A couple years ago, while I was walking through Wren toward DoG Street I discovered a William & Mary secret: she is you and you are her. You are William & Mary and she is you. When you succeed so does she. When you hurt, she hurts as well and when you rejoice, in celebration of your accomplishments, she rejoices. She would not exist without you and you’d not be who you are without beloved William & Mary.
Now, there’s more to the secret – she is a reflection of us and when we gaze across her horizon, we are not so much looking across a distant landscape as we are, in fact looking into a mirror, soaking in the story of our own life.
And, like us, William & Mary is perfectly imperfect. She could have been better in the past and even now. She is scarred and yet we still love her. And, so too, you are scarred and so too we love you.
Our history, while storied, is troubled. If not for the advocates and activists, we would not see, we would be blind, to the suffering of those without a voice. She grows because of you and you grow because of her.
She chose you and you chose her.
For all of her imperfections, she is beautiful.
And, as she ages, she becomes a better version of herself – and so do you.
And that’s how it is meant to be. With each passing year, with all that you do in between the bookends of the ceremonial walks across campus, you make her better and she the same for you.
I asked some graduates to offer their advice to you so here goes:
Welcome to the Family! It’s going to be an exciting ride and the time is going to fly by so take advantage of every opportunity! -Wendy Li ’08
Find the activities you love and do them well; it’s far better to be deeply and successfully involved in one or two groups than to be spread thinly across many. -Brad Potter ’08
Let yourself be surprised by where your path takes you and make the people who walk with you a very important part of your journey. -Katherine Eklund ’11
Soak in each moment, build deep friendships, and savor the endless possibilities that come with these four unforgettable years of growth. -Melanie Levine ’13
Congratulations! You have arrived at a grand buffet. Whatever you do, don’t make a bologna sandwich. -Anonymous
What you make of it is really, finally up to YOU. Not your parents, not your family, not your friends, and not your professors…. so decide, live, and learn and make it what you want it to be! -Lynn Buchanan Miller ‘72