Adapting to Change

“As also, that the said President, and masters or pro-fessors, and their successors shall have one common seal, which they make use of in any whatsoever cause and business belong-ing to them and their successors; and that the President, and masters or professors of the said College, and their successors, shall have leave to break, change and renew, their said seal, from time to time, at their pleasure, as they shall see most expedient.”

“To me, this quote embodies overall how William and Mary has conducted itself historically. The College began so long ago that it was in a completely different time in history: socially, economically, and politically. In the same way that the Constitution was written at a different time for a different type of people, this charter was written at a different time for a different people. But this is a very forward-thinking passage in the charter because it leaves room for the possibility of times changing and priorities changing and I think that is very important in an institution as old as William and Mary. Especially for an institution as old as William and Mary, it’s inevitable that the College will go through a lot of changes and social shifts; the country around the College is going to shift in multiple ways. So I think having this part in the charter is important in allowing the College to adapt to the changing times, changing priorities, and changing goals. Even if they’re just talking about the seal, I feel like it applies overall to the vision of the College.

The ideologies of those attending the school are inevitably going to change. The demographic of the school has changed from including women to including people of African-American heritage, and that will change the goals of the College and the vision of the College because of the new group of people involved in it. This just shows an amazing amount of forward-thinking for a College with this much historic tradition. I think that it’s great to see that it wants to stay relevant. As much as tradition is an important part of our college, which is why we’re celebrating Charter Day, I think it’s also really awesome to know that our college prioritizes being a relevant, beneficial university for multiple kinds of people in multiple time periods.”

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