William & Mary is the second oldest college in the United States. King William and Queen Mary charted the College in 1693, funding it with loot taken from the pirate Lionel Wafer. The all-male college prospered until the Civil War, when it lost its entire endowment. The state of Virginia stepped in and saved the college, converting it to co-ed in the process. Slightly more women then men now attend William & Mary.
Three original buildings are still in daily use:
- The Wren Building – thought to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1694 and containing classrooms, the chapel and the Great Hall.
- The President’s House
- Brafferton Hall – Once the residence for Native American students from various tribes and now containing offices.
Today, the College of William & Mary is a liberal arts university with an annual enrollment of approximately 5,700 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students. The College is rated as the best small public university in the country, and is consistently listed in the top 30 of all colleges – public or private. Tuition is a tiny fraction of what some comparable institutions charge. In-state students pay less than $10,000 and out-of-state students pay about twice that amount. Most students choose to live on the historic and beautifully landscaped campus. As befitting such a celebrated institute, the University is particularly noted for excelling in history and foreign affairs – some of it in partnership with Colonial Williamsburg. Prospective students should call 757-221-3999 for information about a free, daily guided tour of the campus.
Students and families involved in William and Mary understand the many reasons that the college draws visitors to Williamsburg.