WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary’s Charter Day, an annual tradition recognizing its 1693 founding through the British royal charter, will provide opportunities to both reflect on the past and observe history in the making.
In addition to honoring the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and one of the commonwealth’s leading philanthropists, W&M will be recognizing the start of the 300th anniversary of the Brafferton Indian School. Delegations from area tribes will attend the ceremony, and portions of the W&M charter will be read in various Native languages, according to a press release.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will serve as a speaker at the 2023 Charter Day ceremony. She will also receive an honorary degree at the event, along with Barbara “Bobbie” Berkeley Ukrop ’61, a former member of the Board of Visitors and William & Mary Foundation and a longtime advocate for education in Virginia.
“We are delighted to honor Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and Bobbie Ukrop for their service to our country and commonwealth,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. “Through her 35-year career, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield advanced America’s relationships with countries around the world. She embodies the bipartisan democracy that is part of our strategic aspirations as a university. Bobbie Ukrop’s lifelong advocacy for education in Virginia and at William & Mary has made her a local hero. She is both brilliant and humble in her commitment to service to her community — living W&M’s values every day.”
Earlier on the day of the event, the Bray School will be moved from its current W&M location on Prince George Street to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. The school is the oldest extant Colonial-era building in the United States dedicated to the education of Black children. The special event is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. on the grounds of the Arts Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
“During Charter Day, William & Mary affirms the transformative impact of access to education in a pluralistic democracy,” said Rowe.
“The Bray School move and Brafferton tercentennial offer unique opportunities to tell a more forthright account of the founding of the United States — so that this nation’s origin story can evolve to become every citizen’s shared story.”
The Charter Day ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. at Kaplan Arena. For additional information about Charter Day, the Bray School, and its move to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area check out the information on William & Mary’s website.