Light It Up!

About the Light It Up Campaign

In 2016, Washington and Lee received a challenge gift of $50,000 from W. Franklin Barron ’52 to renovate the dark and uninviting lobby on Leyburn’s Lower Level One. The lower lobby is one of the most used areas in the library. It is the entry point to the book stacks, to Northen Auditorium, and to Special Collections & Archives. The lower lobby is more than a pathway to sought-after destinations; it is a popular study spot for students and a reception area for events held in Northen Auditorium and Special Collections.

The library is immensely grateful to our Friends of the Library who have contributed to the campaign and made Phase One — raising money for construction costs – a success. Our eyes are now focused on Phase Two – furnishing the lobby and its adjoining “Conversation Pit.” Opening the renovated lobby with old furniture is not an exciting prospect. Therefore, we are reaching out to you to help the library buy new study tables, chairs, exhibit cases, and soft furnishings. We are excited to see this heavily used area brightened up, and we look forward to welcoming you to the fully furnished lobby and Special Collections’ new exhibit hall at one of our Friends of the Library events in the coming year.

Don’t just take our word for it, the below student testimonials illuminate the promising utility, and current drawbacks, of this already popular space.

Lobby Conversation Pit Photo
Lobby Conversation Pit: Current State
The Plan: New lighting, carpet, and ceilings to transform the dark, “basement like” lobby into a bright attractive and modern space.
Photo of Northen Lobby Exhibit Area
Northen Lobby Exhibit Space: Current State
The Plan: Improved exhibition space and lighting at the entrance to W&L’s Special Collections, to make the entrance more dynamic and inviting.
Northen Lobby Study Space
Northen Lobby Study Space: Current State
The Plan: More lighting, electrical capacity, and connectivity for the popular and heavily used student study spaces in the lobby.
Renovation Design Plan
Outside Special Collections: Design Plan
Rendition of plan for the space outside of Special Collections' entrance.

What Students Think

“I think the lighting should definitely be improved. I really like the open space on the first floor, and it is much quieter than the main floor. That’s why I prefer to study there. However, the only problem is the lighting. In addition, as admission tours are held in Northern, people who visit our campus will get to see the first floor. First impression is quite important…” —Wan Wei ’16

“I enjoy studying on the first floor, but I have
noticed a lack of power outlets beyond the two tables and a feeling of darkness in the area.” — Yishu Liu ‘16

How to Contribute to Project “Light It Up!”

Light It Up Logo

  • Give Online. To give securely by credit card you may give online. Please choose gift designation “other” and type in “Leyburn Lobby Renovation.”
  • Mail a Check. Please make your check to Washington and Lee University and indicate “Leyburn Lobby Renovation.”
    Office of University Development
    Washington and Lee University
    204 W. Washington Street
    Lexington, VA 24450
  • Call Us. To make a credit card gift over the phone or for general assistance, please call (540)458-8420.