Marymount University, the first Catholic college to be established in Virginia, was founded in 1950. Through the years, it has grown from a two-year college for women into a comprehensive, coeducational Catholic university serving approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. While much has changed since the early years as a result of greatly expanded programs and services, the University’s core values and mission have held steady.
The name “Marymount” has long been associated with excellence in education. The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, founders of Marymount University, provide Marymount with a heritage, spirit, and tradition that date back all the way to the founding of the RSHM Order in Bezier, France, in 1849 by Father Pierre Jean Antoine Gailhac and the first RSHM member, Mother St. Jean. The learning institutions they began would evolve into a worldwide network of schools and colleges, including Marymount University. The roots of Marymount’s founding Congregation reflect a commitment to education and to serving those in need – a commitment that is still vital at Marymount today.
Marymount was founded by Mother Gerard Phelan, RSHM, as a two-year women’s college at the suggestion of Bishop Peter L. Ireton of Richmond. It opened with 13 students, and Sister Elizabeth Gallagher, RSHM, served as the first president. The original property - which included a mansion (now Marymount’s Main House), stone guest house (the Lodge), and two cottages – was formerly the residence of Rear Admiral Presley M. Rixey, White House physician to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
Sister Berchmans Walsh, RSHM, became Marymount’s second president.
The institution was incorporated as Marymount College of Virginia, an independent college governed by an autonomous board of directors. Sister M. Majella Berg, RSHM, became president and would serve for 33 years.
Men were first admitted to the Nursing program.
Marymount became a senior college offering the bachelor’s degree in more than 20 fields.
Graduate programs leading to the master’s degree were added; many of these programs were coeducational.
The institution responded to its changing student profile by becoming coeducational at all levels and changing its name to Marymount University.
Marymount’s Ballston Center was established.
Sister Eymard Gallagher, RSHM, became Marymount’s fourth president and served until 2001.
Dr. James E. Bundschuh became Marymount’s fifth president and first lay leader, serving until 2011. He was then named President Emeritus.
Marymount offered its first doctoral degree, the clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy. A second doctoral program, the clinical Doctor of Nursing Practice, was added in 2009.
Marymount opened its Reston Center, which serves adult students primarily through evening and Saturday courses.
Marymount’s new residence hall, Rose Benté Lee Ostapenko Hall, opens in the fall, providing apartment-style living.
The new academic building for the sciences and health sciences, Caruthers Hall, opened in January.
Dr. Matthew D. Shank became Marymount's sixth president on July 1.