2023-2024 University Catalog 
    Jun 18, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog archived

General Information

An Introduction to Washington and Lee

About this Catalog

This Washington and Lee University catalog presents essential information about the University’s academic programs and degree objectives/requirements; its student life and extracurricular activities; its admissions requirements and procedures; its costs and financial aid programs; some of its rules and regulations; its campus and community setting; its programming for helping students plan their academic program wisely and choose careers properly. 

It also contains detailed descriptions of the University’s existing courses of instruction, registration procedures, a listing of its leadership and faculty, and other information used primarily by students and their faculty advisers in planning academic programs. This collection enables prospective students to decide whether or not Washington and Lee is the college for them, whether they might qualify for admission and benefit from its programs.

Caution: The course offerings, requirements, and policies of Washington and Lee University, including the College, the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and the School of Law, are under continual examination and revision. This catalog is not a contract; it merely presents the offerings, requirements and policies in effect at the time of publication and in no way guarantees that the offerings, requirements and policies will not change. For the most up-to-date version of this catalog, go to catalog.wlu.edu/.

The regulations set forth in the catalog form the basis for all academic performance; however, the academic regulations are subject to change at the discretion of the faculty. Faculty members are available for conference and advice, but the individual student assumes full responsibility for compliance with all academic requirements. (Please see Changes in Catalog Information .) 

Additional Policies and Procedures: Not all university policies and procedures affecting Washington and Lee students are described in this catalog. For further information, please refer to the Student Handbook. In addition to the Student Handbook, which is applicable to all W&L undergraduate and law students, law students should refer to specific law school policies and procedures.

Non-Discrimination/Equal Employment Opportunity Statement: In compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and all other applicable non-discrimination laws, Washington and Lee University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran’s status, or genetic information in its educational programs and activities, admissions, and with regard to employment.

Inquiries may be directed to Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources, Elrod Commons, (540) 458-4055, kozakl@wlu.edu, who is designated by the university to coordinate compliance efforts and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, as well as those under Section 504 and other applicable non-discrimination laws.

The Coordinator has designated the following Title IX Assistant Coordinators:

  • Employment – Jodi Williams, Executive Director of Human Resources, Two South Main, (540) 458-8920, jwilliams@wlu.edu; and
  • Gender Equity in Athletics – Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources, Elrod Commons, (540) 458-4055, kozakl@wlu.edu.

Inquiries may also be directed to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.

An Introduction to Washington and Lee

Mission Statement

(Approved May 2008)

Washington and Lee University provides a liberal arts education that develops students’ capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Graduates will be prepared for lifelong learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.

The Honor System

The Honor System’s roots can be traced to at least the mid-19th century. In the early 1900s, control of the Honor System was transferred to Executive Committee of the Student Body, a group of elected student representatives that continues to administer the Honor System today..

Each new generation of students defines the Honor System by its actions. Washington and Lee’s Honor System is a single-sanction system, based upon the principle that any action deemed a breach of the community’s trust will be considered an Honor Violation. The single sanction requires a student who is found guilty of an Honor Violation in an Executive Committee Hearing to withdraw from the University unless they choose to appeal to a Student Body Hearing. If a student appeals and is found guilty in the Student Body Hearing, the student must leave the University and their transcript will indicate that they were “Dismissed.”

Students at Washington and Lee recognize the great authority they possess and the communal presumption to behave honorably.  Students are expected to abide by the Honor System by representing themselves truthfully and seeking no unfair advantage over their peers. This understanding instills a profound sense of trust among all within the University community and enriches every aspect of student life.

While students define and oversee the Honor System, all members of the Washington and Lee community, including faculty, staff, and administration, play an important role. All members of the community are expected to understand and support the Honor System and should refer appropriate cases to the Executive Committee. At the same time, the overarching presence of the Honor System in all aspects of life at Washington and Lee allows the community at large to place trust in students, and each generation of students ensures that this trust is not misplaced.


“Plagiarism” describes the use of another’s words, figures, or ideas without proper acknowledgment. The students of Washington and Lee University have in many instances considered plagiarism a violation of the Honor System; therefore, all forms of plagiarism including Internet plagiarism are taken very seriously. Students at Washington and Lee must be aware of the nature of plagiarism. Plagiarism takes many forms, including the wholesale copying of phrases, diagrams, or texts, or the use of ideas without indicating the source. Certain facts must also be properly acknowledged. Examples of possible plagiarism can be found in the Executive Committee’s Plagiarism Pamphlet. This is available to the entire W&L community on the Executive Committee’s website, go.wlu.edu/ec-plagiarism. In addition, Leyburn Library has a helpful site on avoiding plagiarism: go.wlu.edu/plagiarism.

Commitment to Diversity

(originally approved by the Board of Trustees, May 17, 2002; revised February 10, 2018)

Washington and Lee affirms that diverse perspectives and backgrounds enhance our community. We are committed to the recruitment, enrichment, and retention of students, faculty, and staff who embody many experiences, cultures, points of view, interests, and identities. As engaged citizens in a global and diverse society, we seek to advance a positive learning and working environment for all through open and substantive dialogue.


Our history traces the arc of the nation’s history. Founded as Augusta Academy in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1749, the school changed locations and names several times over the years. Those names included Liberty Hall Academy, Washington Academy and Washington College. In 1871, the name was changed to Washington and Lee University, recognizing the contributions of both George Washington, an early benefactor of Liberty Hall Academy, and Robert E. Lee, who served as president of Washington College from 1865-1870. Today, W&L is the ninth-oldest college in the country and is nationally recognized as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States.


Washington and Lee is located in Lexington, Virginia, a historic city of about 7,000 people in the Shenandoah Valley. The city is 50 miles northeast of Roanoke, 50 miles northwest of Lynchburg, and 36 miles southwest of Staunton.

Lexington is just off Interstates 81 and 64 and at the intersection of U.S. Highways 11 and 60. Lexington is about 55 minutes from the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional airport and about 75 minutes from the Charlottesville-Albemarle airport. Washington, D.C., is approximately three hours away.

Accreditations and Approvals

Washington and Lee University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, the master of laws, and juris doctor degrees. Washington and Lee University also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Washington and Lee University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

The Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics is accredited by AACSB International: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The School of Law is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is approved by the American Bar Association.

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

The Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training.

Washington and Lee University is approved for veterans’ education by the Commonwealth of Virginia - Department of Veteran Services.

Education Studies offers a teacher licensure program that meets rigorous national standards for educator preparation set by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The program is also approved by the Virginia Department of Education to offer coursework that leads to licensure.

Academic Objectives

Academics are the top priority at Washington and Lee. Courses of study are arranged so that all students can attain their academic objectives.

In their undergraduate years at Washington and Lee, students will master core curricular knowledge through the general education program. Moreover, as our mission statement proclaims, students will develop the capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Our graduates will be prepared for lifelong learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.

The College

The College departments and programs represent the liberal arts and sciences core of the University, ranging from the fine arts, the humanities, certain social sciences, journalism and mass communications to the natural and physical sciences, computer science, and mathematics, and interdisciplinary work.

The College provides the essentials of a liberal education to all undergraduates before they select their major field of study, and offers courses and majors leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. The faculty of The College encourage and mentor independent scholarly work and offer opportunities for collaborative and independent research over the summer and in some cases the academic year. The College curriculum also offers courses that prepare students for advanced professional training in engineering, journalism, law, and the health professions.

All W&L students begin their careers in The College and are advised by faculty members as they select their courses for their first year and sophomore year. Students typically enroll in courses that fulfill the University Foundation and Distribution Requirements, designed to introduce students to the full range of the liberal arts and sciences and to prepare them to make informed decisions about their advanced coursework and major.

A student may elect to complete one or two minors in addition to a major or may complete two majors. Interdepartmental majors are available to provide emphasis in a field, such as Environmental Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Neuroscience, or Russian Area Studies, rather than in a single department. Students may also design their own major in Independent Work, leading to either a B.A. or B.S., with the guidance of faculty advisers and the approval of the Committee on Courses and Degrees.

The Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics

The Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics consists of the Departments of Accounting and Finance, Business Administration, Economics, and Politics. The Williams School offers the Bachelor of Science degree with majors in accounting and in business administration, and the Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in economics and in politics. The Williams School also offers a minor in entrepreneurship and contributes to most of the University’s interdisciplinary programs. Students majoring or minoring in the Williams School are encouraged to also enroll in courses offered by The College throughout their four years at W&L. Students in The College often elect courses in the Williams School to fulfill certain requirements or to take courses they particularly desire.

The School of Law

The School of Law, with its own dean and faculty, offers the Juris Doctor degree, awarded upon completion of a three-year, post-baccalaureate, professional, course of study. The innovative instructional program is designed to prepare students with a legal education that provides deep insight into legal doctrine and builds a strong bridge to the profession. It provides not only the skills and knowledge needed for the practice of law, but also a deep understanding of how law operates in our society and a sensitivity to the ethical imperatives of the profession. The Juris Doctor program offers small classes, close faculty involvement, and a culture of trust and collaboration in the tradition of a liberal arts education.

The University Library

Washington and Lee University Library is a multifaceted teaching organization that provides physical spaces for independent study and collaboration, access to scholarly resources, and expert research support. The library’s role extends beyond its physical buildings, as library faculty and staff deliver embedded instruction across the disciplines and teach for-credit courses in the university’s Digital Culture and Information minor. Taken together, these services and curricular offerings further the library’s mission to empower students to critically engage with today’s information rich world. 

Instruction: Library faculty teach students how to find, evaluate, ethically use, create and preserve information. This instruction comes in a variety of forms: one-on-one tutorials, in-class research sessions, for-credit courses, and long-term Digital Humanities research partnerships. Classes in the university’s Digital Culture and Information minor, taught by library faculty, further allow students to explore how the digital information age impacts the construction of knowledge and society.

Collections: The University Library facilitates access to a full range of physical and electronic resources that support W&L’s curricular and research needs, including books, journals, DVDs, streaming media, select government documents, student and faculty scholarship, and much more. The point of discovery for this material is the library’s website: library.wlu.edu. Desired materials not owned or subscribed to by the library can be obtained through interlibrary loan. 

Services: Leyburn Library’s Information Desk serves as the contact point for help with library services such as course reserves, academic poster printing, room reservations and inter-library loan. Librarians offer scheduled consultations either in person or virtually, and lecture on information literacy in undergraduate courses. An extensive set of topical research help guides are maintained on the library’s website: library.wlu.edu. Please email library@wlu.edu for library-related research and questions.

Location: The University Library consists of two physical locations: James G. Leyburn Library, that houses most of the physical collection and services, and Robert Lee Telford Science Library, that houses the science collection. Both libraries are open to current members of the W&L community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during undergraduate academic terms. At these times, a University ID is required for entry between 8:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 am on weekends. Both locations offer individual and group study spaces and public computers. Located on Leyburn’s Lower Level 1, Special Collections preserves and makes accessible rare books, manuscripts, unique primary sources and university records. Special Collections is open Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The ITS Help Desk is co-located with the Information Desk in Leyburn Library. The Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning is located on Leyburn’s Lower Level 1.

Museums at Washington and Lee

The Museums at Washington and Lee consist of three sites: the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, University Chapel and Galleries, and Watson Galleries. Its mission is to advance learning through direct engagement with the collections and to facilitate an interdisciplinary appreciation of art, history, and culture. The museum provides students and faculty with opportunities to engage with a wide-ranging ceramics and fine arts collection through research, internships, employment, exhibitions, and programmatic offerings.

The Reeves Museum of Ceramics showcases one of the country’s finest collections of Chinese and Japanese export ceramics, including European, Asian, and American ceramics spanning some 4,000 years. The collection tells stories of history, design, technology, trade, patriotism, and protest. The Reeves houses the Elisabeth S. Gottwald Gallery that highlights the work of Louise Herreshoff Reeves, an early 20th-century American painter noted for her Impressionist and Fauvist works.

The University Chapel and Galleries, a National Historic Landmark, opened in 1868 during Robert E. Lee’s tenure as 11th president of then Washington College. The Chapel Galleries include Edward Valentine’s statue of Lee, Lee’s office, the Lee family crypt, and changing exhibit galleries.

The Watson Galleries contains two changing exhibit galleries that showcase rotating selections from the arts and ceramics collections and house the Senshin’an (洗心庵 or “Clearing-the-Mind Abode”), an authentic Japanese Tea Room that is open for viewing and public tea demonstrations throughout the year. The art collection includes 20th-century Chinese brush paintings, Japanese woodblock prints, a growing collection of 20th- and 21st-century works by international artists including Elizabeth Catlett, Fernando Botero, William Christenberry, Sam Gilliam, Sally Mann, and Andy Warhol among others. 

Additional Special Features

Global Learning: In its mission statement Washington and Lee asserts that “Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.” The Center for International Education coordinates all aspects of the University’s global-learning initiatives and supports and advocates for the needs of international scholars and students

Washington and Lee maintains a robust program of international opportunities in which all students may engage, including study abroad, research, internships, service, and global-learning courses.

In global-learning courses, students will do one or more of the following:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how global issues, processes, trends, and systems have shaped the subject under study
  • Demonstrate the ability to use globally diverse cultural frames of reference and alternate perspectives to think critically, solve problems, or interpret issues and situations as they related to the course topic
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how the field of study is viewed and practiced in different cultural contexts

For more information about the university’s global-learning initiatives, visit the Center for International Education at go.wlu.edu/global

The Global Discovery Laboratories (GDL) in the Ruscio Center for Global Learning are key components in internationalizing the University curriculum and constantly provide the technological means necessary for doing so.
The GDL has a Support Center which develops teaching resources and provides guidance in their implementation. The facility is comprised of three distinct teaching and research laboratories - the Global Communications Laboratory (for language and culture promotion), the Global Exploration Laboratory (for marketable skill development through coursework and practice), and the Global Connections Laboratory (designed for discussions and broadcasts at home and abroad). All three laboratories promote the integration of ingenious methodologies using technology in the global classroom.
The GDL web page (www.wlu.edu/global-discovery-laboratories) posts information about services available and special projects underway, such as hosting colloquiums that explore global education, broadcasting live interactive professional development pedagogy workshops via the Internet, creating language immersion institutes for professors and teachers, deciphering voter rights and democracy using GIS technology, and coordinating the Commonwealth’s summer world-language academies. These and other examples give the W&L community more opportunities for advancement in language and culture immersion, help create career development paths for the student, and enrich professional development for the educator.

The Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning (hartectl.wlu.edu), located in Leyburn Library, fosters deliberative, innovative conversations among students, faculty, and staff about meaningful ways to learn and teach in a liberal arts environment, with the goal of developing more engaged citizens prepared to face the challenges of a complex world. The Harte Center houses the Writing Center, Peer Tutoring, several subject tutoring programs, and the educational assessment.

The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics was established in 2011 through the generosity of Mr. Mudd, Class of 1950, a journalist and winner of a Peabody Award and five Emmys. The Center is committed to fostering serious inquiry into, and thoughtful conversation about, important ethical issues in public and professional life. It seeks to advance dialogue, teaching, and research about these issues among students, faculty, and staff across all three schools - The College, the Williams School, and the School of Law. By facilitating collaboration across traditional institutional boundaries, the Center aims to encourage a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice. Its ultimate goal is to provide the tools and resources necessary for thinking freely, critically, and humanely about the complex ethical questions we face in an increasingly diverse yet interdependent world.

Sciences: Washington and Lee’s facilities for teaching and research in the sciences include well equipped classrooms and laboratories for general instruction, special laboratories for faculty and student research activities, departmental libraries, and museums. Additional features include a greenhouse in biology, light and fluorescence microscopy with digital imaging, an instrumental analysis laboratory with a 400 MHz FT-NMR in chemistry, a seismograph, total station, differential GPS, magnetometers and imaging resistivity unit, a full rock/thin section preparation lab, optical microscope lab, ICPS, Ion Chromatograph, XRD, and scanning electron microscope (SEM with EBSD/EDS) in earth and environmental geoscience, and light microscopy with digital imaging and electrophysiological recording facilities in psychology.

The University’s science center provides expanded teaching and research spaces for the science departments, as well as the Telford Science Library, shared instrumentation rooms, an animal-care facility, computer laboratories and University classrooms.

Many members of the science faculty participate in on-campus research programs sponsored by a host of federal and private granting organizations. Undergraduates often assist professors in this research, and students in the sciences are frequent participants in the University’s Summer Research Scholars Program and HHMI student fellowships, which provide funds for summer, as well as academic-year research. In addition, Washington and Lee biosciences is a recent recipient of a $1.3 million grant from HHMI. Our two principal aims for these funds are to increase student competency in sophisticated quantitative and computational analysis, and in collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving.

Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty: Washington and Lee University is a member of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) which unites students from consortium-member institutions with agencies that work to benefit under-resourced members of society. Students learn first-hand about the multiple dimensions of poverty in the United States by volunteering for eight weeks alongside individuals seeking to improve their communities. The agencies, located in various urban and rural sites in the United States, focus on education, healthcare, legal services, housing, hunger, social and economic needs, and community-building efforts. Students intern with agencies that fit their intellectual interests in order to develop their experience and skills for future civic involvement and employment.


Washington and Lee is committed to practicing, modeling, and teaching environmental sustainability, grounded in an understanding of its human and social impacts, and in recognition of sustainability as a fundamental component of good citizenship, both local and global. 

In 2007, W&L become a signatory of the Climate Commitment, confirming a goal of campus carbon neutrality no later than 2050. Since then, W&L has optimized operations to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions, to date, by 42 percent. Among many efforts, W&L hosts solar arrays in four campus locations, manages robust on-campus composting, and requires a minimum of LEED Silver certification in all new construction and renovation. Comprehensive renewable-energy planning is underway to accelerate the timeline to carbon neutrality. Near-term goals and strategies are detailed in the university’s Climate Action Plan.

Cultivating both practical and academic sustainability competence is key to campus efforts. Sustainable-practices programming is offered to students and employees alike, and academic opportunities in sustainability are presented in subjects ranging from earth and environmental geoscience to accounting. 

Campus sustainability efforts are overseen by the president-appointed University Sustainability Committee and by professional staff, bolstered by student organizations including the Student Environmental Action League (SEAL). 

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services is committed to assisting students, faculty and staff in the efficient and effective use of information technology to meet their professional and academic needs. The mission of ITS is “to provide innovative leadership and excellent support to empower the University community in the successful use of information technology.” More information about the information technology environment at W&L is available on the ITS website at go.wlu.edu/ITS.


Since 1950, the University has published Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review. The publication’s initial issues were edited by students, with faculty members acting in an advisory capacity. Among the students who founded the magazine and contributed to its pages were Tom Wolfe, William Hoffman, and Cy Twombly, who went on to receive much literary acclaim. Early contributors to Shenandoah include e. e. Cummings, Arnold Toynbee, Flannery O’Connor, J. R. R. Tolkien, and W. H. Auden.

Since its illustrious beginning, Shenandoah increased in size in circulation to become an international literary triquarterly. Its reputation for high quality poetry, fiction and essays from new and established writers continues to attract some of the best talent in the world. In 2011 it migrated from print to the web and is located at shenandoahliterary.org. With the coming of the Creative Writing minor to the university, undergraduate internships at Shenandoah became a significant facet of its identity. Approximately twenty-four students each year, from all kinds of majors and disciplines, participate in ENGL 453 - Internship in Literary Editing with Shenandoah  which provides hands-on experience in the practice of literary editing. Tasks include reading submissions, working with the editor on substantive edits, copy editing, fact checking, developing social-media initiatives, event planning, design marketing material, and more. 

The journal has continued to attract the works of such authors as James Dickey, W. S. Merwin, best-seller James Lee Burke, Billy Collins, Brendan Galvin and recent Pulitzer recipients Claudia Emerson and Natasha Trethewey. Beth Staples, Shenandoah’s first woman editor, took over editorship from long-time editor R.T. Smith in 2018.

Lectures and Conferences

Throughout the year many important lectures, readings, and panel discussions are presented on both scholarly topics and issues current in public life. Visiting speakers often remain on campus for a day or two, sometimes longer, meeting with students in classes, in small groups, and at meals for face-to-face exchanges of ideas. Many of these talks and programs are endowed, including the following:

The Phi Beta Kappa-Society of the Cincinnati Convocation: Phi Beta Kappa sponsors a lecture to honor those newly inducted into the Society. The University-wide assembly is held in the spring and brings to the campus outstanding scholars from a variety of fields.

The Society of the Cincinnati Lecture: Each year the Society of the Cincinnati in the state of Virginia generously funds a public lecture on American history, 1715-1815. The history department serves as co-sponsor and assumes responsibility for securing a speaker and making local arrangements.

The Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation: The Founders Day assembly is held during the undergraduate winter term each year, including a “tapping” of new ODK members.

The Tucker Lecture: This lecture was named for the late John Randolph Tucker, dean of the School of Law, president of the American Bar Association, and member of Congress.

The Glasgow Endowment: Established in 1960 by the late Arthur G. Glasgow, the program has brought to Washington and Lee many distinguished novelists, poets, dramatists, and critics.

The Philip Fullerton Howerton Fund for Special Programs in the Department of Religion: The Howerton Fund sponsors a broad array of events and activities treating the relevance of Christian faith to contemporary culture and life, most often through visiting lecturers, conferences, and course supplements.

The Shannon-Clark Lecture in English: Established in 1982, the program was named in honor of both a longtime head of the University’s English Department and a relative of the donor.

The University Lectures Fund: This fund supports visits of several scholars to campus in a wide variety of disciplines. Each scholar is expected to interact with students in a class or seminar and also gives a public lecture open to the University community.

The Class of ‘63 Endowment: This fund supports visits of distinguished scholars to campus in a wide variety of disciplines. Scholars spend two to five days on campus, give some type of a university lecture, and interact in a meaningful way with students and faculty from a specific department.

The Institutes in the Ethics of Journalism: Two-day seminars and lectures during both the fall and winter terms that involve both students and professional journalists. The journalists come from newsrooms around the country, both print and broadcast. They bring with them for examination cases of ethical conflict from their own experience.

The Institute for Honor: Established in 2000 by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor includes an array of initiatives and specific programs designed to promote the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. The Institute for Honor Symposium is dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business, and community relations.

The Tom Wolfe Weekend Seminar: Sponsored by the W&L Class of 1951 in honor of its classmate Tom Wolfe, the program annually features a writer of contemporary note.

The Johnson Lecture Series: This fund, part of the larger gift to support Johnson Scholarships, was established in 2008 to bring to campus nationally and internationally prominent thinkers, scholars and writers to address issues related to leadership and integrity.

Contact: This program is financed and administered by the student body through a committee representing a wide variety of student interests and perspectives. Contact strives to sponsor prominent speakers who address important contemporary issues in the United States and worldwide.

Mock Convention

Washington and Lee’s famous Mock Convention attracts national attention when it is held in the winter term of every presidential election year. The entire student body participates in this political exercise aimed at choosing the presidential candidate of the party out of power in the White House. The Mock Convention has achieved a remarkable record of accuracy and is considered to be the most realistic event of its kind in the nation. Every student has an opportunity to participate in at least one Mock Convention during a four-year career at Washington and Lee. The next Mock Convention is planned for 2024.


Washington and Lee offers students the opportunity to enroll in an Army ROTC program through a “cross-town” agreement with the established ROTC unit at neighboring Virginia Military Institute. The program is voluntary and open to all students who meet the character, citizenship, age, medical and physical fitness requirements for military service. All majors are welcome to seek a commission in the Army. All instruction takes place at VMI, in accordance with the VMI class schedule, and is provided at no expense to Washington and Lee students. The program also offers competitive campus-based four-, three-, and two-year scholarships. Army ROTC is divided into a two-year Basic Course, designed for first-year students and sophomores, and a two-year Advanced Course, designed for juniors and seniors. Enrollment in the Advanced Course requires the completion of the Basic Course during the student’s first-year and sophomore year or successful completion of the Basic Camp, usually between the sophomore and junior years. The Advanced Course student must agree to complete the Military Science curriculum, which includes attendance at the five-week Advanced Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Advanced Course graduate must accept a commission as a second lieutenant in the active Army, Army Reserves or National Guard. The program offers a wide variety of summer training programs including Federal Agencies Internships, Cultural Understanding programs taking place in a variety of countries, Cadet Troop Leadership Training, Airborne School, and Air Assault School, among others. Academic policy can be found at in Academic Regulations . Contact information for VMI Army ROTC is Thomas E. Atkinson, Recruiting Operations Officer, 540.464.7680, atkinson@vmi.edu.

Military Programs

Other military opportunities exist for Washington and Lee students. Army ROTC at VMI offers the Cadet Battery and Ranger Challenge as extracurricular activities. Additionally, the Army ROTC program offers opportunities to attend Airborne, Air Assault, and other select Army schools. The U.S. Navy sponsors the Nuclear Power Officers’ Candidate, Seaman/Airman, and Ready Mariners Programs; the U.S. Marine Corps sponsors the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class. Further information on these programs may be obtained by contacting the respective ROTC offices in Kilbourne Hall located on VMI’s campus.

Career and Professional Development

The Office of Career and Professional Development contributes directly to the University’s mission by supporting and empowering undergraduate students to achieve their career and professional goals.

Through collaborative partnerships we provide innovative, customized, high-quality career-related support, programming and advising in a way that reflects the rich traditions and values of the University.

Career and Professional Development provides a variety of options by which employers connect with students, faculty and administrators to establish productive recruitment strategies for both internships and post-graduate positions. 

Individual career advising, interest assessment, extensive career resources, recruiting partnerships and the active alumni career network are available to all students. The majority of the Career and Professional Development resources may be accessed through the website at careers.wlu.edu.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of the Washington and Lee University and its School of Law to provide equal access to educational opportunities to qualified students with physical or mental disabilities, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting accommodation will need to provide appropriate documentation of: (1) a disability, which is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and (2) a need for accommodation, by virtue of the specific functional limitations of the disability, to have equal access to educational opportunities. The University and the School of Law intend to provide an interactive process of dialogue and timely exchange of information between either the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources, 204 W. Washington St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia 24450, 540.458.4055 (undergraduate students) or the Associate Dean for Law Student Affairs, Sydney Lewis Hall 528, Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, Virginia 24450, 540.458.8162 (law students).

It is the responsibility of a student (undergraduate or law) with a disability who may require any type of accommodation to make the accommodation request in a timely manner. In order to allow sufficient time for the eligibility and accommodation decision process and to make arrangements for appropriate accommodations, the student should contact the relevant contact person (Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources for undergraduate students and Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs for law students) and submit the documents required for consideration of disability accommodations in accordance with the applicable timelines and documentation guidelines set forth in the relevant policy (Undergraduate Disability Accommodation Policy; Law Student Disability Accommodation Policy). The Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources or the Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs will inform the student of further specific procedures and any additional required documentation.