The College of William & Mary (officially The College of William and Mary in Virginia, abbreviated as William & Mary, W&M) is a public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the ninth-oldest in the English-speaking world. Institutional rankings have placed it among the best public universities in the United States.
The college educated American presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. It also educated other key figures pivotal to the development of the United States, including the first President of the Continental Congress Peyton Randolph, the first U.S. Attorney General Edmund Randolph, the fourth U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Winfield Scott, sixteen members of the Continental Congress, and four signers of the Declaration of Independence. Its connections with many Founding Fathers of the United States earned it the nickname “the Alma Mater of the Nation”. George Washington received his surveyor’s license from the college in 1749 and he would become the college’s first American chancellor in 1788. The position was long held by Bishops of London and Archbishops of Canterbury, though in modern times has been held by U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Secretaries, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Benjamin Franklin received William & Mary’s first honorary degree in 1756.
William & Mary is notable for its many firsts in American higher education. The F.H.C. Society, founded in 1750, was the first collegiate fraternity in the United States, and W&M students founded the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society in 1776, the first Greek-letter fraternity. In 1736, W&M became the first school of higher education in the future United States to install a student honor code of conduct. It is the only American university issued a coat of arms by the College of Arms in London. The establishment of graduate programs in law and medicine in 1779 makes it one of the first universities in the United States. The Marshall–Wythe School of Law is the oldest law school in the United States, and the Sir Christopher Wren Building, attributed to the famed English architect, is the oldest academic building in continuous use in the United States.
In addition to its undergraduate program, W&M is home to several top-ranked graduate programs and four professional schools. In his 1985 book Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities, Richard Moll included William & Mary as one of the original eight “Public Ivies“. It is classified among “R2: Doctoral Universities – High Research Activity”.
Local tuition 23,812 USD, Domestic tuition 47,038 USD
William & Mary’s 2022-2023 Rankings
William & Mary is ranked #41 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.