Apparently, I took another long hiatus from writing, but I really haven't had anything too passionate to write about until now. My fellow Mary Baldwin Alum and I received news yesterday that the board of directors has decided to change the name of the school from Mary Baldwin College to Mary Baldwin University. This was inevitable. There are definitely mixed feelings, both unspoken and being screamed across the net.
About a week ago we received a heads-up of the vote and request to participate in a poll. I voted Yes. I'm, personally, all for the change. As with any business (and bottom-line, it IS a business), you HAVE to grow or close. Fact is, the school has already grown considerably, even in the SHORT 10 years since I was there. Not just offering a liberal arts residential program for about 750-1000 girls, but an ever-growing Adult Degree Program, College of Education, Shakespearean and Performing Arts, and recently, the Murphy Deming College for Health Sciences. Hey, gals, believe it or not, it's already a University!
And, because I like to use them, here are some definitions:
College: an institution of higher learning, especially one providing a general or liberal arts education rather than technical or professional training.
University: an institution of learning of the highest level, having a college of liberal arts and a program of graduate studies together with several professional schools, such as theology, law, medicine, or engineering, and authorized to confer both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
As I prepared to write this post, I did a little research. The school has changed names twice already. Did it ruin the place? Did the changes devastate the Alum of that time? Did the school survive anyway? I dare say, YES!
Augusta Female Seminary (Founded 1842)
Mary Baldwin Seminary (1895) - in honor of dearly loved principal
Mary Baldwin College (1923) when it became a four year institution
Mary Baldwin University (2016) in recognition of growth already completed and in progress.
What would you say to a Seminary grad in favor of College? She might have argued as fervently against the change as you are fighting now, right? But look at all the good it did and the institution it has become under "College". You might even think "She" seems a little silly to fight against the College name, right? think about it...................20 years from now, what will our daughters say to us as they lug their boxes up the stairs of Spencer (because that elevator NEVER really worked)? Will they be heartbroken that they aren't going to a "College"? Heck no! Will they be proud to step onto the path of generations of strong beautiful world-changing women? Umm, DUH!
So, my fellow alum and current students, fear not! A name change is not going to change your memories, nor is it going to ruin anything for our daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. They wouldn't have the same experience we had even if we kept everything the same as it was then. Heck, my sister and her friends, 5 years later, didn't have the same experience I did. Everything changes, so take a deep breath, step back, realize that unless we are willing to give up half our yearly incomes to support the current programs, then the school, in the hands of people who love it dearly, has to grow and change to fit the times and stay relevant. Love what was and embrace what is to come!
Work HARD and PLAY HARD!!