Classes began last week but thanks to Hurricane Irene the “official” start of the academic year will come this Friday when the William & Mary community gathers for one of its favorite traditions.
Opening Convocation will be held at 4:30 p.m. and is an event where all new students are invited to gather in the Courtyard of the College’s historic Sir Christopher Wren Building. Originally scheduled for Aug. 26, hurricane evacuations forced William & Mary to move the ceremony to this Friday (Sept. 2). The College was unable to reschedule this year’s speaker, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith ’71, J.D. ’79, but President Taylor Reveley said the campus community will look forward to having the judge speak at 2012’s Convocation. At Convocation 2011, Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06 will offer remarks.
Following Friday’s formal ceremony, new students will be invited to walk through the large doors of the Wren Building and into the College Yard on the Duke of Gloucester side of the building. Waiting for them in the Yard will be hundreds of cheering students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College.
“I am humbled to have been asked to speak at Convocation,” Ambler said. “It is an important touchpoint in the life of this academic community. The ceremony and the procession of new students through the Wren is one of our most beloved traditions. Like the rest of the campus community, I look forward to formally welcoming our newest students into the Tribe family.”
Ambler brings a unique perspective to the ceremony as both an alumna and campus administrator. She has worked in student affairs at the College for more than two decades, including the past two years as vice president. Ambler also has an appointment as executive assistant professor in the College’s School of Education. She holds two degrees from William & Mary - a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (minor in religion) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational policy, planning and leadership. Ambler received a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Ohio State.
Ambler has worked in the College's Division of Student Affairs since 1991. From 1991 to 2001, she served as assistant to the vice president for student affairs. From 2001 to 2008, she was an assistant vice president for student affairs. Before being appointed to her current position in May 2009, Ambler served a year as interim vice president.
Among her academic accolades are membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Kappa Delta Pi. In 2006, she received the Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Study. That honor is given each year to one outstanding graduate student at William & Mary and is awarded on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership, and service. In 2007, her doctoral dissertation won the Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).