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W&M Board of Visitors unanimously affirms new vision, mission, values

  • A decorative W&M garden flag outside the president's house
    Guideposts for the future  The William & Mary Board of Visitors unanimously endorsed the university's community-drafted statements of vision, mission and values.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The Board of Visitors on Friday unanimously endorsed William & Mary’s new vision, mission and values statements, adding applause for the statements’ leaders and a video segment featuring Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98.

The statements reflected roughly six months’ work by two committees that included input from the entire William & Mary community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff.

“As William & Mary charts its short- and medium-term futures, it was imperative that we have these shared guideposts as reference points for our community,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “We thank the drafting groups and everyone who participated in refining these statements to reflect our aspirations, our charge and our core values.”


While the vision and the values statements are fully adopted, state law requires the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approve the university’s mission statement, a process that could take up to a year.

“It is apparent that the crafting of these guiding statements was led by a smart, able, caring community,” said John E. Littel, rector of the Board of Visitors. “The board has been pleased to see how enthusiastic the W&M community has been to engage in the ongoing strategic planning process, to great result.”

Drafting the vision, mission and values statements represented the first phase in strategic planning, following Rowe’s preliminary Thinking Forward initiative that gathered feedback about the future of knowledge, work and service at William & Mary.

The second phase, environmental analysis, involves reviewing the higher education landscape broadly and reporting back to the community the opportunities and challenges W&M faces. That work foregrounds the third phase, in which W&M will identify strategic goals for the next five to 10 years.

In the summer of 2019, Rowe asked two committees of faculty, staff, students and alumni to draft William & Mary’s vision, mission and values statements. The groups were chaired by Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06, vice president for student affairs, and Chon Glover, M.Ed. ’99, Ed.D. ’06, chief diversity officer.


An initial draft was shared in a community-wide forum on Oct. 1, where attendees offered feedback. The forum was livestreamed so that all members of the community could participate. An online portal also gathered comments, and the two committees hosted a dozen input-gathering sessions, including at least one in each of W&M’s five schools.

“The opportunity to engage in the process of creating an enduring set of statements built on the principle of inclusion of the many voices in our community is beyond rewarding,” Glover said. “Thank you to every member of the community who participated in this process, with special gratitude to our colleagues on the drafting groups that shared in this journey.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Ambler said. “Though our writing groups worked with great care to create initial drafts for consideration, the final statements would not be what they are now without the community’s honest reactions, shared insights and substantive suggestions. How meaningful it has been to engage with so many people over these last few months – to listen and to talk together not only about what distinguishes William & Mary, but also about who we aspire to be.”

Vision Statement: The institution we aspire to be

William & Mary transcends the boundaries between research and teaching, teaching and learning, learning and living. People come to William & Mary wanting to understand and change the world – and together we do.

Mission Statement: How we realize our vision

A preeminent, public research university grounded in the liberal arts and sciences since 1693, William & Mary is a vibrant and inclusive community. Through close mentoring and collaboration, we inspire lifelong learning, generate new knowledge, and expand understanding. We cultivate creative thinkers, principled leaders, and compassionate global citizens equipped for lives of meaning and distinction. William & Mary convenes great minds and hearts to meet the most pressing needs of our time.


Values Statement: Who we strive to be in fulfilling our mission

Accomplishing our mission requires that the entire community work together as stewards of the core values that infuse our collective effort:

  • Belonging. We create a welcoming and caring community that embraces diverse people and perspectives.
  • Curiosity. We foster an open academic environment that champions intellectual agility and inspires creativity in the discovery, preservation, application, and advancement of knowledge.
  • Excellence. We aim for the extraordinary, recognizing that personal growth and meaningful accomplishment require bold and innovative aspirations, courageous risk-taking, and focused effort.
  • Flourishing. We create conditions that ensure William & Mary will thrive for all time coming, and we empower those who live, learn, and work here to make choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.
  • Integrity. We are honorable, equitable, trustworthy, and committed to the highest ethical standards in all that we do.
  • Respect. We treat one another with mutual respect, recognizing and upholding each person’s inherent dignity and worth.
  • Service. We engage with individuals and communities both near and far, devoting our knowledge, skills, and time to serving the greater good.
William & Mary is a community that fosters deep human connection. We reflect on the lessons of history to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. We engage diverse perspectives and seek wisdom in bridging differences. Together, we are unceasing in our efforts to make a meaningful difference in our communities, the state, the nation, and the world.