Spring 2024 Issue

The Way We Were

The Class of 1974, Olde Guarde and Boyle Society gather for Traditions Weekend


By Claire De Lisle M.B.A. ’21

RAIN AT THE WREN: Lynn Cole ’74 and Paul Dayer ’74, members of the 50th Reunion committee, received their Olde Guarde Medallions during the induction ceremony at Traditions Weekend.

The No. 1 song for 1974 on Billboard’s Top Hot 100 singles chart, Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” speaks to memories and the chance to “do it all again.” With a mix of nostalgia and excitement, the Class of 1974 gathered on campus April 19-21 for the opportunity to reconnect with classmates, reminisce about their student days and experience William & Mary today.

The annual Traditions Weekend brings together the 50th reunion class, the Olde Guarde (alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more) and the Boyle Legacy Society (those who have included W&M in their estate plans) for special events and programs.

Among the highlights this year was a Presidential Conversation about William & Mary’s new school, which will bring together data science, computer science, applied science and physics to meet the needs of students and employers worldwide. As part of William & Mary’s celebration of the Year of the Arts, the Boyle Legacy Society heard from students involved in many different forms of art on campus, from creative writing to architecture to music.

Weekend attendees also explored the new Arts Quarter, took a bus tour of campus and learned more about Hearth: Memorial to the Enslaved. New this year, members of the 50th Reunion Class enjoyed an early-morning birding tour with biology professor and director of the 1693 Scholars program Daniel Cristol and several students from his ornithology class.

The Class of 1974 far exceeded its fundraising goals. On behalf of the class, Reunion Committee Co-chairs Robey “Rob” W. Estes Jr. ’74, P ’06, H. Thomas “Tom” Watkins III 74, P ’05, P ’11 and Frank J. Wood III ’74 presented President Katherine A. Rowe with a check for over $14 million, representing gifts from 48% of the class. The gift included almost $7 million in planned giving, such as through wills and estates.

As part of their reunion giving, the 50th reunion class created two endowments: the Class of 1974 Scholarship Endowment, which will provide need-based scholarship support for undergraduate students at William & Mary; and the Class of 1974 Internship and Applied Learning Endowment, which will provide support for internships and/or applied learning experiences for undergraduate students at William & Mary.

In a ceremony at the Wren Building on Sunday, the 50th reunion class donned graduation caps and gowns and was inducted into the Olde Guarde. They also held a Service of Remembrance for classmates who had passed away. Sam Sadler ’64, M.Ed. ’71 provided reflections on the legacy of the class, from hard-won student freedoms to memorable concerts and escapades.

The weekend concluded with the Olde Guarde Luncheon and an overview of the work of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science from Dean and Director Derek Aday. This year’s Olde Guarde Distinguished Service Award recognized Stuart Richardson Dopp ’62, P ’92, G ’23 and Dan Dopp ’62, P ’92, G ’23 for their exceptional dedication, involvement and continued service to the university.

Though the weather was unexpectedly cold and wet for this April weekend, it couldn’t dampen the spirits of the almost 450 attendees.

As Streisand sang in 1974, “So it’s the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember the way we were.”