The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is pleased that the Virginia General Assembly, particularly legislation sponsors Senator Emmett Hanger and Delegate Dickie Bell, and Governor Bob McDonnell, established the Virginia Commission on the Centennial of the Woodrow Wilson Presidency at this year’s session. The legislation, Senate Bill 350, establishes a commission “for the purpose of planning, developing, and implementing statewide programs and events to commemorate the centennial of President Woodrow Wilson’s election and presidency.” The legislation passed the General Assembly in March, was signed by the Governor on April 12, and became law on July 1. The last appointment to the Commission was made in June.

The Commission is composed of 11 members, including three members of the Virginia Senate, five members of the House of Delegates, and three non-legislative members. The members include the legislation’s sponsors, Dr. Fitz W.M. Woodrow, Jr., a Wilson family descendant who resides in Alexandria, and Dr. Don W. Wilson, President and CEO of the Presidential Library. The Commission is to meet four times per year. At the first meeting, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission are to be chosen and an Advisory Council appointed. The legislation indicates that no public funds will be used to support the work of the Commission. Suntrust Bank has agreed to underwrite the expenses of the Commission


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation