The College of William and Mary is a university defined by the ampersand — punctuation’s all-inclusive curlicue. The symbol exists to encompass and to incorporate, to embrace and to combine. Such is the lifeblood of America’s second oldest college.
The College’s passionate student body personifies an inexplicably cohesive diversity. The ampersand is purposefully used to exemplify the school’s heterogeneous mix of intellectual, social and extracurricular life. This visual representation of “and” dates back to ancient Roman linguistics and traditional Latin conjugations. An ampersand denotes the fusion of “and per se and,” two common English words and a Latin phrase meaning “inherently fundamental.”
Every aspect of the College is integral. You will rarely find “and” spelled out anywhere where the school’s name is written in full. The ampersand carries more weight. The College represents two royal figures who came together as one to charter what would become a hub for the American liberal arts. This university’s focus on academics is apparent, but its encouragement of intermingling education with laughter, conversation and friendship embodies its true achievement: Inclusion. Harmony.
Everyone belongs. Everything has a place. Each brick around campus is perfectly laid, even the ones that trip us up. Perhaps the school bears two names because it’s a place of community rather than a one-man show. Each bright mind that crosses the threshold of the Sir Christopher Wren Building at convocation has something to offer: ideas, jokes, a beautiful singing voice. The ampersand lends itself to the Tribe because it’s natural. It evokes a sense of not just fitting in, but contributing. It combines and conquers.
At the College, there is always something to be added. Add a class, add new friends on Facebook, add a club sport into an already busy schedule.
The College is special because it’s immersive & inclusive. Green & gold. Loved & old.
Email Vayda Parrish at [email protected]