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Gift Allows Washington and Lee to Acquire Belfield

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Washington and Lee University has been given an anonymous gift from a former member of the Board of Trustees to acquire and help renovate Belfield, the former home of W&L's legendary dean of students Frank J. Gilliam.

Belfield, which is located on Liberty Hall Road just west of Wilson Field, was completed in 1929 and features extensive gardens on its 2 ½ acres.

Gilliam, a member of the University's Class of 1917, served as dean of students from 1932 to 1962. He also worked as the director of admissions.

The University is currently undertaking a study to determine a suitable purpose for Belfield once it has been renovated. An architectural firm will be commissioned to assist in the study in the coming months.

"Belfield has a very strong connection with Washington and Lee, not only in terms of its proximity to the campus but also through Dean Gilliam's long, storied career at the University," said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio.

"We are grateful that we have been given the opportunity to acquire Belfield by someone who understands its connections to our past and its potential for our future."

Belfield's 14 rooms, served by 5 ½ baths, features exquisitely detailed, hand carved woodwork.Walter Rogers Crowe was the architect who designed Belfield.

The Gardens of Belfield were originally designed by the late Charles Gillette, a renowned landscape architect from Richmond. Dean and Mrs. Gilliam were avid gardeners.

In 1960, they were recipients of the Massie Medal for horticultural achievement from the Garden Club of Virginia. They were only the second husband and wife so honored.

Mike Carmagnola, Washington and Lee's chief facilities officer, anticipates that the University will decide how to use and renovate Belfield within the next six months.

"Once we have selected an architectural firm to provide us with some concepts, we will do a thorough evaluation of the property and come up with a plan," said Carmagnola. "This really is an exciting opportunity."