Located in the small, western Virginia town of Staunton, Mary Baldwin College was founded in 1842 by Rufus W. Bailey and is the oldest Presbyterian women's college in the United States. The school was originally named the Augusta Female Seminary and provided quality higher education during an era when women's education was becoming a major issue in the nation. Among the original students at the school was a young woman named Mary Julia Baldwin, who was so successful in her studies that she became principal of the seminary in 1863, during the height of the Civil War. Keeping the school running when so many others had closed due to the war, Baldwin's legacy led to the school being renamed Mary Baldwin Seminary in 1895 in her honor. The name shifted to its current title in 1923 and has since become one of the oldest women's colleges in the nation. Today, the undergraduate school remains all-female, but men have been welcomed into the graduate and adult education departments.
According to its mission statement, Mary Baldwin College exists "to provide undergraduate and graduate education consistent with the institution's rich heritage as a private liberal arts college primarily for women, which affirms its Christian roots while welcoming a broad diversity of views."
Those living in student housing or an off campus apartment at the college have access to its distinguished academic programs and fields of study. Students may pursue undergraduate degrees through the "Schools of Excellence," including Arts, Humanities & Renaissance Studies, Education, Health & Social Work, Science and Social Sciences, Business & Global Studies.
Student living and university living at Mary Baldwin College revolve around a variety of traditional campus student organizations and activities. Popular clubs at the school range from interests in academics, sports, politics, media and spirituality among others.
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