The Rufus Bailey Society
$20,000 and up
This much-valued society is named for the founder of Augusta Female Seminary, who, with his two daughters and wife, constituted the faculty when the school opened in 1842. Mary Julia Baldwin was a student in that first class, later becoming the Seminary’s principal. The school continued growing and evolving, becoming a junior college in 1916, and in 1923, a four-year college: Mary Baldwin College.
The Mary Julia Baldwin Society
$10,000 to $19,999
This important society is named for Mary Julia Baldwin whose personal history with the school extends from its opening days as Augusta Female Seminary, when she was a student in the first class. She would later become principal of the school and in 1895 it was re-named in her honor. Miss Baldwin remained here until her death in 1897. Mary Baldwin College is the oldest continuously operating school in the South, because Miss Baldwin kept the school open and operating, even during the Civil War.
The President’s Society
$5,000 to $9,999
This esteemed society is named in honor of Mary Baldwin College’s nine visionary presidents who have steered this innovative and transformative institute of higher education into its infinite future. Those individuals are: Dr. Pamela Fox, 2003-present, Dr. Cynthia H. Tyson, 1985–2003, Dr. Virginia L. Lester, 1976–1985, Dr. William Watkins Kelly, 1969–1976, Dr. Samuel R. Spencer Jr., 1957–1968, Mr. Charles W. McKenzie, 1954–1956, Dr. Frank Bell Lewis, 1947–1953, Dr. L. Wilson Jarman, 1929–1946, and Dr. A. M. Fraser, 1923–1929.
The Hill Top Society
$2,500 to $4,999
This supporting society is named in honor of Hill Top Residence Hall, a Greek Revival building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register. Built in 1820 as a residence for Judge Lucas Thompson, Mary Julia Baldwin and Agnes McClung purchased it for the Seminary in 1872. It was used as a home for faculty and a few students. Hill Top was enlarged in 1904 and completely restored in 1991 through the generosity of Margaret Hunt Hill ’37 and Caroline Rose Hunt ’43.
The 1842 Society
Named in honor of the founding of the Augusta Female Seminary in 1842 by Rufus Bailey, a long-time educator who believed in the value of educating women. It is said that he won the admiration and financial support of the Staunton community, designed a demanding academic curriculum, secured a state charter (1845), and taught Mary Julia Baldwin, a student in the first class.
The Columns Society
$1,000 to $1,841
These donors of note share this society named to honor the architecture of Mary Baldwin College’s historic campus and its buildings, many with statuesque columns. The lower campus is on land that has belonged to Mary Baldwin College for most of its existence. The Augusta Female Seminary was built around the land and buildings of First Presbyterian Church. The oldest buildings on campus are the Administration Building, Hill Top and Memorial Residence Halls and Carpenter Academic Building – all having columns as a special feature.
The Ham and Jam Society
$500 to $999
This society is named to commemorate Mary Julia Baldwin’s dog Beauty, who was immortalized in stone in the form of two statues. The dogs on pedestals guarding the Administration Building have carried several names through the years, including Caesar and Pompey, Wellington and Blucher, and finally, Ham and Jam representing foods that were on the menu for Sunday night suppers.
The Apple Day Society
$250 to $499
Named for a beloved tradition that began in 1946 – a picnic for freshmen sponsored by the sophomores. Apples became the feature of this event when students were asked to pick them in the college’s orchards during World War II because of a labor shortage. Apple Day remains a tradition and now includes games, skits, apple fare in the dining hall and throughout the event, community service – and a break from classes for the day.