Samuel and Ava Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement

Spencer Center at Night
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  • Phone: 540-887-7181
  • Address: Wenger Hall
  • Email

We’ll help you develop the skills to be effective citizens and creators of positive social change.

Healthy communities foster healthy people, connecting us to other people and the environment in mutually-beneficial relationships. Building inclusive and just communities takes work, however, and requires that we develop the necessary knowledge and skills to lead such efforts. An MBU education helps students develop the habits of active participation in local and global communities so that upon graduation they are ready to contribute generously to the communities where they live and work. The Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement plays a significant role in this education, providing all MBU students with opportunities to learn more about community issues while also developing essential skills through action and application in community settings. We will get you involved and provide you with the opportunities that set you on a path of lifelong engagement with the issues you care about most.

Explore our programs to learn more.

Mission Statement

The Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement provides all Mary Baldwin University students with opportunities to develop the habits of active civic and global participation by linking them to local and international communities through reciprocal, sustained partnerships.

We facilitate the development of self-awareness, agency, knowledge and skills needed to become proactive, socially-responsible leaders, skilled in dialogue, who invest in their communities to effect inclusive and positive social change.


Intentionality ● Inclusivity ● Community ● Teamwork ● Reciprocity ● Partnership ● Justice


In 2007 Mary Baldwin University created the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement to fulfill the Quality Enhancement Plan component for SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accreditation. Embodying the university’s core commitment to engaged learning and inclusive communities, the Spencer Center has served as a point of creative collaboration and innovation for engagement on the local, domestic and international levels. We build bridges between campus and community to encourage all MBU students to connect classroom learning with social issues, theory with practice.

The Spencer Center was named in honor of Dr. Samuel R. Jr. and Ava Spencer. As President of Mary Baldwin University from 1957-1968, Dr. Spencer played a pivotal role in establishing civic and global engagement as key priorities of the institution. Both he and Ava promoted civic responsibility, supported the development of study abroad programs, and emphasized internationalization on the campus.

Civic and Global Engagement Annual Theme

At the time of its founding in 2007, the Spencer Center was charged with the responsibility of identifying an annual theme that would align the MBU campus and spark heightened civic and global engagement in all sectors of the university. The annual theme has become an MBU tradition that underscores our institutional commitment to social responsibility, critical consciousness, and active civic and global participation.

The Civic and Global Engagement Theme is intended to:

The Civic and Global Engagement Theme for the 2021-22 academic year is “CREATE the world you want to see.”