THOMAS RODERICK DEW: An Address delivered April 3, 1 939, at the Memorial Service for the Thirteenth President of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, who died in Paris, France, August 6, 1846
We are gathered here to pay a grateful tribute to Thomas Roderick Dew. Though this solemn service brings us together, the real cause of our meeting is not the death but the life of him whom we honor; for it is not of the dreadful finality of death that President Dew’s name and memory speak, but of life piled on life.
This will to offer a safe retreat and sacred resting place within the walls of the College Chapel has been thought of in another instance. On November 6, 1860, the Faculty, fearing that his grave might fall into disrepair, or into the hands of unsympathetic owners, offered through Hugh Blair Grigsby to move the body of John Randolph of Roanoke so that it might “repose near those of his ancestors in the Chapel of the College, in which those ancestors, as well as himself, were educated.” This offer was not accepted.
Even at that date the body of Thomas Roderick Dew had lain for fourteen years in Montmartre cemetery in Paris, and it remained for the generous impulse of one of his kinswomen to make possible the ceremonies we hold today.
The date of the birth of President Dew, December 5, 1802, has already become a distinctive memorial (dies honorabilis) in the long annals of the College of William and Mary, for that was the beginning of Phi Beta Kappa, twenty-six years before.
Bryan, John S. 1939. “Thomas Roderick Dew: An Address delivered April 3, 1939, at the Memorial Service for the Thirteenth President of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, who died in Paris, France, August 6, 1846.” Bulletin of The College of William and Mary in Virginia 33 (5): 1-15. William and Mary Digital Archive. https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/bitstream/handle/10288/16541/thomasroderickde335coll.pdf?sequence=2