University of Mary Washington – Fredericksburg, Virginia
As I drove up, I was immediately attracted to the beautiful brick buildings and the huge pedestrian bridge with the university name that connected the campus to a brand-new mall/apartment complex nearby. I even stayed at the brand-new adjacent Hyatt Place. It was an amazing juxtaposition of the school, located in Fredericksburg with its 40 blocks of historic buildings and quaint downtown.
Once the sister school for the University of Virginia, the university is named for Mary Washington, the mother of George, the “Father of our Country.” Now home to 4,505 co-ed undergrads, it is located 50 miles midway between D.C. and Richmond and on the Amtrak train line making it easily accessible by public transportation, a real plus. The most popular majors are education, business, the sciences, psychology, and of course history. Historic Preservation and Museum Studies are some of the unusual things you can study here.
I was also impressed by their completely student-run Center for Honor, Leadership and Service that drives and implements the school’s serious Honor Code and its complementary programs. The Center for Teaching and Learning Technologies provides a unique opportunity for students to design and create their own professional websites that they take with them beyond UMW, where their stories, artwork or anything they have created can be displayed! Real world ready.
I liked the students here. They were friendly, thoughtful and had an eye to the future….and to a person, felt as if they had come out of their shells at the University of Mary Washington.