2022: A Year in Review An update from President Dudley
2022 was a remarkable year for Washington and Lee by any measure. In addition to the full program of academic and extracurricular activities and campus events that we enjoyed this year, we have many reasons to celebrate this institution and give thanks for the tremendous community that makes our success possible:
Here are 10 highlights from the past year:
Student Recruitment and Retention
W&L continues to attract exceptionally capable students from across the country and around the world. In 2022 we saw a record number of undergraduate applications and the strongest academic credentials among law applicants in more than a decade.
- The undergraduate Class of 2026 represents 43 U.S. states and 26 countries of origin.
- 24% of the undergraduate Class of 2026 identify as domestic students of color. 10% are first-generation and 10% are children of alumni.
- The law Class of 2025 represents 28 U.S. states and eight countries of origin.
- 25% of the law Class of 2025 identify as domestic students of color. 12% are first-generation college graduates.
- Our graduation and retention rates continue to be among the highest in the country: 97% of our first-year undergraduates return for their sophomore year — the highest percentage of all liberal arts colleges — and 91% of our students graduate in four years — the highest percentage of all colleges and universities.
Access and Affordability
As part of our commitment to admitting the strongest applicants, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances, W&L meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need of every undergraduate student we admit, and we do it without loans. 58% of the Class of 2026 receives financial assistance, with an average need-based grant of $57,464.
- The Johnson Scholarship awards full tuition, room and board to 40 students in each incoming class on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, and their potential to contribute to W&L and the world.
- The W&L Promise guarantees financial awards of at least full tuition to undergraduate students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.
- Since 2015, we have doubled the proportion of Pell-eligible students in the incoming undergraduate class and increased the proportion of students receiving financial aid by over 35%.
- Over 90% of law students receive scholarships, with an average award of $27,063.
Distinctive Academic Programs
We built on the distinctive strengths of our curriculum — which combines top-quality liberal arts programs with nationally accredited programs in business, journalism, and law — adding new leadership and exciting programs for the benefit of our students.
- Melanie Wilson joined us as the new dean of the School of Law, bringing energy and vision to her new role.
- We launched The DeLaney Center — our new interdisciplinary hub for the study of Southern race relations, culture, and politics — under the leadership of its inaugural director, Michael Hill.
- Students embraced our newest minors in Data Science; Law, Justice, and Society; and Entrepreneurship — making them some of the most popular on campus.
Our accomplished faculty continue to earn accolades for their scholarship, presenting papers, publishing books and articles, exhibiting artistic work and earning research grants while mentoring and collaborating with students both in and outside the classroom.
- David Harbor, professor of Earth and Environmental Geoscience, and Dan Johnson, David G. Elmes Term Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, earned grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support their research.
- 51 faculty members worked with 99 students on summer research projects ranging from diet-induced obesity to Bitcoin’s role in international relations.
- W&L faculty partnered with over 40 nonprofit organizations in the local area to offer community-based learning courses that integrate learning and mentorship with community engagement and critical reflection.
- Our After Class Podcast provides a fascinating window into some of our faculty members’ teaching and research interests.
Our students took full advantage of opportunities to augment their classroom experience with internships, research and study abroad.
- Three-quarters of the Class of 2026 participated in pre-orientation programs — including the popular Appalachian Adventure — beginning their college careers with new friends, a sense of community, sharpened teamwork skills, and a memorable, meaningful, and challenging experience. Next year, these programs will be part of orientation for all students and will be offered free of charge.
- Over 250 W&L students participated in 16 different Spring Term Study Abroad courses in 2022, traveling to destinations including France, Iceland, Scandinavia, Costa Rica, Ireland and Barbados. In 2023, students will have the opportunity to travel to countries including India, Greece, Ghana, Japan, Morocco, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
- Over 120 students received funding for summer research in 2022, whether on campus with faculty members or independently around the world.
Our students enjoy tremendous success in every aspect of campus life:
- In 2022, our student-athletes continued to turn in impressive performances, claiming 10 conference championships and 13 NCAA tournament appearances, including a second-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships for Joe O’Connor ’22.
- Our premier choral group, the University Singers, was the first American choir ever to be selected for the City of Derry International Choir Festival in Northern Ireland, placing third overall and receiving the prestigious Visit Derry Award, which recognizes the most outstanding performance by a visiting national or international choir.
Our students leave W&L well-prepared to enter graduate school or the workforce.
- In the Class of 2021, 97% of undergraduates and 96% of law students were employed or enrolled in postgraduate studies six and ten months after graduation.
- Tahri Phillips ’23 was named W&L’s 18th Rhodes Scholar (our third winner in the last seven years) and Kristina Lozinskaya ’22 won a Schwarzman Scholarship (our fourth winner in eight years).
- W&L is the only liberal arts institution in the country to produce more than one Rhodes Scholar in the last 10 years. We were also honored to be named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars for the fourth straight year, and a top producer of Gilman Scholars.
Student spaces were the focus of campus improvements in 2022, building on the success of the new Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center and the Harte Center for Teaching and Learning.
- Renovations to the John W. Elrod Commons were unveiled in February, including the new Class of 1994 Center for Inclusion and Engagement.
- This fall, we made improvements to the Student Activities Pavilion, which is now home to W&L’s Outing Club and includes a bike shop and climbing wall.
- In 2023, we look forward to expanding and renovating campus dining facilities in the Elrod Commons, breaking ground on a new building for the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, and developing plans for a new Health & Wellness Center and Museum of Institutional History.
We took a major step toward our goal of carbon neutrality, partnering in a solar energy project that will match 100% of our electricity consumption.
- Over the last decade, W&L has reduced campus greenhouse gas emissions by 42%. The new solar purchase will cover all emissions associated with campus electricity, bringing that reduction to 63%.
- Sustainability work at W&L has also saved a substantial amount of money: today, the university’s annual utility expense is $1 million less than it was in 2007 — despite the expansion of the physical campus to include third-year housing and the natatorium.
We made great strides toward advancing our strategic initiatives, thanks to the generosity of our alumni, parents and friends.
- Our Endowment, currently valued at $2.03 billion, provides over 40% of our operating budget each year — more than annual tuition revenue.
- Our endowment per student, which has risen over 70% in the past ten years, ranks in the top 25 of all colleges and universities, supporting educational quality and access.
- The Annual Fund, which provides 7% of our operating budget, topped $10M in fiscal year 2022 — a milestone it has met in seven out of the last eight years.
- Current W&L parents are setting records with their support of the Parents Fund, which is up $270,000 over this time last year.
- Since July 1, we have received $35.12 million in new gifts and commitments — about $25 million ahead of our five-year average.
- We have received over $220 million to date toward the priorities outlined in our Strategic Plan.
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