The College of William and Mary currently opens the academic year with an Opening Convocation. The Opening Convocation was moved to the beginning of the academic year in 1962, replacing the fall Honors Convocation which was previously held in October. It was restarted in 1993 with the College's 300th anniversary, and marks the beginning of the new academic session. Held on the Sunken Garden side of the Wren Building, it includes a keynote from an honored guest, usually an alumnus, remarks from the university's president, and the formal introduction of the Freshman Class and other new students. Campus tradition is for the new students to pass through the central hallway of the Wren Building, where they are welcomed by William and Mary students, staff, and faculty on the other side.
Special Convocations are also held by the university and have been occasions in the past for marking visits of notable individuals to William and Mary and often awarding honorary degrees to individuals including Georgia O'Keeffe, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, and many others.
Opening Convocation Speakers
1963 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1964 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1965 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1966 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1967 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1968 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1969 Davis Y. Paschall, W&M President
1971 Thomas A. Graves - W&M President
1972-1992 Opening Convocation not held during these years
1993 Maya Angelou – Author and Poet. First Opening Convocation since 1971
1994 Charles McDowell – Political Columnist
1995 David McCullough – Author and Historian
1996 Father Charles A. Kelly - campus minister from St.Bede’s Catholic Church
1997 Mark D. Gearan – Peace Corps Director
1998 William Barr – former US Attorney General
1999 Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist
2000 Andrew Zawacki, class of '94
2001 Michael Powell, '85, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
2002 David Brown ’78 - Space Shuttle Columbia Astronaut (died Feb 2003 when Columbia shuttle disintegrated during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere)
2003 James B. Comey ’82 - former U.S. Deputy Attorney General
2004 Sarah Kemp Brady, ’64 – Political Activist
2005 John Lewis – U.S. Congressman
2006 Warren W. Buck, Ph.D., '76- former chancellor of the University of Washington-Bothell and prominent physicist
2007 Dr. Michelle Whitehurst-Cook ’75 - Associate Dean for admissions to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School
2008 Rhian Horgan ’99 - JP Morgan executive
2009 James B. Comey ’82 - former U.S. Deputy Attorney General
2010 Henry C. Wolf '64, J.D. '66 - Rector of the College of William and Mary
Material in the Special Collections Research Center
- University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
The SCRC welcomes various forms of support from friends and supporters. Here at the SCRC Wiki we welcome visitors to share what you may know about our collections as well as the traditions, history, and people of William & Mary based on your research or personal experience.
If you would like to share your memories or what you have discovered while using the SCRC's collections, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-221-3090. We look forward to hearing from you.
- Live from Convocation photos from the College of William & Mary on Flickr
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 William & Mary Libraries Special Collections Research Center.
|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 William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in 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.|