Founded in 1749, Washington and Lee University is one of the 10 oldest higher education institutions in the country. It is a private liberal arts college in the small city of Lexington, Virginia, 40 miles north west of Lynchburg.
It is named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and Founding Father whose $20,000 donation in 1796 helped keep Washington and Lee alive, and Robert E. Lee, an influential 19th century president of the university whose tenure saw its chapel built and business and journalism programmes commence. The university now has chartered journalism and business schools, a rarity for an American liberal arts college.
Washington and Lee is a highly selective university which admits under a quarter of its applicants. There are more than 50 courses at the university, including philosophy, women’s, gender & sexuality studies, geology, history, Arabic and economics.
Washington and Lee’s large campus comprises more than 425 acres and has views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains. It lies just east of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, which is situated in between Lexington and the border with North Carolina.
Washington and Lee has produced several leaders in business, politics and the judiciary, including Lewis F. Powell Jr., a United States Supreme Court justice from 1972 to 1987, and John W. Davis, US solicitor general and the Democratic candidate in the 1924 presidential election, won by Republican Calvin Coolidge.