If the overall experience offered at a school can be gauged in any way by the loyalty and generosity of its former students, then Washington & Lee stands out as one of the best schools in the country. Students will quickly admit that the University has some serious issues to work on—gender relations, a Greek monoculture, and an overemphasis on alcohol at social events—but in the same breath they will declare there could be no better place to go to college. That is because Washington & Lee cultivates an environment where students can grow in every aspect of their lives, both by being in a comfortable environment as well as experiencing serious challenges. Students develop real, intense relationships that keep them coming back for years as misty-eyed alumni. Washington & Lee students love their school because it lets them be a part of a legacy of academic and moral excellence. This makes class reunions seem more like family reunions, as students are so bonded in the shared investment in a place they love so much.
On a more practical level, students appreciate their time at school, too, because it not only prepares them so well for a life of intellectual excellence but also develops their moral selves as well. Working and living within the honor system forces each community member to take responsibility of their own actions, for better or for worse. Washington & Lee students have a keener sense of the impact of their actions than most. As a result, they enter professional environments ready to face challenges with realistic visions and a commitment to both high quality as well as honesty. This commitment to moral integrity, then, is what sets the school apart and makes it truly great. The University remains dedicated to carrying on the legacy established by its namesakes, giving its students the opportunity to participate in that effort to become upright, skilled citizens.