Goolrick Hall was named for Virginia State Delegate C. O’Conor Goolrick. Known as the “Father of Mary Washington College,” C. O’Connor Goolrick’s efforts in the Virginia House of Delegates were integral to the founding of the school. As a freshman delegate in 1908, Goolrick fought for the school’s establishment in Fredericksburg.[1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 2-3.] A native of Fredericksburg, Goolrick was particularly dedicated to seeing a state school established in the area.[2. “Beginning of a Legacy,” A Walk through Time: Celebrating 100, http://museum.umwhisp.org/index.php?id=179.]The first president of the University, Edward Russell, and the mayor of Fredericksburg were the first to break ground for the school, but the ceremony highlighted Goolrick’s invaluable contributions to the school, being called the “hero of the hour.”[3. Crawley, 5.] Goolrick maintained a significant presence at the school, playing a part in deciding to name the school Mary Washington College in 1930.[4. Crawley, 39.] He returned to law for a time and was President of the Virginia Bar Association from 1934-1935.[5. “History and Heritage,” The Viriginia Bar Association, http://www.vba.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=4.] Mr. Goolrick lived to see his name given to the newest building on the Mary Washington campus he spent his life supporting, but died shortly thereafter in 1960.
Goolrick Hall was founded in 1969.[6. “C. O’Conor Goolrick Hall,” A Walk through Time: Celebrating 100, http://museum.umwhisp.org/index.php?id=215.] The tenure of school president Grellet Simpson saw many construction projects, but few more needed than a site for physical education. In 1960, the school issued a proposal for a new facility named for Virginia State Delegate Goolrick, who died just two months after the naming.[7. Crawley Jr, 83.] However, funding debates delayed opening until 1969. Minus a controversial rifle range, the gymnasium opened with a main and auxiallary gym, a seventy-foot swimming pool, dance studios, handball and racquetball courts, exercise room, sundeck, multiple offices and classrooms. Officially, the hall was not dedicated until 1983, meant to coincide with the 75th anniversary celebration.[8. “C. O’Conor Goolrick Hall,” A Walk through Time: Celebrating 100, http://museum.umwhisp.org/index.php?id=215.] During the 1980s and continuing to the present, the school reflected a nationwide interest in health and fitness. To meet growing demands for more modern exercise equipment, Goolrick expanded the fitness center in 2004.[9. Crawley, 735.] Aside from renovations to implement air conditioning in 2000, Goolrick Hall has been the uninterrupted center for fitness on campus.[10. Crawley, 84, 545.]