First Anglican college in the American colonies. It was founded by James Blair, the first Commissary to Virginia. On Feb. 8, 1693, King William III and Queen Mary II granted a charter. On Dec. 20, 1693, 330 acres were purchased at "Middle Plantation," now Williamsburg, for the school. The cornerstone of the first building was laid on Aug. 8, 1695. One of its main purposes was to be a "nursery of pious ministers" for the church in Virginia. On Dec. 4, 1779, under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, the Governor of Virginia, the college became a university and the Divinity School was discontinued. In 1820 a chair of theology was established, but no students came. The presidents of William and Mary were Episcopal clergy for most of its first 160 years. It became a state institution on Mar. 5, 1860.
William and Mary, College of
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.