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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee Surpasses $33 Million Challenge

Lenfest Challenge Creates New Professorships and Endowment Funds

February 9,2011

Gerry Lenfest at Lee House in October, 2010. Washington and Lee University has successfully completed a fund-raising challenge from alumnus Gerry Lenfest to match his April 2007 pledge of $33 million.

Lenfest, a member of the undergraduate Class of 1953 and Law Class of 1955, focused the Lenfest Challenge on improving compensation for the University's faculty, especially in comparison with peer institutions. At the end of the challenge period on Dec. 31, 2010, gifts and commitments totaled $33,669,363.06, resulting in new professorships and other endowment funds.

"We cannot thank Gerry Lenfest enough for his inspiration and his generosity," said President Ken Ruscio '76. "And we cannot thank our donors enough for rising to the occasion. The success of this challenge is a ringing endorsement of the tremendous and lifelong impact our faculty members have on our students."

"The Lenfest Challenge succeeded because alumni and parents understand the critical role that faculty members play in a W&L education," said Dennis Cross, vice president for University Advancement. "Our donors want to support our faculty and their teaching and professional development."

The Lenfest Challenge created:

  • The University's first named deanship, the Crawford Family Deanship in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics.
  • Fifteen new professorships-five in the sciences, one in foreign languages, one in the arts, one with preference for the History Department or the Williams School, one in the Williams School, two in the Law School and four that are University-wide or whose designations are to be determined.
  • Nine new term professorships for mid-level faculty-two that are University-wide, two for any undergraduate department, three in the Williams School, one in the Law School and one for the English Department or the Law School.
  • Two endowments to support teaching in the Law School's new third-year program, the Bridge to the Profession.
  • Nine named endowments to support faculty salaries in the Athletics Department and other departments and schools.

In addition to the challenge grant, Lenfest gave an additional $17 million to fund faculty sabbaticals and summer research, bringing his total support for the faculty of Washington and Lee to $50 million.

Lenfest's gifts are part of W&L's current fund-raising campaign, Honor the Past, Build the Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee, which aims to raise $500 million by June 30, 2015.