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The Blue & Gray Press | August 22, 2019

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Professorship Grant Totals $2.5 Million

Professorship Grant Totals $2.5 Million


The University of Mary Washington received a $2.5 million donation, one of its largest ever, to fund eight professorship grants.

Shirley Van Epps Waple, an alumna of the UMW class of 1952, left the money to UMW as part of her will. Van Epps Waple passed away in September 2010. The professorship grants will go to the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Education.

“The bequest directs one [grant] to business, and one to economics. There will be six others, with the College of Education getting one and the College of Arts and Sciences getting the remaining five,” said Interim Provost Ian Newbould.

The endowment will also fund an annual Shirley Van Epps Waple Award for faculty research and an annual Shirley Van Epps Waple Award for Graduate Teaching.

“I was delighted that Ms. Waple recognized the importance of the role and impact of faculty and that she wanted to support them,” said President Rick Hurley. “Her gift will increase the funding we have for professional development for our faculty, which typically results in better experiences for our students.”

The bequest given by Ven Epps Waple supports and recognizes the faculty at UMW.

“This bequest is a magnificent gesture on the part of Ms. Waple,” said Newbould. “It is one of the largest gifts ever made to Mary Washington, and is recognition of the strength of our faculty.”

All faculty members will have the opportunity to apply, and selection for funding will be based on a research proposal. Each professorship will be for two years. Recipients will receive $15,000 a year for two years.

Donna Raab, senior director of advancement communications for the Office of Alumni Relations, said, “All Mary Washington alumni can be proud to honor one of their own.”

A native of Troy, N.Y., Ven Epps Waple passed away in her home in Richmond, Va. She and her husband, Harry, co-founded and operated the Professional Adjustment Bureau, Inc. of Troy, Shirley Van Epps Waple served as its president. Since 1999, she was a member of the UMW Heritage Society.

“She was always very proud that she graduated from Mary Washington,” said Robert Corder, Waples’ stepson. “Back then, Mary Washington was affiliated with the University of Virginia. Since many of her relatives had graduated from UVA, she felt it gave her a special connection. It was important to her to give back to her alma mater.”