Feature Stories Campus Events

President Dudley on Investing in Low-Income Students

“College remains the best investment we can make in America’s future. The United States has an abundance of talented young women and men who want the chance to realize their full potential. Providing students from low-income families the access and support they need to achieve their dreams is in everyone’s best interest.”

In an opinion piece published on Dec. 7 in The Washington Post, Washington and Lee University President William C. Dudley writes about the progress Washington and Lee is making in drawing more Pell-eligible students to its campus.

The piece can be read on The Washington Post’s website.

W&L’s Zainab Abiza Among 2020 Class of Schwarzman Scholars Abiza will receive a master’s degree in global affairs from Tsinghua University in China.

“Zainab lives her involvement in public policy and her interest in international affairs.”

Zainab Abiza ‘19, an economics and global politics double major with a minor in poverty and human capability studies at Washington and Lee University, has been selected for the 2020 class of Schwarzman Scholars, a one-year master’s program at China’s Tsinghua University inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship program at the University of Oxford.

The class of 2020 is comprised of 147 scholars who were selected from over 2,800 applicants and represent 38 countries and 119 universities. The scholars were selected through a rigorous application process designed to evaluate academic ability, as well as leadership potential and strength of character.

“Our newest class includes a diverse group of future leaders from around the world. They join a global network of Scholars who have committed themselves to being a force for change, regardless of where their professional or personal passions take them. My hope is that a year in Beijing will inspire and challenge these students in ways they haven’t even imagined. I look forward to seeing how this new class will leave its mark,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Blackstone, and chairman of Schwarzman Scholars.

Zainab Abiza looks over Islamic State literature in the library at W&L.

Abiza plans to study economics and business while at Tsinghua University, and will receive a master’s degree in global affairs. Beyond the classroom, scholars will gain exposure to a broad network of important relationships through unique internships, mentorship opportunities, high-profile speakers and opportunities to travel throughout China.

The Schwarzman Scholars program is designed to prepare future global leaders to meet the geopolitical challenges of the 21st century. The vision of Schwarzman Scholars is to bring together the world’s best young minds to explore and understand the economic, political and cultural factors that have contributed to China’s increasing importance as a global power, and to make them more effective as links between China and the rest of the world.

“The accomplishments, dynamism, and commitment of this year’s class of Scholars are inspiring for all of us involved with the program,” said Schwarzman Scholars Global Director of Admissions Robert Garris. “We look forward to seeing them come together from around the world to share their experiences in business, entrepreneurship, public policy, community service, media, and many other fields, learning from each other and from their fellow students at Tsinghua.”

Abiza, who hails from Morocco, is fluent in English, French and Classical Arabic, as well as in her native language of Moroccan Arabic. Her interests in global politics and economics have led her to a number of summer experiences related to international affairs during her time at W&L.

She spent the summer following her sophomore year in Dangriga, Belize, working as an intern for the Belize Family Life Association, where she planned and led the organization’s annual summer camp, raised funds to provide free cancer screenings and other clinical services for the town’s residents, and organized community outreach events.

In the spring of 2017, Abiza served as an intern for the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations in Washington, D.C., after which she returned to campus to work as a Summer Research Scholar in W&L’s politics department, putting her language skills to work conducting counter-terrorism research.

“Zainab combines personal experience with a natural gift of analytic clarity to shed light on the most important questions in our discussions,” said Seth Cantey, assistant professor of politics at W&L. “She does this in a consistently thoughtful and professional way, benefitting the class as a whole.”

Abiza was a delegate to the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs, where she participated in discussions on global markets, investments and trade and generated and presented policy recommendations that were published in the “Undergraduate Journal of Social Sciences.”

This past summer, she was one of 32 fellows at the PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University, a rigorous seven-week program that prepares college juniors for advanced degrees and careers in public policy and international affairs. She wasalso awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant, which she used to design and implement a project aimed at improving educational outcomes and creating a better learning environment for rural girls in Morocco. She is currently working on expanding this program domestically and starting her own NGO to improve educational outcomes for girls globally.

“Zainab lives her involvement in public policy and her interest in international affairs,” said Bill Connelly, John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics at W&L. “Her facility with multiple languages is a wonder to behold. Her commitment to public service is palpable and readily evidenced by her actions. Her leadership in the classroom and in various practical settings serving the disadvantaged is truly impressive. The Schwarzman Scholars Program is a natural next step as she furthers her education and experience.”

W&L Announces November Community Grants The Community Grants Committee has made 16 grants totaling $30,036 to local area non-profit organizations.

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 16 grants totaling $30,036 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first of the university’s two rounds of grants for 2018-19. The committee chose the grants from 24 proposals requesting over $115,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • American Red Cross of the Roanoke and New River Valleys Virginia, to provide immediate disaster relief to families following home fires in Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Program, to provide funding for programs such as Campus Kitchens, Shepherd Poverty Program and Experiential Learning
  • Boxerwood Education Association, for general operational support for Project NEST
  • Bridge to Hope Food Pantry, for procurement, storage and distribution of food to clients
  • The Community Closet at Christ Episcopal Church, for acquisition of essential clothing, supplies and operational expenses to support the mission
  • The Community Table of Buena Vista, Inc. , to purchase food and for essential operational expenses
  • Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity, for a new computer and software for financial program classes
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center, to purchase tack items for therapy horses
  • Mission Next Door, to fund local projects and cash reserves
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc., for food purchase and essential operational expenses
  • PMHS Boys’ Varsity Soccer, for uniforms and equipment
  • RACS: Rockbridge Area Prevention Coalition, to support a student summit intended to reduce underage drinking and other substance abuse
  • RCHS Parent Teacher Student Association, to provide hands-on learning tools for high school students
  • John’s United Methodist Church, for its Mission Committee Annual Blanket Giveaway
  • Valley Program for Aging Services, to assist with the construction of an accessible ramp and garden space for the Maury River Senior Center in Buena Vista
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA, for after-school and enrichment programs

Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.

During its 2017-18 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually, at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The submission deadline for the second round of evaluations for 2018-19 will be: by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee, Attn: James D. Farrar, Jr., Office of the Secretary, 204 W. Washington St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450-2116.

W&L, Mount Vernon Announce Mutual Loan of Washington Portraits The historic institutions will temporarily exchange iconic portraits of George Washington, which will go on public view in mid-December.

Washington and Lee University will lend its notable portrait of “George Washington as Colonel in the Virginia Regiment” by Charles Willson Peale to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where it will hang in the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center for the next two years.

“George Washington as Colonel in the Virginia Regiment” by Charles Willson Peale

The painting is the first of seven portraits of Washington made from life by Peale, and the only portrait of Washington that predates the American Revolution. It was commissioned by Martha Washington and painted in May 1772 at Mount Vernon, where it hung in the Front Parlor along with portraits by John Wollaston of Martha and her children.

In exchange for the Peale portrait, Mount Vernon will loan Washington and Lee its original portrait by Gilbert Stuart, which will hang in the auditorium of the university’s Lee Chapel. The portrait, which was painted during the second term of Washington’s presidency, is a replica by Stuart of his iconic original portrait known as the “Athenaeum” version, now owned jointly by the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It is arguably the most publicly recognized image of Washington because it appears on the U.S. $1 bill.

Martha Washington commissioned portraits of herself and her husband from Stuart in 1796 but never received them despite frequent requests. Stuart kept them unfinished as sources for his roughly 75 replicas.

The same year Washington sat for Stuart’s “Athenaeum” portrait, he saved the struggling Liberty Hall Academy — W&L’s predecessor — when he gave the school $20,000 worth of James River Canal stock. The trustees promptly renamed the school Washington Academy, as an expression of their gratitude.

Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

Mount Vernon’s portrait by Stuart was painted in about 1798 and is one of the finest of Stuart’s replicas. Landscape artist George Beck of Philadelphia purchased it directly from Stuart. After it passed through several families in Kentucky, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association received it as a gift in 1904.

“We are delighted about the opportunities that this exchange presents,” said Washington and Lee President William C. Dudley. “Bringing the Stuart portrait to our campus allows us to better tell the story of George Washington’s pivotal gift to the university while simultaneously expanding the audience for the Peale portrait, which is truly one of a kind. We are grateful to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for its partnership and look forward to continued collaboration as we seek to tell the many stories of Washington and Lee’s history.”

“We are honored to welcome home such an important portrait, which was painted here, and displayed at Mount Vernon throughout the life of George and Martha Washington,” said Doug Bradburn, president and CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “Visitors from around the world will get a chance to see George Washington in the vigor of youth, before the years of toil and sacrifice had aged him, and I believe it will inspire millions to connect with and learn from the lessons of the past. We thank Washington and Lee for its continued partnership in education, and sharing in our mission to tell the story of the father of our country.”

The loan is temporary and will initially last two years, with the option to renew. In the meantime, the university is currently in the process of hiring a director of institutional history who will oversee the planning, development and construction of a new university museum, where the Peale portrait will return to take a place of honor.

Call for Proposals W&L’s Community Grants Committee will evaluate proposals in early November

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Fall 2018 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2018 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $60,000 during the program’s 2018-19 cycle.

During the second round of the 2017-18 evaluations held in March 2018, 16 organizations submitted proposals for a total of almost $97,000 in requests. The University made $19,093 grants to 9 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • City of Buena Vista Parks and Recreation Department
  • Gospel Way Church of God in Christ
  • Rockbridge Area Hospice
  • Lime Kiln Arts, Inc.
  • NDPonics
  • Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Inc.
  • Rockbridge Regional Drug Task Force
  • Samuel’s Supper
  • Shenandoah Preschool

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address:


The second round of proposals for 2018-19 will be due on Friday, March 1, 2019.

Please call 540-458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to 540-458-8745 or mailed to:

Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450

W&L Welcomes New Trustee Bill Payne ’88 Payne joined the W&L Board of Trustees on October 5.

William G. “Bill” Payne ’88

William G. “Bill” Payne of Dallas, Texas, joined the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees on October 5, at the board’s fall meeting in Lexington.

Payne graduated from W&L in 1988 with a B.S. in business administration and accounting, and from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1993, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honors society.

After graduating from W&L, Payne worked for three years for Arthur Andersen in its tax and audit divisions in Atlanta, Georgia. Following graduate school, hespent nine years with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette/Credit Suisse First Boston in their New York and Dallas investment banking offices, where he served as a senior vice president.

In 2002, Payne co-founded Bluffview Capital LP, a boutique investment bank, and in 2006, he co-founded Family Access Exchange II LP, an investment management firm focused on making alternative investments for family offices. He currently manages Druid Hills Capital LLC, an investment management firm focused on a wide range of public and private investments.

Payne has served on multiple public and private corporate and nonprofit boards and currently sits on the boards of Teach for America DFW, The Lamplighter School and Leadership ISD.

As an alumnus, Payne has twice served as a reunion class committee member, as an alumni career mentor, as an annual fund class agent, and as an area campaign committee member. Currently, he serves on both the Undergraduate Academics & Admissions and Campus Life Committees. Payne and his wife, Wendy, live in Dallas and have five children.

W&L Recognizes 29 Retiring Faculty and Staff

Washington and Lee University recognized 29 retiring members of the faculty and staff during Commencement exercises on May 24 and during the Employee Recognition Banquet on April 17. Together the group represents a total of more than 793 years of service.

Front row: President Will Dudley, Susie Thompson, Jackie Sandidge, Marquita Dunn, Linda Newell, Jennifer Ashworth. Second row: Bonnie Gates, Macy Coffey, Ruth Floyd, Julie Campbell, Betty Sue Moore. Back row: Daniel Rexrode, Arthur Perry, Dan Coffey, Patrick Hinely, Bobby Moore, Edward Mays, Vernon Walker.

The 29 faculty and staff retirees are:

  • Jennifer Ashworth, administrative assistant, History Department
  • Julie Campbell, associate director of communications and public affairs and university editor, Communications and Public Affairs
  • Dan Coffey, textbook purchaser/graduation coordinator, University Store
  • Macy Coffey, administrative assistant, Law Library
  • Elizabeth Cumming, laboratory supervisor and physics instructor
  • Marquita Dunn, general services worker, Café 77
  • Ruth Floyd, senior support analyst, ITS
  • Bonnie Gates, library assistant, Law School
  • Mark Grunewald, Morefield Professor of Law
  • Barbara Higgins, administrative assistant, Chemistry Department
  • Patrick Hinely ’73, university photographer, Communications and Public Affairs
  • Joan Kasper, administrative assistant, Law Library
  • Edward Mays, dining systems coordinator, Dining Services
  • Betty Sue Moore, custodian, Facilities Management
  • Robert (Bobby) Moore, lead carpenter, Facilities Management
  • Denise Neuhs, dispatcher, Public Safety
  • Linda Newell, senior library assistant, Law Library
  • David Novack, professor of sociology
  • Arthur Perry, media specialist, law technology, ITS
  • Rolf Piranian, associate professor of physical education
  • Daniel Rexrode, public safety officer, Public Safety
  • Jackie Sandidge, lead custodian, Facilities Management
  • Leanne Shank, general counsel
  • Rod Smith, editor, Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review
  • William Stroud, custodian, Facilities Management
  • Susie Thompson, associate director of special programs, Office of Lifelong Learning
  • Vernon Walker, custodian, Facilities Management
  • James Warren, professor of English
  • Scott Wines, senior plumber, Facilities Management

Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the Williams School Elizabeth Oliver will assume the role of associate dean beginning July 1.

Elizabeth Oliver

Elizabeth Oliver, the Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor of Accounting and department chair at Washington and Lee University, is the new associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, beginning July 1. She succeeds Timothy Diette, who has held that post since 2017. Diette has been named senior advisor to the president for strategic analysis, also effective July 1.

Oliver joined the Williams School faculty in 1991. She holds an A.B. from Mary Baldwin College, an M.A. in English from the University of Kansas, an M.S. in accounting from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.

She previously served as associate dean of the Williams School from 1998-2003. She has served since 2003 as head of the Accounting Department, teaching courses in accounting research and corporate social responsibility, and launching and coordinating the W&L London Internship Program. She serves as a faculty advisor to Washington and Lee Student Consulting, and helps oversee the group’s pro bono work with businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Oliver has served in a number of key university roles during her time at W&L, including terms on the President’s Advisory Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee as interim chair, and various search committees and strategic planning groups. She currently serves as chair of W&L’s Benefits Committee.

Outside of her work at W&L, Oliver is a member of the editorial board of Business Horizons and serves as the president-elect of the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Program Leadership Group (APLG). In the community, she has served as treasurer of the Friends of Rockbridge Choral Society and chair of the Finance Committee of Grace Episcopal Church.

Oliver assumes her new role on the heels of the Board of Trustees’ recent approval of a new strategic plan for the university. “This is a particularly exciting time to come into the associate dean’s position,” she said. “I am delighted to continue working with my wonderful colleagues in the Williams School and look forward to collaborating more broadly across the university.”

In addition to advising the dean on a variety of matters, the associate dean of the Williams School focuses on operations and accreditation. The associate dean also represents the Williams School on a number of university committees and works closely with the dean and faculty of the Williams School on curriculum and program development.

“Elizabeth brings significant experience from her previous tenure as associate dean, her 15 years as the department head of accounting, and from her experience with accreditation and the broader activities of the Williams School,” said Rob Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School. “She is an accomplished scholar, working most recently on topics related to workplace culture and performance appraisal, and a strong advocate for liberal arts and experiential learning. I’m excited to welcome Elizabeth back to the associate dean’s position.”

Class of 2018 Video: ‘What We’ll Miss’

Washington and Lee University to Celebrate 231st Commencement, Baccalaureate

Washington and Lee University celebrates its 231st undergraduate commencement Thursday, May 24, when it will award bachelor’s degrees to more than 440 students.

University President William C. Dudley will address the graduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony on the Front Lawn of the main campus. Mason Grist, past president of the Executive Committee of the student body and a graduating senior from Lexington, Virginia, will speak on behalf of the Class of 2018.

Commencement festivities begin Wednesday, May 23, at 10 a.m. on the Front Lawn with the traditional baccalaureate service, featuring speaker Harlan Beckley. Beckley is the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus at Washington and Lee, as well as the founder and first director of the Shepherd Program on Poverty and Human Capability. He led the national expansion of the program through the creation of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), a nonprofit comprising 23 colleges and universities across the U.S., and served as the consortium’s founding director until 2017.

Also speaking at the baccalaureate service are this year’s recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, Hannah Falchuk, of Hockessin, Delaware, and Angel Vela de la Garza Evia, of San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico. The two were selected by the faculty as individuals who best demonstrate high ideals of living, spiritual qualities and generous service to others.

During the commencement ceremony on Thursday, W&L will recognize 28 retiring members of the faculty and staff, who represent a total of more than 793 years of service.

Four graduating seniors have been awarded Fulbright grants for postgraduate international work.

  • Carson Bryant, a German and economics double major from Waxhaw, North Carolina, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in Germany.
  • Hannah Falchuk, a politics major from Hockessin, Delaware, will work as a foreign language teaching assistant in the Slovak Republic.
  • Jeremy Friedlander, a business administration and religion double major from Bethesda, Maryland, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in Romania.
  • Jared Shely of Lexington, Kentucky, a double major in Spanish and history, will be a foreign language teaching assistant in

Seven other seniors also received scholarships for postgraduate work.

  • Kiki Spiezio of Taunton, Massachusetts, received the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship at the American University in Dubai and the College to Congress Internship, a summer internship on Capitol Hill.
  • Elizabeth McDonald of Allen, Texas, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a language and cultural immersion program in Japan.
  • Emily Austin of Russellville, Arkansas, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State, to participate in a language and cultural immersion program in Indonesia.
  • Emily Perszyk of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for three years of funding in support of graduate study at Yale University.
  • Faith Pinho of Everett, Massachusetts, received an ODK Leader of the Year scholarship for post-graduate study in journalism.
  • Tara Loughery of Roanoke, Virginia, received a U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellowship.
  • Gillen Beck of Blacksburg, Virginia, received a National College Athletic Association Postgraduate Scholarship in support of graduate study.

The Class of 2018 hails from 34 states, the District of Columbia and nine other countries.

In the event of rain, events will be held at Virginia Military Institute’s Cameron Hall, and the University community will be notified by broadcast e-mail, a notice on the University’s website and other means. Full details on all commencement activities at W&L can be found at www.wlu.edu/commencement. The commencement ceremony will be streamed live online at https://livestream.com/wlu/ugrad-2018.