Bushnell Hall

Exterior of Bushnell Hall


Bushnell Hall is named for Nina Bushnell, one of the most dominant personalities in the school’s history, who was the Dean of Women from 1921 to 1950.[1. William B. Crawley, Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History,1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 82.] Bushnell graduated from the University of Tennessee where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art in 1903.[2. Crawley, 21.] Afterwards, was a principal in the South Carolina Public School System and served under the Young Women’s Christian Association in France during World War II.[3.  Edward Alvey, Jr., History of Mary Washington College 1908-1972 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974), 49.] Bushnell was Dean of Women at Mary Washington College and a professor of the Bible.[4. Ibid, 103.] Her duties as Dean of Women included making room assignments, creating the College’s handbook for women, and she was responsible for the permission slips  parents gave their daughters.[5. Ibid.] She was essentially the soul of the college because she controlled all entertainment and social activities. Due to the lack of telephones or switchboards at the college, she even had all long distance telephone calls go through her phone in Virginia Hall.[6. Crawley, 21.] The mother-like administrator believed in structure  noted by supper being promptly served at 6 o’clock every night.[7. Alvey. 105.] Despite her strict nature, most of Bushnell’s students loved and respected her mothering presence.[8. Ibid.]  Although she was the Dean of Women, many of her students thought of her as the mother of the College. At the creation of Bushnell Hall, Ms. Bushnell was opposed  to having the residence hall named in her honor.[9. Ibid, 109] On the subject, she said “If I could have but a place in the hearts of the girls who knew me and shared in work and service and in rich comradeship then I shall be content.”[10. Ibid.] In 1950, Ms. Bushnell retired at the age of seventy.[11. Crawley, 65.]

Nina Bushnell

Building History

Bushnell Hall finished construction in 1959.[12. Crawley, 82.] When it was first built, it housed 144 sstudents.[13. Ibid.] Bushnell Hall was the first residence hall to be named after a living person.[14. Ibid.] Also, it was the first residence hall that housed all llfour classes.[15. Ibid.] In December of 1980, there was a fire in Bushnell Hall which led to more vigilant fire safety policies on campus. However, most of the damage to the hall was on the fourth floor of the hall and Bushnell reopened for students in January of 1981.[16. Crawley, 276-277.] Currently, it  is a co-ed residence hall that houses 151 students.[17. “Bushnell Hall.” University of Mary Washington Residence Life. http://students.umw.edu/residencelife/housing-and-operations/first-year-residence-halls/bushnell-hall/ (accessed April 30, 3012.]

Bushnell Hall, March 2012

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