Robert E. R. Huntley
President, Washington and Lee University, 1968–1983
Robert E.R. Huntley was the first W&L president to be an undergraduate alumnus. He was born in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1929. He graduated from W&L in 1950 with a B.A. in English and received his law degree from the W&L School of Law in 1957. He also earned a master's degree in law from Harvard University in 1962.
Huntley practiced law in Alexandria, Va., and served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1953. At the W&L Law School, he became a member of the faculty in 1958 and the dean in 1967. He served as secretary to the Board of Trustees and wrote the self-study of President Cole's era. During his tenure, he faced protests and unrest over the Vietnam War and the student deaths at Kent State University. Huntley's administration sponsored debates and discussions on topics ranging from Vietnam to ecological issues to poetry readings. A number of campus facilities were constructed during his era: the Warner Center addition to Doremus Gym, the Lewis Law Center, Leyburn Library and the Woods Creek apartments.
Upon his retirement, Huntley returned briefly to the Law School before leaving Lexington to practice law in Richmond and serve as CEO and president of Best Products Co. After his retirement from those posts, he returned to Lexington. In 1982, the University established the Robert E. R. Huntley Professorship in Law. In 2004, the school renamed the building that houses the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics as Huntley Hall.