W. Taylor Reveley, III
February 4, 2011
Charter Day marks yet another year in the long life of the College of William & Mary. We’re 318 years old. That’s old! But by no stretch of the imagination has William & Mary run its course or seen its finest days! We have generations, centuries, millennia yet to go. This grand old place is just beginning to roll. The 21st Century will be its most productive yet.
William & Mary had celebrated its 83rd birthday when the Colony of Virginia declared independence from Great Britain in June 1776, creating the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our state was born right here in Williamsburg. William & Mary people played leading roles in creating it as well as in giving birth to the United States of America. To revisit my favorite quote from Jefferson’s great biographer, Dumas Malone, “our continent has provided no greater seedbed of greatness than the one square mile of this old colonial capital, and no American institution of learning has ever surpassed the record of this little College, in Jefferson’s generation, as a nursery of statesmen.” William & Mary graduates continue to help shape our nation’s course, while making a difference for the better in their communities and states as well. So, the College has much to celebrate, much about which we can be robustly enthusiastic.
An otherwise staid pastor, two centuries ago, suggested, “In things pertaining to enthusiasm, no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions.”This is a proper occasion for us to bounce off the wall for a moment. I’m going to propose a cheer for William & Mary on its 318th birthday, and then we should cry loudly– 318! 318! 318!