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The Prentis Award is given each year to recognize those individuals in the Williamsburg community for their strong civic involvement and support of William & Mary. The award is named after William Prentis, an Eighteenth Century business-owner whose ordinary on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg played an important role in the local community and the College. 

The Prentis Family

The Prentis Award was named for the 18th century Prentis store on Duke of Gloucester Street "known for its fair wages, good merchandise and sound innovative business practices." It served the community for approximately 80 years. Coincidentally, their names were William & Mary Prentis. Their son Joseph attended the College in 1777 and was appointed a member of the Board of Visitors in 1791. There was also a Joseph Prentis, Jr. who attended the College in 1801 and was appointed a member of the BOV in 1824.

One of the collections in the Special Collections Research Center is the Prentis Family Papers, 1807-1830, which includes receipts and other business records from Joseph Prentis and Joseph Prentis, Jr. There is also one receipt from William Prentis in another Manuscripts Collection.

Prentis Award Recipients

20th Century

1980 - J.B. Hickman and Gilbert L. Granger

1981 - Steve and Chrysa Sacalis, Hammong Branch

1982 - William Guerrant and Sheile Ellis

1983 - Robert H. Rathert

1984 - John Massey, Hays Watkins

1985 - Colonial Williamsburg

1986 - Eugene Sydnor Jr.

1987 - Dick Gunn and Shirley Robertson

1988 - William C. O'Donovan, Maxine Williams

1989 - Joseph Cantrell

1990 - Sam Wallace

1991 - Roxie White

1992 - Jack Carmichael, Keith Kasen, Clive Chu

1993 - No Award

1994 - Shin-ichiro Nagashima and Madelyn Watkinson

1995 - Colonial Williasmburg, Christopher Wren Association

1996 - No Award

1997 - No Award

1998 - Frank Shatz and Stella Neiman

1999 - Trist McConnell

21st Century

2000 - Lois Hornsby and Jack Edwards

2001 - WIlliam C. O'Donovan and John M. Favret

2002 - Jim Yankovich and Mary Humelsine

2003 - Jeanne Zeidler

2004 - Gilbert A. Bartlett, Esq. 

2005 - Marguerite Davis and Charles F. Crone

2006 - Tony Conyers Jr., James Gleason, John McGlennon

2007 - Tommy Norment

2008 - Colin and Nancy Campbell

2009 - Sanford B. Wanner

2010 - Channing and John Lesslie Hall

2011 - Clyde A. Haulman

2012 - Marc B. Sharp

2013 - Edward A. Chappell

2014 - Jackson C. Tuttle II

2015 - Cressondra Brown Conyers

2016 - Bobby Braxton

2017 - Mary Ellen and Tom Power

2018 - James R. Golden

2019 - Kathy Y. Hornsby

2020 - No award given

2021 - Andrew O. Trivette

2022 - Cliff Fleet

2023 - Barbara "Barb" Ramsey

In the News


  • Various news clippings in "Awards and Scholarships--Prentis Award," University Archives Subject File, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William & Mary.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

References in the The Flat Hat, William & Mary News, and Alumni Gazette:

  • Friends present Prentis Award WMN, 9/27/1983, pg. 1 (picture).
  • John Massey receives award WMN, 9/26/1984, pg. 2 (picture).
  • John Massey honored by Friends of the College AG, Nov. 1984, pg. 15 (picture).
  • Business medallion goes to Hays Watkins of CSX WMN, 11/28/1984, pg. 3 (picture); AG, Dec. 1984, pg. 18 (picture).
  • Colonial Williamsburg Foundation WMN, 9/18/1985, pg. 1, 4 (picture).
  • Richard E. Gunn and Shirley Robertson to be honored WMN, 10/14/1987, pg. 1 (pictures); AG, Nov. 1987, pg. 23.
  • The Virginia Gazette, Chickahominy House presented 1988 Prentis awards for service WMN, 11/2/1988, pg. 1, 4 (picture); FH, 11/4/1988, pg. 6.
  • Daily Press, Inc., wins Prentis WMN, 10/11/1989, pg. 3 (picture).
  • Sam Wallace receives Prentis award WMN, 10/10/1990, pg. 1 (picture).
  • College honors Same Wallace AG, Oct. 1990, pg. 23 (picture).
  • Shin-ichiro Nagashima, Madelynn W. Watkinson to receive College Prentis awards WMN, 9/28/1994, pg. 1.
  • College recognizes contributions and efforts FH, 9/30/1994, pg. 3.
  • Nagashima, Watkinson to receive College Prentis awards AG, Oct. 1994, pg. 17.
  • College honors Nagashima, Watkinson with Prentis Awards WMN, 10/5/1994, pg. 2 (picture).
  • CW, Christopher Wren Society good Prentises AG, Dec. 1995, pg. 16.
  • Former mayor, Trist McConnell honored for community service WMN, 4/29/1999, pg. 3 (picture).
  • Former mayor Trist McConnell receives award FH, 4/30/1999, pg. 7 (picture).


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Questions? Have ideas or updates for articles you'd like to see? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.