Camino Gateway To Global Citizenship For William And Mary Students

Camino: Gateway to Global Citizenship for William & Mary Students

Posted: | Updated:
Reading time: 11 minutes

Camino: Gateway to Global Citizenship for William & Mary Students

Posted: | Updated:
Reading time: 11 minutes

Simon Kemp Camino de Santiago author

By: Simon Kemp, Editor

Camino Gateway To Global Citizenship For William And Mary Students

Embark on the Camino de Santiago , a transformative pilgrimage in Spain, and discover the path to global citizenship for William & Mary students. Jonathan Harris ’94’s journey inspired the establishment of the Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship, solidifying the university’s commitment to international education.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Camino de Santiago holds significance for William & Mary students. Jonathan Harris 1994 journey inspired the establishment of the Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship.
  2. The Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment enables deserving William & Mary students to engage in enlightening Camino pilgrimages or explore alternative study abroad programs in Spain, fostering global awareness and cross-cultural learning.
  3. The Harris family, passionate about the Camino experience, established La Tienda, a vibrant embodiment of Spanish culture. They prioritize inclusivity, offering English literacy classes and Spanish instruction to their diverse workforce, engaging with the William & Mary community through internships and case studies.
  4. The Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship contributes to William & Mary’s dedication to providing transformative study abroad experiences. The university’s emphasis on global perspectives and interdisciplinary inquiry prepares students for success in an interconnected world.
  5. Tim Harris, a key figure in the Harris family’s involvement with the Camino, has undertaken various sections of the trail multiple times and emphasizes the transformative power of the pilgrimage in enriching personal experiences and faith.

Embarking on the Camino de Santiago, a timeless pilgrimage trail in Spain, holds profound significance for William & Mary students. This transformative journey paves the way for a deeper understanding of global citizenship, as exemplified by Jonathan Harris ’94. By traversing the historic path from the French-Spanish border to Santiago de Compostela, Harris experienced the captivating landscapes, diverse cultures, and rich history of Spain

This article explores the personal insights gained from the pilgrimage, the establishment of the Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment, and the enduring impact of the Camino de Santiago on William & Mary’s commitment to global education.

Embracing the Pilgrimage Journey

During his awe-inspiring 500 mile Camino trek from the French-Spanish border to Santiago de Compostela, Harris experienced the breath taking landscapes, rich culture, and captivating history of Spain in a deeply introspective manner. Along the pilgrimage, he found himself in the company of a diverse array of individuals, including a Brazilian ship’s captain and a Dutch land-rights negotiator, all united by a shared quest for spiritual renewal, a deeper understanding of their place in the world, and a genuine human connection that transcended the distractions of everyday life.

Harris shares, “It was an eye-opening revelation of our shared journey in life, reminding me that people are far more alike than we often realize. On the Camino, everyone is united in the same pursuit. It’s not about social status or position, but about embracing each step along the way.”

Empowering Future Generations

To extend this transformative experience to other William & Mary students, Harris and his family, comprising his parents and siblings, have established the esteemed Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment. This admirable philanthropic effort includes esteemed donors such as Don Harris ’57 and Ruth Harris, along with their accomplished sons and daughters-in-law: Tim Harris ’91 and Amy Brown Harris ’91, M.A.Ed. ’96; Jonathan Harris ’94 and Stacey Reid Harris; and Chris Harris ’98 and Rian Harker Harris ’98.

In addition to this generous contribution, two anonymous donors have collaborated with the family to fund the endowment, resulting in an exceptional combined gift of $100,000. The scholarship will provide invaluable support to deserving W&M students, enabling them to partake in enlightening Camino pilgrimages or, if circumstances prevent such opportunities in a given year, explore alternative study abroad programs in Spain.

The Camino de Santiago, renowned as the illustrious Way of St. James, as the Camino Guidebooks by Author John Brierley explain, encompasses an intricate network of historic trails that have beckoned pilgrims since the ninth century, leading them toward the revered Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The cathedral holds immense significance as the resting place of the Christian apostle James the Greater, with his tomb purportedly discovered at the site around the year 813. According to the Book of Acts, James was a martyr, and legend has it that his remains were transported from the Middle East to the Northwestern region of Spain, where he had dedicated himself to spreading the teachings of the Christian faith.

William And Mary Students Walking Along The Camino De Santiago
William And Mary Students Walking Along The Camino De Santiago

A Growing Global Phenomenon

In the present day, the pilgrimage routes continue to captivate individuals from near and far, and interest in this transformative journey has witnessed remarkable growth over the past two decades. Statistics published by the Pilgrim’s Welcome Office, known as the Oficina de Acogida al Peregrino, reveal that in 2022 alone, an astounding number exceeding 437,000 individuals embarked on the pilgrimage to the hallowed Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Don Harris beautifully articulates the spiritual essence of the Camino, remarking, “By stepping away from the ordinary world, one embarks on a profound spiritual journey. The encounters with fellow pilgrims who share similar experiences prove to be incredibly enriching. For many, the Camino deepens their faith and offers an indelible connection to something greater.”

A Family Legacy

As a Boston-area native, Don’s serendipitous discovery of a William & Mary catalog at his high school library in the early 1950s ignited an enduring fascination with the university, fueled by the captivating images of the historic Wren and Brafferton buildings. Inspired by his father’s connection, all three of Don’s sons chose to follow in his footsteps, becoming esteemed William & Mary alumni. Today, Tim and Jonathan skillfully manage La Tienda, the family’s Williamsburg-based business, which Don established in 1996 with the invaluable assistance of his sons. Prior to this venture, Don served as an Episcopal chaplain for William & Mary students, stationed at Bruton Parish Church, following his retirement from the Navy. Ruth Harris also contributed to the William & Mary community, serving as a music librarian from 1989 to 2004. La Tienda, renowned as the leading online U.S. retailer of gourmet food and cookware from Spain, has since expanded to encompass a retail shop and tapas bar, becoming a vibrant embodiment of Spanish culture.

Fostering Global Awareness

In their unwavering commitment to cross-cultural learning, the Harris family has fostered an environment of inclusivity within La Tienda. With employees hailing from at least eight different nationalities across Latin America, Asia, and Europe, the family prioritized the provision of English literacy classes during work hours from the early stages. Furthermore, they have recently introduced Spanish instruction for English speakers, further enhancing the cultural exchange. La Tienda actively engages with the William & Mary community, offering internships to students and providing compelling case studies for business analytics students at the esteemed Raymond A. Mason School of Business.

Tim Harris, reflecting on the ideal location of La Tienda in Williamsburg, remarks, “Our decision to establish a restaurant and retail store on Jamestown Road stemmed from our desire to facilitate face-to-face connections and share the vibrant Spanish celebration of life through family and food, which holds a special place in my father’s heart.”

The Harris family’s affinity for the Camino de Santiago traces back to Don’s time as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Spain during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their enduring love for the warmth of the Spanish people, the tantalizing flavors of the cuisine, and the awe-inspiring Romanesque art and architecture prompted periodic returns to the Camino pilgrimage. Jonathan and Stacey, in a particularly memorable gesture, embarked on a 62-mile stretch of the Camino for their honeymoon. Recently, they revisited the sacred route, creating lasting memories with their daughters, one of whom undertook the pilgrimage with her college group, thus carrying forward the tradition initiated by Jonathan himself.

The Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship Student Pilgrims On The Camino
The Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship Student Pilgrims On The Camino

Embracing the Camino Experience

Tim’s connection to the Camino pilgrimage runs even deeper, having undertaken various sections of the trails multiple times. During his time at William & Mary, Tim had the privilege of studying under the esteemed George Greenia, a co-founder of the university’s esteemed Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a renowned authority on the Camino de Santiago. Greenia established the distinguished W&M Institute for Pilgrimage Studies, leading undergraduate students on backpacking expeditions along the Camino to conduct interdisciplinary field research. Through their interactions with fellow pilgrims in a multitude of languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and even Hebrew, students gained a deeper understanding of diverse cultures, enriching their own personal experiences.

In addition to their noble establishment of the scholarship endowment, the Harris family actively contributes to the preservation of the infrastructure along the Camino de Santiago. Their unwavering commitment extends to initiatives such as the installation of water fountains and the provision of assistance for repairs to the boarding houses and albergues that provide respite to weary travelers. Tim warmly encourages the La Tienda community and others to join hands in supporting these remarkable efforts, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and participation.

Enriching Academic Excellence

The Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship stands as a testament to William & Mary’s steadfast dedication to providing transformative study abroad experiences. Ranked fourth among public universities in the nation for its comprehensive study-abroad programs, William & Mary views global perspectives as pivotal in shaping students’ academic excellence and preparing them for successful careers within an interconnected world. Through participation in the Santiago de Compostela program and other study abroad opportunities, students not only fulfil academic requirements but also embark on a transformative journey characterized by interdisciplinary inquiry, experiential learning, and close collaborations with faculty members. The Harris Family Study Abroad Scholarship, with its emphasis on the Camino de Santiago experience, significantly contributes to the cultivation of global awareness among the esteemed student body of William & Mary.

A Perspective to Share

The Harris family ardently hopes that the students who embark on the Camino pilgrimage will forge meaningful connections with fellow pilgrims, returning home with stories of personal growth and enlightenment to share with their families and friends. Tim firmly believes that this transformative experience will provide them with an unparalleled perspective on the world and their own lives.

Original Article by: Tina Eshleman, University Marketing

The College of William & Mary: A Historical Legacy and Academic Excellence

The College of William & Mary, officially known as The College of William and Mary in Virginia, is a public research university with a rich history dating back to 1693. Founded by a royal charter issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it holds the distinction of being the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the ninth-oldest in the English-speaking world. This article delves into the fascinating history, campus, administration, and academic achievements that have earned William & Mary its esteemed reputation.

The College Of William And Mary Virginia
The College Of William And Mary Virginia

History: A Legacy of American Education

The college’s origins trace back to the early goals of the Colony of Virginia to establish a school of higher education for Native American young men and colonists’ sons. Named after King William III and Queen Mary II, it went through numerous challenges before officially opening its doors in 1695. Over the years, William & Mary educated several prominent figures instrumental in shaping the United States, earning it the moniker “the Alma Mater of the Nation.”

During the American Revolution, William & Mary played a significant role in promoting religious freedom in Virginia. It was also the birthplace of several secret societies, including the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society, the first Greek-letter fraternity in the United States.

Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Early 20th Century

The Civil War brought hardships to the college, but it bounced back under President Benjamin Stoddert Ewell and gradually expanded its educational offerings. The 20th century saw William & Mary grow into a modern institution with a blend of traditional and energy-efficient architecture.

Campus: A Blend of History and Modernity

At the heart of the campus stands the iconic Sir Christopher Wren Building, the oldest college building in the United States, surrounded by the historic Brafferton and President’s House. Collectively known as “Ancient Campus,” these buildings exude the charm of 18th-century architecture.

The campus also features “Old Campus” and “New Campus,” with the latter housing academic buildings, dormitories, and sports facilities. The college embarked on a renovation program that retained the traditional architecture of Old Campus while incorporating energy-efficient technology.

Organization and Administration: Guided by Tradition

The Board of Visitors, consisting of members appointed by the Governor of Virginia, oversees the college’s operations and appointments. The Chancellor, a ceremonial position, maintains the institution’s ties to the United Kingdom’s royal family.

The President, supported by a Provost and Vice Presidents, holds operating responsibilities for the college. Academic faculties and schools are presided over by Deans, who report to the Provost.

Academics: An Emphasis on Undergraduate Excellence

William & Mary is renowned for its strong undergraduate arts and sciences programs, emphasizing a small college environment that fosters student-faculty interactions.

While William & Mary has a notable presence in STEM fields, it also offers a range of selective graduate programs in diverse disciplines, reflecting a high level of research activity.

The college promotes global education through exchange programs with 15 foreign schools, allowing over 12% of its undergraduates to participate in these initiatives.

The College of William & Mary stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of American education. With its rich history, picturesque campus, and commitment to academic excellence, it continues to nurture future leaders and scholars, honoring the vision of its founders and inspiring generations to come.