Remarks of W. Taylor Reveley III Sept. 5, 2008

Following are the prepared remarks of W. Taylor Reveley III delivered during a press conference announcing his appointment as the 27th President of the College of William and Mary. - Ed.

It’s been six and a half months since I left the country’s oldest law school suddenly one February morning to walk five long blocks to the Brafferton. During the ensuing months, I’ve been deeply impressed, often moved, by many dimensions of William & Mary — the most striking of which has been the devotion to the College of so very many people both on campus and across the country. Even during the turmoil of last winter, this devotion was constant. It provided the bedrock on which the College stood while the storm of controversy raged. William & Mary people are committed first and foremost, always, to the abiding good of the College. This is an enormous strength for the university.

It’s also been very nurturing to have so many people offer their help and support to me personally — faculty and staff, students and their parents, alumni and friends of the College, people in state government, people with no prior ties to the College. During those days last winter and spring when being the interim president most resembled a grueling civic duty, this encouragement truly made a difference. 

My wife Helen and my children have been bastions of aid and comfort. So have Provost Feiss, the deans and vice presidents, leaders of the faculty, staff, and student body, and alumni, as well as my old friends from the Law School. Senator Tommy Norment and Mayor Jeanne Zeidler have been wonderful. President Tim Sullivan has been an abiding source of counsel and encouragement. This is just to name a few. 

Those of us devoted to William & Mary are stewards in our time of one of America’s iconic institutions. The story of the College of William & Mary is the story of our country — beginning almost 100 years before its founding and continuing powerfully into the 21st century. Over the centuries, William & Mary has survived the scourge of wars and the ravages of economic loss. It has come to stand among the most academically distinguished institutions of higher education in the United States. It also stands among the most historically storied American institutions of any sort. William & Mary is, as well, among the universities with the greatest natural and architectural beauty.   To be among its leaders is to be aware of the enormous responsibility of our stewardship for this remarkable place.

Mr. Rector and members of the Board of Visitors, I thank you for the opportunity and the privilege of serving William & Mary. Just as I have not been merely a caretaker while interim president, neither will I be simply a transitional president during the next few years. I will do my level best to make a serious difference for the better at the College of William & Mary as its 27th president.