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Alison and Jamie Small ’81, P’15

from The Bridge: Fall/Winter 2011 issue

Alison and Jamie Small ’81, P’15Jamie Small '81, P'15, and his wife, Alison Small P'15, hope their enthusiasm for science will prove contagious among future W&L students. That's why the couple gave a substantial gift to endow first-year seminars in the sciences.

"We believe that science education has lagged behind in this country, and we really believe this country needs more scientists," says Jamie, president of Icon Petroleum, in Midland, Texas. "We want to engage first-year students who are undecided about pursuing a career in science."

"We really love what we do as scientists," adds Alison, a geophysicist working in the oil industry. "We think it's fun, and we're always encouraging students to join us in this exciting field."

The first-year seminars introduce students to a field of study by way of a special topic, issue or problem of interest to them. They explore the course material in depth with a faculty member and a small group of peers. Jamie hopes first-year seminars in the sciences will spark students' passion for studying the natural world.

"Washington and Lee is a very special place for me, and I give back from the heart," says Jamie, president of the Alumni Board. "My whole career came out of the science departments at W&L, so this is a way to give back."