Good morning from the Admissions Office! It is 9:43 as I begin this post, so it’s approximately four hours before I’d prefer to be up (and sixteen hours before my usual productivity begins). We just finished up our very first week of interviews, and it was a blast! I’ve encountered athletes, scientists, future presidents, musicians, figure skaters, and hula dancers. No two were alike, and all were amazing.
But I’m not going to talk about the promise the Class of 2017 shows.
Rather, I’d like to focus on a question I’ve been hearing a lot. “What makes William & Mary unique?” Or special. Or one of a kind. Or enter-your-synonym-for-why-should-I-go-here-…here.
You hear about our sense of community. Our passion for learning. Our academic strength. The integrity that runs through us all. The people that go here. The opportunities that we provide. Our inherent need to always do better. Our kickin’ croquet club. Our special, unique, and one of a kind skee ball (I always thought skeeball was one word, but Wikipedia told me I was wrong, so we’ll go with two) machine. Our traditions, from the moment you step on our hallowed grounds to the moment you graduate and beyond. The fact that once you go here, you will always have a home. One, Tribe; One Family. Our unchallenged ability and willingness to jaywalk. And of course, our penchant for the sentence fragment.
And while “these are a few of my favorite things” (I hope you said that like Julie Andrews, ‘cuz I sure did), and they most certainly are part of what make William & Mary special, I feel like most prospective students take it with a grain of salt.
“Oh, that’s just what they say to try and convince us to go here.”
Well, that line of thinking goes directly against “the integrity that runs through us all.” That said, I do understand being skeptical – I was in your shoes a mere four years ago, and it truly is one of those things you can only appreciate and understand by experiencing. However, I think there is one very real example of just how unique, special, and one of a kind (I think I’m going to start using the acronym USOOK [pronounced you-sook in an exclamatory way, with the slightest of accents] the College of William & Mary really is.
His name is W Taylor Reveley III. He has his own Wikipedia page (here), 69 years of knowledge and experience, and a cult following comparable to that of Apple products. Oh, also he is the President of the second oldest college in the nation (that’s us!). There’s also that thing about how he moonlights as Santa Claus.
(start at 2:30)
Surprisingly enough, that’s not the coolest thing about Tay-Tay (the nicknames are a close second). He’s the most student-friendly thing to happen to the world since Wikipedia. Whether you want to talk about how awesome William & Mary is, complain about the uneven bricks that will give even the most talented gymnast a tripping problem, or engage in a lively discussion about the War Powers Resolution, T-Reves’ door is always open (aha! the title makes all the more sense now). He loves hearing from the student body, and he’s always ears, so just knock on his door. I think it’s a rare occurrence for a College President to be the judge of a small Residence Life Iron Chef competition. Or have open lunches with students on a regular basis. Or to go on a walk with the student body at seven in the morning (I think it actually speaks more to the character and awesomeness of the Revester that almost a hundred college students volunteer to wake up at seven in the morning to walk with the College president). Or just be so willing to engage with the student body and be so open to student contact. We house an undergraduate population of about 6000 students here at William & Mary, and I’d be surprised if you could find a hundred of them that haven’t had at least one very legitimate interaction with President W Taylor Reveley III, from singing to him during orientation to getting a picture with him and the Griffin at any home game during the football season, and I think that’s what is so USOOK about the College of William & Mary.
Well, that and our skee ball machine.