SATURDAY 3/7/15: MBC Main Campus will be OPEN (closed 3/6/15)

SATURDAY 3/7/15: MBC Main Campus will be OPEN (closed 3/6/15) : Originally Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015

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Mary Baldwin to accept SBC students for 2015

President Pamela Fox’s statement:

The Mary Baldwin College community is saddened at the imminent closure of Sweet Briar College, a venerable and historic college that, like us, is committed to the education and advancement of women. We extend our sympathy to the Sweet Briar faculty, staff, students, and alumnae in this very difficult time of transition, and will assist in any way we can.

One way we will assist is through a “teach-out” for current Sweet Briar students who seek to complete their undergraduate degrees in a women’s college environment where experiential learning, original research, and leadership development are key elements of a liberal education.

Mary Baldwin today is a thriving small university serving 1,750 students through a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. We are confident in our future.

As articulated through our strategic plan, Mary Baldwin 2020, we remain committed to providing the opportunities for women’s leadership and academic development. We believe with great conviction in the power of single-sex education for women, and that the depth and breadth of a liberal education is the best preparation for a life of purpose.

We are also convinced that our best path forward is the one we have already established in meeting the needs of new student populations. As far back as 1977, when we launched the first college degree program in Virginia designed specifically for adults, Mary Baldwin’s path as an institution has been one of creating financial sustainability through diversification of offerings. Mary Baldwin has since its founding in 1842 had the courage to innovate and serve new generations while steadfastly maintaining our commitment to our mission.

Teach-out for Sweet Briar students

In the coming weeks, Mary Baldwin representatives will be on Sweet Briar’s campus to help expedite the admission process for students interested in transferring to MBC. In establishing the teach-out arrangement, Mary Baldwin and Sweet Briar are acting in accordance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ guidelines as well as relevant state and federal regulations.

Prospective and current Sweet Briar students interested in attending Mary Baldwin may call 540-887-7019 or 800- 468-2262 for more information about enrollment.

Mary Baldwin College, founded in 1842, is a distinctive small university offering a variety of coeducational programs at 11 Virginia locations and, at the same time, one of the nation’s oldest women’s colleges. At the undergraduate level, the Residential College for Women serves about 750 students on the college’s historic main campus in downtown Staunton, Virginia, and the Adult Degree program serves both men and women on campus and at regional centers throughout Virginia. MBC also offers co-educational graduate programs in education, Shakespeare and Performance, and health sciences.


Mary Baldwin College is one of 15 institutions of higher learning Virginia tapped to participate in the planning for the use of solar energy on their campuses.


sunshot logoThe SunShot Initiative — made possible by an $807,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) — calls for engagement of local government and utilities and participation from students and the local community organizations, even offering credit to students who help other non-profits in designing and installing solar energy systems.


At this stage, funding will go toward the planning process, according to MBC Director of Facilities Management Brent Douglass. The implementation of the plan will happen in a subsequent phase, contingent on funding. The goal is to deploy a minimum of 30 megawatts of solar energy on the 15 campuses within five years.


MBC will also help improve procedural, administrative, financial, and legal processes in local communities; achieve price reductions by leveraging, public-private financing, innovative legal frameworks, and group purchasing power among the participating colleges; and help develop a learning network accessible to those organizations who seek to deploy solar energy in the future.


“CICV member colleges are interested in sustainability and reducing their carbon footprints,” said CICV President Robert Lambeth, who serves as principal investigator for the program. “Our recent success with a collaboration that now provides five of our colleges with electricity generated from landfill gas provided the impetus for expanding our efforts to solar power.

“The SunShot Initiative presents an opportunity to work as a team to effectively make progress in an area that is challenging when working individually, particularly for our smaller schools that may be limited in the resources they can commit to installing solar.”


Use of solar energy has been on the rise in the United States, including among major corporations, which see the alternative energy source as a money saver. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the top 25 corporate solar users in America have installed more than 569 MW of capacity at 1,100 different facilities across the country as of August 2014. It is also an economic driver as well, according to the SEIA, reporting that there are nearly 174,000 American solar workers, a more than 20 percent increase over employment totals in 2014.


Other institutions involved in the collaborative initiative include Appalachian School of Law, Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Hampton University, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Virginia Union University and Washington & Lee University.

In recognition of Black History Month, the Black Student Alliance at Mary Baldwin College is shining a light on an often minimized or ignored group: missing black and missing

One of the student organizers, Kiera Kimp, a senior social work major from Baltimore, said the second-annual Black and Missing event at 7 p.m. on February 18 is designed to highlight the disparity between abducted children of different races and the amount of mass media coverage the disappearances receive.

“More than 800 African-American children vanish every day,” Kimp said. “These missing children receive 80 percent less mass media attention than their Caucasian counterparts.”

Organizers hope that students and other attendees will find a missing child from the Black and Missing Foundation website, print information about that child, and carry a picture of the child throughout the day and to the 7 p.m. vigil. Taking one step further, they are asking their classmates to prepare a 30-second pitch, explaining the idea behind the campaign and providing specific information about the missing child they’ve researched. The pitch, Kimp said, can be taken into the classroom and out into the community.

“We encourage [students] to walk around downtown and visit local shops in groups to help make an impact in the community,” she said.

Supporters are encouraged to wear black T-shirts and have their faces painted white at the Spencer Center on campus between 8 and 11 a.m. next Wednesday before the evening event.

“We hope that our community event will ignite the hearts of community members to advocate and find our children,” Kimp said. “We paint our faces to make a statement — letting the community know that we have not forgotten about our missing children. On our faces we have the child’s name, and year that they were announced as ‘missing.’ We strongly encourage all clubs, majors, and community members to participate in our service project.”

Other Black History Month events include a master class and concert on February 17 with Afro-Blue, Howard University’s premier student vocal jazz ensemble, and perennial favorites such as the Ladies of Elegance Step Show and the Praise House Service at Allen Chapel AME Church, in which congregants are encouraged to wear slave-era attire [which is made possible in large part thanks to the college theatre department].

According to the Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott, associate vice president for inclusive excellence and for student affairs, the annual service — to be held at 11 a.m. February 22 — helps students to explore the roots of African-American worship.

“It is impossible to study the black church without being totally immersed in it because there is a difference in seeing church and being church,” Cornett-Scott said. “The dress allows students to go back in time and reenact the plantation church which [civil rights activist W.E.B.] Du Bois calls the greatest repository of African culture. Teaching is more than chalkboards and desks. It is living the subject.”

Religion plays a key role in the planning of Black History Month events, according to Cornett-Scott. The theme, “Roots: My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” is inspired by title of an African-American spiritual.

“At the very core of African-American culture is the rooted idea of faith,” she said. “[The theme] exemplifies the abiding faith within the culture that says that not only are African-American people made in the image of God, but that there is a certain reliance on God.”

Black History events began in January with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. service, Kwanzaa celebration, and guest speaker Douglas A. Blackmon and will continue through March and April with several more events. For more information, please see the Black History Month poster online.




As the Virginia General Assembly is in full swing, members of the Mary Baldwin College community traveled to Richmond recently to lobby on behalf of students and issues important to them.

Director of Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences physical therapy program Lisa Shoaf (front row, center) attended the Annual Virginia Physical Therapy Association Lobby Day at the Virginia General Assembly on January 21 accompanied by six students in MBC’s charter class. The group was lobbying on behalf of a bill that would improve patient access to physical therapy services.

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Several MBC students traveled to Richmond with Vice President for Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs Crista Cabe (far right) and Virginia Women’s Institutional Leadership (VWIL) Commandant Terry Djuric (far left) to thank state legislators (including Del. Richard P. Bell, center) for their support of the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant and to promote continued funding for VWIL. TAG grants provide all in-state students with $3,100 toward tuition for the 2014–15 academic year.

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djuric at ga


Mary Baldwin College senior Shekira Ramdass won the prize for best undergraduate student paper at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), Southeast Chapter’s annual conference January 16–18 at the University of Virginia.

Director of Student Activities Erin Paschal presents Shekira Ramdass with the

Director of Student Activities Erin Paschal presents Shekira Ramdass with the 2014 Global Citizenship Award. Ramdass earned top honors for her a paper she presented  this month at an Asian studies conference.

Ramdass presented her paper — her 2014 senior thesis in Asian studies, “The Socio-Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS on Indian Women” — at the three-day conference in Charlottesville. She received a certificate and $100. The southeast region of the AAS consists of institutions from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

It is the fourth time a Mary Baldwin College student in Asian Studies has won the top undergraduate prize at the regional conference.

Ramdass, a double major in Asian studies and international relations from Mount Rainier, Maryland, earned MBC’s 2014 Global Citizenship Award. She spent a semester studying at Lady Doak College, MBC’s sister school in India; has twice held summer internships at the State Department in Washington DC; has served as an active teaching assistant; and taught four sessions of Professor of Asian Studies Daniel Métraux’s Asian Women class while he recruited students in Japan and Korea. Ramdass also has given talks on Indian women and AIDS at the International Café series organized by the Spencer Center.

Already a champion of connecting children and educators with nature, Mary Baldwin College Associate Professor of Education Tamra Willis has landed a $200,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help launch a new initiative with Staunton City Public Schools to help bridge food supply, student well being, and the environment.


The Seeds of Learning program is in its infancy, and Willis, who heads up MBC’s popular Environment-Based Learning (EBL) program, is just beginning to meet with local school administrators and partners in the Allegheny Mountain School and Project GROWs, but eventually, the project should provide plenty of service-learning opportunities for MBC students through work with K–12 students in city schools.

Local schools will investigate food systems and study the relationship among the health of students, local water, and the Chesapeake Bay. Students will problem-solve food supply and waste issues and grow food for their cafeterias in schoolyard gardens.

“We expect to have kids digging in the dirt and planting veggies for their own cafeterias, so it should be a fun learning experience for all,” Willis said. “A study of food systems very naturally connects to content in all subject areas. This kind of project-based approach is a fantastic way to increase student motivation for learning.”

noaa_whiteWith the three-year project, area teachers will take graduate courses in the EBL program while MBC students will participate in service-learning activities, thanks to the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement and Allegheny Mountain School connections. The timing is fortuitous as the college welcomed this semester Emily Sullivan, an Allegheny Mountain Institute senior fellow, who will work with Willis on the Seeds of Learning initiative in addition to helping raise awareness around local food and maintaining the student gardens, among other duties.

Willis procured a three-year NOAA grant for watershed study in Mary Baldwin’s Master of Arts in Teaching program in 2003 and another $360,000 NOAA grant in 2009 on behalf of the EBL program to continue learning and teaching about the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Having spent 30 years in business before transitioning to academia, Assistant Professor of Business Administration Joe Sprangel structures his courses, in large part, around the work done in the “real world.”

BUAD students in artful giftsIt was serendipitous then, that local shop owner and artisan Lisa Jacenich had recently reached out to Mary Baldwin College to benefit from the knowledge and eagerness of students to help develop strategies for boosting business at her store Artful Gifts, located in Staunton’s wharf district. The interaction resulted in real-world experience for students in Sprangel’s fall semester Sustainability and Strategy in Business Decisions class and beneficial advice for Jacenich.

“I realize what an incredible resource the students are,” Jacenich said. “And the ability for students to work with a micro-manufacturing business as well as a retail business is an incredible opportunity for them.”

Jacenich’s shop is the only mechanized fiber studio in Virginia, so the experience was one of a kind. She makes cloth felt from the raw fiber of sheep’s wool and turns that into naturally water-repellant clothing for men, women, and children.

Students conducting a strategic plan for Artful Gifts realized that Jacenich was tapping into a niche market and wanted to not only increase profits but also raise awareness for how sustainable her product is.

“We suggested that the best way for her to achieve her goals was to implement an effective marketing strategy,” said Charleen Frederick ’15, a business management major from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Students also advised Jacenich on improving signage and placement of product to encourage a better flow within the store.

“It is very rewarding to know that you can have such a significant impact on the business community,” Frederick said. “[The experience] showed that possibilities are endless with the knowledge that we have gained. It gave me the necessary tools and experience I would need to enter into the business world.”

In addition to the work on Jacenich’s business plan, some of Sprangel’s students focused on ways to increase foot traffic for the stores in the wharf district. Another group developed a plan for training nomads in Mongolia to make felt, as Jacenich has been invited by the Mongolian government to help their felters become mechanized.

“It was exciting to know that we were able to actually have an impact on a real business since this is what most of us are going to school to learn how to do,” said senior business major Amanda Slemaker, who added that the student team suggested Jacenich “reach out to a younger audience, as her product is incredibly sustainable and younger generations find these sustainable products to be somewhat of a commodity.”

The partnership has spilled over into senior projects, and Sprangel hopes students next fall may continue to work with Jacenich. Senior Blake Herendeen is working with Jacenich this semester to improve marketing and communications for Artful Gifts, including creating a social media presence.

The growth in the students from the beginning of the class to the client presentations was significant, Sprangel said. “I am sure the students thought that I had lost my mind at times as I pushed them far beyond what they thought was reasonable of them. Once again the ‘real-world’ application of the course content taught them skills that cannot be replicated in the classroom.”

Turning Glass Shakespeare, the 2014–15 Master of Fine Arts company of Mary Baldwin College’s Shakespeare and Performance graduate program, in association with the American Shakespeare Center, announces the third production in their four-show season: William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, directed by guest director Lisa Wolpe.

One of Shakespeare’s romances, The Winter’s Tale blends tragedy and comedy in a story of family, loss, and redemption. Leontes, King of Sicilia, is convinced that his pregnant wife, Hermione, is having an affair with his childhood friend, Polixenes, the King of Bohemia. In his anger, he wrongly imprisons Hermione, banishes Polixenes, and orders his servant to kill his newborn daughter. As a result, Leontes’ wife and older son both die of extreme grief. It seems all is lost until it is revealed that Leontes’ servant does not kill his daughter, Perdita. She survives and becomes, unbeknownst to her, the last hope for Leontes’ redemption.

Turning Glass Shakespeare’s production is set in the 1920s, when European nations were rebuilding after World War I, jazz music reigned, and women all across the Western world fought for the right to vote. It promises to be a powerful, funny, and thought-provoking evening of theatre.

The Winter’s Tale will play at the Blackfriars Playhouse at 8 p.m. on February 9–11. All performances are Pay What You Will.

Wolpe is the founder and artistic director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, an all-female, multi-cultural theatre company that Los Angeles Magazine has called “one of the 10 coolest things to do in Los Angeles.” She is also an accomplished actor, especially noted for her acclaimed portrayals of Shakespeare’s leading male characters.

At a time when the national conversation is focused on race relations, Mary Baldwin College is co-hosting with the larger Staunton community a series of events to foster discussion on campus and throughout the area.Slavery_by_Another_Name_(book_cover)

“Lift Every Voice: Conversations About Race” includes the screening of the 2012 PBS film Slavery By Another Name at 7 p.m. January 18 in Miller Chapel and a dialogue with Douglas Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the book that inspired the PBS documentary at 7 p.m. January 28 in Francis Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.

Blackmon is a much-sought-after lecturer on race, history, and social memory. In Spring 2010, he was invited by Attorney General Eric Holder to present to senior Department of Justice officials in Washington D.C. He also has lectured at Harvard School of Law, Yale University, Princeton, the New School, Emory University, Vanderbilt School of Law, the Clinton and Lincoln presidential libraries, and many other institutions.

Associate Professor of History Amy Tillerson, who helped organize the events, said she uses Blackmon’s book, Slavery by Another Name — a searing examination of how the enslavement of African Americans persisted deep into the 20th century and the documentary based on his research in her African-American history courses. She reached out to Blackmon to join the dialogue after a group of MBC faculty, representatives from Staunton City Council, and representatives from other local organizations met to plan a community forum in the wake of the shooting of African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Local residents attend a race forum in August at city hall in Staunton. (Courtesy of the Waynesboro News-Virginian)

The workshops were designed to discuss issues related to mass incarceration of black Americans and the disconnect between community members and law enforcement organizations. The idea evolved from a series of workshops organized by Staunton Vice-Mayor Ophie Kier and co-moderated by Tillerson. One was in response to the George Zimmerman verdict and another was held to address issues related to public school educational opportunities.

Planning the events has been a team effort. According to Tillerson, there are 14 people on the planning committee that includes a mix of MBC community members, elected officials, local activists, and members of the clergy.

“This is exactly the kind of event that we like to see — one that brings the college and community together for discussion and understanding of issues that affect us all,” said Steve Grande, director of MBC’s Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, one of the committee members.

“Our committee realizes that racism continues to plague our lives in the United States. We see and feel how deeply its tentacles reach and we are confused, at best, by recent trends to legitimize the myth of a ‘post-racial’ society,” Tillerson said. “While we want very much to live in harmony with people despite racial differences, it is difficult to move past this when those with power and privilege are able to render invisible the realities that so many marginalized, disenfranchised people, typically black and brown, see daily.”

Planners hope the upcoming events will not only present new information and provide different perspectives from which to view historical and contemporary issues but also sustain productive community conversations that include a cross-section of people in this area. They hope to host regular film/documentary viewings and discussions that will provide further opportunities for the community to communicate about issues related to racism.

Blackmon’s book was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. It was a New York Times bestseller in both hardback and soft-cover editions and was awarded a 2009 American Book Award. In addition to that work, Blackmon is a contributing editor at The Washington Post and chair and host of Forum, a public affairs program produced by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Blackmon has written extensively over the past 25 years about the American quandary of race — exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. He lives in Charlottesville and Atlanta.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Service will be held at 7 p.m. January 19 at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Staunton.MLK service archive

The annual community event for peace and justice features the Al Hamilton Community Mass Choir, the Greater Things Dance Ministry, and Mary Baldwin College’s Bella Voce Choir. Contributions are encouraged and will go toward the Bessie Weller Helping Hands Fund, which provides school supplies and meals for children.

The event is sponsored by the Staunton Chapter of the NAACP, MBC’s Office of Inclusive Excellence, the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, and the MBC Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

If there is inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for January 26.