University concludes $542.5 million capital campaign

Campaign to fund first-year experience, Colonnade renovation, third-year housing, natatorium and Center for Global Learning


Rachel Stone

Hundreds came out to Cannan Green for the capital campaign luncheon celebration Friday.

The capital campaign, which began July 1, 2008 and concluded June 30, 2015, raised $542.5 million for Washington and Lee University, the second largest campaign ever undertaken by a liberal arts college.

“This was really an accomplishment of the entire community,” W&L President Ken Ruscio said. “It reveals the character and commitment of this community.”

The celebrations brought together students, faculty, trustees, alumni and parents. About 400 people attended the formal event Friday night, and even more came out to the luncheon.

Nicole Porter, ‘16, said it was fun to bring everyone together for a celebratory meal. Many students did go for the food, but it means so much more than that.

“It’s a jubilant occasion to honor W&L past and present,” Mary Elizabeth Smith, ‘16, said.

This capital campaign funded many different areas over the past eight years. It increased faculty compensation, endowed professorships and scholarships for students. It also provided funding for projects including (but not limited to) the first-year experience, the Colonnade renovation, third-year housing, the new natatorium and the Center for Global Learning.

According to the university, 77 percent of undergraduate alumni and 63 percent of law alumni made a contribution to the campaign.

ken ruscio“It’s a wonderful celebration of all the hard work and commitment and a sort of demonstration of the strength of the community,” Mary Choksi, a parent of a 2011 graduate, said.

Many echoed the words of Ruscio, saying it’s a celebration of a tremendous accomplishment.

“But it’s also an opportunity for multigenerational people to be together,” Laurie Rachford, W&L Law class of ‘84, said. “When you look at honoring our past and building our future, this event is what it’s all about.”