Founded 323 years ago, The College of William and Mary is celebrating its birthday with Charter Day events this weekend.
The historic university was established in Feb. 8, 1693 by a royal charter from King William III and Queen Mary II of England. William and Mary has celebrated the annual occasion since 1937.
It continues the tradition this weekend, holding events for students, faculty and staff as well as a black-tie gala, university officials said.
"William and Mary though created and sustained by humans, it transcends human limits," university president Taylor Reveley told the crowd during the 2015 Charter Day ceremony.
William and Mary survived through various forms of strife during its history including the Revolutionary and Civil wars, Reveley said. The university is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., after Harvard University, and the country's oldest public one.
This year, the Charter Day celebration features comedian Bo Burnham. Known for his mix of stand-up, music and theatre, Burnham will perform in the Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall.
The celebration also includes guest speakers, awards presentations and ceremony where school officials will issue honorary degrees.
NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan is this year's Charter Day keynote speaker. In 1983, Stofan graduated from William and Mary with a bachelor's degree in geology and went on to complete her graduate studies at Brown University.
Her husband, Timothy Dunn and their two children are also William and Mary alumni.
Stofan and another notable person, Jack Edwards, will receive honorary degrees in the tradition of one of the nation's founders, Benjamin Franklin, who received one in 1756.
The university will also present the Thomas Jefferson Award and the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award to faculty and the Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy and the James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership to students at a Charter Day awards ceremony, according to a news release.
For more information about Charter day, go to this site.
Reach Canty at (757) 345-2341.
Key Charter Day weekend events
4 p.m.— Charter Day ceremony
10 a.m. — Alumni Medallion ceremony
2:30 p.m. — Gold Rush basketball game versus Delaware
8 p.m. — Comedian Bo Burnham performance