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Frederick College

Portsmouth, Virginia



I was able to obtain a1968 Driftwood, the Frederick College yearbook, on E-bay.  This became my journey into the life of that college.  After almost half a century, its alumni association still remains active.


Frederick College was instituted by Virginia philanthropist Fred W. Beazley, a self-made millionaire, and named for his father,  Frederick T. Beazley.  Begun as a military boarding school for high school students in 1958, it opened a four-year liberal arts college in 1960.  In an era of growing permissiveness among college students, Frederick College maintained conservative modes of dress and behavior.  Women wore skirts or dresses; men wore ties.  Students could not be married, were required to live on campus and attend chapel, and were not allowed to drive cars. 


With a closed campus, Frederick College provided numerous academic, co-curricular and social opportunities for its students.  The Frederick Players performed a number of dramas during each year.  For music the school had a marching band, a concert band, a dance band, a pep band, a brass ensemble, a concert choir, a men’s glee club, and a madrigal group.  Students edited a newspaper, the Merrimac, as well as the Driftwood



Madrigal Singers (Driftwood)

A strong Greek system—five fraternities and three sororities—organized much of the school’s social life—including a Greek Week and intramurals.  Halloween, Homecoming and Christmas were also major campus celebrations.


In the 1968 graduating class of 116 were 41 business and business administration majors.  Other double-digit graduation fields were English, history, psychology and physical education.


However, Frederick College was never accredited.  On March 8, 1968 Beazley announced the closing of his school; he then gifted the campus to the state of Virginia.  The 660 Frederick College students had to seek a new college.


Bricks and Mortar

Students noted that the campus lacked any ivy covered buildings.  Built in 1917, Marford Ordnance Depot was used by the Marine Corps until it was acquired by the Beasley Foundation and converted into a college campus.  The campus overlooked the James River and the Hampton Roads Harbor, affording recreational opportunities for students and faculty.   When he closed the college, Beazley conveyed part of the campus to the Virginia Electric Company; and in 1968 the campus and one million dollars went to the Virginia Department of Community Colleges. Tidewater Community College moved into the campus.  Tidewater has since moved to another location, and the old campus is part of a large development called Harbour View.




Frederick College campus.  (Driftwood)


      Team name: Lions

      Colors: Red and White


According to the Driftwood, Frederick fielded intercollegiate teams in five sports—football, tennis, basketball, baseball and track and field.  Frederick played football throughout its history as a four-year institution; but except for the 1963 team, its teams were not particularly successful.  An NCAA Division II independent, Frederick played primarily schools from the Middle Atlantic region.  Their most consistent opponents were three South Carolina Colleges—Newberry, Wofford, and Presbyterian—along with Elon College from North Carolina and Hampton-Sydney College from Virginia.


The 1963 team won six of eight games, losing only to Newberry and Presbyterian.    The 1967 team, the school’s last, won only two of nine games, with a draw.  They defeated Gallaudet (DC) and Mars Hill (North Carolina) and played a scoreless tie with Presbyterian; the Lions fell to Indiana State, Newberry, Wofford, Susquehanna (Pennsylvania), Hampton-Sydney and Elon.


The 1967-68 basketball team had a 17-7 record ( 10-1 in state play) and was judged one of the best in school history. 

Frederick College existed before Title IX, so there were no women’s sports.


Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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