Celebrating the Legacies of Professors Randy Coleman and Clay Clemens ’80 

From William & Mary’s founding, our faculty members are the cornerstone of our mission to achieve academic excellence as a place of universal study for all time coming. Our professors shape not only the minds of our students, but also their future successes and lifelong connections once they leave campus.   

This year, we celebrate the remarkable careers of two such impactful educators, professors Randy Coleman and Clay Clemens ’80, each of whom are retiring after decades of dedicated service. Their contributions have enriched the academic landscape at the Alma Mater of the Nation and have left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of countless students, peers and alumni.  

To honor their legacies, an endowment and an award have been established in their names. 


Randy Coleman Chemistry Mentorship Endowment 

coleman-randy-thumbnail-2021.jpegSince joining the chemistry faculty in 1970, Randy has been an inspiring instructor and notable campus innovator. He advanced the professional development of several generations of students through courses spanning a freshman seminar, organic chemistry, natural product chemistry, biochemistry and neurochemistry.   

Few others can match Randy’s engaging presence in the classroom and contributions through establishing the pre-major and pre-medical advising program. Randy is the only chemistry faculty member to receive both the Thomas Jefferson Award for significant service through their personal activities, influence and leadership to William & Mary and the Thomas Ashley Graves Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching. Furthermore, Randy has been recognized externally for outstanding academic advising and campus technology innovations.  

The Randy Coleman Chemistry Mentorship Endowment will support faculty mentoring of chemistry majors and our new Peer Retention & Inclusive Mentoring Experience (PRIME) for all students enrolled in first-year chemistry courses.  The endowment was established by a group of Randy’s former students to honor his impact at W&M for more than 50 years.

From regularly mentoring students on casual walks around campus to integrating faculty into academic advising and establishing our remarkably effective pre-medical advising program, Randy’s impact on students beyond the formal classroom inspired our new mentorship endowment. The endowment will establish permanent funding for department mentorship activities designed to support hundreds of W&M STEM majors in reaching their career objectives. Support the endowment. 

Professor Clay Clemens Award 

clemens1.jpgClay Clemens ’80, Chancellor Professor of Government, embodies the essence of what it means to be a William & Mary educator — intelligent, engaging and kind-hearted. After nearly 40 years at William & Mary, he has been a bastion of excellence in education and dedication to community.  

The Clay Clemens Award will be presented annually to a graduating senior who exemplifies the same spirit of community engagement, inclusivity, warmth, and good humor that Clay has demonstrated throughout his tenure. The recipient will be someone who goes above and beyond to foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie among their peers. It will be awarded each spring during the Candlelight Ceremony where Professor Clemens has been a visible fixture for many years. 

The award was established by one of Clay’s former students, John Greenwood ’98. The first Clemens Award was presented to Taylor Fox ’24 during the 2024 Candlelight Ceremony, with Professor Clemens in attendance. 

His classes and office hours were not just about acquiring knowledge, they were also transformative experiences filled with laughter, intellectual stimulation and genuine compassion. This award will be a testament to Clay’s enduring legacy at William & Mary. It will serve as a reminder of the impact one individual can have on the lives of others and the importance of nurturing a community built on mutual respect and understanding. 

The Clemens Award will forever recognize those in the William & Mary family who embody his spirit and values in our community. Support the award. 

For more information, please contact Gerald Bullock M.Ed. ’97, executive director of development, Arts & Sciences, at 757-221-1023 or igbull@wm.edu.