2019 Stories

A Champion Returns

On the heels of her victory tour, Jill Ellis ’88, L.H.D. ’16 is returning to William & Mary for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend 2019.

The mighty Martha Wren Briggs ’55

The legacy of the late Martha Wren Briggs ’55 continues. Though she passed away on July 2, 2017, her impact at William & Mary has never been stronger. In fact, part of it is in the process of being built.

An artist’s gift

William Sterling’s ’59 early interest in art prompted him to become a fine arts major at William & Mary. One of his thoughts before his death on New Year’s Eve last year was to leave a gift that would benefit the university’s Department of Art & Art History.

A kaftan life

Virginia Newton ’10 and Jarryd Hammel ’10 are the co-founders of Kaftan Life, a new e-commerce apparel brand specializing in comfortable, conscientious women’s clothing. They launched in March 2019 with an exclusive collection of ethically-sourced designer kaftans.

Fall Book Roundup

From dodo bird detectives to Cold War espionage to illustrated poetry, William & Mary alumni and professors will keep your noses stuck in books this fall. Read all about their fun, thoughtful, nerve-wracking and enthralling titles in our quarterly book roundup.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute: New Name, Same Mission

The Christopher Wren Association has a new name — the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at William & Mary. The name was introduced in July 2018 as part of a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, which supports lifelong learning centers at 123 institutions of higher learning nationwide.

A wedding gift that keeps on giving

Megan Dorward ’07 is no stranger to the impact and importance of private giving. As a founding member of the Society of 1918, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and a former member of the Annual Giving Board, she has made giving back to William & Mary an important part of her life. Now, she and her fiancé, Richard Brahan, are using their wedding as an opportunity to encourage others to join them in giving back and to create a lasting impact on others’ lives. In lieu of a traditional registry, they have established the Megan Dorward & Richard Brahan Wedding Scholarship and have encouraged their loved ones to make financial contributions to it in celebration of their wedding.

W&M wellness at forefront

One year after opening, students say the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center has left a lasting impact on campus life through services, education, programming and activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Kohlhagens: A W&M love story

Gale Gibson Kohlhagen '69 and Steven Kohlhagen '69 have remained loyal to William & Mary over the years by giving of their time, talent and philanthropic support. They are using planned and outright giving to make a profound impact on William & Mary for generations to come. The Kohlhagens' longtime support of the university includes volunteering, creating a professorship and scholarship and most recently serving on their 50th Reunion class committee earlier this year.

UiPath gives more than $4 million in “robots” to undergraduate students at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business

William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business will provide automation software to 400 incoming students this fall, thanks to a generous commitment of more than $4 million in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology from UiPath. This partnership gives the Mason School the distinction of being the first business school in the country to give a UiPath "robot" to every student.

Roaring Forward

It’s hard to believe that summer break is about to come to a close — although the blistering heat in the ’Burg remains — and the new academic year will begin in a little over a week. There’s so much to look forward to in our final year of the For the Bold campaign and there are countless opportunities to make an impact on the university and all its students, faculty and alumni in the next 10 months.

Beth Comstock '82 to speak at Opening Convocation

Beth Comstock ’82, former vice chair of General Electric, will speak at William & Mary’s 2019 Opening Convocation ceremony. The annual tradition, which takes place the first day of classes, serves to mark the beginning of the academic year and to welcome to university’s newest students to campus. The event, scheduled for 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 28 in the Wren Yard, is free and open to the public.

William & Mary Goes Out to the Ball Game

Tribe Pride was everywhere at William & Mary Night at Nationals Park! More than 2,200 William & Mary alumni, family, students and friends attended this year’s event on July 26.

PBK's homecoming

It started with five teenagers, a December night and the Apollo Room of Colonial Williamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern. William & Mary students John Heath, Thomas Smith, Richard Booker, Armistead Smith and John Jones — ages 13 to 18 — met Dec. 5, 1775, to found a secret society. They named their organization Philosophia Biou Kybernētēs (Greek for “the love of learning is the guide of life”) and referred to it by its initials: Phi Beta Kappa (PΒΚ).

An experience of a lifetime: Terelle Robinson ’17 on D.C. Summer Institutes

For Terelle Robinson ’17, the idea of doing a full-time internship in the nation’s capital was unfathomable. Not only was he a student-athlete on the Tribe track and field team, but he was also a transfer student. Knowing that he only had two years to maximize his William & Mary education, he chose his co-curricular experiences carefully. This is what led him to the William & Mary Washington Center and the D.C. Summer Institutes (DCSI) in 2016, one of four Study in D.C. opportunities.

Gail Williams Wertz ’66, M.A. ’19 Digs Into New Career

It's 94 degrees in Williamsburg and Gail Williams Wertz ’66, M.A. ’19 has been sweating in the bright sun for hours, carefully digging through layers of soil to reveal artifacts. It's a world away from the clean, cool laboratories she's run for most of her career — and she loves it. Gail is currently a full-time graduate student in anthropology and archaeology at William & Mary, returning to her alma mater after an almost 50-year career in biomedical research.

Summer 2019 book roundup

Hiking? Swimming? Traveling? Driving kids around? Whatever you’re doing this summer — whether your feet are planted in the sand or in the stands at baseball practice, there’s always time to enjoy a good book. Find the perfect read in the quarterly roundup of recently published books by William & Mary alumni and faculty.

W&M alumna spreads water safety awareness a year after husband’s death

It was Father’s Day Weekend 2018. Ali Gaidies Joy ’96 and her husband Austin Joy ’93 were enjoying a day with their three kids at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina. After a day of picnicking and searching for shells in the sand, the couple’s 7-year-old twin daughters ventured into the water.

William & Mary celebrates For the Bold in London

William & Mary returned to its royal roots during the May 28 For the Bold campaign celebration in London in honor of the nearly 9,000 alumni, family and friends that comprise the university’s international community.

Moving forward boldly

Create a life you can be proud of. I live by this mantra every single day. For me, this means carving out time creating new memories with my growing family, volunteering and giving back to William & Mary — the place that shaped who I am today.

Here to Help: Karen Joyner ’84 strives to solve food insecurity

For over six years, Karen Joyner '84 has directed the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, trying to translate their limited resources into as much good as possible. Instead of simply solving immediate hunger, she and her staff work to address food insecurity — lacking reliable access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.

Far-reaching impact: Private support of the A&S Annual Fund turns ideas into action at William & Mary

Since the start of the For the Bold campaign, $1 million has been raised through the Arts & Sciences Annual Fund. The fund is classified as unrestricted funding. This type of funding gives the leadership within Arts & Sciences the flexibility to meet the most pressing needs of William & Mary and to invest strategically in innovative initiatives. It also enables the university to deliver a distinct educational experience that inspires creativity, flexibility and forward thinking.

Plumeri Awards Honor Excellence

The Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence are back, and they are more competitive than ever before.

Kathy Hornsby to receive W&M’s 2019 Prentis Award

Kathy Hornsby used what she learned serving with that nonprofit in her work with dozens of other community organizations in the Hampton Roads region throughout the past three decades. For those efforts, plus her close ties and multiple contributions to William & Mary, Hornsby will receive the 2019 Prentis Award on May 21 in the Wren Building.

100 Years of Coeducation at William & Mary

In the fall of 1918, 24 women were admitted as undergraduate students at William & Mary. During the 2018-19 school year, we are celebrating the accomplishments of more than 55,000 alumnae, students, faculty and staff who have followed in their footsteps. In the coming months we will be featuring vignettes from our fall 2018 cover story on the 100 years of coeducation at William & Mary. This is the third in that series.

Everything’s coming up books: The spring book roundup

From an exercise program to gardening resources to fictional flights of fancies, William & Mary faculty and alumni will keep you busy this spring with a bevy of new books. This is the latest in our quarterly series of recently published titles by the William & Mary community.

A Continued Promise: Generous $1 million gift will expand reach of 1693 Scholars Program

The threat of gun violence is built into Julia Gibson’s ’22 consciousness. From the Sept. 11 attacks when she was only a toddler, to the Virginia Tech shooting when she was 7, the threat has been a persistent possibility. When the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting occurred last fall she was an 18-year-old freshman at William & Mary and this time she had something to say.

Students Voices: One Tribe One Day 2019

This past Tuesday, William & Mary hosted its sixth annual global celebration of giving back and paying it forward, and it featured a campus carnival for students and faculty and events for alumni around the world. Mixed among the fun was the spirit of generosity that makes this W&M tradition so special. One Tribe One Day, after all, isn’t just about the carnival; it’s about the connections, which bring together the Tribe community for the common goal of giving back.

Alumnus Shannon addresses a career spent in foreign service

Alumnus Tom Shannon ’80, diplomat, former ambassador, former acting United States Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State, returned to his alma mater for three days recently that were instructive and informative for everyone he encountered, but hardly restful.

New signs identify William & Mary buildings named for women

A small change is making a big difference in the visibility of the identities of women who have contributed to the history of William & Mary. Sparked by the committee in charge of W&M’s 100 years of coeducation commemoration spanning 2018-2019, new signs bearing the full names of five buildings and an athletic field named in honor of women were placed on campus over winter break.

100 Years of Coeducation at W&M

In the fall of 1918, 24 women were admitted as undergraduate students at William & Mary. During the 2018-19 school year, we are celebrating the accomplishments of more than 55,000 alumnae, students, faculty and staff who have followed in their footsteps. In the coming months we will be featuring vignettes from our fall 2018 cover story on the 100 years of coeducation at William & Mary. This is the second in that series.

Beyond the Wall: W&M entrepreneurs turn names into faces

It’s unmissable. Right inside the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center located in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, sits logo after logo, printed on one of the center’s walls. Each logo represents a company founded or led by William & Mary alumni, and if you get close enough, you can see their names and majors. The wall was deliberately placed in the middle of the center as a continual reminder that William & Mary has a rich history of alumni entrepreneurs.

Natalie Revers ’18 takes the crown in statewide cherry blossom competition

Natalie Revers ’18 has been named Cherry Blossom Princess by the Society of Virginia and will represent the state during the National Conference of State Societies' Cherry Blossom Princess Program which takes place during Washington D.C.'s National Cherry Blossom Festival March 20 to April 14.

“The Conqueror” fights on the festival circuit

In Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, heroes don’t wear capes. They wear boxing gloves. In his first outing, film producer Bradford Downs ’13, along with director Timothy Blackwood has created “The Conqueror,” a short film centered on Jerome Conquest, a Philadelphia maintenance worker and professional boxer struggling to make a better life for his family in one of the roughest neighborhoods in America.

Accepting the Challenge to Give: Q&A with Aili Espigh ’17

The Society of 1918 is William & Mary's giving society by women, for women. It supports the Alumnae Initiatives Endowment, which will fund enriching programming that brings W&M women together to strengthen their bonds with one another and with alma mater. Aili Espigh ’17 is the youngest charter member.

Pride points and participation

After a momentous Charter Day weekend — which included the inauguration of President Rowe, the re-investiture of Chancellor Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98 and a celebration of 326 years of William & Mary history — we are ready to move forward with renewed enthusiasm.

Investing in the future: Four inspiring stories from Charter Day

In 1693, King William and Queen Mary signed a charter to found a college across the Atlantic in a distant overseas colony. Signing that charter, they couldn’t have imagined what the next 326 years had in store for their little Virginia college, but they knew they wanted to create an institution that would last “for ever.” “For ever” — even at the university’s birth with centuries of uncertainty ahead, its founders put no limits on William & Mary’s future.

AidData's BenYishay discusses impact of $1.1M award from the Cloudera Foundation to support their GeoQuery program

Ariel BenYishay, AidData’s (aiddata.org) chief economist and associate professor of economics, shares his thoughts on the Cloudera Foundation’s award. AidData is a research lab located within William & Mary’s Global Research Institute. BenYishay reflects on how this new partnership will help advance the work AidData has been pioneering for over a decade.

Turning to help

Making lemonade from lemons. This proverbial phrase certainly applies to Rachel Becker ’19. Against the odds, the William & Mary senior has turned a challenging childhood into a compassionate mission to help others. Now, thanks in part to a Parents Fund scholarship, she is well on her way to pursuing her dream to support child and family rights.

100 years of coeducation at William & Mary

In the fall of 1918, 24 women were admitted as undergraduate students at William & Mary. During the 2018-19 school year, we are celebrating the accomplishments of more than 55,000 alumnae, students, faculty and staff who have followed in their footsteps. In the coming months we will be featuring vignettes from our fall 2018 cover story on the 100 years of coeducation at William & Mary. This is the first in that series.

Winter 2019 Book Roundup

Whether you’re warm inside by a fire or taking a long ride on a ski lift, winter is the perfect season to curl up with a book. Have no fear; William & Mary alumni and faculty have readers of any age and interest covered with a bevy of new books.

Letters of gratitude: Jeffrey and Lynn Winter created the Ethan S. Winter Biology Opportunity Fund to honor their son

The thank you letters were all addressed to Ethan Winter ’14. One after one, each student had written to thank Winter for helping to make their research possible at William & Mary. Winter’s parents found the letters in fall 2016 while cleaning out his apartment after he passed away at the age of 24. Since finding those letters, the Winters have made it their personal mission to pass Ethan’s generosity on to others.

Professor tackles Facebook

Over the last several years, Facebook has been a lightening rod for controversy, as scholars and pundits alike debate the social media platform’s impact on civil discourse, both in the United States and beyond. With a new $50,000 grant from Facebook, Associate Professor of Government Jaime Settle and her students hope to determine how users process political information encountered there and why they engage with different types of content, including fake news.

W&M women talk TV

At the 12th Annual W&M Global Film Festival costume designer Kim Wilcox ’88, comedy writer Jill Twiss ’98, drama writer Chitra Sampath ’06, and network creative director Kristin Boos ’08 gathered for a discussion with Megan Gilbride ’00 about their varied roles in the television industry.

The Namesake

“This building … is named in honor of one of the truly great alumnae of our college,” said Professor Caroline Sinclair. “One whose intelligence, energy, character and professional skill set an example for all who will enter these halls with purpose.” Sinclair was speaking in late 1963 at the opening of Adair Hall, William & Mary’s new women’s gymnasium.

It Came From Beyond

What do you get when you combine the 1950s, space, musical theater and a comic book? You get Cornell Christianson’s ’74 newest off-Broadway musical, “It Came From Beyond.”