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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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The W&L Dictionary


ACT:-n-Abbreviation for American College Testing; the ACT or SAT is required for admission to Washington and Lee.  Visit

Application:-n-Term used for all forms, test scores, and essays required for admission to W&L.

Blue Sky Bakery:-n-Popular lunch choice for many W&L students conveniently located a few hundred yards from campus. Known for their homemade breads and Mike’s BBQ.

Cadavers:-n-A secret society of Washington and Lee undergrads that appears after dark, clad in black capes and hoods, and plays pranks; supposedly mostly pre-med students, the Cadavers manage to operate while keeping their identities 100% secret.  The Cadavers leave their seal, a “c” with a skull inside, around campus.  The secret society is also a philanthropic organization and the Cadavers have donated funds for the fitness center, the yearbook and the new stadium.

The Colonnade:-n- Term describing the main academic buildings on campus facing Lee Chapel.  The Colonnade will be completely renovated piece by piece over the next few years.  Newcomb Hall was the first Colonnade building to be completed.  It opens Fall 2010.

Common Application:-n- Application accepted by many different schools, including Washington and Lee.  The Common Application is available at:

The Country:-n-  Any off-campus, privately owned student house not in the City of Lexington. Country houses can be anywhere from 1-5 miles outside of town and many are on Traveller stops.

C-School:-n- Commerce School/Williams School/Huntley Hall houses the Business, Accounting, Politics and Economics departments.

D-Hall:-n- or Dining Hall is the name commonly used for the Marketplace. First year students are required to take a full meal plan in the D-Hall, which provides continuous service from 7:15 a.m. until 7 p.m..  The Dining Hall operates on an “all-you-care-to-eat” basis. 

Early Decision:-n- Prospective students have the option of applying Early Decision which is a binding agreement. Students accepted early decision are committed to attending W&L. The Early Decision one deadline is mid November while Early Decision Two deadline is beginning of January.

The Executive Committee:-n- Student-elected governing body comprised of members from each class that oversees the Honor System at W&L.

Fancy Dress Ball:-n- Held each spring, it is essentially a bigger, better version of prom. The theme is kept secret until shortly before the event.

The Hill:-n- Term commonly used to describe campus, specifically the Colonnade. e.g. “I am going to go do work on the Hill” or “I ran into Johnny on the Hill the other day.”

Honor System:-n-Describes the student-run, student-administered system which, if violated, leads to automatic suspension for lying, cheating, or stealing.

House Mountain:-n-Mountain lying in the western horizon of Lexington easily noticeable by its box like shape.

Johnson Scholarship Program:-n- Scholarship funded by a $100 million dollar donation which provides roughly 10% of each incoming class with a full tuition, room, and board scholarship. The Johnson Scholarship application acts as a blanket application and makes applicants eligible for all other merit based scholarships.

J-School:-n- Journalism School which is housed in Reid Hall. The J-School is the oldest journalism school in the country and was started by Robert E. Lee.

Lee Chapel:-n- Chapel which sits in front of the Colonnade. The Chapel was built by Robert E. Lee during his presidency at the school and the crypt in the basement is his final resting place.

Lee Chapel Attire:-n- Formal attire that must be worn in Lee Chapel, including a coat and tie for men and comparable attire (such as a skirt, dress, or dress pants) for women.

Lee House:-n-House built for Robert E. Lee when he was president of Washington College. The wraparound porch was made for his wheel chair bound wife. The President of the University and his family currently reside in the house.

Lex:-n- Common abbreviation for the city of Lexington. E.G. “Winter break is almost over, I cannot wait to get back to Lex.”

The Maury River:-n-River running on the back side of W&L’s campus and defines the northern boundary of Lexington. Activities occurring on the river include rope swinging, fishing, and tubing.

Merit-Based Aid:-n-Aid given out as a result of academic and extracurricular performance. The Johnson Scholarship is just one example of Merit Based Aid.

Mock Convention:-n-Major event held every 4 years in which 95% of the student population holds a convention to pick the out of office party’s nominee for President.

Need-Based Aid:-n- Aid given because of financial means and ability of the student’s family to pay for college. Student must apply for Need-Based Aid in order to qualify.

Newcomb Hall: -n-Colonnade building housing the History, Religion, and Philosophy Departments. Newcomb Hall was renovated in 2010 and the first of the Colonnade buildings to be renovated.

The Quad:-n- The lawn and street that are surrounded by the four first-year dormitories; Gaines, Gilliam, Davis, and Graham-Lees.

Regular Decision: -n- One of the application options at W&L that allows for a January 3 application deadline and does not commit the student automatically if they are admitted in March.

Robert E. Lee:-n- General who served as President of the University from 1865-1870. He is buried in Lee Chapel and began several defining traditions of W&L such as the Honor System and the Speaking Tradition.

SAT: -n- stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test; the SAT or the ACT is required as one of the “Necessary Evils” when applying to W&L.

SATII Subject Tests: -n- Applicants are required to take two of these subject-specific standardized tests along with either the SAT or the ACT.

Traveller: 1. -n- Lee’s beloved horse who is buried next to Lee chapel 2. -n- The free bus system used by W&L students to get back and forth from campus to various student housing in town and in the country

Tubing:-v- Popular activity during spring term in which students drive up the Maury River several miles and then float down using inflatable tubes. This fun activity normally results in sunburn.

VMI:-n- Virginia Military Institute; W&L’s neighbor & home to the Cadets, the students who attend there.

Co-op:-n- Another name for the Café 77, offers fresh made sandwiches, hearty soups and a selection of convenience items.  During exam week the Co-op serves free coffee and tea.  To see their hours click here.