October 1, 2023

Williams College Parent Says Thanks for Warm Reception

To faculty, staff, and students:

You know how proud I am of this institution and all members of the UMW family. That’s why it makes my heart swell to read a letter like this one I received yesterday from Michael M. Rooke-Ley, Emeritus Professor of Law, Eugene, Oregon.  I just had to share it!

Richard V. Hurley
President    eagleeyelens

Dear President Hurley,

You and I have never met, but I write to you on this occasion as the parent of a Williams College basketball player to thank you and the university community for the gracious and spirited days we spent on and around the Mary Washington campus, March 14-16. Fellow parents, players and coaches could not stop talking about the warm reception we received from everyone during our visit. Equally impressive was the loyal and enthusiastic UMW crowd at Saturday’s game, where your fans cheered until the final basket, long after a victory was out of reach, demonstrating the kind of support we rarely see any longer in college sports.

I should also tell you of a personal experience on the preceding Friday. As one who often counsels college-bound students and who frequently encourages them to consider studying in other parts of the country, I was curious about UMW and decided to drop into your admissions office. I was fortunate to be greeted by Cris Hairston, who spent twenty minutes answering my questions as an exceptionally impressive and articulate emissary for the institution. In the course of our conversation, I learned of James Farmer’s connection to UMW, an unexpected thrill for me because I had worked for Mr. Farmer with CORE in the mid-1960s integrating lunch counters and registering voters in Mississippi and Louisiana.

As I strolled your campus, I spoke with a number of students whose enthusiasm for their college was palpable. They seemed to truly appreciate the value of a liberal arts education and, surprisingly in this day and age, rejected the notion that such an education is somehow not job-relevant. Wise beyond their years, I say!

In sum, I think that I can speak for our entire Williams contingent when I commend you, your faculty, staff and students for creating an environment that reflects the very best human values.

With gratitude and warm wishes,

Michael Rooke-Ley

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