A physics major, Hitchman was active in the glee, science, music, and dramatic Clubs and served as reporter, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper during her college career.
“Mom had a great love for Mary Baldwin; you could just feel it whenever she referred to her time there,” remembered Hitchman’s daughter Grace Hitchman McGrath ’70. “She made many references to how she liked the small class size where you had to think and stretch your intellectual boundaries, as there was no place to be insignificant like in a large university lecture hall. She was especially appreciative of how her professors were personally invested in encouraging their students.”
Wanting to provide similar educational experiences to future generations, Hitchman and her late husband, William R. Hitchman, endowed a scholarship for high-achieving students with financial need at Mary Baldwin.
The scholarship was named in honor of her parents, George Schilling and Grace Sutherland Herscher, a member of the Class of 1915 at the then-named Mary Baldwin Seminary.
“Grandmother’s parents wanted her to continue her education,” said McGrath about Grace Sutherland Herscher. “Apparently, a finishing school wasn’t up her alley … she wanted to know more. Biology, botany, nutrition, how things worked, history, and especially geography. She wanted to travel. In the end, my grandfather whisked her away after climbing over the wall of the school several times, so I’ve been told.”
Hitchman attended Mary Baldwin in the wake of the Great Depression. Through the scholarship she and her husband established, she wanted to recognize her parents for their sacrifices to ensure she received a college education.
“What I often recall growing up was how frugal Mom and Dad were,” said Hitchman’s daughter Eve A. Carter ’74. “And how much they taught us the same principles. I became very much aware of their giving spirits — spirits that never took abundance of wealth (whether monetary or otherwise) as ‘deserved,’ but a responsibility to use to the best possible end for as many as possible.”