James Blair (1656-1743)
James Blair, the first president of the College of William and Mary, was born in Banffshire, Scotland and educated at Marischal College (University of Aberdeen). Blair was president of the College from its founding in 1693 until his death on April 18, 1743. As commissary of the Bishop of London, James Blair had a tremendous influence on the established Virginia church. Blair wed Sara Harrison in 1687.
A statue of James Blair was installed between Tyler and Blair Halls during Homecoming Week 1993 as part of the College’s tercentenary celebration. The statue was sculpted by Lewis Cohen, professor of art and art history at the College of William and Mary. Cohen estimated that he created 25 to 30 models of Blair before finding a look he was happy with.
An oil painting of James Blair by Charles Bridges is owned by the College of William and Mary.
His grandnephew, John Blair, served as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
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