Southern Colleges Week: Washington and Lee University

8 09 2011

Today’s featured school comes with arguably the most historical significance of any university in the South — or the country for that matter!

Washington and Lee University is a private college located in Lexington, Virginia. It was begun in 1749, and in 1796, George Washington himself endowed the school with the largest gift ever given to an institution at that time, so the trustees honored him by naming it Washington College. Each student’s education is still, in part, helped by dividends from Washington’s gift.The second part of its illustrious namesake comes from Robert E. Lee, who served as president as the school from after the Civil War ended in 1865 until his death in 1870, when the school was renamed Washington and Lee University.

Is it any wonder the school’s mascot is the Generals?

W & L is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South and their students agree to abide by an honor system. They turn out many great men and women, including some of the nations finest lawyers. Their fraternities and sororities play a large part on campus, as well as their athletics, but outsiders might well best know Washington and Lee by the famous Dixieland standard, The Washington and Lee Swing. It’s been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Red Nichols, and Hal Kemp, among others.

Know a few of the college’s famous alums? You might — names like Meriwether Lewis, Joseph Goldstein, and Pat Robertson graduated under the blue and white colors.

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