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Biographical Sketch

George Washington (February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799) led America's Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. He served two four-year terms from 1789 to 1797. Washington received his surveyor's license from William & Mary in 1749. Washington served as the first American Chancellor of William & Mary from 1788 to 1799.

George Washington on the College of William & Mary

In a letter dated January 7, 1773, George Washington writes to Rev. Jonathan Boucher (tutor to John Parke Custis, Washington's step-son) regarding Washington's suggestions as to whether Custis should attend William & Mary. The original letter is available in the Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library. The following is a partial transcription of that letter:

"...I cannot think William & Mary College a desirable place to send Jack Custis to -- the in-attention of the Masters, added to the number of Hollidays is the subject of general complaint... These considerations, added to a desire of withdrawing the mind of my ward as much as possible from the objects which seem at present to have engrossed too much of his attention...I have, I think, determined to send him to the Philadelphia College, which from the best information I have been able to get...stands equally fair with any other, and being nearer is more agreeable to his mother..."

Preceded by

William & Mary Chancellor

Succeeded by

Richard Terrick 1764-1776

George Washington 1788-1799

John Tyler 1859-1862

Material in the Special Collections Research Center


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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.