From the State Teachers College Bulletin in 1924, it appears that the reaction to the name change was positive since it better fit "the character of work done" and students could "enjoy the prestige" of the new name (20).
Throughout The Bullet in 1938, students expressed approval for the name change. A 1938 editorial in The Bullet claimed that "no more appropriate name possibly could be selected for a woman's college than Mary Washington, whose life and character were interwoven with the destiny of her son, and, in turn, with the destiny of her country, and it would serve as an inspiration to the young women attending the institution" (20). A February 1938 edition of The Bullet, in an article supporting the name change, contended that "We believe that the change in the name will be to the advantage not only of the college at Fredericksburg but to the other three State Teachers Colleges and to the general educational interests of Virginia as a whole" (5). Additionally, in April, The Bullet asserted that "The name serves as an inspiration to young womanhood" (6).
Dr. W. J. Young, the head of the Department of Psychology and Philosophy, felt that the name change "gave recognition to already developed broadening of the courses in the college curriculum" (1).
However, in March 1938, The Bullet includes the quip, "At last it's happened, the Freshmen exclaim!! And one thinks, of course, they are referring to the name change the college boasts, but bless you, no! It's the new telephone booth in Frances Williard that they are exclaiming over," which suggests that students were not necessarily enthusiastic about or invested in the name change—or the new telephone booth was particularly exciting (3).
We were unable to find specific examples of reactions to the 1944 name change, but the February 28, 1944 edition of The Bullet celebrates the institution's merger with the University of Virginia with a series of articles about the history of the University of Virginia and the growth of Mary Washington College.
In conjunction with the timeline of severing ties with UVA, the supportive reactions to the name change were politicized to aid in controlling outward perception for the legitimization of the institution. The institution claimed that "Mary Washington can stand on its own without the University of Virginia on its stationery" (5).
The 2004 name changed faced opposition from students, past and present. Many alumni threatened to stop making donations to the institution if the name changed from Mary Washington. Mark Cole, a delegate who sponsored bills supporting the University of Mary Washington in the Virginia General Assembly, claimed he heard opposition and favorable opinions about the name change, and that President Bill Anderson and the Board of Visitors "told him that data supported the name the University of Mary Washington" (1). The student government president, Kristin Orstead, "said she was in favor of either name because it preserved 'Mary Washington'" (1).
Much of the opposition for the name change originated from the proposal to rename the institution Washington Monroe University, removing a woman's name from the title, which resulted in the Save the Name rally to preserve the name Mary Washington.
In The Bullet in February 2004, one student, senior Lexi Pappas, said, "I would rather have MWU, but it seems like most people are content just to keep Mary Washington in the name" (2).
However, some students expressed no interest in the name change.
Another student, senior Jason Lancaster, said, "Really, they could call us the University of Flying Pigs for all I care. Being from Texas there is really no name recognition for Virginia schools and everyone thinks I go to William and Mary anyway" (2).
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