Scholarship Comes Full Circle

Holding a PhD from Yale University, Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Religion Marjorie Chambers came to Mary Baldwin in 1962 already an accomplished academic. When the 89-year-old lifelong scholar passed away in January 2012, she designated a large portion of her estate to support bright Mary Baldwin College students across the disciplines.

The Lorna Beers Chambers scholarship — named in memory of Marjorie Chambers’ mother-in-law — will aid multiple students from enrollment to graduation, according to Dan Layman, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement. A $750,000 contribution from the former professor and dean will establish an endowed scholarship from which awards will be made based on academic merit, Layman said.

Chambers’ involvement at Mary Baldwin went well beyond the classroom to include service on the Advisory Board of Visitors, college admissions committees, and administrative search teams.

When Chambers retired from Mary Baldwin in 1984, she pursued another of her passions: painting. Traveling with the Beverley Street Studio School in Staunton, she visited Maine and New Mexico, and ventured abroad to France and Italy. With several hundred paintings to her name, Chambers exhibited locally, including solo shows at Mary Baldwin College, the Augusta County Library, and the Co-Art Gallery in Staunton.

Although the beneficiaries of Chambers’ memorial scholarship will not have the delight of meeting her in person, they will no doubt experience her vibrant legacy, as articulated by one of her former students, Martha Gates-Mawson ’78: “She was brilliant, humorous, sharing, talented, and, as far as I am concerned, the embodiment of a woman educated and educating in the liberal arts.”