The Dalai Lama, one of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders, brought his message of compassion to thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members in William & Mary Hall’s Kaplan Arena this afternoon.
"I'm very happy, and [it's] a great honor to speak at one of the oldest schools ..." said the Dalai Lama. "Indeed, a great honor."
The event was sponsored by the William & Mary Student Assembly, Alma Mater Productions (AMP) and the International Relations Club with additional support from the Janet and Peter Atwater Lecture Endowment.
“What makes today even more special is that William & Mary’s remarkable students have been at the forefront of His Holiness’ visit from the very beginning,” said Rector Jeff Trammell, who welcomed the crowd. “This truly is a student-initiated, student-driven event.”
As the audience waited for the event to begin, they were treated to a performance by the William & Mary Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Professor Jamie Bartlett. The chorus performed “Songs of Mind,” a piece composed by Professor Brian Hulse based on a seventh-century poem.
Student Assembly President Curt Mills had the honor of introducing the Dalai Lama, who donned not only his traditional robes but also a W&M visor for the event.
“This is no doubt an exciting day, one we will remember for the rest of our lives,” said Mills.
Following the Dalai Lama's talk, Kevin Vose, the Walter G. Mason Associate Professor of Religious Studies, presented the Dalai Lama with questions that were submitted in advance by William & Mary students.
Approximately 5,200 complimentary tickets to the event went to members of the William & Mary community, and another 3,000 were sold to members of the general public to help cover the cost of the event. The Dalai Lama does not charge for his speaking engagements.
While more than 8,000 people enjoyed the event live, thousands more were able to experience it through a live online stream.
Check back tomorrow for a longer story and more photos from today’s event. –Ed.