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Annual Events

10 Pages
  • Charter Day

    The annual celebration of Charter Day at William & Mary was initiated by President John Stewart Bryan on February 8, 1937. The first Charter Day was known as Founder's Day and included an academic procession with the faculty and students in academic regalia, walking from Jefferson Hall…
  • Commencement

    The first commencement exercises at William & Mary were held in 1700. John Oldmixon's History of Virginia relates: "Several planters came thither in their Coaches, several in Sloops from New-York Pennsylvania, and Maryland. It being a new thing in America to hear Graduates perform their…
  • Commencement Speakers

    Commencement speakers at William & Mary have included a variety of individuals including alumni, presidents of the College, students, professors, politicians, journalists, entertainers, royalty, and many others. Speakers usually are awarded an honorary degree. 18th Century 1792 1792 All of the…
  • Convocations

    Held outside of the Wren Building, Opening Convocation includes a keynote from an honored guest, usually an alumnus, remarks from the university's president, and the formal introduction of the Freshman Class and other new students.
  • Ferguson Seminar in Publishing

    The Ferguson Seminar in Publishing at William & Mary is a program of the Career Center. The first Ferguson Seminar was in October 1970 and it was an annual seminar up through 1972. Beginning in 1973, it became a biennial seminar. Contents
  • Homecoming

    Since the first Homecoming at William & Mary on October 23, 1926, the Alumni Association has hosted the annual reunion for generations of William & Mary alumni, students, family, and friends. Homecoming soon replaced Commencement as the primary alumni gathering each year at William &…
  • Raft Debate

    The Raft Debate is an annual event at William & Mary. "During the event, three survivors of an imaginary shipwreck -- a scientist, a social scientist and a humanist -- achieve a delicate balance between comedy and lecture as they debate the value of their respective disciplines for the rest of…
  • Staff Recognition

    Staff Recognition at a large organization may take any number of forms. Employee Appreciation Luncheon William & Mary celebrated it's first "classified employee recognition luncheon and award program" on June 30, 1976 in the Great Hall of the Wren Building. It recognized employees who had…
  • Sunset Ceremony

    The Sunset Ceremony during William & Mary's Homecoming weekend dates to the early 20th century. On March 20, 1926, it was resolved that the Virginia Alpha of the Phi Beta Kappa take special notice every commencement of the anniversary of the death of Colonel Benjamin S. Ewell (6/19/1894), that…
  • Yule Log Ceremony

    The Yule Log Ceremony at William & Mary is held annually each December shortly before the end of final exams for the Fall semester. The president of the university reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the Vice President of Student Affairs traditionally reads "Twas the Night Before Finals."

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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.