The words of the 2012 Baccalaureate speaker, the Rev. Dr. Chris- toph Keller III, resonated with Larry and Sally Lawrence P'08, '10, '12. Keller spoke about the University as "a place where tradition survives, but where innovation and progress also have been able to flourish," recalls Sally, a W&L trustee and retired IBM systems engineering manager. The Lawrences have felt privileged to participate in the process of trying to maintain that balance between tradition and progress "as we wrestle with the challenges and opportunities both specific to W&L and more broadly applicable to the overall environment for private college education going forward," Larry says.
They recently committed $250,000 for the directorship of the Shepherd Poverty Program, an initiative that they believe is vital to W&L and the community it serves. Their daughter, Christina '12, took on numerous leadership roles in the program, including editing its newsletter and interning at the Harlem Children's Zone; she minored in poverty and human capability studies.
In addition to generous support for the Parents Fund, the Lawrences have made gifts to establish the Lawrence Challenge Fund in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; to renovate the wrestling room and squash courts in the Warner Center; and to support the Colonnade renovation. They also have sponsored a term professorship for the Williams Investment Society (WIS), a program in which their sons Peter '08 and Ben '10 held leadership roles.
"Both the Shepherd Poverty Program and the Williams Investment Society provide examples of experiential learning," Larry says, "whereby W&L students have opportunities to supplement their classroom learning with real-life experience, which both complements and greatly enriches their classroom experience."
The Campus Kitchen, part of the Shepherd Program, has captured the hearts and minds of many alumni and parents. Like the Lawrence family, many have given to the cause in support of the opportunities it gives students to serve the local community, learn about poverty and develop leadership skills. Its main mission is transforming unused food from restaurants, grocery stores, W&L dining facilities and so on into meals for those who need them in Lexington and Rockbridge County.
Leslie and Jack Bovay '79, P '07, '11 have enjoyed many happy times on W&L's campus during their 30 years of marriage--from attending Fancy Dress balls and class reunions to watching their children, John '07 and Caroline '11, mature during their student days.
"W&L has meant a lot to us over the years, and the University will always be part of our family," says Jack, a managing shareholder of Dean, Mead & Bovay law firm.
The Bovays recently gave $25,000 for the Campus Kitchen renovation. During Parents and Family Weekend several years ago, a visit to their son's class, Introduction to Poverty, taught by Harlan Beckley (one of Jack's former professors), enlightened them about the needs within the community surrounding W&L's campus. The couple hope their gift will allow Campus Kitchen to expand its services to hundreds more residents in the Lexington and Rockbridge County community.
"We felt that Campus Kitchen was a program that's worthwhile and beneficial to both the students who participate and to the residents of the Rockbridge community," Leslie says.
Campus Kitchen's new home is the Global Service House, a joint project of the Center for International Education and the Shepherd Program. It opened this past fall to provide a focus for internationalism, a locale for increased cross-cultural engagement, and a visible home for service activity. The building, the former International House, was renovated last summer.
For the Bovays, supporting W&L is an expression of gratitude for the many positive experiences they and their children have enjoyed on campus.
"Giving back is part of the W&L tradition," says Jack, a member of the Alumni Board and a class agent since 1994. "Those who came before us have supported the University. W&L has given so much to those of us who are graduates, and to those of us who are parents of graduates, that we feel it's part of our responsibility to give back."
Allen Haight '84, who owns a home in Lexington, is impressed with the University's efforts to involve students with service-learning projects within the community beyond the Colonnade. A member of the Board of Trustees, Haight believes students who participate in the Shepherd Program and its associated initiatives develop leadership skills and practical knowledge that enhance classroom learning. That's why he and his wife, Franziska, made a gift for the Campus Kitchen renovation, as well as for the Friends of Rockbridge (FOR) endowment--both entities associated with the Shepherd Program.
"It's a great way for students to get involved in the community in a tangible way," says Haight. His father, Ehrick Haight Sr., graduated from W&L in 1954; his brother, Rick Haight, in 1982. "It's always good for the students at W&L, which is a reasonably privileged institution, to understand that isn't the case sometimes for people in your own backyard. It's knowledge worth having and doing something about."
Haight believes the Shepherd Program can nurture greater understanding and compassion about how to meet the needs of the underprivileged. He hopes his gift is just one of many
that will ensure the Campus Kitchen obtains improved facilities and expanded services. These efforts will only serve to strengthen the greater Lexington-Rockbridge County community.
"What I appreciate most about W&L is not about bricks and mortar so much as it is about the professors and the students and everybody else who makes it all happen," Haight says. "It's a great community of trust."
Franziska and Allen Haight joined Lexington neighbors Ben and Carol Grigsby '72, P'12 in pledging a substantial challenge gift to support the Campus Kitchen renovation. The combined contributions, which covered half the cost of the project, allow the couples to connect two causes they care about deeply: helping neighbors in need and advancing W&L's overall mission. They hope their gift will help ensure the program's long-term sustainability.
"Supporting Campus Kitchen is connected to our interest and engagement with the broader W&L educational mission," says Ben Grigsby, a member of the Board of Trustees. "It links helping those in need in our community and also helps foster a sense of giving back on behalf of Washington and Lee students. Campus Kitchen is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about service, and one of the glories of W&L is that it educates the whole person in terms of civility and community, as well as leadership, honor and educational excellence."
The Grigsbys--whose son, John, graduated last May--have recently made a variety of other campaign gifts, including support of the Annual Fund, term professorships and the 2012 Mock Convention.
"When I attended W&L, I benefited from the generosity of people who came before me," Grigsby says. "When you believe in something, and you believe it's doing something that's important and powerful, it makes philanthropic initiatives very easy to do. We've been very lucky in our lives, and Campus Kitchen is one way for us to give something back. As one of my professors advised many years ago, W&L conveys an ethos of 'learn, earn and return.' Develop skills and wisdom, be productive, but also give back as you can."
Carol and Mike Monier '62 first learned about the Shepherd Program during Mike's 45th class reunion. Listening to Harlan Beckley and students, they were intrigued to hear what students were learning and how they were serving people throughout Lexington and Rockbridge County. "During the presentation, you could see that Harlan was like the pied piper," Monier says. "The students really enjoyed him and listened to him. They participate with him, and he knows how to get them excited. That's what impressed us."
The Moniers have committed a substantial planned gift to help endow flexible funding of the activities of the Shepherd Program. The gift not only will help W&L attract and retain talented leadership for the program in the future, but it also recognizes Harlan Beckley's devotion and service to growing such a top-notch, model program.
The Moniers appreciate what the students are learning about the causes of poverty and about potential solutions. They believe the program can strengthen W&L's mission of developing character and the value of service in its graduates.
"We think of the Shepherd Poverty Program as a keystone going forward for W&L," Monier says. "W&L was the first in the country to have a program like this, and it's the leader of such programs in the country. I think it's unique, and we wanted to help ensure that it stays on at W&L for a long time."