The following are remarks given by retired Supreme Court Justice and William & Mary Chancellor Sandra Day O'Connor during the Charter Day ceremony on Feb. 7. - Ed.
That’s a warm introduction for someone holding a position with fortunately very few duties, but a beautiful robe and opportunities to meet with students and some faculty and with some alums on various occasions such as this one, which I regard as a wonderful opportunity.
Now, when one has something to do with William and Mary, one of course thinks about Thomas Jefferson. He was a law student here at the law school at William & Mary. And I like this quote by Thomas Jefferson because it applies to what’s happening to us today. He said, “I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource most to be relied on for ameliorating the conditions, promoting the virtue and advancing the happiness of man.”
I think that’s right, and with all the respect to the senator who’s looking at other means of improving us, I think at the end of the day, it’s education, and that’s what we’re all about at William & Mary.
Charter Day provides a wonderful opportunity for those of us who care about William & Mary to get together and to honor various people who have served this College in special ways and who have served this community in truly special ways.
The Alumni Medallion recipients as well as professors who receive the Thomas Jefferson award and of course our honorary degree recipients, and it’s most enjoyable to hear about each of these people who share the pleasure – we all share the pleasure – of honoring them today.
We are living in very difficult economic times, times that test each of us. And we need the special occasions, like this, to acknowledge those who perform in special ways that elevate all of us above and beyond our daily concerns. So, it’s particularly good to be able to do so on this absolutely beautiful day and on this peaceful, wonderful campus, which we all cherish and appreciate, and to be in the company of so many special and admirable people.
I am particularly pleased to be here today, and I hope you are as well. Thank you.