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Established in 1908 as Fredericksburg State Normal and Industrial School for Women, the University of Mary Washington has grown to become one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the region. Monroe Hall was named in honor of James Monroe who attended the College of William and Mary. The building was constructed in 1911 and was one of the three original campus buildings and served as the first academic and administration building for the university. From 1944-1972, this institution served as a women's college that was part of the University of Virginia. After becoming coeducational in 1973, Mary Washington became an independent institution. The University is named after the mother of George Washington, Mary, who lived and later died in the city.


  • Monroe Hall was constructed in 1911, serving as the first academic and administration building for the university. Its plan is inspired by Palladio's Villa Rotunda and houses several of the university's humanities programs.
  • Mary Washington, the university's namesake

The University of Mary Washington was established in 1908 as Fredericksburg State Normal and Industrial School for Women. Today it is one of the nation's most selective public liberal arts and sciences universities.

UMW functioned as the women's college of the University of Virginia during the years 1944-1972. In 1971, Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Mary Washington. This is the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary academic organization. After UMW became coed in the early 70's, it was recognized as an independent college.

Originally named Mary Washington College, the General Assembly of Virginia renamed the school University of Mary Washington due to it having a limited number of graduate and professional programs beyond the central undergraduate curriculum, and having established more than one campus. There are 4,000 undergraduate students at the Fredericksburg location, and 1,000 graduate students. 

Historic Buildings of the University of Mary Washington, http://buildings.umwblogs.org/ accessed 10/24/15 Alvey, Edward (1974). History of Mary Washington College 1908–1972. University of Virginia Press. Crawley, William Bryan (2008). University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908–2008. University of Mary Washington.