June 7, 2023

UMW to Ring in Founders Day March 14

The University of Mary Washington will mark its 108th founding anniversary by ringing its campanile bells on Monday, March 14.

The bells will toll 108 times at 1:08 p.m. on Founders Day. On March 14, 1908, the Virginia General Assembly established the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg, now UMW.

The ringing will emanate from the Carmen Culpeper Chappell Centennial Campanile, which was dedicated in 2007 in memory of the late Carmen Culpeper Chappell, a 1959 alumna. Her husband, John Chappell, honored her with the iconic 88-foot tower.

One hundred eight years ago, Sen. C. O’Conor Goolrick played a key role in the fight to have a school for teachers located in Fredericksburg. At that time, Virginia’s only institution devoted exclusively to the training of teachers for public schools was the Normal School for Women at Farmville (now Longwood University).

During the 1908 legislative session, two new locations were under consideration: Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg. A battle ensued, with the Senate choosing Harrisonburg and the House of Delegates selecting Fredericksburg.

A compromise was reached, and both schools were approved on March 14, 1908: the new school at Harrisonburg (now James Madison University) and the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Fredericksburg (now University of Mary Washington).

UMW also is celebrating this year’s founding anniversary with the second annual Founders Day Challenge. President Richard V. Hurley has issued a challenge to all alumni, parents, faculty and staff, students, and friends of the University to raise $108,000 in two weeks for the Fund for Mary Washington. All gifts to the Fund between March 1 and March 14 count toward the Challenge total.

The Fund for Mary Washington, the University’s single largest source of private support, is one of seven areas of priority within UMW’s $50 million Mary Washington First Campaign. The campaign, which will close June 30, 2016, has garnered generous support from more than 16,000 donors since it was launched in 2011.

For more information about the founding of UMW, past Founders Day celebrations, the Challenge, or to make a donation, please visit giving.umw.edu/challenge. To share your Mary Washington story in honor of Founders Day, please complete this short form.