LEAD Banquet honors W&L’s most impactful leaders

Dozens of students, organizations earn awards at W&L’s LEAD Banquet this year


Maria Rachal

Members of the Washington and Lee community gathered at the LEAD Banquet Sunday evening, March 13 to recognize individuals and organizations whose leadership has made W&L’s campus a more vibrant place.

“We just have so many students doing so many incredible things, and tonight is such a vivid reminder of that,” W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio said in opening remarks to kick off the event in Evans Dining Hall.

Assistant Dean of Students and Dean of Sophomores Megan Hobbs revitalized the awards ceremony in the form of the LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) Banquet in 2014. Hobbs said that W&L used to have a similar recognition event that took place in Lee Chapel. Following years of hiatus, Hobbs said that a more casual yet energized event in Evans seemed more appropriate.

She pulled off the event with the help of the student LEAD Banquet committee, chaired this year by Armani Smith, ‘16, and Bailey Russell, ‘16, both of whom have been involved with the program the past three years.

Hobbs said the over 30 award winner selections are based on an online nominating pro- cess open to students throughout the year and then various faculty and leadership commit- tees choose winners for specific awards based on award criteria and the nomination forms. While the number of LEAD nominations have grown over the past few years, she said, soliciting nominations remains the most challenging part of the awards process.

“It’s a positive thing: students at W&L don’t necessarily do what they do for recognition, so a lot of people don’t see the value in submitting a nomination,” Hobbs said. “We’ve kind of had to backtrack and re-educate people that part of leadership is recognizing all of the great things going on.”