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Multicultural Students

Building a community.

Diverse communities breathe life into our campus.  At William & Mary you don’t have to confine yourself to one identity.  You can win a championship at Zable Stadium one week and perform with Middle Eastern Ensemble the next. You can dance with both the Syndicate Hip-Hop Group and the South Asian Banghara Team. It isn’t uncommon for members of the Hispanic Cultural Organization to attend the Annual Pre-Kwanza Celebration. That is the beauty of a liberal arts education. William & Mary is a singularly unique university, and the students who come here belong here. There is a special place for you on our richly diverse campus. 

Learn About Our W&M

 Morgan Dyson
Morgan DysonClass of 2013

Morgan Dyson

Class of 2013

Fun fact: I have seen every episode of Family Guy.
My major

Kinesiology

My favorite place on campus

My favorite place on campus would be the porch right outside of Jamestown South residence hall. I enjoy leaning back in the rocking chairs and watching the sun go down. Occasionally I can catch students participating in a pick-up game of soccer on Jamestown field. It’s the perfect place to relax and take a nap after a long day.

My views on campus diversity

William & Mary is an institution that supports individuality and applauds creativity. No two students are exactly alike. Students can explore new interests and fully immerse themselves in a new culture or activity without any fear of discrimination or adversity. The William & Mary community thrives because diversity is encouraged. William & Mary students come from all walks of life and all contribute in making William & Mary an amazing institution.

My W&M story

I chose W&M because of its history of academic excellence and strong sense of community. I applied Early Decision to W&M in the fall of 2008 and was accepted before Christmas. I wanted to attend an institution that valued me as a person and not as just another student. William & Mary students care deeply about the emotional, mental and professional growth of one another. We want everyone to find their niche and succeed. Devoted professors take pride in their work and are committed not to teaching, but to ensuring that their students are learning. William & Mary is dedicated to the enrichment of character and community. I could not imagine spending my college years at any other institute of higher learning. 

OneTribe.My Family.

I knew William & Mary was right for me the first day I stepped on campus as a bright eyed eleventh grader on her first college tour. However, it was not until I attended the Yule Log Ceremony during my freshman year that I felt a deeper connection with the College. It was during the singing of the alma mater that I fell completely in love with William & Mary. I was surrounded by students who loved W&M! Students who valued the prestige and virtue of the College and would do anything to protect its honor. An overwhelming sense of pride and joy filled my heart and tears of happiness fell down my face. I was where I wanted to be and where I needed to be, I was home.  

 

 Cody Sigmon
Cody SigmonClass of 2013

Cody Sigmon

Class of 2013

Fun fact

I played Daddy Warbucks in my high school's production of the musical Annie.

My major

English major, Linguistics minor.  I am one of two student co-administrators at the Writing Resources Center (WRC) where I have worked as a consultant since my freshman year, and I facilitated for the Center for Student Diversity's Extended Orientation program for my third (and final) year.

My favorite place on campus

Swem Library. Not only do I work at the WRC there, but it is where I do the majority of my schoolwork.  Now that I live off campus, it has become kind of a second home.

My views on campus diversity

While W&M has students from many different walks of life, what I find most compelling about diversity here is that everyone here has rich experiences that make them who they are.  This institution has taught me that diversity is constituted not just by creed or where you're from or what you look like – it’s  how you think, what you do.

My W&M story

I am from a small town in southwestern Virginia called Boones Mill.  Where I'm from, many people don't go to college, and many of those who do choose to pursue education after high school stay close by.  So when I was looking for colleges, I had only the vaguest of ideas about where I wanted to go, and honestly I did not know what the "school of my dreams" would look like if I saw it.

However, when I toured William & Mary, it really spoke to me because I sensed community ties between students.  I remember when visiting in April 2009, students were attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for the most number of people dancing Michael Jackson's Thriller in one place.  I loved how the campus felt very inclusive – no stoplights or businesses cutting through, just trees and squirrels and bricks and students.  It felt private and charming.

And perhaps most importantly, I was ready to be somewhere where my sexuality was not an issue.  I came out as gay my freshman year of high school, and throughout my high school career, I frequently faced bullying and discrimination.  When I came here for ESCAPE in 2009, I saw students tabling for the Lambda Alliance, the College's LGBTQ and allied organization.  The prospect of being at a place where an organization like this was possible was so exciting for me,and I eventually served as Lambda's co-president.

One Tribe. One Family.

You know, it may sound silly, but I remember when I studied abroad at McGill University on exchange my junior year (which certainly was an enjoyable experience), dealing with their administration was an extremely stressful and bureaucratic process.  And then I realized how that was never a problem at William & Mary, because so many people here take such pride in what they do.  From the people who clean the dorms, to the people who plant flowers, grade your papers, deliver your mail, help you find books,there is an overwhelming sense that these people really care about what they do and how they can help you. I think that's what makes this place really special.

 Artisia Green
Artisia GreenAssistant Professor of Theater

Artisia Green

Assistant Professor of Theater

Fun fact

I believe that if I get the first parking space in front of the store in which I plan to shop, I will find exactly what I am looking for and at a price I am willing to pay. It is a belief that hasn’t failed me yet!

What I do on campus

I am a theatre historian, director, and dramaturge in the departments of Theatre, Speech and Dance and Africana Studies. I am also Director of the Africana House Living and Learning Community.

My favorite place on campus

As I am a bookworm, my favorite place on campus is Swem Library. I love the fact that they have massage chairs, food, great customer service and faculty check-out privileges for a year.

My views on campus diversity

In many ways it is affirming to see the efforts that have been made at diversifying the student body at the College and the ways in which the students choose to diversify their intellectual and social interests. I have often told students in my classes as well as the ones that work with me in production that W&M, “our tribe, our family,” really has the potential to be the epitome of the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to in his 1963 address to the nation, “I Have a Dream.” 

My W&M story

I’ll answer this question from the perspective as an alumna of the College. My mother chose W&M. I wanted to go to an out-of-state HBCU. However, she decided that in-state would be the more appropriate option for me and that W&M was the best college in VA to which I should apply. I applied and was rejected. When I called to find out why, I was told that my application was incomplete; the guidance counselor failed to send in my transcripts. The lesson in that is follow-up on everything; leave nothing to chance or someone else’s arrangement. Earl Granger, who was working in the admissions office at the time, instructed me to re-submit my application directly to his attention.  A few weeks later I received my acceptance letter.

OneTribe. One Family.

During my first semester of teaching, a senior sat in my office and politely told me that she didn’t know why she should enroll in an African-American Theatre History course; she was not of African descent and as such the course content had nothing to do with her. I explained that while I understood the natural propensity to gravitate towards that which is familiar, the course presented her with the opportunity to learn more about herself through the eyes of another.  The lesson I hoped she learn was later confirmed by an Asian freshman who took a class with me recently and admitted that her peers queried her about why she was taking a class on August Wilson, an African-American playwright.  She told them that even though she was not African-American she found opportunities to see the similarities between her culture and that of another as well occasions to celebrate the things that made each culture unique. Hearing her articulate what she was able to teach her peers about the importance of a truly well-rounded education was really affirming for me as an educator.  And in that moment, I felt like, “Yes, I made the right choice, W&M is exactly where I should be.”

 Ari Pak
Ari PakClass of 2013

Ari Pak

Class of 2013

Fun fact: My preferred gender pronoun is "Ari" and I longboard.
My major

Women’s Studies and Psychology double major.  I work at Sadler Center and Campus Center as a building manager and hang out at the Daily Grind for some good coffee food and friends.

My favorite place on campus

My favorite place on campus has lots of trees, birds, and critters around. There is also a panoramic view of Lake Matoaka and a dock. I really love to climb onto a high limb, read a book or draw or listen to music, and watch life occur all around.

My views on campus diversity

Diversity on campus is a constant work in process. With the dynamic U.S. political climate, changing W&M class size and demographics, and the expansion of course topics offered, diversity initiatives need to and have been tapping in to all of these things and more found at the College. There are some places intentionally cultivated as diverse which are great to have, but I really love the spaces where diversity flourishes from a raised consciousness about identity, a willingness to share experiences and critique, and working through hard questions together. In these spaces, diversity is not the goal, but is understood as an important component to creating safer and more inclusive dynamics.

My W&M story

My time at the College has fostered invaluable interpersonal relationships with peers, professors, and Williamsburg community members that I never could have imagined. I visited William and Mary during my junior year of high school. As soon as I stepped on campus, I fell in love with the environment and feeling here. People smiled as I walked around, obviously lost, and I realized that any destination that I arrived at would do. I had always hoped to attend W&M but told no one, even through the application and admission process.  Getting that acceptance letter in early December of my senior high school year, I knew I was going where I needed to be. Not only did I know I needed William and Mary, but I knew that W&M needed so many things that I had to offer as well.

One Tribe. One Family.

I was sitting in the Sunken Gardens on a warm day last spring semester with a group of friends. We had guitars, drums, blankets, and picnic foods. We hung out there for a few hours playing music, singing, playing tag, eating, conversing, and inviting strangers to come join us. The warmness that we all felt that day helped affirm that this was the right place for me.

 Sidney Brooks
Sidney BrooksClass of 2015

Sidney Brooks

Class of 2015

Fun fact

I was afforded the opportunity to serve as one of  Santa’s elves, along with other members of the Trbe, in the “12 Days of Giveaways” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. We joyously toted bounties of Christmas gifts into the home of a local deserving family in Hampton, VA.

My major

I intend to major in Biology

My favorite place on campus

The Market Place and the Sadler Center. After an intriguing day of intellectual and inspiring engagement with professors and colleagues, there’s nothing like the rejuvenating feeling of fellowship, laughter and good food.

My views on campus diversity

President Reveley has commented that “the greater the cultural dexterity a person has, the greater his or her capacity to make a difference for the better and to thrive in the 21st century, where living and working amid diversity is the norm.” I would have to say that I firmly agree. I have indeed been exposed to different cultures, and as a result I do feel more well-rounded and prepared to face the challenges of both the world and the work place.

It is also important to note the extremely high acceptance and tolerance we have for one another here at the College. Countless times I have seen the pure and genuine interest people have in getting to know new people and exploring their differences.  In fact we are not only tolerant of these differences, but we transcend them and bond over the common experiences that we share. Such bonding is often illustrated on the College’s “Overheard at William & Mary” Facebook page, where humor is shared campus wide and beyond, regardless of cultural backgrounds, styles of dress, body images or interests. 

My W&M story

I would have to say that my decision to attend the College was nothing short of fate. Never did I imagine that one day I would be in the position that I am with the opportunities that I have been afforded so graciously laid out before me. Although I fully recognize that my mother did absolutely everything in her power to plant the seed of my love for learning and to create the very foundation upon which my success today stands, I also remember my dreams at this age being unrealistic and insurmountable with the future that seemed to await me. I managed to make decent grades, but with many other things fighting for my attention, school was hardly a priority. I knew that college was something positive that I should strive for, but the means by which I would make college a reality seemed to only exist in daydreams.

Fast forward a few years down the line, and I found myself living in Virginia with distant relatives. However as life often teaches us, things don’t always go as planned. Virginia became more than another temporary home for me and these distant relatives soon became a second family. I was in a place where my dreams seemed well within my grasp. The time came to apply for colleges, and as if right on queue God shed some knowledge on me about the phenomenon of fate. Not only was I accepted to a college of such great prestige, a college which I had previously never heard nor dreamed of, but I was offered the opportunity to be in the William & Mary Scholars program. The answer was simple.

One Tribe. One Family.

When I think about how the will of God may seem crazy at times, and how some of our most terrible endurances may seem pointless while they are happening, I remember that the forest is difficult to see through the trees, and that I’m so grateful to have found my forest here at the College of William & Mary.

 John Riofrio
John RiofrioAssistant Professor of Latino and Hispanic Studies

John Riofrio

Assistant Professor of Latino and Hispanic Studies

Fun fact: I play the guitar and sing off-key, but enthusiastically.
What I do on campus

Hispanic Studies Program, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

My favorite place on campus

My favorite place isn't actually a "place."  Every morning I park my car and walk up to campus.  I walk by the Wren Building to the Sunken Garden and up to Washington Hall.  That walk is my favorite part of campus.  It reminds me, every morning, about what a beautiful campus this is, how much history there is here, and it makes me feel very grateful and inspired.

My views on campus diversity

I believe William & Mary's commitment to diversity is real, concrete and palpable.  From the commitment to admitting a diverse, talented student body, to the opportunities for students of all backgrounds to find community and to find their own stories.

My W&M story

I chose W&M (I was lucky enough to have options) because of its sincere commitment to a balanced approach to teaching and research.  It was clear that W&M was serious about expecting its professors to be excellent researchers and outstanding teachers.  I admired the philosophy, felt it was exactly in line with my vision for the kind of professor I wanted to be and thought it would be a rewarding challenge.

One Tribe. One Family.

When my classes are "on," when the students are fully engaged, when I'm deeply into what we're discussing and debating, that's when I'm reminded of why I made the right choice.  It doesn't happen every class, but it happens fairly often throughout the semester.  It is, in my opinion, a mark of what makes W&M a special place.

 Margie Cook
Margie CookAssistant Director, Center for Student Diversity

Margie Cook

Assistant Director, Center for Student Diversity

Fun fact

After I received my undergraduate degree, I joined the Peace Corps, and served in Thailand for 2 years.

What I do on campus

I work with students and others to create workshops and other opportunities to explore and talk about diversity in our lives.  I also oversee our SPAN Peer Mentor Program, the campus Safe Zone Program and work with student organizations whose missions focus on diversity.

My favorite place on campus

My favorite place on campus is anytime or anyplace where great conversations about diversity are happening!  That could be an afternoon at the CSD, during a workshop, hanging out at the Grind, in a colleague’s office – times and places where people are connecting and sharing their experiences.

My views on campus diversity

For me, diversity is not just about who we are – what words or labels we use to describe ourselves – it’s also about the kind of world I want to live in.  Diversity for me is about taking an interest in issues of social justice, because those issues impact us all, regardless of our identities.  What’s so amazing about William & Mary is that there are so many people who want to make a difference.

My W&M story

I actually interviewed at William & Mary twice.  I didn’t get the first position, but when another one became available I applied again because in my first interview, everyone I talked to was so clearly positive about their experience here.  There was a sense of connection and community that made W&M stand out.

 Eric Wong
Eric WongClass of 2014

Eric Wong

Class of 2014

Fun fact: I can speak Cantonese, but can barely speak Mandarin.
My major

Accounting, Mason School of Business.  I am also a student audio/visual technician at the Sadler Center.

My favorite place on campus

My favorite place on campus is Commonwealth Auditorium in the Sadler Center.

My views on campus diversity

William & Mary is unique in its diversity.  Students come from a variety of backgrounds. At the College, we treat everyone with respect.

My W&M story

I chose W&M because my brother also attended the College.  I was drawn to the College because of its prestige and its location.

One Tribe. One Family.

A moment where I knew W&M was the right location was at Opening Convocation.  The excitement of passing through the Wren Building with the student body on the other side was like an out-of-body experience. I knew then and there that William & Mary was home.

 Ryan Smith
Ryan SmithClass of 2013

Ryan Smith

Class of 2013

Fun fact: I am ambidextrous.
My major

Process Management and Consulting Major with a Concentration in Organizational Leadership at the Mason School of Busines

My favorite place on campus

Miller Hall, the Business School. I spend most of my time there because it is where I have most my classes, it provides a quiet place to study and they serve the best food!

My views on campus diversity

Growing.  I think the admission's office has done a great job selecting a plethora of high quality, diverse scholars.  There are many different cultures represented on campus and the community is very open-minded and respectful to other cultures.

My W&M story

I went to a college preparatory school in Charlottesville, VA before attending W&M.  I always wanted to come to W&M because of its academic prestige and beautiful campus.  When I received my acceptance letter I immediately decided I would come here.  On campus, I am the President of the Xi Theta Chapter of the Greek organization Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a defensive back on the William & Mary Tribe Football team.  Throughout my time on campus, I have met my best friends and made lasting friendships that I will have for the rest of my life. 

One Tribe. One Family.

I don't have a particular moment where I thought I made the right choice.  I just love that on campus you can be yourself.  The community is so small and tight-knit that it’s almost like a big family.  

 Chon Glover
Chon GloverAssistant to the President for Diversity and Community Initiatives

Chon Glover

Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Initiatives

Fun fact: I really enjoyed visiting college campuses.
What I do on campus

In my role as the assistant to the president for diversity and community initiatives, I work to build and support a fully diverse campus community.

My favorite place on campus

I love spending time with students all around campus and supporting them at their various student events.

My views on campus diversity

Diversity at William & Mary is becoming a common phrase. Now it is something that is being institutionalized. ... The strategic plan, where diversity emerged as a challenge, is going to be a great benefit to this community. ... A long time ago, there was a phrase used, 'William & Mary is a place of possibilities.' That's what we want, but we want it to be a place of possibilities for everyone.

I've always had a passion for creating opportunities for those who are sometimes the voiceless, whether they are voiceless due to their economic background, their religious background, their sexual orientation; that's just always been intuitively who I am.  As far as exercising that passion at William & Mary,  I think it was the 1949 handbook [that read] 'Who comes here belongs here.' ... We're a tribe. We're one. Everyone's voice means something at this table.

My W&M story

I began my time at the College as director of multicultural affairs and over the recent years I have seen the percentage of entering freshmen from different racial/ethnic backgrounds exceeded 25 percent. That is a very real measure of success. Other measures of success  include the pro-active ways in which current students of color have become ambassadors for the College and the reactions of alumni who recognize that William & Mary is changing. They realize that "a lot of their blood, sweat and tears, and the sacrifices they made, have not gone in vain, that we are becoming the institution they saw that William & Mary could be when they gave us a chance back in the early 1970s.

 Carlton Ray Smith
Carlton Ray SmithClass of 2015

Carlton Ray Smith

Class of 2015

Fun fact: I love to sing.
My major

I'm a potential Government major.

My favorite place on campus

My favorite place is the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater.

My views on campus diversity

The diversity on the campus grows each year.  I love meeting people from all over the world and learning about their cultures.

My W&M story

From the moment I first toured the campus I knew that this was my destiny.  The bond shared between students and professors and the overall atmosphere drew me to W&M.

One Tribe. One Family.

While spending the evening in the library, I thought to myself, "Wow, this is the first time I have been challenged academically to this extent, I can really grow here

 Francis Tanglaos-Aguas
Francis Tanglaos-AguasAssociate Professor of Africana Studies and Theater

Francis Tanglaos-Aguas

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Theater

Fun fact: I was a Pre-Med major before declaring Theater.
What I do on campus

I direct the program of Africana Studies and teach theatre, film and dance courses.

My favorite place on campus

I do walkabouts with my students for my office hours to get some exercise instead of sitting in my office, but also to soak in the natural beauty of the campus. It's as if our conversations become a part of the architecture, so every place we pass by, when others see us talking, everything is transformed. The campus buildings come alive.

My views on campus diversity

Diversity is not only about numbers but more so about getting to know the people around us, with hopes that tolerance can lead to an embrace.

My W&M story

I decided to teach here because of the students who came to my trial class. Every generation has given me a version of those same students I met when I was interviewing. They are warm, curious, quirky and impassioned about making a difference in the world.

One Tribe. One Family.

In the summer of 2012, I brought five students with Professor Wesp to Bali, Indonesia for a research trip. The fact that the trip took place was already the achievement in itself but seeing other W&M people amazed, jaws literally dropped open, was a milestone for me. Finally, they saw firsthand why Bali was my life's work. And knowing they would share it with the rest of William & Mary. That was a pinnacle moment.