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Home Sweet Home: Alumni House to expand significantly

May 4, 2018
By Claire De Lisle M.B.A. ’21

In a groundbreaking ceremony on April 20 for the Alumni House expansion, a crowd of more than 200 alumni, friends and other special guests gathered to celebrate the nearly $21 million project. Once complete, the historic building will more than double in size to approximately 55,000 square feet, making it one of the largest social gathering places on campus and in Williamsburg.

The last major expansion and renovation of the 170-year-old Alumni House was undertaken in 1996. Since then, William & Mary has seen its alumni population increase from 71,000 to 100,000 today.

"The needs of our alumni are evolving over time, and their support is utterly essential to William & Mary's success," said President Taylor Reveley. "Alumni engagement will be nourished by this appealing and spacious home on campus."

Last April, William & Mary announced a $15 million gift from Hunter J. Smith ’51, L.H.D. ’18 for the expansion and renovation project, which is the largest gift ever given to the university in support of alumni engagement.

"This is such a magnificent project. I’m so thrilled that I got involved with it and I'm thrilled with the way it's turning out," said Smith in remarks during the ceremony.

Other significant contributors in attendance included Marshall Acuff ’62, L.H.D. ’07, P ’93, Cliff Johnson ’65 and Mary Ann Johnson. The project was also funded by thousands of alumni, including the 50th Reunion Classes of 1963 to 1968, and friends of the university.

The addition will include expanded banquet, conference and catering space, as well as new offices, a reception area and an alumni lounge. Improvements will also be made to outdoor spaces, and a new Family Courtyard will be added that honors the commitments of multigenerational William & Mary families.

The expansion will enable the university and its Alumni Association to grow offerings for alumni, including career and networking events, alumnae leadership programming, regional alumni engagement activities, travel opportunities, and support for affinity groups such as the Hulon Willis Association, LatinX, the Association of 1775 and others. It will also provide needed space to host events over Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, Charter Day Weekend, Traditions Weekend and other milestone occasions.

"I do not think there could be a more visible symbol of our For the Bold campaign than this project. Well beyond the amazing physical space that will be created, the programming possibilities for alumni enabled by this space are endless and inspiring," said Sue Manix ’79, president of the Alumni Association. 

The groundbreaking took place over William & Mary’s Traditions Weekend, which celebrates the 50th Reunion class, the Olde Guarde — alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago — and the Honorable Robert Boyle Legacy Society, whose members have made estate provisions to benefit William & Mary. 

"Today, we begin the process of constructing, brick by brick, this beautiful new entryway to campus. Just as the bricks are the foundation of this historic building, you, the alumni, are the foundation of all we do," said Marilyn Ward Midyette ’75, executive director of the William & Mary Alumni Association. "The future is bright and together, we are building it."

An additional $1 million is needed to complete the construction project by spring 2020. William & Mary also aims to create a $4.5 million endowment to support the operation of the upgraded facility. To learn more about ways to support this project, visit the Alumni House project website.