William and Mary Digest May 15

Staff writer

Son continues father’s legacy with fellowship medallion

The College of William and Mary’s Phi Beta Kappa Hall has been the setting for many beginnings, including the start of Glenn Close’s award-winning acting career. It was also the place where Mik Stousland ’41 met the woman who would be his wife, Betty Stousland ’42.

On Saturday, the couple’s legacy quietly found its way into the university’s Commencement ceremony as Close ’74 received William and Mary’s honorary fellowship medallion, designed and crafted by the Stouslands’ son, Chris, who graduated from William and Mary in 1976.

It is only the third such medallion ever presented by the university; the first two — given to Charles, Prince of Wales, in 1981 and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands in 1983 — were designed and crafted by Mik Stousland, who died in 2002.

“I was just excited to do it, plus it was a connection with my dad,” said Chris.

Chris said that creating the medallion for Close had special meaning because of his parents’ connections to William and Mary theater.

The prepared Commencement remarks of Glenn Close

The following is an excerpt from the prepared remarks of Glenn Close for William and Mary's 2019 Commencement ceremony. To read the full transcript visit wm.edu.

What each of you have, and what you must believe in from this day forward, is your inherent uniqueness. Your singular point of view. No one looks out onto the world through your eyes. Your perspective is unique. It’s important and it counts. Try not to compare it to anyone else. Accept it. Believe in it. Nurture it. Stay fiercely, joyously connected to the friends you have made here, to those you love and trust. You will have each other’s backs for the rest of your lives.

I wish I were funny like Robin Williams. I wish I could make you laugh so hard you’d fall off your chairs. I’m not wise. I have had the lucky chance to learn by doing. After being in my profession for 45 years, though, I have learned a few things that I want to briefly share with you today.

In order to inhabit a character, I have had to find where we share a common humanity. I can’t do characters justice if I am judging them. I have to find a way to love them. The exploration into each character I play has made me a more tolerant and empathetic person. I have had to literally imagine myself in someone else’s shoes, looking out of someone else’s eyes. I urge you to learn how to do that. You can with practice. Start by being curious about the “whys” of someone’s behavior. Before you judge someone, before you write them off, take the time to put yourself in their shoes and see how it feels.

‘Face the Nation’ now a Commencement tradition

For the seventh year in a row, Face the Nation, the CBS News national broadcast show, came to campus to interview former U.S. Secretary of Defense and current William and Mary Chancellor Robert M. Gates ’65. Moderator Margaret Brennan, for the second year, came to Williamsburg Friday to conduct the interview, which aired nationwide on Sunday morning.

“The annual Face the Nation interview with Secretary Gates is always a terrific opportunity for us to take a step back from the chaos and partisanship in Washington and get some context on the news,” said Mary Hager, executive producer of the show. “His experience gives him a unique perspective on what’s going on today and why it matters for tomorrow.”

Gates was invested as the university’s 24th chancellor in 2012 and re-invested for a second term this past February. Although the position is primarily a ceremonial role, Gates has been active on campus as chancellor. He frequently takes part in William and Mary traditions, such as Homecoming, Charter Day and Commencement.

The annual interview began in 2013 with the longtime anchor, journalist and host Bob Schieffer. John Dickerson kept the tradition alive for two years during his time as moderator of Face the Nation.

Post-baccalaureate GIS certificate program will start this fall

Classes in William and Mary’s new certificate program in geospatial sciences will begin in the fall.

“It’s actually a certificate in Geographic Information Science, to be very specific,” said GIS Certificate Coordinator Shannon White. She added that the university’s Center for Geospatial Analysis will soon begin enrolling students in the 15-credit hour post-baccalaureate program.

The Certificate in GeographicInformation Science was funded with seed money from Provost Michael Halleran’s Creative Adaptation Fund. The program recently received final approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

White said students can enroll in the program part time or full time; full-time students should be able to complete the program in a year.

“It’s intended for a student who isn’t quite ready to go into graduate school or who maybe only took one GIS course because of their very packed undergraduate schedule,” White explained. “It also will be beneficial for a professional who has come across GIS as part of their job and they want to increase their knowledge.”

Items used are from William and Mary news releases.

Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at sararose.martin@vagazette.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.

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