March 11, 2013 by Adam Labriny
As Spring Break comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about what an intense (yet immensely satisfying) month February turned out to be. Between Charter Day, Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year AND midterms, it was definitely one of my busiest months here at W&M.
For Charter Day (that’s on February 8th!), the Student Assembly asked my jazz combo to perform during a special dinner in the Sadler Center. Since I don’t have a meal plan this year, it was great to re-experience the dining halls (i.e. an endless soul food buffet, a sick salad bar, and ICE CREAM!) Mainly, though, it was great to see my peers’ looks of befuddlement change to excitement as they realized their dinner would come with a serenade!
The next week, Mardi Gras was by far the most pressing thing on my (non-academic) schedule. In the past, I never really thought twice about Mardi Gras. I didn’t grow up with it, I didn’t understand it—it just wasn’t on my radar. However, I’ve recently had the pleasure of befriending a native of New Orleans, Naomi. Between her excitement about the holiday and the bits of New Orleans’ history I’ve picked up in my Southern Cultures class, I was determined to make an effort to learn more about Mardi Gras this year. Thus ensued a day of purple, green, and gold beads, dancing on the Sunken Garden, and (dreaming about) king cake. Success? I think yes.
With February also came the Chinese New Year! This year, W&M’s Chinese Student Organization (CSO) put on a spectacular event in PBK Hall, complete with calligraphy, dumpling making, video presentations, and a catered dinner. The event also offered the opportunity for students to mingle with Chinese exchange and international students; I was thrilled to learn more about how the holiday is celebrated in China.
The latter half of February brought with it a whirlwind of exams, papers, presentations, and obligations—in other words, it was finally midterm season (cue dramatic “dun dun dunnnnnn”). My new home became Swem. In fact, I was spending so much time in Swem that by the end of the month, I had established “study spots” around the library: the little nook near the Children’s Book section with the round, sunny window overlooking Andrews Hall and the courtyard, the strangely-placed desktop on the second floor that only a couple other people like to use because it’s vastly inconvenient, and another super-secret spot I will only divulge post graduation. (But seriously, let me know if you’re curious and I’d love to share.) I developed weird eating habits that week, too. Lunch? Who needs it—I’ll take a triple Americano and this bag of Cheez-its, please!
But as most things, midterm season came and went. Looking forward, I’ve only got half a semester left at this lovely institution, and I plan on making the most of it!
February 25, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
February 8th. Known by the William & Mary community as the date the College came to be. Charter Day! On this day King William III and Queen Mary II signed the royal charter to establish the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Now it’s 2013 and we are celebrating our 320th birthday. With a speech from former CIA Director, US Secretary of Defense, and current Chancellor Robert Gates, words from President Reveley, and a concert by Gavin DeGraw, this was a big day for the College. As the only school in the United States to possess a royal charter and 320 years of history and prestige, the William & Mary community has a lot to celebrate. As second oldest college in the United States, which isn’t too shabby, it’s the home of many firsts. The College of William & Mary had the first Law School in the nation, was the birthplace of the Greek system, and formed the first honor code. On Charter Day, we all can see how we are part of something very special and bigger than the immediate moment. Charter Day is the day that we all ponder our strong connection to history and our traditions of the present. It is the culmination of all the amazing traditions we have here on campus and the connection to history that defines who we are. There is no college like THE College and our existence as a public modern research university with 320 years of existence and excellence is unmatched. So for all of the current William & Mary students, all of you who were accepted early decision, and all those of you who will be accepted in a few short months, know that February 8th is already your day, and that even though you might not know it now, your home is here and we are celebrating the birth of a cultivator of the brightest minds in the past 320 years with you here in Williamsburg at the College of William & Mary.
February 25, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
At 13 you’re no longer a “kid,” at 16 you can drive, at 18 you’re an adult, at 20 you’re in your second decade and no longer an adolescent, at 21 you can drink, at 30 you cry, at 40 you wish you were 30, at 50 you celebrate, at 60 you’re golden, at 320 you get GAVIN DEGRAW.
320 years! A little mind-blowing if you ask me. Considering I’m from Williamsburg, it kind of freaks me out that these people were roaming these streets or maybe my backyard, and now we’ve paved it over and the glorious Target is here. But, then it was that time of year again. Charter Day was here! It’s the weekend that we celebrate King William’s and Queen Mary’s signing of the royal charter that established our school, a fact we still revere seeing as we are the only school in this great country that has a royal charter.
So, the way this exciting weekend panned out was like this: Friday ass the traditional reading of the charter by our chancellor, Robert Gates ’65 – yes the former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, can you tell I’m an Army brat yet? – and then on Saturday, Gavin freaking DeGraw was here to perform in Kaplan Arena. I’m such a groupie and this was my fourth time seeing him – not including his divine appearances in One Tree Hill.
Traditions ooze out of the walls at William & Mary. No matter what freshman hall you get, no matter what department you choose, no matter what year you are, there are so many traditions in which you get to participate, but Charter Day is something that truly sets us apart and reminds us who we are.
So here’s to you William & Mary. Here’s to 320 more years of friendships made, traditions followed, lessons learned, and families formed. As John Mayer said, “and celebrate we will, for life is short, but sweet for certain.”
February 25, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear William & Mary,
Happy birthday to you!
Earlier this month was a date students have written on their calendars—not because they are taking the SATs or visiting grandma—but because it is the celebration of William & Mary’s birthday! W&M was founded on February 8, 1963 when King William III and Queen Mary II issued a 12 page royal charter creating the institution of higher learning. Today, this date is one that is marked by great celebration at the College. Each year there is Charter Day ceremony with a keynote speaker who addresses W&M and provides words of wisdom and reflection. In addition, members of the college community are honored for their achievements and contributions.
However, one of my favorite parts of Charter Day weekend is the concert! A relatively new tradition, the concert is held Saturday night in Kaplan Arena (our basketball stadium). It is a great way for the student body to come together and enjoy a night of entertainment—this year Gavin DeGraw headlined! I am always eager to see what surprises will occur on Charter Day. Most importantly this year I was excited to see if there would be a cake with 320 candles!
February 25, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
As you may have heard, W&M celebrated a pretty big birthday last weekend! We’ve reached the ripe old age of 320…that’s a lot of candles! For the past few decades, W&M has been celebrating Charter Day, or the day when W&M received its royal charter from King William and Queen Mary (the only college in America to claim this distinction!). To me, Charter Day represents one of William & Mary’s best features because it merges centuries old traditions with fun activities to engage the student body. Tradition with a twist, we’ll call it. On Charter Day, the school’s original charter is ceremoniously read aloud with all the pomp and circumstance you would expect. However, the day is also celebrated with a concert at Kaplan Arena! This year it was Gavin DeGraw (love him, hate him, utterly ambivalent-no one can deny the catchiness of “Chariot.” No one.). W&M does a great job of keeping traditions alive by infusing them with new spirit. Here, traditions are more than creaking buildings or musty documents; they include moments such as high-fiving hundreds of eager fellow students at Convocation, or celebrating a birthday with government luminaries AND the man who gave us the One Tree Hill theme song.
February 25, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
Everyone loves their birthdays, whether it’s the cake, the presents, or just the fact that the whole day is about you, birthdays are always something to look forward to. As W&M prepares to celebrate Charter Day this weekend (the College’s 320th birthday), it got me thinking about my birthdays here at the College. It can be a little weird to think about celebrating holidays and milestones without your family or friends from home. My first college birthday was definitely a change! Instead of planning a birthday party with my best friends from high school (yes, I insisted on having birthday parties until I was 18…), I was studying for final exams. Instead of picking a favorite restaurant for a birthday dinner with my parents, I was hoping someone with a car would offer to take me off-campus for dinner. However, my first college birthday was definitely a success. My parents ordered a cake through Dining Services for me and my friends to enjoy, my freshman hall mates put a gift bag of DVDs and books together, and my sorority sisters took me off-campus for a special dinner. That first birthday away from home was different, but no less exciting. It is difficult adjusting to celebrating milestones and special occasions in a new place with new people, but you quickly learn that your second family, your William & Mary family, will always be there to celebrate with you! And the College’s birthday is no different!
Tribe pride definitely spikes on Charter Day! Everyone is proud to be or have been a student at the College of William & Mary. The weekend is full of celebrations that praise W&M for its esteemed past and toast to its tremendous future. On Friday afternoon, there is a Charter Day ceremony that honors professors, administrators, and students with special awards and honors. The ceremony includes a special guest speaker associated with the College. This year Chancellor Robert Gates ’65, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, shared his William & Mary experience. The ceremony includes different campus performance groups singing their rendition of “Happy Birthday” to W&M. The dining halls host a special dinner after the ceremony, complete with delicious birthday cakes for the College. On Saturday night, Alma Mater Productions (AMP), the student programming board, in collaboration with other benefactors and college services, host a concert for the entire campus in William & Mary Hall. This year Gavin DeGraw performed, and in years past we have hosted Third Eye Blind and the Roots. So, Happy 320th Birthday William & Mary, here’s to many more to come!
February 11, 2013 by Girolama Bui
I feel like Carrie Bradshaw right now when she reflects upon her most recent actions and writes about it to tell the world. Except here, I write to you – my fellow tribe members and potential tribe members – about my experiences that the tribe has opened up to me. Tonight, however, I am writing to tell you about the friendships and bonds that this campus, full of uneven bricks, old and ancient buildings, is full of. Today, is the 320th anniversary of William & Mary’s charter and cheers to another 320 more!
Taylor Nelson, a wonderful human being that I’ve gotten to know personally was given the prestigious James Monroe award for Civic Engagement and this is a small congratulations to her well deserving it! (Congrats!) Along with Taylor, other very deserving and impeccable individuals received honors at the ceremony and I would highly recommend celebrating our college’s birthday every opportunity you can, especially if you haven’t gone yet!
Being a part of this campus means more than simply going to classes or attending ceremonies, it means being an active member of the tribe and enjoying your tribe and my tribe’s company. On these bricks we’ve tripped together and in these dorms we’ve lived amongst one another. We’ve walked into the Wren Building and at some point we will all walk out. The journey started the day we all started orientation, and we might forget that life at the College is still a journey right now. Whether you believe it or not, it doesn’t even end when we graduate! Tribe means more than family, though I guess some of us could be – figuratively speaking – distant cousins or long lost relatives. Seeing someone else showing tribe pride outside of the campus bubble may (someday) excite you (…if it doesn’t already). It sure does for me and it definitely does to the old couple I met when I traveled to Yorktown, VA. Last week, fellow tribe member Nicole Brown ’13 and I went out to dinner off campus and ended up running into a sweet elderly couple who mentioned they both went to William & Mary ages ago when tuition was under $500 (hard to believe, right?) and we told them that we were current students and upon hearing this, the sweet and polite conversation became a lively and ecstatic one. The couple proceeded to explain in a very excited manner that they had sent all three of their children to the College as well. So I guess for some, tribe literally does mean family!
It’s the bonds you build and the bonds you share that make you who you are. And if you look close enough, or travel to the right areas, you will see and understand that this campus is rich with bonds that last a lifetime, impacting lives for the better, and it is because of us … because of the smart, genuinely caring, giving, and engaged individuals that are so typically found at William & Mary … because of you. I understand that the 320th Charter Day anniversary of our school is representative of when we received our charter, but personally prefer to think of it as the anniversary of how long this school has built bonds for. Invisible bonds that have educated many, created lasting friendships, and bonds that have built the Tribe we know today rooted in a deep history.
February 4, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! Traditions aren’t unique to William & Mary. But William & Mary is unique because of its traditions. Where else can you swear to uphold the nation’s oldest collegiate honor code in the nation’s oldest academic building? At no other institution can you be inducted into the nation’s oldest Greek organization. And no other American college or university can celebrate the granting of its royal charter. This Friday, William & Mary will do just that.
Charter Day is William & Mary’s birthday. And this Friday we will turn 320. Let’s say that again. This Friday we will turn 320. That’s a lot of candles on a cake. But we’ve earned it. And we make 320 look good.
We will celebrate with a formal academic processional and keynote speech on Friday, given by current W&M Chancellor and former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. We will celebrate with a gigantic green and gold cake. And we will cap things off on Saturday with the annual Charter Day concert featuring Gavin DeGraw.
Pomp and circumstance aside, this is what makes William & Mary special. As a two-time alumna I’m moved to see faculty and students gather in their regalia and process through William & Mary Hall. The annual reading of the Charter is powerful to all who call William & Mary their alma mater. And the debut of the Charter Day video (it will be tough to top this one from 2012) reminds all who see it why William & Mary is truly in a class by itself.
As those of us in admission work to create the Class of 2017 (the College’s 320th class) we feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work for such a storied institution. So Happy Birthday William & Mary from all of us in the Undergraduate Admission Office. And many, many more.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
February 7, 2012 by Kylee Ponder
During my college experience, weekends have served as a time to embrace my surroundings, which could mean anything from heading to a dance party to walking down Duke of Gloucester street to perusing the goodies at the Farmer’s Market to going to grab breakfast with good friends at Five Forks (which I went to for the first time this weekend—goodness gracious it was DELICIOUS). But there are only a select few weekends that finish & as hard as you try to figure out if anything bad happened, you cannot count a single momentous bad thing (other than stubbing your toe or forgetting your credit card at the grocery store—I got over both of those quickly). This weekend was simply one of those weekends that made me realize (for the 932nd time) how much I love this place. It was filled with the beauty of tradition, uniqueness, & pure love for a common “place of universal study”—the College of William & Mary.
On Friday, I was honored to be able to participate in reading the Royal Charter during the annual Charter Day Ceremony, where William & Mary celebrated its 319th birthday. Along with eight other students and one faculty member, I read an excerpt from this historical document and became a part of a long-held tradition. Being able to read the Charter and to participate so actively in the Charter Day Ceremony was fantastic and so very special. Hearing Robert Gates speak about his time at William & Mary, watching a dear professor be recognized for her years of service to the university, and hearing Monroe Prize recipient Molly Bulman speak on civic engagement all blew me away. I left the ceremony and headed to dinner with friends, still thinking back on the four years that I’ve had here in Williamsburg at this great university.
The next night was just as special, as I was able to attend the annual Charter Day Dinner as a student table host. During the dinner, I sat at a table speckled with people like Provost Halleran and his wife, a fellow TriDelta sister and member of the Class of 1944, and Alumni Medallion recipient Ruth Tillar. Talking to people about their individual experiences at William & Mary and others at the dinner who were not alumni made me realize this strong connection that all of us have—the power of being a member of the Tribe. After the dinner was finished, I had the chance to introduce a video shot at the beginning of the fall that is showed at Alumni events around the country, and although I think it’s the slightest bit cheesy, it was fantastic watching the faces of alumni all around the room lighting up as they became somehow once again a student here at our beloved college.
After making my infamous banana puddin’ (see blogpost here) for some of my favorite friends and watching the SuperBowl over mugs & burgers at the Green Leafe last night, I realized that this weekend may have been perfect. Seeing the faces of alumni as they remembered what it was like to be at William & Mary, hearing Bob Gates joke around about his time here in the 1960′s, and jamming out to Third Eye Blind’s encore as they performed “Semi Charmed Life” all made me thankful for the experiences that I’ve had here and even more thankful that I am blessed enough to call myself a member of the Tribe.
February 3, 2012 by Chuck Bailey
William & Mary is celebrating its 319th birthday this weekend. For an institution of higher learning in the western hemisphere, 319 years certainly qualifies as venerable. Although what qualifies as old depends on your perspective; geologists typically take a long view on time. It’s easy to do when you consider that the Earth’s history stretches out to well over four billion years.
Consider the photograph below, a little snippet of bedrock cropping out high above Harris Cove in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia. The rock is a gneiss (pronounced- nice!), a curiously colorful granitic gneiss. This is an ancient rock, it crystallized and cooled into a granite, far below the Earth’s surface, some 1.15 billion years ago. It was later metamorphosed and transformed to a coarsely-foliated gneiss. By the late Neoproterozoic (~550 million years ago) the rock was exposed at the surface and then buried beneath a sequence of lava flows and sedimentary deposits. At some point the rock underwent another transformation and the iron-bearing minerals were altered into a new mineral, epidote—a distinctive greenish silicate, while the feldspar turned pink. Indeed, it’s an old rock with quite a history.
Field geologists take oodles of rock pictures and invariably we include some marker to provide ‘scale’ for the picture. I’ve used rock hammers, lens caps, pocketknives, and even doughnuts to provide scale. Coins are a time-honored standard, in part because the local currency imparts a certain authenticity to your whereabouts (e.g. loonies in Canada, kangaroo dollars in Australia, and Eva Perón pesos in Argentina). Take another look at the coin I used for scale. Just whose faces are those emblazoned on the not-quite-round coin? Why, it’s our very own King William (GVLIELMVS) & Queen Mary (MARIA) on a weathered threepence from the days of the Glorious Revolution in the late 17th century. The coin is 18 mm in diameter (roughly the size of a dime) and a gift from my coin-collecting father.
It’s nice (or is that gneiss?) to be old and good to see William & Mary out and about! Happy Charter Day.