By HEATHER BRADY
The University of Mary Washington will hold a Founder’s Day celebration March 14 as part of its observance of this year’s Centennial.
The day will include a convocation ceremony featuring keynote speakers Governor Tim Kaine and David McCullough, noted author and historian. Representatives from graduated classes ranging from 1936 to 2007 will walk with current students in the ceremony.
A ball, open to all employees, students, alumni and donors will be held that evening.
During the convocation ceremony, Faculty Marshal Steve Stageberg will carry a ceremonial staff that was commissioned in honor of the Centennial. It was made by registered British goldsmith Susannah Wagner.
O’Conor Goolrick Ashby will also present the University with the sterling ornamental wine vessel. It is the same cup that President Russell presented to Ashby’s ancestor, C. O’Conor Goolrick, at the school’s groundbreaking.
O’Conor Goolrick was a Virginia delegate who pushed legislation to start a college in Fredericksburg. He is considered to be the “Father of UMW.”
According to Ranny Corbin, executive director of university relations and communications and centennial celebration coordinator, the ceremonial staff will be used in formal university events.
“The mace is used at all formal academic ceremonies, like commencement, honor convocation, presidential inaugurations, the Founder’s Day Convocation Ceremony, or at any time when the faculty processes in full regalia,” Corbin said.
Corbin also commented on Ashby’s decision to return the sterling cup to the University.
“O’Conor Goolrick Ashby desires to give this cup to the University,” Corbin said. “He feels that it will be more meaningful here at the University, so he is making the very generous gesture of giving it to us.”
Corbin said that the cup will most likely go to the Simpson Collection in the archives, but that it will be brought out for special occasions.
Student response to the idea of Founder’s Day has been enthusiastic.
Junior Amy Baldwin looked forward to McCullough’s speech.
“I’m really excited about hearing David McCullough speak,” Baldwin said. “I really enjoy reading his books.”
Freshman Katy Fleming also seems to be excited about Founder’s Day, and especially about the ball.
“I’m thrilled,” Fleming said. “I can’t wait to get all dressed up, dance, and have an enjoyable evening.”
Additional information on Founder’s Day, including the availability of tickets for the ball, will be released soon.