Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Sights

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Wren Building Review

The College of William and Mary, founded in 1693, is the second-oldest college in the United States after Harvard University. The campus extends to the west; the Wren Building (1695) was based on the work of the celebrated London architect Sir Christopher Wren. Its redbrick outer walls are original, but fire gutted the interiors several times, and the current quarters are largely reconstructions of the 20th century. The faculty common room, with a table covered with green felt and an antique globe, suggests Oxford and Cambridge universities, the models for this New World institution. George Wythe became America's first law professor at the college and taught law to Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, James Monroe, and John Marshall. Tours, led by undergraduates, include the chapel where Colonial leader Peyton Randolph is buried. Among the portraits of college presidents on the second floor of the Wren Building is an arresting painting of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who visited William and Mary during her tenure.

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