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Spotswood Society

Stewards of W&M's History

The Spotswood Society is a selective student organization whose mission is to provide historical interpretation of the Sir Christopher Wren Building and W&M's Historic Campus.

The Spotswood Society provides free tours to the general public seven days a week while classes are in session (fall, spring, and summer semesters).  The Society also assists with special event tours and activities.   Members undergo training to learn much of W&M's long history.


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The Spotswood Society is named in honor of Alexander Spotswood, governor of Virginia from 1710 to 1722. Governor Spotswood was a good friend to William & Mary who had a significant influence on the design of the Wren Building as it was rebuilt after the 1705 fire (the same design used for the Rockefeller Restoration ca. 1928-31). In 1724, Hugh Jones, Professor of Mathematics ca. 1717, mentions Governor Spotswood's contribution to restoring W&M after the 1705 fire:

"The Building is beautiful and commodious, being first modeled by Sir Christopher Wren, adapted to the nature of the country by the gentlemen there; and since it was burnt down, it has been rebuilt and nicely contrived, altered and adorned by the ingenious direction of Governor Spotswood..." (excerpt from Present State of Virginia, 1724)

Spotswood Society Seal
Spotswood Society Seal

Depicted on the seal of the Spotswood Society are the doors of the Sir Christopher Wren Building and two horseshoes. 

The doors hold special significance to W&M students — each student passes through them during the Opening Convocation and again during their Senior Walk before Commencement. Every day, Spotswoods stand just inside these doors and welcome visitors to the university.

The two horseshoes are symbolic of the Society's namesake, Governor Spotswood and his "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe." Governor Spotswood was a good friend to W&M in its early years.

Spotswoods proudly wear their seal on their name badges. Graduating seniors who were members of the Society have the honor of wearing a medallion depicting the seal on their gowns during Commencement.