50 States, 50 Colleges – Virginia

I was excited when I drew Virginia for my “50 States, 50 Colleges” post.  When I was looking at colleges, my mom and I drove through the beautiful state and stopped to check out a few of the colleges along our route.  We have lots of fun memories of that trip!  The school that I ended up choosing to write about, Washington and Lee University, was not one of our stops.  After doing my research, I kind of wish it was!

College in the Spotlight:  Washington and Lee University

Lee Chapel, Lexington, VA by Tom Wolff, on Flickr

Location:  Lexington, VA

Enrollment:  2,200 students

Fast Facts

Washington and Lee has two very famous namesakes – George Washington and Robert E. Lee – who had major impacts on the school.  The school was struggling financially and on the brink of closure when Washington gifted it with 150 shares of James River and Potomac Canal Company stock.  His gift continues to contribute to the University’s operating budget.  In thanks, the school (then known as Liberty Academy) was renamed Washington Academy, then Washington College.  Lee’s influence comes in immediately after the Civil War.  A few months after the end of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee accepted the position of President of Washington College.  Under his leadership, the school added journalism classes, a business school, and a law school.  When Lee died in 1870, the trustees almost immediately added his name to the college.

Washington and Lee’s website refers to the campus as a “living museum.”  The Lee Chapel houses Robert E. Lee’s office, preserved just as he left it.  It also contains Lee’s tomb and his family crypt.  His favorite horse, Traveller, is buried just outside the chapel.  Visitors often leave apples, pennies, and sugar cubes on Traveller’s grave for good luck.  With all the history of the place it comes as no surprise that there are quite a few ghost stories told on campus!

One of Washington and Lee University’s more unique programs is The Shepherd Program, which strives to educate students about poverty and help them seek productive solutions to the problem.  Students can supplement their major with coursework on poverty and service in an area that interests them (such as business, education, health, etc.).  Nearly 20% of WLU students participate in a Shepherd Program course during their time at the school.  Students can even minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies.

The Outing Club takes advantage of the gorgeous natural setting of the Lexington area.  The surrounding mountains and rivers provide ample opportunities for biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, rafting, backpacking and caving (that’s right – caving).  The Outing Club sponsors trips both in Lexington and afar.  One year a group from the Club summited Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Like some of the other schools we’ve profiled, W&L has a “spring term.”  After the first two traditional terms are completed, students take one unique course over a four-week period.  The school invites faculty members to think of a “dream course” – one they’ve always wanted to teach – and lets them create that class.   Here are a few spring term classes being offered this year:  Casino Accounting (which includes a one week trip to Las Vegas); Photography and the City (taught entirely in Paris);  The Freedom Ride (an intensive study of the Civil Rights Movement); and Field Methods in Archeology (where students get to participate in ongoing archeological projects).

To learn more about Washington and Lee University, visit http://www.wlu.edu



Major Monday – Interior Design

Ms. Falardeau, Lowell Catholic’s art teacher, answers some questions for us in this week’s Major Monday post.  Enjoy!

1)  What was your college major and where did you go to school?
I did my undergrad at Savannah College of Art and Design and majored in Interior Design. I received my graduate degree from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and majored in Art Education.

2)  Was this your original major?  If not, what was your original major and why did you decide to change?
These were both my original majors – though I had considered special education as a career path when I was in high school.

3)  What made you choose your major?
Since a very young age I was always very aware of my surroundings and my mom even claims I was constantly pushing our living room furniture around when I was little. I loved the conceptual aspect of interior design and the ability to shape the way that people use and interact with their environment. In terms of art education, I sort of fell into it after graduating. I worked as a teacher at YouthBuild Boston teaching architecture and design to high school students and loved the impact these skills had on the students’ confidence. I saw the way that art and design could empower students and loved that I could help them on that path.

4)  What were your favorite college classes?
The classes that challenged me to think in a different way were always my favorite. I had a two week intensive studio class in my graduate program that was meant to build our artistic portfolios. In that timespan I developed my artistic style from being small sculptures to a large scale installation piece that I am very proud of.
I was also able to travel abroad during my undergrad to France and get some amazing firsthand experience in the design field that were absolutely invaluable.

5)  What advice do you have for students interested in the same major?
For Interior Design – Get yourself into the field before you even complete your degree – getting that hands on experience and making those connections to people in the industry will be your key to getting a job after you graduate. Internships and site visits are crucial to getting a full understanding of the design process and all that it involves.
For Art Education – Try everything! It is so important to know how to use a wide variety of art media so that you can pass that knowledge along. BUT don’t be afraid to teach something you don’t know everything about, you will learn so much more from your students than you could imagine.

Thank you, Ms. Falardeau!

Major Monday – English

Today’s Major Monday is from Ms. Holland, an English teacher here at Lowell Catholic.

1. What did you major in college?  Where did you go to college?

My major in college was English.  I went to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

2. Is this your original major?  If not, what was your original major?  Why did you decide to change?

I went into college Undeclared and debated many different majors, and I finally decided the Fall of my sophomore year.

3. What made you choose this major?

I chose this major after I took a variety of core classes at college.  My favorite classes and professors were all in the English department.  I found English to be the class that I looked forward to going to.

4. What classes/topics did you enjoy studying the most while in college?

I enjoyed my Medieval Literature classes the most, but that was because I has the most incredible professor for those courses.  I also enjoyed American literature courses.

5. What advice do you have for students looking to study your major?

I would advise students to go to office hours!  This is really for any major.  I found that visiting my professor for extra help allowed me to learn so much more!

Thank you for sharing, Ms. Holland!!