W&L Welcomes Young Alumni to Campus Alumni enjoyed one another's company and a variety of reunion festivities honoring the classes of 2013 and 2018.
Washington and Lee University welcomed more than 500 alumni and guests from the classes of 2013-2023 back to campus Nov. 3-5 for its annual Young Alumni Weekend. Reunion participants traveled from 31 states and five countries to reconnect with one another and their alma mater.
The beautiful fall weather in Lexington on Friday and Saturday made for a terrific backdrop to the festivities. This year’s Young Alumni Weekend incorporated changes to programming, entertainment and activities that resulted in strong attendance and participation, as well as new opportunities for young alumni to connect with one another and reconnect with W&L. Strengthening its ties with the young alumni cohort, W&L’s senior class also took part in the fun with 67 members of the Class of 2024 attending the Welcome Back Bash. The Alumni Association Board of Directors also conducted its annual fall meeting on campus, welcoming over 20 members back to Lexington. Board members left energized and ready to work within their respective subcommittee projects.
Highlights of the weekend schedule included:
- Young Alumni Lunch on Cannan Green;
- Professional Headshots sponsored by Career and Professional Development;
- LGBTQ Alumni and Allies Open House at Heliotrope Brewery;
- Shepherd Open House in the Mattingly Living Room;
- Presentation of the 2023 Distinguished Young Alumni Awards to Kathryn Stewart Gragg ’13, Wayde Marsh ’13, and Camie Carlock McKee ’13;
- Cocktails on the Colonnade reception celebrating the 10th and fifth reunion classes of 2013 and 2018;
- Sunrise Breakfast on Cannan Green sponsored by the Office of Annual Giving;
- Alumni vs. Generals Lacrosse Game on Fuge Field;
- Young Alumni Weekend Tailgate featuring an Athletics Meet and Greet;
- QuestBridge Open House;
- Alumni Sing with the University Singers; and
- Welcome Back Bash on Friday night and the Grand Finale on Saturday evening.
Check out this video footage for a taste of the Young Alumni Weekend experience.
The weekend was a success thanks to the efforts of 44 young alumni reunion volunteers, who worked to encourage classmates to register and raise money for class gifts. Reunion chairs Courtney Ridenhour Apgar and Hank Ingram led the way for the Class of 2013, while Hayden Combs, Mason Grist and Julia Gsell coordinated efforts for the Class of 2018.
The reunion classes were also incredibly successful in their fundraising efforts. The Class of 2013 raised $164,832 for the Annual Fund and welcomed 125 classmates back to campus to celebrate their 10th reunion. The Class of 2018 raised $74,574 in honor of their fifth reunion, while also leading the way in attendance, with 127 classmates returning to campus to celebrate.
While both reunion classes are to be celebrated, young alumni as a whole are responsible for a tremendous part of the Annual Fund’s success. Last year, more than 1,100 young alumni made a gift to the Annual Fund, collectively raising more than $200,000 in single-year gifts that immediately went to work to support current students. These gifts, averaging $166 per young alum, provide vital support across all areas of campus every year. Notably, 242 young alumni are counted as members of The President’s Society, reflecting their commitment to W&L’s approach to education. The cumulative impact of young alumni giving is possible with the efforts of more than 150 young alumni class agents and reunion volunteers.
“Spirits were high as we welcomed young alumni back to campus to celebrate together over a gorgeous fall weekend in Lexington,” said John Jensen, executive director of Alumni and Career Services. “We continue to evolve the weekend programming to foster meaningful engagement for our alumni while they are here, and it was wonderful to see those changes come to life in this year’s event. It was an honor to present the 2023 Distinguished Young Alumni Awards to three outstanding alumni who embody the best of W&L, followed by celebrating the fifth and 10th reunion classes with Cocktails on the Colonnade to kick off the weekend.”