Washington and Lee University (Washington and Lee or W&L) is a private liberal arts university in Lexington, Virginia. Established in 1749, the university is a colonial-era college and the ninth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.Plan a trip to Lexington easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.
Washington and Lee's 325-acre campus sits at the edge of Lexington and abuts the campus of the Virginia Military Institute in the Shenandoah Valley region between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains. The campus is approximately 50 miles (80 km) northeast from Roanoke, 140 miles (230 km) west from the state capital of Richmond, and 180 miles (290 km) inland southwest from the national capital at Washington, D.C.
Washington and Lee was originally founded as a small classical school named Augusta Academy (later renamed Liberty Hall Academy) by Scots-Irish Presbyterian pioneers, though the university has never claimed any sectarian affiliation. In 1796, shortly before the end of his second term as U.S. President, George Washington endowed the struggling academy with a gift of stock, one of the largest gifts to an educational institution at that time. In gratitude, the school was renamed for the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), president at the Federal Constitutional Convention meeting in Philadelphia (summer of 1787), framer of the American Constitution (1787–1788), and the first President of the United States (1789–1797).
In 1865, shortly after his April 9 surrender to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the Union Armies, former Confederate States Army General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee (1807–1870) was called and served as president of the college for five years until his death in 1870, when the college was thereafter renamed the "Washington and Lee University".
One of the oldest institutions of higher education in the American South, W&L is the second-oldest in the Commonwealth of Virginia (next to the College of William & Mary, founded in 1693).
The university consists of three academic units: the college itself; the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; and the School of Law. The university hosts 24 intercollegiate varsity athletic teams which compete as part of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA Division III).
Washington and Lee University Reviews
Beautiful place even though it was a painfully humid day! Impeccably white columns and good walkability. more »
The family came for a college tour. You can tell this is a wonderful school. The students seem very happy here. The facilities are amazing. The town of Lexington is very small, but has a lot of... more »
Really good place to go if you want to be in a small class room setting and have knowledgeable teachers. Graduated in 2018 and I defiantly got my moneys worth.
What a great campus! Such a beautiful setting and in a charming town. The old Academy was cool to see. I really could imagine how life was like on each floor of the building.
Plan your trip to Lexington
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
See all ›
Side trips from Lexington
Hidden gems in Lexington
Nearby attractions in Lexington
Shopping in Lexington
Museums in Lexington
Plans to Washington and Lee University by other users
60 days in Lexington, Charleston & Bluffton BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 31 days in Virginia BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems Preferences: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Medium 20 days in Washington DC & Virginia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, popular sights Preferences: September Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 3 days in Lexington BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, popular sights Preferences: August, kids, outdoors, relaxing Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 5 days in Virginia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems Preferences: October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Medium 19 days in Charlottesville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, hidden gems Preferences: September, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Medium