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William & Mary, Reveley receive congressional recognition

  • Recognizing W&M:
    Recognizing W&M:  Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) speaks about William & Mary and its president from the floor of the House of Representatives.  
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As William & Mary prepares to celebrate its 325th birthday, the U.S. Congress paid respect this week to the Alma Mater of the Nation and its 27th president.

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) sponsored House Resolution 711, which both celebrates the founding of William & Mary by British royal charter in 1693 and President Taylor Reveley’s leadership of the university over the past decade.

{{youtube:medium:center|xSGQPY4Wd28, Rep. Scott Taylor's floor speech}}

Taylor remarked on the topics of the resolution last night from the floor of the House of Representatives. Rep. Stephanie Murphy ’00 (D-Fla.), a co-sponsor of the resolution, also spoke about W&M from the floor of the House this morning, recalling her time as a student at the institution and saying, "Like it has for so many others, William & Mary changed my life."

{{youtube:medium:center|Ij7Hs2zsY18, Rep. Stephanie Murphy's floor speech}}

Other co-sponsors of the resolution included W&M alumni Rep. Dina Titus ’70 (D-Nev.) and Rep. Steve Chabot ’75 (R-Ohio) with Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.).

The representatives' remarks come just days before the university celebrates Charter Day, an annual tradition that marks the issuance of W&M’s royal charter.

"I wanted to introduce this resolution this week because I couldn't think of a better time to recognize the great contributions William & Mary has made to higher education and the skilled leadership that President Reveley has provided over the last decade than on the 325th anniversary of the university's founding," Taylor told the W&M News.W&M President Taylor Reveley

"From George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to many of my contemporaries in Congress, William & Mary has played an important role in shaping our nation’s leaders," he added. "Throughout its history, William & Mary has consistently ranked among the nation’s most elite public universities. Thanks to the wisdom and leadership of President Reveley, the college will continue its tradition as a pioneer in education and mentor to those seeking to transform our country for the better.”

Murphy, who was the first woman in her family to attend college, said she was nervous when she arrived at W&M as a freshman.Rep. Stephanie Murphy '00 (D-Fla.)"Yet from the moment I walked through Wren portico as a freshman to the moment I rang the Wren bell after my last class as a senior, William & Mary always made me feel like I was part of a close-knit community, a Tribe if you will, bound together by pride and tradition," she said. "I learned so much from my four years on campus, creating friendships and making memories that have lasted a lifetime."

The resolution also acknowledges W&M’s reputation as Alma Mater of the Nation (U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler are counted among alumni, and George Washington was educated at W&M and was the institution’s first American chancellor) and recognizes the university’s many firsts, including the first Greek-letter society, first honor code and first law school. W&M was also the first college in the nation to become a university.

The university’s continued preeminence today is also cited in the resolution, which says, “William & Mary functions as a comprehensive public research university, educating future leaders in areas of the arts and sciences, business, education, law and marine science.”

Reveley is lauded for his “selfless and steadfast service” to W&M over the last decade, “guiding it to a position where it continues to thrive and has markedly achieved success in many ways, including outstanding educational value, a commitment to public service, and a diverse and inclusive community.” Reveley, the university’s 27th president, will retire June 30.

The resolution is currently under review by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will serve as the keynote speaker during W&M’s Charter Day ceremony Friday in Kaplan Arena. The event, which begins at 4 p.m., is free and open to the public. In recent years, the tradition has become known as a birthday celebration for the university.

"To William & Mary the institution and all those whose efforts have made it such a special place, I say thank you and happy birthday," said Murphy.