Alumna’s Estate Endows Eight Professorships

Shirley Van Epps Waple ’52

The University of Mary Washington recently received one of its largest-ever gifts in support of academics. The $2.5-million bequest came from longtime University supporter Shirley Van Epps Waple ’52, who passed away on Sept. 4, 2010.

Her gift established eight professorships that will recognize excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. The terms specified one professorship in business, one in economics, and six in areas left to the discretion of the UMW president.

In November, President Richard V. Hurley announced a Waple Professorship for the College of Education and five in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Waple Professorships will enable UMW to attract, retain, and acknowledge outstanding faculty experts, Hurley said.

A psychology major and member of the UMW Heritage Society, Waple had endowed a scholarship for students with financial need and made a gift to name an office in the Jepson Alumni Executive Center.

“She was always very proud that she graduated from Mary Washington,” stepson Robert Corder told The Bullet student newspaper. “It was important to her to give back to her alma mater.”

A New York native, Waple started the debt-collection agency Professional Adjustment Bureau Inc. of Troy with her late husband, Harry. She served as its president. Waple was active with credit and collectors associations and was a consummate community volunteer, lending her efforts to organizations in support of history, literacy, and the arts.

Waple died at age 78 in her home in Richmond, where she had lived since 1999.