The College of William & Mary is a public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the ninth-oldest in the English-speaking world.
William & Mary educated American presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. It also educated other key figures pivotal to the development of the United States, including the first President of the Continental Congress Peyton Randolph, the first U.S. Attorney General Edmund Randolph, the fourth U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Winfield Scott, sixteen members of the Continental Congress, and four signers of the Declaration of Independence. This earned it the nickname "the Alma Mater of the Nation". A young George Washington also received his surveyor's license at the college in 1749 and he would become the college's first American chancellor in 1788. The position was long held by Bishops of London and Archbishops of Canterbury, though in modern times has been held by U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Secretaries, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Benjamin Franklin received William & Mary's first honorary degree in 1756.