In celebration of the 323rd Birthday of the College, Humans of William & Mary presents to you a series of reflections on the Charter. Here we discussed the following quotes from the Charter: “…to make, found and establish a certain place of universal study, or perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and other good Arts and Sciences, consisting of one President, six Masters or Professors, and a hundred scholars more or less…”
What does that quote mean to you when it comes to Charter Day and the birth of the College?
“So, I think that quote really embodies everything about Charter Day. It’s meant to honor the history of the College, and celebrate the people who have made it so great. Really there is nothing that encompasses the history of the University, and looking back at where we came from. So, the one hundred students, and the six masters that kind of gives you a laugh to see how far that we’ve come. But I think it’s that tradition we still hold so close to our hearts. It’s never too far from our minds exactly what this University has gone through and what it means to not only us but the country really.”
What does Charter Day mean to you personally?
“I think Charter Day is an important moment in the community of William & Mary. Traditions are so important to us, but they have really brought Charter Day to the here and now. I think it’s wonderful how they balance the tradition that they are honoring with acknowledging and celebrating where the University is now. It’s always fun to hear about the concerts they bring or different entertainers that come to the College. All of my friends – it’s always a race to get tickets and to enjoy the time that we have here. Actually, my coach was here for the 300th anniversary. She has spoken to us about all the events that they put on. The whole college went to Busch Gardens and they threw a massive bash. Really just celebrating the history of the University. It’s fun to hear how it was so similar then to now. That we all still find that moment in time so important.”
How has the history of the College shaped your experience here?
“I think the history of the college has a different impact on every person that walks the bricks. My roommate is an anthropology major, so her access to the different opportunities in Colonial Williamsburg – there is a whole set of opportunities unique to William & Mary that are not available anywhere else because of our history. For a business major, it might be that William & Mary has so much of a connection to the country’s history. We have a different lens to view things through. Every moment in a classroom, a professor might look back at how things have changed and really bring a part of that lens to everything we do.”
When we say that it is William & Mary’s 323rd birthday, what does that number mean to you?
“323 is an interesting thing to put into perspective. So many of us travel and look at the rest of the world and the tremendous history that exists there. But coming back to William & Mary that really has the longest history of anywhere in the country – it is such a unique experience. 323 years is the beginning of America effectively. William & Mary has been such an integral part of that, and the growth of not only this area, but the country at large is really a hallmark of the Tribe. We all hold that idea very close to our hearts, and think of 323 years as a tremendous period for us to have come, but also, there is still a good ways for us to go. We all keep that eye to the future.”
Did the history have much to do with why you chose to come to William & Mary?
“I chose William & Mary because of the people. When I made the decision, I think you can’t consider the people of William & Mary without considering the history that brings these people together. I think even in the application process and in the admissions office – looking at the who they chose, honoring the history is such a large part of building this community. The people here are so important to me, and to my experience at William & Mary.”