Washington and Lee University

About Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University, the nation’s ninth oldest institution of higher education, is an independent liberal arts university that develops students' capacity to think freely, critically and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity and civility.

It was founded as Augusta Academy in 1749. George Washington gave the struggling school $20,000 in canal stock, and the trustees immediately renamed the school Washington College. Robert E. Lee served as Washington College's president for five years immediately after the Civil War and made several bold moves, introducing the study of law, business and journalism as well as establishing the basis for the University's Honor System, a major feature of the institution to this day. Upon Lee's death, the institution was renamed Washington and Lee University.

Washington and Lee respects its students’ ability to govern themselves and fosters a community based on trust. As a consequence, students develop as leaders in all areas of campus life and go on to become leaders in their communities and professions. Through coursework, research, campus life and service to others, W&L students are deeply engaged in the local and global communities.


Washington and Lee’s faculty of teacher-scholars is committed to a student-oriented approach to scholarship, engaging and inspiring undergraduates in the classroom, the laboratory and beyond. By serving as both models and mentors, W&L faculty members have a profound, lifelong impact on their students.

The University's distinctive curriculum blends traditional liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional programs in business, journalism and law, giving students the contemporary perspective necessary to flourish in a complex world.

Washington and Lee’s campus, a national historical landmark, has a timeless beauty. The town of Lexington offers small-town charm, and the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains provide unparalleled natural surroundings. While preserving its history, the University has expanded in recent years to offer students a modern learning environment, and is conducting thoughtful renovations to bring the historic structures up to date.



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