Where did Washington and Lee get its name?
Founded in 1749, Washington and Lee University is named for two influential men in American history: George Washington, whose generous endowment gift of $20,000 in 1796 helped the fledgling school (then known as Liberty Hall Academy) survive, and Robert E. Lee, whose presidency and innovative leadership brought the University into the national limelight.
Under Lee's leadership, then-Washington College instituted curricula in commerce, engineering, and journalism, distinguishing itself from other liberal arts institutions of the time because of its remarkable curricular breadth. This is a distinction Washington and Lee University still enjoys today.
You can read more about our namesakes and history here.
What are the Liberty Hall Ruins?
The Ruins are the remains of the oldest building of the original Liberty Hall Academy. Dating from 1793, the Ruins are on W&L's back campus, overlooking our athletic fields. The view of the mountains from here is outstanding, and the area around the Ruins is popular for concerts, receptions, or just hanging out with friends playing Frisbee golf. Our anthropology students have done some extensive archaeological excavations of the Liberty Hall Ruins to learn about our past.