Sunday, July 21, 2024

Smithsonian’s Visionary Leader to Highlight William & Mary’s Charter Day

Lonie Bunch (Credit: Robert Stewart, Smithsonian Institution.)
WILLIAMSBURG — The leader of the world’s largest museum, education and research complex will headline William & Mary’s annual Charter Day ceremony and also highlight a yearlong effort celebrating the arts.
Lonnie G. Bunch III, who serves as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and served as founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will deliver remarks and receive an honorary degree at the Feb. 9 event, the university announced.
The ceremony marks the founding of the university in 1693 by British royal charter.
This year’s event, scheduled for 4 p.m. in Kaplan Arena, celebrates the university’s 331st “birthday” and will include performances by student groups and greetings from Chancellor Gates. The ceremony is free, and tickets are not required.
As secretary of the Smithsonian, Bunch leads more than 40 museums and libraries, plus the National Zoo and a variety of research and educational centers. He previously served as the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and is largely responsible for that museum’s launch and enormous success.

“Lonnie Bunch has changed the way countless people understand American history and identity,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. “His work sets museums at the heart of our democracy – as sources of shared learning, community engagement and civic power. William & Mary is proud to honor him during our Year of the Arts.”

Former W&M Rector Jeffrey B. Trammell,  a leader in strategic counseling, politics and education and advocate for LGBTQ rights, will also receive an honorary degree at the Charter Day ceremony, the university said.
Jeffrey Trammell (Photo by Max Taylor).

“We are excited to celebrate one of our own, Jeff Trammell,” Rowe added. “His deep commitment to William & Mary spans more than half a century. Rector Trammell led the Board of Visitors during an important time in the life of the university and his dedication to W&M over decades impacted generations of students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

The ceremony continues the university’s observance of the Year of the Arts and will feature student performances.

The celebration began last semester when William & Mary opened its state-of-the-art Fine and Performing Arts Complex, which includes the renovated Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall and a new music building, it said.

The expansion and renovation of the Muscarelle Museum of Art, which will be part of the new Martha Wren Briggs Center for the Visual Arts, is expected to be completed later this year.

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