New Beginnings Mark First Day of Classes at MBU

MBU students

Faculty and staff have officially welcomed students back to MBU’s Staunton campus for the first day of fall semester.

This year, 351 new undergraduate students join the MBU community, representing eight states and the District of Columbia. Virginia residents make up a majority of the new student population, with 80% in state and 20% out of state.

We caught up with a few new students who shared what they are most excited about for the upcoming academic year.

Local first-year student Amelia Bartley ’27 came to MBU for a business degree with her cosmetology license in hand. Bartley currently works in a salon, which she says is her main career interest, but wanted a college degree to broaden her opportunities.

Bartley played softball and volleyball all her life, and was inspired to attend the university by working with MBU coaches in her high school league. Despite a career-ending injury, Bartley looks forward to attending MBU athletics events this fall.

Jordan Hill ’27, also a first-year student, came to MBU for a change in pace compared to the hustle and bustle of her hometown, Newport News.

“I wanted to try somewhere new, but not too far away from home,” Hill said. “I’m an extrovert and am really good at making friends. I was looking to be in a whole new environment with a new experience.”

Hill aims to move mountains during her time at MBU.

“I’m looking forward to being a double major, starting my own business, and getting my dreams off the ground,” Hill declared. “You’ll find out one day.”

First-year graduate student Matthias Bolon MLitt ’25 came to MBU from Colorado where he earned a master’s degree in theatre and performance studies from the University of Colorado Boulder.

“MBU is one of the few places that has a master of fine arts (MFA) focused on Shakespeare and performance,” Bolon added. “It’s not just about being an actor but also about education.”

MFA students at Mary Baldwin help design touring shows and market them to local educational institutions from the elementary to college level, in addition to their in-depth exploration of Shakespeare’s works and Early Modern stagecraft.

Bolon will be studying in the master of letters program in Shakespeare and Performance for two years before jumping into the MFA cohort. In the meantime, he plans to get involved in local community events like Queen City Mischief and Magic.

Fall semester courses at the university run through Dec. 13 for the 2023–24 academic year, the 182nd in its history.