When Gregory Hayes died in 1906, his wife Mary offered to manage Virginia Seminary until a replacement could be found. She served as principal and quickly established herself as an efficient administrator. She was described as one who was “faithful and businesslike, whose heart was deeply concerned with the work so well begun by her husband.” She successfully managed the Seminary for two years, following the same philosophy as her husband. After leaving her position at Virginia Seminary, Mary Hayes, who was the daughter of a Confederate general and his black servant, continued to work for the betterment of her race. She was president of the Lynchburg branch of the NAACP and later served as president of the New Jersey NAACP.