Say Thanks Week March 5 - 9, 2018
Say Thanks Week is a week-long initiative to encourage students to show gratitude for their W&L experience. Throughout the week, students will have opportunities to thank members of the W&L community for their generosity and support all while receiving education regarding the importance of philanthropic giving.
Alumni who graduated before 1970 cherished a Jewish experience at W&L anchored in the fraternity houses of Zeta Beta Tau and Phi Epsilon Pi. Jewish enrollment declined in the years that followed. In 2001, sparked by the Hillel program, a concerted effort was made to revitalize Jewish life on campus. In 2006, a campaign was launched to build a new Hillel House. Many Jewish alumni were leadership donors to the project. Dedicated in 2010, the Hillel House serves not only W&L students, but the Jewish community from throughout Rockbridge County.
Don’t be surprised if you find alumni staring at Holekamp Hall reminiscing fondly about the Co-op. For years the Co-op served the campus as a dining hall, then as the campus bookstore. In 2007, the building was renovated to accommodate the growing needs of the Williams School. It is named in honor of the Holekamp family, whose $2.5 million gift helped make the project possible. Cliff Holekamp ’96 is a nationally renowned entrepreneur who received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2011 in recognition of his many accomplishments and his devotion to Washington and Lee.
The Williams School - Huntley Hall
Two revered names in the annals of W&L are honored in Huntley Hall, home of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. In 1995 the former School of Commerce was re-named in recognition of alumnus Ernest "Ernie" Williams '38 for his devoted service and generosity to the University. In 2004 the building was named for Robert Huntley, Jr. '50 '57L, who served as dean of the Law School before becoming president of W&L in 1969. He held that position for 15 years, displaying great leadership in times of financial peril and social upheaval.
Did you know there have been two President Wilsons at W&L? Wilson Field is named in honor of the first, William L. Wilson, who served from 1897 until his death in 1900. Since the initial field was built on the current site in the early 1900’s, it has received numerous upgrades, including a $15.5 million renovation completed just prior to the 2008 season with funding provided by generous alumni, parents, and friends. A bonus fact: Wilson Hall is named for John D. Wilson, who served the University as president from 1983 until 1995.
The phenomenal thing about the Integrative and Quantitative Center is its universal appeal. Created in 2013 with support from private gifts and a portion of W&L's Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant , the IQ center boasts sophisticated scientific research equipment that undergraduate students would never be able to access at most universities. But it also houses innovative technology that invites humanities students to stretch the boundaries of their disciplines. "I think that the sky is the limit in what we can do in this space," says Helen I'Anson, professor of Biology. The IQ Center is part of the Telford Science Library, which is named for Robert L. Telford '22, one of the University's most generous benefactors.
James Graham Leyburn Library
For many years, the W&L Library was located in the building known today as Huntley Hall. When the time came in 1979 to move the books from the old library into its new home, “The Great Move” was orchestrated. A brigade of volunteers was recruited to ferry the entire collection in shopping bags donated by the local Leggett department store. The library was not officially named until May 1994, when it was dedicated in honor of James Graham Leyburn, a distinguished teacher, scholar, administrator, and mentor to generations of students at W&L. Generous donors have established a variety of endowment funds that support the library’s maintenance, collections, and programming.
John W. Elrod Commons
The late John W. Elrod, president of W&L from 1995 to 2001, called the daily conversations between students and faculty "the academic heart" of the University. One of his fondest wishes was a place where the entire campus community could hold such conversations. In 2003, his wish came true with the unveiling of the facility that bears his name. After some initial hesitation about this, vast, pristine new facility, students, faculty, and staff embraced not only the building, but the concept. Elrod Commons quickly became the "family room" for W&L. Leadership gifts for the construction of the Commons were donated during the For the Rising Generation Campaign, 1998-2003.
Lenfest Center for the Arts
Gerry Lenfest '53, '55L, a successful cable television entrepreneur, once said: "The lessons I learned at W&L have followed me throughout my life, creating a tapestry woven with golden threads of honor, integrity, and civility. I've never met a graduate who did not benefit from the experience." Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite, are among the University's most generous benefactors. Their multi-million dollar gift helped complete the performing arts center named in their honor, and the Lenfests have given generously to many other initiatives over the years. The Lenfest Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
The Warren A. Stephens '79 Colonnade Walk
Warren Stephens '79 first came to Lexington to visit VMI. But the beauty of the Colonnade convinced him that W&L was the place for him. He has served his alma mater in many ways, most recently as a trustee and co-chair of the Honor Our Past, Build our Future campaign. His family’s generosity was instrumental in making the restoration of the Colonnade possible. His wife, Harriet, and their children Laura '12, John, and Miles made a significant additional gift for the Colonnade in appreciation for his love of and devotion to W&L.
To honor his service to his country, the Virginia Legislature gave George Washington 100 shares of stock in the James River Canal Company, valued at around $20,000. A man of high principles, Washington thought that as a public servant he should not accept the gift. Instead, he decided to give the money to a school, and he selected financially strapped Liberty Hall Academy on the Virginia frontier. The name of the school was changed to Washington Academy, and income from his gift still pays a small portion of every student's tuition.
In 1913, Robert Doremus, and his wife, Jessie, were traveling through Virginia on a quest. Doremus, a successful New York stockbroker, wanted to honor his Southern mother by leaving his estate to an institution in the South. On the way to Charlottesville, the couple made a fateful stop in Lexington. An unidentified student was so friendly and courteous to them that the couple selected W&L to receive the bequest. Their gift, the equivalent of $23 million in today’s dollars, helped W&L survive the lean years of the Depression.