My Lunch With the Governor
By Amber Ange
Richard Bland College of William & Mary ’17
I recently had the incredible opportunity to have lunch along with college students from across the Commonwealth with Governor Terry McAuliffe at his home in Richmond. Virginia Secretary of Education Dietra Trent also attended.
I was joined by students from the University of Virginia, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, and others. All of my fellow attendees are leaders on their campuses, and are active writers for their college newspapers or blogs. We had a delicious meal of lamb, vegetables and cake for desert. The Governor brought his golden retriever puppy Guinness to the luncheon and he spent his time behaving under the table. I really wanted to give him a tiny piece of my lamb, but I resisted!
The Governor’s mansion is impressive. It’s located a few feet from the General Assembly Building and the Capitol, the “political hub” of Virginia. We were given a tour of the first floor. When you walk into the main dining room, you see a portrait painting of President George Washington sitting on a horse. We learned it’s one of oldest pieces of artwork of the country’s first president.
We listened as Governor McAuliffe outlined his plans for Virginia this year, particularly in the area of education. He has allocated much of the state’s education budget into preparing Virginia’s schools to become stronger learning centers that will better educate students to fulfill high-tech jobs.
Governor McAuliffe wants colleges and K-12 schools to focus on teaching STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. He believes that a STEM education will provide the critical skills students need to secure high-wage and high-skill careers. To show his commitment, Virginia is investing in internship opportunities and technology advancements in schools.
The Governor said that Virginia’s education system is one of the best in the country, remarking, “the education field is ever-changing and new advances for the future look promising.”
As you can imagine, the Governor has a busy schedule. He told us that a few days prior to our luncheon he went to Dulles Airport in Washington. D.C. to meet with protestors and people affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travelers from seven countries from entering the United States.
Governor McAuliffe entertained the group with stories of his past endeavors throughout his life. He told the group he first became interested in business and politics at age 14. The Governor is a Georgetown Law School graduate and has managed 30 different companies.
The Governor attributed his success to ambition, dreaming big and working toward making his dreams a reality. He encouraged students to pursue their passions.
The experience of having lunch with Governor McAuliffe is a memory I will always cherish. He took the time to take pictures with everyone and even signed my lunch menu. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity presented to me by Richard Bland College of William & Mary.
Amber Ange is a sophomore Pre-Law major at Richard Bland College of William & Mary. She plans to attend William & Mary in Fall 2017.