July 12, 2024

Amphitheatre Gift Honors Family Legacy

In 1948, Louise Garnett Goodwin ’30 ran for Fredericksburg City Council in an attempt to become the first woman to hold elected office. She did not win, but today her daughter – Mary Katherine Greenlaw ’61 – has the distinction of being the first woman elected mayor of Fredericksburg.


Recently, Mary Katherine honored her mother’s memory by making a $10,000 gift to the UMW Amphitheatre Challenge. “Mother passed away in 1997, but as we continue to read her diaries and go through her scrapbooks, we’re learning just how much Mary Washington meant to her,” says Mary Katherine.

Louise attended college through a Kiwanis Club scholarship and majored in chemistry and physical education. She was involved in numerous activities, including field hockey, basketball, soccer, and dance. In 1928, she served in the May Court during the ceremonial crowning of the May Queen. After graduating, Louise went on to teach Latin and coach girl’s basketball at Fredericksburg High School and later in the Belmont section of Spotsylvania.

“She loved Mary Washington as a student, and she continued to be involved as an alumna and member of the Fredericksburg community,” says Mary Katherine. “When I was a child, I remember being at the college all the time for various events, so the campus is very much a part of my experience as well. In fact, my son, two daughters-in-law, and two grandsons are also UMW alumni.”

Mary Katherine says she is proud to support UMW’s Amphitheatre Challenge. “Knowing that Mother was a part of the May Court in 1928 and that the campus and the Amphitheatre were a huge part of her life, I felt this was a great way to preserve history and honor her legacy at Mary Washington.”

The Amphitheatre Challenge continues at UMW as the deadline of May 1, 2017, draws near. Last year, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation in Richmond, Virginia, offered UMW a challenge grant of $125,000 to support a $3 million restoration of the historic Amphitheatre. To receive the challenge grant, UMW alumni, parents, and friends must make NEW gifts to the Amphitheatre totaling at least $125,000. To offer your support before May 1, 2017, visit giving.umw.edu/achallenge or call 540-654-1024.