Photo by Stephen Salpukas at the College of William & Mary
On Feb. 8, the College celebrated its 321st birthday with the annual Charter Day ceremony. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe D.P.S. ’14 received an honory degree and praised W&M for its prestigious history and promising future.
“The College of William & Mary was established when Virginia was still a colony and America was simply a dream,” said McAuliffe. “And during that long history, you have built — and more importantly sustained — a reputation for being one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education. … With more than 30 governors, 40 members of Congress, two speakers of the House, our current FBI Director and one ‘Daily Show’ host, I can understand why William & Mary is called the alma mater of our nation.”
McAuliffe lauded the university’s commitment to service as well as the William & Mary Promise, a new operating model adopted by the Board of Visitors in?April 2013. The model features a four-year guaranteed tuition plan for entering in-state students.
“This public-private partnership should serve as a model to universities around the country,” he said. “It shows that by working together we can make high-quality education more affordable and costs more predictable for all Virginia families. The W&M Promise is a testament to the innovative spirit of the College’s leadership and your determination to extend the benefits of higher education to all Virginians.”
Education at every level is essential to the growth of the commonwealth, the governor said.
“Everyone deserves access to a quality education. … And in order to attract the best and the brightest, it is important to keep Virginia open and welcoming to those who call the commonwealth home,” he said, noting his work to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and his support of the DREAM Act.
“Nothing is more important to our ability to create jobs than a smart, well-trained workforce, and increasing access to higher education is critical to that success,” he said.
To that end, McAuliffe has created the Virginia Commission on Higher Education Board Appointments, to which he appointed education leaders from across the Commonwealth, including former W&M Rector Jeff Trammell ’73.
“You are our nation’s future leaders,” McAuliffe told William & Mary’s students. “And you have had the privilege of attending one of the most elite universities in the country. But with that privilege comes increased responsibility. And on this Charter Day, I urge all of you to continue to serve — whether that be a career in public service or volunteering when you have free time.
“There is no better way to honor this great university than by using your time and your energy to create stronger, more prosperous communities around you.”
Along with McAuliffe, Emeritus Chancellor Professor of Mathematics David Lutzer received an honorary degree. Professor Emerita of English Jacquelyn McLendon received the Thomas Jefferson Award, which is given for “significant service through … personal activities, influence and leadership.” Assistant Professor of Psychology Cheryl Dickter received the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award, presented for “the inspiration and stimulation of learning to the betterment of the individual and society.” The Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy, which recognizes excellence in the sciences and mathematics, went to Stephen Cameron ’14, and Laura Godwin ’14 accepted the Monroe Prize for Civic Leadership.
Representatives with the Drapers’ Company of London also attended the event to receive the Lord Botetourt Award, presented to non-alumni friends of the university “who embody the philanthropic spirit and impact on the College of Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt.”