William & Mary Weekend in New York City provided an exclusive opportunity for more than 700 alumni, parents and friends to connect, discover and celebrate in new and exciting ways. A variety of intellectual, cultural, professional and social events took place across the Big Apple and gave participants insider access to some of the world’s finest museums and performances.
Fun-filled events included a behind-the-scenes tour of the New York City Ballet, an intimate discussion with Glenn Lowry D.A. ’09, director of the Museum of Modern Art, and a Broadway performance and special appearance by Glenn Close ’74, D.A. ’89.
In its second year, the Weekend is becoming a popular destination for many in the Tribe community. Next year’s William & Mary Weekend will be in Chicago on June 1-3, 2018.
9/11 Memorial Museum Discussion
Weekend co-chair David Kelley ’81, partner at Dechert LLP and former co-chair of the U.S. Justice Department’s 9/11 investigations, led a keynote discussion at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan.
Kelley and his team convicted American John Walker Lindh in 2002 for aiding Taliban forces in Afghanistan. There was a question-and-answer session, where Kelley was asked about the process of anticipating and preventing terrorist threats in the future.
“The main goal for countering terrorism is the same then as it is now,” Kelley says. “We have to do the best we can to disrupt any future attempts with the intelligence we have. I still take on cases with the perspective I gained on 9/11.”
Wonder in the Universe
William & Mary alumnae Beth Comstock ’82 and Ellen Stofan ’83, D.Sc. ’16 led a TED-style talk about innovation and leadership during the Weekend.
Stofan, former chief scientist at NASA, and Comstock, vice chair of GE, spoke to an audience of nearly 100 attendees during the event, Wonder in the Universe: Big Ideas and Disruptive Innovation. The event was moderated by David T. Scott ’93, founder and CEO of Laugh.ly.
Both discussed leadership and how today’s leaders have to be open to change and diversity in order to have effective and innovative organizations.
NYSE trading floor tour
William & Mary Weekend attendees had VIP access to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) trading floor
“The market model for the NYSE still relies on human beings, but electronic trading has really taken over equities around the world,” says Chris Taylor, head of global listings for the NYSE. “The NYSE remains the only equity exchange with a trading floor.”
The group was present for the ringing of the closing bell shortly before 4 p.m.
They learned things about the NYSE that may not necessarily be found in a textbook.
“In the summer, they would actually pipe perfume in through the vents,” says NYSE Archivist Pete Asch, referring to the early 1900s. “You would have a floor with thousands — at that time men — running around and yelling at each other all day. The odor got so bad that they masked it with perfume.”
Professor Ronald Schechter used solid debate points, his institutional knowledge of the university’s history and some strategic flattery to win the Raft Debate.
Schechter, a history professor, represented the humanities during the debate where four “shipwrecked” professors defend their disciplines in order to save humanity with one life raft.
Joe Plumeri ’66, D.P.S. ’11, honorary chair of William & Mary Weekend and vice chairman of the First Data board of directors, served as the judge. During his remarks preceding the debate, Plumeri shared some of his first memories as a William & Mary student.
“I have had a love affair with William & Mary since I got here in 1962 … William & Mary for me was a nurturing place,” Plumeri says. “It was very human. It was a place where I felt like everyone cared about me.”
The other professors who participated in the debate were chemistry professor Lisa Landino, psychology professor Lee Kirkpatrick and philosophy professor Christopher Freiman.
Visit weekend.wm.edu to find out more about W&M weekend in Chicago.