It’s a special month for William & Mary’s most famous alumnus.
Friday marks the birthday of Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743) and later this month (April 26th) marks the 250th anniversary of the nation’s third president completing his studies at the College. Both Colonial Williamsburg and the nation’s second-oldest college are noting this anniversary in unique ways.
In honor of the anniversary, Colonial Williamsburg has launched a blog that explores whether Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on education are still relevant today. Each week, a quote from Jefferson’s writings on education will be added to encourage online discussion, according to a press release Thursday from Colonial Williamsburg. In letters to such Founding Fathers as George Wythe and James Madison and writings on the state of the Commonwealth, Jefferson ponders questions such as what students should read, the importance of public libraries and whether all people should pay taxes to support public education.
“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty,” Jefferson wrote to James Madison, December 20, 1787. “Does education protect liberty?"
Past blog subjects have included Jefferson’s thoughts on war, the military draft, the meaning of the Constitution, resistance to authority and the accountability of public officials. According to the release, quotes from Jefferson’s writings on education will be added through the end of the summer when Mr. Jefferson will turn his thoughts to the upcoming presidential election.
In addition to the blog, William & Mary is also marking Jefferson’s birthday and the 250th anniversary of his time as a student at William & Mary.
On Friday, the College will host an AVAdventure, a highly interactive audio adventure that is a combination of podcasts and flashmobs. AVAdventure productions are based around audio files, which provide participants with directions, dialogue, music and more as they engage together in live-action stories. “The Statues Come Alive” event promises to bring to life William & Mary’s rich history through the statues of campus, including Jefferson himself.
Several hundred students, faculty, staff and newly admitted students are expected to participate in the AVAdventure event, which begins at 8 p.m. on April 13. It is being sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, the President’s Office and the Student Assembly. For more information, people can visit the Facebook event page.