Williamsburg, VA: The summer after sophomore year I had never thought about beginning my college search. But while vacationing in the colonial town of Williamsburg, Virginia, I toured the campus of William and Mary. Immediately the scenic 1200-acre wooded setting sparked my interest.
The College of William and Mary is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It was established in 1693 by a British Royal Charter from King William and Queen Mary. Today the college is a state-assisted, coeducational, four-year residential university. The campus is conveniently located adjacent to colonial Williamsburg and within walking distance of the town center. Although situated in a small, quaint town, the amenities of a big city can be found in nearby Richmond and Norfolk – each 50 miles away. There are 5, 500 undergraduates and 2, 200 graduate students from 50 states and 82 foreign countries. These culturally diverse students are enthusiastically involved in over 30 clubs and organizations, or members of the “Tribe” in their 23 NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports. William and Mary students also are active in volunteering, donating over 34, 000 hours to community service each year. The are 600 faculty members who comprise the academic divisions of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Law and Marine Science.
When I arrived on campus, I was cheerfully greeted and ushered into historic Blow Memorial Hall. From here we began our tour. First, we crossed the Sunken Garden, a low-lying grassy park to EweIl Hall. Here prospective students heard about the school’s admissions process and financial aid policies. We visited the Christopher Wren Building, the nation’s oldest academic building; Gregg Swem Library with over two million published items; and William and Mary Commons, complete with a food court, lounges, study rooms, post office, game and television areas and even a video store. Our tour concluded at the end of a wooded nature trail on a majestic bridge overlooking a pond, a spot deemed the second most romantic place on a college campus by Playboy Magazine. This bridge has a legend behind it – if you walk across and kiss the one you love in the center, you will be together forever. However, if you break up with that person, you must throw them from the bridge.
For any student interested in a well-rounded, moderate-sized college set in a fairly small historic town, I recommend a visit to the College of William and Mary.
Reviewed in 1997