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About William and Mary

Interesting Facts

Founded in 1693, William and Mary is the second oldest educational institution in the U.S. Although Harvard began operation first, William and Mary's antecedents actually predate those of the Massachusetts institution.

The College is the first U.S. institution to have a Royal Charter.

William and Mary ranks first among American public universities in terms of commitment to undergraduate teaching, according to U.S. News and World Report. It is also the highest ranked small public university in the country.

Four Presidents of the United States benefited from educational programs offered by the College: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler.

Although William and Mary retains its traditional title of "College," it is in reality a small university that offers advanced degrees in several fields.

The average SAT score of William and Mary's incoming first-year students is higher than that of any other Virginia institution.

William and Mary was the first college in the nation to institute an honor code of conduct for students.

William and Mary is one of only eight U.S. institutions of higher education designated a "Public Ivy." A Public Ivy is a state-assisted institution which offers a superior education at a cost far below that of Ivy League schools.

William and Mary earned the five-star (highest) academic ranking awarded by the Fiske Guide to Colleges, edited by the former New York Times education reporter.

William and Mary's 12-to-1 student-faculty ratio is among the lowest of national public universities, a factor that helps strengthen the College's traditional commitment to teaching.

Founded in 1842, the William and Mary Society of the Alumni is the sixth oldest such group in the U.S.

Named for its presumed architect, the Sir Christopher Wren Building was completed in 1697 and provided classrooms, library, dining hall and a chapel for generations of William and Mary students. It is the oldest academic building in continuous use in the U.S., and classes are still taught within its walls.

A recent NCAA study shows that only William and Mary and Stanford University reported student-athlete SAT scores of at least 1,000 in eight categories based on gender and sport.

A succession of influential individuals--including President George Washington, President John Tyler, Chief Justice Warren Burger, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger have held the post of Chancellor of the College of William and Mary. In 2006, Sandra Day O'Connor, former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was installed as the College's 23rd Chancellor.

Phi Beta Kappa, the premier academic honor society in America, was founded by College of William and Mary students in 1776.

In recent years, the College has entertained many influential individuals, including Prince Charles, heir to the throne of the United Kingdom; George Bush, former president of the United States; and Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice.

Mitchell Reiss, vice provost for international affairs at the College of William and Mary, discusses negotiating with evil regimes, advising Bono and the bold steps made by Princess Diana during a video interview.

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