Commemoration Events

June 2017 - May 2018

William & Mary is marking its fifty-year anniversary of the first African American students in residence with a year-long series of events.

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Past Event Highlights:
Niya GrayBlack Student Organization Founder's Celebration Dinner

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the Black Student Organization (BSO) held a Founder’s Celebration Dinner, honoring guest speaker and founding president of the BSO, Dr. Warren Buck M.S. '70, Ph.D. '76, D.Sc. '13. Current BSO president Niya Gray and other members organized a wonderful event, featuring entertainment by Ka'myia Gunn, Neonna Ferebee, and Flow and acknowledging all of the past BSO presidents, many of whom attended the dinner. Also among the more than 100 guests in attendance were Provost Michael Halleran, William & Mary’s first residential undergraduates, class of 1971 — Lynn Briley, Karen Ely, Janet Brown Strafer — and several members of the Board of Visitors.

images from the Founder's Celebration Dinner

Dr. Dijanna FigueroaBrown Bag: Dr. Dijanna Figueroa "Journey to the Deep"

Dr. Dijanna Figueroa is a marine scientist and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) education specialist. On September 27, 2017, during her three-day visit to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), she came to main campus to give a brownbag talk titled “Journey to the Deep: Exploring the Biology of Animals that Live in Extreme Environments,” in which she shared her science experience story and highlights of her deep sea hydrothermal vent research. Dr. Figueroa’s research on the thermal physiology of hydrothermal vent animals was featured in James Cameron’s ocean exploration documentary, Aliens of the Deep. 

Images from Dr. Figueroa's seminar

Artist Talk and Performance: Pamela Z

Pamela ZPamela Z gave an artist talk and a solo performance as part of the “Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities” symposium held here at William & Mary, October 26-28, 2017. Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound and video. Her performances range in scale from small concerts in galleries to large-scale multi-media works in flexible black-box venues and proscenium halls. In addition to her performance work, she has a growing body of inter-media gallery works including multi-channel sound and video installations. Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, and we were fortunate and delighted to have her at William & Mary to demonstrate her work and to perform in concert.

Images from Pamela Z's Performance

Homecoming & Reunion Weekend

{em}Legacy 3{/em} as Parade MarshalsHomecoming & Reunion Weekend 2017 was the perfect time to continue promoting a sense of belonging for Black alumni/ae and to strengthen their ties to the university. It was also a time to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the first African American students in residence, now affectionately known as the “Legacy 3”: Lynn Briley, Karen Ely and Janet Brown Strafer. Black alumni/ae participated in a number of significant activities as part of the university’s traditions, their own traditions and as a tribute to the “Legacy 3”: the Homecoming parade, the Black Alumni/ae Shout Out, an Alumni Brick Dedication for the three women, and a step competition, Stompfest, to name a few. It was an exciting, emotional and fun-filled weekend.

Images & More from Homecoming Events