State Lawmakers Honor President Pamela R. Fox with Commending Resolution

February 16, 2023

The Virginia General Assembly honored Mary Baldwin University President Pamela R. Fox in the State Capitol on Feb. 16.

The Virginia General Assembly formally honored Mary Baldwin University President Pamela R. Fox on Feb. 16 in Richmond for her remarkable 20 years of leadership. 

The commending resolution was sponsored by Del. John Avoli, a former local educator, mayor of Staunton, and executive director of the Frontier Culture Museum. 

“Dr. Fox has been an excellent leader at Mary Baldwin University,” Avoli said. During her tenure, she transformed the university’s “academic footprint and campus, expanded [its] student body and degree programs, and shepherded the school through a period of growth and progress. Dr. Fox’s leadership at Mary Baldwin is unmatched and will be long remembered. I want to thank Dr. Fox for her leadership, and I congratulate her on her accomplishments and well-deserved retirement.”

The Virginia General Assembly honored Mary Baldwin University President Pamela R. Fox in the State Capitol on Feb. 16.

Fox appeared on the floor of the General Assembly on Thursday afternoon for the recognition, and received a resounding round of applause and standing ovation from the nearly 100 lawmakers in attendance. 

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this designation,” Fox said. “It has been a privilege to serve with my colleagues over these years, to work closely with the Staunton community, and to also work with the General Assembly as we advanced issues central to Mary Baldwin and Virginia’s private colleges. Delegate Avoli is an abiding supporter of Mary Baldwin and our community. The resolution also honors Dan Layman, my husband, as a key citizen in Staunton and within the Mary Baldwin community.”

Mary Baldwin University President Pamela R. Fox received an ovation after her 20 years of service were officially commended by the Virginia General Assembly.

A portion of the resolution was read aloud and entered into the state historic record:

Commending Dr. Pamela R. Fox.

WHEREAS, Dr. Pamela R. Fox will retire as president of Mary Baldwin University in 2023 after two decades of transformational student-focused leadership, the longest presidential tenure since the school became a four-year college in 1923; and

WHEREAS, a trained pianist, Pamela Fox holds a doctorate in musicology from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music and previously taught music at Miami University in Ohio, where she also served as dean of the institution’s art school and as an assistant vice president for strategic planning; and

WHEREAS, Pamela Fox was selected as the ninth president of what was then Mary Baldwin College in April 2003 and began her distinguished tenure on July 1 of that year; she promptly developed a 10-year strategic plan, Composing Our Future, which was unanimously endorsed by the Board of Trustees in 2004; and

WHEREAS, Pamela Fox directed significant campus improvement projects through the Transforming Our Environment initiative and built a strong sense of community at Mary Baldwin College, reinvigorating campus traditions like Apple Day and the Capstone Festival; and

WHEREAS, during her tenure as president, Pamela Fox oversaw the creation of more than 30 degrees and programs, including bachelor of health sciences, master of business administration program, and doctor of nursing practice program, as well as the nationally accredited bachelor of social work program, which is now one of the institution’s most popular undergraduate majors, and the bachelor of autism studies and applied behavior analysis, which was the first program of its kind in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, Pamela Fox developed new opportunities for students by guiding the creation of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, the Palmer College of Professional Studies, and working with the Heifetz International Music Institute to create a summer residency program for exceptional violin, viola, and cello students; and

WHEREAS, in 2014, Pamela Fox crafted a new strategic plan, Mary Baldwin 2020, which included months of collaborative input from the school community; two years later, she celebrated Mary Baldwin College’s 175th anniversary and announced that the institution would be renamed at Mary Baldwin University to better reflect its evolving mission and advanced academic offerings; and

WHEREAS, under Pamela Fox’s leadership, Mary Baldwin University welcomed its first class of residential undergraduate men in fall 2017; the following year, the university launched a men’s soccer program as the first men’s athletics team in Mary Baldwin history, and has since expanded men’s athletics to include track and field, cross country, baseball, basketball, and tennis; and

WHEREAS, Pamela Fox has worked to enhance diversity and equity on campus, guiding the adoption of an inclusivity pledge and creating the Coalition for Racial and Social Justice to elevate and coordinate such efforts; and

WHEREAS, thanks to Pamela Fox’s visionary strategies, Mary Baldwin achieved record growth in enrollment and enrolled the largest incoming class in university history in 2019; and

WHEREAS, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pamela Fox and university leadership worked diligently to help students return to in-person instruction in a safe and timely manner; the university was one of the first in the Commonwealth to require COVID-19 vaccinations, and achieved a 94 percent vaccination rate on campus; and

WHEREAS, Pamela Fox has also offered her leadership to the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education; she has served as past chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, trustee of the Frontier Culture Museum and American Shakespeare Center, and as a member of Rotary International; and

WHEREAS, Dan Layman, Pamela Fox’s husband and current president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, has made invaluable contributions to both Mary Baldwin University and the entire region through his devoted civic leadership, community support, and wide-ranging leadership; and

WHEREAS, among many awards and accolades, Pamela Fox was selected as the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce 2011 Citizen of the Year, and the Teaching and Instructional Wing at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences was named in her honor; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly hereby commend Dr. Pamela R. Fox on the occasion of her retirement as president of Mary Baldwin University; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Dr. Pamela R. Fox as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for her achievements in service to students and contributions to the field of higher education.

Mary Baldwin University President Pamela R. Fox posing with Del. John Avoli.

“Dr. Fox’s leadership at Mary Baldwin is unmatched and will be long remembered. ”
Del. John Avoli (R-Staunton)