Colleges of William and Mary

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The Colleges of William & Mary was the name of a short-lived educational system in Virginia. It included the College of William and Mary, the Richmond Professional Institute, the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary, Christopher Newport College, and Richard Bland College.

Creation

In 1960, the College of William & Mary had two branch campuses, the Richmond Professional Institute, which it had operated since 1925, and the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary, which it had operated since 1930.

The Virginia General Assembly passed H.B. 466 creating The Colleges of William & Mary on March 3, 1960, and it took effect immediately. The president of the College of William and Mary, Alvin Duke Chandler, was chosen to be the administrative chancellor of the new system, with Davis Young Paschall replacing him as president.

Operation

As chancellor, however, Chandler attempted to manage the day to day operations of all five branches of The Colleges of William & Mary and, by doing so, began to alienate the presidents who served under him. The presidents of the College of William and Mary, the Richmond Professional Institute, and the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary were originally to have more autonomy under the new system than they had had in the past. However, Chandler did not allow that to happen. For example, Chandler required Lewis Webb, president of the Norfolk College, to seek his approval in matters of hiring faculty and staff, granting leaves of absence, reviewing scholarly publications, and budget requests. Chandler also referred to the five college system as his "empire," reflecting his idea of his role at the top. He also maintained an office on the campus of the College of William and Mary, saying that he could not see how "the college chancellor possibly could conduct business away from the campus."

In addition, the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary was granted accreditation in its own right from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a four year college in December 1961 and was renamed the Norfolk College of the Colleges of William & Mary. The Richmond Professional Institute had been accredited in its own right since 1953. As four year schools with their own accreditation, the presidents of each began to resent the level of influence Chandler had in their day to day affairs and began to look for ways to change it.

Dissolution

The Virginia General Assembly decided to split the system into three parts, with The College of William & Mary, the Richmond Professional Institute, and the Norfolk Division each having their own Boards of Visitors and with Richard Bland College and Christopher Newport College remaining under the control of the Board of Visitors of The College of William & Mary. The bill for the dissolution of the system was introduced by Delegate Russell Carneal of Williamburg at the urging of some of the members of the Board of Visitors. However, other members of the Board of Visitors were opposed; there had been a vote of the Board against the dissolution of the system in December 1961. The dissolution became official with the passage of H.B. 156, signed into law by Governor Albertis S.Harrison on February 16, 1962. It specified that the system would be abolished as of July 1, 1962.

Upon its independence, the Norfolk Division became Old Dominion College, now known as Old Dominion University. The Richmond Professional Institute remained an independent state school until 1968, when it merged with the Medical College of Virginia to form Virginia Commonwealth University.

After the dissolution of the system, Alvin Duke Chandler served as the coordinator for Christopher Newport College and Richard Bland College; however, he resigned this position after only four months. He then became Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, an honorary position that dates back to the founding of the College.

References

  • Godson, et. al. The College of William and Mary: A History, 1993 King and Queen Press isbn=0-9615670-4-X
  • Board of Visitors Minutes

Need help?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for an overview of the Special Collections Database, W&M Digital Archive, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, card catalogs, and other tools available to help you find material of interest in the Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center.

Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary.

A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
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.