Marge Solenberger (1917-2003) became public relationist at Richard Bland in 1968. She was born in Oregon, raised in California, married in China, lived three years in the Netherlands and came here from New Mexico. Wife of a retired naval officer with 17 years of sea duty, she was a newspaper woman before her marriage. In 1958 she became director of the news bureau for the University of New Mexico Press Women and Theta Sigma Phi, national honorary for women in communications.
She served as the fourth woman since 1948 on the Petersburg General Hospital Authority and on the boards of the Petersburg Historic Foundation, Inc., and the Southside Virginia Concert Association, Inc. As a Virginia Press Woman she was a member of the national committee arranging for the 50 th anniversary recognition of the National Press Women to be held in June of 1987 in Williamsburg. A member of the Herb Society of America, she grew and discussed herbs but considers the best crop of all, three sons, all doctors.
As public relationist for Richard Bland College for 28 years, she pursued a public relations program intended to bring credit not only to that institution but to its parent college, The College of William and Mary. Looking upon the program as a means to reinforce not only governing missions and policies, she pursued this course as well with the administration, faculty, staff and above all, the students.
She continued to introduce new projects to enhance the College and its environs. Among these projects were encouragement of the nature trail, which brought thousands to the College, and leading students on off-campus assistance programs such as painting the ancient bandstand at historic Poplar Lawn Park and cleaning the grave site of Richard Bland, a Virginia statesman and champion of public rights as well as a William and Mary graduate. A major accomplishment was locating a painting of Richard Bland whose place in history has been most insecure because of the lack of a likeness and his untimely death on October 26, 1776, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, which deprived him on a rightful place, among the great heroes of that period. (Adapted from THE WILLIAM AND MARY NEWS upon her retirement.)
Marge Solenberger was a strong supporter of the Richard Bland College Library, and the library’s collection was enhanced throughout the years due to her many donations. Upon her death, Marge bequeathed several paintings to the RBC Library which are currently on display. Marge was truly a “Friend of the Richard Bland College Library.”