Prince B. Woodard (1974-1982)
Prince B. Woodard served as president of Mary Washington from 1974 to 1982. During his eight-year tenure, Mary Washington instituted significant changes in the campus life and curriculum. A coeducational institution since 1970, the institution established its first coeducational residence hall in 1975, and created men’s intercollegiate teams in tennis, golf, soccer, basketball, and other sports. The number of male students rose from 102 in 1974, when Dr. Woodard arrived, to more than 700 in 1982, and the total enrollment climbed from 2,000 to slightly more than 2,900 full- and part-time students. As the demand for degrees increased, so did the programs offered with the development of undergraduate programs in environmental earth science, historic preservation, performing arts, computer and information science, business and public administration, as well as graduate programs in liberal studies, business administration, and public administration.
One of the highlights of Dr. Woodard’s administration was the opening of the Center for Historic Preservation in 1980. The Center, which serves as a resource for students, historians, and the public, was designed to build upon the institution’s offerings in historic preservation and the rich history surrounding the Fredericksburg community. Through the Center’s workshops, conferences, speaker’s bureau, and other services, Dr. Woodard intended to establish Mary Washington’s prominence in this area on a national level.
A strong leader, Dr. Woodard affirmed the pursuit of excellence as the core of his value system for the school, and stated his goals as emphasizing quality instruction, limited growth to an enrollment that could be accommodated in existing facilities, exposing students to the world of reality, and seeking new ways to be of service to the community. He worked throughout his administration to improve faculty salaries at Mary Washington in relation to other state-supported schools, and he oversaw the development of the Mary Washington College Foundation, Inc., now known as the University of Mary Washington Foundation, which serves as a mechanism for accepting private donations.
A former chief executive officer for the director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Dr. Woodard had been responsible for developing long-range higher education plans, program reviews, and budget recommendations. Before serving as Mary Washington’s president, he was chancellor of the West Virginia Board of Regents. He also served as chief executive officer of the board and the state system, with 14 institutional presidents reporting through him to the Board of Regents. During his early career, Dr. Woodard served as first lieutenant in the U.S. Army for three years, worked as a statistical analyst for the War Department in Tokyo, Japan, taught high school, and became a college instructor at the University of Alabama. In addition, he served as the director of research and instruction for the Danville, Va., Public Schools and as a graduate professor of educational administration at Temple University.
Born in Courtland, Va., on October 11, 1921, Dr. Woodard received his bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Military Institute in 1943. He held master’s and doctoral degrees in educational administration from the University of Virginia, and in 1973 he was honored with a doctorate of laws from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He held memberships and positions of leadership in several professional and civic organizations, including president of the Fredericksburg area’s Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the board of Dominion National Bank. At the time of his death on December 21, 1982, Dr. Woodard was nearing the end of a three-month leave of absence from Mary Washington, granted by the Board of Visitors so that he could undergo open-heart surgery.