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The Politics Behind the Creation of Radford University
RU History Professor Presents Insight into the Genesis of
The State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford

RADFORD – Radford University history professor Mary Ferrari presented “1910: The Politics Behind the Creation of Radford University," in the Hurlburt Student Center before more than 60 people as part of RU’s Centennial Charter Day Celebration on Wednesday.

Focused on the “trends in education and politics in Virginia that culminated in a charter for Radford University in 1910,” Ferrari discussed the movement for education reform in Virginia during the first decade of the 1900s.

Mary FerrariFerrari highlighted the efforts of Lila Meade Valentine and Mary Cooke Branch Munford, two wealthy Richmond socialites, who spearheaded the formation of the Richmond Education Association in 1905 that led a statewide grass-roots movement to promote education. Valentine and Munford were tireless advocates for education reform and were instrumental in creating the burgeoning demand for schools that led to Radford joining Longwood, Harrisonburg, and Fredericksburg as the site of Virginia’s fourth normal school, according to Ferrari.

“A lot of high schools were formed during this decade and they needed teachers,” Ferrari said. “The creation of normal schools, such as Radford, helped train and supply those teachers.”

Ferrari also highlighted the successful efforts of the local citizenry and then-delegate Charles Johnston to promote Radford as the home for the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford. The school became Radford University in 1979.

March 25, 2010
Contact: Don Bowman (; 540-831-7523)

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