Feature Stories Campus Events

All In The Kauders family talks about their experience joining the W&L Community.

KaudersFamily_WL-story-600x400 All InPictured l-r: Keane, Virginia, Eric and Andrew Kauders, Virginia’s younger brother.

“It’s about investing with your children as much as it is about investing in them.”

~ Eric Kauders P’23

Eric, Keane and Virginia Kauders have hit the ground running since becoming a part of the W&L community. Virginia received the merit-based Johnson Scholarship, awarded to only 39 members of the Class of 2023.

Eric and Keane Kauders joined the Parents Leadership Council with a leadership-level gift to the 2019-20 Parents Fund, which supports every W&L student. We caught up with them to discuss their involvement in the PLC and their excitement for Virginia.

Q: What about W&L has inspired you to be involved as parents, especially at the leadership level?

EK: My wife and I really believe in the power of education. It creates opportunity. From a personal perspective, what we like is the commitment of the university to provide a very impactful and personalized experience for each student. We wanted to be a part of that.

KK: Washington and Lee, so far, has been a great fit for Virginia. W&L has given her the opportunity to explore engineering, accounting and business, math and physics, all in her first year. Most other universities do not offer that much flexibility.

Q: Are there any particular parts of college you’re excited for your daughter to experience?

EK: I think there are two things about W&L that I’m excited about for her. The first is the community. At the smallest level, W&L does a lot to create a community built around civility and exchanging ideas and getting to know each other. And that’s really important.

From an educational standpoint, W&L offers a liberal arts experience with a lot of opportunities that aren’t traditional. W&L does a great job of combining the liberal arts education and incredible opportunities into a single experience.

KK: We love the size of W&L. It is small enough that it has been easy for her to get involved in many different aspects of the school, but big enough that there truly seems to be something for everyone.

Q: In your opinion, what about W&L appeals to parents?

EK: I like that it’s academically challenging, which is important. It also challenges students to step outside of their comfort zones, academically or experientially. I think you learn best when you’re not comfortable, and W&L does a great job of that. Look at Mock Con— you’re learning about candidates and districts you’re not familiar with and making predictions. It is important to be able to think critically in situations you’re not familiar with and grow in the process.

KK: W&L is a great school that has managed over the years to change with the times. The school has remained true to its roots while also remaining relevant in the ever-changing world we live in.

Q: What was it like when you found out your daughter was awarded the Johnson Scholarship?

EK: It was a game-changer. Obviously, I’m super proud of Virginia and honored and humbled by the award. But I was really excited, mostly, for the opportunities that she will have as a Johnson Scholar.

KK: The Johnson Scholarship has been a tremendous opportunity for Virginia. It was wonderful for her to be recognized for her hard work and involvement in high school, and it has been fun to watch her find her way at W&L while getting involved in new endeavors.

Q: What advice do you have for parents who are interested in becoming involved?

EK: It’s about investing with your children as much as it is about investing in them. You can get engaged at W&L in a host of different ways as a parent. So, whatever’s important to you—and your child—you can get involved in a way that you get back way more than you give.