May 25, 2022

UMW Dedicates Mural Honoring First African-American Alumna

UMW senior Timbila Kabre was among the students and faculty who helped create the mural honoring Dr. Venus Jones, the first African-American woman to graduate from Mary Washington. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW senior Timbila Kabre was among the students and faculty who helped create the mural honoring Dr. Venus Jones, the first African-American woman to graduate from Mary Washington. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Dr. Venus Romance Jones. It’s no wonder University of Mary Washington senior Timbila Kabre said she had “fallen in love” while researching the late physician bearing that name, who in 1968, became the first African-American woman to graduate from Mary Washington.

“Dr. Jones’ hard work, passion and love for others … is absolutely inspiring,” she said at the unveiling of a new mural honoring Jones – which Kabre and her classmates helped design – in UMW’s Jepson Science Center. Mary Washington students, faculty, staff, alums, administrators, President Troy Paino, Board of Visitors members, and Jones’ friends and family gathered together last Friday to dedicate the long-awaited exhibit. The mural’s timeline, and an accompanying digital site, traces Jones’ life and barrier-breaking career as a neurologist, along with other trailblazing Black women in medicine.

The project advances UMW’s initiative to create a more inclusive environment, said Professor of Biological Sciences Andrew Dolby, who spearheaded the effort. Disciplines across the University – visual arts, public and digital history, and the sciences – worked in collaboration, he said, getting input from the Campus Environment Committee and the Jones family.

“This is exactly what we talk about in terms of preparing our students with experiential learning opportunities for the 21st century,” Paino said in his remarks. “Your work will live on in our community, just like Dr. Jones’ legacy.” Read more.