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Welcome Back to Campus A message to the campus community from President Will Dudley.

Welcome back to campus.  I hope each of you enjoyed relaxing time with friends and family over the winter break.

In December I shared some highlights from 2023, noting how much we have to celebrate here at Washington and Lee.  We have more to look forward to in the coming term.

Our celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. kicks off with the CARE Rockbridge parade on Monday morning and the featured address that evening by Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Mayor of Atlanta and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.  The rest of the week includes the annual Reflections dinner, a DeLaney Center screening of the film “Till,” and the MLK Remembrance Concert featuring the University Singers, Cantatrici, and the Glee Club.  You may find the full schedule of events on our website.

The Mudd Center series on the Ethics of Design continues with the opening of the “Before I Die” wall in Leyburn Library, which invites members of our community to share their thoughts about what matters most.  Candy Chang, the artist whose work inspired the exhibit, will speak on campus on Feb. 19.

Winter sports are well underway — women’s basketball is currently ranked 11th in the nation — and there will be many opportunities to cheer for our athletes in the gym and at the pool.  On stage, the annual Bentley Opera will be “Dido and Aeneas,” and students will bring the Lenfest Center alive throughout the term with music, theater, and dance performances.

Mock Convention — one of W&L’s most cherished traditions — returns this February, as our students endeavor to predict the presidential nominee for the political party not currently in the White House.  Since 1908 they have gotten it right an impressive 20 out of 27 times.  The Mock Con student leadership team has been working on this event since their first year on campus, and more than 95% of our students will participate as delegates representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.  Their prediction will be highly anticipated in this unusual election year.

We are making rapid progress on improvements to our physical campus.  The expansion of the Marketplace in Elrod Commons and associated outdoor seating are on schedule for completion in time for Fall Term.  The Williams School building on Washington Street, which is beginning to emerge from the ground, is slated to open for Fall Term 2025.  Renovations of the roof and exterior brickwork on Lewis Hall are complete, with new solar panels to be installed soon.

Construction of the Lindley Center for Student Wellness on East Denny Circle is expected to commence this spring and to be completed in the summer of 2025.  This project will provide top-quality facilities and care for our undergraduate and law students.  Regular updates on all of our capital projects are available on our website.

I am especially pleased that Washington and Lee has been recognized for our exceptional work with community partners by being awarded the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.  The classification is a testament to the leadership of Sascha Goluboff, Director of Community-Based Learning, and to the contributions of many students, faculty and staff who foster connections with community organizations in our area.  Sascha was also recently named Interim Executive Director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium.

And I am proud that our very own Melanie Wilson, Dean of the School of Law, has assumed the presidency of the American Association of Law Schools and been named one of the 20 most influential people in legal education.  Please join me in congratulating her on these significant accomplishments.

As the new term gets underway, I wish you the best for the start of classes, and look forward to seeing you at many of the events on campus in the coming months.