Born in Bowling Green, Virginia, Algernon B. Chandler, Jr. attended the University of Virginia before becoming a teacher. Starting in private schools, Chandler went on to become the superintendent of the Richmond Public Schools, a professor, Virginia State School Examiner, and president of the Virginia Teacher’s Association. He was the second President of the Fredericksburg State Normal and Industrial School for Women, as the University was then known, serving from 1919 to 1928. Originally, he was a professor of Latin and then dean, thanks to his contributions towards the growth of the school. The school was renamed the Fredericksburg State Teachers College in 1924 and marked an overall effort towards streamlining and growth. Academic departments were condensed, admission standards increased to make the school more competitive, and the student body rose from roughly 110 women to 500. [1. “Algernon B. Chandler, Jr.,” Presidential Inauguration of Richard V. Hurley, http://inauguration.umw.edu/presidents/algernon-b-chandler-jr-1919-1928/.] Dedicated to increasing the prestige of the school, President Chandler oversaw the building of the new teachers’ training center that was completed in 1928.
Unfortunately, Chandler died mere days before the grand opening of the new building and it was posthumously named after him.[2. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 25.] The school’s appreciation for Chandler is best shown in the touching way his death was observed. The Free Lance-Star reported: “Students, all dressed in white, lined the way from the president’s home to the auditorium, and as the procession passed, ‘swiftly the hand of every student was placed on her heart in a final salute.’”[3. W. N. Hamlet, Free Lance-Star, July 2, 1931, quoted in William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 28.]
Chandler Hall was founded in 1928 and named for Algernon B. Chandler, Jr.[4. Edward Alvey Jr., History of Mary Washington College: 1908-1972 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974), 223-224.] The building’s first purpose was as the Training School, to provide training classrooms for the school’s education program. It provided classrooms for kindergarten through the 12th grade. During its time as a training center for teachers, Chandler Hall was unofficially called College Heights High School and reportedly 400 students per year were educated there.[5. Ibid., 138-39.] Most recently the building housed the College of Business and the Psychology Department.
After the 2012-2013 Academic Year, Chandler Hall was demolished to make space for a new student center.