William & Mary

James B. Comey ’82 to speak at William and Mary’s Charter Day

Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, known for his prosecution of some of the nation’s highest-profile criminal cases, will be the keynote speaker at the College of William and Mary’s annual Charter Day Ceremony on Feb. 9, 2008. A member of the Class of 1982, Comey will receive the honorary degree of doctor of laws at the ceremony. William and Mary Chancellor and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will also be in attendance and offer greetings during the Charter Day ceremony.

Harriet Mayor Fulbright, president of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center; and James C. Rees, (’74) executive director of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, will also receive honorary degrees at the Charter Day ceremony. The event, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall, marks the 315th anniversary of the awarding of the Royal Charter from King William III and Queen Mary II of Great Britain establishing the college. Fulbright will receive the doctor of public service. Rees will receive the doctor of humane letters.

“This year’s Charter Day ceremony will give the College community a chance to honor three who have distinguished themselves in service to our nation and our world,” said College of William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol. “We look forward to hearing from Jim Comey, who exemplifies our cherished ideal of the citizen-lawyer. His ennobling work at the highest level of law enforcement, as Deputy Attorney General under President Bush, and his commitment to the good and the just, hold a powerful example for us all. We’re glad to have the chance to welcome him, and his fellow alumnus James Rees, back to their alma mater. Mr. Rees has brought vividly to life the home and times of our first president, while our friend Ms. Fulbright has devoted her life to expanding opportunities for international study and understanding.”

Comey has a long history of public service since graduating from William and Mary as a double major in chemistry and religion in 1982.

Between 2003 and 2005, Comey held the second highest position at the Justice Department, serving as Deputy Attorney General of the United States. In that role, Comey was responsible for supervising operations of the Department of Justice, and he chaired the President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force and the Presidential Board on Safeguarding Americans’ Civil Liberties.

Prior to becoming Deputy Attorney General, Comey had a successful career as a federal prosecutor. In 1987, Comey joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he worked until 1993 and eventually became deputy chief of the criminal division. During his time in New York, Comey served as lead prosecutor in the case of United States v. John Gambino et al., a six-month mafia racketeering and murder trial.

In 2002, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. As U.S. Attorney, Comey, who earned his law degree in 1985 from the University of Chicago Law School, oversaw numerous terrorism cases and supervised prosecutions of executives at WorldCom, Adelphia, and Imclone on fraud and securities-related charges, including the obstruction case against Martha Stewart. He also created a specialized unit to prosecute international drug cartels.

From 1996 to 2001, Comey served as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. In that role, he handled the Khobar Towers terrorist bombing case, which arose from a 1996 attack on a U.S. military facility in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. Air Force members and injured hundreds.

Currently, Comey serves as the senior vice president and general counsel of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. In that role, he manages the corporation’s legal affairs and law department and serves as the principal counsel to the corporation’s senior leadership and Board of Directors.

As an alumnus, Comey has remained closely connected to William and Mary. He spoke at 2003's Opening Convocation ceremony, and he was recently elected to the Alumni Association's Board of Directors. Comey's wife, Patrice, is also a member of the Class of 1982. The couple has five children, including Maurene, a member of the College's Class of 2010.

Harriet Mayor Fulbright
Harriet Mayor Fulbright currently serves as president of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center, a non-profit organization that continues the work of Fulbright’s late husband as well as her own lifework by promoting world peace and non-violent means of resolving conflicts. It partners with higher education institutions and individuals throughout the world in a range of services, from assisting in building enriched study-abroad programs to actively engaging higher education institutions in international peace-making.

Fulbright has spent the majority of her adult life working internationally in the fields of education and the arts. With a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College and a master of fine arts from George Washington University, she has taught English composition and creative writing at Ewha Women's University in Korea, elementary school English in Moscow, and art at several U.S. institutions, including American University and the Maret School.

In 1987, Fulbright became the Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, where she served for three years until becoming President of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum, an organization which advocated education reform and conducted teacher training seminars. Fulbright serves on a number of boards, including the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies at William and Mary.

William and Mary faculty and students are also familiar with the Fulbright name. Since 1984, 36 William and Mary faculty members (including two this year) have received Fulbright grants through the State Department program originated by J. William Fulbright. Since 2000, 50 William and Mary students and alumni – including 11 this year -- have been selected as Fulbright scholars.

James C. Rees
As executive director of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, James C. Rees oversees the second-most visited historic home in America, with approximately one million visitors annually. He has been at Mount Vernon since 1983, serving as executive director since 1994.

A well-known scholar of Washington history, Rees has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, C-SPAN, The History Channel, CNN and PBS, and has lectured at numerous seminars and special events. Last year, he published a book about George Washington’s leadership abilities, entitled George Washington's Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us about Effective Leadership and Character. He is also the co-author of George Washington’s Mount Vernon and author of the catalogue for the traveling exhibition, Treasures from Mount Vernon: George Washington Revealed.

Before joining Mount Vernon, Rees worked at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, William and Mary and the Daily Press, a daily newspaper based in Newport News, Va. Rees has also served on numerous boards and committees. He has been the president of the Virginia Association of Museums, chairman of the advisory committee for the District of Columbia Document Preservation Project and chairman of Friends of the Potomac River. He was a committee member of the Governor's Statewide History Initiative project, a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Shakespeare Festival, and a member of the board of directors of the Greater Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Chapter of the William and Mary Alumni Association.

Rees received his bachelor’s degree in English in 1974 from William and Mary. He received his master’s degree from George Washington University in 1978.

Tickets are required for the Charter Day ceremony. After tickets have been distributed to faculty, students and staff, a limited number will be available to the general public after Jan.30, 2008. Those seeking tickets should call 221- 1312 or email ccgill@wm.edu.