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Annual College Theme

Banners_ROOTS_pwEach year, a theme is chosen to unite the Mary Baldwin community around a central idea that fosters civic and global engagement. The theme gives definition to the academic year and a way to link together the work of students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and programs.

Past years’ themes have included Courage, Place, Power, Heart, Maps, Voices, and Wisdom. The theme for 2014–2015 is Roots.

Each year, students in all undergraduate and graduate programs are invited to write an essay or produce a creative piece (e.g. original musical composition, drawing, sculpture, video, poem, performance) that addresses the theme and its relation to civic engagement in a global context. Essays and creative works range from academic inquiry to personal reflections to advocacy positions.  One essay and one creative piece selected by the Spencer Center staff and fellows are presented a college-wide forum. For additional information, including submission guidelines and deadlines, contact the Spencer Center at 540-887-7181 or

2013-14 Essays