In 1975, the president and faculty members of the College of William & Mary as well as concerned citizens recognized the urgent need for an adult literacy program to develop reading and writing skills for College employees. Originally called the Adult Skills Program, Literacy for Life was born, and four years later, it became a United Way agency and opened the program to adult learners in the surrounding community.
Rita Varnes Welsh, a graduate student in the School of Education, became the program’s first director, a position she held until her untimely death in 1981. In 2008, Literacy for Life expanded its services by offering offsite classes in partnership with local businesses and area nonprofit agencies. Today, the program serves approximately 600 community members each year, enabling them to help achieve their goals and fully participate in the community and society.