The Bonner Program

The Bonner Program

The Bonner Program is a unique leadership development program for students with an interest in service and social responsibility. 

The Bonner Program is offered through W&L's Shepherd Department which works to understand and address the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality in ways that respect the dignity of every person. Students are given a framework to be involved in community service while receiving financial support. 

In addition to the financial support through federal work study, there are ample benefits in terms of leadership development, professional development, and intentional connections between academic and community engagement. Our students generally have some of the most robust resumes among recent graduates.

The Setting

W&L is located into the Shenandoah Valley in Lexington, Virginia. Our campus is surrounded by the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountain ranges. We are just a few hours drive from major cities, including Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia.

The Experience

The Bonner Program at Washington and Lee is one college chapter out of more than 67 colleges and universities within the wider, national Bonner Foundation. Bonners are expected to participate in the Program all four years at W&L, completing 1800-hours of service and leadership training.

The People

Our students are the Bonner Program. Learn about who we are.

Community Partners

W&L Bonner Scholars work on site based teams with our Community Partners. These Partners work closely with their Bonners providing professional development and increasing levels of responsibility over their four years together.

W&L Stories

Washington and Lee Students Selected for Congressional Hunger Center Internships

Sai Chebrolu ’26 and Valentina Giraldo Lozano ’25 are among 13 students chosen for the Zero Hunger Internship program.

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Ben Bankston '25

Leading By Example

Ben Bankston ’25 is finding opportunities at W&L to challenge himself in and out of the classroom.

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Jay Margalus tackes his Design Thinking class for a site visit at the Virginia Innovation Accelerator.

CBL Faculty Collaborative Generates New Community Connections

The 2023-2024 academic year at W&L saw the proliferation of several new course offerings for students through a new faculty development initiative offered by the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL).

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Students in Accounting 452 VITA program Winter Term 2024

VITA Program Returns

Washington and Lee students are applying their accounting skills in the community as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

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Washington and Lee University Receives National Designation for Commitment to Community Engagement

W&L is one of 15 private colleges and universities to receive the 2024 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

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Goluboff Announced as Interim Executive Director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium

The professor of cultural anthropology will serve a dual role leading Community-Based Learning and the SHECP Consortium.

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WLSC students at Blue Sky

W&L Student Consulting Group Makes Connections on Campus and in the Community

Students in the Williams School consulted on a number of projects including marketing, research and social media strategy for businesses and organizations.

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W&L’s Fran Elrod Quoted in NPR Segment on the Blue Ridge Mile Clinic

Elrod serves as the university advisor to the program that supports clients in navigating the required steps toward obtaining or reinstating a driver’s license.

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Lending a Helping Hand

Washington and Lee students gain new perspectives after internships through the Shepherd Program.

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OMA art program at Kendal

Opening Minds Through Art

W&L neuroscience students recently partnered with an innovative art-making program offered at Kendal at Lexington.

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CBL’s Faculty Collaborative Creates Connection Across Campus

CBL’s new initiative is an opportunity for faculty development, student collaboration and deepening partnerships with the surrounding community.

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W&L Presents “Blacks and Jews in America: An Invitation to Dialogue”

Terrence Johnson, professor of African American religious studies at Harvard University, will discuss his latest book on March 1.

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