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Grand Marshal Carol Achenbach Hardy '49 to lead homecoming parade

  • Carol Hardy '49
    Carol Hardy '49  Grand Marshal Carol Achenbach Hardy '49 will lead William & Mary's homecoming parade.  Photo courtesy of the W&M Alumni Association
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Giving back to her alma mater is something that comes naturally for Carol Achenbach Hardy ’49. Since her graduation, she has been involved with countless organizations designed to help the College of William and Mary in one way or another. But on Saturday, Oct. 23, she will be given something from the school she admires so much — appreciation.

“I still can’t believe it,” says Hardy of being named the grand marshal. “I was shocked because I have served on the alumni service committee, the Alumni Association Board of Directors and I know what goes into that sort of decision. I just never expected it.”

There is something to be said for Hardy serving on committees. Since she returned from Connecticut 1989 to live in Virginia, she has served on countless committees for the alumni association, the College and many other related entities like the Christopher Wren Association. For the Alumni Association specifically, she was responsible for fundraisers that supported new furnishings in the Alumni House after its expansion in 1997 as well as the sponsorship of the annual Coach of the Year award since 1996. Among all of those contributions through the years, Hardy has one favorite that stands out.

“To me one of the most important things I did was starting the 1947-50 Class Dinners —  they were the War Year dinners — we did them Sunday night before Olde Guarde Day,” says Hardy. “That is what I get thanked for more than anything else. The people would come in from Florida and California to attend that dinner the night before the Olde Guarde luncheon.”

And even after 61 years from graduation, she gets excited about coming back to campus. She says that she experiences the same feeling that she had coming to the “ancient campus” that she had during her freshman year. But for all that she has done for William and Mary, it could have been another highly regarded institution that would have benefited from her generosity for all these years — if it wasn’t for a fateful phone call.

“I was signed up to go to Duke University; I had a roommate all lined up,” says Hardy. “I was all set, but my sister, Jane ’47, called me and said that she thought I should come to William and Mary instead. I said ‘I’d love to’ and I switched over. And it’s been a great experience for Jane and me, cause lots of times we’ve lived all over the United States but W&M reunions have been where we could get together also.”

To Hardy, giving back isn’t just about building new structures on campus or watching the Tribe football team win on Saturdays at Zable, though she’ll admit those things are nice. She says that the thrill for her to come back to William and Mary is meeting the current students and sharing in the experiences of growing up as a member of the Tribe, which has not actually changed all too much, even after 61 years.

“It’s all about the William and Mary community for me,” says Hardy. 
“And I have just loved giving back to my college through the years — every single minute of it.”

The William and Mary Homecoming Parade will take place on Sat., Oct. 23 starting at 9 a.m. The route of this year’s parade will start near the corner of Duke of Gloucester and Queen Streets. It will then proceed down Richmond Road past the Alumni House to Brooks Street and ends at William and Mary Hall.