‘A remarkable year’: 50th anniversary commemoration culminates with Legacy Weekend

Soon after she arrived at William & Mary, Karen Ely — one of the university’s first three African-American residential students — overheard a conversation between a woman and then-President Davis Paschall.

“‘That’s one of the three. They’ll never make it,’” Ely recalled her saying.

Though self-described as “not brave,” Ely, who was walking behind the two, stepped on the woman’s shoe to stop her.

“I said, ‘Not only will we make it, but every year after this, there are going to be more people who look like me.’”

Ely saw that prediction come true when she returned to W&M in 2011 — the first time she had been back since graduating 40 years prior — to be celebrated by the Hulon Willis Alumni Association along with her two classmates, Janet Brown Strafer and Lynn…

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