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Tanner Braman ’20 selected as student speaker for Charter Day

  • Tanner Braman
    Student speaker:  Tanner Braman '20, a senior from Seattle, Washington, has been picked as this year’s student speaker for Charter Day.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Tanner Braman ’20 is no stranger to the Charter Day stage.

“Once with the color guard and once as well as a president’s aide,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to contribute a little bit more to the ceremony.”

The annual event at William & Mary celebrates the university’s founding by royal charter in 1693. Braman, a senior from Seattle has been picked as this year’s student speaker for Charter Day, scheduled for 4 p.m. on Feb. 7 in Kaplan Arena.

“It’s an absolute honor to have that opportunity,” Braman said. “For me, Charter Day is our school’s celebration of the institution, of what we stand for. To be able to contribute to it in this magnitude is something really special.”

A double major in chemistry and international relations, Braman is actively involved on campus. As a former resident assistant, president’s aide and research assistant, Braman stays well connected within the community of students, faculty and staff.

“I’ve been really thankful for my time at William & Mary and the growth that I’ve experienced here, the relationships that I’ve forged,” Braman said.

Braman applied to speak during the celebration in late November. He says his remarks are not the typical theme of most Charter Day speeches.

“It is about the choices that we make,” he said. “It’s a reminder and a call to action.”

Braman says the caliber William & Mary students maintain as public servants and citizens is incredible, but that sometimes becomes lost among grand actions of service.

“What I advocate instead is for us to consider giving back through all of the small and daily opportunities that we have,” he said. “With each iteration, we have a choice to act on that opportunity or not. I ask us to act.”

Although no particular incident inspired his speech, Braman points out this fact as the very reason why he wants to speak in the first place.

“I don’t think it’s been anything specific other than just the opportunities that I’ve had and what I’ve been able to produce from them,” he said. “I think it’s just been the idea that each thing you do matters — the everyday building into something greater. I think that’s what you can and should be doing.”

To celebrate the charter of William & Mary, the university seeks out student representatives to both remind the university community of its roots and values and to encourage them to look ahead into the future.

“Our community depends on us just as much as it does our professors, staff and alumni,” said Braman. “So to have a student speaker at Charter Day reminds us of that fact.”