University of Mary Washington Then & Now

A Photography Exhibition

Posts in the Virginia category

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).

Virginia Hall, named after the Commonwealth of Virginia, was constructed in 1915 and is the second oldest residence hall on the campus.1 The building was an integral part of the “Daisy Chain” tradition. A chain consisting of thousands of daisies was carried on the shoulders of two-year diploma graduates during Class Day ceremonies. Virginia Hall served as the ultimate resting place for the chain, where it was to remain throughout the graduation ceremonies. This tradition continued through 1942, after which date the school stopped awarding two-year diplomas.2

Additional wings were added to the building in two stages, giving the dormitory the H shape seen today.3 Virginia houses approximately 183 female students of all  different classes.4


Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall 2014
Alexandria Parrish, "Virginia Hall 2014," February 19, 2014, Personal Collection of Alexandria Parrish, University of Mary Washington.

Show 4 footnotes

  1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), page 10.
  2. Ibid., 38.
  3. Ibid., 32.
  4. University of Mary Washington Residence Life, “Virginia Hall,” University of Mary Washington, (Accessed April 15, 2014).