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Inaugural Poem

A Villanelle for the Inauguration of Katherine A. Rowe

The inaugural poem was written and recited by Henry Hart, Mildred and J.B. Hickman Professor of English and Humanities and Poet Laureate of Virginia.

As far as presidents go, our history has been his story.
Now it's time for William to move aside for Mary.
It's time for our new president to write her story.

Women first worked in a College laboratory
a century ago. They had to be wary
since for so long our history had been his story.

It's true that our heritage is full of glory.
From Jefferson on, our students have been extraordinary.
Now our new president will make her story.

Some of our war memorials are like memento mori
for when the College closed, students joined the military,
and presidents campaigned boldly to save our history.

As for our first leaders who were Anglican and Tory,
the College chose to divorce them, then re-marry.
Now it's time for our new president to make her story.

The past may be a long trek through purgatory,
and paradise, once reached, all too momentary.
But this moment will last forever in our history,
so let's celebrate, and help the president make our story.