Rector of the Board of Visitors

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The Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary elect a Rector, Vice-Rector, and Secretary from its membership. The duties and responsibilities of the Rector are described in the board's by-laws.

Rectors of the Board of Visitors


1693-95 The Rev. James Blair, Williamsburg

1695-96 Capt. Miles Cary, Warwick County

1696-97 John Smith, Gloucester County

1697-98 The Rev. Stephen Fouace, York County

1698-1702 unknown

1702-03 William Byrd I, (Richmond) Henrico County

1703-04 Lt. Gov. Francis Nicholson, Williamsburg

1704-05 Miles Cary, Warwick County

1705 Lt. Gov. Francis Nicholson, Williamsburg

1706-15 unknown

1715-16 Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood, Williamsburg

1716 Philip Ludwell, James City County

1717-28 unknown

1728-29 The Rev. James Blair, Williamsburg

1729 Richard Kennon, Charles City County

1730-35 unknown

1736 Henry Armistead, Williamsburg

1737-56 unknown


1757 William Lightfoot, Charles City County

1758-59 Peyton Randolph, York County

1759-60 Gov. Francis Fauquier, Williamsburg

1760-65 unknown

1766-67 Dudley Digges, York County

1767-69 James M. Fontaine, Gloucester County

1769-70 Gov. Norbourne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, Williamsburg

1771 William Byrd III, Charles City

1772-78 unknown

1779-81 or 82 Judge John Blair, Williamsburg

1782-84 Dudley Digges, Williamsburg

1784 Ralph Wormeley, Middlesex

1785-87 unknown

1788 Samuel Griffin, Williamsburg

1789-90 St. George Tucker, Williamsburg

1791-92 unknown

1793 Philip Barraud, Williamsburg

1794-99 unknown


1800 Joseph Prentis, Williamsburg

1801-12 unknown

1812-13 Robert N. Nelson, Williamsburg

1813-1814 Robert Saunders, Williamsburg

1814-1815 William Browne, Williamsburg

1815 Robert G. Smith, Richmond

1816-17 unknown

1817 James Semple, Williamsburg

1818-19 unknown

1819 Thomas G. Smith, Middlesex

1820 Burwell Bassett, Williamsburg

1821-24 unknown

1825 William Browne, Williamsburg

1826-27 unknown

1827-28 John Tyler, Williamsburg

1828-29 or 30 John Page, Williamsburg

1830-36 unknown

1836-37 Edmund Ruffin, Prince George County

1837-39 Thomas Martin, James City County

1839-40 Robert McCandish, Williamsburg

1840-42 President John Tyler, Williamsburg and Washington

1842-44 Thomas G. Peachy, Williamsburg

1844-45 Robert McCandish, Williamsburg

1845-46 John B. Christian, Williamsburg

1846-48 Robert McCandish, Williamsburg


1848-62 John Tyler, Charles City County

1862-65 no incumbent

1865-69 Bishop John Johns, Alexandria

1869-71 William H, MacFarland, Richmond

1871-83 James Lyons, Richmond

1883-90 Judge. W.W. Crump, Richmond

1890-98 Gen. William B. Taliaferro, Gloucester County

1898-1905 Dr. John W. Lawson, Isle of Wight


1905-18 Robert Morton Hughes, Norfolk

1918-40 James Hardy Dillard, Charlottesville

1940-41 G. Walter Mapp, Accomac

1941-46 J. Gordon Bohannon, Surry County

1946-48 A. Herbert Foreman, Norfolk

1948-52 Oscar L. Shewmake, Richmond


1952-62 James M. Robertson, Norfolk

1962-64 Judge C. Sterling Hutcheson, Boydton

1964-66 James B. Woodward, Jr., Newport News

1966-68 W. Brooks George, Richmond

1968-70 Walter G. Mason, Lynchburg

1970-72 Ernest Goodrich, Surry County

1972-76 R. Harvey Chappell, Jr., Richmond

1976-78 John R. L. Johnson, Jr., Chadds Ford, PA

1978-82 Dr. Edward E. Brickell, Virginia Beach

1982-84 Herbert V. Kelly, Newport News

1984-87 Anne Dobie Peebles, Carson

1987-93 Hays T. Watkins, Richmond

1993-95 James W. Brinkley, Baltimore, MD

1995-97 James B. Murray, Jr., Keene, VA

1997-2000 A. Marshall Acuff, Jr., Riverside, CT


2000-2002 J. Edward Grimsley, Richmond, VA

2002-2004 Donald N. Patten, Newport News, VA

2004-2006 Susan Aheron Magill, Alexandria, VA

2006-2009 Michael K. Powell, Fairfax Station, VA

2009-2011 Henry C. Wolf, Norfolk, VA

2011- Jeffery B. Trammell, Washington, D.C.

Rector's Badge and Chain of Office

The Rector's Badge and Chain of Office are worn by the Rector of the College of William and Mary at official functions, such as Charter Day and Commencement. The badge contains the coat of arms of the College and is suspended from the W&M cipher. The seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the arms of the London Company are engraved on the chain. Former Rector Anne Dobie Peebles, class of 1944, gifted the badge and chain of office to the College in 1987. The badge and chain of office were hand-crafted by the firm of Thomas Fattorini of Birmingham, England as a companion piece to the Chancellor’s badge and chain of office.

External Links

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Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at William & 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 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.