Special Collections and University Archives

Mary Channing Coleman

This month in SCUA, we’re showcasing a painting that we’ve recently acquired from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Kinesiology Department.  The portrait is of Mary Channing Coleman, painted by Albert A. Wilkinson, head of the UNCG News Bureau from 1947-1967. Coleman was a long-time faculty member at Woman’s College; she was both a Professor of Physical Education and later the department head. Born in 1883 in Virginia, she attended the State Female Normal School (Virginia), Wellesley College and Columbia University.  In addition to her work at Woman’s College, Coleman served on the faculty of Winthrop College (South Carolina), Detroit Public Schools (Michigan), Margaret Morrison College of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (Pennsylvania), Columbia University (New York), and Toronto (Ontario, Canada).  She also served with the Red Cross Military Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during World War I.

Beyond her academic involvement, Coleman was heavily involved in organizations devoted to the advancement of physical education, including the North Carolina Physical Education Society (president), Southern Physical Association (president), and National Amateur Athletic Association (charter member).  She traveled all over the world studying centers of recreation, including those in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Austria, and Poland.  Coleman wrote articles for several professional journals and other publications.  She died in 1947 at the age of 64.  Coleman Gymnasium, now located on the UNCG campus, is named in her honor.

In an essay written about Ms. Coleman, now located in the University Archives, the author talks about her as being “knowledgeable, stimulating, inspiring, and strict…Her chief concern for the profession was to emphasize that physical education was an integral part of the education of all children.”  We hope that you’ll come by to view the painting of Mary Channing Coleman, and be sure to keep an eye out for our monthly exhibits.  And now you know “What’s New in SCUA.”

Rachel Sanders

Student Libraries’ Advisory Council 

UNCG Historical Society 
Peer Career Ambassador
UNCG Career Services Center 
Phi Alpha Theta – History Honor Society
Kappa Delta Pi – Education Honor Society

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