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Date: September 13, 2008
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697

History Associates Assists in Renaming Villa Julie College

When it came time to rename its sixty-year-old institution, Villa Julie College (VJC) made sure to consult the historians. After the college finalized its list of potential new names, the college’s vice president of marketing and public relations, Glenda LeGendre, asked HAI historian Steve Swisdak to research the back story of each name. Building upon knowledge of VJC gained from working on the school’s sixtieth-anniversary pictorial history,  A Vision and a Promise: Villa Julie College  (2007), Swisdak dug into libraries and archives to learn more about each name. After his research, the college’s decision to rename itself Stevenson University made a great deal of historical sense. Not only is the college’s original campus located in Stevenson, Maryland, but the town is named after a prominent nineteenth-century Baltimore grain merchant, Henry Stevenson, who in 1837 married Deborah Owings. By a felicitous historical coincidence, Ms. Owings is the granddaughter of Samuel Owings, for whom Owings Mills, the location to which Villa Julie has expanded in recent years, was named. “The marriage of the two, the marriage of the campuses-it makes for a nice story,” noted Swisdak in an article from The Daily Record.

Published in 2007,  A Vision and a Promise  traces the remarkable growth of the college from its founding in 1947 by the Sisters of Notre-Dame de Namur as a medical-secretarial school with an initial enrollment of seven students to a highly regarded regional institution of almost 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. As Stevenson University President Kevin Manning notes in the prologue to  A Vision and a Promise, the history “provides the reader with a story of an inspired journey by a remarkable institution-Villa Julie College.” A story that will now continue under a new name with a long history.

About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit

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