I traveled abroad with the William & Mary brand.
In early 2018, when Larry and I talked about the possibility of him leading the William & Mary Study Abroad in Galway, I knew two things:
I could work anywhere so my consulting business wouldn't suffer during my 5+ weeks working in Ireland instead of Williamsburg.
I would only consider taking on this responsibility with William & Mary students.
I was not wrong - our 22 William & Mary undergraduates embodied what is best about US college students. They relished every opportunity and fully participated in summer study in Ireland.
For 23+ years, my work life was on the William & Mary campus, and for much of that, the William & Mary brand was my tool. It was my way to direct communications and marketing strategy for key audiences like prospective students, parents, current students and alumni. A brand is what you stand for; well-articulated, it tells the world what William & Mary does and why it matters.
What a feeling to see these students doing and saying what we say the William & Mary brand is. On multiple excursions, tour guides expressed surprise at the depth of their knowledge and the intensity of their interest. On multiple occasions, the students were just plain nice to each other, to bus drivers, to Larry and me. In many, many ways, I observed their brilliance, their critical thinking skills, and their respectful approach to Ireland and the world. (Not the least of which was the incidence of danger at a tourist site and the W&M student who made it stop.)
With these 22 undergraduate students as evidence, the William & Mary brand is not manufactured. They are who William & Mary is and why it matters.
I had the pleasure to tag along as the William & Mary brand traveled abroad and I'll always be grateful. Go Tribe.