skip to main content
A-Z Index Directory Calendar Libraries Webmail
Class of 2016

What Will You Miss?

Washington and Lee's undergraduate Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies took place on May 25th and 26th in Lexington, Virginia.

In Action People and Programs

Graduating seniors at Washington and Lee University today were asked to remember and live by the high ideals and standards that have guided them over the past four years, as they are leaving "a community that cares a great deal about these matters and entering a world that increasingly does not."

Having the university president give the commencement address is a custom that dates back to the 1930s. This will be current President Kenneth P. Ruscio's 10th such address, and his last before he steps down from the presidency at the end of 2016.

"Civility matters," Ruscio said in his address. "It makes possible conversations and debates where the purpose is to understand, not to prevail. Civility is the mark of those who have something to say, but can respect others who also have something to say."

Ruscio asked the 444 members of the Class of 2016 to brace themselves, to constantly and consciously call upon their experiences at W&L, and to remember the habits of the heart and mind they have developed as students.

"You acquired a sensibility that leads you, from instinct and habit, to behave in certain ways toward others, to pursue your own passions and interests while helping others pursue theirs," he said. "A finely tuned moral compass guides you."

"Don't succumb to the cynicism and meanness of the age in which we find ourselves," he said. "Don't seek refuge from a complex world in the safe harbors of simplicity and slogans. Act with dignity, decency, and civility. Become known as the Washington and Lee woman or man who offers reasonable and reasoned positions in the midst of chaos. And most of all, be someone who cares about others more than yourself."

Read the full address >

Lauren R. Howard, an economics major from South Glastonbury, Connecticut, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2016 as its representative to the Executive Committee of the Student Body. She reminded fellow graduates that their graduation day is an opportunity consider how they might be able to change the world. Howard encouraged her classmates to pause, reflect and thank those who have guided them.

"Today, when we receive our diplomas," Howard said, "We must take them for what they are: physical manifestations of our potential to do something, with and for others, something that matters."

Among Washington and Lee's graduates were 14 who earned both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree. Altogether, the Class of 2016 earned degrees in 34 majors. Nearly a third of the class completed more than one major, with two students completing three majors, and 35 percent of the class completed at least one minor.

Michael Watkins Holt of Henrico, Virginia, was named valedictorian. Holt achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning a B.S. in mathematics and computer science. Holt is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.

Holt was a recipient of Washington and Lee's Johnson Scholarship, the J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award, the Luther Seevers Birely Award, W&L's Taylor Mathematics Scholarship. He was a two-time recipient of the James McDowell Scholarship and a three-time recipient of the James D. Davidson Memorial Fund Scholarship.

A notable student athlete, Holt received the McHenry Male Scholar-Athlete Award after earning four letters with the men's tennis program. He is a three-time All-ODAC honoree and a two-time All-American in doubles. Holt has received the ODAC/Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award three times and he is a two-time Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American. Holt finished his career ranked fifth all-time at W&L with 76 doubles wins (76-26). He also went 54-25 in singles in leading W&L to four ODAC titles.

The university awarded an honorary degree to Robert C. Vaughan, III, president and founding director of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and a 1966 Washington and Lee graduate. In presenting the degree, Provost Marc Conner recognized Vaughan as an "intellectual, distinguished leader in the field of education, [and] peerless advocate for the humanities in the Commonwealth of Virginia," and praised Vaughan for his "stirring career of dedicated service to the humanities."

Related Stories

Class of 2016 News

Members of W&L's Class of 2016 celebrate their commencement on May 26.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Washington and Lee Graduates 444 Students at 229th Commencement

Graduating seniors at Washington and Lee University today were asked to remember and live by the high ideals and standards that have guided them over the past four years, as they are leaving "a community that cares a great deal about these matters and entering a world that increasingly does not."

Charles Zachariades '16

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

W&L Senior Charles Zachariades Awarded R&A Ransome Scholarship

Charlie Zachariades, of Chatham, N.J., a senior at Washington and Lee University, was awarded a 2016 R&A Ransome Scholarship for a one-year master's program in global health implementation at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Meera Kumar '16

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Meera Kumar Awarded Fulbright Research Grant to India

Meera Kumar, from Portland, Oregon, and a senior at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to India. Her project is "Artistic Depiction and Womanhood in Village Bengal."

At a Glance Facts and Figures

Members of the class of 2016 hail from 43 states and the Distric of Columbia and Guam, plus 19 countries.
Members of the class of represent 34 different majors and 27 different minors. 31% of students majored in two discplines, while two students completed three majors.
250 students complete a bachelor of arts degree and 220 students complete a bachelor of science degree. 14 students completed both.
The top 10 majors inlcude: business administration; accounting and business admin; economics; politics; journalism and mass communications; history; mathematics; biology; English; geology.
The class of 2016 has a record number of graudates, 456, with a 4-year graudation rate of 91.4%.
37% of the class of 2016 participated on a varsity athletics team.

Visit, Interview, Apply See Yourself Here

Ready to learn more? Come visit us in Lexington for a campus tour and class visit, or connect with one of our admissions counselors in a city near you. We look forward to meeting you.

Visit Tours and Interviews

Step One:

Schedule your visit with a campus tour and/or info session online.

Step Two:

Call our office to schedule your interview and/or class visit (for high school seniors only). We will coordinate your interview and class visit with your already scheduled visit. (540) 458-8710.

Can't make it to Lexington?

There are various ways in which you can still connect with Washington and Lee University and the Office of Admissions:

Apply Now

Apply Quick Guide

  • Early Decision is a binding commitment; enrollment is required if you are accepted.
    • ED-1: Nov. 1
    • ED-2: Jan. 1
  • Regular Decision is for students who want to maximize options.
    • Deadline: Jan. 1
  • Johnson Scholarship (additional essay required, instructions on the W&L Writing Supplement to the Common Application.)
    • Deadline: Dec. 1
Application Materials:

Financial Aid and Scholarships

We seek to ensure that the cost of attending W&L does not prevent outstanding students from choosing to enroll. A generous need-based aid program and merit-based scholarships can make that investment more manageable than you may think. Visit Financial Aid for more information.

The Johnson Scholarship Program awards over 40 full tuition, room and board scholarships annually. Read More

Admitted students who meet financial aid deadlines and are found to have need will have their full need met with grant funds and a work-study job -- no loans.

The W&L Promise guarantees free tuition to any undergraduate student admitted to Washington and Lee with a family income below $100,000. Learn More

Net Price Calculator


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 life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.