Marking a birthday should always be an event, but when you happen to be 322 years old, that’s certainly cause for celebration. Founded by Royal Charter in 1693, The College of William & Mary is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, but despite that historical legacy of tradition, the campus is hardly reserved when it comes to celebrating.
This year’s celebration of Charter Day, first known as Founder’s Day, kicked off on February 6 and ran throughout the weekend, including a Charter Day concert featuring Grammy Award-winning rapper Ludacris and singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. Themes past and present were reflected by keynote speaker, James B. Murray, Jr., a venture capitalist and former Rector of the College, and by Class of 2017 Student Speaker, Heein Choi, whose address reflected on the William & Mary legacy.
Several college departments were involved in the Charter Day celebrations in different ways, and the college bookstore was no exception. “This year, we were especially proud to be part of the celebrations, with a key role to support the roll-out of the new official logo,” explains William & Mary Bookstore Store Manager, Cathy Pacheco.
Updating the iconic look of a brand like William & Mary’s is something the College didn’t enter into lightly, and Pacheco had been working closely with the administration since last summer about how the bookstore could best support the new design. “We looked at the updating of our brand as an initiative, which not only reflected our traditions, but also our modern-day culture,” explains Eden Harris, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, Auxiliary Services for William & Mary. “It’s an opportunity for us to work with every corner of the campus and really celebrate the rich history of William & Mary, and at the same time, look to the future,” she adds.
To promote the new logo, the store created a special Charter Day t-shirt as a way of spearheading the initiative. “We’re really proud to say that the shirt will be the first item to feature the new logo, and we tied a scholarship benefit to the shirt,” Pacheco explains. “For every shirt we sell, the bookstore is donating $10 towards student scholarships and financial aid.”
The unique shirt design was announced through an email to faculty, staff and to students old and new. “We wanted to be sure to involve alumni in the announcement, and for those who couldn’t make it here for Charter Day, to still be able to be involved in the celebration,” she says.
Over the Charter Day weekend, an array of new products was featured at the store to further announce the brand. The logo itself incorporates a new treatment of the familiar William & Mary cypher. “Everyone connected to the college knows what the cypher is and has a close connection to it, so it’s become an integral part of the new official logo,” Pacheco says. “It will also be reflected on the website and promotional items as the recognizable official mark of William & Mary,” she adds.
It’s no coincidence that the new college mark offers a perspective that is both historical and celebratory. “History here is very important,” acknowledges Pacheco, who is also the current president of Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square Association, “and it’s an important part of the culture here.” Her store itself is a reflection of that principle.
Although located on Duke of Gloucester Street, in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, the historic building provides a modern interior, with architecturally high ceilings and escalators leading to a dramatic balcony area on the second floor. Murals reflective of college life and philosophy adorn the walls throughout the store’s first floor. “It’s a really special building to work in,” she admits.
“We’re honored to partner with William & Mary, and of being their choice to help promote the new mark,” Pacheco says, reflecting on the weekend long celebration. “The atmosphere on campus is always like a big birthday party on Charter Day,” she says adding, “it’s a small campus community, and we work closely together on projects like these so it’s always wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate that.”