RADFORD – March is Women’s History Month, and Mayor David Horton is continuing his weekly Facebook post featuring an aspect of Radford-oriented women’s history;
Horton’s fourth installment, posted Thursday, features “a true legend” in the community.
We are celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth with a look at #radfordwomenshistory in March.
I would be remiss if I did not include a true legend in our community both on and off campus: M’Ledge Moffett.
Dr. Mary “M’Ledge” Ledger Moffett was known to many as the mother of Radford College. From the opening session in 1913 until her retirement half a century later, she was an influential part of every decision and step the school took with regard to students.
She was a graduate of what is today James Madison University, then known as the State Normal School in Harrisonburg, with a degree in the new major, Household Arts.
In the summer of 1913, she came to the brand new State Normal and Industrial School for Women at East Radford VA to prepare for the first class of students. She was the director of the Household Arts (Home Management/Economics) program at the soon to open school, but she took a much larger role.
She led faculty to develop the extra curricular experience for the new students including the establishment of the Ingles and Pocahontas Literary Societies which served as the focus of most social activity for decades. She helped found the first Student Government Association and also helped establish the first yearbook published in 1914 – the Radnor.
In addition to her degree from Harrisonburg, she also achieved a Bachelor’s degree at Teachers College, in New York City. In 1921 she received her M.A. and in 1929 received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Dr. Moffett was Radford’s first Dean of Women (now Dean of Students) and was the first woman in the Commonwealth to hold that role at a state school.
She came from a strong Scottish lineage, tracing her heritage back to Mary Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce, etc. That along with the heritage of the McConnell family began the Radford University association with Scottish tradition resulting many decades later with the Highlanders nickname and the tartan color scheme.
Dr. Moffett lived in both east and west Radford over the course of her life and was fiercely defensive of her students and her city. She had the HIGHEST expectation for the young women of the school to represent well in downtown Radford. She was active across the community and helped with many beautification and improvement projects.
She left Radford with it’s first endowment, providing scholarships for future students.
Moffett Hall on the Radford University Campus is named in her honor and her memory is held close by the scores of students who knew her and the community that she came to call home.