University of Mary Washington Then & Now

A Photography Exhibition

Posts in the Student Life 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, http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/religion/hinduism/holi.shtml (Accessed April 18, 2014).

During the 1930s when President Combs and Dean Alvey were running the College, Ronald W. Faulkner was hired in 1937 for music and arts.1 His job was to create an “academic program in instrumental music,” but he surpassed this expectation and also created a concert orchestra, a dance orchestra, and a marching band.2 In 1971, James Baker,” (who joined the music faculty in 1965,)3 created a new orchestra that by combining local musicians with the student musicians in order to “established close ties to the area.” It was called the Mary Washington College-Community Symphony Orchestra.” 4 Later in 1976, Dominion Bank provided funds for the College-Community Orchestra “to underwrite an additional performance” to their three annual performances, and thus was born the Pops Concert.5

Today, the College-Community Orchestra is known as the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic Orchestra. Continuing on into its 43rd year, the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic Orchestra has 90 members and “is one of the most successful organizations on campus.” 6 The orchestra has about six concerts annually, and also performs annually for the UMW Commencement exercises in May.7

Show 7 footnotes

  1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 35.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., 627.
  5. Ibid., 225.
  6. UMW Philharmonic Orchestra,“About the Philharmonic,” University of Mary Washington, http://philharmonic.umw.edu/about-the-orchestra/(Accessed April 6, 2014).
  7. Ibid.

According to University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908–2008, “Among the new campus activities that appeared during the 1970s, the most extraordinary (and inexplicable) was something called the Wo-Man Contest.  The event was conceived in the fall of 1977 by the Afro-American Association, whose only male member, freshman Cedric Rucker, took the lead in the contest’s development and promotion.” 1  The event was immediately popular, and the popularity of the Wo-Man contest continued into the early 1990s, but was eventually phased out; however, in October 1999, the Mr. MWC contest appeared.  “Though Mr. MWC obviously shared certain farcical elements with the late Wo-Man contest, according to the Free Lance-Star it was ‘nothing like the controversial’ predecessor. ‘The new, feel-good Mr. MWC contest,’ it asserted, ‘is far kinder and gentler than Wo-Man.” 2

Today, the Mr. MWC tradition continues, simply under a different name: Mr. UMW.

Mr UMW

Mr. UMW Contest, 2013
Contestants include: Mr. Alvey: Tyler Gimple; Mr. Apartments: Rob Jarvis; Mr. Arrington: John Rowley; Mr. Bushnell: Frank Kear; Mr. Custis: Drew Kalasky; Mr. Eagle Landing: Ethan Lane; Mr. Framar: Sam Relken; Mr. Jefferson: Brandon Smith; Mr. Mason: Kyle Phalen; Mr. Marshall: Nathan Bradley; Mr. Randolph: Ben Cunningham; Mr. Russell: Josh Mwandu
Alyssa Lieurance, "Mr. UMW," November 4, 2013, Personal Collection of Alyssa Lieurance, University of Mary Washington.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. William B. Crawley, Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 252.
  2. Ibid., 721.

A tradition since Mary Washington’s inception, the annual commencement ceremonies have always been an important and special time for graduating seniors.  Today commencement occurs annually on Ball Circle. 

Modern Grads

UMW Graduates, 2011
Featured left to right: Caitrin Smith, Christine Melchione, Erin Lombard, Melissa Evich, and Kelly Reeder
Kelly Reeder, "Class of 2011," 2011, Personal Collection of Kelly Reeder, University of Mary Washington.

Class of 2013 Commencement (1)

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 commencement ceremony, 2013
"The University of Mary Washington's 2013 commencement ceremony," May 11, 2013, University of Mary Washington, UMW's Undergraduate Commencement 2013, University of Mary Washington Facebook page.

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.

Student organizations are an active part of UMW campus life. They hold events like Holi, concerts, and fairs. They also represent the student population. The SGA, or Student Government Association, is composed of students elected by their peers. A division of the SGA is ARH, or Association of Residence Halls, which specifically focuses on issues pertaining to residence housing. ARH also hosts “Mr. UMW”, a pageant-like event with a male student representing each residence hall.

yze3N8w56gtLMpfnR5s2NveiNinulC-f8KpxuCNRe8y1JPHGSg3RMjEF3O2njXzY5Q=w1165-h456

ARH, 2013
From top left to right: Robert Sharp, Helen Bower, Ray Celeste Tanner, Sammy D. Eagle, Ethan Lane, Christie Cons, Amanda Stocker, and Rachel Howard.
From bottom left to right: Sarah Mendelsohn and Alyssa Lieurance
"Association of Residence Housing," 2013, Personal Collection of Alyssa Lieurance, University of Mary Washington.

css.php