This is not a formal place. When I was a student, the College’s President was Timothy J. Sullivan. Students didn’t call him Sir, or Mr. President, we called him Timmy J. I called several of my faculty by their first name and my bosses in the Reves Center and the Admission Office were Jodi and Anna, not Ms. Fisler and Assistant Dean Benevente. Now, as someone who supervises students, I understand just how much trust, admiration, and community that first-name-basis ideology conveys. My summer interns call me Wendy, not Dean Livingston, and I prefer it that way.
The other night, I held an information session for any students interesting in becoming interns this coming summer and I always ask previous interns (current seniors) to join me at the session. Three of my 11 interns had told me they would be there and I was good to go. As I arrived back at the office, bedraggled from the rain and exhausted from my umpteenth meeting that day, I was greet by 10 of my former interns (the 11th had graduated). They were even wearing their intern team uniforms (the uniform is of course kickball related, not work related). They clapped when I came in. We reminisced about this past summer. They had gotten to know each other so well they introduced each other during the information session and just talked for 45 minutes about what a great experience their internship was. When the session was over, a few of us met up at the local water hole to enjoy some good beverage and some good company.
These moments, and these students are why I do this job. They inspire me, the make me laugh, they make me energized to come to work. I have such a great deal of respect and admiration for them (and hopefully they for me). They make us want to do what we do every day no matter how many hours a day or how many weeks per year. I’m not sure at other campuses you find this kind of friendly and congenial relationship between faculty, staff, students, and administrators. At William & Mary, it is common practice; the rule and not the exception.
– Wendy Livingston