University of Mary Washington Then & Now

A Photography Exhibition

Posts in the 1920s category

Virginia Hall, one of the original dorms on campus, has been home to exclusively female students throughout its existence. Over the years, this dorm has gained many demeaning nicknames relating to the nature of its inhabitants.1 Although it does not have air-conditioning, Virginia is a coveted residence for incoming freshman due to its high ceilings, large rooms, and its convenient central location.

student in dorm 2014

Student in Dorm 2014
Alexandria Parrish, "Student in Dorm 2014," February 26, 2014, Personal Collection of Alexandria Parrish, University of Mary Washington.

Show 1 footnote

  1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 410.

The May Day celebration used to be one of the grandest events at UMW, especially when it was still an all-girls school. The first May Day was held in conjunction with the Field Day games in the Spring of 1914 on the lawn in front of Monroe Hall. In 1923, the event was moved to the amphitheater located behind Trinkle Hall and next to Marye Hall. The celebration would begin with a processional led by the May Queen and her attendants, Senior Maypole dancers, and then the classes followed in order wearing their color. 1 After the May song, the Queen was crowned and the seniors performed the Maypole dance. In the late 1960s, the tradition fell out of favor, as an antiquated event. By 1968, with “the war, divisive camp politics, and rabble-rousing, Bullet editorials, our attention was obviously directed elsewhere…May Court was trivial in comparison.” 2 1968 was the last year to see a May Day at the University. In January 2001, several clubs, led by the Inter-Club association and French Club tried to revive the tradition but with marked changes. The revival never really caught on however, and the May Day tradition still remains an event of the past.
Today, other celebrations have taken the place of May Day. One such celebration is Holi, the Indian celebration of the arrival of spring and the passing of winter.3 The celebration is traditionally held on Ball Circle and hosted by the UMW International Living Community. Participants wear white and dried paint is passed out to be thrown into the air for a simultaneous burst of color.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. As quoted in The Bullet William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008),16.
  2. Ibid.,125.
  3. BBC Schools, “Holi,” March 17, 2014, BBC News Network, (Accessed April 18, 2014).

Devil Goat Day is UMW’s oldest tradition that still occurs today. Devil-Goat Day began in 1926 when Eileen Kramer Dodd joined the faculty and became the sponsor of the junior class.1 She and the junior class “decided to have a goat as [their] symbol.”2 One morning, all of the juniors and Dodd “appeared in the dining hall wearing white skirts and white sweatshirts decorated with a felt green goat.”3 This sparked the seniors to pick “a distinctive symbol, and they adopted a red devil as an emblem. So began the Devil-Goat rivalry.”4  Alternating classes were designated as either Devils or Goats, as events creating competition between Senior and Sophomores, and Juniors and Freshman occurred annually, which developed into Devil-Goat Day.5 However, in the 1990s students were becoming indifferent to the school’s traditions.6 In 1992, “sponsorship of the event was taken over by the freshman class officers, who tried to rejuvenate it” by adding music and more daring activities such as a climbing wall, a velcro wall, jousting and human bungees.7

The freshman must have succeeded in rejuvenating Devil-Goat Day, because the event still occurs today in 2014, and is still planned by the freshman class officers on Class Council. The tradition of having freshman and juniors versus sophomores and seniors continues as well as having the odd numbered graduation classes as Devils and even numbered graduation classes as Goats. Currently, at freshman orientation, Dean Rucker always announces to the new class of students whether they are Devils or Goats. (Dean Rucker himself is a Devil.) Devil-Goat Day continues to take place on Ball Circle, and has had a great turn out within the last few years. One newer tradition that is a part of Devil-Goat Day is trying to collect the free Devil or Goat t-shirts handed out by Class Council every year. Students will line up sometimes an hour or more before in order to make sure they can get one out of the limited supply of t-shirts. This year, in 2014, the t-shirts were handed out by Lee Hall and the Devil t-shirt line extended down campus walk towards Trinkle Hall, while the Goat t-shirt line extended down past Virginia Hall.

President Hurley on Devil Goat Day, April 25, 2013

President Hurley on Devil Goat Day, April 25, 2013
Elizabeth Henry, "President Hurley on Devil Goat Day," April 25, 2013, Personal Collection of Elizabeth Henry, University of Mary Washington.

Show 7 footnotes

  1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 26.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., 27.
  6. Ibid., 719.
  7. Ibid.

According to University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008, when the amphitheater was “Completed in 1923, it was built into a natural slope in a grove of trees just below the main campus and could initially accommodate approximately eight hundred people, a capacity that was doubled some years later.” 1  Dedicated on May 11, 1923, “the amphitheater was an impressive venue” 2 that served as the site for many campus events, such as senior plays, May Day performances, and commencement; however, as the campus expanded, the amphitheater was used less frequently. 3

The University of Mary Washington announced in March 2014 that Robert S. and Alice Andrews Jepson ’64 donated a $1 million challenge gift towards the restoration of the amphitheater.  Though a timeline for the project has not yet been released, sources say that “the restoration would return the amphitheater to its 1952-1953 appearance by repairing and reconstructing damaged and missing pieces. It would provide seating for approximately 600 people on weather-resilient benches and chairs while incorporating accommodations for ADA accessibility.” 4

Amphitheater Now

Amphitheater, 2014
Carly Winfield, "Amphitheater," March 21, 2014, Personal Collection of Carly Winfield, University of Mary Washington.

new amphitheater rendering

Amphitheater, future
Train & Partners Architects, Future Rendering of UMW Amphitheather,

Show 4 footnotes

  1. William B. Crawley, Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 22.
  2. Ibid., 23.
  3. Ibid., 23.
  4. Brynn Boyer, “Jepsons Give $1 Million to Restore UMW Amphitheater,” Media and Public Relations, University of Mary Washington, posted on March 1, 2014, (Accessed April 6, 2014).

Chandler Hall was first opened for the fall 1928 school session. At that time it functioned as a mock high school used to train prospective teachers enrolled in the State Normal School. The building was originally called the Campus Training School or College Heights High. The school was discontinued in 1928 and was renamed after President Chandler, who spent years of tireless effort in support of the construction of this building.1

Chandler Hall was demolished in 2013 in order to make way for the new University Center, or Campus Center. This structure is being built in order to meet the evolving needs of students and to improve the dining facilities on campus. It will include a “campus living room,” ballroom, offices spaces for student organizations, the Multicultural Center, Center for Honor, Leadership and Service, Vice President for Student Affairs, many small and large meeting rooms, and a large dining room with ample seating. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the fall 2015 semester.2

University Center Construction, 2014

University Center Construction, 2014
Alexandria Parrish, "University Center Construction," March 21, 2014, Personal Collection of Alexandria Parrish, University of Mary Washington.

University Center Rendering

University Center Rendering
Image is courtesy of Hanbury, Evans, Wright, and Vlattas.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), page 25.
  2. University of Mary Washington, “University Center,” University of Mary Washington, (Accessed April 15, 2014).