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The Board of Visitors of William & Mary elect a Rector, Vice-Rector, and Secretary from its membership. The duties and responsibilities of the Rector are described in the board's by-laws.

Rectors of the Board of Visitors


1693-95 The Rev. James Blair, Williamsburg, Virginia

1695-96 Capt. Miles Cary, Warwick County, Virginia

1696-97 John Smith, Gloucester County, Virginia

1697-98 The Rev. Stephen Fouace, York County, Virginia

1698-1702 unknown

1702-03 William Byrd I, (Richmond) Henrico County, Virginia

1703-04 Lt. Gov. Francis Nicholson, Williamsburg, Virginia

1704-05 Miles Cary, Warwick County, Virginia

1705 Lt. Gov. Francis Nicholson, Williamsburg, Virginia

1706-15 unknown

1715-16 Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood, Williamsburg, Virginia

1716 Philip Ludwell, James City County, Virginia

1717-28 unknown

1728-29 The Rev. James Blair, Williamsburg, Virginia

1729 Richard Kennon, Charles City County, Virginia

1730-35 unknown

1736 Henry Armistead, Williamsburg, Virginia

1737-56 unknown


1757 William Lightfoot, Charles City County, Virginia

1758-59 Peyton Randolph, York County, Virginia

1759-60 Gov. Francis Fauquier, Williamsburg, Virginia

1760-65 unknown

1766-67 Dudley Digges, York County, Virginia

1767-69 James M. Fontaine, Gloucester County, Virginia

1769-70 Gov. Norbourne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, Williamsburg, Virginia

1771 William Byrd III, Charles City, Virginia

1772-78 unknown

1779-81 or 82 Judge John Blair, Williamsburg, Virginia

1782-84 Dudley Digges, Williamsburg, Virginia

1784 Ralph Wormeley, Middlesex, Virginia

1785-87 unknown

1788 Samuel Griffin, Williamsburg, Virginia

1789-90 St. George Tucker, Williamsburg, Virginia

1791-92 unknown

1793 Philip Barraud, Williamsburg, Virginia

1794-99 unknown


1800 Joseph Prentis, Williamsburg

1801-12 unknown

1812-13 Robert N. Nelson, Williamsburg, Virginia

1813-1814 Robert Saunders, Williamsburg, Virginia

1814-1815 William Browne, Williamsburg, Virginia

1815 Robert G. Smith, Richmond, Virginia

1816-17 unknown

1817 James Semple, Williamsburg, Virginia

1818-19 unknown

1819 Thomas G. Smith, Middlesex, Virginia

1820 Burwell Bassett, Williamsburg, Virginia

1821-24 unknown

1825 William Browne, Williamsburg, Virginia

1826-27 unknown

1827-28 Governor John Tyler, Williamsburg, Virginia

1828-29 or 30 John Page, Williamsburg, Virginia

1830-36 unknown

1836-37 Edmund Ruffin, Prince George County, Virginia

1837-39 Thomas Martin, James City County, Virginia

1839-40 Robert McCandish, Williamsburg, Virginia

1840-42 John Tyler, Williamsburg, Virginia and Washington

1842-44 Thomas G. Peachy, Williamsburg, Virginia

1844-45 Robert McCandish, Williamsburg, Virginia

1845-46 John B. Christian, Williamsburg, Virginia

1846-48 Robert McCandish, Williamsburg, Virginia


1848-62 John Tyler, Charles City County, Virginia

1862-65 no incumbent

1865-69 Bishop John Johns, Alexandria

1869-71 William H, MacFarland, Richmond, Virginia

1871-83 James Lyons, Richmond, Virginia

1883-90 Judge. W.W. Crump, Richmond, Virginia

1890-98 Gen. William B. Taliaferro, Gloucester County, Virginia

1898-1905 Dr. John W. Lawson, Isle of Wight, Virginia


1905-18 Robert Morton Hughes, Class of 1873, Norfolk, Virginia

1918-40 James Hardy Dillard, Charlottesville, Virginia

1940-41 G. Walter Mapp, Class of 1894, Accomac, Virginia

1941-46 J. Gordon Bohannon, Class of 1902, Surry County, Virginia

1946-48 A. Herbert Foreman, Class of 1889, Norfolk, Virginia

1948-52 Oscar L. Shewmake, Class of 1903, Honorary LL.D. 1957, Richmond, Virginia


1952-62 James M. Robertson, Class of 1929, Honorary LL.D. 1965, Norfolk, Virginia

1962-64 Judge C. Sterling Hutcheson, Honorary LL.D. 1968, Boydton, Virginia

1964-66 James B. Woodward, Jr., Newport News, Virginia

1966-68 W. Brooks George, Class of 1932, Honorary L.H.D. 1972, Richmond, Virginia

1968-70 Walter G. Mason, Honorary LL.D. 1983, Lynchburg, Virginia

1970-72 Ernest Goodrich, Class of 1935, LL.D. 2002, Surry County, Virginia

1972-76 R. Harvey Chappell, Jr., Class of 1948, B.C.L. 1950, Honorary LL.D. 1984, Richmond, Virginia

1976-78 John R. L. Johnson, Jr., Class of 1928, M.A. 1929, Chadds Ford, PA

1978-82 Dr. Edward E. Brickell, Class of 1950, Certificate of Advanced Study in Education (C.A.S.E.) 1970, Ed.D. 1973, Honorary L.H.D. 1998, Virginia Beach, Virginia

1982-84 Herbert V. Kelly, Class of 1941, Newport News, Virginia

1984-87 Anne Dobie Peebles, Class of 1944, Carson, Virginia

1987-93 Hays T. Watkins, Honorary LL.D. 1982, Richmond, Virginia

1993-94 James W. Brinkley, Class of 1959, Honorary L.H.D. 2003, Baltimore, MD

1994-96 James B. Murray, Jr., J.D. 1974, Honorary LL.D. 2000, Keene, VA

1996-2000 A. Marshall Acuff, Jr., Class of 1962, Riverside, CT


2000-2001 J. Edward Grimsley, Class of 1951, Richmond, VA

2001-2003 Donald N. Patten, Newport News, VA

2003-2006 Susan Aheron Magill, Class of 1972, Alexandria, VA

2006-2009 Michael K. Powell, Class of 1985, Fairfax Station, VA

2009-2011 Henry C. Wolf, Class of 1964, J.D. 1966, Norfolk, VA


2011-2013 Jeffery B. Trammell, Class of 1973, Washington, D.C.

2013-2018 Todd Stottlemyer, Class of 1985, Oak Hill, VA

2018- 2022 John E. Littel, P '22, Virginia Beach, VA

2022- Judge Charles E. Poston J.D. ’74, P ’02, ’06

Rector's Badge and Chain of Office

Gold diamond shaped badge with the words "Rector College of William & Mary" engraved around the sides
Front of the Rector's Badge
Reverse side of the Rector's badge featuring an illustration of old campus in green and blue
Reverse side of the Rector's Badge

The Rector's Badge and Chain of Office are worn by the Rector of the College of William & Mary at official functions, such as Charter Day and Commencement. The badge contains the coat of arms of the College and is suspended from the W&M cipher. The seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the arms of the London Company are engraved on the chain. Former Rector Anne Dobie Peebles, class of 1944, gifted the badge and chain of office to the College in 1987. The badge and chain of office were hand-crafted by the firm of Thomas Fattorini of Birmingham, England as a companion piece to the Chancellor's badge and chain of office.


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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.