7 May Lead up to Name Decision, TGR letters, SWAG, Signs
It seems we are rapidly moving toward a decision on the name of our beloved university. The Board of Trustees is to meet on the weekend of May 21-22. It is expected that they will make the decision at that time and hopefully announce that decision in the not too distant future.
It also appears that a significant majority of the alumni, parents, students, and members of the local community feel that the name should be retained. Further, most folks want the university to continue to honor and respect our namesakes while still recognizing that they were men of their times. Any effort to denigrate, diminish, or eliminate our namesakes, either directly or indirectly, will be detrimental to the long-term health of Washington and Lee. Instead, we should celebrate the contributions of these individuals to our university and to our country.
New items on the website emphasize these themes. First is a letter to the Board of Trustees from our President, Tom Rideout, explaining why the name "W&L" university will be unsatisfactory to all parties and will diminish a great brand for something which has no meaning. This can be found in the "Letters" section.
Also in the "Letters" section is a letter written by Bill Becker. Bill spent his entire career in marketing and public relations. For several years, Bill and his wife, Maureen, ran the Washington and Lee bookstore. They are also the parents of a W&L graduate. Bill points out all of the negative, unintended consequences of changing the name and the brand of the university.
Judith Conlon, the head of our parents' group, wrote a cover letter to the Board of Trustees, regarding the name change. In February, Judith and the parents' group wrote a letter to the Board on this subject which contained the signatures of 200 parents. Now, she has gathered another 150 signatures and sent them to the Board.
In the "Articles" section is a pamphlet written by a first-year student who has done extensive research in the Washington and Lee archives on Robert E. Lee's time as President of the University. With financial support from The Generals Redoubt, he has written, published, and begun to distribute a brochure highlighting Lee's accomplishments.
Finally, we have included a photo montage in the "Photos" section of the website. These photos demonstrate a wide variety of items emphasizing the theme to "Retain the Name." Yard signs, billboards, etc. have been provided to individuals and companies at no charge and are beginning to pop up all over the area. Also, we have produced hats and t-shirts which can be seen in the “Photos” section. Many thanks are due to John Lane of our Board of Directors and Bill Becker of our Board of Advisors for their hard work on this effort.
Vice President and Editor
The Generals Redoubt