College of William & Mary

Williamsburg, VA: The College of William & Mary was established in 1693, and is the second oldest college in America. Its name comes from its patrons, King William III and Queen Mary II, who chartered the school for Britain. Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, its enrollment is just under 8,000 students, most of whom are undergraduates.

There are many degrees and programs of study offered. Although William & Mary is called a college, it is actually a university since it offers advanced degrees. Dr. Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under President Nixon, is the present Chancellor. William & Mary is well known for its honor code of conduct.

The oldest academic building in the country is on campus. Called the Sir Christopher Wren Building, it was begun in 1695, even before Williamsburg was founded, and is named after the famous English architect. The newest buildings include the University Center, Plumeri Park and the Keck Environmental Field Laboratory.

William & Mary played an important part in our history. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler were all educated here. Thomas Jefferson later drafted a “Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” (adopted in 1779) that reorganized the college. George Washington served briefly as Chancellor.

Today, William & Mary is the highest-ranked small public university in the country. It is known as one of the eight “Public Ivies.” The Fiske Guide to Colleges has given it the highest five-star rating for academics. William & Mary’s Law School, School of Education, School of Business and doctoral program in American Colonial History are all highly ranked. Unlike many colleges and universities, students here have great access to professors.

For additional information about William & Mary, go to the school website at You will not be disappointed.

Reviewed in 2004