Trailblazing Mary Baldwin President Pamela R. Fox Announces Retirement

Mary Baldwin University (MBU) President Pamela Fox announced today she will retire as the university’s ninth president on June 30, 2023, after two decades of trailblazing vision and action.

“With humility, I have been extraordinarily honored to lead and serve alongside each of you,” Fox said. “We have worked together with shared commitment to maintain our momentum with devotion to the mission, legacy, and promising future of MBU.”

Fox’s retirement was formally announced during MBU’s annual State of the University address.

Her history-making presidential tenure is the longest since MBU became a four-year college in 1923 — and one of the most transformational in the university’s 181-year history:

  • Envisioned and opened the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in 2014, offering the institution’s first doctoral degrees and expanding onto a branch campus with a new, state-of-the-art facility that has spurred significant economic development.
  • Added more than 30 new career-focused degrees or programs in areas like nursing, business, health sciences, social work, and autism studies.
  • Oversaw record enrollment against a backdrop of daunting admission trends for private institutions.
  • Cultivated diversity, equity, and inclusion, including creating a social justice coalition, naming a chief diversity officer, expanding the Office of Inclusive Excellence, and increasing residential campus enrollment to more than 50% students of color.
  • Spearheaded two of the largest fundraising campaigns in MBU history.
  • Oversaw major campus improvements, including extensive renovations to Pearce Science Center and the Alumnae House, construction of SMA Worth Field to support rapidly growing athletic programs, and launching a new Center for Student Success.
  • Created the Samuel and Ava Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement in 2007 to emphasize the importance of service learning and enrich student opportunities for local and global engagement.
  • Brought to Mary Baldwin — and Staunton — the Heifetz International Music Institute, a famed summer training program for exceptional young string musicians.

“It takes a leader with the most extraordinary qualities to guide an institution through such times and remain true to its mission,” said former MBU Board of Trustees chair Jane Harding Miller ’76. “Pamela has been such a leader, and while the Mary Baldwin of today looks quite different from that of 20 years ago, she has safeguarded its mission and spirit.”

Fox’s presidency elevated the prestige and recognition of MBU and Staunton, and has included significant service, including appointments to the boards for the American Shakespeare Center, Frontier Culture Museum, and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. She is a member of Rotary International; the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce named Fox its 2012 Citizen of the Year.

Fox is also regarded for her advocacy work in higher education, including service and leadership on the board of directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, USA South Athletic Conference, and Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges.

Today MBU announced nearly $7.5 million in new gifts from the Fox Futures Initiative, a special fundraising effort to honor her legacy.

Pamela Fox has led Mary Baldwin through one of the most transformative and sustained periods of growth and evolution in our history,” said MBU Board of Trustees chair Gabrielle G. “Gabby” McCree ’83.

Founded in 1842, Mary Baldwin University is a small, private university with a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It serves a diverse student population on its Shenandoah Valley main campus, neighboring health sciences campus, and online.