Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

An Extraordinary Combination Laura Murambadoro ’26 brings varied interests, a collaborative leadership style and a passion for community engagement to W&L’s campus.

Laura-Murambadoro04-1140x760 An Extraordinary CombinationLaura Murambadoro ’26

“I feel less like I found W&L and more like W&L found me.”

~ Laura Murambadoro ’26 

Laura Murambadoro ’26 looked at many schools during her college admissions process, but ultimately chose W&L because it offered the opportunity for her to continue to explore her many areas of interest throughout her academic career.

Murambadoro is a double major in accounting and politics with a minor in law, justice, and society from Overland Park, Kansas. She has wanted to pursue a career as a lawyer since childhood and became interested in accounting after taking an honors accounting course in high school and subsequently participating in her high school’s DECA program, a nationwide program that prepares high school students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, entrepreneurship and management. Murambadoro is also entering her 13th year of playing clarinet, and knew she wanted to incorporate music and performance into her college experience. Murambadoro has participated in the university’s wind ensemble as well as taken classes in conducting.    

“I feel less like I found W&L and more like W&L found me,” Murambadoro said.

In addition to her varied academic and performing arts pursuits, Murambadoro has taken on notable leadership roles outside the classroom. She currently serves as the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) vice-president, a role that coordinates the programming efforts and initiatives that the NPHC council plans for all the NPHC fraternities and sororities on campus. She is also treasurer of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. As the president of the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU), she has collaborated extensively with the Office of Inclusion and Engagement on events such as the SABUxNPHC cookout, MLK week programs held at the Sankofa theme house, Black Flex/Black Ball and SABU’s Black History Month events. Those who know her well say she jumps at opportunities for collaborative leadership.

Provost Lena Hill said it is exciting to observe Murambadoro’s sense of purpose and charismatic leadership so early in her W&L career.

“Laura is a doer and is visionary, and leads with confident authority that is thoroughly inclusive,” Hill said. “She not only raises her hand to volunteer her time and expertise to support an initiative or lead an event, but she is also more than willing to roll up her sleeves to get the job done. She exudes a humbleness about her involvement in the project or event and her work in making it possible. And she works with a beautiful, outer smile that captures her inner investment in the work. As the president of SABU, Laura has pursued new goals and approaches with energy and dedication. She is a dynamic dreamer as well as a pragmatic leader: an extraordinary combination.”

“I met Laura as a first-year when she became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) and ever since then, I have seen her flourish as a student leader,” said Heidi Bustos, assistant director of Washington and Lee’s Office of Inclusion and Engagement (OIE) and adviser to the university’s NPHC chapters. “She advocates for things she is passionate about, is self-aware and is a great collaborator. I think she has developed different leadership skills as she navigates her campus involvement with her personal and academic life. With her roles in AKA, NPHC and SABU, Laura has developed events that uplift and promote awareness of the experiences of marginalized students and foster an inclusive space to educate peers on the African diaspora.”

One of those events was the recent Black Future Leaders Experience Conference (Black FLEX), held Feb. 3 which featured sessions on a range of topics aimed at personal and professional development for students. The university hosted Black Ball on the Saturday of this year’s conference, an opportunity for students and alumni of color to network in a celebratory atmosphere in Evans Hall. For Murambadoro, it was the culmination of months of work and collaboration with offices such as Career and Professional Development and Alumni Engagement, OIE and the University Store.

“There were a lot of moving parts, and we couldn’t have done it without the willing students, administrators and faculty members who were instrumental in helping us make this event happen,” Murambadoro said.

Michael Hill, professor and program chair of the department of Africana studies and director of the Delaney Center, has gotten to know Murambadoro well through his work as SABU’s faculty adviser, and said her dedication has made an impact across campus.

“By assuming the presidency of SABU as a sophomore, Laura displayed a precocity fueled by a prodigious work ethic,” Michael Hill said. “She is an indispensable part of our campus landscape and contributes generously and selflessly to enterprises that enhance W&L. Laura possesses immense poise and impressive diplomacy. Even in charged discussions, she remains calm and focused. Her dedication burnishes her credibility which in turn allows her to achieve a productive consensus. Laura does not monopolize conversations; instead, she steers them toward illuminating outcomes.”

SABU’s programmatic offerings for February’s Black History Month are keeping Murambadoro busy. The group co-sponsored a game night on campus with the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and offered a movie night, facilitated discussions with faculty and an open mic night.

Laura is also an active member of Washington and Lee’s African Society, having moved to the United States when she was 2 from Zimbabwe with her family. She is also a part of the all-female a cappella group Jubilee and a facilitator for diversity and inclusion training through OIE where she is also a work-study.

“Laura operates with a spirit of excellence,” said Tamara Futrell, dean for diversity, inclusion and student engagement. “She is very diligent about projects and will give 110% of her time and effort to any endeavor that she undertakes. She is an exceptional blend of warmth, empathy and approachability. She selflessly puts others before herself and consistently strives to create an environment in which everyone is included and has a voice, and those are the qualities that make her an effective and impactful leader.”

Murambadoro said it has been rewarding to see that her efforts on campus are supported and appreciated by the campus community.

“I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have gotten to collaborate with my peers, W&L alumni and faculty members,” Murambadoro said. “It is an experience like no other to be able to see the fruits of your labor on a large scale, while also learning a lot about yourself and others through the process.”

Laura-Murambadoro05-1140x760 An Extraordinary CombinationMurambadoro poses with her clarinet in the Lenfest Center for the Arts.

If you know any W&L students who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.