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Scott Foster '10, the first William & Mary student ever elected to Williamsburg City Council, officially took office during a swearing-in ceremony at the Courthouse of 1770 in Colonial Williamsburg. A short time later, the council elected W&M Economics Professor Clyde Haulman as the city's next mayor.
"William & Mary is deeply committed to the welfare of Williamsburg, and there is a powerful tradition of civic service on the part of our faculty, staff and students," said President Taylor Reveley, who attended Thursday's ceremony. "Thus, it's good to see Clyde Haulman, one of the College's most stalwart and distinguished faculty members, as mayor, and to have a very promising recent graduate of the College, Scott Foster, now serving on the Council. We're proud of them both."
The 22-year-old Foster was elected to City Council on May 4, just weeks before he graduated from the College with a degree in government. His election followed a comprehensive voter drive by students that began early in the spring semester. Using a combination of traditional door-to-door campaigning to meet city residents as well as social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube to reach students, City Council's youngest member also ran a very coordinated campaign. And it was successful. Foster received by far the most votes in the election - his total of 1,559 votes was 741 more than the next finisher Doug Pons, who also won a seat on council and was sworn in Thursday.
"It is a big thrill," Foster said after taking the oath of office. "I've been meeting with so many people. I'm going into this with a lot of energy and I think we'll be able to make a lot of progress."
The election has drawn lots of attention from the press. Thursday's ceremony in the small historic courthouse on Duke of Gloucester Street drew interest from most local media outlets. Foster, who plans to enroll in the William & Mary Law School in 2011, said he is ready to serve Williamsburg. He thanked a number of people in the audience, including family, students, city residents and the College.
"Thank you to all the folks in the neighborhoods who invited me into their living rooms and their dorm rooms," he said. "We have a lot of work to do but I'm going at it with a lot of hope and optimism."
Foster's first vote was the election of mayor. Foster joined the other members of City Council to unanimously elect Haulman, who joined the faculty at William & Mary in 1969. The economics professor has served on the City Council for 10 years, including two terms as vice mayor. He succeeds Jeanne Zeidler, M.A.Ed. ‘76 , who decided to step down this year after 12 years as mayor. William & Mary alumnus Paul Freiling '83 was unanimously elected vice mayor.
The city's new mayor received a warm welcome in the packed room at the historic courthouse. "Thank you everybody," Haulman said. "I look forward to working with you and moving our great city forward."