Department of Biology

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The Department of Biology at the College of William and Mary "is committed to excellence in research and teaching in the life sciences, from molecules to organisms to ecosystems, and to the development of scientifically informed citizens. The Faculty of teacher-scholars collaborates with students to foster critical thinking, professional skills, and intellectual independence, and actively promotes opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to conduct original research. The Faculty values collegiality and the pursuit of academic connections across disciplines, and faculty members place a priority on being accessible to students and colleagues as a means of fostering academic goals. The Department creates a supportive and nurturing environment for faculty and student development and encourages their participation in professional societies and college governance."[1]

Although organized as a department in 1905, the Biology developed, according to Donald Davis, from the original chair of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics, in the seventeenth century. The seventh chair, William Small, was the "first notable scientist of the faculty." (Davis) Small served as chair from 1758 to 1764 and had under his tutelage, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

"The Romance and Renaissance of the College of William and Mary in Virginia," a 1924 fundraising publication, expressed the great need of William and Mary for a a building and equipment for the Department of Biology to replace the Penniman Building then in use for makeshift laboratory space (as well as various other uses). The publication cited $150,000 for a building, $25,000 for equipment, and $200,000 for an endowment for salaries, department library, museum and lecture foundation for a total of $375,000.

Reference

  • Department of Biology webpage, http://web.wm.edu/biology/, accessed 18 February 2009.
  • Donald W. Davis, “Biology at William and Mary,” Alumni Gazette 7.3 (1940): 6-7, 27-32. University Archives Subject File, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
  • Biology Folder, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
  • "The Romance and Renaissance of the College of William and Mary in Virginia," Endowment Association, 1924, p. 22.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

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

  • Has instituted an advanced course in bacteriology FH, 10/14/1913, pg. 3.
  • Biology Club big success FH, 5/7/1921, pg. 1.
  • Club meeting FH, 5/21/1921, pg. 5.
  • Prof. Grimes discovers new plan in county FH, 10/7/1921, pg. 7.
  • Students name club after John Clayton FH, 11/18/1921, pg. 2.
  • Students change name of club in memory of Dr. Grimes to the Clayton-Grimes Biological Club FH, 2/3/1922, pg. 5.
  • D.W Davis on evolution FH, 2/2/1923, pg. 1, 8.
  • Progress in sciences reaches high point AG, 4/30/1934, pg. 1, 4.
  • To give open house for students FH, 3/31/1936, pg. 1.
  • Medical aptitude tests scheduled FH, 11/17/1936, pg. 2.
  • Phi Sigma sets feeding schedule for exhibitees FH, 4/5/1938, pg. 1, 5.
  • Biology open house set FH, 3/21/1939, pg. 1.
  • Open house has marine exhibit FH, 4/18/1939, pg. 7.
  • Biology at William and Mary AG, March 1940, pg. 6-7, 27-32 (pictures).
  • Holds annual exhibit FH, 4/22/1952, pg. 1.
  • High school men take science test FH, 4/22/1952, pg. 10.
  • W&M to participate in training program at Duke FH, 2/10/1953, pg. 5.
  • College conducts annual science contest FH, 3/31/1953, pg. 8.
  • Winners in contest revealed FH, 4/28/1953, pg. 3.
  • Faculty, 1953 AG, Dec. 1953, pg. 12-14.
  • High School seniors vie in College contest FH, 3/23/1954, pg. 3.
  • Open house FH, 3/29/1955, pg. 4.
  • Wildlife lectures present series of films, speeches FH, 10/9/1956, pg. 5.
  • William Horsley Gantt speaks on reflexes FH, 11/15/1957, pg .12.
  • Pettingill speaks on birds FH, 1/15/1957, pg. 12 (picture).
  • Sponsors science contest FH, 4/23/1957, pg. 11.
  • W&M shows Audubon Series FH, 9/23/1958, pg. 12.
  • Audubon program explores Canada FH, 10/7/1958, pg. 10.
  • Audubon series shows films on 'Earthquake Lake' FH, 11/4/1958, pg. 6 (picture).
  • Ernest Edwards presents wildlife movie FH, 3/1/1960, pg. 5.
  • National Audubon society sponsors wildlife program FH, 10/7/1960, pg. 2.
  • Jungle animals, primitive Tribes highlight Audubon screen tour FH, 10/14/1960, pg. 6.
  • Mounts displays FH, 4/28/1961, pg. 14.
  • Sponsors contest FH, 5/12/1961, pg. 2.
  • Future scientists enter contests FH, 4/27/1962, pg. 10.
  • Offers Masters FH, 2/15/1963, pg. 1.
  • Black receives two-year science grant for study in biochemistry FH, 2/15/1963, pg. 10.
  • High School pupils vie for scholarships FH, 3/8/1963, pg. 12.
  • Nine High School Boys win Science awards FH, 3/22/1963, pg. 12.
  • Research in population AG, Dec. 1963, pg. 8-9.
  • Dr. Richard Terman’s ecological studies of deer mice AG, Oct. 1967, pg. 15-18.
  • Dr. J. T. Baldwin grows rare trees & plants on campus AG, Dec. 1967, pg. 12-14.
  • Garnett T. Brooks, Jr. studies Crapaud, Dominican frog AG, Dec. 1968, pg. 8-9.
  • Martin Mathes grows test-tube maples AG, Oct. 1969, pg. 25.
  • Plaque honors Donald W. Davis, professor & chairman of dept. from 1916-1950 C, 4/23/1970, pg. 6.
  • Holds seminar by Harry Jitts from Cronulla, Australia on "The Relation of Radiant Energy to *Photosynthesis in Marine Plankton" C, 11/11/1971, pg. 1.
  • Reestablishes Phi Sigma, biology honorary C, 4/27/1972, pg. 6.
  • Department Chairman, Mitchell A. Byrd, cited in Osprey story WMN, 9/26/1972, pg. 6
  • Bio-bureau instigated AG, Dec. 1972, pg. 3.
  • Initiates "Bio-bureau" informational center for Wmsbg-James City County public schools WMN, 12/5/1972, pg. 1.
  • Pi Sigma sponsors talk by Dr. Harry Meyer, Rubella researcher WMN, 2/20/1973, pg. 1.
  • R.M. Eakin to discuss Darwin & Mendel WMN, 4/29/1975, pg. 2.
  • Botanists form plant "Rescue Squad" WMN, 4/29/1975, pg. 3.
  • Students participated in VA Academy of Science meeting WMN, 5/13/1975, pg. 2.
  • To receive funds from National Institute of Health to study population control mechanisms WMN, 6/16/1975, pg. 2.
  • Continues plant rescue service WMN, 11/25/1975, pg. 7.
  • Eric Pengelley to present lecture on "Biological Tiemkeeping" WMN, 12/2/1975, pg. 1.
  • "Bio-bureau" created for local schools WMN, 1/20/1976, pg. 1-2.
  • Stewart Ware named dept. head WMN, 3/2/1976, pg. 1.
  • Plant rescue continues WMN, 3/2/1976, pg. 4.
  • To have seminar on animal size WMN, 3/16/1976, pg. 2.
  • Sponsors seminar on bioethical problems WMN, 3/23/1976, pg. 5.
  • George Gorbsky '76 biology major, receives NSF fellowship and scholarships WMN, 4/27/1976, pg. 3.
  • Organze plant-sitting service WMN, 1/18/1977, pg. 6; AG, Feb. 1977, pg. 8 Cover.
  • Faculty ingenuity saves courses WMN, 10/20/1981, pg. 1, 6.
  • Daffodil bulbs donated by Dr. John L. Traver WMN, 10/19/1982, pg. 6 (picture).
  • Dr. Bryd helps save endangered birds AG, Feb. 1983, pg. 1 (picture).
  • 3-D movie "shades" aid botantists WMN, 3/1/1983, pg. 7.
  • Oak Ridge group develops ECAT Scanner WMN, 11/15/1977, pg. 4.
  • Cactus garden planted WMN, 10/3/1978, pg. 3.
  • Cacti stolen FH, 10/20/1978, pg. 2.
  • What makes cats tick?! WMN, 11/14/1978, pg. 5.
  • Non-Major Courses WMN, 3/13/1979, pg. 5.
  • Forum about IN VITRO Fertilization Ethics WMN, 10/14/1980, pg. 3.
  • Dr. Wayne A. Moyer of the National Assoc. of Biology Teachers to speak for seminar WMN, 3/22/1983, pg. 3.
  • Science: the best kept secret at W&M AG, April, 1984, pg. 12, 13 (picture).
  • Rediscovered maize preserved here in green house cultivation WMN, 9/26/1984, pg. 4.
  • Dr. David West to talk on "Pupal color dimorphism in swallowtail butterflies" WMN, 10/31/1984, pg. 2.
  • Sponsoring a display of bonsai WMN, 11/13/1985, pg. 3.
  • Andrew Greller to present lecture WMN, 1/22/1986, pg. 4.
  • To hold plant sale WMN, 10/1/1986, pg. 4.
  • Plant sale successful WMN, 12/3/1986, pg. 6.
  • Herbarium holdings reach 50,000 WMN, 5/13/1987, pg. 1 (picture).
  • To hold plant sale WMN, 9/30/1987, pg. 4.
  • $1 million Hughes Institute award funds biological sciences program WMN, 6/7/1989, pg. 1 (picture).
  • Teaching the celebration of life: William and Mary's department of biology AG, Summer 1989, pg. 20-23 (pictures).
  • Sponsors bulb sale for Tercentenary tulip WMN, 6/27/1990, pg. 3.
  • Offers William and Mary tulip for sale AG, Sept. 1990, pg. 23.
  • Bruce Spiegelman lecture scheduled WMN, 9/12/1990, pg. 3.
  • Group opposes biology dissections FH, 11/2/1990, pg. 5.
  • Gold receipts to fund plantings WMN, 12/5/1990, pg. 7.
  • Alumni support Biology program WMN, 2/6/1991, pg. 3.
  • Bulb sale to benefit scholarship endowment WMN, 8/21/1991, pg. 3.
  • Offers William and Mary tulip for sale AG, Oct. 1991, pg. 12.
  • Biology seminar features Robert A. Wallace WMN, 2/12/1992, pg. 1.
  • Scholarships to honor visit of Nobel Laureate Gertrude Elion WMN, 2/19/1992, pg. 1, 7 (picture).
  • Students to present at ASM meeting WMN, 3/4/1992, pg. 2.
  • Nobel Laureate Gertrude Elion inspires young scientists WMN, 3/4/1992, pg. 2 (picture).
  • Annette Weimer to give Mahatma Gandhi Freedom lecture WMN, 4/8/1992, pg. 1 (picture).
  • The Niche is five years old WMN, 11/4/1992, pg. 3.
  • Biology students seek better anti-bacterial vaccines WMN, 11/18/1992, pg. 5.
  • Department salutes Biology alumni WMN, 2/3/1993, pg. 5.
  • An inquiry into the undergraduate sciences at William and Mary leads to some exciting findings AG, Winter 1993, pg. 23-29 (pictures).
  • Bacteria deterrent found FH, 11/19/1993, pg. 2.
  • Buy William and Mary plants for scholarship and greenhouse support WMN, 5/4/1994, pg. 12.
  • Offers plants for sale AG, June 1994, pg. 23.
  • Mapping the mind focus of Margaret Saha research WMN, 8/17/1994, pg. 1, 3 (picture).
  • Students present projects FH, 9/2/1994, pg. 6.
  • Undergraduate research highlighted at symposium WMN, 9/14/1994, pg. 5 (picture).
  • Stephen Jay Gould speaks about Darwin FH, 11/18/1994, pg. 1, 4 (picture).
  • Catching up with our genetic past WMN, 7/27/1995, pg. 1, 4.
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium WMN, 8/18/1995, pg. 3.
  • The growing appeal of pre-med WMN, 9/20/1995, pg. 1, 4 (picture).
  • Course set in tropics FH, 12/1/1995, pg. 7, 9.
  • Back and forth, and back again: the peppered moth WMN, 9/18/1996, pg. 1, 4 (pictures).
  • It’s not just a science fair anymore FH, 9/27/1996, pg. 7 (picture).
  • Applicants wanted for Biology award WMN, 3/17/1997, pg. 6.
  • Aviary takes flight WMN, 3/26/1997, pg. 4, 5 (pictures).
  • Camp seeks assistants FH, 4/24/1998, pg. 9.
  • Research grant awarded FH, 9/25/1998, pg. 2 (picture).
  • Grant spurs expansion of science programs WMN, 9/17/1998, pg. 1, 7 (picture).
  • Jerry Springer live at W&M – Well, sort of WMN, 12/10/1998, pg. 3 (picture).
  • Lost and found plant collection WMN, 2/18/1999, pg. 6 (picture).
  • College professors fight for bald eagles FH, 9/24/1999, pg. 9.
  • Biologists urge government to keep Bald Eagle on endangered list WMN, 9/30/1999, pg. 2 (picture).
  • Program takes students to Biosphere FH, 10/1/1999, pg. 9 (picture).



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The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.