The first Phi Beta Kappa Hall was erected in 1926 to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity, the first Greek letter fraternity, and to honor the 50 founders. All but one were Virginians and with one exception were students the College. Elisha Parmele of Connecticut was conducting a school in Virginia after his graduation from Harvard in 1778. When he returned to the north in 1780 he took two charters, one for the Alpha of Massachusetts at Harvard and the other for an Alpha of Connecticut at Yale. These 2 branches were organized within 18 months and saved the fraternity from extinction. The Alpha at William and Mary was forced to disband on January 6, 1781, when a British force began devastating the peninsula during the American Revolution.
The centerpiece of the College’s Memorial Garden is a towering bronze sculpture of a dove, created by David Turner, class of 1983. Turner’s sculptures appear all over campus, including Bald Eagles in the Sadler Center and Great Blue Heron and Marsh Wren in the Crim Dell.
Col. Patrick Henry marked out an area “behind the College” for the Virginia Militia camp during the period 1775-1781. This indicates that the camp was behind (west) of the Wren Building which was always referred to as “the College” in the eighteenth century.