Thursday, October 11, 2007

University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg is not quite a college town, but we are a town with a college, the approx. 4,000-student University of Mary Washington. The presence of the campus in the center of town does provide a lot of nice opportunities for residents of the area, like me. Throughout the year, there are concerts, plays, speakers, and athletic events open to the public. We watch UMW baseball in the spring, check out the Multicultural Fair every April and the Operafest in the summer, and are always on the lookout for performances by the college-community orchestra or the jazz ensemble or the show choir. It's also a great place to just walk around, with its winding, shady pathways, spacious lawns, and a big fountain in the middle of campus.

The college is pretty quiet—no hotbed of unrest here. Well, except when the administration tried to change the name (and ultimately succeeded) from Mary Washington College. And also when the president was fired this April, after less than a year in the position, for being arrested for drunk driving two days.

Mary Washington has one of the most picturesque college campuses I’ve ever seen, and having done college tours with two kids, I’ve seen plenty. Some colleges look like a mish-mash of architectural styles (Wesleyan University, anyone?), but at M-Dub, most of the architecture is pretty classical (lots of red brick and columns). And it’s a great little college, too, so if you have a high schooler looking for a small school with a good academic reputation at a bargain price (well, as colleges go) in a nice town, with a pretty campus and a terrific faculty (including the current winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry), check out Mary Wash.

DuPont Hall, the home of Klein Theatre:

Monroe Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus, and home to many of the social science departments:

The Campus Center:

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