William & Mary welcomes freshmen of the Class of 2021. The coming year marks two important milestones in our University’s history. Last week W&M president Taylor Reveley reminded us that this is the 50th anniversary of the first African American students living on campus and having full access to William & Mary’s facilities. In the ensuing decades our university has welcomed many other students of color, and we have embraced other kinds of diversity – racial, sexual, and religious.
This year also marks another diversity anniversary. In 2012, William & Mary established the Neurodiversity initiative, and the following year we became the first major American university to teach that subject. This coming year represents the fifth year our university has specifically recognized students with neurological diversity – autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other differences. We are proud to be at the cutting edge of this emerging field, and look forward to teaching its principles to our incoming class. Neurodiversity is unique in that it touches people of both sexes and every race.