Messages to the Community

Lynn Rainville Named Director of Institutional History at W&L

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley
Date: March 18, 2019

I am pleased to announce that Lynn Rainville has accepted the position of Director of Institutional History, effective July 1. Her appointment comes after a national search led by a seven-member committee composed of faculty and staff, with input from the campus and alumni community following a series of public presentations at W&L in February.

The Director of Institutional History position is an outgrowth of our Strategic Plan, adopted by the Board of Trustees in May 2018. The plan charges us to present our history comprehensively and accurately, to take full advantage of the educational potential of our campus, to build a new museum, and to partner with related historical sites.

As our first Director of Institutional History, Lynn will help us create dynamic educational programming for the campus community, alumni, and the public. She will lead the process of envisioning and developing a museum to explore the 270-year history of W&L and its many connections to American history. Lynn will execute her broad charge in close collaboration with faculty, students, and alumni as we continue to expand the stories that we tell about our university and the many individuals who have contributed to it.

Lynn is an accomplished scholar with a deep appreciation for the history of Washington and Lee and significant administrative experience. Reporting to me as part of my administrative cabinet, she will oversee the University Collection of Art and History (UCAH), and will work with faculty, scholars, and the UCAH staff to support curricular development, research projects, and exhibitions.

Lynn is a public historian and anthropologist with extensive research experience and expertise in Virginia history. She holds a B.A. in anthropology and history from Dartmouth College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at Sweet Briar, she held teaching positions at the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, and the University of Virginia.

As the dean of Sweet Briar College, Lynn was responsible for the college's academic programs, history museum and art galleries, and a multimillion-dollar budget. She also directed the Tusculum Institute for Virginia history and historic preservation at Sweet Briar. Her wide-ranging curiosity and infectious enthusiasm for her work, as well as her commitment to creatively involving students, faculty, alumni, and the public in the study of history, make Lynn well-suited for the scope and complexity of her new position.

Lynn officially begins her work at W&L on July 1, but we are delighted that she will join us on several occasions this spring, meeting with faculty, staff, and students on campus. She will also meet with alumni at events including the Washington, D.C., chapter reception at Mount Vernon on April 4 and Alumni Weekend on May 2-4.

A news release announcing her appointment is posted on our website.

I appreciate the thoughtful input from faculty, staff, students, and alumni during this search process, and I hope you will join me in congratulating Lynn on her appointment and welcoming her and her family to the W&L community.