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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Brad Harder '12

Hometown: Redding, CT

Majors: Politics, English

Minor: Creative Writing

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Men's Swimming
  • Mock Convention Steering Committee
  • ‘23' Student-Athlete Organization
  • University Athletic Committee
  • W&L Political Review
  • Sigma Chi Fraternity
  • Athletic Facility Planning Committee
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Peer Tutors Program

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Advanced Studies in England
  • ISA Immersion Program at the University of Salamanca
  • R.E. Lee Scholar with the Williams School IT Literacy Program

Post-Graduation Plans: Law School

Favorite Class: Professor Velasquez's "Politics in Art and Literature" (POL 290) in conjunction with the 2011 Johnson Lecture Series

Favorite W&L Event: Intramural Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

Favorite Lexington Landmark: Blue Ridge Parkway

Why did you choose W&L?

I was first impressed by the three-dimensionality of W&L's students. In addition to pursuing excellence in the classroom, they passionately involve themselves in a wide variety of student-run extracurricular organizations that contribute to a vibrant W&L community.

What professor has inspired you?

Professor Darznik opened my eyes to creative writing and contemporary fiction. Her teaching and her experience as an author continue to inspire my own academic and extracurricular pursuits.


I've been a fan of Washington and Lee athletics since high school. Early in the recruiting process, it became clear to me that W&L student-athletes are significant contributors to the larger campus community and I entered my freshman year eager to carry on that tradition of involvement.

I jumped at my first opportunity to be part of a focus group tasked with redesigning and reinvigorating the student-athlete mentor program. Working closely with coaches, administrators, counselors, professors and other students, we initiated a dialog around the importance of sportsmanship in all aspects of student life. We came to understand that W&L athletics isn't driven by specific sports, but rather by the cumulative passion of all of its participants. Recognizing the strength of such interconnectivity, we have incorporated principles of bystander intervention into our new organization's mission. By addressing problems head-on, we hope to create a culture capable of confronting difficult issues before they become more dangerous. ‘23' became our group's name as an acknowledgement of W&L's 23 varsity sports and also our recognition that despite many different sports, we all play for the same team.

Team unity is not limited to the playing field, and as the student representative on the University Athletic Committee (UAC) I have learned to include administrators and faculty members on my team. Guided by the Division III ethos of synthesizing academics and athletics, the UAC strives to enrich the lives of student-athletes at W&L, and in doing so builds a more dynamic community of learners inside and outside of the classroom.

At the end of my junior year I was honored to be selected by the W&L's president as the student-athlete representative for a steering committee to oversee the planning of a new athletic facility. The building will serve as a cornerstone of the university's newly launched $500 million capital campaign, and it calls for the construction of a natatorium, basketball and volleyball courts, fitness center and intramural recreation area. The recent months have been filled with conversation and compromise as I play my part in actively integrating the viewpoint of student-athletes into the university's broader vision of future development.

For me, W&L athletics transcends sports and reminds me that I‘m part of a larger team. My experience here has afforded me many lasting friendships with diverse members of the W&L community and it has been a privilege to work closely with them in an effort to realize Washington and Lee's highest goals and aspirations.