Announcing Our Plans for Fall 2020

image shows a ship's prow in profile against a seascape at twilight

Dear Williams-Mystic Community, 

I am writing to inform you that we will not convene the Fall 2020 semester. We look forward to welcoming students back to campus for the Spring 2021 semester, should public health conditions permit. 

In making this important decision, I wanted to ensure that the key components of the Williams-Mystic experience would not be compromised. Such components include our commitment to experiential and place-based learning; time spent on the grounds of the Mystic Seaport Museum; a close-knit, residential community; and field seminar travel. All of these tenets of the Williams-Mystic experience were considered in light of our capacity to mitigate and manage the risks posed by COVID-19. I considered, most of all, our commitment to providing students with a fulfilling, transformational study-away experience. 

Having made this decision, we are now conducting one-on-one conversations with every student admitted to our Fall 2020 semester. Each student admitted to F’20 will have the opportunity to defer to a future semester. We are committed to doing everything we can to help these students plan for a future that involves Williams-Mystic. If you are an F’20 student or parent/guardian, please direct your questions to our admissions team: Audra DeLaney or Meredith Carroll. 

In addition to canceling our F’20 semester, we have also decided not to hold an in-person alumni reunion this fall. I am in communication with the Alumni Council about the possibility of convening a virtual reunion so that alumni can celebrate the Williams-Mystic community wherever you are. We will be in touch with our alumni about this in the near future. 

This has been an exceptionally difficult decision to make. We are confident that this is the best decision for Williams-Mystic at this time. We are hard at work preparing for S’21 — working not only to minimize and manage COVID-19-related risks but also to provide our students with a rich, rewarding, and meaningful experience. 

May this summer find you staying healthy and safe in these challenging times. 



Tom Van Winkle, PhD 

Executive Director of the Williams-Mystic Program