William & Mary

Spotswood past and present reunited for 20th anniversary celebration

  • Spot on:
    Spot on:  Michael Donato '19, a new member of the Spotswood Society, gives a tour of the Wren. The society is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Spotswood anniversary:
    Spotswood anniversary:  Members of the society like Michael Donato '19 give tours of the Wren and assist with special events in the president's house.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Despite being one of the youngest societies on campus, the members of William & Mary’s Spotswood Society are not lacking in knowledge of William & Mary’s oldest buildings and history – in fact, that’s their specialty.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the society is bringing together past and present members for a Homecoming brunch in the Great Hall on Sunday.

“I think with this being the Wren Building and with the love of William & Mary that so many students have that come here, they are so honored to be a part of this society,” said Kimberly Renner, associate director of historic campus. “Alumni frequently express that this was one of their favorite activities that they did, or their very favorite activity.”

{{youtube:medium:left|uSC023446KE, Celebrating 20 years of Spotswood}}

The society began two decades ago when Louise Lambert Kale, then-executive director of the historic campus, and Timothy J. Sullivan, then-president of W&M, decided that there was a need for a student volunteer corps, instead of community volunteers, to give tours of the Wren Building and historic campus.

What originally began as a small student group has grown into an organization made up of between 35 and 50 students each year with academic backgrounds ranging from business to science to history.

According to Renner, the only academic requirement to become a volunteer is to simply have an interest in the College’s history.

Michael Donato '19 gives a tour of the Wren. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)However, the process to join the Spotswood Society is rigorous, she said. Each spring semester, applicants have to submit a few short essays and a recommendation letter from faculty or staff before going through an interview process.

The society consists of undergraduate students in their sophomore through senior year, including transfers, and a few graduate students as well. Although being primarily a volunteer organization, there are paid employees called Wren Proctors who are allotted additional responsibilities, such as opening and closing the Wren Building and helping out with special events.

“It’s quite an honor to be chosen for that,” said Renner. “And they’re paid employees because they have more responsibilities, so we give them a reward as a result of that.”

According to Renner, the proctors are chosen from amongst the ranks of the Spotswood Society and are typically those who either express or demonstrate increased interest in the care and maintenance of the building.

In addition to leading tours, members of the society are given special opportunities to assist the president’s office with such tasks as collecting coats or showing guests around the president’s house during parties and helping to decorate the holiday tree at the end of fall semester. The members also get to have a sleepover in the Wren Building once a year.

Volunteers leave the society having grown and learned so much more than when they began their time in Spotswood, Renner added.

“It’s wonderful seeing students just transform and blossom through this experience,” she said.