Washington and Lee University (Washington and Lee or W&L) is a private liberal arts university in Lexington, Virginia, United States.
Washington and Lee’s 325 acre campus sits at the heart of Lexington and abuts the Virginia Military Institute in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains. The rural campus is approximately 50 miles from Roanoke, Virginia, 140 miles from Richmond, Virginia, and 180 miles from Washington, D.C.
Washington and Lee was founded in 1749 as a small classical school by Scots-Irish Presbyterian pioneers, though the University has never claimed any sectarian affiliation. In 1796, George Washington endowed the struggling academy with a gift of stock. In gratitude, the school was renamed for the first United States President. In 1865, General Robert E. Lee served as president of the college until his death in 1870, prompting the college to be renamed as Washington and Lee University. Washington and Lee is the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the second oldest in Virginia.
The University consists of three academic units: The College; the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; and the School of Law.