Over the course of our university’s existence, many individuals from a diverse array of backgrounds, have helped the institution become what it is today. Like the voussoirs (pronounced voo-zwahz) elements in an arch, while despite being essential to its structural integrity often go unrecognized in favor of more visible keystones, too many of these individuals have received too little attention. This webpage is dedicated to examining some of these individuals and their past contributions in an effort to continue to make the University of Mary Washington and more inclusive and welcoming institution.


William Wallace Alsop

William Wallace Alsop began working for the Fredericksburg Teachers College, later the University of Mary Washington, in 1922 as a chauffeur and general utility man. Thirty-five years later, he would retire, honored by the institution with a meritorious service award. His likeness was preserved in George Washington Hall in the murals painted by Professor Emil Schnellock during the early 1940s. Click on the link above to discover more about Wallace’s story.

Image from the 1924 Battlefield Yearbook showing the chauffeur for the “State Normal School”, likely William Wallace Alsop.


Ida Thornton

Between 1922 and 1953, the payroll of Fredericksburg Teachers College and later Mary Washington College (MWC) listed Ida Thornton as a janitor. A “quiet and polite” person, as a student journalist described her in 1946, Ida lived in Fredericksburg for most of her life. Her husband and three children died rather young but faith and dedication to work kept Ida grounded. She lived to see her only granddaughter earning a teaching degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond and not from MWC, which formally desegregated only in 1964. Click on the link above to learn more about Ida’s life.

Ida Thornton, ca. 1946