Many of William & Mary’s strongest supporters did not receive their educations at the university, but have nonetheless devoted much time and energy to their adopted alma mater. Recently, William & Mary recognized the contributions of Faye Shealy, Gilbert Elston, Lee Foster and Eff and Patricia Martin by welcoming them into its alumni fold during the annual Honorary Alumni Ceremony held at the Alumni House on May 10.
“I am so proud that these folks will become honorary alumni today,” said Karen Cottrell ’66, M.Ed. ’69, Ed.D. ’82, executive vice president of the William & Mary Alumni Association. “I’ve known them for a long time, and thank them for all they’ve done for me and for alumni, and for this college in general.”
William & Mary President Taylor Reveley was also on hand to praise the honorees for a willingness to roll up their sleeves to help the university move forward, and to stick with it faithfully through thick and thin.
“It is just such people we celebrate today,” Reveley said. “A small but extraordinary band who didn’t actually go to school at William & Mary, but who over the years have become such devoted friends, such magnificent supporters of the College, that they’re brought officially into the embrace of the William & Mary alumni family.”
Shealy, associate dean of admission at William & Mary Law School, was praised for 30 years of extraordinary service to the Law School and its students.
“Over Christmas break, Faye personally called all 700 of the Law School’s admitted applicants,” said Barbara Cole Joynes ’82, president of the William & Mary Alumni Association. “Many admitted law students mention Faye personally when asked why they chose William & Mary.”
Elston has given his time across the breadth of the university, helping at local alumni chapter events as well as making great contributions to the athletic department by co-hosting the half-time hospitality tent at all home soccer matches and working the will call booth for many home football games. Elston has also transcribed Civil War diaries and letters for Swem Library, completing over 1,000 pages.
Foster has served William & Mary for 25 years and is still going strong. She started her career as assistant director of programs for the Alumni Association and has since moved to the development office, where she serves as director of leadership gifts and foundation operations. Her outreach in her roles at the university has engaged many alumni.
As parents of a former member of the William & Mary women’s lacrosse team, Eff and Patty Martin have offered generous support for the university’s athletics programs, including contributions to build a state-of the-art lacrosse and soccer facility, Martin Family Stadium.
The sentiment shared by the honorary alumni was perhaps best expressed by Shealy: “I have known the College as a unique place to study and to learn—a place with high standards, important traditions, outstanding programs, and an environment for learning. I hope I will show my appreciation as a faithful and proud honorary alum by being true to William & Mary’s core values and keeping the College close at heart.”
David F. Morrill contributed to this story.