Traditions and Events
April 14, 2014 by Skyler Paltell
Day for Admitted Students was this weekend, and William & Mary welcomed over 3,000 students and their families to campus. As a tour guide, I’ve been volunteering with DFAS for three years now, and every year the tribe pride that accompanies the occasion is unrivaled. Admitted students are exceptionally great because they’ve already applied and found something to love about W&M–and while deciding on a college is difficult, DFAS is meant to show them who we are, and what they could be a part of. So without further ado, here are the top 15 reasons I chose to become a member of the Tribe.
- The beauty of the campus and the surrounding area. Having grown up in a city, I had never seen so many trees and bricks in one place. I was enchanted by the beauty of old campus and the colonial architecture on DoG Street.
- The people. Every time I got lost on my campus visit, someone was always more than willing to point me in the right direction. Everyone was friendly, the students seemed interesting and genuinely happy, and the professors I spoke to via email were amazingly helpful.
- The Wren Building. You can’t challenge the appeal of attending class in the oldest academic building in America.
- The traditions. Between Yule Log, Convocation, and King & Queens, W&M has an undeniable array of amazing traditions. And what’s more, everyone takes them seriously and each tradition has a history.
- The prestige. Attending one of the most elite public schools in the nation has its advantages–the W&M name carries a definite weight.
- The small classes. I wanted a school where I could have a personal relationship with my professors, and small classes where I could be an active participant. I found that here, even in entry level classes and major requirements.
- My senior interviewer. He was my first up close and personal impression of a W&M student, and I had a great interview. I still remember him making me laugh and putting my nerves at ease.
- Lake Matoaka. Outdoor recreation has always been important to me, and having 10 miles of hiking trails at my disposal was a definite plus. And don’t forget the canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards that are free to check out with your student ID.
- Tribe Pride. W&M students have a definite sense of community and school spirit that I didn’t find on any other campuses I toured.
- The Cipher. W&M is the only school with its own British charter, crest, and cipher. I remember thinking even the police cars looked classy with the intertwined W and M emblazoned on their sides.
- A sense of belonging. When I stepped onto campus, I felt like I belonged. I could see myself walking through Wren during Convocation, wearing green and gold during football games, and taking pictures with the Griffin.
- The safety of the campus. Coming from Baltimore, Maryland (the third homicide capital in America), being able to feel safe and secure on campus was a definite plus.
- The Alma Mater. Every time I sing it, I still get really excited to shout “William! And Mary!” at the top of my lungs during the chorus.
- Taylor Reveley. He just seemed awesome. He still is awesome.
- The gut feeling that this was the place for me. When I walked onto campus for a tour my junior year of high school, I never wanted to leave. Between the amazing people, the brilliant professors, and the beautiful campus, I knew that W&M was the best place for me for the next four years. Applying early is not something I have ever regretted–I can’t see myself anywhere else.
April 4, 2014 by Sofia Chabolla
Admitted Class of 2018,
Congratulations on your admission to William & Mary!
Now that you have received your wonderful and exciting emails from the W&M Admission Office, it’s your turn to choose what college to attend! Yes, this is daunting, I know. I remember having SO MANY questions about what I would experience in college over the next four years. So, when making this tough of a choice, I hope that you all will think about what you hope to gain overall as part your collegiate experience. I hope you choose a place that deep down you feel that you can call home. If during your college decision making process you choose ‘Home’, I believe that your experiences and achievements will exceed your wildest imagination.
I want to tell you why, when I chose a college, William & Mary became my right choice.
Four years ago, I mapped out my goals and expectations for the next four years. Even then, though, there were so many aspects of my collegiate experience that I had no way of knowing what would happen. I was going in blind. I didn’t know then that I would have the chance to help curate a Michelangelo drawing exhibition and have my name published in a book on the subject. I didn’t know that, while studying abroad, I would watch an outdoor opera performed in Florence Italy’s Piazza Santa Croce, only a day after taking an art history class inside that same church. I didn’t know that I would spend a summer afternoon working for the Admission Office by playing a cut-throat game of kick ball against the Deans on the Sunken Garden. I didn’t even know I’d be making almost nightly study runs to Wawa for chicken strips or chips and salsa – per W&M student tradition. (But let’s face it: #Gotta_Hava_Wawa)
Here, I believe that I am able forge a path with distinct involvements, leadership roles, secret study spots, and groups of friends. As part of the William & Mary family, I am able to truly be myself and am motivated by others to succeed and achieve. Once I started college at W&M, all of the surprising moments and details of my college experience just seemed to fall into place. Here there are so many opportunities – unique and surprising and altogether pretty magical opportunities – that I have been able to take advantage of.
One of my huge time commitments here is my role on AMP or Alma Mater Productions – the campus event programming board. I am truly honored to have had the chance to run some of the major events on campus over the last four years. Some of my favorite weeks are slam packed with AMP events. I get to hear an Environmental Sustainability speaker on Tuesday, hug a llama at a petting zoo on Wednesday afternoon, listen to friends perform at a student music showcase on Thursday night, Keep up my team’s title of Trivia Champions on Friday, and go to a Wiz Khalifa concert on Saturday. After months of planning, seeing an event run smoothly and successfully is a joy. AMP has provided me with an engaging work opportunity and a busy schedule, but also with a solid group of friends and like-minded individuals who are all passionate about supporting their community and giving back to campus.
I will never forget one of my favorite nights this year, going to a sorority formal with one of my best friends. Even though I am not affiliated with a Greek organization, I have always felt so included and welcomed at any event that a Greek organization has put on. After we danced the night away, we traded our heels for tennis shoes and ran across campus to AMP’s Late Nite Glowball event. Yes, we were still wearing our dresses and bling, but those boys had to watch out; we were pretty lethal with glow-in-the-dark dodge balls. That night epitomizes for me the magical possibilities of W&M and all the opportunities that I can take advantage of each day with my friends and organizations.
This year, I also discovered the joys of brunch. I LOVE brunch. Conveniently, Williamsburg is somehow the capital of pancake houses in the United States. The number of restaurants where I can indulge in pancakes and bacon is truly astronomical. Because of this, a group of friends and I recently decided to create a “Brunch Tour of Williamsburg” in order to travel around the area testing out all of the brunch locations possible. French Toast, Huevos Rancheros, and Honey Butter’s to-die-for corncakes really are the best way to start the weekend while laughing around a huge table with my best friends and Brunch Buddies.
Another one of my favorite moments from this semester was the spring tradition of Campus Golf. The event is a Greek philanthropy where teams dressed in crazy costumes play a round of golf across Old Campus. My team decided to be Sexy Presidents. Let me tell you, it is somewhat difficult to make President Martin van Buren look sexy with a bald cap and white pillow-stuffing mutton chops at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. It didn’t help when George Washington, Honest Abe, Teddy Roosevelt and I ended up being chased around the Sunken Garden by a mob of Sailing Club members dressed as knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—all wielding golf clubs and coconuts. I don’t think I made one hole that morning of Campus Golf. That said, the philanthropy did however lead to a spring break trip with my golf caddies, my fellow presidents, and one of the Knights Who Say ‘Ni!’. During campus traditions and community events, it is friends like these who have made an impact on my overall time here.
These are only a very few of surprises and moments that have made my college experience so special. I chose a school that fosters innovation on a campus steeped in tradition; a school that stresses service to the community; and a school that revels in the unique and quirky passions of its students. In being part of this environment, all of my experiences became possible.
William & Mary is my Home. I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.
So, Class of 2018, I hope in your final decision you choose ‘Home.’ Choose a college where you feel you can thrive and take advantage of all the magical possibilities available to you. And if you want to really see if William & Mary can be ‘Home’ for you, I hope that you will join the Tribe on April 12th for W&M’s Day For Admitted Students. See you on campus soon!
March 31, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
The first song I learned is called the Unicorn Song. For anyone that’s heard it, you know what I’m talking about…the one with the green alligators and long-necked geese. Until I was about 14, I thought it was just a fun children’s song about unicorns…then I listened to the words. And now I know why I’ve never seen a unicorn to this very day.
Every year growing up, the town threw a GREAT St. Patrick’s Day party in the Hospitality House – yes that’s a dorm now and I’m really sad about no more parties. But all of our families would spend the day at the party singing old Irish songs and entering raffles, and playing shuffleboard. I remember these days as times with friends that I’ve had since we were born. As families that grew into bigger families as we got older and family meant more than brothers and sisters.
I’ve been so fortunate to grow up in a place where you don’t have to be related to be family, where everything works out in the wash, and you always wave to your neighbor. Now that I’m leaving it, I’m realizing how lucky I was to have it. How grateful I am to have learned how to be a good citizen and caring neighbor from this place. How much community really means to me. How playing 6 degrees from Kevin Bacon is easy as pie.
In the Irish Rover rendition of the Unicorn Song, they add a part to the end of the song that gives the unicorns wings to catch up to Noah’s Arc. All of the animals came in pairs, so maybe it’s time I start thinking of Williamsburg as my unicorn. And now it’s time to leave and find another.
- Kelley Quinzio
March 31, 2014 by Transfer Ambassador
My second favorite holiday of the year is St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe it’s the Irish heritage, or growing up in the Boston area, but there is nothing better than decking yourself out in as much green as possible. St. Patrick’s Day takes on a very different tone at William & Mary. While everyone is Irish for that one day of the year, St. Patrick’s Day looks like an explosion of school spirit at the College. Having the colors green and gold makes it very easy to wear a little green, but it’s never just a little green here.
One of my absolute favorite things about the College is the school spirit. Whether it’s at football games or seeing the College’s name pop up on a list of awesome schools, we are fiercely proud to be members of the Tribe. When you come to William & Mary it is nearly impossible to be just a face in the crowd. Even the one or two people I know that are not as involved in extracurricular activities on campus, seem to somehow be connected to my friends from other circles of my W&M life.
I love that we are a family at William & Mary, and I love that we show our Tribe Pride loud and proud!
- Kate Fitzgerald
March 20, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
I remember the first time I learned the word “misnomer.” I was reading The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, which found the unfortunate Baudelaire orphans living with their uncle, a herpetologist who had recently discovered a snake called “The Incredibly Deadly Viper.” The snake’s name, the book went on to explain, was a misnomer, as the snake was completely harmless!
I’ve since discovered other misnomers. Like the funny bone. (It’s a nerve, not a bone.) Or the strawberry. (It’s an aggregate accessory fruit, not an actual berry. Just in case you were wondering.) My most recent discovery? “Spring Break.”
This might not make sense to those of you still in high school, for whom Spring Break arrives as a warm, sunshine-y, homework-free week in the middle of April. But for us, the term is a little more confusing. I’d argue that in college, it’s not so much a “spring break” as it as a “mid-winter pause!” This year, the first official day of break was March 1, which meant that it was still technically February as most students packed their bags and headed home. Although I escaped the cold weather for a few days when visiting my sister in California, I came back to find my Northern Virginia hometown coated with several more inches of snow.
While it might feel strange to celebrate “spring” with hot chocolate and snow boots, there’s something to be said for this early break. We may joke about its early arrival, but by the time break rolls around, everyone agrees that it’s a welcome respite from the stress of the first six weeks of the semester. The timing of a typical college semester may mean that “spring” comes a little earlier for us, but it also means that when high school students are buckling in for AP Exams in the beginning of May, we’re already getting ready to head home for the summer! And a summer vacation that starts in May? That’s a misnomer that I’m okay with.
- Elisabeth Bloxam
March 4, 2014 by Drew Stelljes
In this blog entry, Kendall Lorenzen, a junior at W&M serves as guest blogger. Below is the script from the speech she gave at the annual Junior Ring Ceremony.
I love everything that the Charter of the College of William & Mary represents. It is our origin story. It is our connection. It is the document that spurred the 321 year long chain of events that have brought us here together today.
It is in a word—astounding. However I will say looking at the 321 year old script of the Charter initially I couldn’t help but be amazed for a slightly different reason. The Charter began so incredibly simple.
Our Charter lays out the foundation for a university with one President, six professors, and one hundred students more or less. I can’t help but wonder what King William and Queen Mary would think after seeing our campus today. What we have today, THIS was not even a dream in 1693. The College had humble beginnings.
This makes me think of our first experiences here at William & Mary. Our first walk through Wren together as a class, our first forced mixer with another hall, our hurrication. I think about the expectations I had as I stood with strangers waiting to get the key to my room in Jefferson—the strangers that I now consider great friends.
I thought all I would be getting from my fours at William & Mary would be an education. But looking back today-I already know I have gotten so much more than that. I came into William & Mary with humble expectations. But being here with you all has taught me so much more than what I could ever have learned in a classroom. Coming into college I knew I could study, but I didn’t think I could really do anything more than that. But here, from you I learned I had the ability to make a difference and to inspire those around me.
Being here has taught me how powerful we all have the potential to be just by being in each others lives. At William & Mary, we have the most incredible people around us. Sitting next to us in lecture, living right down the hall, or even in the very same room. What defines William & Mary is not just the acceptance of the individual, but the celebration of the individual. We have the ability to be phenomenal leaders and WE have inspiration all around us and within us. How many of you have been inspired by someone in this room or here at the College? And how many of you have told them that?
We all have incredible power. If you do not know how inspiring you are or that you have an amazing ability to make positive change, just think about all of the people who didn’t raise their hands. William & Mary has amazing professors, research opportunities, but perhaps the best thing about William & Mary is that it has brought us together so that we can be inspired by one another and go out into the world and community to do unbelievable things.
I have a lot of goals for the remainder of my time here at the College, but at the top of my list is to be engaged everyday; in my classes, with my peers, and with everything I do—because when I came into college I knew how to study. We all knew how to study, but by being engaged we have the ability to truly learn from all the fantastic people around us. It is a simple idea. But by engaging in these William & Mary networks, like the Class of 2015, we have become a part of something great. Just as the alumni before us have learned, we have the ability to innovate and inspire.
Looking back at the Charter today and looking back at those initial moments when we first came to the College, I see that nothing was ever really simple. It was innovative. It was the start of something that neither we nor King William and Queen Mary could have ever imagined. We are connected now and forever to something great that will always be bigger than ourselves. Look at the rings now that you have just received. Let the rings serve as a reminder of each other and the tradition of service that we will always be bound to. All you can really do going into our last three semesters is to embrace your strengths and live authentically. Never underestimate the power of a thank you or the power of telling a classmate just how incredible they are. And I want to tell you all here today—you are amazing and I can’t wait to see the things you do in your final semesters at the College and in the world.
February 28, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
Let’s break it down.
3 – People in my family that attended William & Mary before I did. Their tradition and legacy precede me. Walking across the patio at the Alumni House, you can see their names in a singular brick. How metaphoric. A collection of bricks with names that make a whole patio. Kind of like a collection of people who make up the traditions that make W&M home.
2 – People who have worn my class ring. My mama graduated in 1984. I will graduate in 2014. 30 years, 2 children, a dog, 3 cats and a lot of time transporting to and from sports camps have elapsed in the time that my mama wore this ring. And now it’s mine. In another 30 years, what will we say about this ring?
1 – home. I have had exactly one address my whole life. And that means home to me. Home truly is where the heart is. And mine is here. At William & Mary.
321 – Happy 321st birthday to you, William & Mary. Your charter and legacy have lasted 321 years. You’ve been witness to this country’s history. Front row seats even. You’ve been home to 4 presidents. You’ve converted to hospitals for the Confederate Army. You’ve produced leaders like Robert Gates, Glenn Close, Jon Stewart, Mike Tomlin and David Brown. You’ve produced people I know and look up to. So here’s to you William & Mary. Here’s to another 321 years. You are loved of old.
- Kelley Quinzio
February 28, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
Robert Gates ’65 signing his bestselling book Duty, a Wiz Khalifa concert, a speech by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and an alumni medallion awarded to current FBI director James Comey ’82. What is the occasion for all of these events you may ask?
The answer is: Charter Day.
Charter Day is when we celebrate King William and Queen Mary signing the royal charter to establish the College of William & Mary in Virginia. February 8, 2014 marked the College’s 321st year of existence and allows the W&M community to come together and celebrate over three centuries of academic excellence and prestige. Charter Day makes us all think about what it really means to be a member of the tribe and the legacy of innovation and achievement that each of us, as students of the College, are obliged to uphold. The coming together of students, faculty and alumni over Charter Day weekend epitomizes why I love this institution that continues to cultivate the greatest minds in the world.
Historically significant, yet paving the way for the future, William & Mary truly is the alma mater of a nation. Happy Birthday William & Mary, you’ve never looked better.
Check out this video for a taste of what Charter Day is all about:
- Mark Bland
February 27, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
Dear William & Mary,
If you could talk, I imagine that you might say that Charter Day 2014 was the best birthday weekend yet. But William & Mary, you’ve seen a lot in your 321 years. When you were born – or, rather, chartered – England was still fighting the French in the Nine Years’ War, a religious schism had just led to the creation of the Amish church in Switzerland, and the Salem Witch Trials were just wrapping up in Massachusetts. You share your birth year with a lot of other distinguished people – including a Russian empress, a British Prime Minister, and a French composer – but it’s safe to say that after over 300 years, you’ve outlived them all.
And I’ve got to say … you look good for 321. As Colonial Williamsburg’s next-door neighbor, you might be physically stuck in the past, but I’m proud to say that you’ve transitioned nicely from the 17th century to the 21st. Not many schools can boast both a royal charter AND campus wide wireless. And it takes a special mix of prestige and popularity to get wished a happy birthday by Robert Gates, Terry McAuliffe, AND Wiz Khalifa.
Happy birthday, William & Mary. Here’s to 321 more!
- Elisabeth Bloxam
February 27, 2014 by Transfer Ambassador
February 8th, otherwise known as Charter Day, is a day that has a very significant meaning for every student here at William & Mary. However, Charter Day tends to be extra special for me because not only is it the birthday of my favorite place on Earth, but it is also my own birthday!
While W&M was turning 321 last week, I was just reaching 20. In high school, I took this little coincidence as a sign from the higher education gods that William & Mary was the place for me. However, now I tend to look at it as more of an honor. To be able to share the same birthday as the second oldest college in the USA is, frankly, mildly intimidating. We’re talking about the school that educated three [arguably four] US Presidents, founded the first Honor Code, created the first Law School, and was the birthplace of Greek Life.
That’s a big birthday shadow to live in.
The one thing that makes me confident every day is knowing that by having the chance to study at William & Mary, I’ve given myself the best kick start anyone can have, as far as I’m concerned. The sheer excellence of every single one of my professors reminds me that I’m not just sitting in my classes getting “talked at” here. I am learning and growing so much every day in a way that will actually help me succeed both academically and personally for the rest of my life.
The people I have met on this campus have been some of the most amazing and inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. No wonder William & Mary has been around for 321 years of doing what it does best, nurturing young minds to continue its legacy by being all that they can be and more. I am humbled to be able to say, even if for just a short while, that I was a part of W&M’s illustrious history, and that these brick pathways were my first true home away from home.
- Audrey Savage