mary Baldwin has done. To claim the public space to demonstrate why institutions like Mary Baldwin matter in the Commonwealth and in the nation.”
Read or watch the replay of the speech, billed in years past as the State of the College address.
Preceding Fox’s address, new faculty and staff and members of the Student Government Association were introduced, and Senior Vice President for External Affairs Crista Cabe unveiled the new logo and spoke briefly about elements of the new Mary Baldwin University branding. Members of the community will begin to see signage, banners, branded items such as pens, folders, notecards, T-shirts this week as the institution approaches its official MBU launch next week.
Following the address, the audience congregated on Page Terrace to celebrate. Among them was Joe Sprangel, associate professor of business administration and the dean for the new College of Business and Professional Studies, who reacted favorably to the speech and to the changes for the institution, including the development of the four-college structure.
“Overall the new structure is going to allow some of our really strong programs to build upon the success we’ve already had,” Sprangel said. “I’ve already been out meeting with potential donors and supporters. I’d be really surprised if we aren’t showing tremendous progress over the next few years with growth and enrollment.”