Research Log #3

Out of the many developments at Mary Washington College that occurred in the 1940s the one that had the largest impact was when Mary Washington College underwent an administrative merger with the University of Virginia. The amount of prestige behind the University of Virginia catapulted Mary Washington College into the top tiers among women’s colleges in the state.

After a while of deliberation on the subject, the General Assembly passed the McCue-Randolph Bill which made the merger official. “The bill had five main provisions:

1. That the college be known as Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia.

2. That supervision, management, and control pass from the State Board of Education to the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia and that “the college shall hereafter be affiliated with the University of Virginia as an integral part thereof.”

3. That the board of visitors of the university be increased by the addition of four members.

4. That the president of the University of Virginia be the chancellor of Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and its chief administrative officer, and that the title of the chief local administrative officer be that of president.

5. That Mary Washington be converted into a liberal arts college for women, “with the same standards of admission and graduation obtained for male students in the College of Arts and Sciences….located at Charlottesville.”

The biggest impact of the new administrative merger with University of Virginia was the changes to the Mary Washington College curriculum. New degree requirements went into effect (for freshmen) in the Fall of 1945 along with the addition of a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degrees. Some of the directives placed on the College “specified that degree work no longer be offered in home economics, library science, or commerce courses such as stenography, typewriting, and office practice.” On top of that the Department of Education was to be eliminated and teacher-training courses were to be eliminated as well.

This must have turned the classroom experience upside down. Everything about the curriculum and what the students at Mary Washington College could study was changed by the merger. But in a lot of ways this merger was an interesting step towards equality for the female student body at Mary Washington College. They had access to the same degrees that their male counterparts at the University of Virginia. Surprisingly I could not find any photos in the Digital Archives at UMW that showed any changes as a result of the administrative merger but you can just look into any classroom on campus today and you will see a result of this merger.

1. Crawley, William B. University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008. Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington, 2008, 54.
2. Crawley, University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008, 55.

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