Travel Log: Mary Baldwin College

Posted on: 21 July 2011

Last Thursday, we headed to the Shenandoah Valley for some college visits. First stop, Mary Baldwin College, a women’s college in Staunton, Virginia. Downtown Staunton has had a complete makeover, and is a must see! There are shops, restaurants, coffee shops and a resident Shakespeare theater company complete with a reconstruction of the Globe Theater.

Virginia Women’s Institute For Leadership

When you visit MBC, you’ll see pictures of the students everywhere. I kept seeing shots of women in dress military uniforms, and finally asked our tour guide who they were. It turns out MBC has its own corps of women cadets (VWIL). This is a really neat option for girls who are interested in a military component of their education, but don’t want to go to a strictly military school.

VWIL was founded in 1995 at Mary Baldwin, and is the only all-female cadet corps in the country. The program incorporates many disciplines, including physical and military training, leadership studies and academic requirements. Cadets wear their uniforms to class several days a week, and have extra graduation requirements like calculus and statistics. VWIL members  are participants in ROTC. According to the literature I picked up, about 40% of cadets commission into the military, while about 60% go on to grad school or other careers.


Our tour guide was really involved in the SGA. She talked with us about how she’d been involved in everything from curriculum development to discussions of school policy. There are opportunities for SGA involvement in a variety of areas–student senate, judicial board, executive committee and several others. I think that the importance of the student-run SGA in MBC policy says a great deal about the college community. It really seems like student input counts!

“I took my exams leaning against the wall surrounded by snacks!”

This quote came from our tour guide when she was describing the exam policy. The way I understand the policy, is that there is a week set aside for exams, and you can sign up to take your exam at a time and place that is best for you. So, if you are not a morning person you don’t have to take your exam at 8am, and if you function best at exam time leaning against a wall surrounded by snacks, then that’s okay too.

For more information on Mary Baldwin, visit

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