William & Mary celebrates For the Bold in London

Kensington Palace illuminated in green and gold

kensington_lighting_final_1600px-1.jpgPhoto by Alfred Herczeg

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, parents and friends that comprise the university’s international community.

More than 100 William & Mary faithful gathered inside Drapers’ Hall to laud the extraordinary impact of William & Mary’s most ambitious campaign. London served as a fitting backdrop for the celebration given W&M’s standing as the first U.S. institution of higher education with a royal charter. In honor of the London For the Bold event, Kensington Palace was illuminated in green and gold.

William & Mary’s For the Bold celebration in London paid joyful tribute to our deep international connections, which stem all the way back to our royal roots,” said President Katherine Rowe. “This is a bold moment for everyone in our global university community. We enter the final year of the campaign prepared to take William & Mary to the next level together.

Since the start of the $1 billion For the Bold campaign, more than $864 million has been raised, including $11.5 million from alumni, parents and friends living in countries outside of the U.S. Scholarships — the university’s top campaign priority — was the focus of the celebration. The university has secured more than $266 million for scholarships since July 2011. 

Over the course of the campaign, more than $25 million has been raised for international initiatives through the Reves Center for International Studies and the Global Research Institute. This is providing essential fuel for students to study and conduct research abroad; enabling the university to attract high-caliber international graduate and undergraduate students to the university; and supporting on-campus activities and faculty/student research on globally relevant topics.

During the campaign celebration Leslie McCormack-Gathy ’88 spoke about her father’s philanthropy at William & Mary, which inspired her to also give back. McCormack-Gathy’s father, Mark McCormack ’51, created the McCormack-Reboussin Scholarship for students to study and conduct research in France.

“Since my father’s passing, I decided to nurture the opportunities he provided through the scholarship he established,” said McCormack-Gathy. “I contribute to it to this day so that it continues to grow, so that more students can pursue their passions and find their purpose. To date, I’m proud to say that more than 15 students have been able to study abroad in Francophone countries because of the McCormack-Reboussin initiative.”

The Drapers’ Hall location served as a symbol of the university’s special relationship with the Drapers’ Company of London. For several decades William & Mary has partnered with the company to provide opportunities for students from W&M and universities in the United Kingdom. The company’s support includes the Drapers Scholarship at William & Mary Law School, which allows a W&M alumna or alumnus to receive a fellowship to study law and earn an LL.M. degree at Queen Mary University of London. The company recently created the Drapers Faculty Fellowship for a W&M faculty member to conduct archival research in the U.K. The fellowship begins in 2020.

William & Mary’s growing global footprint is evident, with more than 50 percent of students studying abroad. The university has the highest percentage of undergraduates in study-abroad programs compared to any other public university in the U.S.

The St Andrews Joint Degree Programme is one of several international study opportunities offered at William & Mary. During the program, students spend two years of their undergraduate education at W&M and two in Scotland at the University of St Andrews. The partnership gives students the option of specializing in classical studies, economics, English, film studies, history or international relations.

“We are united by an abiding passion to promote international understanding as a true force for global good,” said Stephen Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies. “We are proud to advance this mission at William & Mary, a university that has produced outstanding global leaders for well over three centuries. We are particularly excited to support these efforts under the dynamic leadership of President Katherine Rowe, who has embraced the international dimensions of our university with impressive energy and genuine enthusiasm.”